A Shell Of A Mess

                               By Phil Scovell

          "Dad?"   I think we are  going to have to wake  mom," my daughter

          I  was seated  behind my  desk typing  in response  to an  email.
     "What for  I  asked; looking  at my  watch.   "It's 1  o'clock in  the
     morning.  She just went to bed 45 minutes ago.  What's wrong?"

          "Something is wrong with one of her turtles," she replied.

          "Her turtles?"  I said  with disbelief.   "What's wrong  with the

          "Well," Gretchen began,  "I check the  turtles every morning,  or
     just about every morning, when I  get up and walk through the  utility
     room."  They both looked ok this morning when I saw them but Mike said
     he saw one on it's back tonight."

          "On his back?" I repeated.

          "Yeh.  I said that didn't  sound right because I have never  seen
     either of the turtles  on their back.  So I just  now went and checked
     and they are not on their backs."

          "Are they ok, then?" I wanted to know.  Why did you say we should
     get your mom up?"

          "Well, the one  that was on his  back earlier today has  his head
     stuck inside his shell."

          "What?" I said with amazement.  "How could that be?"

          "I  don't know," Gretchen said, "but it is.  I supposed he was on
     his back  earlier, trying to find a position  that would free his head
     or something, "  my daughter said.   "It appears  his head is  somehow
     caught on the skin around his head and neck."

          "I wonder why that would be?" I  said; picturing the turtle in my

          "It appears," she said,  "that the skin around his  head and neck
     are very  dry or something.  I  don't know if that has  anything to do
     with it or not."

          "Man," I sighed.  "I don't know what we could do to help him."

          Gretchen said, "Mike and I are using a Q-tip with a  small amount
     of vaseline on it to press  gently around his head and what  little of
     his neck  is  visible.   Hopefully that  will be  enough  to give  him
     lubrication to pop his head out."

          When  she  went  back  downstairs  to attend  to  the  turtle  in
     distress, I started to pray for the turtle.

          A few  moments later,  she came running  back upstairs  and said,
     "Dad!  It worked.  He popped his head free and is moving around."

          "I said, "He's probably hungry, if he hasn't eaten all day, so go
     get some meal  worms and go down and  put some in front of  him to see
     how much  he can move around and  to see if he eats  any."  Meal worms
     are about a turtle's favorite food.  You can almost teach a turtle how
     to do  back flips if you  offer them meal worms  for a snack.   By the
     way, turtles,  although normally  slow, can move  faster than  you can
     possibly imagine when  you toss a grasshopper or some crickets or meal
     worms into their aquarium.

          She came  back upstairs  later and said  that the  turtle gobbled
     them down as fast as she could dump them into the aquarium in front of
     him.  "He really went after them, too, so he must be ok if he can move
     that quickly,"  she concluded.

          "Well, it  would appear," I said, "he is going  to be ok, then, I
     guess," and so he was.

          We determined later that the flooring  we had switched to in  the
     bottom of the aquarium was making it more difficult for the turtles to
     crawl  to their  swimming pool, if  you want  to call it  that, and it
     seems likely that only one of  the two turtles could make it into  the
     water.   This  is likely  the cause  for the  second  turtle to  loose
     internal lubrication  and somehow got  his head and neck  stuck inside
     his own shell.  We have since fixed  the flooring to make it very easy
     for them to climb into their pool of water.

          If you are not  an animal lover, this story will  have little, if
     any, meaning to you.  I mean, after all, it  was just a stupid turtle.
     Who cares about turtles.   My wife does.  I  sort of enjoy them,  too,
     and had a big Arkansas  pet turtle that I  caught while on a  vacation
     when I was a kid.  Furthermore, my wife was born and raised on an Iowa
     farm.   Animals are a way of life for  her.  So, the old axiom must be
     true; "You  can take the girl out  of the farm but you  can't take the
     farm  out of the  girl."  Thus  it is, we  have a zoo  at our home and
     always have.

          This current event had a strange  effect upon me.  For the  first
     time in  my life, I  felt sad for  the turtle.   Plus, I knew  my wife
     would  be disturbed and saddened  that one of  her turtles died during
     the  night.  I  thought of the little  turtle on his  back as he tried
     finding a position where he was able to free himself.  I  realized, of
     course,  he was just a cold blooded  reptile and if he died, it should
     not  have any discernable effect upon  me but something had touched me
     deeply.  When I  prayed for him, I  thought, I was mostly praying  for
     one of  my wife's pets because of her love for her animals.  Yet, deep
     down inside,  something else was  going on inside  of me and  I didn't
     know what it was.

          As the days  passed, the thought of the trapped turtle in his own
     shell  continually returned  to my  thoughts.   I just  considered the
     memory of his plight a loose connection to my own experiences and with
     others with whom I pray who often express being trapped in some way or
     other.  Something, on the other hand, bothered me deeply and something
     I couldn't  see spiritually.   I let  it go for  several days  until I
     couldn't take it any longer.

          Walking into my office,  I sat down in a recliner in a corner and
     began to pray.  I focused on the turtle,  the words spoken that night,
     and  my personal  feelings that  surfaced.   I  examined the  feelings
     relating to how  my wife would feel  when she found out  something had
     happened to one  of her turtles.  Nothing was there but normal concern
     for her feelings of loss if the turtle had died.  I finally focused on
     myself  but I  could  locate  nothing that  seemed  applicable to  the

          "Lord?"  I finally  said in  my thoughts,  "I  don't see  or feel

          "Focus more on your thoughts," I felt  the Holy Spirit say.  "How
     did you feel?"

          "Trapped?"  I  suggested.     "I   can't  think   of  any   time,
     specifically,  in my  life, when  I felt  trapped and  unable to  free
     myself," I said in my thoughts as I prayed.

          There was one memory that did pop into my mind.  I had dug a hole
     with a post hole  digger of my dad's and had failed to refill the hole
     when I was  finished playing around.   When it snowed that  winter, it
     filled  the hole.    Upon walking  across our  backyard  one day  that
     winter, I fell, with  one leg, into  the hole I  had dug and  couldn't
     extricate  myself  for a  couple  of minutes.    I eventually  did so,
     however,  and was  able to walk  the remaining  few feet to  the house
     without incident.   I  prayed in and  around this memory  and although
     there most certainly  was fear involved in the  memory, nothing seemed

          "Lord?" I  said, "I'm looking  but this memory doesn't  seem like
     the right place."  I continued looking.

          Memories flashed  by rapidly but  none of them had  any feelings,
     negative feelings, that popped to the surface and caught my attention.
     I was becoming frustrated because I knew something had to be there but
     I could  not find  it.   I  could feel  it, on  the other  hand, so  I
     continued looking as I prayed.

          Finally, I said again, "Lord?  If you don't show me, I won't find
     it.  I don't recall anything ever in my life where I felt trapped like
     that turtle caught inside his shell and unable to free himself.  Where
     is it?"

          "Womb," I heard clearly in my thoughts.

          I  was suddenly at my birth.  I  have never gone that far back in
     my own memories.  Oh,  sure.  I have prayed with dozens  who have gone
     this far back  in their  prayer sessions  but I never  expected it  to
     happen to me.  There I was, however, being born.  More specifically, I
     hadn't been born quite yet.  I  was upside down, head down, and  about
     ready  to be  born but  as I  looked, everything look  like I  was all
     tangled up  in my mother's womb.  I felt the concern and fear I had at
     the time.  I  saw a form of Jesus standing in the  birthing room but I
     also  saw a dark  figure standing closer  to where  my mother was.   I
     knew, without asking, there was a demonic presence attempting to cause
     problems relating to  my birth but  I didn't realize,  at first,  what
     that might be.   "Die," and "kill,"  were two words that  were clearly
     felt.   I  explicitly recognized,  for some  reason, an attempt  on my
     birth was  being perpetrated.   I  immediately prayed  concerning this
     intrusion, and any  lies or words or  feelings or thoughts, that  were
     put into  or spoken  in my  presence by  any lying  spirits because  I
     definitely felt I was under emotional and physical distress.  Once the
     demon was commanded  to remain at attention and  forbidden to exercise
     communication in  any way, I asked the Lord what truth He wanted me to
     know.  I nearly laughed to myself when the response came.

          "I born."

          At  first, I felt that was a strange way for Jesus to be talking,
     but when I recognized he was pleased, as he stood on the other side of
     the room watching,  I realized the two  words, "I born,   Sounded like
     baby talk; my baby talk.  They were, in fact, the words in my thoughts
     as I was being born.  Additionally, as I heard "I born" in my thoughts
     as I watched, I  felt I heard Jesus saying at the very same time, "You
     are born."

          As I meditated on what had occurred in my short time of prayer, I
     felt something was accomplished by the Lord in my behalf which somehow
     was tapped into by my wife's pet turtle when he was trapped within his
     shell.   The two words, "I born," were  my words of accomplishment, as
     in, "I made it,"  at least that was the feeling I had during my prayer
     time.   This is often the way the Lord speaks to me, that is, by short
     statements,  or mostly, by spiritual awareness,  of which I put my own
     words to what I feel.

          I am not  suggesting you  have to believe  anything about what  I
     have just described.  You can call it any numbers of things.  You  can
     even  believe I made the whole thing up  so that is not the purpose of
     this testimony.  However, where you are in your relationship  with the
     Lord is  my concern  and more  importantly, it  is His  concern.   The
     turtle  reminded me  of so many  with whom  I have prayed,  some still
     trapped, yet Jesus is available at every point in our lives to  set us
     free.   The  turtle, apparently,  just needed  the refreshment  of the
     water for  lubrication.  The  Bible clearly uses  water to  depict the
     ministry and nature of the Holy Spirit and the current event,  plus my
     birth, where water is  also involved, began to make spiritual sense to
     me.  Are you stuck in  your shell?  Maybe you are hiding  so you can't
     be hurt or attacked and so you will always be protected.  I understand
     those feelings.  So does Jesus, for that matter, but he has a way  out
     for you.   The ministry of the  Holy Spirit is likewise  available for
     every situation  you face or have experienced.   Let Him be your shell
     and set you free.

     38  "He that believeth on me,  as the scripture hath said, out of  his
     belly shall flow rivers of living water.
     39  But this  spake he of the Spirit,  which they that believe on  him
     should receive:  for the Holy  Ghost was  not yet given;  because that
     Jesus was not yet glorified," (John 7:38-39).

     Note.  The  Greek word for  "belly" in this  passage which Jesus  used
     literally  means,  (the womb  in  which  life is  conceived).   He  is
     referring to  the human  spirit that  is born  anew at  the moment  of
     salvation.  Compare the complete chapter of John 3 to this concept and
     you will understand more.

                               End Of Document

     Safe Place Fellowship
     Phil Scovell
     Denver, Colorado - Mountain Time Zone
     Web:  WWW.SafePlaceFellowship.COM
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