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
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
"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.
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
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
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