Who would believe this could happen at Marriott Hotels… The Hotel Manager stood before me, “Mrs Field, I’m sure this is not what you expected”, I shook her hand dazed, rightly or wrongly, I expected more. Isn’t a hotel supposed to be a safe ‘home away from home’?
Life happens. Circumstances can seem to go against us. Things go wrong. Problems that look like insurmountable mountains may stand in our path but things are not always as they appear. Find rest in God’s word and stake a legal claim on heaven, for God’s word assures us “God only leads us in triumph”. To ‘overflow everywhere you go‘ is God’s mandate for your life!
“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumph [as trophies of Christ’s victory] and through us spreads and makes evident the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere”. 2 Corinthians 2:14
I lifted my hands in praise and surrender in Church on Sunday morning. My heart was heavy, body sleep deprived and the weight of the last month or so weighing down on me. I realised afresh the weight was not mine to carry.
I saw a vision as I worshipped of my raised hands pressed stubbornly against hard, cold stone. My hands were weak, frail, tired, worn and powerless against the mountain, but the force of praise and faith was applying pressure of mountain moving magnitude. The battle was on, the battle was strong. What would give out and give way first – my praise and faith or the cold, hard, harshness of the mountain before me. God says to His children, those who know and trust Him, stand strong, do not be moved. It does not matter the size of the mountain, it does not even matter the size of your faith; although your faith feels as small and insignificant as a mustard seed, it has the power and potential within it to move mountains, shift circumstances, and change environments. You see, it’s not about you, the mountain or the size of your faith!
So often we make our problems about us and wallow in the puddles and muddles when we should make it all about Jesus. The truth is, it’s about who and what you put your faith in, and not the size of your faith, that makes way for a life caught up in the mundane or the miraculous…. you choose! We are told to magnify the Lord and not our circumstances for a reason – magnifying the Lord brings the light, power and miracles of God causing us to overcome every time, magnifying our circumstances causes us to be overwhelmed!
A month ago now we checked back into the Marriott Sprowston Manor Hotel. It was supposed to be our safe haven, ‘home away from home’, whilst our house was drying out from water damage.
Within 3-4 hours of being in our room I returned to Reception to raise concerns as our baby, completely healthy with clear skin prior to our arrival, had come out in hives from head to toe; a reaction, the likes of which was the reason my husband, myself and five children had left our home speedily, following water damage, to protect baby Judah reacting to the damp environment. All of this had been confirmed to Marriott prior to arrival. Knowing the dangers of mould and damp I mentioned the stain I had noticed by the door of our room and was assured by the Marriott Sprowston Manor Hotel that all was well. On three separate occasions we raised concerns as our baby rapidly deteriorated. Hives progressed into agonising eczema like symptoms and bleeding all over his body. He was covered from head to toe. All week and beyond we prayed over him, nursed him, creamed him, paced the floor all night with him; whilst he writhed and screamed, struggled with flu like symptoms, coughing and breathing issues. As any mother’s heart would be, mine was broken for my baby.
Feeling desperate and now wondering what further could be going on with our precious boy aside from a mould and damp allergic reaction, I cried out to the Lord, I needed His word on the situation. As always, heaven’s line was open and His voice came through loud and clear, as I read:
“O our God, won’t you stop them? We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.” 2 Chronicles 20:12
Then the following words leapt off the pages of my Bible and onto the pavement and problem I was walking through:
“This is what the LORD says: “Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow, march out against them. You will find them coming up through the ascent of Ziz at the end of the valley that opens into the wilderness of Jeruel. But you will not even need to fight. TAKE YOUR POSITIONS; THEN STAND STILL AND WATCH THE LORD’S VICTORY. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, FOR THE LORD IS WITH YOU!” 2 Chronicles 20:15-17 NLT
I knew without a doubt God was fighting this battle and to simply trust. God settled my heart as I looked heavenward with my baby Judah (whose name means praise), in my arms. With praise in my heart, I cried “Lord, I don’t know what to do, but I look to you”. The very next day, following a week of being subjected to this dangerously toxic environment, I had a chance meeting (or as I prefer to call it a ‘God-incidence’ on the stairs with a guy from Marriott maintenance). He was walking up (the ascent of Ziz!) as I was walking down. This encounter led to our Marriott Hotel room being confirmed as riddled with mould and damp. The readings were off the scale. We requested to be moved immediately. To add insult to injury Marriott Management offered our family verbally and in writing, a complimentary meal in their restaurant. Graciously, I thanked them for the kind gesture but voiced further concerns that they didn’t appear to understand the significance, seriousness or severity of damp and mould. Worse still, to our horror we learnt we needed to move with haste as the room had been resold that evening.
Even when ‘big brand’ fails and money trumps what really matters, we are called to be ‘our brothers and sisters keepers’ whether we know them or not. In the strongest terms we requested the room be removed from sale. After two attempts and not wanting to take ‘no for an answer’ it was cordoned off, stripped out and rendered out of action during the course of the next week or so. Damp and mould poses a danger to public health, but it is particularly detrimental for the young, elderly, vulnerable, those with immune deficiencies, asthma sufferers etc, and has even been linked to death. One word for Marriott and big business, people and environmental health matter far more than money. Don’t make money your motivator, but a bi-product of doing the right thing and genuine care for people.
Mould adversely affected our environment. It lurked dangerously under the surface where no eye could see. “It was so thick behind the wallpaper in our bedroom, in the cupboard and bathroom shower that you could put your fist through it”, those are Marriott Hotel Maintenance words and not mine.
Likewise, sin lurks behind the scenes and at the doorways of our lives, seeking victims to devour. Don’t let sin in! I’m so thankful for the blood of Jesus that alone has the power to overcome this toxic enemy of our souls that hides and lurks menacingly; eroding lives, families and environments. It will choke the abundant life God intended for you to live right out of you if you let it! If only we would pursue spiritual environmental health more than money what a different world we would leave for our children to inherit.
Sometimes those you expect to take responsibility, do not. Big brands promise the world and fail to deliver. People can disappoint and fail us! There is only one who delivers on His promises every time and offers us a never ending resource and supply. God says and I repeat from 2 Chronicles noted above:
“Take your positions, then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory… Do not be afraid or discouraged… for the Lord is with you”.
As children of God it is time to cling to God’s word in every situation, take our positions accordingly, raise our hands as a picture of our lives raised in surrender and praise to heaven’s call. This will lead you to some strong, harsh, cold, insurmountable looking mountains but remember WHO is with you, WHO, fights for you, WHO breaks through for you and WHO ONLY LEADS YOU IN TRIUMPH!
What looks good can sometimes be the enemy of heaven’s best. We were eventually offered a payout from Marriott Hotels, or as they termed it a gesture of goodwill. We had paid in good faith for our room in advance and that would only be refunded, plus extra, if we signed a waiver, where Marriott denied all responsibility or that the dangerously traumatic event ever happened, although well documented within our baby boy’s medical records. Marriott mould compromised our baby’s immunity and health, that matters. Honesty, matters. The truth, matters. Integrity, matters. Responsibility, although eroding from society, matters! Duty of care for others, matters. Honour for all, matters. May these not become words extinct from our lives, society and business today, something that can simply be ‘paid away’. You see, as I have wept over my baby this past month, I have learnt these attributes are priceless.
A pay out looked good, but looks can be deceiving for what lurked behind it was denying and walking away from God’s best. The ways of this world may increasingly try to lead you down paths void of what we must not let become old fashioned values for there is a better way; God’s kingdom ways are righteousness (doing what is right), peace (Biblical peace is total health, prosperity and well being in every area of our lives) and they lead to a life, family, business and society filled with great joy (Romans 14:17). I’ll take that over money ‘for me and my family’ any day! As I said to Marriott Management and our lawyer friends, I’d rather have less with God’s blessing on it than more without.
Today as I write this after an emergency admission to hospital last night, I was thankful I chose truth over money. I suffered excruciating chest pains, from all accounts it appeared a severe heart attack or blood clots on the lungs. Here was my miracle, in the middle of the trauma and pain, all I knew in my heart was perfect peace, the thought of even death had no sting as I could look up to heaven, like Paul in the Bible, and say “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain”. Yes the pain was that great I did wonder if I was about to meet my Maker, which would have been most inconvenient for my husband during the England game! My chest felt like a mountain was on top of it… pain relief couldn’t shift it and through the gas and air I recalled the three statement’s I felt the Holy Spirit had placed on my heart that morning. How I needed them at that moment. They are just as powerful for anyone else facing insurmountable mountains that rather than moving away from you appear to be moving on top of you. :
- I will not be overwhelmed, I will overcome.
- My faith has mountain moving magnitude.
- Who are you mountain? Move and make way for favour and blessing. I am a child of God.
The results came back showing I was suffering severe inflammation of the lungs, Pleurisy, (at least it was better than the alternative). Lung disease can be directly attributed to mould and damp environments, but this mountain I am facing will move and make way for more of God’s glory and goodness to be revealed. I realised in that moment, had I taken a “pay out” to deny the cause, how could I be a voice of warning to protect and prevent others suffering the dangers of damp and mould that Judah and I had endured – again, we are called to be the voice of truth and our brothers keeper!
I am certain of this, Jesus only leads us in triumph. I believe for Judah’s complete healing and victory. I believe for total relief and restoration of his skin and body, without further or lasting effects. I trust God and believe for a speedy recovery from Pleurisy. There are miracles working on our behalf, in the unseen, behind the scenes! I might be standing before a mountain called Marriott Mould and Pleurisy today, just like a little boy called David once faced a giant called Goliath, but called him out anyway. He wouldn’t let his size intimidate him. Your mountain too has a name, but together as children of God we can stake our lives on His Word and speak to our mountains as we proclaim:
“Who are you, mountain, standing before the children of God, YOU SHALL BECOME A PLAIN that we will run over declaring the great grace, favour and victory that is ours in Jesus name”!
(from Zechariah 4:7).
Father God, I pray you will forgive me for the sin that separates me from you and your best for my life. I turn from that toxic sin environment and ask that Jesus would come into my heart and clean me up from the inside out. I will live for you and to be my brothers and sisters keeper too. Over the power of sin and death I receive your forgiveness and victory. Today I confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of my life and the life I now live, I live for the praise and glory of God. In Jesus name. Amen.
Father God, let us not sell out to the ways of this world or sin but be sold out to your Kingdom ways and cause! I declare today I am surrendered and sold out to Jesus. As my faith is firmly rooted in you, every mountain of human obstacle and opposition will be rooted out before me, for I am your child and you only lead me in triumph and victory. In Jesus name. Amen.