fish out of water

Feeling a bit overcome. With emotion. With fatigue. With a sense of whoa-slow-down-I-wasn’t-ready-for-all-this!

First off–thank you, Jesus. I don’t know why you’re doing this, but I’m trusting you. For all of it. Every detail. Right down to choosing what clothes (I know, I know–jewel tones!) we’ll wear on TV (CBS Early Show Saturday 7:40 am!!). Wow. Zers.

I’m having trouble scraping together the words for this post. I was flipping through our zoo pics tonight and came across this one. I can’t quite explain it, but I feel like this guy can relate to me.


I’m going to let some of my awesome friends share with you tonight (today), because I’m honestly at about 14% of my normal word capacity. (see, that sentence didn’t even make sense!)

Here’s our Pastor Mike and what he had to say about this thing God’s doing. I cannot tell you what our church has meant to us this past year. LOVE those people to bits and little pieces!

Here’s my hubby Gabe and some of his really cool insights. And a quote from his blog–“Praying that nobody will become more famous than God through all of this.” AMEN!

And here are a few more Zoo Party Pics from my friend Jen. Thanks, Jen!

Prayer Request:

We need wisdom. Discernment. When to say yes, when to say no. How to navigate this stuff. How to pay our bills when we don’t have a spare moment to sit down and earn any money. How to handle staying in a $350/night hotel in NYC (compliments of CBS) when you can’t afford to fix the handle on your toilet at home. (Just bein’ real.) Can we afford to gallivant around the world telling our story for free? And if not, can we justify accepting money to share what God has done?

These questions are much too deep for 12:30 a.m.

I know one thing. We needed a specific amount of money tonight, and “out of the blue,” my friend Nadia sent me a facebook message saying she wanted to advertise on our site. Totally God. Takes care of us RIGHT. ON. TIME.

Overflowing with gratefulness tonight. Off to catch up on some sleep (hopefully). Behind-the-scenes Tour at the Columbus Zoo tomorrow!! Then heading to NYC early Friday morning! (Weren’t we just there??)

Love you, friends! We don’t think for a second that we could do ANY of this without you!

37 thoughts on “fish out of water

  1. Morgan

    You guys ROCK and our a total inspiration to others who are searching for what God can do to their life! Thank You so much for your story and openness! I’m blessed to have you in my life!

  2. Nixie

    From the wise words of Dory in Finding Nemo – “just keep swimming just keep swimming!” and if possible swim this side of the world – just watch out for sharks! God is with you – trust him, talk to him and enjoy this trip he is sending youi on!!!

  3. Kaye

    Cannot wait to see all of you on CBS! Thrilled and thankful for your entire family. Praying for all of you, for safe travels and peace of mind.

    In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
    1 Peter 1:6-7 NIV

    Praying God’s richest blessings for all of you.

    Matthew 21:22

  4. Stephanie your sister

    I love you so much and am praying for you! God is using you in awesome ways. I can’t wait to see what else He does.

    I think about/ pray for you every day! I miss you!

  5. Denise

    Like Pastor Mike said a while ago – GOD IS UP TO SOMETHING! And he is using your beautiful family to do whatever that is. And I am so excited to know you and watch you reach out to millions (even if that is early for a saturday!)

    God will get you through it, he will give you the strength, he’s good like that!

    Hang in there and remember, smile pretty 🙂

    Love ya (oh and I am doing a post about you tomorrow on my blog 🙂

  6. Kimberly

    I’m so excited for you! God is taking care of you and will lead the way. I know your heart and God does too. That is what matters. Congrats girlie 🙂

  7. Kelsie

    Deborah, wow. Well said. Thank you for your burdened heart in focusing on the truth of God’s Word and for the willingness to sacrifice your time to remind all of us…I was blessed by your comments.

  8. Deborah

    #1. People from around the world have been directed to Marla’s blog. What will they find when they arrive? Christians who are supporting a sister writing for help in the midst of a test (Proverbs 27:21)? Or Christians who are going against the biblical mandates of A.) Loving your neighbor as yourself B.) Speaking the truth in love C.) Going privately to a person by whom you’ve been offended and seeking to restore the relationship?

    #2. It is a reminder to all who claim the Name of Jesus that *we*are*Christians*. We are called to be different, to not respond as the world responds. I sincerely doubt, that if all of us who have posted on this article were seated at the lunch table together we would say the things we have sometimes dropped off our fingertips (mine, included) in the Vast World of Internet Anonymity.

    I cannot answer for the hearts of people who write what they write, as I am not there and do not know them. I do know that Proverbs says that out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. Knowing how things can quickly spiral out of control, I thought it a prudent reminder to all people who get empassioned about various things (myself included) to remember what God says about speech.

    Of course, I think Paul says it best, speaking of our freedoms in Christ. 🙂 “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”

    If what *anyone* is going to type, whether in praise or in criticism fits the Biblical directives, then type away. However, as God has given us very specific commands that I, too, find easy to forget when it comes to something that bothers me, I thought it important to write them out for us all to remember. I think we also forget, in Blog-World, that we often only see a microcosm of someone’s life, blown up into magnification, whether for good or for ill. I personally know that that can lead to discontentment if I’m not careful. But that’s a whole ‘nother post! 🙂

    There are hurting people all around us. There are lost people all around us who are headed for Hell. God has given us commands for a reason, and obedience to Him has to be our top priority. I don’t know if I answered your question, Kay, but if you wish to talk further, I’d be glad to email with you at the address listed in my second post.

    Thank you for your question, Kay.

  9. Deborah

    The Bible is also clear on how we are to deal with disputes among believers. (That is why I referenced this as only carrying weight from a biblical perspective.) Matthew 18 deals with ‘a brother [who] sins against you’ and how to handle it. It involves speaking to that brother privately, at first, if they do not listen, to bring along another brother, and if they still do not listen, to treat them as a ‘pagan or tax collector’.

    The reason for this is given in several places–how are Christians *any* different from the world if we cut down, criticize, argue and carry on against fellow believers? (I Corinthians 6) How is our speech ‘full of grace, seasoned with salt’ by speaking negatively and publically against a sibling? Bringing it into the personal realm, if I disagreed with something my sister said publically, whether in print or in person, I simply would not call her out using the same tone and the same words written in the posts I referenced. I *would* speak to her privately, and honestly (my sister and I can be brutally honest with one another!) but never publically critical or in an area to allow people we don’t even know to weigh in on our disagreement.

    Romans 14 speaks very clearly to things that are not ‘life and death’ or doctrinally essentail issues. It gives very specific directions as to how we are to handle these things, none of which came across in the referenced posts as having happened.

    The blog world/internet *is* a public forum. Anyone who puts anything out there will have to deal with the fact that people will disagree with them. My reason in writing what I did is two-fold.

  10. Deborah

    Hi Kay,

    Thank you for asking a legitimate question. I actually was debating that issue before posting but felt the post plenty long already.

    Actually, I can only answer from a biblical perspective, so this may not carry as much weight if one doesn’t hold to the Bible as the Word of God. From there, however, I think there are several reasons that come into play.

    As Christians, we are called to carry the Name of Christ to the world (Mark 16:15, Matthew 28:18-20). As referenced, *whatever* we do is to be done to the glory of God (also, Colossians 3:23). Two of the posts I referenced mentioned the Lord and the first one entreated to Marla as to a ‘sister’ in Christ.

    The Bible is *very* clear on how we are to speak, period, (Colossians 4:6, Ephesians 4:25-32, especially) whether we have an audience of one or six billion. The Bible is just as clear as to how we are to behave towards *any*one who is our neighbor (Matthew 22), but *especially* those who are in the family of believers (Galatians 6:10). Marla has this responsibility as does every single person who claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ. The Bible speaks very clearly that we are known by our love for one another and that if we do not love our brother, whom we have seen, we cannot love God Whom we have not seen (I John).

  11. Stacy

    I’m way behind on your blog, and I can’t wait to catch up. But I’m on vacation at my parents’ house in NY (the state, not the city) and I just heard a news story about your family on the radio! So exciting for you! Just thought I’d share – I thought it was cool!

  12. Kay

    Deborah, I have a serious (non-snarky) question: Why is it okay for all these people to praise Marla and what she’s doing in a public forum (where Marla puts herself), but it’s not okay for someone to disagree or criticize her in that same forum?

    I do appreciate your thoughts and your way of speaking! Thank you for that!

  13. Deborah

    I *did* read a note of praise to the Lord for providing something needed just in time. Hallelujah! And, I did read a request for wisdom and discernment on handling finances and fame–two categories that God makes clear in His Word that can be tough areas to navigate, one even called a ‘test’ (Proverbs 27:21). But nope. No requests for money. I *do* know that whether we eat or drink or WHATEVER we do, we are to do it all to the glory of God (I Corinthians 10:31).

    I also know that we are to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2) and that we are to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) and that if we see someone caught in a sin, we should restore them gently (Galatians 6:1) so that we are not also tempted.

    There *is* a way to contact Marla privately, that would be a great opportunity to approach her in kindness to point out if you, out of your concern for a sister of the same Father, don’t want to see her fall into temptation or don’t want to see her go down a road of sin. That’s the “Contact Me” link under “About Marla”. That way, a person can express their concern for her in love and deal with her gently, according to Scripture.

    I did attempt to click on the link of the names for the comments that referenced ‘pleas for money’ and ‘working for a living/not asking for handouts’ (didn’t see that anywhere in the post) and ‘not giving God glory’ but I have no way to contact you. If, however, you would like to contact me, you are welcome to email me at SKYQuadD at juno dot com and I will be glad to respond privately, there.

    Before the comments get out of hand on either ‘side’, I find it imperative that we who would claim the Name of Christ all look UP and ask the Lord how He would have us to speak so that when others look at us, they will see our good works and glorify God (Matthew 5:16) and that will demonstrate that we love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, strength and our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:38-39).

    Still working to live and love as God does,

  14. Amanda

    “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” Romans 14:4

  15. Ellen

    I have to admit that I tend to agree with Gloria. I understand that you wanted to do something cool with your family by accomplishing this 52 Zoos thing. But I still fail to see how any of this has brought glory to God. It seems to me like you have talking yourself (and others) into believing that this was somehow a God-ordained, ministry-related trip. And therefore, you somehow “deserved” free housing, free tickets, free food, etc. It all seems a little shady to me… Gosh, I’d love to take a tour of Europe, but I am on a budget. Can I start asking for freebies if I promise to write a devotional about it?

    Look, I’m not trying to belittle what you’ve accomplished here. I just see it more as a “Marla-thing”, not a “God-thing.”

  16. Helen

    I tend to agree with Gloria…there are many of us that cannot pay bills or enjoy simple luxuries, but the difference is that we work for our money and the things we buy/repair/pay. I am not asking for handouts.

  17. Deborah

    Praying for you in the middle of all this, Marla! I really like Gabe’s quote. Keep running the race…

    “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him Who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3

    With love,

  18. Kim Webb

    Praying for you guys. I completely agree with Joyce – God has and will continue to do “far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” It has been great watching you guys walk this path not knowing what is in store for that week, day or moment. And being real through it all – it just shows that God does amazing things with broken people if we just allow Him to work in and through us. Love you all – Praying for you.

  19. Gloria

    I find it hard not to be irritated by your posts these days. You constantly announce your press, questions about yourself, how you feel, etc. I can’t help but think you are a bit overfocused on MARLA. I know you are trying to give God the glory for all these opportunities and blessings, but I still cannot figure out how God wanted you to venture out on vacations you cannot afford (funded by other people’s hard earned money), visit zoos that probably don’t have much significance on eternity, and promote yourself to the extent of annoyance.

    I find your humble pleas for money and donations manipulative and wrong. Please take a minute to step back and search your heart. As a sister in Christ, I urge you to stop focusing on Marla and how Marla feels, what Marla wants, and what Marla can accomplish.

    Also, Gabe, I don’t need a rebuttle. I have said what was on my heart.

  20. jess

    great!! Now I can’t sleep in a little on Saturday! (no tivo in this joint)

    kidding…i’m excited to watch it. I agree—your animal shirts will be perfect–or you in teal/green or yellow, gabe in black or grey, and the girls in a mixture of dark pink, yellow, purple, etc. I love all the zoo pics when you’re all in crazy-bright colors. 🙂

  21. Laura

    Marla and Gabe, just remember standing at the flag pole at Scioto Hills just before going in to eat….SAY THE VERSE…DO THE HAND MOTIONS…It will keep you right where Jesus wants you! Have fun and be your wonderful selves!!!

  22. Christy & Brian

    How exciting that you have the opportunity to bring glory to God thru this fun adventure! We’re praying for you guys.

  23. Mavis

    Praying that God will CONTINUE to use you for HIS Word! The Lord will provide you with a new toilet handle and will also BLESS you by staying in a fabulous hotel that you don’t have to pay for and for letting others bless you by THEIR giving that GOD has provided for THEM so they can give to you and others who are spreading the WORD! Rock on!

  24. Liz

    I started reasding your blog probably half-way through your Zoo tour and it has been a priviledge to pray for you and a joy to celebrate with you. I am so excited about your opportunity to share the glory of God LIVE on national TV! You can bet I will be glued to the TV (well, as much as I can while chasing around my toddler) on Saturday morning. I will contunue to pray that God will heep His blessings on your family and that you will always be aware of those blessings. Praise be to God!

  25. Jenny L.

    Praying that God’s presence will be felt so strongly in NY and through your words, His name will be glorified! Not to us Lord, but to Your name be the glory! Excited for your family Marla!!! God’s getting ready to do something big!!

  26. joyce

    I’ll be praying…it’s exciting…as I’ve been reading I keep thinking of the verses in Ephesians 3:20-21, “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus, throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.’ Your zoo story has this verse written all over it…can’t wait to see what else He’s gonna do!

  27. Holly B.

    You asked God to show up, and He will continue to do so, broken toilet handles and all! Hugs to you, friend!
    BTW, which zoo do you prefer between Cincinnati and Columbus and why? Just curious–thanks!

  28. Ali

    Sending all my prayers your way. I absolutely adore you guys. I absolutely adore God for what He is doing. I’m so completely in awe.

  29. Martha

    Just here.. thinking and praying and knowing that it is a continuation of the journey you’ve already begun. He’ll provide as you go. Just this time He is choosing the route! All the Glory.. All the Glory goes to Him! PTL Tavianos…enjoy the moment.

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