I could hardly believe what my eyes were seeing and my ears hearing as I sat in Ms Stella Marshall’s room and listened to her life story. Watching her have no need for glasses or a hearing aid, hearing her answer questions with the sharp mind of a twenty year old, and noticing that she didn’t have to take her teeth out at night, I was in awe when Stella told me all about her ninety-fifth birthday party she had enjoyed the day before. (I would have guessed her to be not a day over seventy years old.) From the moment I heard some of her fellow church members refer to her as the “Psalm 91 Lady” I was determined to get an interview with this beautiful woman. Truly, she is the epitome of someone who has been “satisfied with a long life” and “kept safe” by the power of Psalm 91.
Stella Marshall’s maternal grandfather came as a young boy by ship to Virginia from Africa where his own people had sold him and his mother and father as slaves. Stella’s mother was one of his eighteen children. Stella’s father, on the other hand, had a much different background. His mother was Irish and it was his sister who later took Stella and her younger brother and sister to rear when their dad died at age twenty-eight after receiving a head injury at the Ennis railroad yard where he worked. Stella, who picked cotton most of her young life, married at sixteen for the sole purpose of never having to pick cotton again, but her dreams of how married life would be did not turn out as she had planned. She had envisioned having a long table with benches on each side where the family would gather for meals—six boys on one side facing the six girls across from them, and she and her husband sitting at each end of the table. Her idea of how a marriage should be was shattered when it ended in divorce and she was left with three children to rear alone. She had been brought up in a Baptist home, but there was no real relationship with the Lord so worldliness quickly took hold of her life. Finally, in desperation, at age fifty-four, Stella stood by the fence in her front yard and said, “God, You see these cigarettes in my hand? When I smoke these, I’m not going to smoke ever again. I’m not going to take another drink and I’m not going to be with another man as long as I live.” She kept that promise, but for the next five years she could not find satisfaction for the longing and the hungering in her heart for a deeper walk with God. In August, 1971, five years after she had given up her flesh life, she asked Jesus in her heart and to be Lord of her life. She was prayed over to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and everything in her life changed. She said that each night she would go to sleep and see Jesus standing over her with His hands outstretched. Before receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit she had read her Bible with very little understanding, but after being prayed for, Stella said that she was getting something new every time she opened her Bible. Every Full Gospel meeting found Stella on the front row. She couldn’t get enough of the Lord.
When I asked Stella why her friends called her the Psalm 91 Lady, she said, “When I found Psalm 91 I have prayed it over myself and over my family every single day since, and I tell everyone I see about God’s wonderful protection.” I was curious how she happened to find it and she told me an interesting story. She was asked to go to Dallas to keep the grandbaby of the fifth richest man in Texas. The servant’s quarters where she lived was secluded back behind the big mansion. Not being accustomed to staying alone, she began to think about the real possibility of someone breaking into a rich man’s property. She got very fearful because she knew that no one would be able to see or hear her if she needed help—so she began crying out to God to take away all her fears. Faithful to His promises, God supernaturally lead her to Psalm 91 and she has been saying it everyday since. Those angels that God placed in charge of her and the confidence that began to build with the knowledge that God had answered her cry, developed such faith in God’s Psalm 91 covenant of protection that she has been kept from harm from that day forth and satisfied with a long life. Stella recalled the time when a flu virus slipped in on her and she began to stand for her healing. When the symptoms didn’t leave right away, she said, “Lord, You said if we asked anything, You would do it. I’ve been expecting my healing. If I haven’t heard from You by tomorrow, I am going to the doctor, but my trust is in You.” Then, she turned over and went to sleep. About 6:30 a.m. Stella said that something woke her up, saying, “You are healed.” She said that there was not a place on her that wasn’t well. Where she had been struggling to breathe, she could now breathe with ease.
Stella, who has practically raised many of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, never misses a night praying Psalm 91 over every one of them.
Because of her belief in God and the many blessings He has poured out on her life, Stella wanted to find some way to do something to help others; therefore, in her early 60’s Stella started a routine that lasted over 20 years. She would buy stalks of bananas with her own money and distribute them to the residents of nursing homes. She was such a regular visitor that the director of one of the homes scheduled “The Banana Lady” as an activity all by herself. No matter what the weather, Stella never missed her Thursday afternoon appointment. She never worried if she would have money for her bananas. When Thursday came, the money was always there. For over twelve years Stella also volunteered at the Casa de Amigos’ Health Clinic getting files and signing people in. And, all of that is in addition to helping raise her eight grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren.
I have often said that just having a lot of birthdays is not always a blessing. It takes a satisfied life to make long life good. You don’t have to ask Stella if she is satisfied with her life. Just as obvious as her dissatisfaction with life was before age fifty-four, her satisfaction since then has been just as obvious.
Read More Psalm 91 Testimonies!