Julaine Marais is a worshipper and intercessor, a dancer, a creative, and an author. She has been involved in dance ministry for 34 years and loves to teach others to worship the Lord and also to minister wholeness and healing to women through her ministry.  As an intercessor, she not only intercedes through prayer and movement, but the Lord has unlocked a special expression of prayer through drawing and has now released her to compile her collection of Psalm 91 into a book. She lives in Cape Town with her husband Karl, and their four children.  Julaine is also an Ambassador for Sela Books. Protected, Living Psalm 91 is available in hardcopy and as an eBook. To order your copy, click on the links at the end of this post.

What inspired you to write your book Protected?

I did not begin with the idea of writing a book. My story started in June 2020 when the Lord gave me a picture of South Africa and the words “Break the chains of slavery over South Africa.” With Psalm 107:14 He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains.(NIV). I felt an urgency to paint what He was showing me and did so. I asked Him what He wanted me to do with the picture. Should I frame it and put it in my house? He led me to share it with my friends on Facebook. A friend requested me to make it public so that she could share it and I did. Then the Lord gave me another scripture to write on the map of South Africa, and another, and then the pictures started flowing. The story “Unlocked”, of this part of my journey can be found in “Lockdown Letters” (also available from Sela),  a compilation of stories, poetry and artwork of people’s experiences in lockdown. Another Sela author, Deborah J Hardman, and I started a Facebook Page called Expressions of Prayer and Worship, she shared her poetry and I shared the prayer pictures and prayers the Lord gave me for South Africa. The pictures came on almost a daily basis. Last year, on 1 July 2021, I woke up with Psalm 91:1 on my heart and the picture of an eagle protecting its chick beneath its wing. I felt an urgency to draw it and pray this verse over people. The next day, He gave me verse 2, by 3 July, day 3, I knew that the Lord was going to give me a picture and break open Psalm 91 to me and that I would be doing a verse a day. Interestingly, every picture was a pencil sketch, rather than some of the more colourful pictures I had done in the past. Somewhere in the middle of this, Belinda Weber, also a fellow Sela author messaged me to say that she saw me working in an art workshop on all these pencil sketches of Psalm 91 and that I should compile them into a book. At that time, I had not even thought of writing a book, and never considered myself to be an author. So, I told her I would pray about it. Suddenly, everywhere I looked or went, Psalm 91 popped up. It was like when you buy a new car and suddenly notice how many cars like yours are on the road. I prayed and felt the Lord nudging me to publish it into a book, but still not being quite sure, I approached Anneline from Sela and asked her what she thought about it. When I shared it with Anneline, she said “I think Psalm 91 is so relevant for now.” And so began the journey of taking the prayers and the revelation God had given me of Psalm 91 and compiling them into a book with the pictures I had drawn.

Tell us about your book.

Psalm 91 has been a very important passage of scripture for me. As a child, I really struggled with fear. My Mom was absolutely amazing. She gave me a few scriptures to memorise, so that when I was afraid, especially at night, I could recite them and it would bring peace to me. Psalm 91 was one of those passages. When you are 9 or 10, it is quite a long piece of scripture to memorise, but it has been part of me ever since. I really struggled with fear. 2016 was the year the Lord said to me, “I want to set you free from fear.” It was a tough journey. I was afraid of many things. I had many things to overcome in faith, but the Lord has delivered me. Psalm 91 began to become, not just a verse that I recited when I was afraid, but it became a reality in my life, and over and over the Psalm would come up – Psalm 91 … Psalm 91. In 2017, my family was  blessed with a holiday in New Zealand. Before we left, the Lord said to me, “You’re not going to come back the way you went.” I went to New Zealand, and I had some health issues there that I couldn’t go to doctors about there because they wouldn’t know my history. So, I began to pray. I went on a prayer walk every morning. As I prayed, God began to deal with more – issues and fears etc. Coming back to South Africa 7 weeks later, as we walked into the airport  to be picked up in Cape Town, I just felt this blanket of heaviness coming down. As I felt this heaviness, the Lord spoke to me and He said to me, “You can either accept the fear and live under the fear, or you can walk free of it. It’s your choice today.” I thought, ”well obviously I’m not going to choose to live under the blanket of fear”, and so began my journey in really living by faith. I knew it in my head, but I didn’t know it in my heart. Protected, Living Psalm 91,  is a small pocket-sized book to make it easy to carry around in your bag or pocket. Some people have just read through the book, whilst others have used it as a devotional, and still others for their Bible study groups.

What did you learn when writing the book?

  • I learned that there is a process that needs to be followed to ensure your book is ready for print.
  • Because I had drawings in my book, I also learned how to tweak those drawings for print, as they would not print clearly if they were just pencil sketches.
  • As a proofread/editor, I learned how important it is to let your eyes be seen by “other eyes” as you don’t alwayspick up your own editing issues, even though you edit other people’s books.
  • I also learned the value of having a person do the layout for you properly and liaise with the printer on your behalf – Anneline Bezuidenhout is truly a gem.

What surprised you the most about writing your book?

That I could write! My English teacher in High School was forever returning my essays with huge circles around my work, long comments and sections underlined in pen. I enjoy research and writing and have written blog posts in the past, but never considered myself an author. I am learning that the community of authors is much bigger, more diverse, and far more accommodating than I thought.

What impact do you hope your book will have on people?

It is my prayer that each one of us would know what it is to be HIDDEN IN GOD, to walk  understanding His protection. There were so many gems and nuggets God showed me as I studied this Psalm that I had never seen before, because I just memorised and recited it. Moses, the lawgiver, is considered to be the author of Psalm 91. He was instrumental in giving the laws he received from the Lord to the children of Israel. Yet, every verse in this Psalm seems to breathe the unlimited GRACE and MERCY of God, giving us insight into his relationship with the Lord. Moses understood what it was to be “hidden.”  He was hidden in a basket as a baby. For 40 years, he lived hidden in the desert with a Moabite clan. As the children of Israel journeyed with Moses through the wilderness, they came to Mt. Sinai. The Lord once again hid Moses in the cleft of a rock on Mt. Sinai, this time to reveal His glory to Moses and to proclaim His name. (Exodus 34:6-7) Psalm 91 begins with this glorious revelation of hiddenness, safety, security, and protection of not only our physical lives, but of our calling, our destiny, and our journey to get there. My prayer is that people be released from fear and understand God’s protection, that He really does protect and look after us, and that we will know what it means to be PROTECTED, living Psalm 91, hidden in Him. It is pocket sized because I really believe it is something that some people need to carry around with them. Some people have just read through the book, whilst others have used it as a devotional, and still others for their Bible study groups.

Click on the link below to order Protected, Living Psalm 91 from Sela Books: https://sela-books.co.za/product/protected-living-psalm-91/