Updated: Mar 7, 2021
I remember the little wooden plaque hanging on the wall. It had a scene of footprints in the sand. There were little indentions giving the footprints a 3D effect. Every time I would go to my grandparents’ house, I would make a trip back to that plaque and run my fingers over the footprints. When I got older and could read, I committed the poem written on the plaque to memory. I remember thinking at seven or eight years old, this was important to always remember. Now nearly twenty years later I finally understand that eight years old wisdom was divine.
Footprints in the Sand
By Margaret Fishback Powers
One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You'd walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me."
He whispered, "My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you."
Sometimes I question myself and whether being honest and vulnerable is a gift or a curse. I’ve always been extremely honest...some would probably say too honest. But vulnerable and letting people in doesn’t come naturally.
I learned at an early age that people will use you. They will leave. And whether they mean to or not, they will disappoint you. So for most of my life I’ve put up walls in the hopes of remaining in control and protecting myself.
Sometimes I think I shouldn’t share struggles, because the last thing I want is to air personal matters in a public setting. It’s no person’s business but mine, but I also believe we are to use our test as a testimony. I’ve always believed my purpose in being here is to be a friend to someone who feels misunderstood or alone and so for that reason, I choose to be honest and vulnerable.
This season, this past year, these past few years have been one test after another. Some I feel like I passed, while some I feel like I’m taking for the 100th time and I’ll be honest, I’m tired. I don’t understand and I don’t honestly know what God is trying to teach me.
I do know that God is good and so because of that simple truth, my understanding of the test doesn’t matter. There have been times where I accept that and there have been times where I have shouted out to God “why?” I’ve been angry. I’ve doubted God’s plan for me. I’ve even wanted to give up.
In one of those fits of rage and tears, a song came on that echoed every question I had. My tears flowed as I drove home saying to the radio “See?! This person gets it God!” But what I found at the end of the song was a plot twist. God is excellent at plot twists. Just when you think you have the whole picture, He shifts everything.
The third and final verse took me back to that eight year old girl and the poem I memorized all those years ago. The one that didn’t question God because He was her best friend. When I was being called names for being the chubby kid or when I experienced my first broken heart when my best friend moved away...He was there. I knew Him. He is the One that told me I was created for great things and I was unique and special. I never questioned Him.
It was only later, when I let all the other voices and opinions weigh more on my mind and heart, that I forgot His words. I became too busy worrying about others’ opinions of me and putting people on pedestals that only wanted to selfishly use my tender heart, but He still was right there. He never left. No matter how many times I asked why or cried out in frustration and anger, He never turned away or loved me less.
I share all this to say, He has never left you either. Maybe you feel really alone right now. Misunderstood. Unloveable. Friend, those feelings aren’t from God. What I’ve learned in this season that I seemed to forget for many years, is sometimes you have to let God simply protect you, love you and carry you. I tried to seek acceptance, understanding, and worth through my own strength, but what you learn in the dark, troublesome times is you have a Heavenly Father that will gladly carry you if you just let Him. ♥️
Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”