The Lesson of the Heart Tree

Selah at Sunrise - December 16

The last time I paused to write here, Thanksgiving had just passed. I spent blessed time with family and pondered how much greater treasure my loved ones are than any diamond here on earth. The hugs, love, laughter, and even tears shared with those I love are truly priceless.

It is now nearly Christmas. I think I smile more at the Christmas lights and decorations than my children do. Each ornament that hangs on our Christmas tree holds a story and memory. I find that I linger a bit as I hang each one on the tree every year, relishing the reminders they bring of love and wonder.

Last week my family and I taught the four and five year old children’s Sunday school class. We teach the second Sunday of each month. Over the past two years we have served, we have come to know the children by name. Last week we had a smaller, yet rowdier crew of nine boys and only two girls. My daughter was sick, so it was only my husband and son teaching with me. Yes, we women were outnumbered eleven to three. I was glad that our lesson about the birth of Jesus in a stable had lots of active participation components. We were able to move and pretend to be the animals that first met Jesus. Our lesson plan even included chickens with the traditional sheep and camels. And we had cows. Moo! The center attraction was the birth of Jesus, of course. And the children smiled as we spoke of His birth.

After snack time (yes, we have snacks in pre-school, animal crackers this week!) we worked on a take home craft. The children were given a picture of a Christmas tree that had been printed on green card stock. We had pipe cleaners for tinsel, small pom-poms for ornaments, and stickers to use to decorate the tree. Our sample, the standard for the trees, showed the tree decorated. The pipe cleaner formed the traditional zig-zag pattern across the tree. One of the children in my group worked long and hard on shaping her pipe cleaner. I almost offered to help her as I could see that it was not taking a zig-zag shape. When she finally looked up, she smiled and showed me a heart that was made out of her pipe cleaner. She said she wanted to put a heart on her tree because she loved Jesus and Jesus loved her. Wow! Out of the mouth of this baby girl came such truth. Soon all of the children in my group asked for help making hearts for their Christmas trees.

It has been a week since we taught that class. I still think of the lesson my precious little friend taught me with her heart. This child is quiet and has difficulties with her speech. I suspect she may learn a little differently as well. She reminds me of many of the children I have worked with as a Pediatric Physical Therapist over the years. God showed how much wiser she was than her teacher in the moment we set out to make our trees last week. I tend to like to follow the rules. Especially when it comes to crafts. I am not known for my artistic abilities! I am grateful I stopped before “teaching” this precious girl how to make a zig-zag. God used her childlike faith to teach us to make love the focus of our “heart trees.”

I have pondered the “heart tree” this week. As I look at my life and the traditions I keep around Christmas time, am I simply going through the motions of baking and decorating to make sure my zigs and zags are all in order? Or am I taking the time to shape my actions and motives into a reflection of Jesus’ love? When my family and friends see what I do, is my love for Jesus center stage? Or do I get lost in the tradition and lose the worship?

Years ago we had a “yankee swap” at my brother’s house. We made sure to include some toys in the wrapped gifts so that our children would be able to each have a gift that they would love. I believe my children were around 5 and 7 years old that year. My daughter opened a gift that held a golden heart ornament. I expected her to “swap” it for one of the toys held by an adult. I think there was even a stuffed bear that she would love that had been opened and was fair game. But my baby girl’s face lit up when she saw her “beautiful heart”. She clutched it to her chest. And you better believe that no adult in our game even considered taking such a treasure from a child. That ornament is on our tree this year. I had hung it up before we taught Sunday school last week. It now holds memories of two little girls who saw the heart of the Christmas story in the love of God sent to earth.

“By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we may live through Him.” (1 John 4:9, NASB)

Today at sunrise and beyond, I pray that my life will reflect the heart of Jesus here on earth. Will you join me in that prayer? Selah.

These are a few of my favorite Christmas decorations. Buddy and Molly appear to understand the love of our Christmas “heart” tree this year.

Selah at Sunrise – Cherished Treasures and a Thankful Heart

Selah at Sunrise - Cherished treasure and a thankful heart

Just two days ago I was blessed to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family, including my sister-in-law’s extended family who I love like my own. The house smelled so wonderful as we arrived at my brother’s home. Turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy and broccoli casserole and sweet potatoes and rolls all added their fragrance to the mix and my mouth watered in anticipation of the feast we would enjoy. There was a new little baby for me to meet, and I even was able to hold and chat with the beautiful seven-month-old little girl who filled the house with joy. What a treasure she is!

Just hours earlier, I had discovered the loss of one of my greatest earthly treasures. When I went to undress at the end of the day on Thanksgiving eve, I noticed that the space that usually held my diamond on my engagement ring was bare. My only diamond I have ever owned. The diamond my husband picked out for me and gave me on the day he proposed. That diamond. I dropped to my knees and spent about an hour crawling on the bathroom floor and shaking out the throw rug and even emptying the trash can with hope beyond hope that the diamond would be found. It was not. Truthfully I had no idea when the diamond fell out. It likely fell somewhere in the large outpatient clinic where I work earlier in the day. I wept.

Then as I woke up in the morning on Thanksgiving day, I received a text from my adopted “little sister”, or “petite soeur “. She texted, “Happy Thanksgiving, Sister. I miss my mom…” Her mother was my precious sister, friend, and mentor I have written about here before. Before I read that text I had already been thinking about my sweet friend. I had already prayed for her and her father as they would be celebrating this first Thanksgiving since her mother went home to heaven. We messaged back and forth. I treasure her so much. And I realized how grateful I am that her mother, Gayle, was part of my life here on earth and will be a part of my life for eternity.

When we arrived at my brother’s house I was so happy to see my sister-in-law’s family there. They have truly become my family over the 24 years I have known them. There were hugs shared, laughter heard, conversations held. It was a “first” Thanksgiving for this family as well. My sister-in-law, Kelley’s, mother passed away earlier this year. She was deeply missed. I cried as I spoke with Kelley’s father and other family. We remembered together. We treasured each other and the time we could share. It was also the first time I had seen Kelley’s cousin and uncle since Kelley’s aunt, her mother’s only sister had passed 18 months earlier. I spoke with her cousin and we remembered together another family member, a family treasure, no longer here with us on earth.

Somehow my missing diamond did not seem so great after all. The treasure of a “thing” here on earth paled in comparison to the rich treasures of family and friendship and fellowship. My diamond will be replaced. And I will enjoy having my ring back. But there is nothing that can replace the infinite worth of a life loved here on earth. I am grateful beyond words that each one of my friends and family who have recently passed away here on earth had placed their faith in the Savior. I have a hope that is priceless as I know I will see them again in heaven. My heart weeps here as my faith stands strong. I pause even as I type this – I take a “selah” moment to reflect – as I remember those I love so dearly. I am blessed.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;” (2 Corinthians 4:7-9, ESV)

Where is your greatest treasure, friend? I pray that it is found in the love of our Father and Savior. That it is found in the treasure of family and friends. Pause with me now in gratitude for those we love. Selah…….

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We call them the “Great Eight”. My Mom (in white) and her siblings. A sacred treasure.










Seasons Change. God Does Not. Selah is Found in Selah Moments

Selah at Sunrise - November 10

In October I wrote for 28 out of 31 days. It was a discipline and a blessing. As I asked God to show me what to write about, He spoke into my heart that I should write about the things He has been showing me. And I realized that for over 2 years He has been teaching me to pause and to seek Him. So I wrote for those 28 days about things God has taught me largely during those selah moments when I have paused to listen to His voice.

This month of November has been a time of reflection for me. Our fall foliage peaked last weekend, just at the month began. I loved looking at the gorgeous red/orange/yellow hues that painted the sugar maple in the back yard. And the Japanese maple in the front yard was scarlet and bright. Then, in the course of a few days, the leaves fell first off of the sugar maple and then off of the Japanese maple. And in just a week the peak of our foliage has passed. And the dark silhouette of my trees is now seen. It will last through the winter.

Just as the seasons outdoors have changed, I have been amazed at changes within as well. I cried as I drank my coffee on the back porch a few days ago, surrounded by both of our dogs. The tears came as I realized that a few very specific prayers had been answered for my family. The answer did not come with fanfare and fireworks. It was a slow change and healing. It was only as I looked back and reflected that I realized how much God had been at work. I was humbled. I was moved to tears.

Not every change has been so desirable. There were years of stress that preceded the victory. I have not always handled the stress well. I have let good habits slide as I struggled just to keep my head above the water. Without practicing the discipline of consistent exercise and a careful diet, the weight I had lost 2 ½ years ago has slowly crept back on. Clothing that once fit, no longer does. And I realize that there are changes that come only with great intention. Only with significant work. To set those positive changes back into motion, I need to not just “work harder”. Not that the work will not be hard. But more importantly I need to listen harder and abide more deeply in the power and love of my Savior. I need to make the “selah” moments I have started to observe become immovable in my life.

One of the greatest ways I have heard God speak to me throughout the course of my life is through the Bible, His Word. As I have asked God to speak to me this past week, I kept sensing in my mind a strong desire to read Habakkuk. And so I have read over the 3 chapters in Habakkuk this week, asking God to reveal Himself through His Word. Some of the verses were familiar and even comforting. Some of them on the surface appear to have little in common with my current situations. But still I go back and read, catching a bit more of the heart of the passage each time. For today I will leave you with Habakkuk chapter three, verse 2: “I have heard all about you, LORD. I am filled with awe by your amazing works. In this time of our deep need, help us again as you did in years gone by. And in your anger, remember your mercy.” (NLT)

God has left me in awe so many times this week. Praying that you will be encouraged to seek Him in the midst of every change that comes. I praise Him that He is merciful. Till next Satuday. Selah…..2018-11-06 12.51.46 HDR

The Japanese Maple just days ago. Now its leaves have all fallen…..

Selah at Sunrise, Day 28 – Selah Lessons Learned; Selah Times Shared; Sacred Selah


Selah at Sunrise - Day 28

Today is October 31. It is the final day of the Write 31 Days Challenge. For me, personally, it is day 28 of this journey. I am sad in many ways to see this time come to an end. Today I spent time at the lake at sunrise and sunset. Every picture I share in this entry was taken today.

As I reflect on my “Selah at Sunrise” journey, I find that I have learned many things. I will list them here:

  1. The meaning of selah is not fully known. It does appear to mean to pause. To reflect. To quiet. For me, personally, it means to let my actions slow and my body rest. Selah moments lead my heart to pray. To think of selah brings peace.
  2. Selah, to me, is most precious as the sun is rising. My heart seems the quietest at sunrise. I can drown out the “noise” of my thoughts and responsibilities best at the start of the day.
  3. Selah can happen any time of day. I have spent selah moments at sunrise. At noontime. At sunset. And even at midnight this month. Selah is not so much a time of day as it is a time set apart in my heart. It is a time set apart for God.
  4. Selah is meant to be shared. Selah truly cannot occur if I stay trapped in my own thoughts and life. It is most fulfilling when I share it with God. It satisfies my soul when I seek Him and He inhabits my selah moments.
  5. Selah can be shared with others here on earth. I have had the privilege of sharing selah moments at sunrise, sunset, and times in between with precious friends. At times we spoke as we paused to look and see God’s beauty in creation. Other times we were silent, each speaking to God in our hearts and thoughts, yet sharing the moment together. So much can be shared without words when God draws the hearts of friends near in selah moments.
  6. Selah is sacred. It is a time that must be set apart. In this super busy world, I cannot multitask and experience selah at the same time. To dwell in selah moments with God, I must forsake the to do list and hectic schedule for a time .I must listen to God and open my heart to Him.
  7. Selah is a practice I must keep. My days are different when I stop and spend time in silence with God. Even if the selah moment is spent while I am walking or kayaking, there must be a purposeful choice made to keep selah during those times. My mind is too prone to wander if I do not discipline it to be still. To pause and consider. It may take effort, but the benefits of selah far outweigh the cost.

As I have prayed to God, my private selah moments are ones that I know will continue. I will not be sharing them here each day. But I will post those things that God teaches me in the selah moments during the week here each Saturday. For as many Saturdays as God chooses to give me His leading as I write. I am just a novice at this. But I believe it can transform my life. And I believe that selah moments can transform yours as well. Until Saturday….Selah.


“Now therefore stand still and see this great thing that the Lord will do before your eyes.” (1 Samuel 12:16, ESV)

Selah moments seem the sweetest at this little lake I love.

Selah at Sunrise, Day 27 – Selah Continues Through the Day

Selah at Sunrise - Day 27

Tomorrow is the last day I will write and post in October. After I post my final “Selah At Sunrise” post for this month, I will pray as to where God will lead in these Selah Moments. I know that my heart will continue to be drawn to the lake at sunrise. I know my God will continue to meet me there. So as of now, I believe that the “Selah” posts will continue. Not daily, but weekly or bimonthly. Tomorrow at the lake I pray that God will confirm to my heart what I should plan.

Today’s pictures were not taken at sunrise. They were taken later in the day. It was a “selah” moment as a precious friend and I took time to pause and reflect on God as we walked a few miles on the local rail trail. I had to smile. We both kept stopping to stare in amazement at the beauty around us. Neither of us became bothered when the other wanted to capture a picture. Or just stop and worship. We spoke of mutual friends, our families, and even of her sister who I will meet one day in heaven. Oh, she would have loved our walk today was the verdict we made!

Just as God called me to not limit my selah moments with Him to the sunrise, He does not want me to place a limit on how I view His power and grace. So often I try to box God in to a tidy understanding in my mind that I feel like I can handle. But God is limitless. He is not confined to time and space and my limited understanding. I am grateful for my friend who was willing to take time to stand in wonder with me at God’s bigness. We paused to just gaze at the beauty of His creation. And then we continued to walk. We covered miles, but they were not laborious. We became somewhat lost in time but found in God’s presence. Being found by God is a fruit of selah moments. Recognizing God’s presence is the gift of selah.

“One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.” (Psalm 145:4-5, NLT)

Come with me for one more selah moment tomorrow. We will meditate on God’s wondrous works together on our final daily “Selah at Sunrise.” Until tomorrow……

 Selah moments are precious at any time. Especially when they are shared. 

Selah at Sunrise, Day 26 – When Selah Looks Back

Selah at Sunrise - Day 26

Day 26. It is hard to realize that there are only 31 days in October. This is my Day 26 post, but as of now I will only complete 28 posts. So much has happened in the past three and a half weeks. I find myself looking back over these days.

Just the other day, I looked back at some photos taken of one of my children this fall. A comment made by a friend of mine, who had also seen the photos, caught me completely off guard. What she shared made me see, for the first time, that prayers I have prayed for my child are being answered in ways I hadn’t even recognized. I literally was moved to tears. And it all started by taking a moment to look back and recognize what God had done.  I may have missed it in the moment, but God in His mercy and grace revealed the blessing in the memory.

One of my favorite stories in the Bible also shows the importance of looking back on the faithfulness of God. The story is found in Joshua chapter 4. After the Israelites crossed the Jordan River to enter into the Promised Land after 40 years of wandering in the desert, the Lord commanded them to place 12 large stones on the far shore. Those stones were to serve as a reminder for the Israelites to look back at the faithfulness of God to save them. I love the power and vivid symbolism of these verses:

“And those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. And he said to the people of Israel, ‘When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know , ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’” (Joshua 4:21-22, NLT) I love the greater purpose of this reminder that is shared in the following verses. The ultimate goal is that all the people of the earth would know that the hand of the LORD is mighty and would fear him.

Looking back is not meant to breed discontent. It is meant to show us again and again the faithfulness of our God. Praying that as we look back on God’s hand at work, as we pause to consider at the lake, that our hearts would be forever changed. Selah.

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Looking back…remembering…..selah moments at the lake.

Selah at Sunrise, Day 25 – When Selah Makes Me Long For Jesus More

Selah at Sunrise - Day 25

My selah moments at the lake are usually solitary. I come to the lake alone, pausing on my way to work or making a special trip to see the sunrise on a weekend or day off. Occasionally a fisherman or fellow photographer will speak with me briefly. I may reach out to friends and text a prayer. But overall my time is spent talking to only one person – my Father, my God.

Yet I find that it is in these solitary moments that my desire to connect with my friends and family here on earth grows. I speak to God and listen for His answers for needs in my life and in the lives of those I love. After I leave the lake, I often find that my love for those I have prayed for has grown. Prayer has changed not only circumstances and situations in their own lives, but my own heart and thoughts and feelings as well.

I have spoken of the legacies of faith I have seen as I attended two funeral services this weekend. Both services honored God foremost and then the lives of two women who sought to live for Him their whole lives long. I was so moved and encouraged by the testimonies I heard. My faith was strengthened as I listened to how Gayle and Jean worshipped and proclaimed Jesus literally until the days they died. Their faith did not shrink in the difficulties they faced. If anything, as their days on earth neared their end, Gayle and Jean loved Jesus more deeply than before.

Yesterday I shared the song “Even If” with you. I have listened to it numerous times this weekend. I was also deeply moved as I listened to Gayle’s daughter, Anna, sing a song to honor her mother. She sang “Give Me Jesus”. It speaks of how during every part of our days and lives, no matter the situation, the strongest desire is to have Jesus. I am posting Fernando Ortega’s version here: (from his tribute to Ruth Bell Graham)



The older I get, the more I find myself wanting more of Jesus. I desire more of His peace, presence, love, and power in my life. I want to look more like Him each day. May this verse be true in my life each day: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20, NLT)

Striving to be more like Jesus as I learn to practice selah at the sunrise. Until tomorrow….

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A picture taken during my visit to Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. It reminds me of soaring with Jesus, of the safety and blessing found when I seek Him wholeheartedly.

Selah at Sunrise, Days 23 and 24 – When God’s Grace is Found in the Waiting

Selah at Sunrise - Days 23 and 24

My heart’s desire during these days of daily writing has been to learn to listen and hear what God speaks into my heart each day. My goal has been to be intentional in taking moments to stop and listen to Him. He has led me to really ponder the purpose of the “selah” that is written in so many of the Psalms. Even the scholars are not completely sure of the full meaning and purpose of “selah” in scripture. It is found 74 times in the Bible. Of those references, 71 times “selah” is found in the Psalms. The remaining three times are in Habakkuk.

The definitions I have found include:”stop and listen”, “pause and think of that”, “measure and weigh the truth”, “forever”, and “so be it.” As God has led me to the lake, I see the purpose of the selah moments unfolding. I am compelled to stop and listen to the sound of the wind, the movement of the water, and the birds that sing as the dawn unfolds. Sometimes what I hear is totally internal. God brings a scripture to mind “at just the right moment.” God reminds me of His beauty and grace and strength as I behold His creation. I feel so tiny and yet so cherished by the Creator all at once as I pause at the lake. I am able to rest in knowing  “I am” is with me.

Yesterday was a day of hurried activity and moments of selah that consumed the entire width and length of the day. I did not have a moment to capture my thoughts in writing. God spent the day writing on my heart. He began with the blessing of a sunrise that was breathtakingly beautiful. My tears flowed freely as I stood and listened. I found myself praising God that my precious Gayle, whose life I would celebrate just 12 hours later, was with the God who painted the skies. God spoke into my heart the truth that so much of the way we see God’s hand at work does not always happen at the time of completion of our prayers. We see Him work in the times of “waiting.” We seek to know Him and come to Him earnestly while we wait to see how He will respond. While we wait to see His will be done. I capture the most glimpses of beauty in the morning in the pre-dawn sky. It is the 30-45 minutes that precede the actual rising of the sun when the skies turn from pink to purple to orangey-mango hues. If I ignore the waiting time that precedes sunrise, I miss out on the glory that God displays.

I just attended two funeral services in about 15 hours. I prayed for healing here on earth for both of these precious women who faithfully served and worshipped their Savior until the very moment He called them home. As family and friends spoke at their memorial services, they all shared events that happened in their earthly lives. Events that happened long before each woman was diagnosed with cancer. And they shared of events that happened as they continued to worship God while waiting for healing. God was with them in the waiting. His grace sufficed in the waiting. We loved them both in the waiting. And we celebrate now that their healing has been completed. They are healed in heaven. Hallelujah! I rejoice that they are with Jesus. And I also thank God that I knew each of them and walked with them and their families during the waiting.

The Christian band MercyMe has released a new song. It was shared at Gayle’s service last night. It was the song that she sang and listened to and proclaimed to be true throughout her battle with cancer. The song is titled, “Even IF”. And it is a proclamation that God will be praised by me no matter what happens. It is a proclamation that Gayle and Jean both lived. I have enclosed the official link to the video here:

EVEN IF (MercyMe)


Today I posted for two days. Two remembrances of God’s hand at work in the lives of my friends and their families. It has taken two days to share the lesson I am just beginning to learn about waiting. Will you wait with me some more as we listen to what God wants to speak into our lives? Selah. Let us stop and listen. Until tomorrow…..

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I can only imagine what these precious women are experiencing now. Well done……..

Selah at Sunrise, Day 22 – When I Seem to Keep Falling Behind

Selah at Sunrise - Day 22

Today has been a day where I have felt “hurried.” I was up way too late last night and still needed to get up early today. I found myself at least 3 minutes late in arriving at each appointment of the day. And even now as I type, I am glancing at the time. Will I have enough time to post Day 25 before running to the next responsibility?

I see the irony in my hurriedness today as I am smack dab in a season of learning to take “selah” moments. Selah pauses at sunrise. Selah pauses at sunset. And selah pauses to refocus my priorities and thinking whenever they stray away from God’s best. Is there such a thing as “hurried selah”? Am I doing it wrong today?

When I look at the picture above, I immediately relate to that last little gosling swimming in the line. I wonder if he is worried that he will be left behind if he doesn’t hurry. I know that I often feel like I am in a never-ending cycle of catching up. At work, we have a relatively new electronic documentation system for charting our patient notes. Each update of the server brings about change. The new graduates who work with us, those who grew up their whole lives with computers, always seem to grasp the nuances and change with ease. I am one of the “elder” therapists at this time in my career. Not quite a dinosaur, but not a spring chicken, either. Every annual performance appraisal brings me a “good job trying” or even “progressing” report from my supervisor. But everyone knows I am one of the last of the flock as we swim forward into this sea of computerized care.

And work is just one small part of the “hurry to pause” struggle I face. My laundry seems to multiply as I sleep. Even as the family takes on more responsibility for their own clothes, I am never in the lead. As I parent there always seems to be that “one missed thing” of the day that never gets done or is completed after midnight when this weary mama should be sleeping. When I get tired, I am most tempted to skip the selah moments. But on those weary days I need my selah rest, and the time spent with my Savior, the most.  Even a short selah moment completely changes my day.

The birds that I watch as I commune with God at daybreak have taught me so much about the nature of God.  Passages like Matthew 10:29-31 encourage me greatly: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs on your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (ESV)

God sees me. Even on the days I feel like I am lagging behind. He will not let me fall. Pause with me here today. Remember that you are valued greatly. Let us take a “selah” moment together. Until tomorrow……

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He sees them. He sees me. He sees you, too.

Selah at Sunrise, Day 21 – When Selah is Written in the Sand

Selah at Sunrise - Day 21

Another day has passed and it is later than I planned as I write what God has laid on my heart today. I saw the sky painted in glory at the lake this morning before a long day at work. I do not believe I will ever tire of seeing God’s art gallery on display. And as I think of recent Selah moments at sunrise, my last sunrise on the Gulf Coast of Florida last week comes to mind.

After seeing the sun rise on the inlet side of the island, I walked around the tip of the island to the beach and sand and surf. My friend headed off for a longer and more strenuous walk. That morning my heart needed to just be for a while. I walked along the shore, listened to the waves, and looked for sea shells for my precious friend whose mother was to meet Jesus later that day. As I walked the beach that morning I did not know the news I would receive later that day. I only knew that my heart was drawn to pray.

In my home I have at least two sand dollars and three beautiful sea shells that my friend/sister/mentor, Gayle, brought me from Africa. She served as a missionary in the Ivory Coast for 27 years. And she loved to walk the beach near her home, carefully collecting the sea shells and sand dollars I now treasure. I knew that morning, just six days ago, that my friend would likely not walk those beaches again. I prayed for God to heal Gayle as I walked that beach. I just did not know how He would chose to heal her. The shells I searched for on the beach were for her sweet daughter, Anna, who has now also become a “little sister” in my heart. I searched for an unbroken sand dollar. I did not find one. They are not often found at Anna Maria Island. But I did find a broken one. My first sand dollar ever to be found. And I found some shells, also broken, but still full of beauty. These will be gifts for Anna when I see her in two days.

As I finished my walk, I noticed foot prints in the sand. They were the type I expected. The birds I had watched as I walked had left their mark on the beach. I did not see them there, but I saw evidence that they had been there. And God spoke to my heart to encourage my faith to grow stronger. I may not see Him walking with me during these Selah moments each sunrise. That day the tears blurred all vision. But if I am observant, I can see the evidence of His presence. These footprints were like the “God sightings” my dear friend Doris had taught me about so many years ago. I thanked God for showing me reminders. And I asked Him to strengthen my faith.

I feel like the father describe in Mark 9. He brings his boy to Jesus and asks Him to heal his son, “if you can.” Jesus reminds the father that anything is possible through faith. And the father’s response is so like my own.

“The father instantly cried out, ‘I do believe, but help me in my unbelief!’”(Mark 9:24, NLT) As I see great needs and struggles and burdens in the lives of those I love, as I pray for them and myself during my Selah moments, I need the help of my Savior to help my unbelief! Seeking help at the water’s edge….I will see you here tomorrow. Selah.

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I did not see these birds leave their footprints near the end of the beach. But the footprints I saw in the sand gave proof that some of them had been there.