“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5, 6–NIV).

While visiting St. Simons Island some months ago, I saw something that made me laugh out loud–the irony too obvious to keep to myself.

“What’s so funny?” my husband inquired, not having yet seen the opposing signage.

I pointed, and then Bill, too, laughed–reading the contradictory messages for himself.

Then a few months later, we were blessed with a visit from Ohio family–my mother-in-law’s youngest sister Amy, along with her husband and adult son.

They’d no sooner arrived when Amy began to feel very sick–a grave concern because, though she doesn’t always feel sick, Amy has battled a life-threatening illness since her birth more than five decades ago. Born with  a severe heart defect, she underwent open heart surgery for the first time when she was less than a week old.

Her vessels were like fine hairs, her pediatric cardiologist later explained to her anxious parents. He went on to say, holding out both his hands, “See these? They just performed a miracle. God guided them through the entire surgery, because I had absolutely no idea what I could do for her. Only the Lord…”

Only the Lord.

Although Amy’s visit was months ago, she’s still not feeling well, which is an important matter of prayer, and even though she’s been told she’s a candidate for a heart transplant–where doctors would replace her heart of flesh with a mechanical one–she’s declined this offer.

“Even though it’s far from perfect, it’s my heart. It’s the heart God gave me, and it’s the one through which He alone has sustained me. Imperfect as it is, I love my heart, and I don’t want another one.”

As I pondered this testimony–told to me recently by my mother-in-law Faith at my niece’s wedding–I was reminded of this passage from Proverbs. Because she’s not well, Amy was unable to attend the wedding, and we missed her presence at this special family affair. “She’s just exhausted,” Faith said. “But she’s certainly learned to trust God for everything–even her next breath.”

A special moment between sisters–my mother-in-law Faith curling Amy’s hair on her last visit. She was too exhausted and sick to do it herself.

Indeed, Amy has learned to trust in the Lord with all her heart. She knows firsthand that…

Only the Lord can…

Help us hold on when hope is gone.

Encourage us to take that next step, especially when the way seems dark and scary.

Offer us perfect council when our minds are racked with fear and confusion.

Heal the broken places–physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually–when no one else knows how to put the piece back together.

Only the Lord can fully equip us to do what the wise writer of Proverbs proclaims–“Trust in the Lord with all your heart...”

Yes–only the Lord can…

Enable us to trust Him with all our hearts rather than lean on our own understanding.

Only the Lord can…

Draw forth from us an earnest acknowledgement of Him, that we might give Him glory in our yet sinful, selfish state.

Only the Lord can…

Make our paths straight in this crooked world where we live, where we often hear contradictory messages and may feel as though we’re headed down a dead end road.

Amy has been an inspiration in all of these–trusting that only the Lord, in and through her, can and will be glorified, whether in her life or in her death; in her silence or in her breath.

Because, for all of her years, Amy has truly trusted God with all her heart–not a portion of it or even most of it. Indeed, with all of it–literally!

She’s had to guard her heart and mind against the natural tendency to plan her own course–pressing into Jesus rather than lean too heavily on her own understanding, including her dreams and desires.

Although she’s human and certainly grows weary and discouraged, many who know Amy well would testify that they’ve heard her acknowledge that God alone is her Source of strength–believing, despite all she’s endured, He’s working all things together for good, because she loves Him and is called according to His purposes (Rom. 8:28).

Through it all–having undergone more surgeries and painful procedures than entire families experience in a lifetime–she would tell you that God has made her path straight, even when the way seems dark and the next day’s destination is uncertain.

She believes whole-heartedly that the Lord’s way is the only way–that it will never lead to death but only–eventually–to Eternal Life.

That is the hope she has… the hope she encourages others to have… the hope she lives.


Only the Lord!

Despite what some might say, Jesus proclaimed unequivocally, “I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life…” (John 14:6). What, then, do we have to fear? Hold on to Jesus. Hold on to hope! And while you’re at it, please pray for Amy.

My daughter Allie with Aunt Amy on our visit to Ohio last January.