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About the Writer:
Joanne Sampl

With grown step-children, college age sons and a self-employed husband, Joanne offers her time to God and to others. Her interest in writing and communications brought her back to college as an adult and through several reinventions of her own business and ministries. With time on her hands, she writes about God and life.



Sand in My Sandals

By Joanne Sampl

Spring means unburying the sandals from the back of my closet, giving myself a pedicure, and setting out to greet the warmth of summer without socks and shoes. How nice. How relaxing and unwinding. What a pleasant change from the winter months of keeping my toes warm under cotton and leather.

Now that it’s after Labor Day, however, I’m ready to lose the sandals and step back into the closed shoe comfort of my other footwear. The needs for changing back are obvious: My feet have an awkward tan line on them now from being exposed to the sun during the summer without me remembering to slather SPF30 below my ankles. My toes are scuffed and scratched from several uncoordinated moments of tripping, running into things, and dropping things on them. My arches ache for the support of laces and insoles.

Probably the most troublesome about wearing sandals during the summer for me is the sudden, almost crippling effect of sand when it gets between my feet and the sandals. I’m the first one to admit that I have tender feet. It seemed inevitable that every time I crossed a blacktop parking lot, the tiny pieces of gravel would magnetically find the sensitive places of my feet. Wincing, I had to stop walking immediately, remove one or both sandals, and wipe off the bottom of my feet before putting the shoes back on. It might have been as small as sand in the wrong place, but it was as troublesome as if it were a boulder to me.

Just like my feet are ready for the protection and support of good footwear after Labor Day, I am ready for the protection and support of a good Bible study, too. Typically, I participate in a weekly Bible study that meets from September to May. I enjoy the fellowship, but mostly I enjoy the committed structure and accountability to spending time with Lord several times a week to do my lessons at home. During the summer, we don’t meet so we can relax with our families, travel and take advantage of the warmer months to get other projects done around our homes. We are supposed to maintain our own quiet time with the Lord, of course, but with so much freedom and so many more things to do, it’s hard to keep “God time” in my summer schedule. I can feel the effects now. I realize I’ve been overexposed to some worldly habits again: like laziness, grumbling, and selfishness. My unguarded mind might be a little bruised and scratched from several inadvertent lapses into temper and negativity. My lack of discipline in studying the Bible means I need to stretch back into a good pattern for my life.

What is interesting to me is that the time I spent during the summer away from my quiet time with God didn’t stand out to me like the sand in my sandals. I love Jesus. I am committed to Him. He is my Savior, my Lord and my Best Friend. But, I didn’t wince with pain at the realization that I hadn’t been alone with Him in days. I didn’t stop everything, wipe off what was in the way, and get back to reading the Word and walking straight in His eyes. My heart and my spirit are even more sensitive than my feet are, yet I didn’t adjust my life and my schedule when I was so aware of what was wrong in my walk. And, not spending time with God is so much bigger than a grain of sand in my life. It is a mountain of separation for me.

I am so grateful that my relationship with God is unchanging, even when my fellowship with God is distracted by the flexibilities of this world. The Bible describes it this way in 1 John 1:5-7.

John says, “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.  If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (NIV)

It is amazing to me the way God immediately meets me on the pages of His Word the moment I start reading the Bible again no matter how long of a vacation I take from it. Now, back to my Bible Study…


Copyright © September 9, 2007 – Joanne Sampl. All rights reserved.

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