These Boots Are Made For …

January 4, 2012 | 55 comments

I sit alone in my car, in a parking stall outside the farm-supply store. I will find out the doctor’s answer in 30 minutes.

I lean my head back, close my eyes and ask the question out loud: “Lord, what am I supposed to learn from this? What’s the take-away here?”

I breathe in deep, feeling how my lungs puff up with oxygen, then how they squeeze all the air out in one long stream of warm. You notice these sorts of things on days like these — on days when you’re not sure what they’re going to tell you.

You notice the way a single breath feels in your lungs, or the way the sun slants in to make your keychain sparkle, or the way you’ve got a tiny pebble stuck in your cowboy boot. You feel them, because that small part of you that entertains your own mortality wonders how long you’ll get to.

I have 30 minutes before I meet the neurologist who will tell me what the MRI of my brain showed.

A week earlier, I lost hearing in my left ear, and my face grew numb. An infection maybe? I didn’t know. I went to the family doctor, and when I told her,  I saw her eyes grow wide. She muttered something about needing to consult a neurologist, then walked out the door.

She came in a bit later. “He wants to see you right away. He’s fitting you into his schedule.”

Her words brought deep relief and profound fear — relief that he had made time for me, and fear … that he had made time for me.

Soon, I was resting on my back with a nurse at my side, telling me to hold still so the machine could get good pictures of my head.

I just knew nothing was wrong. No really. I just knew it. I did. Honest.

Or,  … that’s what I kept telling everyone, anyhow.

Afterward, I drove around the city for three hours, waiting for the neurologist to read the MRI.

And that’s where you find me now, waiting it out in the farm-supply store parking lot. I’m wearing a new pair of cowboy boots, and I like the way the leather feels wrapped around my calves. Just bought them inside. Always wanted a pair, but this is the first ones I’ve owned.

Standing sock-footed on the pavement, right outside the store where I bought them, I slipped off my shoes and put on my boots, tags still on. I open the car door, and that’s when I feel a pebble between my toes. I leave it there.

Then I pray.

What is to come of this? I ask God.

Because what’s the point of anything in this life if I’m not going to let it change me?

My radio is tuned to a local Christian station. A woman’s voice hums through the speakers. I listen to what she says, like it might hold some kind of answer to my prayer.

“I’m going to heaven someday,” the cheery voice says. “And when I get there, I’m going to spend an eternity worshipping the Living God. And that’s going to be some kind of party. So the way I figure, I may as well get a head-start here on Earth.”

It takes me awhile before I recognize the voice. It is mine. The woman on the radio is me.

Not figurative me. But actual me.

I had recorded that message a few months earlier for the radio station. I hadn’t heard it in a good, long while.

And now, here I sit, gape-mouthed in my car, listening to Self tell Self to get a head-start on my praise before I get to Heaven. And who knows when that day will come?


Thirty minutes later, I walk into the exam room, new boots clicking against the floor with each step. The neurologist walks in behind me with a broad smile.

“I’ve got great news,” he tells me.

And I walk out of the office wearing cowboy boots, dressed up for a party, dressed up for a way of really living.

Have you come by to participate in God-Bumps and God-Incidences? Find the community buttons and blog-link details by clicking here. I look forward to reading your stories — with my boots on. 🙂


Linking also with Jen today…


by | January 4, 2012 | 55 comments


  1. Nancy

    That did not really happen. Really? I swear, since you started this series, God has been giving you these kinds of goosebump-worthy experiences just so you can write about them here. Talk about being reminded to practice what you preach–in your own voice, no less! I’m glad you put the boots on. I’ve got a couple of pairs of cowboy boots, even a bright pink pair. What do you say we kick up our heels together for all eternity?

    • dukeslee


      Yes, Nancy. It really happened. In fact, it was just last week. I had just sent an email out to the God-Bumps community the night before. The next morning, this all shook down.

      It was the most surreal experience, though, to hear my own voice reminding me of what I believe. It was a sort of promotion for the radio station that I recorded months prior, but I hadn’t heard it for a long time. And you know how you don’t always recognize your own voice in a recording? It was a sudden … oh my word!!! That’s me!

      I have to assume that it was God’s way of telling me that He was right there with me, and that He had already planted Truths deep in my heart — Truths that I could lean into, no matter what happened. The day was full of God-Bumps like that. Song after favorite song after favorite song had been playing on my drive up to the city for the appointment. There was a certain painting on the wall at the neurologist office by an artist whose work has touched me deeply. And on and on it went that day …

      God is good. (All the time…)

      Love you, Nancy.

      • Nancy

        All the time, God is good!

    • dukeslee

      P.S. — I’ll bet those pink boots pair nicely with your boas. 🙂 I love you how you live — with flair. xxoo

  2. Candy

    Great news, love your boots. Party boots! I love this little God-wink as He speaks to you, through you. Don’t forget to take the tags off!

    • dukeslee

      LOL! Yes, I finally took the tags off, Candy. And yes, party boots! Yee-haw! 🙂

      Do you own a pair?

  3. Cassandra Frear

    I have been here, more than once. And further into the darkness. But he makes all things beautiful in his time.

    Very nicely written.

    • dukeslee

      Thank you, Cassandra.

      Yes, yes … and I barely dipped my toes into darkness. It was just a test, only a test, a test that came out OK. I know of a little girl (via a blogger-friend) who is undergoing surgery today for a brain tumor.

      Each day is a gift. I need to remember that.

      Thank you for being here today …

  4. Sheila

    Blinking, here, through the tears that started when you left the tags on the boots. He IS Good! All the time.

    Your own voice, new boots, good news from the specialist. What an amazing story!

    Thanks for hosting this space, Jennifer!

    • dukeslee

      And Sheila? Thank you for those prayers. Really. Thank you. A lot.

      For a while there, I thought I should send you my $30 copay. 🙂 The family doctor first diagnosed me with what you had suggested. But after some further exploration, they decided against it, then sent me up to the neurologist in the city.

      Turns out it was just a virus that traveled along my facial nerve.

      Love you …

  5. Danelle

    Wow! You actually heard yourself on the radio!? God is so AMAZING! Praise God you are fine! I have prayed for you friend.
    What a great story. I love that you kept that pebble there. To remind you that He comforts us in the uncomfortable.
    Blessings to you!

    • dukeslee


      Thank you, sweet Jesus-sister. I love what you say about the pebble — how it’s a reminder of God’s comfort. You’ve blessed me with that.

  6. Dea

    I am so thankful for so many things about this post…but I am especially thankful that it isn’t made up :)!

    Those boots were made for….dancing!!!!

    • dukeslee

      Yes, Dea! Boots made for dancing! I love that.

      And no … it’s not made up. I’m horrible at writing fiction, and it goes against my training as a journalist. 🙂 … God presents Himself in the most unusual and beautiful ways, doesn’t He?

  7. laura

    I’m so glad for the good news, Jennifer. Praising Him for the ways He reveals Himself. And for a good pair of cowgirl boots :)>

    • dukeslee

      Me, too, Laura.

      You know? I really believe this sort of thing is happening all the time around us, and I’ve been asking God to give me the eyes to see it. Which, of course, is the spirit behind this writing community each Wednesday.

      Thanks for being here …

  8. Sandra Heska King

    Oh. My. Word.

    And I was going to say what Dea said.


    These boots were made for dancing!

    • dukeslee

      … Now I just need to learn some new moves. 🙂

  9. Shelly Miller

    Love this story. God is so amazing. I have to admit I laughed out loud at my kitchen table reading about how you heard yourself on the radio! So glad you are okay. I was praying for you and your family! He is faithful.

    • dukeslee

      Laughter is good! I’m glad for it. I laughed too … after I picked my chin up from the floor of my car. 🙂

  10. Julie

    Oh Jennifer…once again you brought me to tears! Happy tears that all is ok with you….and happy tears that you can see how God showed himself to you through this.

    Love the boots! Now time for some boot-scootin’!


    • dukeslee

      I am really grateful for the surprising ways in which God is speaking. Sometimes it’s in a whisper … sometimes a shout. But He. Is. Speaking.

  11. Pattylh

    🙂 Thankful God continues to grace you.

    • dukeslee

      He is good. He is Grace.

  12. Robert Moon

    Keep praising the Lord and dance with your new boots on! In our spirits we feel young, but the fact is that Our bodies age and tell us change is happening. One day we will receive our new body — no more MRI needed.

  13. Hazel I Moon

    Pebble in your boot and still walking. Some things just don’t seem to matter when we expect there may be bad news. The voice that was yours on the radio did NOT just happen to reach you at that time. Isn’t it amazing when we get to encourage ourselves??

  14. Dolly

    Praising God with you for the good news and the new boots…so great of God to encourage you with you…love it!

  15. Deborahjoy

    please please keep your stories coming. They encourage me so… Thank you. God is good.

  16. Laura

    Wow, Jen. Self told self. If that’s not divine appointment, I don’t know what is. How tremendously loved by Him did that make you feel? Thankful to hear of good news, too!

  17. nmdr

    What a day!

  18. Megan Willome

    Oh, Jennifer. I cried. I’m so glad you’re OK. This God-bump … I’m sitting here, stunned.

    And the hearing? Has it come back? You know, I’ve been deaf in my left ear since I was 5. It’s not so bad, just annoying.

  19. Deidra

    Seriously? Wow. God is something else. Something else, I tell you! And stylish, too!

  20. Lea Culp

    What can I say? Oh, my, love this story. Reminds me of how I have seen God work in my Dad’s life these past weeks. He was stricken with a life threatening condition on June 9th and walked right up to the edge of death. He is 82 years old and making a miraculous recovery that no one can explain except for our awesome God. My Dad is a retired minister, has served God faithfully for 55 years and apparently HE isn’t through with him yet.

    I am always blessed when I stop by. Praising the Lord with you and kicking up my heels as well!

  21. Jennifer@Adam's Rib

    I did pray for you, my friend. It’s these “rubber meets the road” moments where we have to make a decision if our faith is real or not, even if the outcome isn’t good. Hard. But I’m so glad He is there all along and for your good report.

  22. Monica Sharman

    This is JUST ASTOUNDING. God’s timing; He knew all along; and I am just floored.

    Now that I think of it—you know, this happens to me at times, too. Not that I’ve been on the radio, but when I go back to read old journals…

    I am coming away from this with God-Bumps for sure.

  23. Lyla Lindquist

    Like I said before. A little bit greater than spectacular. More convinced now that I got to read the comments too.

    A lot to love here, but can I skip past the awesome stuff we’ve already talked about? This: you left the pebble in the boot.

    There are times when I come home from a bad claim, where a family’s facing a hard loss. Usually I smell (stink) like work — smoke, sewer, something. I don’t change clothes and I don’t shower right away. I need to stay with it, smell it a while longer, let it get a little deeper into me. It’s like feeling the pebble, I think. Keeps me present to it.

    I hope that made sense.

  24. Diana Trautwein

    Whew. And thank God. And thank you, Jennifer, for this great story – every piece of it. I have two kids who are doctors and I had to have a brain MRI myself last year, so when you said ‘numbness,’ I was a little bit worried. But when I had my MRI, I, too, knew that it was going to be okay. But that did not help me get through the dang test any better. I said the Jesus prayer over and over and over for those 40 minutes. Hated the experience. But so grateful that we both got good news.

    P.S. The boots are fab.

  25. wolfsrosebud

    …do believe you’d be going to a party either way… nice you’re able to continue doing God’s work in your family and community… sometimes life is so real… Had the same scan done a few years ago… twice… horrible infection in my face… lot of pain… took 3 series of antibiotics to kick it… then surgery… certain things real get us to our knees… too bad it doesn’t happen more instinctively… praising God for he wonderful news

  26. r.ellott

    so thankful for good news…I love those sweet surprises of God…Blessings as we live with our boots on…live worshiping HIm….

  27. Connie@raise your eyes

    So much for me to “take away” from this, friend…leaving the pebble in…the humor of our GOD as He lets yourself talk to self 🙂

    I hear that.

  28. Joan

    Oh Jennifer! What an incredible “God-bump”! As I started reading it, I started praying for you. I can only imagine the surreal feeling you were having that day. But praise God! He reminded you through your own words that no matter what, we are safe with Him — and let the party begin! I’m so glad that you received good news…I will continue to pray.

    Blessings, Joan

  29. deb

    oh my.
    isn’t life too much and just enough ?

    and I love lyla’s comment.

    and you

  30. Jennifer Ferguson

    Wow — what an incredible story. And what those cowboy boots will remind you of for the rest of your life. I bet you never give them away…

  31. Carrie

    Oh my. Your post left me speechless and concerned. Relieved that you’re okay. And astounded (though I shouldn’t be surprised) by God’s unique way to reaching your heart – by your own voice! Praise Him! Thank you so much for sharing such a personal post.

  32. Lori

    Breathless and then, thankful. Thankful for your health and for your insights. I LOVE what your heard yourself saying, and what a way to live! Beautifully put. So glad you are okay.

  33. Stephani

    Praise the Lord! And I’m lovin’ that photo of your new boots!

  34. Amy Sullivan

    Praise God! I was holding my breath as I read the first part of this post.

  35. Ann Kroeker

    You told me already, but reading here, suspense building, I still felt relief, even though I already knew the results.

    God giving you your own words…or, rather, His Truth given to you through your own voice?


  36. Positively Alene

    Oh my! What an incredible experience. I have had that happen in a writing piece before — but an actual voice — WOW. God is always a God of perfect timing. I am so excited I found your boot-scootin’ page. From Texas this is a must. Following now.

  37. Trish Southard

    I have tears falling onto this keyboard. Thank you for allowing God to use you to tell us His story. My sister is in a similiar situation waiting this evening for her to call and the call is not coming.

  38. emily wierenga

    oh jennifer. i have never met you (live) but you are as real to me as my next-door neighbor and there are very real tears in my eyes having read this. and knowing you’re going to continue to live, in a very real way, for all of us. Christ in you. love you friend. so, so glad for this news.

  39. Jennifer C

    I must tell you that this got my attention real quick! I am new to your blog (coming over from an A Holy Experience link) and am signing up as a subscriber 🙂 The very first pic caught my attention… you see my name is Jennifer Lee, at least that’s what I was called when I was being spoken to in “that tone” where I’d better listen up! My family and I are in the midst of waiting (been waiting for months now!) and your blog was a breath of fresh air. Thank you for sharing! I’ll be back 😉

  40. Lori

    Oh WOW this did really happen…..I knew I should have read your blog earlier this week. I am so glad it was good news…love the boots, I am wearing mine today too! Lori



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