If you’re feeling weak or defeated, try this.

June 27, 2017 | 32 comments

He just wanted to walk again. That’s been his prayer for months now.

If all went as planned, Dad would finally get to stand upright again.

He texted me from the the passenger seat of his car, while Mom drove. They were on their way to Mayo Clinic to meet with Dad’s prosthetic team. Dad’s leg was amputated more than a year ago, but due to various complications, he’s been unable to walk with his prosthetic device.

The time had come to try again.

Dad texted the words I rarely hear him say. “I’m nervous.”

Who wouldn’t be? Dad wondered all the things that any of us would wonder:

“Will I remember how to take a step?”

“What if they tell me, once again, that it won’t work?”

“What if I’m not strong enough to stand?”

Still, he said, he was determined to look ahead, instead of looking back at all the disappointments over the last many months.

“I’m sitting here in the car, looking out the windshield,” he texted. “What I notice is this: The windshield is much larger than the rear view mirror. It means we need to spend much more time looking ahead than looking back.”

If you’ve read my book, you know that my parents have demonstrated incredible perseverance through this entire ordeal. As an example: In the first two hours after the amputation, Dad was listing off everything he was grateful for. He was the most grateful guy in the room, even though he was the one confined to the hospital bed!

That same spirit has carried Mom and Dad through the last several months. 

While my parents were on their way to Mayo, I texted my Dad back. In the message, I told him what I saw in him:

“Dad, Even when you are sitting down, you are the tallest man I know. Even when you’re sitting in a wheelchair, you still stand tall on the inside.

Friend, where are you today?

Maybe you are literally on your back. Maybe you’re on bed rest. In a wheelchair. In a hospital room. Maybe you’re unable to walk or stand up. Don’t give up hope, friend. Keep looking forward. Stand tall on the inside.

Or maybe your life circumstances have made you feel really small, telling you — in a sense — to sit down, buddy. You are weary from all of your responsibilities. Or, you feel rejected at the office, by your friends, … or even by your own family. Don’t give up hope, friend. When they tell you to sit down, you can stand tall on the inside.

Cancer? Stand tall on the inside.
Job loss? Stand tall on the inside.
Family strife? Stand tall on the inside.
Betrayal? Stand tall on the inside.
Disappointment? Stand tall on the inside.

Don’t give up now, friend, and don’t look back.

There may come a day when you, like my Dad, will be summoned forth. You will be able to take that step. You will be strong enough.

Here’s what I’m sure of: Because you learned how to stand tall on the INSIDE, you’ll be able to rise and stand up on the OUTSIDE … on your own two feet again.

The windshield is larger than the rear view mirror, my friend. Keep looking forward.

And when it’s your time, you will rise. 


Dad took his first steps!

The image quality isn’t the greatest. But man, it’s one beautiful picture anyway.

Thanks for all of your prayers and encouragement over on my Facebook page and my Instagram. You’ve been a terrific support to my entire family.




Hey Tell His Story crew! It is a joy to gather here every week with you. The linkup goes live each Tuesday at 4 p.m. (CT). If you would use the badge on your blog, found here, that would be great! And if you would visit at least one other blogger in the link-up and encourage them with a comment, that would be beautiful! Be sure to check the sidebar later. I’ll be featuring one of you over there!

Our featured writer this week is Aimee Kollmansberger. Do you crave silence? Do you struggle to truly rest? If you said yes to either question, you’ll find Aimee’s words both encouraging and full of practical suggestions. Find Aimee here.

To be considered as our featured writer, be sure to use our badge or a link to my blog from your post. xo Jennifer


by | June 27, 2017 | 32 comments


  1. Lynn Morrissey

    Oh Jennifer! Praise God! Your daddy is not just standing tall; he is walking forward!!! That’s the only way to go, isn’t it, when you look out that large, expansive windshield. I know this is such a happy day for Phil and you and your entire family. Oh my how he has been such a stalwart encourager to all of us who feel as if we will never rise. God bless him, and God bless you, as you walk this forward-walking journey with him and share it w/ others. May the Lord continue to guide his steps–every, single one and give him great strength for this journey. Praying for you as I go.

    • dukeslee

      Amen, Lynn. Standing tall AND walking forward. I so appreciate your love, encouragement, and prayers during this journey. You’re so generous toward our family — Mom, Dad, me, and our daughters. Your heart beats like His.

  2. Anita

    I’m so happy for you and your dad and the rest of the family that he’s walking again! And I love the lesson you shared with us–look ahead and not behind and work on our insides–our relationship with Jesus–in order to stand tall at all times :).

    • dukeslee


      Thank you so much for your encouragement today. Mom and Dad have a lot of LITERAL STEPS ahead of them, as they work to get Dad moving forward, but until then, we continue to pray that they stand tall on the inside. Grateful for you, friend.

  3. Michele Morin

    This is such incredible news, and the depth of truth in that aphorism your father coined is just stunning. Thank you for pulling back the curtain and generously including us in your family’s brave (and hard) journey.

    • dukeslee

      Oh Michele… My thanks to YOU. You’ve walked with us in prayer and encouragement, and while this battle isn’t over, we can’t help but look back with gratitude. We say over and over again how we don’t know how we would do this without the support of friends near and far. And my parents have remarked on the incredible kindness of this blog community. Grateful for you, Michele.

  4. nylse

    I’m encouraged and I know this to be true. Thank you. Happy for your dad.

    • dukeslee

      Thank you so much, Nylse.

  5. Sherry Thecharmofhome

    Thanks for hosting!

    • dukeslee

      It’s great to have you here, Sherry.

    • dukeslee

      Thank you so much, Theresa. Mom and Dad are at Mayo all week, as they continue to take things LITERALLY one step at a time. Lots of work ahead, but I know they will make it this time! Praying with confidence!

  6. Lyli Dunbar

    It’s a little scary to let go of those bars and walk out of that office…. but God walks with step by step. Praying for your champion. He looks great! xo 🙂

  7. Lyli Dunbar

    It’s a little scary to let go of those bars and walk out of that office…. but God walks with you step by step. Praying for your champion. He looks great! xo 🙂

    • dukeslee

      This comment brings me to tears. I’ve thought of you so often during all of this process, knowing that YOU KNOW HOW THIS FEELS. So grateful for your encouragement along the way. I want to triple-like this comment of yours!

  8. Lisa Appelo @True and Faithful

    Jennifer, what a long pilgrimage this has been for your mom and dad and your whole family. I’m rejoicing with you that your dad’s up on his feet again! Praying even as i type this for continued strength and mobility.

    • dukeslee

      Thank you, Lisa. We so appreciated how you’ve walked alongside us in prayer during this long season. I’m so grateful for our little community here, and for the generous prayer warriors like you. You’re a gift to me! xo

  9. Alicia

    I so rarely read an email fully. In fact, I tend to ignore many of them. Yep, even the ones I’ve subscribed to. Eeeks!
    But tonight, for some reason, I read your entire email slowly and with purpose–every single word as you reminded me to focus not on what’s behind me but what’s in front of me.
    I’ve recently begun blogging about the things I’ve experienced in hope of encouraging others, and I’ve gotten to the “I’m overwhelmed, should I just quit” stage. God’s a sneaky one. He’s telling me to stick with it, and he used you and your purpose to do it. Thank you!

    • dukeslee

      Alicia! I am so glad you read through this post, and that God used it to spur you on in your own writing. Starting a blog can feel overwhelming, and it comes with its own set of insecurities. I’m glad you’re pushing through. Your words will make a difference.

  10. Susan

    Because your mom, dad, and I are all the same age group I like to keep up with them. Oft times I find myself whispering prayers for them. How I pray Dad will be successful this time and will walk, walk, walk. xo

    • dukeslee

      Susan, You’ve been such a tremendous prayer warrior for us. I truly can’t thank you enough for the generosity of every whispered prayer. xo

      • Susan

        It is my honor to lift them up.

  11. JViola79

    That is a BEAUTIFUL photo! May your dad continue to find success in walking once again! I am so grateful to both him and you for encouraging us to stand tall! Blessings!

  12. Martha Orlando

    So proud of you dad, Jennifer! He is such an inspiration to all of us, especially those who might be feeling they can’t put one foot in front of the other.
    Blessings to him and to all your beautiful family!

  13. Jody Ohlsen Collins

    Oh my gosh, Jennifer, that makes my eyes well up with tears. What a great gift; what a great God.

  14. Nancy Ruegg

    I’m sitting taller in my chair AND on the inside, just reading your uplifting post, Jennifer. How glorious that your dad is up and walking tall. What a role model of positivity and faith. Thank him for us, please! And thank you for showing us that we can be the same–whatever we face.

  15. Julie Loos

    Yay for Grandpa! What an inspiration and encouragement to living in faith!
    I love that thought about the windshield. Your Dad is a wise man:)
    Blessings for bigger and bigger steps of faith!

  16. Tiffany

    Simply beautiful – your dad’s strength, the sweetness of your relationship, and every single thing God has done along the way. Rejoicing with you. xo

  17. Maree Dee

    Thank you for sharing about your Dad. He is an amazing example to all of us. I love what he said about the windshield. We must keep looking forward.



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