And Then Grace Walked In

I’m pretty sure I broke my toe last Sunday afternoon. I didn’t go to the ER, but it swelled, turned blue, and hurt so much, I thought I might pass out.

You’ll never believe how I did it.  

I was hurrying across the kitchen to chop vegetables for supper, my mind a million miles away. My little toe got hung in the metal dog food holder.

I landed against the kitchen counter, and sent the cutting board sailing into the OPEN container of giant-sized Prego.

My veggies went flying.

The impact of my fall broke the plug-in switch behind the Prego–

 Sent red sauce up the center beam–

Over the counter,

And onto the back of the sofa.

I sat in the middle of the floor holding my foot, stunned, not sure how it happened or what to do next.

Maybe you can identify–you make one dumb mistake and your whole world gets turned upside down.

You feel like a fool.

You want a do-over.

There’s a great big mess all around you, and you just want to go back to the way things were, but you can’t.

I’ll never forget what happened next.

My husband came inside and found me in the floor. I was working hard to hold back the tears. “Do you need to go to the hospital?”

I shook my head. “Nothing to do for a broken toe.”

“Sit down in the recliner and put your feet up.”

We didn’t have any medical gauze or tape. He buddy-wrapped my broken toe to the one beside it with a paper towel and car-painting tape. “Better?”

I couldn’t believe it. My toe felt better. It really, really did.

The stronger toe supported the weaker one–

It was a powerful thing. 

Maybe it was his tenderness. Maybe it was because he didn’t say what I was thinking–

Stupid! Stupid! 

You need to be more careful.

You’re always in a hurry. 

When are you going to learn to watch where you going?


None of that.

When my husband came into the kitchen and saw me, Grace walked in.

When we’re broken, the compassion of just one person can bring healing. Click to Tweet.

If  you’ve fallen and need a little grace today, listen to my new favorite song. It might help you feel better.

If you can’t see the video below, click here. 

Can you identify in any way?






  1. Anna Haney says:

    Such a sweet post. Yes, I’ve done many a feat such as the one you’ve described. And like you, I’ve beaten myself up way more than anyone else ever could. So thankful for a Heavenly Father who doesn’t.

    • You said it so beautifully, Anna. Me too. I’m so thankful.

      Hard to comprehend, Grace, isn’t it? And I can’t make myself type a lower case “g” for Grace.

  2. Julie Gilleand says:

    Morning “Other” Julie 🙂

    I sure do miss finding you here each week. I seem to be falling out of the loop and am so sorry for that. But yes I can relate and in fact was berating myself just this way last night. How many times I’ve dove into something, heart and soul, fully believing God was in it — after seemingly confirmation after confirmation. — only for the whole thing to blow up in my face. The joke has been on me, or felt that way, way too many times. Once in awhile I get it right and a beautiful miracle unfolds. But most of the time that’s not how it turns out. I don’t understand. I read the signs the same way each time. I know how God speaks to me. I recognize the God winks. Yet more times than not, my childlike faith and unrelenting belief in how nothing is impossible with God, leads me back to a dark place. A mass grave of broken hopes and dreams. I guess that’s where I am now and probably should have forgone commenting because of it. Sorry for the dreariness! If my life is like your swollen, black and blue toe, then I wish God would send me something or someone to wrap it up until it would get better. I’ve been watching live cams of nests around the country lately. It’s a new passion and one I believed maybe God sent me for healing. I’ve taken to watching an owl nests in Savannah and also Texas, an osprey nest in Montana, and a red-tailed hawk nest in New York, among others. The beauty of watching these creatures care for their young and how the adults care for each other too has been so heartwarming to witness, as well as seeing how precious these babies are and the miracle of how they grow and finally fly. But nature isn’t always beautiful. Sometimes there are tragedies and I’ve witnessed much of that too. Atrocities I’ll never ever forget. A clutch of 6 owlets reduced to one after 4 died of starvation and one was taken and killed by a predator. Of the 3 red-tailed hawklets, two who recently fledged flew into glass windows. The first and oldest fractured his shoulder but is mending and they have hope for his being able to be released back into the wild eventually. The second and youngest just flew into a glas bus shelter over the weekend, leaving the imprint of a baby hawk it hit so hard. This one didn’t fare as well as it’s brother. His spine was severed causing paralysis in his legs. Because he could never be released back into the wild and could never have any quality of life in captivity in his condition they made the decision to euthanize him. For those who have watched these babies hatch and grow, it was devastating. Tears and more tears all around. As for the osprey nest, it hasn’t been quite as devastating as these others but Iris, the mama Osprey who has returned to the same area each year after migration (so named by a Dr. Greene of the Montana Osprey Project who teaches at Montana State University), awaited her mate of many years — Stanley — for over a month, but he never returned this time, which was very sad. She did take on with a new mate who has been named Louis after a beloved Native American who resided in that area but who recently died. Louis has been a wonderful mate for Iris, providing well and being so sweetly attentive to her. Five eggs were laid. The first one was stolen by a raven. The next three were damaged and either eaten or discarded. The only remaining egg never hatched and is beyond the possibility of it now, though they both continue to take turns brooding it. It is especially sad that Iris will not have any chicks this year especially after a hailstorm destroyed all her eggs last year and after her Stanley never returned and is believed to have died over the winter. There is also an eagle’s nest I look at online once in awhile. Two chicks. I watch one die from poisoning and the mom was sick too but she recovered. It all has been both miraculous and tragic. The contrast has almost been too much for me to reconcile. What I thought God had brought to me as a healing distraction from so much pain ended up bringing even more pain. Still I don’t regret having “tuned in” and been awed by the beauty of what I saw and of having been blessed to have known these precious creatures who were only here such a short time. That nest where the 5 owlets died — thankfully the one remaining was rescued and is now doing well in a wildlife rehab. Her name is Pearl. A pearl of great price!

    Last night as I lay in bed tearfully berating myself for my own stupidity, I thought of Pearl and then of that precious baby red-tailed hawk, and prayed that God would either rescue me like Pearl, or “put me down” like the hawk if there’s nothing of quality left for me to look forward to. Yeah, it’s a dark place. And its a familiar place, but each other time I’ve visited here, God does send someone or something to rescue, bind up the wounds and bring healing.

    Thanks for reminding me to keep hoping for that 🙂


    Leafy Julie

    • Leafy,

      We’ve missed you here. I wondered if your summer had just gotten busy…I should’ve messaged you– so sorry. 🙁

      You know, when I wrote this blog, I prayed for the reader who might be struggling, big time–and I prayed this morning on the porch that this post would go deep, and ministering healing to anyone hurting today. Maybe this post was written for you, Julie.

      Your observations are amazing–just a tiny glimpse of your heart and your love and how you seek His face in everything, all around you, always.

      I wish I had wise words to share–some kind of explanation to make it all better.

      Please know that I care. And when our hearts hurt, I believe His breaks.

      So much love, my precious, precious friend.

      • Julie Gilleand says:

        Thanks Julie. Sorry to bring such heaviness to your wonderful blog. But thank you for caring and I hope your toe is much better now. God bless 🙂

        • No need to apologize. I wrote it with DEEP thoughts and prayers in mind. I knew this blog had the possibility of going deep.

          And I’m praying for you right now.


    • marci says:

      Dear Sweet Leafy, I, also am truly sorry that I have not been better at being here for you. You have been in my thoughts and in my prayers, even during the busiest times, but I am sorry I have not stayed in touch with you better. I hope that in some way, some of us here can be your ‘butddy toe” and give you support while you are feeling so broken and hurt. I hope you know that there are those who feel your pain and understand. We should be able to voice our sadness as easily as we can voice our times of joy, and be able to rejoice with those who rejoice, and also be there in sadness with those who are sad. I will be praying for you and hope to write you personally soon. Amen to what Julie wrote to you also.

      • Julie Gilleand says:

        Marci’a please don’t feel badly for not staying in touch more. I’ve been just as distant and I don’t have the internet problem or severe storms that you do so often! In fact I think it was my turn to write you and I fell down on the job! We really have to meet up sometime because we have so much to say and not enough time to write it down! God bless you, too, Marci’a 🙂 — Leafy

        • So grateful God brought you two together. His ways are higher.

          Julie, I’m the same way. When I’m hurting, I get really quiet.

      • Amen, Marci’a…. that was just beautiful.
        Buddy toes. YES. And you’re absolutely right–we should be there in joys and especially in hard times.

        Thank you for your strength right now. And I can’t wait to hear about your time with family~~~


  3. Patricia Martin says:

    Julie, I said a prayer for you as soon as I read your post. I am so sorry for your toe!): What Rick did was beautiful and reminded of how Paul says we Christians should help the “weaker” people in the faith and bear up each other and our weaknesses. Christ helps us even when we are weak and making mistakes. I am thankful that God is generous with His grace because I need a lot of grace. (): I have been still losing sleep during the heat, a friend is coming to visit me. She has never felt AZ heat before./: How was your Fourth of July? Did you have fireworks? Did your family get together for the holiday?
    Hoping your toe will soon be well,
    Patricia xxoxoox

    • Thank you, Patricia. My toe is so much better. This happened two Sundays ago. That’s what I was thinking about–the stronger helping the weaker ones!!

      The heat–has it broken at all? Still over 100 degrees? I’ve never experienced anything like it–can’t even imagine.

      Fourth was good–we helped our church put on a big fireworks celebration. Hope you ate something yummy and GF!

    • marci says:

      I will keep praying about the heat there. Somewhere I saw 118*?! And that was actual temp I guess and not “heat index”. I don’t miss AZ as much in the summer. Oh, my, I will be praying for your friend that has not been in such heat. I know more about Tucson than Phx, The monsoons have been hitting pretty hard. Are you having a lot of storms with that too? Hope it cools enough for you to enjoy your friend’s visit.
      God bless —
      may I call you my AZ “sister”? You’re the only other one I know that is in/ from AZ. I love to hear news from there.

  4. Carm Russell says:

    Amazing Grace will always be my favorite. However I’ve come upon a few other bits of Grace in music…
    Grace Flows Down by Sandy Patti, Grace Wins Every Time by Matthew West, Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) by Chris Tomlinson, and I now can add Call It Grace by Unspoken.

    As for one mistake having a domino effect. It’s been the story of my recent physical life. And realized that Grace too had walked in for me in the person of my neurosurgeon. My back surgery now allows me to stand up straight and not topple forwards or backwards or even stumble the way I having been for the past several yrs. And I still have a ways to go to 100%. However if up to today is all the healing I’m blessed with my clumsiness is almost nonexistent and the pain is gone❣


    • CARM!!!! Wow!!!!!! I love your songs, (Esp the Chris Tomlinson one!).

      Such a beautiful testimony. The neurosurgeon was grace walking in. Maybe friends have been buddy toes.

      I’m whispering a Thank You to Him right now,

  5. Lenora says:

    Oh my, I’m in the same shape this week from a tiny twist and back is out!! I get so mad at myself! Things on my “to do” list for the week get completely erased and guilt sets in. Just when I think I’m getting better about not trying to control everything and BAM…a test

    • Lenora, you’re brilliant. I’d never thought of this as a control issue, but you’re right. For me, everything goes back to surrender/control.

      THANK YOU. I hope your back is feeling better.

      So much love, my friend~~

  6. Mary Bjorkquist says:

    Hi Julie:

    Mary B. from Gladstone in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. So sorry about your toe accident. Can relate to it many times over! I have done such silly things and always question how it happens. I do know why sometimes……I just need to slow down and not be in a hurry. I’ve rolled my foot going out my back entry way, I’ve hit my head on the cupboard door, I’ve slipped going down my basement stairs carrying a bucket of slush for my freezer, and many other hurtful things to my “old” body. I get so mad at myself! Hope your toe feels better. Love your blog. Peace and blessings to you and your family.

    • Hey Mary,

      Surely we’re long-lost sisters. My husband said he wants to get me a suit of armor to wear at night, so when I get up, I won’t fall.

      Walking very slowly today. You take care of yourself! We’d better start taking baby steps. 🙂

      And thanks for letting me know you’re reading!!! xooxo

  7. oh yes, countless moments of grace just as you’ve described. but i did break my pinkie toe once upon a time. my foot was deep purply from the pinkie all the way across to the big toe and half-way up the top of my foot. i could hardly walk. i suppose i wrapped in the manner you describe (this was 25 years ago, details esape me LOL)
    but your message of grace, when we least expect it, when we least deserve it, when we need it most. so tender and so affirming of Father’s love.
    oh! and how i broke mine? i slammed into the metal peg on the back of my son’s bike (it was laying in their room) as i raced in to get them up for school!

    • Robin, reading this makes me so thankful. Mine wasn’t that bad. Thank You, Lord.

      And there’s something about the overwhelming grace when we don’t think we’re worthy, that is SOOOOO healing….to know that people don’t judge us for our mistakes–that they still love us, well this kind of love blows me away. Melts me every time.

      Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! I’m closing my eyes as I’m typing this–just read how you broke your little toe. I’m going to start wearing boots everywhere I go!


  8. Years ago I broke my toe when I hit a brick from my husband’s dismantled school that we were using as a doorstop. My list of accidents is long.

    Your post is beautiful. Thank you for putting God’s grace in the foreground of my thoughts. I will let the words of the beautiful song wash over my spirit.

    So thankful your toe is better.

    Dee Dee

    • Dee Dee, you found the deep in my toe story. I prayed it would be healing for anyone who might need a little bit of grace today.

      I have really big feet (to be 5′ 5″). Maybe that’s why I fall a lot. Sorry we share a long list of accidents. 🙁

      So much love,

  9. Shelley Elaine says:

    Beautiful! Absolutely beautiful!

    • Love you, Shellie! Thank you.

      Hope you’re having a fun day with your girls today~~~And I hope nobody breaks anything. :- 0

  10. I love that he reacted like he did. Men tend to get … what? … frustrated when their wife gets hurt? Panic? She got hurt on his watch? I don’t know what it is, but they have trouble dealing with the emotion of it and so they lash out. So silly. I remind myself of that if mine blasts out with the “What were you thinking?” kind of statement. I’ve learned to reply with humor, if I can. It diffuses a lot. But this was especially beautiful.

    • Ane, if there’s ANY possible way to find humor in a situation, you’re the one to bring it. It’s one of your gifts. Your strengths. Its’ why I love you.

      Thank you. I’m smiling just thinking about you~~~~~

      Men. You’re right. I think if I hadn’t been close to tears, he might have given me a hint or two. 🙂

  11. Cathy Mayfield says:

    Oh, Julie, forgive me, but I guess I’m so used to making messes like this that I’d have probably just sat down right in the middle of the sauce and laughed. Let’s see…

    …a bottle of green food coloring leaped out of the cabinet over the stove, hit the edge of the stove and broke, spewing green everywhere, which still showed up when washing the stove top or cabinets for the next several years!

    …the hand mixer I balanced on the edge of the mixing bowl decided to lose its grip, which caused me to grab wildly at it, not realizing my action would fling the rubber spatula full of gooey cookie batter I was scraping in the bowl into the air and leave cookie dough in places you never thought you’d find cookie dough – 11 months later!

    …while making orange juice from thawed-but-supposed-to-be-frozen concentrate, I zipped off the tab, yanked open the lid, and sluish! Unfortunately, I had been holding it sideways over the top of a pitcher, set on the stove. Slushy OJ down through all the burner elements!

    …flour bags exploding…eggs boiled dry exploding…and most recently, the baking soda water supposedly cleaning my stained tea kettle exploded, filling my flat-topped stove with an overflowing lake of bubbling, boiling water, causing a white powder residue on the stove, the walls, the floor, and inside the oven door and drawer!

    So…what can I do? Hello. My name is Cathy and I’m a mess-aholic! 😉

    Prayers for healing, Julie.! (Oh, yeah, I also broke five bones in my foot by turning my foot sideways while walking our dog while I was a senior in high school!) 🙂

    • marci says:

      Thank you Cathy! Now I have a new word for it- So nice to share here!
      ” Hello, my name is… and I am a….
      That makes me smile and relate.
      God Bless!

    • Cathy~~~~

      Okay. I have to admit…you win the prize. I’m sitting here at the kitchen table, turning all my toes under. OUCH!!!!!

      I’m not even sure if I could laugh (which was a wonderful response) because of the mess.

      Mess-aholic. Me too! And if there’s a 12-Step meeting for us, I need to go.

      Love from Georgia this afternoon~

  12. Marjorie Hill says:

    I was right there with you, Julie. Beautifully written, you captured the full meaning of Grace. Thanks so much. Hope your little toe is healing and you’ll have a great summer.

  13. “Call it what it is, call it grace,” Ahhhh beautiful song and loved the acoustics! I pray the toe heals well. Isn’t it a beautiful thing when physical healing is enough? You weren’t held emotionally accountable to something you had little control over- pure grace indeed. Love you sweet friend!

    • That’s it exactly, Vicky!!!! thank you~~~~ You nailed the feelings!!

      So much love to you today~~

      I love the acoustic guitar. My son plays. Wish I’d learned when I was younger.

  14. marci says:

    Oh, dear Julie, Seems a lot of us can relate to your toe experience. I have damaged my toe more than once, and wish I had those 10 seconds back to undo / and be more careful. I will make a note of your husband’s bandaging method. I think I could have used that! I hope your toe is feeling better now. And you are right- sounds like you got as good of treatment from your husband as you could have gotten by going to the doctor.
    Grace! Oh yes! and thank you for pointing that out! And pointing out about the buddy toe. Yes, Yes Yes! Light bulb moment. We can strengthen the chains of each other by sharing can’t we? We truly are not islands are we? As I read your writing for today, I thought of times I had blundered, or stubbed my toe, or worse, and the grace my husband has given at those times. It was a reminder, that yes, I was recieving Grace. by recieving help, and not a word of pointing out where I should have been more careful. It reminds me to be thankful and appreciate. Thank you for that reminder.

    God Bless, dear friend,

    • Marci’a, you are so wise. I LOVE how you said it. Wish we were all sitting on my porch together, rocking and talking. YES. Light bulb moment… how we can reach out with strength and kindness.

      Love it.

      And with God’s help, we can give grace to others. That’s one thing I’ve been praying about lately.

  15. Oh, Julie, what a precious man! And I hate to say it, but what a funny story!!! I’m thankful the injury wasn’t worse than it was, because it certainly could have been!

    I know the feeling of stupidity. I’m actually pretty good at it. But it’s at those moments when we’re feeling our dumbest, stupidest, and most like a failure that we need the healing and encouraging words of Grace. I praise God that your sweet hubby took on the image of Christ in that moment and walked in as Grace. (Love the paper towel and car-painting tape!)

    Hope your toe feels lots better soon!

    • Yes! Vonda!! Yes!!!

      It’s when we’ve messed up the most that the grace is the sweetest~~

      Love you dearly.

  16. ELIZABETH-ANNE says:

    Totally totally relate and man alive do I feel your pain. I have broken 5 toes since 2009 as my father is a hoarder and my house is literally a death trap. One now has arthritis as it healed badly and one is crooked and misshapen.

    Get well soon !!!!!!!!

    • Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, Elizabeth-Anne….

      Five toes???? Ohhhhh, bless your sweet heart. Five. I can’t believe it. Can’t imagine the pain!! And you were probably tiptoeing through the house.

      Maybe our misshapen toes will remind of us His Grace.

      Thanks so much for your comment. Glad you get it!

  17. My “grace” didn’t say all the things I was thinking either when I slipped, landed on my elbow, and hurt like the dickens. The doctor put it in a cast and sling. And my sweet husband said, “I’ll take care of you. I’ll help you.” And he did.

    Grace indeed!

    • Ohhh, I remember, B.J. I remember!

      We don’t forget when our lives are touched by grace, do we? It’s such a beautiful thing.

      So much love this afternoon~

  18. Owie! I broke my toe once sliding on the slippery floor wax I was trying to strip off and hitting my toe on the corner of the cupboard. It’s still crooked!

  19. Ruth says:

    Oh Julie! I once broke my big toe – ran the beater brush of my vacuum up over it! Ha – a very dumb thing to do. I remember the pain, though & please don’t go out on a boat till it’s all healed. 🙂 Love to hear your stories & love the grace your husband showed you. You are a blessed woman. I don’t comment much but I do read.your blog. Keep on keeping on.

  20. Ruth,

    I’m smiling. It means SO MUCH to know that y’all are out there, reading the words of my heart. My life.

    It’s so sweet of you to comment. And your big toe. I can’t even imagine…..I’m thinking breaking a big toe has to hurt more than a little one. I definitely will stay off boats. Probably all summer long.

    Hugs from Georgia this afternoon~

  21. I think my little toe got me in so much trouble and brought me pain more than any parts of my body. 😀
    Hope you’re okay by now, Julie. As always, this is a great read.

    • Who knew little toes could hurt so much, Lux! (Or that I could write a blog post about mine!!)

      Beautiful comment, my friend. Wish we could meet one day.

      So much love,

  22. I hope you are better. I’ve done that too. Hurts so much. And there is little sweeter than grace. Grace will make a hero out of you quicker than anything. xoxo

    • Shelli—-that sentence you wrote, IT’S SOOOO POWERFUL!

      “Grace will make a hero out of you quicker than anything else.” You gotta make a meme. It’s amazing!~

      Love you, my friend. And yes, my toe is much, much better.

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