A Line in the Dirt

A Story, faith, living, Photo Story



There once was a girl, not blonde and cute and teeny-tiny like her sister and mom; but rather, dark-haired, ordinary, ornery and sorta strong. She compared herself. And when she looked around, she saw others doing the same.

She decided comparing was a waste of time. It’s not like she could change. Her hair, her eyes, her height, and her girth were there to stay. She couldn’t be someone else by wearing just-so clothes. She had what she had and she was what she was. Her shirts and jeans were not as fancy as some, but they were clean and generally fit, so that meant she had way more than others.

Besides, when the daughters told their momma “wearing these homemade clothes you sew just ain’t cool anymore,” she saw how her momma scarified and wore bell-bottoms when they weren’t “in” – just so the dark-haired girl and her little blonde sister could each buy a new a new set of clothes. Then the dark-haired daughter felt worse, in her cool, new clothes, because she figured grown-ups made fun of her momma at work.

Because of that, miss dark-hair’s motto through school was “if ya don’t like what ya see, go on and look someplace else.” Simple enough.

Or so she thought.





Every now and then she saw evil triumph over good (someone getting dragged by their hair (her ma); someone get brainwashed and beat (her sis); someone taking a guy’s anger on the chin (her) – and it stirred places in her gut that she didn’t know could be stirred.

Her protective instincts were keen; she sharpened her skills on flesh and bone. Her ferocity as a defender was hard to match.

She roared out, full-tilt forward with fists a flyin’ and mouth a spoutin’ things that would turn a sailor’s cheeks all flush with shock.

Then sometime, long after high school, and several years outta college, she met Him. The King of kings. The Lord God Almighty.

He swapped soft and pointy. He chiseled and bent. He defined and refined. He strengthened and lengthened. And boy-howdy, she fought Him almost every single step of the way. The toes of her boots are still scuffed from being dragged through dirt and the heels are worn to nubs from leaning back and resisting. Her knees are scraped and her chin is bruised. 

Her me-centered, in-control self had had enough and one day she said, fine – this is what You want, here have it! She changed her motto to “if Ya don’t like what I am, I’ll be someone else.” Simple enough.

Or so she thought.





She wore broomstick skirts and too-tight girly shoes, threw away her lipstick, buttoned up the top button, and clamped her mouth tight. She near ‘bout suffocated in the gloppy goo of putting on a pretense and pretending to be a proper church lady.

Her outsides were lookin’ good, but her insides were rot with anger, bitterness, and resentment.

Maybe it was a sermon lesson or wise counsel from a Christian woman, but someone, somewhere, and at just the right time, told her that God made her unique for a reason. His reason. He doesn’t want her to be someone she’s not. He wants her to be exactly who He made her to be – only better. More like Him.

So, she stands up, speaks out, warns, and informs others about serpents among us. She alerts folks to danger and tells about impending legislation that makes her toenails curl. She urges people to get a spine for the divine.

Sometimes people (even brothers and sisters in Christ) holler at her to sit down and be silent. Just watch (the world go to hell in a hand basket) and wait (for the Lord’s triumphal return) and love (but don’t you dare fight for the innocent) because you might hurt someone’s feelings (and how would God feel about that?).

Buckaroos, she simply wasn’t made to duck-n-cover or tuck-n-run.

Nowadays her feet are usually bare, sans toenail polish, but tucked close so she doesn’t accidentally trip anyone on their journey along the path God has set before them. And she rests secure in her new motto of “this is the way God made me and He don’t make mistakes so (insert tongue into pursed lips and a raucous blowing of raspberries).” Simple enough.

Do you wanna know something else? These days, the dark-haired, feisty girl sometimes wears skirts; not because she feels like she has to, but because she wants to. And no, the hems don’t always cover her scarred knees and scratched legs. Surprise, surprise, she’s not much for rules like that.




He looked out across the fence, across the pasture. “If we don’t…who will? Who’s gonna stand up for someone who can’t stand up for themself, or those they love?” He shook his head and spat. “I won’t stand for that. I wasn’t put here to tuck my tail and run.”

He traced a line in the dirt with his toe. “This is a battlefield. Has been since Cain killed Abel. And don’t let it get complicated. Gray it ain’t. It’s back and white. Good versus evil.

You might as well choose sides right now.”


(Charles Martin. Thunder and Rain. New York: Hatchette Book Group, 2012.)

~ line inserts in above quote placed by me for emphasis





If you faint in the day of adversity,

Your strength is small.

~Proverbs 24:10


For a righteous man may fall 7 times and rise again;

but the wicked shall fall by calamity.

~Proverbs 24:16


Abhor what is evil,

Cling to what is good.

~Romans 12:9


Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness,

and let us put on the armor of light.

~Romans 13:12




14 thoughts on “A Line in the Dirt”

    • Not too bad of company to be in! (I mean for me, not you; well, maybe you too. Anyway, I’m glad we’re in the same club miss Kathy.)


  1. lschontos says:

    For some reason this makes tears come to my eyes. You are everything I wish I could be – and then some.

    • Oh my word miss Linda! You shan’t cry over this… and you better get out more if you’re thinking I’m all that and a side of fries. And I oftentimes look at serene, peaceful women and marvel at their beauty.


  2. Oh, friend. This brought me to tears, too. And smiles. And made me hold my head a bit higher. And makes me think more about what He allows us to go through to mold us into who He wants us to be–or come into what He’s planned us to be. I don’t get all the whys and hows, but I love the results. (Well, not always. But I trust them because I trust Him.) I’m so glad you’re you.

  3. Jody Lee Collins says:

    wow and gosh and boy-howdy. Darlene, I’m just shaking my head at the goodness of God and how He shines through you. Thank you for writing this powerful word.

  4. Christy says:

    What you wrote is so touching & inspiring. I have to admit…confronting isn’t always easy for me. Thought of myself as a peacemaker…or maybe chicken sometimes? But there’s very little gray anymore. I so want to hear Him say when I meet Him, “Well done, thou good & faithful servant.” I am who He made me…& I want to be all of it. (Little scarey sometimes..) Carry on, sister, fight the good fight!

  5. S. Etole says:

    Excellent photos to illustrate your point. We’d be a funny looking body if we were all just the same.

  6. Well said, lady. Going to have to read that Charles Martin book.

    One of my favorite passages is said by Jeremiah Land in “Peace Like a River” (by Leif Enger) when he speaks to his children about The Holy Spirit & The Bible.
    “We and the world, my children, will always be at war. Retreat is impossible. Arm yourselves.”

  7. Connie Mace says:

    Well said lady. Going to have to read that Charles Martin book.

    One of my favorite passages is in “Peace Like a River” where Jeremiah Land is talking to his children about GOD and The Bible: ““We and the world, my children, will always be at war. Retreat is impossible. Arm yourselves.”

  8. Some of us don’t fit into the “general” church group very well. Several yeas ago, while in Seattle and spending time with my new mentor, w/o telling him what was on my heart, while walking me to my car, in a few seconds he answered all of my issues. [I’ve just spent about 1/2 an hour trying to find the email that should have this info, but I’ll guesstimate now… couldn’t get it to pop up somehow.] Fr. John said, “When someone is prophetic… and you ARE prophetic … you can feel alone, b/c you don’t fit in.” Well, I never thought of myself that way, but, from Scriptural “buriedness” by the Lord, and historical issues to be dealt with on a spiritual level, he was right. But, again, the amazing part is that I had serious issues on my heart and did not mention them and the Lord said them through his mouth. So, fitting in doesn’t always work. But that’s OK. Fitting in with our Lord is ALL that counts…forever and ever.

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