Footprints in the Sand

footprints in the sand

footprints in the sand

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.

In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only.

This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord,

“You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”

The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”

— Mary Stevenson, 1936

‘Footprints in the Sand’ has been seen in print by people the world over since the late 1940s. All that time no author has been credited with this immortal work, only ‘Author Anonymous’ has appeared at the bottom.

For many years handwritten copies were distributed by Mary to those who needed something to give them comfort at a low point in their lives. It was sometime after this that friends of Mary saw it in print and wondered why she wasn’t given credit for writing it. An attorney at that time told her that it would be very hard to prove her the author since it had been used by many publishers of religious materials and greeting cards. Mary wrote ‘Footprints’ in 1936 when she was very young and knew nothing of copyrighting. Discouraged she didn’t pursue it any further.

In 1984 while cleaning out the garage to prepare to move from her house, in a small suitcase, among her other poems, she rediscovered a very old handwritten copy that she thought was lost. It was one of the copies Mary had made and dated 1939, just three years after she wrote the original. Later that year the U.S. copyright office awarded her a copyright for ‘Footprints in the Sand’ 48 years after it was written. It was another 11 years before her handwritten copy was authenticated by a forensic specialist as to its age. Margaret Fishback-Powers and many others have tried to falsely claim authorship, but none can show significant proof such as this.

Many people misunderstand ‘Footprints in the Sand’. They think when the see only one set of footprints in the sand, God has abandoned them during their time of suffering, whereas God is carrying them during their hour of need.

The One Big Question
What’s So Amazing About Grace
The Alchemist
By the River Piedra I sat Down
I have no idea where I am going

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3 Responses to “Footprints in the Sand”

  1. Pandora Says:

    That’s interesting, reminds me (a little) of Kahlil Gibran, Of Sand and Foam :

    I AM FOREVER walking upon these shores,
    Betwixt the sand and the foam,
    The high tide will erase my foot-prints,
    And the wind will blow away the foam.
    But the sea and the shore will remain

  2. keithpp Says:

    Synchronicty: I was at at a Scandinavian church en Puerto de la Cruz en Tenerife this morning discussing what I had written with a man who had read this. I mentioned to him synchronicity. I glanced at the two musicians who were playing. The clasp with which they had attached their music was in the shape of a bare foot with a cross cut into it!

  3. Dances With Crayons Says:

    Thankyou Keith,
    This was the story that I chose for my father’s funeral card.
    Music is perfect too.

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