He protects me like a strong, walled city, and he loves me. He is my defender and my Savior, my shield and my protection. Psalm 144:2. NCV

I have an odd mixture of sweet and sour childhood memories. Some of the best are summer Saturdays. The entire family worked in the yard or the house all day, then Daddy grilled steaks in the evening. Mom baked potatoes, put together a beautiful salad and toasted the barbecue bread. We’d eat then enjoy a restful evening.

But there were weekends not filled with happy hard work and eating well. Sometimes Daddy was on a drinking binge. Sometimes there were strangers in the house. And the music and laughter were too loud and the air smoky. I didn’t feel safe. It felt chaotic and scary.

My response to the chaos and fear was to build.

So I was a little girl going to The Little Red School House building walls. Around my heart. To make me feel safe.

In high school I gave my heart to a boy who didn’t know what to do with a young insecure heart. So he broke it.

So I built more walls.

I wanted a place where I could laugh and be myself and run and be strong and courageous. A place I wasn’t sad and scared. A place where I didn’t worry. I wanted a sanctuary. But I didn’t know how to get there.

When I was married I didn’t stop building walls. Every hurt, disappointment, or unmet expectation caused more walls and eventually my heart was surrounded. My children were the only ones that could get to the tender part of my heart. My husband saw glimpses of softness but the walls never stayed down long enough for him to believe that was who I really wanted to be.

There was no sanctuary inside the walls. The trials and betrayals and disappointments came and they still hurt. Years and years of building the walls were useless. I didn’t feel safe. The walls made the space too small. There was no hope there. There was no room to be myself and no room for others.

Thankfully God is inside the walls. He knew.

The pain. The fear. My desire to follow Him wholeheartedly. He held the tender part of my heart and never ever let it go.

He is my sanctuary.


He is tearing down the walls. Because I don’t need walls.

For I,’ declares the Lord, ‘will be a wall of fire around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.’”
Zechariah 2:5


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  1. brucewmartin on November 22, 2014 at 8:22 am

    Fantastic words Marie! Ceratinly one of your best posts. God continues to remind me to keep my heart open to evryone, no matter the hurt and pain it brings. Because an open heart is the primary means God uses for redemption and restoration.

  2. jjz3 on March 18, 2015 at 12:02 am

    Such a brave, beautiful post Marie. “Walls” have been on my mind a lot lately. Thanks for sharing this.

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