At twenty-two, my oldest daughter, Kimberly, suffered a rare complication of Juvenile Diabetes, and a muscle in her left leg had to be removed. It left one leg shorter than the other and caused her to walk with a limp for the rest of her life.

But that limp didn’t slow her down much. She continued to live with gusto for ten more years. She even succeeded as a waitress in a busy restaurant.

Other set-backs, the amputation of two toes in two years, forced her to slow down, but she plugged along, doing well. “Best server on floor,” she bragged.

Continued trouble with infection caused her to lose the last three toes on her foot. The podiatrist seemed sure this would stop some of the problems, and Kim would finally be free of the round of infections that claimed little pieces of her.

He was wrong.

Ten days after those toes were amputated, my phone rang at 3:30 a.m. The call no parent ever expects. Or wants. Kimberly Joy passed away.

I was not prepared for the death of my daughter. It shocked me. Left me reeling. I wasn’t prepared for grief either. Not sure how to move forward, I felt like a piece of me was missing. And I knew I could never get it back.

Kimberly and Debbie

Soon after Kim passed away, I got a card from someone whose adult son had died several years before. “When you have a child, your life changes forever,” she wrote, “and when you lose a child, it changes forever too. You will learn to walk again, but always with a limp.

She was right. I will always walk with a limp. My life will never be the same without Kim. Almost seven years after she died, I still think of her and miss her every day.

Learning to Walk with a Limp

It’s taken years for me to learn to walk with my limp. Kim leaned on her cane; I lean on God. You may see me with a both smile and tears streaming down my face while I sing about the hope I have in Christ. I know I will be in heaven someday. Rejoicing. Casting crowns at the feet of Jesus. And I am filled with joy knowing Kim is already there.

Leaning on God allowed Him to change me into the woman He intends me to be.  Kinder, more compassionate, patient. I understand why people need time–often a lot of time–to grieve or adjust to any unwanted or unexpected situation. I can listen to hear what someone has to say instead of to respond with my own agenda.

I used to be more task-driven. Now I know the value of relationships. Those years God gave me in the hospital with my daughter, are precious treasures. I try to cultivate relationships ahead of my to-do list more often.

I will always walk with a limp. But my steps are joyful. God is right beside me, holding me up with His love.


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I am a child of God, traveling in uncharted water, trusting God for His goodness in the storms and doldrums of life. Wife, mom, nana, daughter, teacher, and friend, I love to read, write, bake, and count gifts.

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