Backing Up to Move Forward

I hate backing up!  I  fear backing up!  I’ve  backed into a few  things  cars in my day and that, along with some kind of fear of many things (I think there’s another word for that but I fear saying it  🙂 ) has caused me to do a little walk around “looksie” before I have to back  out of a space from a parking lot or driveway.

I  fantasize about having one of those back-up cameras installed in my car like my sister-in-law has  but sadly, I wonder if I would trust the “screen” and still need to see the situation first hand …with my own eyes !

But here’s the thing… many times you can’t go forward until you back up!

Each year is almost like pulling into a new driveway …a new place to live.  Last year’s home was called  2013 and in that house life took place — each room holding memories with rockers on the front porch begging to tell the stories.

I’m a little late (3 weeks into January , 2014) but  I’m backing up …backing out of the driveway at 2013.  There are life-events   and life lessons … losses and gains and  scenes to view before making the full forward movement into 2014.  Going in reverse will remind me of the joys and celebrations but it might also cause me to  bump into those same things that wrecked me last year  and make me wonder if I’ll ever figure  out how to get that right.  It might bring on deep sadness over losses …or embarrassment over responses and attitudes– but it’s good …

It’s good to remember.

Remembering 2013 …

Dreams of being able to personally sell our former home to provide  income for us on our new journey turned into an unwanted wake-up call. We gave back what ultimately didn’t belong to us anyway.  Financial situations didn’t turn out like we had hoped or planned…bankruptcy.  And right in the middle of the mess– this rupture of the bank account —   a car whose license plate read, “ON TIME” literally pulled right in front of us on the way to sign the papers …and  God spoke !  His answers are coming and  it will be on time — His time –and in His way…just different than the view I planned to have.

The  biggest celebration of the century …

My Mom’s 90th birthday party !  As many family members gathered and honored my mom and the influence she has had on their lives, we found more grace !  Each one gave a rose as they shared a story of   the  fragrance she’s left  in their lives  …and the room could hardly contain it all.  We celebrated in a quaint cafe right on the town square in  a  little southern town in South Carolina where she was born and raised. She would later come back to this town and raise 7 children of her own and minister as a pastor’s wife  for over 40 years.   It was all coming full circle and  I see Jesus  in her now more than  ever !


IMG_8303 IMG_8311




Later, we would travel from the deep south back up to Connecticut because…

1049193_10152983344430249_1461384107_owhen your daughter gets married …well let’s just say , the road is never too long.  At this stop you  linger as long as possible.

It’s hard to put into words the feelings you have as memories flash back of their

entire childhood and settle into this moment in time.   I didn’t get mothering all right.  I blew it

many times.  But I look at her …and she’s beautiful and God has given grace beyond my ability

to raise this child.  He must have looked on and said, “It is good !” And I watch as  my husband

(the “joining” minister )  talks quietly to his “little girl”  before she ties the knot and there’s a

knot in my throat and I hold on as I let go…

Rachel & Bryan Raddatz June 23, 2013
Rachel & Bryan Raddatz
June 23, 2013
Our Family it's growing stages
Our Family …in it’s growing stages

 July would bring a celebration of our own — 30 years of marriage to the man I love .  I still choose us ! …”us”– a.k.a. :   best friends, husband and wife, mom and dad, and nana and papa !

July would also bring a reality check of life’s vulnerability …an unexpected stop.  I had a nodule growing  on my thyroid .  Needle biopsies would bring news of suspected cancer and a journey quickly began which ended in surgery  to completely remove the thyroid– nodules and all. Cancer confirmed. Cancer removed.  God had promised He had already taken care of this but anxiety began to creep in and start a growth of its own.   God began to wake me with “songs of deliverance” and after going all the way to the brink , He wrote on the wall just outside the cancer doctor’s office with words of peace…


As memory lane continues,   I stopped at the  Joyful Christian Ministries Ladies Retreat and we celebrated  the impact  my mother-in-law, Joy Rice Martin,  and her sisters  continue to have as they encourage women to walk  with Jesus in every area of their lives.   They’ve been doing this for 30 years and are probably more passionate than ever  before to keep sharing the hope and healing and good news of Jesus Christ !   These. Women. Are. Amazing !

My mother-in-law, Joy Rice Martin , and her sisters, Joanna Rice and Jessie Sandberg

You can learn more about their ministry and  follow them @

There were birthdays that  turned numbers  to  …2, 3, 4 , 19, 23, 26, 28, and uhhh…52 🙂  but who’s counting, right!!??

As I went back in 2013, I don’t remember a word that started the year off but I do remember a word that ended it all up …a phrase that God clearly gave while going through thyroid cancer and the unknowns … All is well !

As I begin to drive forward to the driveway marked   2014, I pause to look in  the rear-view mirror at  2013 and with a thankful heart  I can still say… “all is well” !

And the words of this verse keep unfolding into 2014 …

 The unfolding of your words gives light;     it gives understanding to the simple.

Psalm 119:130  (NIV)

Would you pray for me this year …pray that as I write words here, I’ll make much of Jesus and God will use this space to bring His light to many !


Joy Waters Martin

My kids tease me sometimes that my definition of a situation going well is often described as, "It was 'life-giving' " -- meaning, it may have had some conflicts or uneasy moments or stress but all in all , something about it breathed life into the situation and the people involved...something of the heart was moved in a good direction. I'm all about LIFE ... life with my husband, life with 4 adult children, their spouses and 8 grandchildren (to date, that is :), life in our home and life in a wild adventure we tend to label "ministry". In reality , all of these categories mesh together to make up the "organic me". Relational , redeeming and restoring are some of my favorite words and they give life to my soul as I walk it all out with Jesus Christ, the Giver of all life. Profile Photo by: Melody Martin

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  1. Carrye

    I love you and am so glad you shared your year in review. You paint all your emotions well…im glad I’m on the journey with you.

  2. phyllis kramm

    Joy, I sure need this at this moment.My husband & I have gone through several hard mos w/our health & God is the only one who can help us have Peace while in a storm of pain.I know you have gone through much pain w/cancer & in other ways that would break most people down, but you have a sure foundation that your sweet mother & a very wise Father instilled in you & I am very thankful to have had them in my Life & learned much from them.God Bless you & your precious Family

    1. Joy Waters Martin

      Phyllis…you’re the top encourager at A Life-giving Moment 🙂 Thank you !! May God pour out His blessings on you and your husband in 2014 ! Your words matter ! Love you !

  3. Becky Juett Miller

    Good job! Hey did I mail you a New Years photo card? Let me know. Also need anymore Hopelifter Bracelets

    Sent from my iPhone

    On Jan 19, 2014, at 9:08 PM, a life-giving moment wrote: Joy Waters Martin posted: “I hate backing up! I fear backing up! I’ve backed into a few things cars in my day and that, along with some kind of fear of many things (I think there’s another word for that but I fear saying it 🙂 ) has caused me to do a little walk around “loo”

  4. Maria

    Thank you for sharing this Joy. You are a beautiful writer and your faithfulness is such an encouragement to me. I love you!

    1. Joy Waters Martin

      sniff, sniff …love you too Maria ! Thanks for your imprint in my life !

  5. Julieann Brazeal

    Joy, thank you so much for sharing. Your transparency and authenticity is refreshing to my soul. I am hoping the Lord will lead us back to your front porch to share more stories while we watch the girls draw chalk pictures on the sidewalk sometime soon. Sending prayers and love your way as we kick off 2014. Thank you for your inspiration and leadership.

    1. Joy Waters Martin

      Thanks for your sweet words of encouragement ! and we would LOVE to have the Brazeal’s come our way again !! Next trip to VA …stopping through ??? Yes??

  6. Deb McKinney

    God picked TODAY for me to catch up on your blog posts…very fitting and inspiring! Love and miss you much! Thanks for your insight and willingness to “put it out there” for us to reflect on!

    1. God’s timing is always “on time” for sure :-). Love you Deb ! Praying for this new year for you!

  7. Dianne Pace Hunt

    Joy it is Feb.9 around 9 p.m. God has brought me back to this blog many times since you have posted it and he has used your transparency to speak into my life. I want you to know that I am believing God for a great 2014 for you and Roger. Your steps are ordered by the Lord and he will go before you preparing the way and giving you favor where ever your feet may step. He is your strongtower and your refuge to run to he will cover you with his wings.

    Thank you for sharing your heart and know that God has used this to bless my life and so many others. I love you .

    1. Dianne …you have no idea how much this meant to me tonight ! God knew you needed to send this comment now and not earlier I’m thinking 🙂 Your words brought hope and encouragement to my heart. Thank you dear friend ! I love you !

      1. Dianne Pace Hunt

        We serve an awesome, on time God who knows just when we need to hear a word in due season. Daryl and I celebrate one year anniversary today as Pastors of Living Word Church here in Walterboro. We will keep you lifted up in prayer and I would ask the same of you, for us. We are believing God to open up the heavens this year and to show his glory and power in the lives of his children. Keep blogging and have a great week.

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