Not long after I was diagnosed with breast cancer and was flying by the seat of my pants faith-wise, a good friend of mine gave me a piece of unexpected advice: “When you see a penny—be sure to pick it up.”
Well, yeah, I thought. You’d have to be from another planet not to know the old ‘pick up a penny for good luck’ adage. Seemed a bit simplistic considering the direness of these particular circumstances but I appreciated the thought so I said, “Okie doke. I’ll keep an eye out. I can use all the good luck I can get.” Which was certainly true since I’d chosen not to do any of the conventional cancer treatments after my lumpectomy, opting instead to trust in God’s biblical promises and His leadings to dietary changes and alternative medical treatments to keep me healthy.
My friend shook her head, “No, it’s not about luck, silly. She held out her hand, “Here, look at this penny and tell me what you see.”
I took it and looked at it and shrugged. “Yup, that’s Abraham Lincoln alright. So…?”
She laughed. “Read what it says over his head.”
So I did, out loud. “IN GOD WE TRUST.” I handed the penny back with a smile. “Good sentiment.”
“When you find a penny,” she said, “it’s a special little reminder from God to trust Him. It’s His way of letting you know that He’s on the job, taking care of you.”
I’d never looked at a coin that way before. Never really thought about the words written there. But now that I gave it some consideration, I liked thinking that God would send a silly thing like a penny to remind me of His faithfulness.
My friend left and I gave no more thought to the penny issue until I began to find pennies everywhere—the grocery store, gas stations, Starbucks—I’d look down and there they’d be. People would be standing right above them and never seem to see them—it was like they were invisible to anyone but me. I’d pick them up, grinning like a little kid, say a quick “Thank you, Lord” and go on my way.
If the weather permitted, I liked to take walks around my neighborhood and inevitably I’d look down along the way and there the penny would be…waiting for me. I got to the point where I simply expected them to be there. And when I traveled by air, somewhere between the security check-in area and the plane itself, a penny always showed up and I knew it was God’s way of letting me know I’d arrive safely at my destination.
Pennies appeared on my clothes dryer, in my closet and in the aisles at the grocery store. They were a constant source of comfort to me in those early days following my cancer experience. I rarely felt anxiety or fear, but one morning, I woke to a strange, ominous dread, a sense that fear was right outside my door, waiting. It stayed with me all morning as I got dressed to meet with a friend for lunch. I kept my eyes open for any pennies around the house, but none made an appearance before I left to keep my appointment.
In the car on the way to the restaurant, I prayed. “God, I need you today. I’m feeling so alone and scared for some reason, even though I know you’re right here with me. Help me…please.” I pulled into the restaurant parking lot and saw that my girlfriend had already arrived so I parked and hurried inside. Spotting her seated in a booth, I leaned down to give her a hug, moved to sit across from her, and stopped:
There, on the seat, was a penny.
I grabbed the little copper coin, held it to my heart and started to cry. He had heard my prayer. His answer was, “I’m here, my love. Don’t be afraid.”
The coins continued to appear on a regular basis and then one day another good friend presented me with a copy of Psalm 91. I read it and was deeply touched by the scripture: “He shall cover you with His feathers and under His wings you shall take refuge”. That image took root in me; I found it coming to mind often, bringing me comfort. Then suddenly, feathers began appearing everywhere I went, just as the pennies had, feathers of every variety, size and color. They would show up in the most unlikely of places—inside shopping malls, in my garage, parking lots and once, while on vacation in Mexico, a feather fell from the sky at my feet when there was not a bird in sight.
I began tucking the feathers into a mesh cell phone holder hanging from the rear-view mirror in my car; within a month or so, it looked like a large multi-colored bird had exploded above my dash. Every time I looked at it, it made me smile, and people’s reactions to this display gave me a great opportunity to talk about God’s faithfulness and protection. As the months turned into a year, the little blessings continued.
Then one day, the Lord added something new: I was driving to my sister’s across town when I noticed a shiny hubcap on the side of the freeway. Not unusual, of course, but then moments later, I spotted another hubcap, followed by three more in less than a five mile radius. “That’s strange,” I said out loud, but thought nothing more of it. God however was determined to pique my interest. From that day on, every time I drove in my car, there were hubcaps; on the freeway, on side streets, in parking lots—I counted 12 one day on my way home from work. It was clear that something out of the ordinary was going on. “Okay, God—what is it with the hubcaps?” I asked. Not surprisingly, He didn’t say a word, but over the next months, the appearances continued to escalate.
Finally one day, He took pity on me and when I’d counted 8 hubcaps in a short drive to the mall and cried, “Come on, Lord! What are you trying to say?” He spoke. Not in an actual voice but in my spirit, I felt a response: “What do they look like?” Surprised, I said, “Uh…like big silver plates? Giant Frisbees? Spaceship steering wheels?” No answer. I kept racking my brain but nothing else came to mind. “Okay, I give up,” I admitted. “Please tell me.” A few minutes later, the word Shield popped into my head. And it finally dawned on me: “Hubcaps look like little shields!” I had been studying in the bible with a focus on faith scriptures for months. I laughed and found myself saying out loud, “Ephesians 6:16—Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” I picked up the next hubcap I found and hung it above my bedroom door.
So you see, it’s all about faith—trusting in God to see you through. He always will, you know. And now that you’ve heard my story, don’t be surprised if you suddenly begin finding pennies and feathers and hubcaps everywhere you go. And don’t forget to say, “Thank you, Father!”



  1. I submitted this story to Chicken Soup back in December when they put a story call out for a book they were considering called, “Finding My Faith”. But it looks like they’ve decided against it because it’s no longer listed in their possible new titles section. Bummer!!! Oh well…someplace else will come along where this will fit perfectly. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy it 🙂

  2. Tina, In my book, you are a winner. This is a story that I would read in one of the “Chicken Soup For The Soul” books and get goosies. Well written and with clear meaning. How would I go about getting permission to distribute this as a Chaplain to my clients? It would surely be a great source of encouragement and faith building to others facing the struggle that you have.
    Pastor Shastina j Henderson

    • Thank you SO much! You have my permission to distribute it anywhere you wish (well, except for publishing it in any well-known large magazine or book company–that way I can still submit it to Chicken Soup or….whenever they decide to do a book on faith.) and with my blessing!

  3. This is an amazing reminder that we are often to busy to notice what God is trying to tell us. Thank you for sharing!

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