Susan Jane King

Thriving with Jesus in life's ongoing challenges

Walking Along The Walls


Dubrovnik, Croatia

I recently visited Dubrovnik, Croatia, a stunningly beautiful city on the Adriatic Sea. My former exchange student Silvana Milic took me, my mother, and my mother-in-law to visit Dubrovnik last week. Begun as a settlement in the 7th century, Dubrovnik grew into a fortified city by the 9th century.

One of the most imposing features of the Dubrovnik is its walls. Considered one of the greatest fortification systems of the Middle Ages, the walls of Dubrovnik have never been breached by a hostile army. The double walls are 6,360 feet long and 82 feet high. Strengthened and enhanced over time, the current walls of Dubrovnik were constructed primarily during the 12th-17th centuries.

My mother and I had the amazing opportunity to walk along the top of the walls during our visit to Dubrovnik. Our experience convinced us even more of the beauty and strength of that ancient city.

The Lord talks a lot about walls in His Word. He is a wall to us, strengthening, protecting, and defending us. In addition, He makes us like a wall, strong in Him. Here are some of the things He says, along with some photos from our walk along the walls:



“See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
    your walls are ever before me” (Isa. 49:16, NIV).


“Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and will raise up the age-old foundations;
You will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
    Restorer of Streets with Dwellings” (Isa. 58:12, NIV).


“No longer will violence be heard in your land,
    nor ruin or destruction within your borders,
but you will call your walls Salvation
    and your gates Praise” (Isa. 60:18, NIV).


“I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem;
    they will never be silent day or night.
You who call on the Lord,
    give yourselves no rest” (Isa. 62:6, NIV).


“‘I will make you a wall to this people,
    a fortified wall of bronze;
they will fight against you
    but will not overcome you,
for I am with you
    to rescue and save you,’
declares the Lord” (Jer. 15:20, niv)

Question: How has the Lord been a wall to you? Comment at the link below.


Connecting the Older and Younger Ones

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Left: From Charlotte, NC, to Zagreb, Croatia! Right: Silvana (far right) with some members of our family at Patrick’s graduation, 2012

By the time you read this, I should have travelled 4,817 miles across the Atlantic Ocean to Zagreb, Croatia. Part of former Yugoslavia (before it was broken up into 5 different countries), Croatia is home to more than 1,000 islands and beautiful coastlines on the Adriatic Sea.

But, for me, Croatia’s greatest attraction is our former exchange student Silvana Milic, who lived with me and my family in 1995, while attending South Rowan High School. We have stayed in touch all these years (19 and counting). My family loves Silvana. In fact, my mother and mother-in-law are joining me on this travel adventure so they can see Silvana and experience her country as well.

I could never thank the Lord enough for allowing this amazing young woman to become part of our lives. We have a beautifully rich history together, and we actively work to keep our relationship strong. In fact, we talk over Skype just about every Sunday to stay in touch and pray together.

I’m about 20 years older than Silvana. I think of her as a daughter. She occasionally calls me her “Mother in Christ.” She also calls my mom and David’s mother, “Grandma.”  I love that. It reminds me that we can have families of the heart, especially as believers in Jesus. That’s Biblical. We are urged to reach out to those younger and older.

Reaching Out To Those Younger

Older women in the church are told to “encourage the young women” in Titus 2:4, NASB. No matter what your age, most likely there is someone younger than you at church! When I was a young mom, I met a sweet teenager named Julie while I led the kindergarten Vacation Bible School at church. I fell in love with that energetic young lady with the big heart (so did most of the children). We kept in touch for years, talking, hugging, and encouraging one another. She went home to be with the Lord a few years ago, but the light of Jesus in her still shines in my soul. I feel I was so blessed by having Julie in my life, and I hope I was able to bless her a little, too.

With Silvana, I have had the joy of loving, counseling, and encouraging her as well. I’ve seen her faith unfold and grow stronger with time. The Lord has given me the privilege and blessing of being part of her life. I am a little farther down the road of life, and the Lord has allowed me to use my experiences to help Silvana . . . and others. What a gift! It gives me such joy to be able to help her at times because I love her so dearly. She helps and blesses me, too.

Connecting With Those Older

I’ve also experienced the treasures on the other end . . . being the younger one in a mentoring relationship. From the moment I visited our current church, Faye Bragg, a senior member of the congregation, took me under her wing. She loved me, encouraged me, counseled me, and strengthened me in my walk with the Lord. She always called me “Dear One,” and treated me as such, even though I was very young and new in my walk with Jesus. She loved me like He did, and she helped me learn more about Him. Faye gave the best hugs, and I could smell her perfume on me for a while after she hugged me. It made me smile. She went home to be with Jesus several years ago, but the fragrance of Jesus still clings to me from her life (2 Corinthians 2:15).

This idea of mentoring those younger and being mentored by those older is a good idea for all of us. We each have something to offer those in different generations, and we have something we can receive, if we are willing. Men and women alike can benefit from inter-generational relationships. Consider asking the Lord today to lead you in cultivating Christian friendships with individuals of different ages.

I am excited that we will have three generations together in Croatia for the next two weeks. I can’t wait to tell you about everything the Lord taught us in our travels together!

How has the Lord used older and younger individuals to impact your life? Comment at the link below.

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Standing With Those Who Stand With Us



Thousands of children are saying goodbye today to some special people. These youngsters are moving away from dedicated adults, who have stood by them, encouraged them, and helped them grow socially, intellectually, and personally. It’s the last day of school in Rowan County, where I live.

While the prospect of summer vacation gleams on the horizon of tomorrow, students will spend today saying goodbye to lots of teachers who have invested in their lives the past year. At the same time, those instructors will have to release their pupils into the surging river of the next academic year and watch where it takes them.

With four grown children of my own, I have witnessed and participated in this process over and over. Yet, despite its repetitive certainty, I have never lost my great appreciation and admiration for the countless teachers who have invested in the lives of my children. Every time I witness this cycle, I thank God for our teachers, and I pray for them.

It’s a challenging calling, being a teacher. The truly phenomenal teachers release their hearts and souls into the process of influencing young minds and spirits for good. They stand beside their students and urge them toward success. I have learned over the years that I needed to stand beside those teachers who were standing beside my child. We all need to do that. Here’s how:

Keep Them Informed

Teachers could not help my children at the highest possible level if those educators did not know my youngsters well. I would meet with my children’s teachers, especially the instructors of my special needs child, ahead of time to explain my children’s strengths, challenges, and suggestions to help them. I would stay in contact through email and phone calls to keep teachers informed of each child’s issues and concerns and to receive feedback from the teachers regarding struggles, successes, upcoming assignments, and suggestions. We faced challenges and celebrated achievements together.I knew my children’s teachers wanted to help them succeed. Maintaining open communication with those teachers helped to make that possible.

Offer To Help

Teachers can be overwhelmed with the many responsibilities and requirements placed on them today. Just as they help us and our children, we can offer to assist them. Throughout the years, I have helped to proctor tests, chaperone trips, provide materials for class parties, plan and implement activities, make copies, and donate supplies. I ask teachers what I can do to help, and I act on their suggestions. I want them to be able to focus on teaching, without being excessively burdened by other responsibilities.

Say “Thank You”

Just as students need encouragement, so do teachers. They need to know they are appreciated and are making a difference in the challenging school environment. I would write notes, call, and email teachers to thank them for helping my children. I would let their school administrators know how much I appreciated various teachers. I also would send small gifts of appreciation to teachers at times. I encouraged my children to express their thanks as well.

My son Patrick wrote this in our newly released book, “Optimism for Autism”:

I’m grateful for the kindness and encouragement of my teachers. They have worked with me to help me succeed in their classes, and they have been willing to do things a little differently for me so I could learn, even with my challenges. I feel like my teachers and the people at school are my friends. They always have a smile and an encouraging word for me. I have needed that. I need to be told I can do it, because then I believe I can.

If you are a teacher, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, for all the students you have helped. If you are a teacher, God has given you a very special job. You have the chance to change someone’s life—to help them believe in themselves, to help them succeed. That is what I have experienced. It is a blessing.

Patrick was once diagnosed as “mentally retarded”; yet, he graduated high school with a 4.125 grade point average and received academic scholarships to attend college. After his first year in college, he had a 3.95 grade point average.

I was so grateful when the local school system recently decided to give a copy of our book to all the special needs teachers in our county. I wanted them to hear those words from Patrick, and additional words of thanks from me. Teachers can often hear more negative than positive feedback. They need to hear they are valued and important.

My father is a teacher. My daughter Katie and her husband Curt are teachers. I am so proud of them for blessing so many students with their continued love and devotion.

I hope you will consider taking some action to keep teachers informed, offer to help, and say “thank you” in the future. It does make a difference when we stand with those who stand with us.

Question:  Who was your favorite teacher and why? Comment at the link below.

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Left: Patrick and his kindergarten teacher Mrs. Daniel. Right: Patrick and his high school chorus teacher Mrs. Gore.



Fighting to Stay Connected

Cheesecake Factory

My daughters (left to right) Sarah, Katie, and Emily, with me at dinner during our weekend

Have you ever had to fight for a good purpose? My daughters and I experienced that very thing recently. We had to fight . . . to be together.

Once each year, we plan a “Girls Weekend.” We usually rent a hotel room and go shopping at Crabtree Mall in Raleigh. We go out to eat, watch movies, and spend lots of time talking and giggling late into the night. It’s a special time to connect and commit to one another as family.

However, with all of our busy lives, personal commitments, and work schedules, it can be challenging at times to get together. This year presented some unique challenges in that regard. My two younger daughters Emily and Sarah are nurses. They work long 12-hour shifts at area medical centers. My oldest daughter Katie is a 6th grade Science teacher. This year, the school system scheduled the end-of-grade tests on the first day of our Girls Weekend. We worked to change the days and location of our get-together so we could still have it. We went to Charlotte instead so Katie could drive back and forth to help administer the tests.

I was grateful that everyone fought to make the weekend work. We made many treasured memories together.

In the same way, we often must battle in order to spend time with the Lord. Commitments and demands of this world can steal precious time with Him. I am talking about time spent alone with Him in prayer.

In Matthew 6:6, NASB, it says, “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”

This scripture reminds us of the need to establish a time, place, and priority of prayer, because prayer is a special time to connect and commit to our relationship with Jesus.


Before our Girls Weekend, my daughters and I had to consult our calendars over and over until we could find a workable date for our get-together. Some readjustments were made to our personal schedules. When Katie heard about the EOGs, we had to revisit our schedules again. We were determined to spend time with one another.

Likewise, we each have to choose a time to spend with the Lord in reading His Word and praying. Life has a way of “stealing” our time if we don’t. Having a routine time for reading the Bible and praying helps ensure that we do those things.

Matthew 6:6 says, “But you, when you pray . . .”  Just as my daughters and I set a time to meet, we all should set a time to meet with the Lord each day. The commitment to meet with one another helps us to do so. Of course, other things can come up, and that’s where we need to be flexible. I heard a Christian speaker once say that she actually schedules a meeting with Lord on her calendar each day, depending on her schedule. That way, she makes sure she sets time aside for Him.


My daughters and I chose a specific place to meet and stay for our weekend. We were together in the same location.

It helps to choose a place to meet with the Lord as well. “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room . . .,” says Matthew 6:6. Jesus was speaking about a place of prayer, a place to meet with the Father. Setting our hearts to meet with the Lord in a specific time and location helps to make that special communion possible, and it eventually becomes a habit of the heart.

Sometimes, the place must change due to life’s circumstances. I recently moved into the kitchen for this special daily time because we have a new puppy, which stays gated in there and likes to have people around him to feel secure.


I treasured my time with my daughters. In this special atmosphere of the weekend, we were able to open our hearts to one another and share events happening in each of our lives. We encouraged, advised, strengthened, and loved on one another, while having lots of fun. I thank God for that precious time together. We each went away from the weekend knowing that our relationships with one another were a priority.

“But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret . . .,” says Matthew 6:6. When we “close our door” to the world for a while, we prove that our relationship with the Lord is a priority. We choose to enter the secret place of His presence (Psalm 31:20). It makes His heart glad when we choose to meet with Him, and He promises: “and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:6). He blesses us with Himself, and we receive His encouragement, wisdom, strength, and love.

Sure, we can talk with the Lord any time, and His presence is always with us, but we experience unique blessings when we prioritize and set aside moments to seek and hear from Him.

Making memories with one another in time, place, and priority only made me and my daughters more eager for our next get-together. Fight to keep meeting regularly with the Lord . . . I bet you will feel the same!

Question: How have you fought to stay connected with the Lord? What have you put in place to help ensure the time, place, and priority of prayer? Comment at the link below.

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