What’s in that Corner? A Snake Story.

I shook my sleepy head and thought, “Am I really clearing out flowerbeds at the crack of dawn with no coffee?” Alas, it was true.

My husband and I have some rental property and we get the, um, privilege of cleaning out the flower beds once a year. This time my inlaws had come to help too (bless them).

This was a new unit for us so my husband was giddy at the prospect of having his way with it. He walked us around the bushes and shrubs, sharing his visions for what to take out, what to put in, and how much better it would look by the end of the day.

I picked up a rake and wished it were a pillow instead.

My mother-in-law (one of the hardest working women ever) and I completed the front of the house uneventfully. Then we made it to the final corner.

A bush stood there that could have eaten small children. Its branches stuck out like my bed-head hair. And to top it all off, it could have passed for a poorly decorated Christmas tree. Wrappers, papers, and old leaves clung to it in bizzarre places.

We began to rake from underneath it…and that’s when I saw it.


An uninvited guest had slithered out from underneath a pile of leaves. I’m from the south, y’all. And I know a poisonous snake when I see one.

My mother-in-law gave me instructions about how to dispatch that sucker. Now, I don’t kill things. I rescue spiders. I free bugs. I don’t squash, smash, or swat anything. But when I looked down the street and saw kids playing I knew Mr. Snake had to go. May he rest in peace.

And that’s all I’ll say about that.

I stood there with my heart pounding. I felt terrified and like I had saved the world all at once. We had just seen The Avengers so I texted my friend, “I’m Natasha.” I didn’t mention that the snake was about ten…inches. 

Yes, that’s how brave I am, folks.

When we turned back to finish the task I couldn’t help but think, “Why would anyone let all of this junk pile up in here? It’s the perfect place for a snake to live. You’d never even realize it.”

Then I thought about certain corners of my heart.


I realized then that when God asks us to clean up certain things in our lives, he’s not being mean. He’s protecting us. He knows where snakes like to hide. He knows what we think is safe can reach out and bite us when we’re not looking. He would be unloving not to ask us to clear out the junk.

I glance back at the corner, now clean. It’s not a hiding place anymore. The bush stands tall, stretching its limbs and lovely leaves toward the sunlight.

My husband surveys the bush too. “It will be a lot easier for it to grow now,” he says.

I nod in agreement and with a sudden burst of wind all of the branches nod back.



P.S. I’m also over at my dear friend Ann Voskamp’s this week talking about how we’re all standing in the hourglass of joy. Will you join me

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About Holley

About Holley

Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author and Life Coach

I like humans, words, and good coffee. And I’d love to help you beat what’s holding you back, become all you’re created to be, and kick butt for the greater good.

Cheering you on,


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