The Way

You may have thought I’d abandoned my website. Maybe you wondered if miracles in my life have ceased. But my Captain gave me orders; silence, withdraw, move inward not outward.
In obedience, I let go of leadership, social groups, and “Output.” The miracles increased.
In Early May of 2022 God called me to walk the El Camino, The Way of St. James in Spain. I knew I needed to be there Easter 2023. Easter, is the highest holy day of the year. At the time I could not stand for more than 4 seconds without excruciating pain. I could walk once I got started, for a mile or two. But the pilgrimage would be almost 100 miles. As crazy as I knew it sounded, I told Mack (hubby) about it and his instant reply was, “You’ll do it.” So, I said yes and began planning. The very next day as we hiked deep in the woods of Bedford County, Virginia, 450 miles from the ocean, Mack picked up something and said, “Here, God sent this to you.” A scallop sea shell. The symbol for the El Camino. He glued it to a crucifix that afternoon and I’ve worn it daily since.
The next day I got hooked up with physical therapy. After back, neck, and four-foot surgeries, fused toes, a chronic neurological pain disorder, and an autoimmune disease, I needed miracles. And huge miracles awaited. My PT diagnosed never diagnosed congenital disorders; one leg is an inch shorter than the other and scoliosis. This caused sacrum and shoulder pain that was treated for years as bursitis. Going to PT at least twice a week and getting fitted for orthotics and lifts improved me vastly. At seventy I had no idea the miracles PT would offer me. Then physical training began in earnest.
In August 2022 I attended a 5-day silent retreat with Trappist Monks at the Abbey of Gethsemane in Kentucky. This is when the spiritual training became intense. From the moment I got out of the car, I knew I had heard Him correctly, the retreat was a huge part of my Camino (a sacred pilgrimage is a journey to unknown places, both outward and inward). The peace, beauty and sacred energy assured me, I was standing on holy ground.
The first night as I tidied my room before bed, I slid a chair under the desk and a secret drawer popped open. Surprised I looked down. At the very edge was a scallop shell. Electricity went up and down my spine. Another validation.
The next morning, I took it to the monk who oversees the guest residence, asked for permission to talk, and held it out. “Is this standard in every room?”
He looked perplexed and said “No. I’ve never seen anything like that here.” I asked if I could keep it. “I’m curious,” he said. “Why?” I explained and he smiled, “It’s yours. God speaks.”
As I’ve hiked daily to prepare physically (and recently hiked 80 miles in 8 days to guarantee success) the miracles compounded daily too. Every. Single. Day.
In Spain, I will walk 9-15 miles a day along deep trenches in the earth where millions of pilgrims pounded down the earth for millenniums, where The Knights Templar organized to protect people like me who carried their prayers to Santiago De Compostela. Pilgrims pray as we walk, visit cathedrals, monasteries, vineyards, and all sorts of ancient architecture as we hike from one town to the next. I leave March 27th to walk part of the most popular route, the Camino Frances. Then onward to what the Romans believed to be the end of the world, Cape Finisterre.
One very special miracle I saved for last. A week after I committed to the pilgrimage, I phoned our son and told him my plan. He said, “Mom if your mom told you that she was walking The Camino would you have gone with her?”
“In a heartbeat.”
“I’m going with you.”
I started with a mind-boggling list of handicaps. God has shown me a healing path through many of them. Not to mention my own brain chatter: “Why are you doing this? Are you nuts? You hate to fly.” But I shut up doubt with one word, “Obedience.” I know His call.
The pilgrims have a saying, “The Camino Provides.” And that has been true from the very first day of my commitment. My Shepherd called me out of my norm to many unknown challenges. I listen always for His voice. And I’m filled with joy because I just know He is singing as He leads me.
John 10:3 NIV The gatekeeper opens the gate … and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

The Conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    The Conversation

  1. Sherry McFaden-Meyer says:

    Beautiful, Dr. Maxey! Praying for you as you head out today and for the journey ahead. Can’t wait to read of the miracles He has in store for you during this trek. Grateful Al will be with you. No doubt this will be a special time for both of you.

  2. Diane Tatum says:

    So excited for you! I’ll be praying.

  3. Tyger says:

    Moved beyond words! Inspired beyond imagination! Filled with hope! This walk will bless many people!

  4. Sally Frasier says:

    This is so beyond inspiring- but I can’t think of a better word. How wonderful to know you are on the path that God has chosen for you- and that you are traveling with your son. Prayers for a safe and wondrous journey. And please keep sharing.

    • Deborah Maxey says:

      thank you, Sally. I do indeed intend to share. So much happened, so many deep levels that to share any of it yet seems premature. I’m so in awe of the depth of that journey.

  5. Liz Winston Ewers says:

    This is awesome! Our mutual friend, Joyce, shared it with me. Looking forward to hearing about your journey! Prayers and Blessings!

    • Deborah Maxey says:

      thank you so much for taking the time to post this. What a great thing to read on my return. Emotionally and spiritually I am like a shaken snowglobe and as soon as all the insight around the huge adventure settles, I intend to write. Thank you again.

  6. Susan Seavers says:

    Praying for you!!
    HE has made a way. How exciting to meet Him and experience Him in your journey. Thank you for sharing. This encourages me so very much.

    • Deborah Maxey says:

      One thing becomes abundantly clear on the Camino, every day seeking God is a camino. Every single day no matter where we are. A new friend I met along the way said that the miracle of the camino is that once everything is stripped away miracles are so very obvious. That is true in daily life to if we focus on that. Thank you, Susan. You Susan, your huge loving heart encourages me as well.

  7. Barb Lafleur says:

    I am scheduled to walk the last 100 km of the Camino starting April 12th. I took a counseling class from you at Lynchburg College over 20 years ago.
    Thanks for posting your story!

    • Deborah Maxey says:

      Barb, I am so happy for you that you are walking as we speak. I hope every single moment is a God-filled adventure. Thank you for reaching out. I remember you 🙂

  8. Paula Al- Saihati says:

    Blessings to you on this journey. You give me hope to overcome my own physical problems. God bless you day by day.

    • Deborah Maxey says:

      Keep moving forward even if it’s slow, you go backwards at times or think things will never change. If God calls you to it, He will see you through it.

    • Deborah Maxey says:

      Paula as I write this you are walking. God bless you and I hope every dream is exceeded for you as it was for me.

  9. Sylvia Whitmore says:

    Beautiful, beautiful. Just reading your post brings me joy. Prayers and love will be with every step for you and Al. What a blessing, what an adventure!!!

    • Deborah Maxey says:

      thank you, Sylvia. What an incredible quest in a beautiful place. Home is incredible too and I’m so glad to be your neighbor.

  10. Jeff Ostrander says:

    Beautiful story, Deborah. Blessings on your quest.

  11. Tim Suddeth says:

    I hope your travels have lived up to all that you thought they would. We have a mighty God. I’ve enjoyed meeting you at the writers conferences and pray for you the best.

    • Deborah Maxey says:

      thank you, Tim, God was abundantly present on my pilgrimage. I’ve enjoyed meeting you too and watching your success.