Above the golf clubs in our garage sits a trophy I won for having the most strokes in a local golf tournament. That’s not a good thing. And it’s probably a trophy most golfers would rather hide than display. But it reminds me of a day when, despite being the terrible golfer I am, God helped me from being an embarrassment to Him and the United States.

After we arrived in Paris, the embassy’s Community Liaison Officer had me complete a form with a check-off list for particular skills, interests, hobbies, sports, etc. One of the items on the list was golf with space to include a handicap.

You may or may not know that a golf handicap is the number of shots a player can take off their score, and The World Handicap System allows a maximum handicap of forty for women. I checked off “golf,” listed my pitiful handicap of 31, turned in the form, and went to a cooking class. About a year later, I never imagined I’d be invited to join Bill (a scratch golfer) as a player in the Governor of Royan’s golf tournament.

Assuming I’d be playing with other women after the men finished teeing off, I went to the practice area to do some chipping and putting and was surprised to hear my name being called over the loudspeaker. I hurried to the first hole and was given the privilege of being the first to play after being graciously greeted by three men.

Dumbfounded and entirely out of my league, on autopilot I mechanically pulled my driver from my golf bag and briskly walked to the tee box on shaky legs. With each step, I prayed, “Help me, Lord,” and mentally sang a song from church with the familiar words, “In my life, Lord, be glorified, be glorified.”

As a flush of adrenaline tingled through my body, I ignored the TV cameras, placed a fluorescent pink ball on a long tee, kept my head down, and hit the ball. It soared as on the wings of an eagle, high, long, and straight right down the middle of the fairway! The blood pounding in my ears nearly drowned out the gallery’s applause as I plucked my tee from the ground, whispered a grateful “Thank You, Father,” and returned to the men in my foursome.

Proof, once again! God cares about us and every part of our lives. He hears our every prayer, every time, and everywhere we pray—even on a golf course.

Like a golf handicap score, God’s grace gives us additional strength in areas where we are weak. When we pray and ask Him to help us, determine to do our best, don’t give up, and trust in His power to see us through, we can be confident that we will not be ashamed. We can actually boast about our weakness and, like a dear friend of mine used to do, raise our hands to heaven and give God the glory saying, “Only God, Only God.”

Do you have that confidence? Have you, through faith, believed in Jesus and have a relationship with Him that allows Him to show Himself strong in your life? If not, let today be the day you begin that relationship and start boasting about your weaknesses.

I later learned that somewhere along the line, the numbers of my handicap were mistakenly transposed from 31 to 13, and no other women were playing. Rather than excluding me, the organizers felt a handicap of 13 would qualify me to play with three men. If only it were true.

When we returned to Paris, we were surprised to find included with our golf bags a box of fresh oysters, compliments of the Governor. Here is the way I learned to prepare them that’s a bit different from the way I usually enjoy them at a Carolina Oyster Roast.

Warm Oysters in Fancy Shells

Not to worry. If fancy shells are not something you have tucked away in the back of a kitchen cabinet, you can serve these yummy warm oysters in their own shells. Or plan ahead and order some online.


  • Fresh oysters – a  dozen with a few extras thrown in so you can choose the plumpest oysters to adorn your fancy shells.
  • 1 Shallot – chopped
  • 1 Bottle of Clam Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • ½ leek
  • ½ Cup Champagne (Or any dry white wine – Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc)
  • ¼ Cup heavy cream
  • A dash of curry powder
  • Parsley to garnish


In a large pan, bring the chopped shallot and clam juice to a boil.
Carefully add the oysters and gently steam them until they open, but don’t let them boil.
*Save the broth! My brother-in-law once thought he was helping and threw it away before I could stop him. He was banished from the kitchen, and only because my husband is a kind and forgiving soul was he allowed to eat any of the oysters.
Strain the broth in a fine strainer or through a sieve lined with cheesecloth into a bowl.
Pop open the shells and remove the oysters.
If using the oyster shells, scrub them clean of any grit or debris.

Cut the leek lengthwise down the middle and thinly slice into half-moons.
Rinse the cut leeks to be sure they’re free of any grit.

In a medium size saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
Add the leeks and champagne.
Cook until the liquid has reduced and the leeks are soft.
Stir in the cream, dash of curry powder, and cook until thickened.
Little by little, add teaspoons of the clear clam juice broth until mixture is thinner but not runny. It has to stay on top of the oysters and not run out of the shells.

Remove from heat, and gently stir in the oysters.
Adjust with salt and pepper to taste.
Place warm oysters in a shell, and spoon warm sauce over.
Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with small cocktail forks.
(Be sure to save the shells for next time!)

Bon Appétit!

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