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Who Wrote Footprints In The Sand?

Updated on August 16, 2011

Author Unknown

I cannot remember the first time I read this poem, my husband was given a copy of it on a postcard when he was a teenager. The poem has been with us both for many years and has been in our home for the past twenty years. The poem has been a source of great inspiration to all the family down through the years.

I’m sure many of you have also read this inspiring and uplifting poem and noted that at the bottom where one would usually find the author’s name the words “Author Unknown” is found.

Three Claims

However, it has come to light that at least three authors have come forward with three slightly different versions of Footprints and each claim vehemently that she is the true author! I will write about two of these claims in this hub.

Mary Stevenson

In 1979 Kathy Bee of Belliflower (singer-songwriter) was appearing in a nightclub in North Hollywood. In the audience was a lady called Mary Stevenson and after the performance Mary invited Kathy home for dinner.

Kathy complemented Mary on the many poems she had framed on her walls and Mary replied that she had written hundreds down through the years and showed Kathy a box full to the brim with pieces of paper on which were poems written by Mary. In this box Katy discovered a handwritten poem called Footprints in the Sand.

Kathy was shocked because her mother had given her a postcard copy of this poem when she began touring. Kathy had seen it in many truck stops along the road and here she was meeting the author in person!

Mary told Kathy that she wrote this poem while locked outside her home in Chester, PA in 1936. Sounded like a plausible story so Kathy encouraged Mary to copyright “Footprints” in 1984. Forensic reports on the handwritten poem shown to Kathy Bee by Mary Stevenson confirm that she is indeed the true author.

Mary Stevenson

A Challenger

Margaret Fishback Powers claims she wrote the poem in 1964. She has written many well-known poems and songs in her role as a Christian minister over the years and has travelled across America preaching with her husband, also a minister.

Margaret’s version of Footprints in the Sand is also known as I had a dream and she copyrighted it in her collection of poems From Heart to Heart.

Margaret Fishback Powers


It is indeed a very interesting story and one that has continued to run long after the death of Mary Stevenson in 1999. But I guess whoever wrote this little gem of a poem is not that important to the majority of people.

The fact it has entered our lives and given us courage at times when we most felt alone or vulnerable is a gift not from the author but from the Universe. So big thank you to Mary and Margaret for the words and an even bigger thank you to the Universe for allowing it to come our way!

How has this poem impacted your life?

How did this poem make its way into you life?

Please share your experiences with this poem in the comment box below.

Thank you.


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    • Len Hummel profile image

      Len Hummel 

      3 years ago from Cebu City

      I think it is truly wise, as some have observed, to consider the true Author of this beautiful and powerful poem to be THE HOLY SPIRIT, or simply: the inspiration of GOD THE FATHER regarding His Beloved Son.

      Perhaps 2 or 3 or even 4 people have written closely similar versions of this poem and its theme, but it is definitely not wise or right to dispute or squabble over actual authorship.

      I suggest this: FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND. ~ Anonymous, Inspiration: THE HOLY SPIRIT [and we dare not "copyright" or "take ownership" of His Authorship OR His inspiration]

      nuff said.

      Thank You, Holy Spirit, for inspiring this magnificent poem that has blest and strengthened countless souls over the past 40-50 years! And please let me say this clearly: ALL glory to the Lord Jesus Christ, GOD blest forever.

    • profile image

      John preece 

      5 years ago

      I first read this in 1982 and it made the hairs on my head stand up ,an old lady I had met on a off chance while having a cup of coffee,I'll never forget it was a very cold winters day ,and we got chatting,my uncle albie had not long passed away and it was heavy on my heart,and out of the blue she said son have this card it may give you comfort,I put it in my pocket without looking at it,later that evening I read it ,and it touched me,like it as everyone who I have let see it,Jesus inspired it ,that's my belief ,god bless

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      What's sad Mary S. has this on her web site "Footprints in the Sand has been seen in print by people the world over since the late 1940's" if that statement was true, there would have been proof by the other publishers. Mary has lied. - Margret story is the true version!

    • profile image

      Rebecca Flower 

      6 years ago

      It really doesn't matter who wrote it. What it really matters is the message. How important it is to have faith and find refuge in JESUS when we are going through trials, tribulations, problems and dark valleys.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Hi, Mary, its such a lovely poem, or saying but sad about the dispute between writers, I tend to believe whoever it was that claimed it first, but it is strange, that just goes to show the importance of copyrighting!

    • Godzangel profile image


      6 years ago from Syracuse, NY

      You know this poem is on the mirror of our bathroom, I read it for motivation and assurance. God is the one who wrote this poem, he transferred it through someone he saw fit as his vessel. Who that person is, I don't know. But the poem is beautiful! God answers prayers and fulfills plans through people. Jesus even entered this world through a person. This is a great hub, I love to find more of my brothers and sisters! God bless you and your family, Happy New Year! All of us who love and fear God are being made rich in every way!

    • ashna sambhar profile image

      ashna sambhar 

      6 years ago

      hmmm gud 1!

    • Jangaplanet profile image

      A James Di Rodi 

      7 years ago

      When I first heard this beautiful Poem was 6 years ago. I would even be able to tell you the day- the hour- and exactly what I was doing. This Poem changed my life.:)

      I was In Rome visiting my Grandparents and family. My life had become one loss after another. My best friend had recently passed. My relationship was okay till for some reason we'd split up right in Rome while visiting my family. Everything seemed confusing and getting worse as if all of it was being thrown at me at once and purposely done and even purposely timed.

      When I returned back home to Canada, after a few days, I'd receive a letter by my cousin from Europe and she had sent me this poem. I got to say: in my entire life I never felt so lifted and hopeful by reading it.

      To make a long story short,

      This Poem changed my life, gave me an entire new outlook. It's powerful, It was sent to us by a higher power. It is meaningful.

      Since then, every time I see a friend who is going through life's challenges, the first thing I do is send "Footprints In The sand" in hopes it helps them as it as helped me.

      Thanks Mary and God Bless. :)

    • Margaret Murphy profile image

      Margaret Murphy 

      7 years ago

      This poem has been with me for a long time and is oft read both out loud and silently on those long day and dark nights that we all have from time to time.

      The Lord is always with us - we just need to open our eyes to see.

      thank you for a lovely piece


    • Sister Mary profile imageAUTHOR

      Sister Mary 

      7 years ago from Isle of Man

      Thank you Eiddwen for your lovely comment. I fell in love with this poem many years ago and still find it as meaningful today as then.

      CMCastro, your right about adolescence ... have 4 going through that stage right now so I need all the help I can get to "carry" me through it! lol Mary

      Hi Alastar Packer, I was fascinated when I discovered rcently about the dispute and thought others may like to read about it too. It certainly doesn't take from the poem though. A wonderful gift for us all.

      Thank you all and God Bless.


    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Fascinating Mary. Bless you for writing on this. First time i saw the poem in someones house remember thinking "Now that's a great poem and poet." Had no idea of the disputed authorship but what a conundrum! Thanks again Mary.

    • CMCastro profile image

      Christina M. Castro 

      7 years ago from Baltimore,MD USA

      I came to know this poem on a greeting card I received about 1978, at that time I had just decided to make Jesus Christ the center of my belief. Adolescence was challenging enough, and the Footprints in the Sand definitely had a positive influence. Thanks for your study on this poem. Christina

    • Eiddwen profile image


      7 years ago from Wales

      What a great hub about a beautiful verse. I have always loved this one and I vote this hub up without a doubt.

      Take care



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