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Take me to the desert, You will be the water...

It's my fault he wore the boots that day.

We were headed to Cabela's as a family.  Aaron wanted to start off the new year by going on a little adventure with the boys and had been anxious for months to take Joel to see the animals and displays.  So, we packed up and drove the two hours to the Michigan line for a McDonald's lunch and a couple hours in hunter's paradise.  Joel had insisted on wearing his favorite boots and even though I knew they were a good size or two too small, I relented.  He'd worn them recently anyhow and had never fussed, so maybe they fit better than I thought they did.

He wanted to be carried the majority of the day.  This worked since Daddy's strong arms were with us and I had Travis in the cart.  But then once we got home, he limped and complained that his feet hurt.  We thought he was maybe playing and just goofing off, since he's never complained of sore toes or heels before.  But it persisted.  And even throughout the next day.  I sat and massaged his little heels and felt a little heartsick that he was hurting and that it could have been prevented if I had just insisted he wear shoes that fit.

How much pain could we avoid if we stopped insisting on the too small?

We all have parts of our stories that didn't just break our hearts - they defined our hearts.  Those things, those arrows, as John Eldredge refers to them - those wounds we take when we're young and we build a philosophy, a religion, a mantra, a life - around the scar.  So, it's healed but not.  We keep referencing back to that time, that day, that harsh word, that harm.  If you have ever been called out, left out, mocked, humiliated, shamed, embarrassed - well.  You know what it feels like to wear shoes that are two sizes too small.

I have a whole list of what I have discovered I have made into defining moments for my life.  Things that happened or that others said that I took so sincerely to heart and that made me feel nervous, scared to move forward and incapable of believing I had everything it took to be brave.  Along the timeline of my life there are points that stand out, undeniably.  Like the time at church camp when I was told there was no way I was going to get chosen to be on anyone's team.  I ran off in tears and my little sister stayed behind to chew them out.  It is a beautiful reminder of my baby sister's belief in me, but it is also a wound because no one wanted me and even though someone stood up for me, I didn't stand up for myself.  So all I see in my mind is a little eleven year old girl crying into her sleeping bag because she wasn't tough enough.  A pretty harsh determination for someone who was just a kid.

I've been teased about my personality, my sensitivities, my appearance. Born with strabismus (crossed eyes) and six surgeries from 6 months to eighteen years, I'm about as "normal" as I'm going to get.  I used to fixate on this "flaw" a lot more than I do today.  Part of that reason is because I'm older and part of that reason is that I have been shown such love for who I truly am that it deflects all the times I was either openly teased or the stories I heard about what people said about me behind my back.  Arrow, arrow.  Dead center, bleed.

Blisters on my heels.

There are tons more.  I'm sure there are for you, too.  None of us walk around unscathed.  We all have a hidden scab, a hidden reminder, somewhere.  And it's painful as can be and it can prevent you from walking tall.  It can hobble you, hunch your shoulders, make you limp.  It can dictate how you love, how you receive good things, how you serve and give to others.  It rules the day if you let it.  There was a time when I did.  Still sometimes when I do.  When the voices all clamor at once and the memories all stream, live, and when I feel so overwhelmed, so incomplete, and so not brave at all.  I don't want a war, I don't want a sword, I just want to shut the world out and be left alone, okay?  Thanks.

But what if someone took you shopping?  What if someone grabbed your hand, tugged you along into summer air and said, "Hey, let's go buy you shoes that fit!"  That'll fix everything!"  No more scrunching and shoving and pinching and wounding.  "Let's just get those feet refitted and then you'll be up and running in no time!"  Is it that simple?  A new pair of shoes?

We all need those things that fit us perfectly.  We need room to breathe and enough space to wiggle our toes.  We need to be able to walk and to minister without constantly looking down and thinking how bad it all hurts and how it won't go away and how I guess, shoot, we'll just keep limping along, all scarred and damaged.  It's really kind of silly.  Because we don't have to be this way.  At all.

Once home, I yanked those boots off my son's feet.  I set them aside and then later, when he was unaware, I hurried them up the stairs and stuck them in the too-small bin.  He probably won't forget about them. They are his favorite and he's had them forever.  But he has to stop wearing them.  There is no way he can put those on his precious feet, ever, ever again.  I won't let him.  I love him too much to see him go through pain, even a little foot pain, when it's so completely unnecessary.

You know what I'm going to say.  That because we are in Christ we have been given everything we need.  We have not only been given shoes that fit, all free and beautiful, but we have been given freedom from those wounds.  We have been given hope in the midst of all that shamed and damaged and held so strong.  No wall you can't scale.  No principality that can control you.  No depth that He won't find you.  No height that He won't still reign supreme.

So what if you were told you couldn't play for that team?  I'm pretty sure God still has a place for you.  Who cares if you were compared and somehow someone else decided you weren't as good of a singer, musician, dancer, leader, cook.  Did someone tell you that you weren't worthy to be really, truly loved? Did someone cheat you?  Lie to you?  Take your dreams and set them on fire?  Did you lose your dream job or lose faith in someone who meant the world or were wrongly accused?  Did your marriage dissolve and you suspect everyone believes it was somehow your fault?

That microscope?  That so small feel?  It's not of God.  It can't determine or own.  It has no power.

Everything that is scrunching and pinching and biting?  It's not all there is.  And it's not as strong and mighty as it seems.  If God can make a wall fall just by causing the faithful to walk around and blow their trumpets, He can remove what is dividing you.  If He can cause bread to come from the sky and a whale to swallow a man and take step by step on rolling sea...  If He can come as a baby, learn and grow as we all learn and grow, and save us all... I'm pretty sure He can fix whatever is so terribly busted.  And I know He cleans us back up, laces up new, better, perfect shoes and let's us go again.

I know He would kneel and rub our raw heels.  I know He does.

"For you save a humble people,...
the Lord lightens my darkness.
For by you I can run... 
and by my God I can leap over a wall.
This God ~ His way is perfect;
He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him.
He made my feet like the feet of a deer
and set me secure on the heights.
You gave a wide place for 
my steps under me, and my feet
 did not slip.
Yes, you exalted me above those who rose
against me; you rescued me..."
~ Selections from Psalm 118 starting at verse 25


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