Friday, February 6, 2009

To Wear or Not To Wear.....That is Not the Question

Wearing shoes has not been an option for me since I was an itty bitty. I don't like the feel of the cool, green grass under my feet, or the soft, pile of new carpet tickling the arches of my feet, or the squish of mud between my toes, or the burning sensation of a hot Texas sidewalk that could fry an egg in summer. No tiptoeing through the tulips for this Miss Vicki. I tried! Every summer I would promise myself that I would go barefoot like everyone else in the neighborhood, but shortly after stepping outside, I would end up sitting on the side of the bathroom sink with water running over my sensitive feet. I would return to the great outdoors beshoed (not sure that is a word, but you get the picture). I often wondered why I was so insistent about wearing shoes, until today when I had a flashback. Not sure what triggered that memory, but here it is.....

When I was no more than 4 years old (now that is long term memory), I stepped on a nasty, rusty nail. There was pain involved, a trip to the doctor for removal and a tetanus shot, more pain involved, and a subconscious memory (until today) that reminds me to wear shoes. In my minds eye, that was not just a small picture hanging nail......more like a ten-penny nail. Of course, I was an itty bitty, so it wouldn't take more than a tack stuck in my foot to make me have an aversion to bare feet. The head of that nail must have been the size of a dime.

Not only was my perspective on shoe wearing changed, it might have been passed on inadvertently to my children, except when one of them disobeyed, played football barefooted, stepped on metal landscape edging (pain involved), and made a trip to the ER for 104 stitches (more pain involved). I'm not sure that I really had that much influence on my children concerning shoes except that I insisted that they wear them, but we do pass on our idiosyncrasies to our offspring. Haven't you said or done something and realized that it sounded or looked just like your mother? It is after the deed is done that we see how we have influenced our precious children. Now, I know that to wear or not to wear shoes....that is not the question, but..... pass on my faith is the question. As a young mother, my greatest desire was to teach my children about faith, not about religion, about a relationship. What a daunting task, but living by faith has taught my children more than my words ever could. My children know who I am, what I stand for, and in whom I place my faith! As I faced cancer, divorce, and financial difficulty, walking by faith...step by foot in front of the other, I grew as a woman and mother of faith, a woman and mother of prayer. They may not have recognized my faith at the time, but now, as they face difficulties in their young adulthood, I take the opportunity to share with them and encourage them from my own personal experiences of God's faithfulness, mercy, and grace. Each one of them has had their own crisis of faith. It is only human to enter adulthood, leaving our child-like tendencies behind. We want to be independent, we want to stand alone. Depending on One that we cannot see might seem childish to one that wants to leave childhood behind. More than anything, I want them to be spared of any hardship, difficulty, or calamity, but I know that it is through those times that my faith became what it is today. It is my prayer for my children, that theirs will too as they learn (sometimes the hard way) to walk by faith. God loves me more than I deserve and He loves my children.

As I thought about that nasty, rusty nail that penetrated the soft skin of my foot, I was reminded of the nails that pierced the hands and feet of my Savior. The pain that He endured for me. He loves me that much! That is why I can trust Him, why I can put my faith in Him. He loves me, this I know! It is a nail that reminds me to wear my shoes, it is a nail that reminds me to wear my faith.

If the shoe fits, wear it well!