There are times I realize I’m holding my breath psychologically. Waiting “for the other shoe to drop.” And many have. It’s not been raining cats and dogs, it’s been raining shoes! Falling around me, demanding that I wear a new one in addition to the ones already cramping my feet, hindering my freedom to walk according to my own schedule, my own paths. At least outwardly. Shoes like – Don’s neuropathy and the many doctor’s visits which bring neither answers nor relief; the boot that fell hard receiving the news that Dad has pancreatic cancer; the armored shoes where I’ve been covering other individuals (2 this past school year) and advocating for them despite criticism to them – putting me in the line of fire; the shoe with tangled laces as we look to moving Mom/Dad here with us – all the details, costs, waiting, relational stuff working through decisions with sibs, etc. And the shoe that keeps stretching as I grow, the one that has Jordon’s name on it which makes me walk in many unknown places – present demands, future unknowns. And another sandal that has very little holding it to my foot as I release many things into God’s hands – a friendship, expectations, a calling precious to my heart, things which spur my passion and calling, devote my time to, tug at my heart – to join His hand leading me to a set-apart time away with Him. Good and very worthwhile exchanges to join Him, the keeper and sustainer of my heart – but still difficult.
So many shoes to keep track of, especially for one like me who owns fairly simple shoes, and not a lot of those!
So……..it seemed very unlikely we’d be “taking a vacation” this year. Our usual vacations of late have been the drive to visit Mom/Dad or work around the home. Neither is likely with Don’s condition. By God’s grace in placing our need in the heart of a couple, we received an invitation to spend some time in their cottage up near the St Lawrence River. By God’s grace we were able to find someone to care for the dog/bird last minute. By God’s grace Jordon and my work schedules worked out that we could leave. By God’s grace we took the long drive up there. By God’s grace, the couple not only gave abundantly of this beautiful cottage to provide shelter, opportunity to rest, renew, and receive abundantly, but they had collected some money from others who desired our time to be enjoyed freely without spending time on food prep, time to explore the area and enjoy some of the sights without financial restrictions. it truly was an exceeding, abundant time of refreshing. An exceeding abundant outpouring of grace. Of rest. Of peace. Of breathing in the stillness, the goodness of God. Of breathing out, and not holding my breath waiting for another shoe. A time of reflecting on the shoes before me and putting them in perspective. Times of going bare-footed and breathing, walking freely. Grace
Somehow each of these shoes are called
grace. In what they limit. In what new paths they cause me to tread. Paths that bring me closer to Him. Shoes not dropped to harm, but to bring hope. Shoes I can embrace from the heart of a God that embraces me. As exceeding as the shoes have been, His grace has been exceedingly, abundantly MORE. Above all I ask or think. Grace within each moment. Grace surrounding each detail. Grace to breathe. Grace within each breath. Grace upon grace……………..
For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!], since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting. 2 Cor 4:17,18
Lord, help me focus on You, the God of all hope, God of all grace. The gracious God. What comes from Your hand is to benefit, to strengthen, to encourage, to bring fullness of life – abundant – to bring glory on earth as it is in heaven. So as I put on the shoes, I breathe Your grace. I want to walk with honor wherever these may take me. Stride-by-stride, side-by-side with You.