How Beautiful The Feet…

I have never liked my feet.

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When I was a younger child, I disliked them because they were crooked and I had to wear shoes to correct them.

As an older child, I disliked them because they were larger than that of my petite friends.

In high school, I disliked them because they were heavily calloused from the years barefoot I had spent on martial arts training mats.

My feet still are covered in functional callouses from walking around barefoot every chance I get (odd I know given this topic), calloused from high heels, from dance shoes, from a plethora of things.

It is an extremely select few people who I will allow to touch my feet without them being covered in socks first. I dislike people touching my bare feet (not to mention they are intensely ticklish).

Now that I am sans a vehicle of my own, I have walked more this summer than I have probably any other time in my life (except maybe a couple of summers at camp)… I average 10,000-20,000 steps (5-10 miles roughly) a day.

I love the forced walking. I enjoy the space it has created in my daily life to think and process. It takes more planning to get around, but it seems to have slowed my life down just enough in this insane season. Walking has returned to me my much coveted processing time that driving used to afford me years ago.

Not long ago this partial verse popped into my head:

“‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!'” (Romans 10:15b)

When I thought of this, I looked down to my feet and contemplated if I considered my feet beautiful in this capacity. I was indeed walking significantly more as a part of my job… in an attempt to do my part to bring the good news of good things to those who have not heard.

But, did I think my feet were beautiful because of it?

I decided I did not see beauty in my feet, but instead I saw the glorious functionality of them and I was thankful.
Thankful that my tendons and ligaments have held up nicely, and they have not given out like they are prone to do.
Thankful that several years ago I bought the worlds most comfortable and durable flip-flops (Crocs) that have lasted me all summer.
Thankful that I live in a city that walking is an easily feasible option.

So, I found myself satisfied. I did not consider my feet beautiful even still, but they were as functional and actually, more useful than they have been in other seasons of my life.

Then, not long later, I began thinking about the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her hair. I was thinking about this because I have never had to wash my feet so frequently in my entire life! (It is a fairly well-known fact that I dislike showering… I try to go multiple days without showering if at all possible.)

Yet, walking so much means incredibly dirty feet… which means washing my feet daily. Every. Single. Day. Dang. It!

However, let’s be clear, even still, I walk on paved sidewalks, brick covered sidewalks, and easily avoid the dirt and puddles… Not dirt roads.

How much more dirty were Jesus’ feet than my own?

Every evening, I wash my feet before I go to bed. I have found that as the summer has gone on, my feet are not just covered in dirt, but they are calloused differently, they are stained because of the color of the dirt… It is gross and I have had to take a foot stone to them frequently in order to remove all of the dirt.

How much more dirty were Jesus’ feet than my own?

This woman was so remorseful that she willingly and gladly cleaned Jesus’ feet with her tears and hair, and then poured what was about a year’s worth of perfume oil onto his feet.

How beautiful were His feet to this woman overcome with guilt and remorse?

And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume.” (Luke 7:37-38)

Then, on top of it all, she kissed Jesus’ feet. I do not think I have never understood the intense emotions she must have felt until I have experienced my own functional feet that never seem to get clean… And yet, all she wanted to do was clean them and kiss them in such an intimate way. So many feels.

And Jesus answered him, ‘Simon, I have something to say to you.’
And he replied, ‘Say it, Teacher.’
A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?’
Simon answered and said, ‘I suppose the one whom he forgave more.’
And He said to him, ‘You have judged correctly.’
 Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.’
Then He said to her, ‘Your sins have been forgiven.’
Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, ‘Who is this man who even forgives sins?’
And He said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.'” (Luke 7:40-50)

This woman is mentioned in Matthew, Mark, AND Luke. She left an impression on these men. Jesus saw her, understood her heart, and forgave her… releasing her of her guilt and remorse…

Go in peace.

How beautiful the feet…

Borrowed Hope…

2012 Wrap-Up...I was walking my pups, thanks to the (attempting to improve) weather, and thinking and praying through this season of life that I am trying to escape from vehemently, and it dawned on me, I am so thankful despite the suck.

So much of this season has been trying to cling to hope while feeling mostly pain.

In less than two weeks it will be nine months since I have had a full-time permanent job. It has been 264 days since I have felt financially secure.

You can read more about my journey so far herehere, and here if you are interested. That is where you will get at least a small understanding without me having to rehash the struggle and emotions here today.

I have been stressing about money for 263 days, and my bank account has even got down to a balance of -.19. Yet, despite it all, I have not had one missed payment. I have had to fix my car three times, and been able to continue to support the missionaries I have supported for years. The very small amount of income I have has allowed me to continue to tithe, feed my dog, pay my car insurance, cell phone bill, and gas money. And, amazingly, my student loan payments have been able to be paid or deferred.

While I was surveying where I am, and where I have been, the thing that sticks out the most is the provision at exactly the right time. Regardless of my feelings, I cannot deny that more often than not, God has used friends and family to show me tangibly that He still loves, cares about me, and knows exactly what and when my needs are. Despite the mounting obstacles, I have been blown away recently by how much things have come together at exactly the right time.

Normally, and naturally, I am not a person who cares much about being told nice or encouraging things… I am really not a words person at all. I am not a gifts person, and I do not particularly notice if you do or don’t do something nice for me.. Yet, during the last nine months, those things have been life lines to my heart. The small gifts, the words of encouragement, the nicest and most humbling ways that people have shown me love have all been tangible things that God has used to infuse hope into my heart little piece by little piece.

I began thinking through the sheer number of people and times where someone has given me money or supported me in some way; it is absolutely ridiculous. Every single day (no joke) people check in to see how I am doing, let me know they are praying for me, offer me financial support, send a job posting, send me an “I love you” gift, or just listen to me while I verbally process the most recent stress in my life and then show an endless amount of patience with me.

Even people I have never met, but connected to through a mutual friend have shared encouragement, prayers, and potential job leads.

Over and over I have struggled through feeling stuck and trying desperately to hold onto hope. Without fail, ever single time, someone has sent me a letter, message, text, or called and infused my heart with borrowed hope and encouragement.

The sheer fact that I have not been told to shut up and suck it up, or entirely left alone proves how much I am loved; I am amazed and totally undeserving. Goodness knows I have not been the easiest or happiest person to be around. I am amazed by the grace extended to me by so many of my friends and family while I try to work through the stress and emotions each day.

As I think about the last nine months (has it really been that long?!), I am in awe of not just the journey, but also the hundreds of people who have come along side me in one way or another to help me get through it all.

Thank you for allowing me to borrow your hope and for sharing so much tangible love with me throughout all of this. I simply could not have made it this far or at all without the help. I am so grateful.

Me 4 Me…

I have been reflecting recently about how much I have felt as though there are people who have gotten to know me simply because they have an agenda. I feel often that they do not actually care to be my genuine friend, nor do they take the time to actually know or care about my heart.

That is a fun place to be.

In December, I posted and asked, “Will You Love Me When I’m Ugly?” and while so many said yes, and even had actions to support their claim, many people spoke with their actions in the negative.

I simply cannot feel safe or allow myself to truly be seen, flaws, insecurities and all if there are people around whose actions and words are clear: “I have ulterior motives.”

The most difficult ones are when the words are supportive and caring, while the actions are anything but.

There are lots of times that I choose to carry on ahead and pull these agenda ridden people into my life anyway. I genuinely working to love unconditionally in return because, after all, maybe I am misunderstanding them and their intentions too right? But, that does not remove the sting or pain of their lack of reciprocation.

Many times I have found myself in situations and with groups of people who I so very badly wanted to connect with. I wanted to be close friends with them; and then, repeatedly, I have felt as though it just was not for me to receive authentic friendship in return… Simply put, I was perpetually on the outside, but I was being used for any number of reasons.

So, as I take a moment to truly and humbly check my heart to see who in my life I use or have an agenda with my reason for getting to know them, I challenge you to do the same.

It is not love if you have an ulterior motive.
It is not love if you have conditions.
It is not love if you cannot forgive mistakes.

It is not love if your actions towards them are less than how you should be loved.

“Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself.” – 1 Samuel 18:1

” Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.” –1 Samuel 18:3

“Jonathan made David vow again because of his love for him, because he loved him as he loved his own life.” –1 Samuel 20:17

“…but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.” –Leviticus 19:18b

“Honor your father and mother; and You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” –Matthew 19:19

“This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” –Matthew 22:38-39

“and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” –Mark 12:30-31

“And he (Jesus) answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” –Luke 10:27

“For this, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” –Romans 13:9

“For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” –Galatians 5:14

“If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.” –James 2:8