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These Boots Were Made for Teaching

These Boots Were Made for Teaching

IMG_2650I wish this story ended better. I want to say I wish it ended more gracefully but that’s not right. There was plenty of grace. I just wish ended better.

So. I have these boots.

They are cute. Brown with pink polka dots. Fit for the rain, functional. But sassy. I get compliments on them whenever I wear them.

I put them on yesterday morning because it was rainy and I just didn’t feel like having my jeans drag along in puddles, wetness creeping up my legs. That would be uncomfortable. Boy, if I only knew . . .

Despite the weather, my mom, who is in town for a few days, and I decided to hit a couple of stores. My pick–Goodwill. For some reason it’s one of my favorite places. I love how you never know what you’re going to find. So we went, in the rain. Me, in the boots.

We split off, each of us having our own mission in mind, and I found myself lingering around the shoes. Nothing for me but something kept me there.

That’s when they walked in. A mother and teenage daughter. Nothing was super unusual about this pair other than the girl was dressed kind of eccentrically. Something, something, started humming inside me about these two. They were talking about boots and I got the impression that regardless of fit, they were leaving with something. The girl tried some on. Too small. She tried another pair. Maybe. There weren’t many choices and from what I gathered, something was going to have to work. I couldn’t tell if they were homeless–I thought perhaps. Or not. But a desperation–not from them, but from me–pulsed in the air.

The humming wouldn’t stop. Oh, I know that feeling. That’s when God wants me to do something. And do it now. I sensed God saying to me clearly, “Give her your boots.”

“That’s ridiculous. My boots?” I stopped in my tracks. “I don’t think so,” I argued in my head.

Now just so you know, I cannot recall a time ever in my life when I have felt prompted by God to give someone an article of clothing off my back. This is not a regular occurrence.  And for the record, I also do not feel so much love for my boots that I could not bear to part with them. This was just an all-around strange request that threw me for a loop. The truth was I did not want to look stupid.

“Give her your boots.”

“Oh, no. No, no, no. That is so weird! They’ll think I’m crazy! Why would you ask me to do something so weird? And crazy?”

“Your obedience will be a blessing to them. And to you.”

I paced the aisles, keeping my eyes discreetly on them. I thought of a devotion I had read recently. And by recently, I mean I read it THAT morning.

“As soon as the priests . . . set foot in the Jordan, its waters . . . will be cut off.” The Israelites were called to step IN before the waters would part. They couldn’t walk up to the water and then watch the water part before they stepped in. It took a major step of faith. That’s some serious business. It takes guts.

We must learn to take God at His word and walk straight ahead in obedience, even when we can see no way to go forward. The reason we are so often sidetracked by difficulties is that we expect to see barriers removed before we even try to pass through them. If we would only move straight ahead in faith, the path would be opened for us. But we stand still, waiting for the obstacle to be removed, when we ought to go forward as if there were no obstacles at all. (Streams in the Desert)

So there I was, in Goodwill, wearing my boots. Arguing with God about giving them away.

I lingered. I listened. I continued to argue. I said “no” over and over in my head. I really am so stubborn.

Finally, I watched them leave. They had purchased a pair of light blue boots–whether they fit, I don’t know. All I know is that the girl didn’t leave in mine.

We left not long after. I started the car, windshield wipers furiously working at clearing my field of vision. I felt weary from energy wasted from wrestling in the clothing aisles. It reminded me of a story I heard from Beth Moore and the time God asked her to do something crazy. God asked her to brush a man’s hair at the airport and it’s probably one of the most awe-inspiring stories of stepping out in faith I’ve ever heard. God allowed her moment to become an incredible witness. She obeyed. Oh, how I wish I had too.

It took about 30 seconds before I spewed the whole story out to my mom–probably one of the few people who could understand my grief for something so bizarre. She listened and didn’t stop me or try to convince me I shouldn’t be upset. She simply told me it probably was not even about the boots. It was probably a lesson to teach me that I’m not quite there yet in obedience–the same place all of us are dwelling, in fact. She reminded me that God forgives us of those moments. Forgiveness is immediate with repentance. And you better believe I was repenting even as I watched those two women in front of me. Especially as I watched them walk out the door.

My sweet little polka dot boots. I have no idea if the girl would’ve taken them. Or if they would’ve looked at me like I was insane. I don’t think it matters. But I will look at those boots in a new way. They are now a reminder for next time. A lesson. A rebuke. A promise. A hope. I’m on a journey in those boots. I may be asked to do something strange for God. Actually, I will be asked to do something strange or crazy or out of the ordinary for God. I’ve been asked before and I’ve obeyed. I’ve been asked before and I’ve failed. It will happen again.

Off we went into our day. Onto another store, other moments. I walked the aisles, feeling lighter because of grace, but heavier because of experience. A woman walked past me and called back, “hey, I love your boots!”

I thanked her and thought, “oh, you don’t even know how much I love them now too.”

Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing, Katie. I know I’ve had those moments as well (been in your boots, as it were). :) Maybe God was using that situation to stoke your conscience and prepare you for a greater opportunity that He’s planned for you to act on faith. I’ve definitely seen it in my life. Have a great day!

  2. Margaret PHillips says:

    And it reminded me of the time on the plane where God was telling me to talk to the young man sitting next to me….he was from the mid east…here going to college…who knows if he had heard the story of Jesus but I was supposed to share…and yes, due to not wanting to be uncomfortable for the rest of the trip, I said nothing….a great learning situation which makes me jump right into conversation now when God gives me the opportunity….aaaa… pray that someone else talked to him!

  3. genee hansen says:

    I really liked reading this!

  4. I remember something similar happened to me at a church conference. I was a college student saving up for my wedding and I had $50 in my wallet. There was a family of missionaries with a table set up in the foyer. I felt like I should give my $50 to the family, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I went in the bathroom and literally stood by the sink with the money in my hands fighting God. I stood there, but I fought too long, because by the time I left the bathroom they had packed up and left.

    I’m sure God used someone else to provide for that missionary family, but I wouldn’t let him use me.

  5. This post was so beautiful, thanks fro sharing. I can be pretty stubborn too, and God asks me to do strange things much of the time. Lately, I’ve been getting a bit better at listening. I’m blessed and so are others when I do!

  6. Been there. Not boots but other things. So relate to this one.

  7. Oh, this gave me goosebumps! I love those awkward faith moments where we know the voice we’re hearing is from God, but we feel paralyzed to respond to it because it’s such a crazy request from Him. I’ve had those moments myself and I can attest to the fact that God does bless our obedience. Loved reading your experience!

  8. I have had that “boot” moment, too. While I realized I failed at that moment, I realized I am also blessed with the ability to wrestle with God on these things, and that I am forgiven when I fail Him. Because I do. I don’t want to, but I sure am flawed and fearful of what might happen. I try to remember now, what might happen if I DON’T. Still doesn’t always work.

  9. What a lovely post. I can certainly relate to occasionally being asked by God to do something that feels really weird. Sometimes we fail and sometimes we don’t, but it truly is all in God’s hands, and I would not be surprised to hear that someday you run into those same two women and the same opportunity to give them the boots comes up :) You just never know what God is up to. Thank you for your very sweet blog. It is clear you are a woman of God who deeply desires to be all His. You’ve inspired me today.

    • Oh, wow, Lynn. Thank you for blessing me today with your encouraging words. This was a tough one to write about because it was so bittersweet. I felt like I had failed yet I knew God was so gracious. I’m so thankful that He gives us so many chances and opportunities to serve Him!

Trackbacks

  1. […] few people read my post last week about my boots. If blog posts were measured in terms of sound, this one would’ve registered off-the-charts […]

  2. […] since my boot incident and not responding to God’s call to me, I’ve been looking around and thinking, […]

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