Tag Archives: Christian

The Lesson I Learned from a Long Drive and a Trip to the Beach.

 

This semester has been rough. That’s the nicest way I’ll put that. No one factor made it rough, but then again, when things are rough, it is rarely for just one reason. To sum it up, I took some difficult classes, held executive positions in both student government and a social club, was in a Makin’ Music cast, and served as a seamstress for said Makin’ Music cast. I had all sorts of crazy things going on in my family life, I was working part time, and I was struggling with the depression end of bipolar. By the end of the semester I was burned out, wound tighter than a compressed spring, and stuck in a cycle of anxiety that I coped with by sleeping, watching Netflix, and obsessively reblogging things on Tumblr.

 

I was a mess.

 

Then, finals were over. I finished packing up my car, and on Friday, May 16th, I hit the road. I was headed to the Carolinas to spend the summer with my grandmother again, and even though I know that is going to have a whole lot of stress that goes with it, as I got further from school, I started feeling better. It was me, my music, and the road. By the time I hit Atlanta, I was belting to music and just felt joyous. I was asking myself questions, and thinking “Oh, I should research that this summer,” or “Hmm, that’s an interesting thought, I’ll have to see what So-and-so thinks of it” and all kinds of things.

 

That drive allowed me to clear my head, and drop some of the baggage off on the side of the road. I’ve been thinking about baggage a lot recently. I helped with a Ladies’ Day in Hohenwald, TN in April, and we did a modified rendition of the Skit Guy’s video “Baggage.” I played the main character, the one who had all the baggage. It hit close to home, because I carry a LOT of baggage. I like to think I carry less than I used to, and I probably do, but I still have a lot of it, and I don’t know when I’m going to get rid of it all.

 

I left some of it on the road though.

 

I realized how therapeutic long drives are.

 

They aren’t that way for some people, and that’s okay. Driving isn’t the only thing I find therapeutic. I went to the ocean on Tuesday night, and I frolicked in the waves for a while like a 5 year old. I didn’t go out very far, (mostly because I’m afraid of being bitten by a shark, even though that isn’t very likely to happen) but I waded far enough to wave jump and swim around a little bit and get thoroughly soaked by the tide washing in. I felt free, like I did when I drove from school to my grandmother’s. I felt alive, and whole. I sang “Step By Step” and I talked to God, and showed Him the joy that I had again.

 

There isn’t a whole lot to be done about the past. It’s over and done with. Learn from past mistakes. Stepping out from your comfort zone and asking for help when you need it, saying no, and maintaining boundaries are all lessons I had pounded into me this semester. Those three things were more important than all the lessons I learned in my classes. And stepping away from that experience and doing some self-care has got me back to relatively normal.

 

Find the things that are therapeutic for you, and do those things from time to time. Do something to get yourself out of the rut. Work in the yard, read a book, do something spontaneous, take a drive. Do something that will relax you, something that is fulfilling. Sometimes you have to push through the bad times first, but once that time passes, do something you enjoy. God got you through the rough patch, do something to show Him your joy. Create something. Serve someone. Encourage others. Spend time doing something productive.

Whatever you find therapeutic.

 

That’s the lesson I learned from a long drive and a trip to the beach.

 

 -Jax

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How time flies…

I remember when I turned 10.  I thought I was going to be all that and a bag of chips.  I was important, I was making the double digits for crying out loud! I was going to be queen of the hill, ruler of my domain.  I was excited to be turning 10.  Now, I’m on the brink of 20 (18 days!) and I’m terrified. This past decade was not what I expected. I got kicked around, my family suffered terrible blows, I found God.  I have had to face massive amounts of insecurity and felt persecution, harsh judgement, and fear.  It certainly doesn’t feel like a decade has passed since that day.

I am more of a scared little girl now than I was ten years ago.  I am facing adulthood, and I am scared.  I feel alone a lot of the time.  The pressures of adulthood are pressing down all around me, and I feel like I can’t turn to anyone for help.  It’s me, myself, and God.  I struggle to remind myself daily that God will provide for my needs.  He will make sure I have what I need to survive, and will put people in my path to help me.  But when I lay in bed at night and wonder how I’m going to be able to afford the gas to get back to school in a couple of weeks, a knot of fear forms in my stomach, and I don’t know what to do.

I have legally been an adult for almost two years, but I have been able to rely on being a teenager still.  I wasn’t really an adult, but once January 20th happens, I can’t use that excuse anymore.  I will be an adult with adult problems and worries and adult things to deal with.  Logically, I know that I’m not alone.  Logically, I know I can get help from my family if I need it.  The problem is that I know that they are dealing with a lot as it is, and they can’t afford to help me financially.

I guess part of my problem is not that I feel alone, it’s that I make myself alone.  I can’t help my family out financially.   I spurned the faiths of my parents, because I realized how wrong denominational Christianity is.  I decided to follow that faith and go to a school 700 miles away from home. I’m too far away to help take care of my brothers, or help them deal with life. The only thing I can really do is take care of myself as much as I can, and not ask them for help, even when I feel like I desperately need it. I forget that my parents love me and would do anything for me.  I tell myself I can’t rely on them, for a lot of  reasons.  I tell myself “If God blesses me with children, I will raise them to be confident in the Lord, and confident in me.  I will always provide for them in a manner worthy and pleasing to God.  I will not subject them to some of the things my parents have subjected me to.”

I’m realizing how vulnerable I am, and the only cure for vulnerability is reliance on God. He is constant, and He is loving. He will give me everything I need, and I need to have that confidence in him. These are some passages that come to mind.

“And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them.  Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?  If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?  Consider the lilies, how they grow, they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!  And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried.  For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them.  Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things shall be added to you.”

-Luke 12:22-31, ESV

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because he cares for you.”

-1 Peter 5:6,7

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

-Matthew 5:9b-13

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread will gvie him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”

-Matthew 7:7-11

And while these passages are well and good and encouraging, it doesn’t mean that having complete faith is God and trust that He will provide is easy.  It takes diligence, it takes daily immersion and meditation on God’s Word, and prayer, a lot of prayer.  It takes courage humble yourself and say “I don’t know what I’m doing.  God, please, help me, show me what I need to do.  Help he have the strength of will and character to do it.  Help me have the humbleness to ask for help when I need it. I need You more than anything else in my life.  Your strength is made perfect in my weakness.  Strengthen me today so that I can make more right choices. I am weak, and I am sinful, but You are almighty and holy, and perfect in every way.  Help me follow your plan for salvation, and be a light for the rest of the world.”

So for the others out there who feel the same, I encourage and exhort you (and myself) to become more reliant on God this year, and let Him come in and be your strength, and have the courage to ask for the help you need.

The Lies that Society Tells Us

Here’s one geared to teenagers… because they don’t have enough body image issues.

It took me a while to decide where exactly to start with this, but I think this is probably the easiest place to start.  This will by no means be a complete list of lies that Society  (or the world, as the Bible often refers to it,) tells us.  And as I was coming up with that list, I came up with more and more things that Society tells us.  There may be another part to this later, but I haven’t decided.  Let’s dive in, shall we?

Lie #1: You don’t need religion

If you are reading this blog, you probably do not need me to refute this for you. (This is a blog for Christian ladies.  If you did not know that, you should now.  If you abhor the idea of Christianity or women, don’t leave me nasty comments.  I won’t allow them to be shown.  There is no need for that.  Just leave, and don’t read this blog again.  If you have no urge to leave nasty comments, please continue reading, and share this blog with people you think may be interested!)  I can personally attest that I need God.  I need the relationship found with him through the blood of Jesus Christ, and I can only have that relationship because I was washed in the blood (and water) for the remission of my sins.

And if we are all real with ourselves, we recognize that we need religion.  Some believe that they can find that in other religions, but I beg to differ.

Lie #2: You should not believe you are beautiful.

Ladies, don’t buy into those magazine titles that speak to the contrary.  I think it’s safe to say that nine times out of ten, they don’t actually say that you are beautiful.  They offer ways to make you look “more beautiful,” “sexy,” “hot,” “make x part of your body look so much better,” “dress for your body type,” and so on and so forth.

Because we really need “Goddess Hair”

If you really look at what those articles are saying, you should find that they telling you “You are not beautiful as you are, so you need to do X, Y, and Z in order to make yourself look more pretty.”

How can we compare to them? (that’s sarcasm)

In addition, just about every photograph of a woman shown has been edited.  You may have seen this video:

And this is not the only video of it’s kind.  It is so sad that women and young girls compare themselves to models who have been digitally altered to seem and say that they want to look like that.  And there may be some articles and publications that genuinely promote good self esteem and the idea that all women are beautiful, I haven’t found any of them.

Lie #3: You must use your body to get what you want.

Magazines are a huge perpetuator of that.  I’ve scattered some magazine covers throughout this post, and a lot of them include at least one article on how to snag a man, or get that promotion or whatever, and they all include the way you dress, and the way you talk and use body language, and usually they are the “feminine charm” type of things.  Don’t buy into that.  Yes, dress professionally and speak professionally during interviews or when interacting in a professional setting.  Do not wear revealing or suggestive clothing and act provocatively to get that “hot” guy to go out with you.  (If that’s what it takes to get a man, he’s probably not the right kind of man.)

Lie #4: You must always strive to have a bigger, better X, Y, or Z.

Be it a house that is huge and immaculate, a fancy new car, bigger breasts, new wardrobes, nicer furniture, fancy vacations, and any number of other material possessions.  Do you really need a huge house?  Do you need a brand new car every few years? Do you really need the seasons top trends?  What is wrong with your current home, your current car, or the clothes in your closet now?

Lie #5: You need to make more money.

Not necessarily true.  I’ve read blogs about people who live on less than $10,000 per year.  I’ve been told by numerous people not to become a teacher because I won’t make any money.  (In case you were wondering, national starting salary was an national average of $35,672, according to the NEA website. Another website shows median salaries of between $40,744 and $45,620 depending on the grade range and content area. Sources: <a href=”http://www.nea.org/home/2011-2012-average-starting-teacher-salary.html“>NEA</a> <a href=”http://www.payscale.com/research/US/All_K-12_Teachers/Salary“>Payscale</a>) And there are certainly some people who make minimum wage or a little better, and they need more money.  There is no shame in living paycheck to paycheck though.  And sometimes we have to give up things we want (smartphones… cable… exotic vacations…) in order to keep the things we need. (Transportation… water… electricity… food.)  A lot of people forget the resources they have though.  (I’ll probably talk about that later.  And there are a lot of blogs already talking about frugal living.)

“Astro Special” (Note: Astrology is not credible.)

Lie #6:  You don’t need morals.

Yes you do.  There are things that are right and wrong.  And if you follow the Bible, like I try to do, things like premarital sex, lying, swearing, abortion, are all things that society and Christianity tend to butt heads on.

Three words: Friendship. With. Benefits.

Ethics are important in the professional world, and if you follow Christian ethics, it seems to follow that you will be successful in all other areas of your life.  Following Christian ethics should lead to a respectable, honest, trustworthy, humble and gracious person.  (It doesn’t always work that way, but no one is perfect.)

Now, these are just 6 lies that Society tells.  There are many, many more.  And notice that some of these magazines do have articles about good things.  But also notice that they are usually not in the largest font on the page, and there’s rarely more than one or two per magazine.  Whether you buy these magazines or not, that is up to you.  But I suggest laying off them for a while.   See what it does to your self esteem and your focus.  Do you think as much about what you look like, or how to make yourself look better?  Do you feel as bad about your body or intelligence or your self perceived worth?

Just think about it.

Let’s talk about Confidence

When I went to Church Camp (NOCYC to be specific), we would sing a song in the girls’ village, especially at our nightly devos.  I think it’s called “I’ve Got Confidence.” It’s the first line of the song.  You may have heard it.  And it was fun, and we loved singing it, but I’ve noticed that confidence is something that is seriously lacking in women today.  They think they are too dumb, too ugly, not clever, not talented, no good for anything.  They feel unloved and moreover, they feel unlovable.  And to tell you the truth, I have struggled with it too.  And a lot of it has to do with media and with society.

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Yes, the time has come for me to get on my soap box about media, society, and women’s self concept.

And here is why we have the issues with confidence that we have.  We are looking to the wrong places for affirmation, acceptance, attention and support in the wrong places.  We are looking for compliments for the wrong reasons.  And Satan knows that!  And destroying self-image is his specialty.  He is so good at it, that you might not even realize he is at work.  He uses media, other people, even our own thoughts to make us doubt in our abilities

It’s a cycle that we have to (and can) break.  Will it be easy? No, probably not.  Is it necessary? Absolutely.

We need to place our confidence in the Lord, ladies.  He had, has, and will always have our back.  He has, does, and will always love us unconditionally and over abundantly.  He knows we are beautiful, and if we have put on Christ, he calls us his Princesses.

There is no need to think that we can’t do something because we aren’t “enough.”  God has a calling for each of us, and if we are going to do that we need to let go of our insecurities and become confident in the Lord and know that his grace and strength is sufficient.

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Consider this an introduction.  This is a really big issue and I can’t cover all I want to cover in one post.  (And I wouldn’t want to read a wall of text like that.)  Look for the first part of my discussion on confidence on Tuesday! (If I don’t get it up then, it WILL be up Friday!)

I’ve got confidence (oh yeah)

My Lord is gonna see me through

No matter what the case may be,

My lord is gonna fix it for me.

Image sources:

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Kayaking- a trust building exercise.

Last Saturday a group at church was going kayaking.  I was going, and I was super excited.  I had never been kayaking, but I had been canoeing last August as a part of Interface (a program for new students at my university) and had a bunch of fun.  I’ve always loved the water, and I thought it would be a good way to fellowship with some of the other people at church, seeing as I had just joined.

Let me tell you, it was glorious.  I will definitely be going kayaking again.  I had so much fun, I’m probably going to buy my own kayak after I graduate college.  I had fun getting to know some other people, and learned quite a bit from the guides.  I even ate a piece of Cow Lilly root.  (The two male guys were very good looking too… which was nice. Anyway…)  I think the best part was when I was sort of separated from the group and just kind of drifting down the Waccamaw River.  I felt so close to God, and often would just say a little prayer and hum one of my favorite spiritual songs.  It was really just an amazing feeling.  (To be completely honest, those moments were my favorite during the trip, and why I want to do that again.)

The real reason I am writing about this though, is because I (as predicted) flipped my kayak.

I knew I would roll the kayak, and once I was in the kayak, I knew which side I would roll the kayak.  And because the guide said that coming out of your kayak was fine, just don’t flip the kayak over, I knew for certain that was what would happen.  I’m that talented, that I would do such a thing, and I would do it at the most awkward time possible.

So we start kayaking.  Everything is going fine and well, we’ve had cow lily root, saw some snakes, learned about black water systems.  The guide tells us to stop, because he’s going to show us something (probably another snake.)  I stop, and I’m right up alongside some other people, and then BAM! I’m in the water with a life jacket up about my nose, flip flops and all my other things floating in the water.  A few seconds of flailing and I’m upright in the water, trying to catch my breath and getting used to breathing while I’m treading water.  People gathered up my stuff, and moved away so the guide and I can work on getting me back in the kayak.

Now there are 2 methods of getting back into a kayak when you cannot touch the bottom of the river and there is no bank.  Put your head toward the back of the kayak, throw your right leg over the side and haul yourself over,  or, go to the back of the kayak, grab on to the back end and pull while simultaneously kicking as hard as you can to propel yourself back into the kayak.

We tried the first one a couple of times, but I felt a muscle start pulling, so I said no. (This was also after I whipped the life jacket off because I couldn’t move my arms or see.)  then we tried the other way a few times, and there was no way that was working.  Finally the guide said my best bet was going to be the first method.  We had be at this for about 5 minutes at this point, and I was ready to say “Listen, just let me swim this one.  I can handle it.  I grew up on Lake Erie, and I swam in a pond at my grandparents house all summer since I was knee high to a grasshopper!”  But, I trusted the guide, and managed to get back into the kayak.  (I used my noodle and planted my foot on a foot pedal, instead of just throwing it in there all willy nilly and expecting it to work.)

And as I was kayaking away from that event, I got to thinking.  That was a trust building exercise, and it’s kind of like our relationship with God.  He helps us into the kayak, he shows us how to use the paddle, and he tells us not to flip our kayak.  He warns us of the dangers that are ahead, but assures us that we’ll be okay if we trust them.  And when we flip out of our kayak, he helps us get back in, but we have to  trust that he knows what is best for us and will get us back into that kayak.  So many of us, however, give up, and won’t trust that God will get us back on track that we say “Forget it, I’ll swim” and shut him out.  And then we put ourselves at the mercy of all sorts of things. Exhaustion, alligators, drowning, and probably a host of other things I didn’t consider at the time.

I have found a love of kayaking, but I know that I need a guide if I don’t want to get lost or die or something like that, just like I know that I need God in my life because otherwise, I would fall victim to all sorts of sin, and I would be ensnared by them for ever.

I got back into the kayak.  Will you?

Growing a Servant’s Heart

Since I decided to become a Christian, I’ve heard a lot about the “Heart of a Servant.”  We are supposed to have one. I did a quick search on biblegateway.com, and kicked up 934 results.  Now a lot of those results are talking about actual servants, but if you just look at the New Testament, I found 156 specific verses.  Many of the New Testament writers start their letters with “[Name], a servant of Jesus (Christ)…..” or some similar introduction.  There are songs about being a servant. Servitude is an integral part of being a Christian, and it has become one of the focuses of my life.  One of the most important parts of my personal code of honor is that if I can help someone, then I will.  It’s a hard call to live up to.  Have there been times when I could have helped someone, but didn’t, especially since I became a Christian? Yes.  Have there been times when I have willingly decided not to help someone I know needed it? Certainly.  But that is where my imperfection shines forth, and it is one of the things I know I have to work on.

Mere servitude is not enough though.  We have to be willing servants, who are happy to help others and willing to do what is needed.  I recently got a job working as a cashier.  I enjoy my work because I get to serve others.  It’s not always easy.  There are times when customers are disgruntled, or someone brings a huge order to the express lane, or people ignore the instruction to leave certain items in their cart.  But many people are pleasant, and almost every single one is thankful for the service I provide.  I do everything I can to be quick and efficient at my work so that the customers are happy and so my managers are happy.  I like helping people, and in my mind, I see it as service to others, and that is why I enjoy it so much.  Even though by the end of the shift my feet hurt, and sometimes my back hurts, and I’m tired and just want to go to bed, I still make it a priority to smile and greet customers, and be pleasant with them.  It isn’t their fault that I’m tired or sore.  I remember that I was put on this planet to help others and serve them, and if I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it willingly.

Take last night, for example.  I was supposed to check out at 9:00 pm.  My grandmother was waiting in the parking lot, but right then, it seemed like everyone and their mother decided to check out.  I didn’t realize the store had that many people in it!  I looked at the time, looked around for my supervisor, shrugged, and started taking customers.  When I saw my supervisor, she asked if I would take more customers.  I gladly accepted.  Finally, (at her request) I turned my light back on, because the rush was not easing up, and there were lines at the other two open registers.  The store manager even came down to help me bag, since I didn’t have a bagger.  I ended up staying an extra 45 minutes so that we could take care of the customers quickly and efficiently.  Once the rush died off, I asked if it would be okay if I left, and clocked out.  It wasn’t something I “had” to do, but I knew it would make things easier for my coworkers, my bosses, and my customers.  I was happy to do it because I knew I was helping others.  I didn’t take it out on my customers, and I didn’t do it for the extra pay. (I make minimum wage, so it’s an extra $5.43, whoop-de-doo.)  In fact, I was more concerned about my supervisor getting in trouble for keeping me over my scheduled time, but I don’t think she will, because the manager thanked me for staying.

I’m not saying this to toot my own horn, or raise myself up.  This is just the best example I can give, and the reason I decided to write about this today. (I’ve been trying to think of something meaningful to write about, which is why I’m so overdue for a post.)  My point in telling you this is that we all should strive to serve willingly.  “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Col 3:17, ESV)  Or, if music is more your thing, here’s the chorus of Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Do Everything”

Well let me remind you, it all matters just as long
As you do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you,
Cause he made you,
To do
Every little thing that you do
To bring a smile to His face
Tell the story of grace
With every move that you make
And every little thing you do

Faith in God requires action along with that faith. In the 2nd chapter of James’ letter to his Christian bretheren (and sisteren), that “Faith without works is dead.” (Verses 17, 24, 26, ESV)  Everyone is called to service, but that doesn’t mean everyone is called to the same service.  For example, I am good at teaching.  So I intend to work as a teacher, both in schools and at home, and in my church.  But I know I am better at teaching older children and adults, more than little children.  I have not developed the patience for it, and I don’t have the attitude for it.  But I know others who are marvelous with younger children.  I know some who have a knack for yardwork.  They serve congregations by working on the grounds of the church, and by helping older members with their yardwork.  Some people are really good at working with technology.  They serve by helping others with technology problems and putting together powerpoints for services.  Some of the brothers and sisters I know are excellent conversationalists, and they have taken the time to learn how to encourage others, and that is so important. Servants take their talents and put them to use for others.  They help others profit by their abilities, and in doing so, they serve God.  We all have strengths, and we need to learn to utilize them so that we can serve others.

This isn’t something that happens overnight.  I used to be incredibly selfish.  It has taken time for me to learn how to take joy in serving others, and I grow more from it day by day.  There are more ways I can serve, and I need to start utilizing those opportunities.  And you may find that is the case too.  Take an inventory of your talents.  How can you use those talents to serve someone else today?  Ask your church elders how you can serve your church, if you aren’t doing something already, or if you know you can do more.  Find a soup kitchen or food pantry and help serve food, or help a neighbor with some yard work.  Offer to help an elderly person with their shopping.  Go on a mission trip.  Find ways to serve others.

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you    welcomed me,
I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’
Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

-Jesus, Mathew 25:35-40

The lesson I learned from a pair of shoes….

I have a beautiful pair of wedge heels.  I got them at Lane Bryant, and they have the braided rope on heel, and a pretty texturized upper fabric that covers the toe and the heel and made up the ankle strap.  I adored these heels because they were the first pair I had picked out for myself and could wear and be fairly comfortable.  I’ve had them for about a year now, but back in March I was getting ready to go see an on-campus movie with friends, and when I lifted my left foot to fasten the strap, I didn’t realize I was stepping on the strap with my right heel.  As I lifted my foot, I realized my mistake, but it was too late, and I had ripped the strap clean off the shoe. I picked up both pieces, saw there would be no quick fix before I had to leave, and took the right shoe off.  I was dismayed, but I knew of a shoe repair shop back home and decided to take them in and see what could be done.  I donned a different pair of heels I had not yet worn and went to see The Hobbit.

Fast forward to two weeks ago.  I was home from my first year of college, and I was running errands.  As I passed the shoe repair shop on the way to the mall, I saw it was still open, but I figured it was going to cost more to fix the shoe than it was worth, but then I had an epiphany.  I could remove the ankle straps on both shoes, and then replace them with ribbon and tie them like pointe shoes!  The would be just as or more pretty, and I would just have to buy some grosgrain ribbon!

With my new plan concocted, I continued on to the mall.  I figured WalMart would be a good place to stop because they sold fabric and ribbon and other crafty things, and I needed a journal anyway.

I wish I could say that I have pictures posted of the new shoes in all of their diy makeover glory, but I don’t.  I’ll add pictures when they are done for you all to look at.

So now that you know the back story and the plan, allow me to explain the lesson.  That pair of shoes was lovely.  They were well made, attractive, and supportive.  They were helpful when I needed to look nice, even if it took me a while to finagle the strap closed.  But then they broke, they became damaged and unwearable because of a silly thing, but that strap was the shoe’s weak spot.  It would break there before anywhere else.  I am that shoe.  We are all that shoe.  We are all beautiful and do important things and help others accomplish things and carry great loads.  But just like shoes we fall short of expectations.  We break and are damaged, and we need repair.  And Jesus does that for us.  He takes a good look at us, determines what we need, and not only fixes us, he changes us and makes us different and better than we were.  He does to us what we cannot do.  He takes away our stains (our sins) and heals us (fixes our broken straps), and it makes us better than we were.

“And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”” -Mark 12:17, ESV

And because some of you might be saying “Well what if I’m the shoe that isn’t broken?  I don’t need this Jesus to fix me!  I’m perfectly fine!” here is Romans 3: 22b-26:

For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.   It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

See that? “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  That means me, that means you, your neighbor, your cousin, and that random man you passed earlier today on the street.  We are all sinners, we all have fallen short of God’s glory and expectation of us, BUT, if we have freely accepted Christ into our life by baptism for the remission of sins, then we have been covered by Christ’s blood, and not only are our former sins forgiven, but the ones we are making currently.

So, in essence, we are all shoes with a broken strap.

And that’s the lesson I learned from a pair of shoes.

In Christ,

Jax