Tag Archives: walk

Shoes

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I had a really nice visit with a friend not so long ago. While she is a pastor’s wife at our church, I’ve also had the privilege to get to know her better through a small group Bible study. It was during this time that she really made an impression on me. Although she has 5 children of her own and is my junior, I was able to discern she had a depth to her Christian walk. In other words, she wasn’t just a “pastor’s wife” in name only. She has a genuine faith all her own aside from her husband’s role in the church.

During our brief visit, I shared with her some things I’ve been struggling with in my parenting. Knowing her as I do, I felt she would have some godly wisdom for me. Little did I know that her words would be few, yet pregnant in meaning. Her response, “I haven’t walked in your shoes.” Wow! That really resonated with me because she could have easily spewed from her vast experience of parenting her own 5 children. I would have taken it all in and considered what she was saying, but the impact of those 6 words conveyed so much more to me.

“I haven’t walked in your shoes” communicates several things. One being the most obvious, I’ve not been in your particular situation so I don’t feel I can bring anything to the table. Second, considers that while the experience I have with my children might be helpful to you, it may not be, simply because all children are different just as all parents are different. Third, it validates you as a parent by not assuming you’re an igmo since you’re in the spot you’re in. Fourth, it offers empathy to the person who is seeking help and desperately trying to find a solution to their problem.

Leaving my friend that afternoon, I not only felt heard but encouraged, empathized with, prayed for, and refreshed. Isn’t this what we all long for with our most treasured of friends? It seems ludicrous to think otherwise, yet more times than I care to recall, I’ve come away from a conversation having felt ridiculed, challenged, put down, a less than, and an igmo all rolled into one! For me to humbly ask a friend for advice, in my opinion, is a compliment to my friend. It conveys that this friend is admired, looked up to, been in a similar situation where they can empathize and offer help. I cannot fathom why anyone would respond in any other way but with grace and honor.

My challenge to you: the next time a friend shares her personal dilemma with you, consider her thoughts and feelings. Listen to her with respect and empathy. Weigh your words carefully before pontificating your thoughts. And as a respected pastor of mine once said, ‘while listening (to the person speak), I pray silently to God asking for His wisdom to share rather than my own’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

lessons from the ocean

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lessons from the ocean

To me, there’s just nothing like the ocean… nothing! I love everything about it… well, except for the seaweed, sand fleas, and scary critters who live there and attack innocent beach chair sitters, like me! I love the splashing sound the waves make as they crash upon the shore. I love hearing the sound of seagulls cawing overhead as they sweep across the bright blue sky; but more than any of that, I love how the ocean’s water relaxes me like nothing else. Honestly, I believe I could sit in my beach chair at the water’s edge with my toes in the sand all day long, drinking in the beauty of my environment. The ocean speaks peace and calm to me and there’s just no denying how wonderful I feel when I’m there. I can take in full, deep breaths of the healing saltwater air. And, did I mention the delicious seafood to be enjoyed while at the beach?! That’s another subject for another day….

Trumping all of that, as if there could possibly be more to enjoy, is the spiritual connotation of the beach. If, like me, you suffer from anxiety and/or depression, you may feel overwhelmed by your circumstances from time to time, as if one more stressor is going to push you straight over the towering waterfall. I can identify with those feelings and because of my affinity for the beach, I so love the words a friend has written. So, with her permission, I’m sharing it here in hopes that it may enlighten and encourage you as it has me.

When the Lord tells you to go take a walk by yourself. You go take a walk by yourself.
And when He tells you to stop and sit here because He has something He wants to show you, you stop and you sit right there.
Then He says, “watch”.
So you look out over the great big (endless to your eyes) ocean thinking maybe He’s going to cause 10 dolphins to all jump out of the water at the same time, maybe a huge ship will come by, a whale? (in the gulf?)… what could it be?
Then He gently keeps drawing your attention to the edge of the water.
And you notice that there seems to be an invisible border the water will not cross. No matter how much the wind kicks up the waves 10 to 20 feet out into the water, it will not push the foamy edge past this invisible line.
And you hear Him say, “here and no further”.
The words are familiar, I remember them from the book of Job.

“Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’?”
‭‭(Job‬ ‭38:8-11)‬

And then He says to you… “I am what keeps the overwhelming from overwhelming you. Look at the sea, how vast it is, how immeasurable it is to you, yet I keep it from taking you over, from even touching you.”
We may feel the strong winds against our face, and with it we may feel the sand mixed with mists of that water but He will not let it overtake us. We may feel overwhelmed because we can see how big that ocean is in front of us, but guess what… He wants us to see how overwhelming it is. So we can see how even bigger He is.
Whatever it is that surrounds us that looks insurmountable, impossible, hopeless… He has drawn an invisible line between us and it.
There is an end to it. There is a boundary that He has set and says to it… “this far and no further shall you come.”

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