And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
Jason says I strut. I said, “Nuh-uh!” I emphatically denied it because there is just no way I strut around. Only confident people do that. Bold ones. People who feel good in their own skin. And usually, I don’t.
Feel good in my own skin, that is. Oh, for more reasons than I want to get into right now. The point is, this woman doesn’t strut.
However, after contemplating the strutting issue further… I just have to wonder. Can it be possible?
Do I strut?
New shoes brought up the topic. My son’s Christmas money was burning a hole in his pocket and he’s been waiting to buy new basketball shoes for weeks. So Saturday was the big day. Sprawled out on the couch, he wore them till past 10:30 pm.
He assured me he was comfortable, though.
And Monday, his new shoes heavily influenced his choice of pants. Athletic, of course, with pockets. The pockets made it easier for him to insert hands and hitch up his pants legs so he could admire the shoes as he walked.
My husband and I smiled at each other as we watched him. I made a remark about Levi’s strutting around and Jason thought it would be a good confidence builder. His reasoning: if Levi feels good in what he’s wearing, he’ll be more confident.
That’s when he said it. “You strut.”
As I previously stated, I said, “Nuh-uh!”
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come. Proverbs 31:25
Annabelle got a new pair of shoes on Monday. Jason brought them home and she glowed. She wore them practically all day yesterday, running back and forth, giggling and preening. Definitely toddler strutting if I ever saw any.
It was plain to see. Annabelle felt so good in her shoes. Just like Levi.
And just like me.
Because unbeknownst to me, I’m the very same. Without realizing it, I strut around like my children. Wrapped in something that makes me feel better about myself, I must walk differently.
Alas, my husband was right. As usual.
I do strut.
It was my growing years that caused me to agree with my husband (even though I didn’t want to). Because I’ll tell you what I know about clothes. And shoes. They for sure have power to make you feel good. Or bad.
I know because it’s the road I walked. When I was a young girl, I didn’t have what other kids had. Now don’t get me wrong, I was never in need.
There was always a roof over my head and food in my belly. And there was always clothing on my back. Just, it was usually second-hand (before second-hand was cool). And I can recall my clothing from kindergarten on with such clarity. So many of my tales begin with, “I was wearing” or “You were wearing…”
My girlfriend thinks it’s a photographic memory but I know the truth. I remember so well because pain was involved. Or shame. I was embarrassed of my circumstances or my appearance and it totally colored my world.
And my memories.
The flawed white blouse that had to be fastened with a safety pin. The corduroy dress with big red buttons up and down the back. The green jumper with hideous mustard tights. The red, white and blue ensemble that would make a “monkey out of me,” so I was told.
And fifth grade brought me powder blue tennis shoes with three stripes (peach, pink and white). Mom was so happy to give them so I hid my frown. I knew they weren’t right. Not compared to what my friends had.
And so I was weighed and measured by my own standards (or the world’s). And I was found wanting.
I wanted what I did not have.
I wanted what wasn’t mine…
I got a kick out of Annabelle yesterday. Despite being tickled with her new shoes, she wanted what wasn’t hers. She wanted Levi’s. And she did her best to walk around in his shoes. Alas, his shoes were just too big for her to fill.
When Annabelle tried to walk in her older brother’s shoes, she’d easily get tripped up.
And today, I realize the same thing goes for me. It’s dawned on me that I’ve been trying to slip my feet into other people’s shoes for some time now. I wanted to fill their roles and trod their path. But finally, I understand.
Their way is not my way.
And really, their shoes are not my size. Perhaps too big for me to fill right now. And more importantly, God has a pair of shoes just for me.
Custom made and a perfect fit.
Here comes that dreamer! Genesis 37:19
I’ll tell you what I’ve been doing lately. Along with the New Year, I’ve been going through some recent journals. Out with the old, in with the new kind of stuff. What goes and what remains…
Just after the New Year, that’s the question I asked myself. “What remains?” Know what I found out? Through scouring thousands of words, I discovered my dreams remain. Because that’s what I wrote a year and a half ago.
My dreams remain.
My dreams were undone then and they’re undone now. Unfulfilled. And so, they’re still with me. My new thought? These remaining dreams are custom made for me. They’re the way I should walk. For there are shoes out there only I can fill.
Because He made them just for me.
A perfect fit.
For dreams result from much work and a fool’s voice from many words. Ecclesiastes 5:3
It’s the road you’ve already walked. That’s God’s dream for His children. Whatever brought the most pain will be how God uses you from this moment forward. I believe to my soul He’ll use your biggest struggle in ministry to Him.
And though my struggle was a trivial one, I had to overcome it nonetheless. The memories are just too vivid.
Yes, it has to do with clothes. And shoes. Totally superficial but supremely powerful. Because these material items can cause not only a toddler and a nine year old to strut, but also a full grown, forty-two year old woman.
That’s what clothing can do.
Oh, slipping into my friend’s acid washed Guess jeans at 15 was a heady feeling. Someone even commented, “What’s up with her today, she’s full of herself!” And I was. They hadn’t a clue it was wearing another person’s clothes that made me feel so luxurious. Couldn’t comprehend that a name brand was cause for my strutting.
Other times, though, I wanted to shrink away because of my apparel. At twenty, I felt trashy in my too-tight red shirt, black plastic belt, and flashy, floral, too-short skirt. Likely because I stood next to a cool, composed, female pilot who wore a long skirt paired with an elegant top. I didn’t measure up.
And I was ashamed when I slipped on my thin denim jacket after a party two years later. The host was so concerned. “You can’t walk home in that! You’ll freeze! Here, wear my coat…” No, no, I told her. I assured her I’d be fine.
And I was. Only embarrassed that I didn’t own a proper coat.
Which brings me to today. And my utter surprise at the flood of tears that came out of nowhere. Darn near sobbing while driving down the highway. Brought on by the cold…
Or maybe it was a dream undone.
Joseph remembered his dreams. Genesis 42:9
It’s been so cold here lately but my child is fortunate. Not only does he have new shoes, he also has a nice warm coat to keep him snug. So he’s just fine. But what about other children?
In facing these frigid temperatures, I wondered about them today. Little ones who may not be as fortunate as my own. Perhaps there’s a little girl out there who shrugs on a thin, denim jacket because that’s all she has. And when someone exclaims over it, she assures them, “No, no! I’ll be fine!”
But it’s her pride that causes her to say she’s fine.
And in contemplating her pride, and mine, I was overcome by emotion. Tears assailed me for the kids who don’t have what my son has. Children who have less than him.
I cried because they’re cold.
But also, I cried for their shame. Because that’s what I’m familiar with. The shame.
But today, something changed inside me. I burn. A long forgotten passion was reignited by the embers of childhood memories.
And I remembered my dreams. The ones He gave me…
Dreams no more than a few years old have been relegated to paper. They’ve become nothing more than empty words in a composition book, copied from one journal to the next.
Waiting for me to act on them.
To walk in them.
A person who promises a gift but doesn’t give it is like clouds and wind that bring no rain. Proverbs 25:14
My husband is a speaker of truth and usually, I get mad at him for it. That’s because he’ll tell me the truth even if it’s something I don’t want to hear.
Like saying I strut, of all things.
But recently, he said something else that hit a raw nerve. He called me on my words. Or rather, the empty ones. My endless words that say one thing but are proved otherwise by my actions. It was just an observation on his part. He noticed I did something I said I wasn’t going to do anymore.
And I was grieved to my soul over this. Not because he said it but because it’s true.
The thing is, I’ve always been a big talker. Going all the way back. I was going to move to Florida and attend college there. My time in the Air Force was going to be cultural and full of excitement. I was going to sell greeting cards and open a coffee shop. I was going to visit Guam or Japan or Thailand when I lived in Korea. And after the military, I was going on a grand European trip. I was going to use the GI Bill for a degree… nursing or teaching or physical therapy (WHAT?).
Oh, I was going to do a lot of things. But not one of them happened. And sadly, the pattern continues. This time, though, it’s not my stuff that’s not getting done. It’s His stuff.
The God given dreams and visions placed in my heart long ago were placed on the back burner.
They’ve been simmering on low all this time.
Waiting for me to turn the heat up.
She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet. Proverbs 31:20-21
God speaks when you listen. Sometimes, it’s through a string of words from your loved one at just the right time. Like with Jason.
He reminded me of my empty words which brought to mind unrealized dreams. He next told me I strut. It’s clothing that does it. Or shoes. And gosh it’s cold outside. Which brought forth an unbidden memory of a denim jacket from long ago. Because it was cold then. As it is now.
And there are those who have needs. Real needs.
And so words and recollections were strung together, creating pearls of wisdom. Understanding. And purpose. And that’s what God awakens me to today. My purpose. In Him.
He nudges me… Wake up, sleeper! Rise and shine for the day has come!
And I see truth. It’s not too late. For it’s a new dawn and a new day and my dreams await. They’ve never gone away. My dreams, or His, remain within me. Custom made for me. A perfect fit.
So I slip them on and they feel right. My dreams are just my size. Like a comfortable pair of shoes. And you know what they say… if the shoe fits, wear it.
But more importantly, I say you walk in it.
You walk forward in the shoes God designs for you.
In closing, I write this as a challenge to myself. Because my husband was right. I often say one thing and do another. And the blog is huge part of that.
One year ago, I was positive I needed to back off and I did. However, I jumped back in too soon. A few months later, I again felt I should stop. But I didn’t. And haven’t. And so, in contemplating the out with the old and in with the new kind of stuff, I ask again…
No doubt, my dreams remain for they’re part of me. It’s the direction in which God points me. But the blog? I think uh-uh. No, that door is closing. Because it’s served its purpose. The truth about God and me has been uncovered.
And through it, I remembered my dreams.
That’s the way I go now. For another door awaits.
Thus, it’s with great anticipation I slip on my shoes. And I boldly walk into my future. The one God has waiting for me.
I better be careful, though. Donning this new pair of shoes feels pretty good. And if I don’t watch myself, I may end up strutting.
Just like my son.
And my daughter.
Just like Jason says I do…
Once more, my husband is right. As usual.
The one who says he remains in Him should walk just as He walked. 1 John 2:6