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"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil,
to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Old Shoes

Ok, so we all have them...our favorite broken in old shoes that our feet just slide into as if they were a custom-made second skin... You know the ones!

I LOVE my old shoes!!! I have loved and worn them so much that they are no longer wearable. Yes, it is very sad. I hate change! I liked how these used to fit! They were perfect! I didn't even have to lace or buckle them anymore... they beckoned to be worn like slippers made in Heaven!  But those same comfy familiar old shoes now actually hurt my feet. I keep trying to convince myself that it may be my mind playing tricks on me.  "Maybe my feet are just swollen," I try to reason, or "it was just more humid today"...they were still my same old friends! Yet each time I attempted to wear them I felt that same pinch, poke or rub from the worn down materials, telling me they were ready to move on to retirement.

So it's time find a new pair of shoes...not pleasurable but necessary. After what seemed like an endless endeavor I found some I liked. They're not bad... they're actually pretty good! Then it happens: the blisters! A couple of bandaids later I realize these new shoes actually feel pretty darn good, maybe even better than the old ones ever felt...and suddenly my feet have made new best friends!  Those of you who are regular readers of my blog probably know where this is going, but here's a curve ball: sometimes those new shoes don't stop hurting for a long time.

One of my favorite secular singers, Sade, has a beautifully poignant song called "Pearls" that I'd like to dedicate to every mom of a child with special needs. Listen closely to the words. The lyrics are so multidimensional that it may stir a potpourri of emotions and feelings about yourself, about all mothers who struggle, about families in Africa...it may even make you see your life from a different angle and put things into perspective.  I purposely chose a video that has peaceful images unrelated to the song. I'd like for you to create your own mental images as you listen:
Hearing Sade belt out that prayer from what seems like the innermost parts of her being stirs my soul every time I hear the song! Did you catch the part that says "Hurts like brand new shoes"?

This week our little man went back to school. Last week he started with a new "teacher" at home. All that was familiar to us is changing at it "hurts like brand new shoes." I've been reflecting on this. Much like the woman in the song we also "live a life we didn't choose" but "it's a force stronger than nature that keeps (our) will alive."  Now, don't get me wrong, I am NOT saying that having a child with special needs even comes close to what these women in Africa must endure to ensure the mere survival of their families. I just like the lyrics and can identify with certain parts of the song.  Let's all keep praying for the terrible famine in the African Horn. How many of us have found ourselves crying out to God in that moment of despair? "WHY?!?!?" is the default response when things don't go our way: bad things happen, plans change, etc.

Or lives are like those old comfy shoes. We'd stay in that same comfort zone forever... why even think of change? As parents of kids on the autism spectrum, it is SO easy to fall into that trap of just staying home where everything is safe, no one is judging or giving unsolicited advice, things are familiar and so much easier to control! But we inadvertently feed into our kids' rigidity and social disconnection, making it even harder to try something new and different or attend social events in the future.  I admit I fall into this trap quite frequently. Thankfully I am blessed with a husband who repeatedly gives me reality checks and pushes me to try things outside of my comfort zone. And guess what? More often than not, our little guy has loved it and so have I! When he hasn't loved it, we've at least tried something new and can chalk it up to experience! I am reminded to the beautiful book Dancing with Max by Emily Colson. She shares her experience of reaching that point in her life with her son, Max and describes the freedom and joy they discovered together.

When we get too comfy, God tosses little things in the way to get us to move, to change. But just like those old shoes you keep going back, convincing yourself that it's fine and that "things will go back to normal." Until the situation, much like those old shoes, becomes unbearable. God will keep sending louder messages until you have no choice but to dump the old and try the new. I'm sure you've heard the term "thicker skin." Well, thicker skin is officially/technically called a callous. Do you know how callouses develop? They are a result of repeated irritation, a sort of skin's defense mechanism of growing extra layers to.. guess what? PROTECT that same spot from harm the next time it's irritated. Hmm... you still asking "why?"

I can't say that our "new" right now will become "the" comfy place to be... we are still in the "oh, this is not so bad" stage.  I know there will be blisters, things that rub the wrong way and readjustments to make. But like the woman in the song, I will cry out "Halleluiah" to "the Heavens above" even when I feel like "there is a stone in my heart."  I'm "living a life (I) didn't choose... and it hurts like brand new shoes" but my song doesn't end there because I am trusting in God's promises: Hebrews 10:36-391 Kings 8:56Hebrews 6:13-20 .

Even if ultimately those "new shoes" don't end up as cozy as the old ones... be sure that God will toss in some "gel inserts" to help cushion your walk until your next new pair of shoes!

Have a blessed day!

1 comment:

  1. Oh yes, we are trying new shoes. Believe me! Simply put, the experience is taking us very far from our comfort zone. But, in the midst of all the craziness, I thank God. Why? Because he is showing us a new way of doing things (the way we would have never imagined), there are new passions being born in our hearts and new ideas. If I had not being presented with this challenge, I would have stayed right were I was. And, honestly, as difficult as what we are passing through is, I don’t want to go back to were I was. I peruse my heart from this perspective and need to say, that moving into this new shoes has been a blessing!