Guide Me to Him

I was always told that God works through us in many ways, but for me, I needed to take a walk in the wrong pair of shoes to really understand it for myself.

I was angry about the shoes I chose to wear today. It may seem small and insignificant, but I didn’t realize how hard it was raining out and how much it would bother me. I was walking to the metro in my flats that I normally walk in and I had put a nice clean pair of shoes in my bag to wear once I got to church. It seemed like a smart plan, but with every step into the puddles pooling on the sidewalk, I grew more and more upset. The water was seeping through the worn leather of my shoes, and every crack in the weathered soles was an opening crevice for the water to slip in.

I was so annoyed that it was raining because I had no control it. I was frustrated with myself for not wearing my rain boots and preparing better for my commute. This led to being angry with myself because I needed to place the blame somewhere. Why didn’t I think of this? How could I be so dumb? Why did I think this city life wouldn’t be so hard?

I walked into church with my cold, wet shoes, dripping umbrella, and soaked pant bottoms. Well, here I am God, I thought. I’m a mess, I feel horrible, and I am not amused. It felt too ironic. I wanted an easy path to church with sunbeams and light shining, not a trek through the city with sloppy shoes and my drenched leopard print umbrella.

To be honest, I wanted convenience, not just to my destination, but to my faith. I wanted my faith to be so easily accessible, a little rain wouldn’t bother me. But instead, my faith was immediately shaken and I questioned if I should even bother making the trip.

I think it’s the moments where we are in a tough spot and questioning our commitment to God that we see, though sometimes surprising to us, the strength in our faith. It made me think about the way Jesus walked through his life, weathering whatever storms came his way. He washed the feet of the disciples who followed him, and even blessed those who walked in different shoes than he did.

Someone mentioned in church today that we should seek to find Jesus in other people. The holes forming in my shoes were a physical reminder that I need to let God in when it rains in my life. I was so focused on my own problems and my own comfort that I neglected to feel the joy of being able to go church on Sunday morning, and the peace I feel in worshiping Him. I was caught up in things I have no control over and it sucked my energy into a negative place when I could have focused on walking the walk in Jesus’s path.

There was a book that we read in middle school called, “Walk Two Moons” and it was one of my favorites. It’s a great story, but the piece that stuck with me the most was the message that we cannot judge people without walking two moons in their shoes. This message was powerful to me because it’s easy to think we know what someone is going through just because we have felt something similar, but until we truly and genuinely spend time in that person’s shoes, we can’t honestly say that we know exactly how they feel.

This brings me back to how I think about my walk this morning. It would be a long haul for me if I continue to wear my worn out shoes in the dreary weather. But I know that Jesus has walked more than two moons in my shoes, and I know that He is ready to walk with me on my life path. I may not always know the way and I will definitely not always be prepared, but I have faith that the shoes on my feet will guide me to Him.

Faith Over Fear

This past May, I boarded a plane to Disney World with the attempt to leave behind the stress and turmoil of reality and escape into a magical fantasy land. I checked my bag and waited for the plane to take off to my happy place. I was delighted to have the opportunity to dive into a book I am reading called, “Brave Enough,” a story about the author’s faith journey and advice with helping women get over their fears and flaws to live bold and free. While I picked this book off the shelf from my favorite used bookstore expecting another typical self help book, I was pleasantly surprised how the author discusses faith so intently weaved throughout each chapter.

That being said, I don’t know if it was the high altitude or the waking up at the crack of dawn that drew me into a foggy haze, but I sat on the plane and needed a minute to gather my thoughts as I read deeper into this book. The author mentioned that God’s love is the source of our bravery and strength, not our own abilities or goodness. She called it “Jesus courage” when we could tackle our challenges with our faith spearheading our actions.

As the author mentioned how God’s love was so full and abundant, I was a bit skeptical. What does it mean to love God in a way that I can accept and embrace the love he has for me? As someone who used to constantly question my own worthiness, I instantly took a step back with this concept. The author argued that the love God has for us overpowers what we think of ourselves. What a freeing notion that we are worthy and loved, exactly as we are!

I closed the book. My head was spinning and I couldn’t put the words together to describe how it felt to have my faith once again rattled into realizing that God’s love is something bigger than I could wrap my head around. I shut my eyes and listened to the family in the row behind me. The young girl was asking her mom where they were going and was trying to guess the answer. Now I will admit, I thought it was strange at first. Did the mother not tell her child where they were headed? Did the child not think to ask why the suitcases were packed? How could she get on a plane and not know the destination?

And then it crashed over me as if the plane had all of a sudden dropped down from the sky and landed on my heart. That is how you love God. You don’t need to know where He is taking you. It’s not a requirement for Him to tell you every life plan He has for you. Sometimes you need to let Him pack the bags and put you on a plane, knowing that He is the pilot and you will land where you need to be.

I picked up the book again, still in disbelief that God was communicating to me in a way that He know I would understand. The author continues to talk about reading the Bible and the practice of prayer. She mentioned how it takes courage to approach the Bible with the belief that God has something to say to you, and that we first must admit our prayer with confession. If we cannot confess what is standing in the way of becoming closer to Him, we will not be able to achieve that intimate relationship.

I was long overdue for some prayer time. After the encouragement from this book, I put my prayer together and I prayed for two things. One, that I would have a sign for God that loving Him and following His word was a path I needed to pursue. I confessed that I started this faith journey as something to explore and to prove a point to myself that I could hand over the reigns. I prayed that God would see my honest attempt to connect with Him in a meaningful way.

And the second prayer was that I made the right decision in looking for other jobs. I was scared to move beyond where I was comfortable, and I confessed that comfort was something I was definitely okay with. I took pride in my job and didn’t want to lose that by going somewhere else. I prayed that God would offer me a light in this tunnel and comfort me in this difficult decision making time.

So I got off the plane and headed towards the bus that would bring us to our hotel. I peered out the window as the bus took off, and I gasped when I looked at the sky. A plane had written “Love God” in the sky. I was in complete awe that I had prayed God would see my feeble attempt to follow His word, and my prayer for a sign I was on the right path was answered. Clear as day, God revealed to me that I am His child and I am doing exactly what He has guided me to do.

A few weeks after my trip, my sister sent me a job posting in D.C. that looked like something I might be interested in. I was hesitant to apply for anything out of my comfort zone, and I was afraid to apply for something in a different location than where I was currently living. But this job was working with volunteers, something I really enjoyed doing, and I was encouraged by my family to apply. After several various types of interviews, the manager said to me that I seemed very calm about the whole application and interview process. While of course I wanted to make a good impression and present my best self, I was surprised at how calm I actually felt. It was a peaceful feeling that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

I was putting groceries away in my fridge one day and I saw my star word from my church. A word printed on a cut out star is given to each person in the congregation on Epiphany Sunday to celebrate the wise men who followed the North Star to Jesus. The word is supposed to be a guiding light for the year ahead. My word was “childlike” and I will fully admit I was disappointed. I had absolutely no idea what it meant and I liked to think I was a mature person, so this word didn’t identify with me. But I stuck it on my fridge and figured I would make meaning of it one day.

After I was offered the position and accepted, I made the connection that the job was located at a children’s hospital, and my star word was childlike. A word that was given to me at the beginning of the year finally made sense. God’s plan for me was already made back in January, and I just hadn’t known it yet. This was the answer to my second prayer, the light in the tunnel that I needed. The calm I was feeling was actually God’s presence, I just didn’t know how to identify it.

God is here, and I am a believer. I am His child, and His love knows no bounds. What a blessing it is to receive His unconditional love! May you feel the joy of being loved and the grace of his presence.