Wednesday, April 29, 2009

These Shoes Were Made For . . .

I’ve never been much of a shoe girl. It’s not that I don’t like them. I’ve always loved getting a new pair of shoes. When it comes to adding to my collection, though, my pragmatism tends to win out. Far from flashy, my shoe rack has been stocked around the principle if they aren’t multi-functional, I don’t need them. Tennis shoes, brown boots, black boots, black heels (three pairs to be exact), more black in my sandals with one brown pair thrown in, a pair of black flip-flops someone left in my van and never claimed, along with a few other variations. I even have a pair of mid-90’s snow boots left over from my days in Minnesota and Massachusetts. As if it will ever snow enough for boots in Augusta! If it does, just look for the fashion faux pas and you’ll find me.

Because of my inner bent toward the practical, stilettos were never high on my shoe shopping radar. I like to be able to take stairs and run down hallways without fear of hurting myself. Recently, though, I’ve discovered that stilettos were made for much more than walking.

One Monday morning in mid-March, I was sitting in the Walmart parking lot texting one of the girls in my small group about an event we were planning. In the midst of thinking through the details of the coming day, I couldn’t shake the discouragement that wrapped itself so easily around my heart. My heaviness of heart had nothing to do with anything having gone wrong that day or anything I was anticipating. Rather, I had been asking God some big questions all weekend—questions about purpose and calling. I needed His reassurance. I could tell this wasn’t just a mood. I knew I was in a spiritual wrestling match with my thoughts and emotions. I simply had to press through and make a choice to trust. Finishing our conversation about the event details, I closed out by asking her to keep me in prayer.

I was asking for prayer, but God was doing so much more.

Later that day, when I arrived home after picking up the kids from school, my husband told me he had found a box on the front steps. Pointing to it on the floor, he asked me what it was. I was as clueless as he was . . . until I opened the box.

There lay a pair of black stilettos with three scriptures written on a piece of paper.

Look upon Zion, the city of our festivals; your eyes will see Jerusalem, a peaceful abode, a tent that
will not be moved; its stakes will never be pulled up or any of its ropes broken. Isaiah 33:20

Moses answered the people “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. Exodus 14:13

You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you. 2 Chronicles 20:17

As I read the scriptures and saw the shoes, I started to cry. My husband, of course, was appropriately confused.

Though the shoes nor the scriptures carried any name of the giver, I figured out the messenger was the one I had texted earlier in the day asking for prayer. But without a doubt, I knew the message had been from the Lord. And I knew exactly what He was telling me. He had not forgotten; He had not changed His mind.

Seven months earlier, I had heard a timely message from a guest speaker (Michelle Davenport) at a women’s event at our church. She preached on the enemy’s plan to “devour minds, steal identities, kill dreams and ultimately destroy destinies.” Reminding us of our freedom through the work of the cross, she said, “We have been uniquely assigned by God for an eternal assignment.” Choosing life meant choosing to live free. Then she said something that would become pivotal for me in the coming months. “Sometimes,” she said, “You have to just stick your stilettos in the ground and say ‘I’m not moving from the place God has called me.’”

So when a pair of stilettos showed up on my doorstep seven months later, I knew what God was saying. Stand firm, hold your ground against the enemy, do not be moved.

In His awesomeness, God took the message of the shoes beyond my life when I had an opportunity to teach at a women’s retreat for our church the next weekend. I found out not only was it possible to walk in stilettos, but they make pretty good teaching shoes. Especially when you want to tromp all over the enemy’s territory.

Boring no more, my shoe rack now holds a prized message from the Lord in the form of three and a half inch heels. While these are my first pair, I don’t think they’ll be my last.

After all, there’s a lot of territory to take.

Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses . . . No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it . . . Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:3, 5-9