The truth as I know it:

We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life. But those who make their journey home across time & miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them, are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us by God's very own hands. ~~~ Kristi Larson

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Lessons in the "un" obvious

I didn't intend to necessarily blog about being barefoot today. I didn't set out to see this day in little parts and pieces, one public display at a time. I naively went into this day thinking I would walk around barefoot (though truthfully I wasn't fully committed until about 7:30 this morning) and probably get a few strange looks, maybe Toms would sell ONE or TWO pairs of shoes, but that would be about it. But as usual, God had some other lessons in store for me.

First of all, I was surprised by just how much courage it took to even just go to the bus stop barefoot. It's cold out this morning. I wanted to put on my fuzzy slippers. But I'm so glad I didn't because it prompted this great conversation with Liam about WHY I am barefoot today. Which was lesson #1: I have this sensitive, sweet boy who feels for the helpless and the underdogs of the world. Why have I not noticed that he and I share the same heart in so many ways? Why did I only just see it today? I am SO blind! My eyes are shaded by the difficulties that come with parenting a kid with ADHD and the exhaustion I feel at his disorder. Sometimes it's hard to separate him from it, but times like this are so beautiful because I get reminded how absolutely precious his heart is and how deeply he feels. He embraces so many of the things that are in my heart. He and I are alike in that way and different from the others in our family in the depth to which we feel. (I'll just say I'm surrounded by alot of THINKERS, which is a great counter-balance for us feelers!)

Liam saves his money. He doesn't spend it easily and he doesn't like for others to spend theirs either. Which will tell you how moved he was when he said he wanted to give some of his money to buy shoes for a child who doesn't have any. He was asking me tons of questions about why these kids don't have shoes, why they can't go to school, what causes the Podoconiosis that disfigures and debilitates so many people, etc. etc. It was a sweet conversation and if I do nothing else by going barefoot today, it will have been worth it. But he was so moved that he explained my bare feet to the first mom to come up to the bus stop.

Lesson #2: I still have ALOT of work to do with my oldest son. He is my "easy" child, really doesn't require much of me in terms of workload and he even makes a great effort to make things easier for me at home (he WANTED to get his sister dressed for bed last night, for example... begged me to let him do it.) So it's easy to fool myself into believing that somehow we've done a pretty good job with him over the past eight years. But his heart was revealed this morning when he was very concerned about how embarrassing it would be for me to go barefoot. He was concerned that someone was going to laugh at me and was glad that he wouldn't be there to be embarrassed by my bare feet. It's so much more difficult to penetrate his shield. This shield has served him very well, he copes with amazing efficiency. He is a precious child, but I need him to step outside of himself some more and empathize with the other fellow. This was a great reminder for me that he needs to see some more things first hand that are outside of our comfortable bubble.

Lesson #3: Amazing to me how God literally comes to teach me when I make time for Him and ask Him to do it. This morning I woke up with a massive headache at 6:10. I didn't want to get out of bed, but then I was reminded that Jesus rose when it was still dark to share some time with God and I couldn't stay on the pillow, my good ol' Catholic guilt drove me out of my warm nest and downstairs to my Bible. Whatever gets you out of bed, right? I have been sort of flip-flopping through the Bible since finishing Crazy Love, so I didn't really have a plan for the morning. I started out in Mark, but something drew me to James. I started at the beginning, reading it from "The Message." This is what I read:

"If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who "worry their prayers" are like wind-whipped waves. Don't think you're going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open." (Oops, I had planned to take a pair of flip-flops in the car to give myself an out if I lost my nerve! Clearly, I DID NOT KNOW WHAT I WAS DOING!!!! But I didn't know I didn't know until I ready this!)

I woke up this morning thinking of going barefoot to show OTHER people that they need to be aware of a situation that affects children. After all, I was already aware, right? But what God showed me was that this day is not at all about anyone else. This day is about me. It's about Him showing ME how to empathize and TRULY KNOW what it's like to not have a pair of shoes. It's about me feeling all the pain and the pleasure of my feet on different textures, different temperatures, different situations where I might be considered crazy/outcast/ridiculous or just plain impotent in my efforts, which honestly, would be the worst possible outcome. This day is between me and my God (and I'm journaling it here, not because I'm trying to teach you anything or say "look at me", I'm putting it here because I am expecting God to show up in my life today in a big way. I know He has something to teach me. I know I will grow from this day and tomorrow I will be a little bit different. Praise HIM! I want to be different every day, I want to be changed. And I know this is a day that will be a lesson from the Spirit.) So, I am blogging it so that it will be recorded, journaled, for me to remember the lesson when I need to recall it. Not because I presume that you need the lesson or that you even needed to go barefoot today. God put it in my heart and I have no preconceived ideas about whether or not you needed to do it and I'm not in any way preaching it to you either. (Though I will admit I really tried to talk my buttoned-up hubby into attending just one meeting OR lunch barefoot... but he just thinks I'm crazy and never took me seriously! :)


Settle Family said...

You made my eyes tear when Liam told the lady at the bus stop about why you are barefoot. Each of my boy are sensitive and at times also carry those shields.I think God gave you a caring heart and that is infectious! My hope for all of our kiddos is that they share this infectious need to help others and pass it on throughout their life. By the way Nick will be 15 this summer and at 16 I feel he will be ready for his first mission trip. I talked to him about it and he was very excited. I think this will be a life changing journey that each child should exsperience at least once in their lifetime.It sounds like Liam just might be leading one of these trips one day!

mommaof4wife2r said...

you rock...i'm just saying.

have you heard of TOMS? it's an outreach across the globe to do shoe drops for people. today, a number of our hs students are going barefoot all day to bring awareness...even in work, if they can.

you are teaching by doing...and that, my friend, is amazing!

lori said...

Girl, your blog is so well written today and really touched me, but only you could end it with a laugh! I love how you say that Brian thinks you're crazy and never took you seriously. It really made me laugh!

findingourdaughter said...

You go girl! You do and say things I am too self conscience to do or say......Love your faith and your spirit that comes through in your posts. We are all a little crazy!!
God bless,
Angie in FL

Kristine said...

love it are truly challenging me to step out...
you just don't know it.

Ok...I have a buttoned up husband as well..just like on my blog- a Bert. Bert would never go barefoot. But Ernie would. I should write a book...the Ernie and Bert in all of us...ha!
Maybe in my spare time?

Adrienne said...

I loved this post, Ondrea.

I love how sensitive Liam was, and your description of him reminds me of my life with Owen. He is so active and impulsive at times that I am left so exhausted at the end of the day, yet he is so sensitive and gentle and caring and full of WHY and HOW questions to know more about this world of ours and the people in it.

Reading about your oldest son reminded me of me and Jim growing up, always wanting to help, to please our parents, and to please others. Although that personality trait is still there, we have lost the concern about what other people think. What an example you set for your children and for others that day, and it's so beautiful how YOU were the one who felt so changed by it all in the end.

Thank you for sharing your own experiences with us so that we too can be reminded of just how blessed we are.