Monday, September 10, 2012
New Shoes - previously published in Christian Courier
The Lord spoke a profound word to me this past month, through a very innocent act done by my 2 ½ year old. As I was getting ready to go out for a meeting my daughter brought me a pair of shoes. She proudly carried them to my feet and promptly put them down right in front of me and said, “Daddy’s shoes?”
I looked down and didn’t see my shoes but the shoes of my wife. Red wedges, definitely not mine. Phoebe waited there patiently for me to put them on. I told her that these shoes would not fit Daddy and that they weren’t mine but that they were Mommy’s. She didn’t move. I showed her as I slipped my bare feet into them that my feet were too big. My toes fit, but my heels hung a good 3 inches off the back. She stood smiling as I showed her that these were not a good fit. Sure, I could walk in them and get around in them but they were not mine.
I took them off, put them in the closet and grabbed my shoes and put them on, showing her that they fit my feet perfectly and that these were in fact Daddy’s shoes. Little did Phoebe or I know the significance of her innocent action or what God would again remind me of later that week? I left it at that and went to my meeting not thinking twice about those shoes or Phoebe’s insistence that those red wedges were Daddy’s.
That week in Church I was playing the piano for the worship team and as we were singing I got a picture of those red wedges and my feet in them. I was taken back a bit and kept playing but then felt the Lord say to me that He has given me new shoes, ones that fit my feet perfectly and that in these shoes I could stand upright, strong, a man capable of being a husband, father, brother and son. I was reminded of the time when I used to wear shoes like that. When my masculinity was so broken and my identity marred due to circumstances in my childhood. I had always secretly hoped that I could eventually become a woman. I was reminded of the times I used to wear my mom’s shoes, pretending to be just like her. I wished that I could wear shoes like that without shame or fear of being ridiculed and called names. I had always felt odd in my skin, in my gender and even though at the time I was comfortable being gay, my secret longing was that I could eventually have gender reassignment surgery and that would be the final answer for this empty feeling inside.
God met me in a profound way which stopped that process from ever happening. My masculinity and sense of gender healed through submitting my life over to God and for him to set things in order so that I could stand secure in whom I was clearly designed to be. I am grateful to God as I look at my life and all that He has done and blessed me with. To know that without him my life could have looked very different than what it is today.
Those shoes reminded me of my past, but the greater reminder was God saying that he has given me new shoes, a new identity, one that he had intended from the beginning when he knit me together in my mother’s womb. These new shoes fit and the other ones never did. No matter what I could do those red wedges would always be shoes that would never quite match the DNA of my feet. I felt like God was speaking this as a reminder to me but also to all of us. I walked many years in the wrong shoes, even though God had something better for me, but he has the same gift for all of us. He calls each one of us to take off the shoes that don’t fit and allow Him to fit us with those perfect fitting shoes. New shoes, ready for us to walk in the fullness of who we were created to be all along. Are you ready to take off your shoes? Because God, your Father who knew you before anyone else did is ready to fit you with ones that fit you perfectly.