Memories draw my heart back to that first pair of new white shoes. So tiny. Within moments of being tied, those pristine keepsakes bore the scars of rough concrete. Outgrown in the blink of an eye. Yet they still convey such life, growth, adventure. First steps.
There seems to be a connection between that fourth birthday and the concept of grace. It's as if there is a simple gift that stands out among the frills and thrills with its own allure... waiting patiently to be opened. When my oldest son was nearly four, filling shoes the size of this new pair, we snuggled together under blankets and quilts to read the Easter story. With a hushed voice I read words of grace, a gift undeserved, but extended sacrificially; a sacrifice unequaled. Hot, wet tears tumble from little boy cheeks. He is a reflective little one. We sit quietly. Seeds in the soul, watered by tears. The landscape of this young heart was wonderfully changed... forever... by grace.
Though years have elapsed, perhaps it should not surprise me that his baby brother also responds to grace at this most treasured time of year. Reading through a picture book, a little voice speaks out, a little finger reaches out. "I would be him!" he declares pointing at a young man walking with Jesus. "I would be His friend!" He is drawn not to the generalized, simplified board books. He asks to hear the detailed account of Jesus' last days. Over and over again. As if he is trying to write it upon his heart.
Now one blurred year later, another pair of shoes outgrown, we read the story of Easter anew. He leaves our reading place without response. Moments pass. He turns back. "Mama," asks a subdued little voice, "I wish I was on the cross." I embrace him in joy and awe, before I pick up the pieces of my heart from the floor. New steps.
I lightly trace first shoes with my finger. Soft, worn, familiar, comfortable. A piece of my heart longs for steps already taken. Sometimes I yearn for the days of their first shoes. Their first steps. But those shoes are outgrown. That journey has already been traveled. The shoes no longer fit. Yet they still tell a story.
I am beginning to learn that if I allow my sights to rest upon footprints already made, I will miss the new steps. New steps in beautiful shoes. Full of possibilities. New growth. For these ten wiggly toes, these two tender feet one of those steps may bring him to His Father's lap. I don't want to miss the glory of that because I was looking back.
So what do your new shoes look like? Have you set aside the old comfortable stand-by pair? Not the journey. Not the experiences. Those are carried in your heart. But will you set aside the restraints that you are allowing to confine you... the shells that restrict your growth. They no longer fit. You have grown beyond them. But you can grow no further until you take them off... and leave them off. You have traveled that journey. It is time for something new... even if it is initially uncomfortable... unfamiliar.
Are you out here on the prairie with me... ready to stroll through tall grass, forging new paths, discovering new vistas, finding raw sustenance?
I'm tying fresh laces. Grab your new shoes. Let's journey on.
I invite you to join the Faith Barista today as she hosts inspirational perspectives on "New Steps". Bonnie is a member of (In)courage... embodying the name. With each post she steps out in courage to encourage. You will find something real, something fresh, with every visit. What I didn't expect to find at Faith Barista, was a new sister friend. (In)courage at the Faith Barista means inviting you in, offering you a place to share, among friends. Thanks, Bonnie.