Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Boots Who Humbled Me...

You know how God shows up when you least expect it? And, very rarely is it at the moment we are at our best: makeup perfect, fresh from the hair salon, perfect mani/pedi, not a crease or wrinkle; the moment when we are doing everything exactly right with grace and aplomb. Usually the moment is when we are at our lowest point, wallowing in the pity of our test or trial, or bristling at the undignified position we find ourselves. And, God always seems to come with a magnifying glass that shows us as we truly are: selfish, jealous, envious, ungracious, and full of flaws.

God came to me in one of those moments yesterday. My makeup wasn't perfect, my hair most assuredly wasn't, and my clothes well worn after a busy day of being a mom. I was tired, I was testy, I was cranky, I was definitely not walking in love.

The worst part was that the mountain of cares, burdens, me's, and my's, and I's were topped with my husband having the actual audacity to ask me to do something well beneath my station as miss prim and perfect! He asked, after a long day at work in a filthy, nasty steel plant to take the special work boots a man had lent him, until Tim had the money to buy a pair for himself, and clean them before Tim returned them to the man he had borrowed from.

Now you have to picture these boots and the conditions they had been subjected to. A steel plant is not the cleanest place; its full of black soot, dirt, grime, and anything else associated with dirtiness. And these Wolverine boots had not been new to begin with, so the short period Tim wore them had only added to the gloriousness of their well worn state. The soles were white where they should've been dark brown, the leather was black where it should've been brown, brown where it should've been black, scuffed, and much like our lives before Christ's blood cleaned all the grime and sin away with his tedious offering of blood, sweat, pain and time.

I didn't want to clean these boots. I wanted to have some time to myself after getting the kids to bed, the dishes washed, supper cleaned up, the dog fed, and all those other cares set aside. I, I, I wanted for me. But, I grumbled a reply to my husband's request that I would try to clean them. We all know what that implied.

Yet, when I was finally alone for me, me, me time, I found those boots facing me. They proclaimed loudly to me the state of their dirtiness, their borrowed state, and the time it would take to clean them. However, in the time I have known my husband there is something he has adamantly taught me by words and example: you never return something you've borrowed in a worse state than it was when you borrowed it in the first place.

So, I got out my supplies and took those boots into my lap, begrudgingly at first. Then I saw how tattered and torn and worn I was at the feet of my Lord. I wasn't fit to be used as a vessel for Him, but He took me and He washed me, He mended me, He restored me. I knew what God wanted of me, He wanted me to lower myself below my pride and clean those boots. Those boots which did not belong to me, but to a man I had never met, and probably never will. He not only wanted me to clean them, but He wanted me to make them look better than they did when Tim borrowed them in the first place.

Immediately before my eyes, I could see these words I had not seen in a while and couldn't even place in book or chapter,

42The Lord answered, "Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? 43It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. 44I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 45But suppose the servant says to himself, 'My master is taking a long time in coming,'... 46The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of...

47"That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows... From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." Luke 12:42-48

I not only cleaned those boots, but I took leather repair and conditioned that leather like it was a parched and thirsty child, needful of sustenance. I buffed those boots, I rinsed the dirt from the soles, I shined them until the leather was a color it had never been. All the while, God ministered to my heart and of course my pride, like a vessel on a potter's wheel, He molded and shaped, and repaired my soul and spirit like a tender and loving Father. He showed me the blessing of being humble and not rising to a selfish pride when after all we were the borrower and not the lender.

Unbidden came a verse I did not previously recall, and it indeed was a refining fire,

41 She bowed down with her face to the ground and said, "Here is your maidservant, ready to serve you and wash the feet of my master's servants." 1 Samuel 25:41

I don't know if the man appreciated the result of my task, or if even noticed the difference when Tim returned them to him last night, but I certainly noticed the difference not only on just the boots who humbled me, but upon my own heart as well.

1 comment:

Jenny said...

Inspiring bootsstory! Keep inspiring! Thanks.

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