Monday, December 14, 2009


My dad had the most masculine features. I bet when he and my mom were expecting their first child they both hoped he would inherit all of my dad’s strong physical traits.

A strong, square jaw, broad angular shoulders. Flat, wide feet. (Okay, maybe they didn’t daydream about his feet-but you get what I am saying.)

And, as they probably wished, their firstborn did inherit all of those manly traits. Ironically, though, their first child was a baby girl. Ah-hum, yours truly to be exact.

And although some may think otherwise, the manly jaw and angular shoulders have never bothered me. I've actually always liked being able to clearly identify traits that I inherited from my parents. With one exception though: The feet. Why, oh why, did I have to get those feet from him?

Don’t get me wrong, all feet are ugly.

But mine are in a class all their own. To start with, they are very veiny. You know how a guys hands look when he pumps a lot of iron? Yeah, that is what my feet look like. Steroidish.

The inherited feet-traits were bad enough on their own, but then I don’t really take care of my feet like I should. When I am outside I prefer to be barefoot which has resulted in some serious rough skin. Skin so thick that when I was in college I used a razor blade to remove old skin. I did it so much in one sitting that I began to bleed profusely (unknowingly). (Apparently American Idol was really good that episode). My skin was so thick that I had no idea that I had hit a main vein.

A gigantic steroidish vein, no doubt.

And when I was in Bangladesh a few weeks ago, my feet went to a whole ‘nother level of ugly. We spent most of the trip in sandals or barefoot. And my feet went places no feet should go.

Where?, you may ask.

My manly feet walked through mud and muck to visit villages that Christians have never been. To spend time with people and share with them that true forgiveness is available for all.

My feet stood in a chicken farm next to a very young girl who has made a decision to follow Christ and whose family has begun to beat her and to try to marry her off.

My feet walked through villages strewn with garbage to pray to God asking for healing for children facing unimaginable illness.

My feet sunk into a massive cow patty that was being dried for fuel.

They also splashed in unidentifiable liquids. (Ewww)

My feet rested on a caked mud floor as we prayed to a God that the homeowners have only recently heard of, yet do not yet know themselves.

We kicked off our sandals to play on play ground equipment: to slide, to swing, to laugh and to love.

My feet walked through the homes of missionaries whose own feet have walked away from the life that they had planned for themselves.

And after giving homeless beggars ladies their first shower in their lives, those same feet went into the grime that covered the shower floor. It was the grime that covers their bodies daily.

And I ashamedly, pulled back in disgust at what my feet had touched.

Repulsed by where my feet were.

And at the very moment . . .

as I cringed at where my feet had been . . .

God’s Spirit spoke so clearly to my heart:

How beautiful. . .
are the feet
of those who
bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say “Our God reigns!"

I started to weep.

Beautiful? Caked with dirt, smelly, tired?

Has He seen these things? Oh yeah, that’s right; He sees all.

And My mom always told me that my feet “stunk to high heaven” so I know He has caught a whiff or two.

Even still, He says they are beautiful.

Those verses have always been humbling to read.

But "humbling" is not even close to being adequate to what I felt that night as I knew that the God of the universe was speaking those words directly to me.

To look down, mid-trip and cringe at my ugly, manly dirty feet and to know God was thinking, "How beautiful."


Hannah D said...

Ahh-maze-ing. Stephanie, that was absolutely beautifully written. Do you have plans to write a book yourself? You should, seriously.

P.S. I definitely remember the pedicure razor/profuse bleeding incident...I had to laugh out loud at your recount of the story :) in fact, I think of you every time I see one, hehe!

Jimmy said...

You know, I've often wondered why you're barefooted in so many photos. Now we know, you were just getting those feet tough for the mission field. Wonderful story.


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