Hello Blog, my name is Heidi.
Me and the mini. Ain’t she purdy?
Now that we have been reacquainted let me bare my soul. Okay.. maybe nothing quite that dramatic. Maybe just a glimmer.
A few months ago God dropped a word into my spirit. For those who don’t speak Christianese: for me that means I read a passage in the Bible and for the first time the words struck me and I understood them. Some divine revelation that has probably been had by gazillions of people much smarter than me long ago. And it was about something that those in my generation don’t tend to love.
Feet. Not just feet; but feet washing. The only time I find feet washing acceptable is when I pay someone who will gossip about me in a different language is sloughing off years of yuck from my heels. (Dudes, I’m pretty gross for a diva let alone a lady or scholar.) Or when you wash your own feet. Other than that: eww, feet!
Awhile back I had the privilege of attending a ladies conference through the church I used to attend. The best part was I got to bring my girl. Man, did that do a number on my heart. Heart. was. melted. I was honored to have my mini with me and watch her glean from what we were doing. It was a FANTASTIC conference. Florida Church of God of Prophecy’s Women’s Director knows how to listen to God and follow through on her vision and purpose. I could talk about her for years: she’s my other (other-mother). We did a variety of things that were unusual yet laid the foundation to a more intimate relationship with Jesus. I kept telling God that there was no way the mini would understand but I still asked for Him to help her take what she could and learn from it: learn how to draw closer to Jesus.
Then we had the feet washing. (Really, other? Feet washing?) Provided for us for the feet washing were the traditional basins filled with water and the newer method of baby wipes. How cool is that: baby wipes for feet washing. Can baby wipes be holy? If a tub of water can be used for something considered sacred then why not a baby wipe, amiright? (Yes, I am. Ha!) So, because I’m an obedient girl I went to the altar and got some baby wipes for me and the mini diva. And I washed her feet and prayed for her, her walk, and her heart.. Then the tender moment came when my girl washed my feet. And prayed for me. Dudes, I’m crying over here. It was beautiful. And you know how I said I kept telling the Lord there was no way for her to understand all we were doing? She sho’ nuff understood better than I gave her credit for. Maybe better than a lot of us that are much older and should understand better than a four year old. The proof: I heard her praying at another portion of the service and telling God that she just wanted to make Him happy. Not me or daddy or grandma; but to make God happy. Oh, for the love. That moment changed the way I pray.
Anyways. I came home from the conference, told some people about how powerful it was… and then I kinda forgot some of the meat of it. Until I came upon the passage about Jesus washing the feet of the disciples.
Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus asnwered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. . . If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
John 13:6-10, 14, 15
Jesus washed the feet of the disciples. Jesus provided an example of how to serve your friends and family. But why the feet? Why don’t I wash their hair or hands? Why their feet? What if they’re gross? What if they walk in poop? What if they have corns?
But, just like we are to forgive people no matter how gross their sin may be, we are also to be an example in serving by washing feet. Let me share why I believe the feet are an important part to wash and notice:
You oughtta be guarding your hands, mouths, eyes, and body in general from being dirty or you should be washing as they get dirty. But your feet can wait until the end of the day: even til after supper. Do you keep your mentionables clean throughout the day? Or do you squish your hands in mud then wipe them on your face and hair? Are you keeping your whole self clean except your feet?
Take it a little deeper. Where have you been walking? I’m talking spiritually and emotionally here: what have you been walking in and through? What kind of territory have you been having to tread or choosing to wander on? Are you smooth sailing for now? What about your friends: where are they walking? What are they dealing with? Maybe from the appearance of our face and hands we’re doing well: working hard, smiling, just rolling with the punches… but our feet tell the rest of the story. They tell how tough the road has been. They tell how badly the verbal jabs and forgetfulness of others hurt. They tell how badly the mistakes of others can disturb our peace. (In the armor of God our feet are shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace-see Ephesians 6:11-18.)
So when we take the time to look a little deeper than just the mentionables but also to the bottom of the story, to the feet of the person, we can see the bigger picture. We can take note of the blisters they’re walking on. Wash each other’s feet. Take the time to notice what’s underneath the smiles or tears. Take the time to really connect with them. Serve them by loving on the parts that may be neglected. Apply some salve to their aches, wash away some muck: comfort those feet! Dry them, warm them. Serve them by doing what they probably won’t. Ask the questions to which others don’t want to know the answers. Do what others won’t.
One last thought: there’s a reason people pay to get their feet done. It takes time and elbow grease to get them soft and smooth: something we often aren’t willing to do ourselves even if it is for ourselves. So we go to the expert. A stranger. There’s just a little too much shame to let our friends give us a pedicure: we’d rather have a stranger do it. Maybe that’s the same reason we won’t own up to what’s hurting us until we’re about to explode: too much time and work and maybe even embarrassment at admitting what’s eating at us, leaving us achy and calloused. Maybe we’re too embarrassed to show our part in the neglect of our own well-being.
There’s so much more that I can say along with what’s already been written; but I will end with this: be a friend. Notice the callouses. Pay attention to where and how your friends are walking. And if need be, bust out the baby wipes and literally wash their feet while you pray for their steps.