Once upon a time this girl had pretty feet. But that was in another century, long ago. Back when I was young, and my feet were nearly perfect. No extra-long toes hanging over the tops of my sandals. No cracks or callouses. Nothing missing, mis-shaped or discolored. Not too narrow, too wide, too flat or too anything.
If any of my body parts could have been on a magazine cover, it would have been my feet.
But those days are long gone.
A few years ago I stepped out of the shower, looked down, and screamed. (Okay. I didn’t actually scream. It was more like a groan—a please-wake-me-up-from-this-nightmare sort of groan.) There on the floor were my grandmother’s feet! Attached to my ankles!
No-ooo-oooo! Where did those come from?!?!
It was definitely a sign—my body had begun the downhill slide, with absolutely no turning back… I was slipping farther away from youth, moving inch by agonizing inch closer, ever closer toward old age.
My cousin doesn’t help much. After posting photos on Facebook, he almost always comments on how much I look like Grandma. Really? I mean, I don’t think I look anything like her. Especially since I’ve only ever known her as a grandmother. By the time we met, she was already old. And in those days anything close to forty or fifty seemed ancient!
Wait—that’s where I’m at—and forty and fifty don’t seem old at all.
But to say I look just like her brings visions of short gray-haired pin curls on a heavy woman, who ate a handful of prunes with her breakfast and half a cup of ice milk before bedtime, everday, spent her hours watching daytime television and Billy Graham crusades in the evenings, and wore a house-dress and men’s slippers hiding feet that were anything but pretty. (How do I know? She showed me once. And I’ve never forgotten.)
So, imagine the terror that squeezed this heart when my feet no longer looked like mine!
My grandma gave great hugs, she was always glad to see me, listened to my girlhood woes, prayed for me, let me have as many corncakes as I wanted… and I loved her—pretty feet or not.
And God thought my grandma’s feet were beautiful.
Her feet carried her around the house, to the store, to the post office, meeting the needs of her family, across the street to neighbors with gifts of kindness, to church every week, taking her grandkids with her whenever we spent the weekend…
and she taught us about Him.
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, Your God reigns! – Isaiah 52:7
It doesn’t matter if our feet are photo-worthy or not—Scripture lends a clue about beautiful feet, no matter how old or oddly-shaped they might be.
And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things! – Romans 10:15
…and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace. – Ephesians 6:15
We don’t typically receive messages today by couriers traveling on foot… by town criers ringing bells and shouting the latest news… or by young boys pedaling bicycles up and down neighborhood streets, tossing daily papers onto front steps…
Yet, our feet are messengers of a different kind.
Wherever our feet go, do they carry a message of good news, glad tidings, announcements of peace, declarations of salvation made available to all… words of hope, faith, encouragement, affirmation, and unfathomable love by the God in whose image every body part of every human was formed?
The words on our lips, the thoughts of our hearts, are transported across various lines of communication (even online). And our feet take us to the places where we accomplish these tasks, pointed in the direction of our heart’s and mind’s choosing.
This gospel of peace we’re instructed to bring, of pardon, of reconciliation made divinely and eternally possible, is a message that provides the key for unlocking the iron chains of sin’s shackles, having the power to release ourselves and those we tell from Satan’s grip… all because another pair of feet allowed themselves to be nailed to a cross in place of ours.
…and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. – Isaiah 53:12
To be continued…