Barefoot and Vulnerable

This past week has been a hard one.  On Monday, I was on the verge of “the pit”.  You know the one we all face at times. Each pit is a little different for each of us.  It may be the pit of despair, fatigue, loneliness, worry, illness, or a combination of these emotions and others.

My pit was one of loneliness.  Living in a third world country as a missionary for Jesus Christ can make one feel that they should be ‘happy’ to serve.  And in fact, I am blessed to have been called, along with my husband, to leave the comforts of the US and move to Quimistan, Honduras to build a home for children.  But the truth is that on some days, I am not ‘happy’.  On Monday, I was talking with my best friend while I sat in our rental with my sandals on. (Explanation needed:  Due to my awareness of dirt, bacteria, etc., I do not go barefoot here in HN.  Many people do. It is my ‘issue’ but wearing shoes or flip-flops makes me more comfortable so I do …all the time.)

I was transparent about my loneliness and shed a few tears but she reminded me of God’s faithfulness, provision and love. And I felt better after we talked in part because I was honest with myself and with her about how difficult and lonely it is at times.  You know how we answer, “How are you?” with a benign, “Fine.” even we are not ‘fine’.  We all need a person with whom we can and will be transparent or we believe Satan’s lies regarding our isolation and despair.

I love Psalm 40, which I have placed below in its entirety because David expresses many of my own struggles and victories in this psalm.

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.4 Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare. Sacrifice and offering you did not desire but my ears you have opened—burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—it is written about me in the scroll. I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.” I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly; I do not seal my lips, Lord, as you know. I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help. I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness from the great assembly. Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord; may your love and faithfulness always protect me. For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me. Be pleased to save me, Lord; come quickly, Lord, to help me. May all who want to take my life be put to shame and confusion; may all who desire my ruin be turned back in disgrace. May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!” be appalled at their own shame. But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, “The Lord is great!  But as for me, I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my help and my deliverer; you are my God, do not delay.”

After talking with her for a while, I continued on with my day - checked on the construction site, spoke to all the workers; visited with a foster family whom we assist; worked on paperwork; cooked dinner and then watched a little ‘tv’ on the computer with Sam.  Because our car had broken down and was at the mechanic’s shop, I had walked when I went for my visit through the muddy, cow poop littered roads.  When I got home, I left my sandals outside and was barefoot for the evening….a first and a last.  When I walked down the hall to take my shower, I moved the oscillating fan into its place for the night and when I did, I was inches from stepping on a scorpion!  Of course, I freaked, screamed and called for Sam to come GET IT! And he, being my hero, did kill the creature and remove it from our home.

This week I have not been able to get this analogy out of my mind and heart:  When I had on my sandals, I was able to hear the truth of God’s promises and avoid the pit but when I was barefoot, I was vulnerable and came very close to being bitten by a poisonous creature. 

Ephesians 6 speaks of the “Armor of God” which we should clothe ourselves in daily.  From the tip of our heads to the bottoms of our feet, we must be prepared to fight against the ‘pits and poisonous creatures’ and shine the Light of Truth into them.

I pray that I can become stronger in the Lord daily as I seek His face and put on the armor that He has provided for me.  I pray the same for you. Let us  “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6: 10-17

Grace and peace from Quimistan….with my flip-flops on.cheeky