When You Don’t Know How to Walk in Someone Else’s Shoes


It’s a beautiful day, and we are in comfort mode. I’m all slumped down in the comfy chair, relaxed and calm, delving into a really good book. When out of the blue, my toes take on a mind of their own and begin to curl inward, sending me running around the house like a crazy woman. Have you ever seen someone talk to their toes? Begging and pleading?

Dr. Pepper goes down, popcorn suspends in mid-air, TV pauses, and everyone looks at me like I’m a crazy woman. Eyebrows raise. “What are you doing, Mom?”

I want to say, “Don’t you know by now?”

I laugh and want to cry all at the same time. 

It’s hard for anyone else to understand. Unless you’ve experienced it.

“My toes are cramping again.” I can’t stop walking, running, dancing around until they relax. It’s the silly sandals I’ve been wearing. That’s my assumption. They’re just as darling as can be, but they are too wide for my feet. And I have to scrunch my toes with each step to keep them on, or else I’ll walk right out of them in public. And I’ve been known to do that. I smile, when others see my mishap, misstep. 

I shouldn’t wear them, and I have been wearing tennis shoes more often, but the sandals … well, they are really cute. 






















Everyone thinks so.



We get in the car, my girl and me, heading to the store. We’re on this old windy county road with bumps and bruises. A trailer hauling horses or cows leads the way, oh some quarter mile ahead. My daughter says, “What on earth are they doing? They are driving drunk.” Swerving in and out. Looked a bit dangerous for that trailer.

I say, “Well,”and I milk this out a bit, southern style“they might just be avoiding …”we swerve to the left“that big hole”we swerve to the right“and this big hole.” Yeah. Our road is full of holes. If you don’t avoid them as best you can, your tire alignment will never be the same and neither will your insides. 

We laugh. My girl says, “I spoke too soon. I shouldn’t have judged them. I had no idea.”

I say, “Yeah, it’s hard to understand until you walk in someone else’s shoes.”

We sit there silent for a few moments, soaking in that truth.

And I remember just a few weeks ago when I stood before this beautiful group of women. I was there to share my heart. And I know some of their stories, and some of their stories, I don’t know. But there are stories. That I know. We all have them. 

Because we live in a world full of bumps, bruises, holes …. One minute we’re slumped cozy on the couch, and the next, we are in crisis mode. Swerving to the left. Swerving to the right. 

Deer on the left. Deer on the right.

And I ask the Lord, “How? How do I stand before these beautiful women and even attempt to open my mouth? You know me.”

You see, I’ve not walked in their shoes. Who am I? What can I do? What can I say? I don’t even want to walk in my own shoes. Because sometimes these shoes are painful. They hurt, they cramp, and sometimes I want to walk right out of them.

How on earth can I walk in someone else’s shoes until I fling my own painful shoes off my feet?

I hear my Lord softly say …

O Soul Within, you just share your heart. It’s a beautiful thing called a testimony. It’s yours, unique, and distinct, like you. You allow those knees to softly cap the ground, glide your hands forward, letting that dirty-blond-hair-turning-gray, that I made, touch the ground, right alongside your face. 

When your heart is cramping right alongside everyone else’s … when you can’t stand on your own two feet … you slide prostrate until your heart hits the ground, level with your face, and you lift your eyes, with those tears that continually pool, to see my feet … the feet of Jesus.

The feet that were punctured, scarred, cramped, and bruised.

And then something beautiful happens, O Soul Within, you pour out your heart, only to find that others are filling yours. 

At the foot of the cross.

Have you ever had a hard time walking in someone else’s shoes? Did God show you how to walk forward?

And I want to thank the sweet Cornerstone ladies for loving on me, setting up all my equipment and all theirs, lugging in my boxes and bags before I could even blink, and for sharing their champion stories with me on this bumpy road called life. I’ll love you forever.

The Heart of the Sanctuary


Maybe you have chairs. We have pews. In the sanctuary.

Maybe your rows are wide allowing easy access, to enter or leave.

Our rows are narrow. Once you get inside, you might as well get comfortable.

O Soul Within, where do you sit? I see you, you know. You sit in the far back like a good back-row Baptist. And you grasp the pew’s edge like your life depends on it. Beads of perspiration overtake you when you have to release your good grip. I see you. And your heart feels a little put-out when you have to bend your legs for others to move past you, to the inside. I know, you had gotten comfortable, seat warmed, you didn’t want your pants to twist. I know it. I see you. 


O Soul Within, are you in the way?

And as I became self-aware, from my outside seat on the back row, in the balcony, I saw all the edges filled and the middle left sparsely occupied.

The heart of the sanctuary seemed empty.

My thoughts hovered over it for a time.

It’s easier to sit on the outside, isn’t it, O Soul Within? It calls us to bend a bit, for others to pass through, and sometimes our toes get stepped on. But we can come and go as we please. With ease. We can slip out to the bathroom. We can bolt. We don’t get trapped.

If some can’t sit on the outside, they’ll get up and go. And that could possibly require you to bend again. O Soul Within, you feel conviction, don’t you?

Moving into the heart of the sanctuary is a bit inconvenient. We have to step over people, be cautious not to step on toes. We accept the risk of getting trapped there.

Why are we afraid to move in? To move close? Are we afraid to come alongside other Believers? Are we afraid for others to know us too well? Really know us. Are we afraid for others to know when we’re absent? Or present? Are we afraid of what it might demand of us?



How close are you willing to get, O Soul Within?

Are we outsiders or insiders?

O Soul Within, Sunday morning is often a reflection of youwho you are. Yeah, your very soul. It stings, doesn’t it? Just let it sting.

Because if you’d just move insit in the seat prepared for you, live the life God called you toyou wouldn’t be called to bend, or move, or feel the press of your toes, and there’d be room for others to conveniently move in, too. 

When you move, your children move.

The heart of the sanctuary would be overflowing. Because where two or more or gathered, the Lord is doubly attractive. And visitors or late-arrivals would always have a place, enough space.

Yeah, it’s sweet to see that those on the pew rose to the occasion. And it’s doubly sweeter to see the rows become endless, without edges, the growth so exponential that no one can fall off and hit the ground. Can you just see it? 

And the view will always be perfect. Because the view is Jesus.



The inside more crowded than the outsidewhat a concept.

O Soul Within, peel away from the edge. Don’t be afraid to move into the heart of the sanctuary, to come alongside fellow Believers, because that’s where you’ll meet God. On the inside. In the heart. The inner circle. 







Have you ever felt God calling you to more? Relinquishing your very self? Have you had to push past fear, like me?