Here you see my foot...on the left...alongside the boy's foot of one of my Indian friends...on a Bay of Bengal beach. We had such a delightful time, happily romping and playing, barefooted, in the surf and sand.
I have not always experienced the joys of running barefoot, despite growing up a country girl in Arkansas, where wearing shoes seemed to be the exception rather than the norm. I grew up trying to keep my feet covered, at least around anyone other than my family.
As is typical with girls, I took a growing spurt in elementary school, and was the tallest in my class. My feet took a quick growth spurt as well, as was noticed by my favorite neighbor, Ollie Bacon, when she exclaimed to my mother, with me in the room, "Why Frances, if the good Lord had not turned up so much for feet, Cindy would have really been tall!"
That comment, which Ollie Bacon never intended for harm, nevertheless lodged down deep within my young, self-conscience spirit, affecting me for years to come.
"Ollie said it...my mother laughed...so there you have it...I HAVE REALLY BIG, UGLY FEET," I rehearsed over and over again in my mind.
And so...I began to spare the world from having to see my hideous feet...and spare me the embarrassment of what I knew would be critical stares. I kept my feet well shod, no clodhoppers for me! I always chose shoes that to me made my feet look smaller, and squeezed my tootsies into shoes 1/2 to 1 size too small. For years I walked around with aching feet! But, at least in my eyes, they seemed less grotesque.
As an older teen, the song "Cindy, Cindy," was sung to me in a teasing way. One of the verses seemed to scream at me:
The first time that I saw her
She was standin' in the door,
Her shoes and stockings in her hand,
And her feet all over the floor.
Again, absolutely no harm was intended, but I felt humiliated. "Her feet...all over the floor!"
These negative thought patterns continued into my early marriage years.
One particular Saturday, I spent the entire day walking a church bus route to meet the families of children I taught on Sundays. I came home dead tired, my feet killing me. As I think back now, probably my feet hurt because of ill fitting shoes. I fell into our recliner with a sigh...and then something took place that I remember vividly, even all these years later.
My husband knelt down and began massaging my aching feet. And then...he tenderly kissed my feet! And as he looked up at me, he said, "How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!"
I was stunned. It felt like something inside me actually broke, and I thought, "I have beautiful feet!"
God used my husband's tender actions to speak to my spirit...and to begin my healing. As I began to learn lessons about accepting God's design for my life, I thanked Him for giving me just the feet He intended, and I began to trust God in other areas I had not accepted as well.
Eight years ago this week, my daddy died. As he had suffered from diabetes, I helped to care for him in his final years. We had to take special care of Daddy's feet. So, while preparing his clothing for the burial, I looked at his SAS shoes, and could not imagine him without them. I took them to the funeral home for him to wear in the casket, and as I was stroking his feet, I looked down and saw...my feet! Daddy's feet were a larger, almost exact version of...my own! Now my feet are even more special to me...for they are a reminder of the daddy I loved so much.
I wear flip-flops...go barefooted...get a pedicure...wear shoes the correct size...all without an ounce of self-consienceness. I have "happy feet" now, because I know they were custom designed by a loving God who has "done all things well." (Mark 7:37)