I had forgotten to expect Him, but here He came right on schedule. And He brought a gift. New shoes.
Those who know me know this ‘thing’ I have with shoes. No, I don’t have a closetful of shoe love like Imelda Marcos. I have bunions and really like flip flops over the kinds that bind – like the boots I’ve had to wear lately due to Ol’ Man Winter.
I should have remembered that my Abba never forgets. I’ve learned to anticipate Him much more than I used to, but sometimes He still manages to show up with a ‘Surprise!’ when I’m least suspecting. Snoozing under a warm down comforter while it’s way below freezing outside is an excellent time to tiptoe into my dreams and deliver ‘the next thing’ I am in need of.
Like an early Christmas present for the race I will continue to run as the new year unfolds.
Last night (December 14), I went to bed at the usual time and burrowed under the covers. Sweet sleep came and I awakened at 1:15 a.m. Have you ever grinned in the dark when you calculate you still have the better part of the night to go back to sleep? Especially when it’s bitter cold outside.
Two hours later I awakened again in the three o’clock hour. Another sleepy smile and deeper snuggle. Who knows how many logs I’d sawed by the time He showed up? I didn’t stay awake to find out.
Then the dream. Vivid, brief. Brimming with life in the message imparted along with the new shoes.
In the early morning shortly before the radio alarm came on I dreamed the following:
I was outdoors, prepared for and knowing I needed to go on a long run. A race 1. Intuitively I knew it was a continuation of the spiritual race I have already been running for a long time. The next heat, if you will. In the dream I realized I needed new and better footwear for this long run.
Others were milling around though indistinguishable. Someone gave me a pair of shoes. “Here, these are just what you need.” Next thing I knew they were on my feet.
I looked down, studying them as they were unlike what I thought would be typical running shoes. Flexible and form-fitting, they were made of what looked like doeskin suede. I remember thinking they fit like gloves, they were so perfectly molded to my feet.
They were tanned a soft, creamy shade of ecru. A low bootie with thin lacing, they came up to my ankles. Square-toed for comfort (Ed. note: with room for bunions), they also had a very thin, flat sole. In real life I cannot wear anything remotely flat and thin-soled; I remember thinking that when I saw them.
No sooner did that thought surface than I immediately realized how well-fitted they were and how fleet-footed I could be in them. Any thought of them being anything but perfectly suited footwear vanished.
Thankfully, I woke up before the radio came on so the dream was completed instead of rudely interrupted. I had a few minutes to simply soak in it before crawling out of bliss-dom.
Settled a few minutes later with my Bible and a hot cup of coffee, I turned to Habakkuk 3:19. The significance of the dream had not escaped me. The new shoes were hinds’ feet.
For years this scripture has been carried in my heart with deeply-held meaning and hopeful trust:
The Lord GOD is my strength, And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet,
And makes me walk on my high places.
For the choir director, on my stringed instruments.
Habakkuk 3:19 NASB
I have not been the one to determine when my feet had been made like hinds’ feet. It has been enough for me (and sometimes, beyond me) to learn to stay in the race, follow His lead, not look to the right or the left, and stay focused on Him with doves’ eyes.
He’s the one who never forgot about the developing hinds’ feet. When I was ‘dead to the world’, He came with new shoes.
As a teenager in the 70s, I had a pair of moccasins I loved; they were fashionable then and comfortable. In the earlier years of our marriage I had a pair of huaraches woven in such a way that I practically lived in them. Years later and multiple times I’ve looked for a similar pair – unsuccessfully. In the dream I knew this pair of doeskin suede booties was different. They were part of me.
A few other nuances came forward as I revisited each detail of the dream:
- There was no sense of impending fear.
- Though my initial thought was negative in that my feet hurt in flat, thin-soled shoes, thus I don’t wear any like that, I didn’t have time to ‘take it captive’; immediately my thought did a 180. Years of practicing taking my thoughts captive was paying off. Don’t get me wrong. I still must practice – daily and sometimes hourly. But it’s wonderful to witness the mind of Christ operating within. I recognize it because it is so not me.
- Close to my heart is the sense in the dream of a long race out in front. Whereas in the past the sense of ‘long’ has been coupled with dread and a groan of un-anticipatory, “Oh God, how long??”, this time it spoke to me of long life and desires fulfilled. He knows my deepest heart.
Sitting in our living room in the early morning glow of Christmas tree lights and lamplight, I quietly gave thanks to my Abba for the gift of hinds’ feet that He delivered to me a few hours earlier. As well as before the foundations of the world.2
He and I have waited a long time for me to grow into them. I think I am going to like my new shoes.
Though this was my dream – that fit supernaturally within my larger story and ultimately, His Story – you too have a story and are a story. There is an overarching sense that the Lord has been preparing His beloveds for a long time. For some of us, what seems like a lifetime. Do not let yourself be dis-couraged.
What some call destiny, I describe as the ‘purpose and calling’ of II Timothy 1:9 (in context). When we hear and know His call, and His purpose becomes our purpose – fulfilling His will, bringing us satisfaction.
Habakkuk 3:19 is your word of promise, hope and truth too. Don’t forget to expect Him. Even if you should…He never forgets.
~ Gracefully Free
1 – Psalm 19:1-11; I Corinthians 9:24; Galatians 2:2; II Timothy 4:7; Hebrews 12:1; I Peter 2:9
2 – Ephesians 1:3-4
©2016 Nancy C. Bentz – Author’s permission granted to forward this devotional piece in its entirety, including this copyright line. Comments and subscriptions to this blog are welcome.