Faith, Spiritual Encouragement, Uncategorized
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Where Your Feet Take You {Walking in Grace}


Before I learned to walk again, I spent weeks allowing my leg to bear weight. Eventually, the leg with the bone broken in pieces and rammed through with a titanium rod had healed enough to allow me to bear 100% of my body weight.

I stood, holding onto a laminated countertop in the physical therapy office on my left leg. It pulsed angry, but I had grown used to the constant throb of pain. It ebbed and flowed and rushed and calmed, but pain was a companion to me. My first steps were taken while I held the arm of my therapist. She walked slowly and her arm upheld me.

Baby steps.

I was over forty and wanted to sprint through the recovery. I wanted to run a blur. I wanted to get on with it. But the it was this and the now required that I take small steps. In order to run, I needed to build muscle and relearn balance.

I practiced walking without a limp in the hallway of my house. Walker in front of me, walls on either side. Slow, painful steps, but necessary.

Now, if you didn’t know my recent history, there’d be no detection by my gait. I walk with the same stride and strength as before (I don’t yet trust myself to run much or jump, but walking is good!). The pain is sometimes absent, sometimes a whisper, but it doesn’t define the pace.

This is grace.

This is the second chance everyone talks about. Because when you learn to walk a life anew, in a certain victory, you’re still taking one step one after the other. A graced life looks like any other upon first glance, but once the scars are revealed and the story is told often through tears of remembrance, the truer strength is revealed. Because a graced life is a healed life and there will always be whispers of pain, always a memory of the rush of blood that throbbed through bone and flesh and nerves that shouted in excruciating agony. There will be days the gait is impaired, the limp is noticeable and all one can do is take a load off, get a little rest.

Friend, the scars, the memories of your wounds are not there to hold you back or keep you down. They exist to remind you of the grace that heals, the true source of your strength. The wounds beautiful and limp lovely are made that way because of the grace that pulsed along with the pain and brought healing to your soul.

And the question you are left with, dear limping soul, is where will your feet lead you today?

Back to the inception of injury? Back to bed? Back to the way you’ve always known things to be? Or will they be brave feet and take you to whom you really are?

The path may be short and painful and the light dim and the strength only able to take you the shortest of distances, but you’ll know you are walking on the feet of your truest self when you are stepping – even baby steps – in faith that the grace that healed you might also uphold you.

This morning a quote by Frederick Buechner appeared in my facebook feed:

I say that if you want to know who you are, if you are more than academically interested in that particular mystery, you could do a lot worse than look to your feet for an answer.

Introspection in the long run doesn’t get you very far because every time you draw back to look at yourself, you are seeing everything except for the part that drew back, and when you draw back to look at the part that drew back to look at yourself, you see again everything except for what you are really looking for. And so on. Since the possibilities for drawing back seem to be infinite, you are, in your quest to see yourself whole, doomed always to see infinitely less than what there will always remain to see.

Thus, when you wake up in the morning, called by God to be a self again, if you want to know who you are, watch your feet. Because where your feet take you, that is who you are.

{-Originally published in The Alphabet of Grace}

Linked with Lisa Jo Baker for Five Minute Friday



  1. I love this! What a great post, so glad you are my 5minfri neighbor. Your own testimony on pain, healing, and grace and that great quote at the end…though I had to read it a few times, was so true and good. Especially your line of “a graced life looks like everyone else at first…you’re still just taking one step after another…and sometimes all we can do is lay down and rest”.

    • Yay! Thank you, Leah. And, I always have to reread Buechner — he is a thoughtful theologian and writer. So much always to his words.

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