It was several years ago that a beautiful red-haired teenager approached me with what most young ladies her age would have considered a strange request. You see, she asked me to go shopping with her. I must admit I was honored that she wanted to spend time with me! And I suppose she knew that I held a third-degree black belt in shopping! And so began a beautiful friendship where the second- story bedroom in my home became known as "The Morgan Brown Suite"! While many wonderful movie marathons and shopping trips and late night conversations have followed since that first outing, I'll always remember that first trip to the outdoor mall we took. You see, we covered every inch of Southlake Town Center as we searched for back-to-school clothes for her senior year of high school. Now, Morgan is TALL...And well, I am not! I had worn a pair of very blinged-out flip flops that were too wide for my very narrow feet on that particular day. I had bought them at a 75% off shoe sale, but I digress. Did I mention that Morgan is tall?! You see, most of that day I found myself running in order to closely follow the stride of her long legs in shoes that didn't fit my feet. And what was the result? Let's just say I had some major blisters on my feet! But every blister was worth spending time with Morgan. Ohhhh, dear ones, when we determine to journey alongside one another, we can expect some "blisters"! Friendship is all about blisters and unconditional love and running this race alongside one another with a willingness to forfeit personal comfort...
Running....Well, I've often said that if you see me running it's likely that there's a snake chasing me! The truth is I am not a runner. In fact, I really hate to exercise. There, I said it! And honesty is good for the soul, right?! But, I have seen, and experienced, a great need in the body of Christ. What is that need? I believe there is a need for us to be marathon-running-kind-of-friends. There is a need to bear with one another through pain and heartache and difficulties until we get to the other side of challenging circumstances. Sadly, few are willing to suffer through the struggles of others if they last longer than a very brief time frame. We have very little patience for struggles that aren't easy fixes. But doesn't our Savior patiently lead us and guide us and bear with us--ever desiring that we see His truth? Yes, He does! And He has called us, fueled by the recognition of His undeserved grace and love, to do likewise. What a privilege!
And so, many years before I was blessed to have Morgan Brown enter my life, I found myself deep in prayer for two ladies who faced difficult situations in their lives. On my knees I found myself reflecting on a beautiful pair of dove grey shoes worn by one of those dear ladies. Far more than the beauty of her shoes, I loved where I saw her shoes taking her! Ohh, she had not arrived there yet, but as I prayed I saw through eyes of faith where our Lord WAS taking her! And so, the following poem was birthed...
I've been watching you, my friend--
Watching your feet, sometimes weary, sometimes dancing...
And as I've watched you journey through each twist and turn and bend,
I've also watched your feet through each season life seemed to bring;
Yes, I've watched your feet with wonder & awe,
As you've journeyed through your springtime of beginnings-- hopeful & renewed;
I've watched your feet, my friend, & liked what I saw...
For in your spiritual sneakers, you've skipped with grace-- all doubts subdued;
Oh, I've watched you, my friend, with a smile on my face,
As you've journeyed into your summer of freedom--kissed by the Son,
And I've watched your feet in that unencumbered place,
Clad in your spiritual sandals, you've stretched your toes--eager & ready to run;
Yes, I've watched you, my friend, with a prayer on my lips,
As you've journeyed into your autumn of preparation--still & reflective...
I've watched your feet, secured & ready, preventing any slips,
For nestled in your spiritual slippers--beside truth's warm embers--you've determined to live...
But I've also watched you, my friend, with a tear on my cheek & a song of triumph,
As you've journeyed to your winter of testing--painful & unknown,
And once again, I've watched your feet climbing each hurdle & hump,
Shod in your sturdy spiritual boots--you've made your way home...
So, I'll be watching you, my friend,
With my hand outstretched & my feet running alongside yours...
And we'll journey together to the end,
Through spring & summer & autumn & winter-- as long as each season endures!
My dear ones, I know many of you are weary from the battles you are facing. I also know that true friendship is a rare commodity. Oh, isn't it high time that the body of Christ rise up to run a different kind of marathon--a persevering-faith-kind-of-marathon? Our Lord Himself will heal any "blisters" we incur along the way. And we will find ourselves passing the baton off to others as we cross the finish line of our faith in unity and victory...To God be the glory! Ready, get set, run!