THOSE TIGHT LEATHER SHOES
Three of my kids were in college. My fourth was a senior in high school. My life had suddenly become very quiet and I found myself with some “me time”. Leisurely mornings consisted of coffee and God’s word, followed by a morning work out with plenty of day leftover. I’m a list person and each perfectly “scheduled and planned out” day I crossed off my “to-do’s” with a feeling of accomplishment. At the time, I remember having a conversation with a young lady whose life was very different than my own. She had 5 young children, a full time job and was super involved at church. I specifically remember her telling me in tears that she could barely find the time to spend with God. As I look back on that conversation, I can remember my heart’s response in thinking-“ you make the time for what’s important in your life”. I didn’t allow the words to leave my mouth. Perhaps I knew it was the wrong attitude to have toward this sweet lady because all the while God was whispering to my heart~"Charisse. Have compassion, have understanding. Remember." But my judgmental heart chose not to. So He reminded me. Within just a few short months my youngest went off to college, my oldest had our first grandchild, her husband (who was going to be the main caregiver of their newborn) got a full time job and I became the full time nanny/grandma. It was like becoming a new mom all over again, except with half the energy. Add to it, Pastor’s wife and mom to four adult children and it was hard. Very hard. I love my precious granddaughter so much, but I’m not going to lie and tell you how much I loved this new nanny role I was put in. I didn’t. I know that sounds absolutely horrible and I hate to even admit it. People would always comment~ “isn’t being a grandparent amazing?” In my coma-like state I would smile and nod, but deep down inside I just wanted to cry. All. The. Time. My life was turned completely upside down. It took a long time for God to change my heart and show me this was His plan and once I accepted that, everything changed. Grace filled my heart. I loved my life. (And 6 years later, I’m still babysitting both granddaughters daily, and still loving it) In the mean time, it was a struggle. I’m not a morning person, but was thrown into very early mornings full of baby busyness right from the get go. 5:30am came too quickly and 10pm couldn’t come fast enough. There were long days of constant crying (both baby and grandma) and absolute, pure exhaustion. I had every intention of getting alone with God before going to sleep each night but my evenings were filled with church activities or family plans and I couldn’t seem to catch up or catch a breath. I resorted to plastering notecards with Bible verses all over my house, setting alarms throughout the day reminding me to pray and once in bed, trying to talk to God, but falling asleep the minute my head hit the pillow.
God taught me a valuable lesson through all of this. Too often we as women can become very judgmental. We look at other women and think we know exactly how they should be living, eating, dressing, marriage-ing, raising their children and even worshipping. We don’t put ourselves in others shoes, so sometimes God has to shove our feet into those shoes Himself. They’re never a nice comfy pair of slippers but more like a brand new pair of leather stilettos~tight and uncomfortable, maybe even painful. The thing about tight leather shoes is~ the longer they’re on our feet, the more they soften and conform. God might have to put us in uncomfortable, and maybe even painful circumstances, to soften our hearts toward others. To conform us to His image. To help us have compassion.
Yes, we most definitely should “make the time for what’s important” in our lives, and God should be at the top of our list, but we should also remember that only God can see and know the hearts of others. Only God understands the circumstances they are in. The shoes that God put on me were very tight, uncomfortable and even painful but He opened my eyes to what others might be going through and He filled my heart with compassion. He whispered to my soul that it was ok to fall asleep at night. He wasn’t disappointed in me. He understood and showed me that taking care of that grandchild was the most important thing He wanted me to do at the time.
Don’t be so quick to judge. Learn compassion. Stick your feet into some tight leather shoes for a while and have a little more understanding~ or God may be picking out some stilettos a few sizes too small just for you. 😉
Jude 1:22 I Peter 3:8 I John 3:17