All of my shoes have been removed from my closet. They now sit in a pile at the foot of bed. My toddler, shoe relocation engineer, beams up at me with pride, handing me the last remaining shoe.
And I’m surprised by what I feel. Not frustration about the mess, or preoccupation with the burden of bending my 7-months-pregnant self over to put them all back again. No, this morning grace whispers in my ear, and all I feel is the tenderness of a God who has spent years watching me pile shoes at his feet. “This is what you want, right, God? Let me help! Let me do it.”
Looking back on years of ministry, it’s easy to see the mistakes, all the things I would have done differently. I’ve sometimes lamented lost opportunities, thinking “if only.” What might have been if I’d prayed more, been more attentive, let God lead?
And then I look at my son and his big accomplishment for the day – helping Mommy put on her shoes. He makes real to me what I already know, but am invited to learn time and again: the gladness of God’s heart is not in what I accomplish for him, but in the joy of my offering to Him.
I am his beloved, not his employee. His love does not correspond to the height of the offerings I lay before him. It just is.
By the end of my life, I may contribute little to God’s actual mission for his kingdom, despite my high estimation of my own efforts. How freeing to know that was never the the call; God doesn’t need help to put on his shoes.
It is his delight simply to watch us try.