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  • Writer's pictureKristen Cole

When Walking is Hard

It sure has been a while. I wish I could say that I have been writing the book I’ve dreamed of writing, but I have not. Instead, I have been diving into life as a busy working mama of three growing children, all with their own activities which happened to coincide on the same night this fall (insert emoji with the wide shocked eyes here). I have been presenting presentations to big donors at the NC Children’s Hospital in hopes of getting funding for a social worker for the UNC Feeding Team (know anyone??). I have been heading up a women’s retreat at my church and leading a follow up Sunday School (thank you Heather Dixon at The Rescued Letters). I have been preparing my whole family and home for the addition of a canine (welcome to the fam, Max!). I have been cheering on the World Series Champs, (go Washington Nationals!!!). I have been diligently working towards remedying malware on my website in my spare time that shut it down for the past three months (big sigh). I have been gleaning deep insight about myself from personal reflection, fasting and prayer.

I have been busy.

But not busy enough to miss out on whispers and God-interruptions.

I walked into work on a cold morning last week, across the sky bridge in my mama fog from a weekend filled with late night chats about much harder topics than how many kit-kats were collected on Halloween night. I slowed my pace, balanced my homemade muffins and water bottle with my overstuffed briefcase and took a deep breath. I was not looking forward to the sure-to-be-slammed day before me.

As I sighed, I saw a man who looked to be around my age. He was a mere 20 steps in front of me. He had what appeared to be two club feet that had never been repaired. Perspective consumed me. I could not believe what I saw. This man had been living with a condition that was totally fixable, one I would never even have had to consider living with in childhood, much less into adulthood.

This man had lived his whole life with both feet inturned. He had mastered walking, one foot placed parallel to the next, yet perpendicular to all other people doing life alongside him. I have no idea what had gone on in his life prior to the day into what I assumed was an orthopedic appointment. I considered the many things I had experienced prior to that day. I thought about how my experiences compared to what he had experienced. Every bit of feeling sorry for myself in any way for any reason melted away.

Perspective is something I have really been learning a lot about lately. I’ve been studying the book of Luke in the Bible, learning about how Jesus lived His life determined to follow God’s will for His life. He kept the Father’s mission at the forefront of every interaction with every person he encountered. His perspective was always heavenly. It wasn’t influenced by busyness, rejection, temptation or isolation.

Like mine is.

It is so easy to get caught up in my head full of spinning thoughts about how much I have to do, how “that” person hurt my feelings and is certainly plotting their next move, how I’d love to just have one more glass of wine to escape my woes or how lonely I feel as I repeatedly attempt to stand up for what is right in the mean old pockets of my world.

And then God has a way of sending a jolt to my selfish ways.

A man walking crippled right in front of me. Every single step a literal challenge with real, not perceived, pain. Every step he took toward healing, hurt. But he endured it. He walked. He did not ride a scooter, sit in a wheelchair. He had no one beside him, holding his arm for balance. He used no cane. He took steps in a fashion that was completely opposite every single other person on that sky bridge that morning.

Isn’t this what Jesus modeled for us? He was radically different. Not only was he walking a different walk, he was talking a different talk – one that opposed everything that humankind had known. He took a stand, put one foot in front of the next and followed His Father to His death on the cross. And I am certain it hurt. And I am also certain it wasn’t in step with anyone else on the sky bridge of His time.

The crippled man I watched headed into the hospital to help himself. He was determined, for sure. And he certainly shocked some sense into me that morning. Jesus was also determined – but the difference is that He did not go to his death for himself. He did that for us. That kind of determination is mind blowing and so very humbling that it takes my breath away. That kind of love overwhelms, envelopes and consumes me. It makes me pause and consider the things I am or am not doing for others.

Let us be people who keep in mind what Jesus did for us. Let us embrace His love and determination for us and take bold action, much like my friend on the sky bridge and my dear friend, Heather Dixon, who wrote Determined: Living Like Jesus in Every Moment, which is really what has sparked my perspective and reflections today. Please take time to do this bible study. It will change your life. It will change your perspective. It will connect you to Jesus in ways you have never connected to Him before. It will challenge YOU to walk differently too.

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