Like really dirty feet.
Feet that are rough and black and dusty and gross.
Feet that walk through muck and sand and trash and animal droppings.
Feet that follow unpaved paths into villages, through small huts, over grass covered floors.
Feet that spend their days on filthy tile, that even washed, holds the orange dust of the desert.
And I thought, “How ironic… our feet are not beautiful. In fact, our feet take a beating. every day. and it is not pretty.”
Africa is taking its toll on my feet and they will never be the same.
Yes, the verse that we often quote when we think of missionaries is ironic.
The very thing that the Bible claims to be beautiful is actually in all truth, quite NOT beautiful.
Our feet are dirty and rough.
At times, broken and hurt.
Pinched and cracked from the dry, dangerous roads we walk.
The picture painted by scripture is not the picture I see every day.
If I lift my feet and peek beneath, the dirt shows… unbelievably so.
My feet, by the time the sun sets, are so dirty it takes a soak in Epsom Salts and a pumas stone to clean them again.
And my girls… oh, their feet. After running through the West African sands all day… they are grimy, little, happy MK feet.
Feet that have seen much, lived much and traveled far.
Feet that stain the couch cushions, make muddy footprints across the tile and, if I don’t demand a washing, will find their way into clean beds as night falls around us.
Dirty feet, this missionary family of mine.
Yucky not beautiful.
Dusty not clean.
Rough not soft.
And I think to myself, “You know, there might be beauty here…”
Beauty of following a God-ordained path.
Because aren’t God’s paths sometimes dirty and messy?
Doesn’t the process of following His path shine light on our weaknesses and cause us to rely on Him more fully?
Doesn’t the path build character, strengthening and changing us in ways we never imagined?
And we all know the path of building character can often be so not beautiful too.
Yet, the beauty is there.
Hidden in the process.
Hidden in the obedience of the called.
Hidden in the daily grind of following Jesus.
So those dirty feet… they represent beauty of a different kind.
A beauty hard earned… a beauty we are fighting for every day.
To make the dirt count for something bigger than ourselves.
To make the mess mean more and do more and be more.
Our so NOT beautiful feet…
Sinful, real and ugly.
Revealing things we didn’t expect when we thought of that verse just a few years ago.
He is scrubbing, cleaning. We are trusting Him in the process.
We are real people with dirty feet walking a messy, complicated road but choosing to follow in obedience.
Letting God clean, make new, use and challenge these feet to go to new places, see new people and carry the gospel to places yet unreached.
So not beautiful feet.
*linking up with Velvet Ashes