The summer before my daughter’s freshman year of high school included one rigorous shopping trip for clothes and school supplies. It was all fairly routine until we found ourselves in the shoe section of a favorite store…
I saw these shoes, and I’ll admit to you there was only a hint of attraction when I picked them up to show my daughter; it was her reaction to them that made the sale.
It was something like, “NO WAY! Don’t even think about buying those, Mom.”
The word hideous was used, and I remember a comment about “not being seen in public” with me before she put up her hand, turned on her heel, and walked away.
How could I resist? Of course I bought them!
These shoes have stirred up emotions and sparked lively conversations over the years. One friend wrote a sappy poem about them while another conspired with my daughter to make them “disappear” while I was out of town. Even when they are tucked safely away in my closet, threats of a one-way trip to Goodwill have been made.
I’ve also found I can’t blend in with a crowd while these beauties are on my feet. They make a statement when I wear them, in a language all their own; not altogether unlike what happened in Jerusalem, at Pentecost (Acts ch. 2).
When God unleashed His Spirit on Jesus’ followers that day, He made them stand out! What else could the tongues of fire have been for? They certainly weren’t going to “fit in” with any crowd while flames erupted on their heads.
God’s invitation to His followers at Pentecost was clearly not to a life of predictability and status quo. When His Spirit comes in power to willing disciples, people take notice! In just one day at Pentecost, about 3,000 onlookers witnessed the unusual events, felt the power of the Spirit of God, and responded by putting their faith in Him.
Scripture teaches us that when God’s Spirit of truth comes in power to willing disciples, we will know the truth, and that truth will set us free (John 8:32). That truth does something else, too. Author Flannery O’Connor once said that, “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you odd.”
This I believe! Every willing disciple is equipped with something to offer that makes us look a little different than the world around us. I am gifted with a desire to hold space for others as they wrestle with – and celebrate – their unique journey of faith.
My pink shoes are a symbol of the unique way God’s presence empowers me to be in the world, but they also represent the ministry of spiritual companionship to which I’ve been called, which is simply to walk with you.