Dusty Feet

“Do you follow Jesus this closely?” 

I read the bumper sticker as the car whizzed by me. It was rush hour traffic and I was, as I often am, in a hurry. I laughed to myself at the implication. I hadn’t given the thought provoking bumper sticker much more attention, hadn’t spent any time pondering it until later the following day. It was Friday night, I was tired and weary from a broken world, difficult work week and issues at home that just couldn’t seem to go away. I was doing what I often do, pressing into Jesus and pressing on. The pressing was feeling more and more like crushing. Dinner time was fast approaching and while I wanted desperately to avoid cooking dinner, the gnawing in my stomach and the persistent pleas of my offspring pushed me into the kitchen. 

I began the task of preparing spaghetti sauce from a jar and making a salad. I moved about the kitchen and my shadow sat patiently beside me. When I moved, she moved, when I turned she turned, perhaps her motive was innocent and rooted in facts. 

I am a clumsy cook. Inevitably I would drop some morsel of something she would make into a snack. Perhaps that is why she sits so closely and so intently. Perhaps it is because she likes to be around me.

I am told when I am not home she looks for me and she will whine in her waiting. 

I began to stir the not-so-homemade sauce and I said to my Dapple Doxie Macy, “Are you trying to feel the dust from my feet?”

My feet were in desperate need of a pedicure, they were achy and my nails unpolished. My feet seemed to be a reflection of my very soul. I  was remembering something my friend Denise told me several years ago. A story of a rabbi. I can still, in my mind’s eye, see her sitting and recounting the story of the rabbi and his student. She looked like a rabbi herself, a teacher, patient and wise teaching her students.

Way back at the time of Jesus, if a Jewish man wanted to become a disciple of a rabbi (teacher) he was expected to leave his family and his way of life. His job was to follow his rabbi. The teacher and student would live together 24 hours a day—they would walk from place to place, teaching and learning, studying and working. They discussed and memorized the Scriptures and applied them to life.

It was the student’s calling, to “cover himself in the dust of [the rabbi’s] feet,” studying his teacher’s every word, watching his every move. When the rabbi moved, the student moved. When the rabbi stopped his student stopped. If a student followed his rabbi so closely he would “walk in his dust.” In doing so, he became like the rabbi, his master, his teacher.

That evening as dinner was finished up and I was about the business of being mom and wife I was reminded to follow so closely that I am covered by the dust of my own Rabbi, my Jesus. If I will do that, follow Him as closely as Macy follows me, I won’t be nearly as weary and worn, and the blessing of His presence alone would be encouragement and healing to my soul. 

A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. Luke 6:40


Forgiveness is often a hard place to live. We spend our lives searching for peace and forgiveness and oftentimes when we “find” it we struggle to actually live in it. I can’t speak for you, but for me I find myself often living in the rabbit hole of shame, regret and guilt for past mistakes and poor choices. Personally, I can encourage you to grab hold of the forgiveness that is readily available, but yet here I stand struggling to grab hold of it myself.

The world is fully of bullies, but most days we are the biggest bullies we will ever face. It’s hard to fight the regret, the shame and the mistakes that replay in our minds over and over like a bad movie that just won’t end. Over the years those bad choices and mistakes sort of take a life of their own in our mind and before long that story, that lapse in judgment, is now larger than life. So we spend hours and days and weeks replaying it and dissecting every part of it.

Friend, can I just tell you that no matter what story is raging in your mind Jesus died on the cross for you…for me! We are…well, FORGIVEN. No matter what our story looked like back then, no matter what road we find ourselves on now and no matter what circus our future holds the one thing that remains is that Jesus’s blood is enough!

Regrettably sometimes I belittle what Jesus did on the cross as if it weren’t enough. I walk around with my head hung low as if Jesus’s blood wasn’t enough to cover the sins of someone like me. But, ya’ll, he was…and it is! Jesus IS enough and his blood IS enough! If I could go back and tell my younger self a thing or two it would be to let it all go and grab hold to the precious gift Jesus has offered to me. Since I can’t go back in time I stand here yelling at you that you, my friend, ARE enough and Jesus’s blood IS enough to cover your sin, your shame and your guilt. Hold your head high, girl, because you ARE forgiven!

Uncashed checks

I have a confession to make…. I am old-school sometimes in how I pay for things or give a monetary gift. While I like the convenience of using a card, I have not gotten into using some of the virtual payment systems that so many use, and sometimes I want to write a check. Yes, a piece of paper with my handwriting on it.  If you get one of these from me, it is a promise of value to you; a promise that I have money in an account that you now can access. But it is only a piece of paper until you take it to the bank and cash it – that is when its true value is realized.  That is when it becomes more than a piece of paper and some ink. You can put that check in a drawer and leave it, but it won’t be useful to you or anyone else.

I have been thinking about how this could be analogous to the promises God has made. Promises I read about in His word but often don’t “cash.”  I don’t stand on that promise, or I get weary of praying and waiting for the promise to be fulfilled. As I start a new year, I wonder what promises I have from God that I have not claimed, that I have not continued to believe are meant for me. What are my “uncashed checks?”  I want to begin searching for and standing on God’s promises that I have not accepted, believed, and cashed.

As I start looking at God’s promises in the Old Testament, I see how many times a promise is confirmed by repeated scripture and how sometimes it is fulfilled over many generations. I take heart in the realization that God’s promises are always fulfilled and God’s timing is always perfect.

Psalm 145:13 says “… The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.”  

Read to Feed Myself

“It has goat’s milk in it.” 

I turned the package over in my hand and examined it albeit not very closely. It was a soap gift pack. 

“It is made with goat milk and it is supposed to be good for your skin. Makes it all luxurious!” She knows me well enough to know I like things that are a little homesteady. I appreciate a yard egg from a named yard Chicken far more than I do a generic container of eggs collected from a mass of unknown, unnamed chicks by an unnamed and unknown egg collector. I like to know that Happy the Chicken produced my brown egg on the 12th of last month as I am breaking it and about to scramble it.

I love walking barefoot in the grass far more than I do in a pair of designer shoes. I love dirt and the smell of rain. I find healing outside and I am a firm believer that my darkest days are often directly linked to the short days of winter.  I am a firm believer that the beauty of nature points to the Creator, and the skies themselves declare the glory of the Maker. 

An all natural homemade goat’s milk soap seemed right up my alley, and I wondered if she half had me in mind when she purchased the gift for the gift exchange game. It must not have come as a surprise when I stole the gift from another family member, she smiled and tacked on another pitch for the “goatsmilk soap” gift. “They said it’ll feel nice when you use it.”

I nodded in understanding and agreement as I tucked the gift away and carried on with the day It wasn’t until later that night that I looked at the soap gift pack again. I was excited to use my goat milk gift when I showered that night. I stood in my bathroom and began to examine my gift closer. The scent was gingerbread and written in large print on the packaging “Vegan Soap Gift.” I looked at the individual pieces, each one stated it was gingerbread but each item had printed in bold upon it the word “Vegan.” I laughed again recalling her explanation that the product was made of goat milk and the clearly stated declaration of vegan on it. 

The two terms are incongruent. She was convinced it was made from an animal product yet the item itself declared in fact it was not made with any animal products at all. I used the soap and despite it note being made of goat milk it is still nice and luxurious, I still feel pampered when I use it and I love it just the same as I would if it were made of goat milk and maybe even more because that non-goatsmilk soap has taught me a valuable lesson. 

There are times when we take the verbal word of another as truth, I assumed since she bought it the gift-giver would know exactly what she had purchased and chances are she genuinely thought she had purchased the goatmilk soap gift and verbally passed that along to me. I did not even question what she had said. In all likelihood I would not have even given it a second thought had I not actually seen the emboldened words myself. 

The Word is like that, sometimes I take what someone says as the truth because I presume they know more than I, they should know more, or they have walked with the Lord in such a way that I assume if they say “it is in the Bible” I do not even question it. I simply accept it. That soap reminded and encouraged me to commit to learn for myself, to read and study the word in such a way that I can know for myself what is Biblical truth and what is hearsay from the mouth of another. I have been given the ability to feed myself by reading God’s word for myself.

A Fresh Start

“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 

And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

But Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. 

If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you harm and consume you, after having done you good.” 

And the people said to Joshua, “No, but we will serve the Lord.”

Joshua 24:14-15, 19-21

Joshua divides up the land, gives to each tribe their allotment, charges them to serve God, tells them to continue taking possession of the land, and then, he dies. In my reading today, I finished the book of Joshua and began Judges. As I turned the page from Joshua 24 to Judges 1, I found myself hesitating, mourning over what I know will happen not only through the book of Judges, but the continued downward spiral as the people of God do not look or act like the people of God. 

The hope and faith of Joshua’s generation is palpable as he nears the end of his life and his term as their leader. When you consider all they’ve been through with Joshua at the helm, the weight of his death is truly significant and quite devastating. These grown-up children who walked the desert with their unbelieving parents, stand in the Promised Land with renewed hope and steadfast faith in their hearts. They want to do right. They want to serve the LORD God. They believe, in this moment, that they will continue as God’s people who worship and obey God. 

Joshua’s death is the ending of an era, an era of faith and new beginnings. He led them into the Promised Land. He fought as their Warrior-Captain. He wasn’t perfect by any means. He made mistakes and took wrong turns, but here they were. They were in the very tangible promise that God had made to their ancestors, milk and honey dripping from their mouths.

At the beginning of a New Year, we can’t help but think of fresh starts and new beginnings. We tend to consider our mistakes and build new goals. We evaluate our missteps and look to new plans. A fresh clean calendar. A new planner. New workout clothes. New running shoes. A fresh budget. A new one year Bible plan. A new journal. All the things! There is hope and a sense of a clean slate. It is encouraging, right? We proclaim with Joshua’s generation, We will serve the Lord. We will do better. We will do right. Hallelujah and amen.

But… grouchy Mondays still come. The bills still need to be paid. The house still gets messy. The car still needs fuel. And, even in the new year, a cinnamon roll with a large frappe is still not the best choice for helping us in our health journey. We falter. We oversleep. We skip our session at the gym. We get bored reading through the genealogies, and grossed out reading Leviticus. And, low and behold, we are still sinners this year just like we were last year. 


Wow! Thanks, April. This is so uplifting for a New Year’s blog post, encouragement from The Word. 


Here’s the good news. Our lives in many ways, resemble the habits of those Israelites who will live and die during the times of the Judges. 

We, like them, will forget the goodness of God. 

We, like them, will neglect our worship of God. 

We, like them, will worship other things besides Almighty God.

Where’s the hope? Why can’t we keep it together? Why do I falter? Why do I still sin?  

Well, Hope is on His way. The Truth is coming.

Joshua, in all his integrity, was not perfect. He was a great leader. He was a powerful warrior. He was obedient to what Moses had instructed. But he was not Jesus Christ. He could not remain perfect. He could not fully and completely follow the Law without fault. He grew weary in his old age. He could not completely conquer the land. He fell short. All the things we need, all the things Joshua and his people needed, only Jesus Christ could be. 

This year, when you find yourself setting a few new goals and pursuing new habits, and then falling back into old patterns all over again, look to Jesus. He’s the only One who can enable you to truly serve the LORD.