How Three Minutes, Blisters, and Fifty-Six Pairs of Shoes Changed my Heart

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As we rush around, planning, preparing, and enjoying our Thanksgiving holiday, let’s stop for a moment to think about just how good we really have it. Let’s pause in the busyness of life, inhale slowly, and take inventory of all the blessings God has generously given to us…

“Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving…”                                 Psalm 50:14 ESV

In early October, my friend and I strolled leisurely down the beautiful Oak Island beach.  We walked and chatted for what seemed like a couple of hours.  The gentle breeze and gorgeous scenery lulled us to continue walking until we completely lost track of how far we had gone.  And honestly, I didn’t really care because it was so good to catch up with my friend.

By the time we made it back to our beach chairs, my feet were on fire.  I had worn two blisters on each foot, one on the ball and the other on the heel.  Needless to say, I hobbled around the rest of the weekend with a limp because I was in pain.  And yes, some of the ladies harmlessly poked fun at me and I earned a new nickname from the incident.  But it’s ok, I have come to realize I just have wimpy feet!

I learned a good lesson from the ordeal- don’t walk for long periods of time on the sand without shoes on.  “It’s like walking on sandpaper,” as my good friend puts it.

With the blisters still fresh on my feet, I recently learned of a ministry called Sole Hope that helps to provide shoes to children in Uganda.  Most of the children have never had a pair of shoes before.  That’s right, never had a pair of shoes.  So they walk barefooted, as their primary means of transportation, everywhere they need to go.  Some days, their naked, vulnerable feet travel many miles on dirty, rocky roads.

Shoes are of vital importance, a necessity, to the youngsters because they help protect them from the dreaded jiggers, or sand fleas, that cause major health issues.  Once infested with the parasites, the kids can become very sick and it is almost impossible for them to walk due to intense pain.

It is hard for me to imagine that some of these children have never had a pair of shoes.  I think of my own children whose closets are lined with flip flops, sneakers, and even snow boots, just in case we have an unlikely blizzard.  I even surveyed my own closet and am ashamed to report that in three minutes, I counted fifty-six pairs of shoes in there (please don’t judge me! I’m just being honest!).  That’s sickening, I know. I could wear a different pair of shoes each week of the year and those precious children in Uganda don’t even have one pair.

But God really touced my heart by helping me understand that I can relate, on a very small level, with my experience at the beach with developing sores on my feet.  And even that, is probably so much better than the children have it in Uganda.  The pain in my feet, which eventually went away, was by my own choice, because I neglected to wear my flip flops. The precious foreign children don’t have a choice in their circumstances.

God got my attention and made me realize I am so incredibly blessed and take so much for granted. I truly have no idea of what it means to be in need of a necessity.  I have good health, water, food, plenty of clothes, access to medicine when sick, freedom to worship God, the ability to work at a job I love, and the list could go on forever.  And my family enjoys the same things as me-we are so blessed.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I would like to ask you to really take the time to thank God for all of His gifts He’s given you. Anything and everything, the big and the small.  Let no blessing go unnoticed.  Praise Him for everything.

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And when you are tempted to be ungrateful or envy what another has, take a shoe inventory of your own.  If you can count one pair of shoes, you are blessed, my friend! Don’t be afraid to let others know of your blessings and how much you appreciate them. Be sure to talk to God, expressing your thankfulness to Him.  Foster an attitude of gratitude and get involved with some ministry that helps others.  There are so many opportunities to give back in our communities. Research some of those opportunities or ministries and share your gifts by serving your neighbors. If you are having trouble coming up with ideas,  Sole Hope is a great place to start and you can even host a shoe cutting party in your own home. How fun!  Go to their website at www.solehope.org to find out more information and how you can make a difference in children’s lives.

Thanks for taking a minute with me today to reflect on just how blessed we are.  Give all the honor and praise to God, for all good things come from Him (James 1:17).

Happy Thanksgiving! May your day be wonderful as gratitude permeates every inch of your heart!

Blessings,

Alisha

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