It’s because of Wonder Woman that I like above the knee high boots.
In my childhood, I’d look in her closet and take out her high heel shoes and boots
She let me wear them around the house with my sunglasses and in my underwear.
Those boots went well above the knee.
My legs were much shorter then.
I wanted to walk where she walked.
I wanted to know what her shoes felt like.
She knew that.
So when I got older, she tried to persuade me to pursue art.
She wanted me to be my own;
Not walk in her path because I wanted to wear her shoes.
I drew a pair of combat boots in charcoal.
A juxtaposition of the upright polished
and the weary beaten down
The polish and the cloth
The way the light and dark were necessary
to create dimension and reality
When life isn’t black and white
but hues and shadows of grayscale
Push the contrast.
Even though I dedicated it to those who wore them,
They were for her too.
She’s fought the battle for so many hearts in her life
She’s picked up the shards and shrapnel that sounded like
distant chimes as they fell to the ground in slow motion
When the world stood still
And time raced on
the wings of hummingbirds
and gone sooner than they appeared
Even though she trained to be a nurse
She didn’t want to deal with bodily fluids
And yet, she has no fear of binding wounds
And cleaning blood off the floor that has dripped
from bleeding hearts
of a husband and father
of a daughter
of a son
of suicidal teenagers
of adults who will never be able to give her anything in return
and didn’t even stop when her own heart bled more than she could take
it wasn’t on her strength
Her transfusion gave her life
To know a Savior bled and died
to love so deeply that when her heart bled
So did His
when no one else did
He rejoiced over her
When she was alone
His promise was to never leave her or abandon her
And because that blood brings life
Her heart grows stronger with every pulse, every beat,
every exchange of oxygen that brings breath and life
in every move she makes
She has joy in the middle of the times other people would curse God
Because she knows in Him she lives and moves and has her being
And with that overflow of acceptance and joy and love, she has
an abilty to give back more than humanly possible
It is no wonder she is a woman of strength
Because she knows who she is and whose she is.
And she doesn’t need the world to tell her.
Which is a good thing
Because they rarely even notice what she’s done for them.
She refuses to give up the fight
Because it’s not about her
It’s about honoring God with every cell in her body.
Because the times when she called and heard no answer
She knew He was there.
The times she waited in silence,
She still praised His Name.
Because learning early in life with a mother gone at 16 and a father gone at 21
It hurt too much to love and lose
To watch a mother struggle for breath
And a father’s heart get attacked
She couldn’t even cry.
But through it she saw God’s faithfulness
It wasn’t a crutch
It was a love that gave her the ability to dare
to have courage
to love more deeply
and make the choice
knowing there would be pain
To wait for the man God had for her, but give over the desire if it wasn’t part of the plan
To dedicate children that didn’t even yet exist, to a God who loved more and was the source
Because she knew, that through pain and battles for the heart, it was much more fulfilling to live for God than to try to protect herself from things that were difficult and uncomfortable.
From pre-kindergarten to adult
She’s still teaching me what it is to show and not just tell
To live and walk and not just talk.
Because it’s one thing to say
I love you.
It’s another completely to live it
in a way that is beyond comprehension
but at the same time grocked
Even when there is no English translation.
When I was little and she held me close
I couldn’t imagine how it could be possible for her to love any more than she did me.
And when she told me she loved Jesus more than me
I didn’t understand
Until she explained that with Jesus, she could love me more than she could on her own.
It’s what inspired me to want to love Jesus more than anything or anyone, because
I wanted to love like her someday.
I wanted to not only wear her shoes
but live through walking in love the way Christ loved us first.
As I got older, I realized that it doesn’t come without a price.
She helped me understand what it meant:
in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.
It’s not morbid,
but to fight any battle is bloody.
To fight for the heart is dangerous, complex, and is often studded with shrapnel.
Agape love is by nature, sacrificial.
Not as a martyr.
But in any interaction with humanity’s imperfections
defense mechanisms, wounds, pain, and stone cold arteries
injections, and escapes and self medication are common
Those all have side effects
and if not that, the backpack.
Beneficial, yes, but the wearer is often unaware
and wide swings can wipe out everything on a counter with one change in direction
or can lob another person off balance
when the backpack had nothing to do with the second party
and they were barely trying to keep their own balance
Because in a system of humanity, our actions are ours and impact ourselves until the end of our fist makes contact with someone else
and then our action impacts and penetrates
like the thorns in flesh
when grasping a rose.
Some say love is a river that drowns the tender reed
Some say love is a razor that leaves your soul to bleed
Some say love is a hunger with an endless aching need
She says love is a flower and Christ its only seed
She taught me that it’s the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance
It’s the dream afraid of waking that never takes the chance
It’s the one who won’t be taken who cannot seem to give
And the soul afraid of dying that never learns to live
She’s challenged me.
To know realistically, you won’t always win.
But if you don’t even enter the contest
If you don’t even try
You won’t have the opportunity to learn and grow.
But when the night has been too lonely and the road has been too long
She’s taught me that there is One who has gone before me
And walked beside me all along.
Those combat boots in charcoal
and the complexities in gray
The mind and understanding and knowledge
and watching her live her life
have continued to make me want to walk where she’s walked
and wear her shoes.
When I told God I wanted to be just like her
I didn’t realize fully what I was asking.
Because to have that kind of strength, grace, beauty, humility, compassion, perseverance, knowledge, forgiveness, and loyalty
You need practice.
That means you take the road less traveled.
No, you take the road no one else wants to take.
To want to become more in the image of Christ, is to choose a complexity that you can’t understand going in, but a deeper joy and ability to live life to the fullest like nothing else.
And by that, I mean–to impact countless lives in a way that is immeasurable.
It’s a difference between living for the dot or the line.
For the moment and self
Or for something that stretches infinitely in both directions–
beyond what we are humanly capable of seeing in the moment
It often means not being understood.
It means being willing to fall and get up and keep going.
When I forget, she reminds me.
I have a memory of walking behind her on a sidewalk.
I tripped and fell and my arm and hand reached out to her in front of me
Somehow, I grasped her ankle as I fell.
She looked back, then down:
“Michelle, what are you doing down there?”
She still picks me up when I fall.
She loves me too much to leave me where I am.
And that still means strongly challenging me
to not hide under a rock to avoid feeling.
Because even if I speak
with a voice of an angel
and I do not love
I am a resounding gong
If I give everything I have
to the poor and give over
my body to hardship so I
but if I do not have love
I am nothing.
Wonder Woman boots are made for walking
(and that’s just what they’ll do)
But if I do not walk in love
What good are the boots?
I wanted to walk where she walked.
I wanted to know what her shoes felt like.
As I live more, I am beginning to know more what it feels like.
And I marvel even more at her strength, grace, beauty, compassion, loyalty, perseverance, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, and self-control.
More than all of this,
I am more amazed every year by her ability to love
Sometimes I wonder how people can’t see.
But she reminds me that it’s not for them to praise her
The only thing that truly matters is to hear
Well done, good and faithful servant.
It’s giving something back to Him.
I realize I have a gift so few people
ever have in a mother like mine.
And even though I’m not half what she is,
I hope to be someday.
And so, I continue to follow in her footsteps.