I felt the soft, slippery substance squish under the tread of my boot. A quick flip of the foot revealed an ooey, beigey substance ingrained into the bottom of my new hiking boots. The new hiking boots that, if COVID-19 had never happened, would be digging into the sandy desert of Egypt at this very moment.

Instead, they met their match with the discarded hunk of banana that my one-year-old threw down.

A quick thought runs through my mind: This is not what was supposed to be!

From Excitement to Crushed Banana

These boots were bought in anticipation of venturing the Bible lands, exploring more about what Jesus’ life looked like, and intentionally connecting with God and my husband! They were bought for the once in a lifetime trip that I should be on right now. They were bought with expectation and excitement…and now…they are coated with slimy, toddler rejected, crushed banana.

This is not the way it’s supposed to be. And yet, a closer look at the bottom of this boot reveals a bit more.

Bear with me; it’s not pretty.

Layers and Layers

Next to the freshly demolished banana is a clingy piece of masking tape. Undoubtedly from one of the millions of paper animals my kids have been making these days. And beside the tape, some cherry tree petals. Petals, not from my yard, but from a beautiful teacher’s yard. From an early morning drive to pick up supplies and to see her face, also spurred on a blossom petal throwing match.

There’s dirt too. Dirt from my freshly planted, filled-with-hope, pray-I-can-keep-it-alive garden.

Dirt, Tape, Petals, Banana.

It’s not the way it’s supposed to be….

…But maybe, just maybe, it’s so much the way things should be.

Look Again

Maybe, the paper animal creatures, old tape, the wispy flower petal, the embedded banana, and the grimy dirt is exactly where God has put me for now. Exactly where I can intentionally connect with Him, exactly where I can learn more about Jesus’ life and character, exactly my once-in-a-lifetime experience. Exactly where I need to be to grow in obedience and relationship.

The story of the tape, the dirt, the banana, and the petal is the story of God’s faithfulness.

It’s the story of His gifts to me: four beautiful kids, a home and garden, plenty of food, and the joy of His creation. An intricately designed and planned-before-creation story, all on the bottom of my boot.

So. while I grieve the loss of a trip I should be on right now; I cannot mourn where God has put me instead. For here, in this insane blend of pandemic, isolation, schooling at home, housekeeping(ish), mom-ing, goopy left boot living, God beckons me to grow and to rest, to steward what he has given me. God gently says, “You’re not in Egypt, but I have great work to do through you still.”

And yet, I can’t help parallel that with the bigger picture.

Maybe God also says, “This world is not the way it’s supposed to be, but I have great work to do through you still.

Until He comes again, I will be reminded via sticky left boots or other means, that while I grieve the broken world, God has placed me here, and not somewhere else, to do His work through me.

And that is the way it’s supposed to be…for now.