I didn’t know shoes could mean so much. They are just shoes, but they signify the most beautiful restoration and redemption.
If your reading this, you’ve probably seen me post about sexual abuse, and maybe you’ve even heard parts of my story.
For three of my teenage years, I was groomed and abused by the man who was my youth pastor. He strategically isolated me and stripped me of everything that makes me who I am. I became a hollow shell of myself- essentially an extension of the man who was controlling me.
He convinced me I needed to give up sports, hobbies, my friends, jobs, makeup, etc.
I lost my sense of individuality and I lost my ability to express myself. My sense of style had gone from slightly hipster to whatever wouldn’t show the shape of my body too much. Modesty is good, but my change in style was more of an attempt to protect myself and not be seen than it was to honor God, myself, or the people around me by being authentically modest.
Over the course of the last 19 months, God has delivered me, started healing me, has reconnected me with the important people in my life, has given me life-long friends, and He is helping me become who He created me to be. He is making beauty from ashes and He is truly working everything out for good.
I’ve been working on rebuilding my life and being me again. Recently, this has meant I’ve started thinking about clothes shopping and I am slowly but surely starting to rediscover my sense of style. One of my most favorite apparel items is booties. I love their simplicity, classiness, and their character. I’d been looking online for booties and hadn’t found any I liked, but this week I found some locally on Upcycle.
Wednesday morning I got to spend time with snazzy people and I got to pick them up. We had great conversations- being around genuine people I can talk to about anything is such a blessing because I was once very isolated and convinced I couldn’t talk to nearly everyone. The rest of the day had big challenges, but knowing I have solid support systems in place made them much less stressful.
That night, I looked over at my new-to-me booties and it hit me how significant they are. They signify I am getting my sense of style back. They signify I can express myself. They signify I am continuing to get free from the control my abuser had over all areas of my life. They signify support and community. They signify redemption and hope. They remind me how good God is.
And they’re cute!
Before the abuse, I just got the fake leather booties from Payless. They were cute, they did what I needed them to, and it didn’t matter to me what they were made of. The ones I got this week (for $15- yay upcycle!!) are real leather. What they are made of isn’t necessarily important to me, but I bring it up because it reminded me of how God is replacing what I lost with better things. Like He did with Job. After Job lost everything God gave him twice what he had lost during his hardship (Job 42:10).
During the abuse, my world turned upside down and there was a lot of suffering. But God is good, He hears the cries of His children, He continues to deliver me, and He has been restoring every area of my life. He is faithfully mending what has been broken and He is giving me new life.
God is truly the healer, restorer, and mender of broken lives.