As she lay in bed I knelt down by her feet and began rubbing them gently. She needed comfort and this was a relaxing form in which I could offer it.
I was serving at an annual week-long summer camp, but it isn’t just any ordinary summer kids’ camp, this special camp brims with emotion- some cheerful and some troubling. One of my responsibilities is to aide in putting little girls to bed in their cabin shortly after the sun settles. This often includes tucking them in, prayer, story-time, music, and occasional waitress duties when they request a sip of water to quench a dry throat.
This particular evening would involve soothing a charming but insecure young girl of about eight. Crouching closely to her feet I continued to rub them and gradually with every touch of soft kneading her sobbing soon faded away. Above the top of her handmade quilt, her dark eyes could be seen carefully concentrating on my unprofessional ability of “massage therapy”. When my eyes met her innocent gaze it was all I could do to hold myself together—slowly tears streamed down my cheeks and onto my lap.
You see, those precious yet somewhat lightly dirt-soiled feet I rubbed were attached to a little girl with a big story. They carried the weight of a girl who had already seen, heard, and felt more than one would want to imagine. Her tears moments before resembled fear and worry, while mine mirrored compassion.
Those were the tears, eyes, and feet of a child who’d experienced abandonment from a biological mother and father. A child with emotional scars ingrained in her heart and mind from the instability of changing homes when the situation becomes less than favorable and in no way acceptable; a child who knows all too well the coined-term “foster kid” much like her peers sharing the same cabin as her.
I wiped tears from my face, but my hands made a point to always make their way back to those feet that needed nurtured. Between salty tear-covered hands and the motivation of comforting this sweet girl I humbly rubbed tired feet and my thoughts led to a story from Luke 7 in the Bible…
Amidst expensive perfume and lavished tears a sinful woman graciously anoints the feet of Jesus, kissing and wiping them with her hair. The Pharisees, whose best task seemed to be pointing out others’ flaws, quickly criticized Jesus for allowing such a sinful woman to even touch him. Without delay, Jesus wisely reprimands the Pharisees and to the woman he tells her “your sins are forgiven”, “your faith has saved you, go in peace.”
With sin-filled haunting memories to the depths of my childhood, few times have I felt worthy and called to such a moment as serving in this type of capacity. However, just like the sinful woman, I firmly believe God has long-forgiven my sins, that my faith has saved me, and because of His grace offered, I can go in peace and engage in blessings such as rubbing feet belonging to a beautiful child of God- symbolic of Jesus’ extended love.
When we accept Jesus as Lord over our lives we are worthy to be His hands and feet, serving others in tangible ways to point them in Christ’ direction. We must not miss opportunities of showing His’ love through our words and actions even if it means grasping tarnished feet that have stood through what most would consider misery. It could simply be our gentle and caring touch that brings progressive hope where despair once ran vigorously in someone’s life if we just believe God places us in situations so we can choose to make a difference in their life for His profound glory.