I’ve worn one silver band around my toe for seven years straight. A friend gave me the toe ring as a gift, with a note that said: “God loves you from your head, all the way down to your toes.”
I slipped that toe ring on seven years ago, and took it off only once, under the orders of an MRI nurse.
Toe rings used to annoy me — like the way it felt the first time I wore contact lenses.
But after awhile, that toe ring became a part of me. Seamless. Like I might just forget that it’s there, unless I purposely fixed my eyes on it.
And this is the way with my God, I tell you.
He’s been with me every step, but the thing is, I’ve got these really big blind-spots. If I’m not fixing my eyes on Christ, I will focus on the things I think I have some control over. Things like, oh … my whole entire life.
For the better part of my life — even parts of my Christian life — I have made detailed plans, scheduling hours tightly, wearing them like a noose around the neck of a day. One misstep, and the rope cinches tighter. It’s a suffocating life, the life of someone who wants to control what happens next.
I know what it says in Proverbs, how a person may plan her own journey, but the Lord directs these steps.
But if I get honest, I have been stubborn after my own plans, writing them down like I knew what was coming around the next corner.
Silly mama … plans are for rookies.
Here’s the thing about plans: They ought to be made in sand, not concrete. Life has a way of making plans of its own.
John Lennon sang it out: that life is what happens when you’re busy making plans.
Looking back, I can see it now. I’ve stepped through a lot of unplanned, unscripted life with that one silver band, etched with three crosses. These toes have found their way to the edges of hospital beds, hospice rooms, and the gaping mouths of open graves. None of that was planned.
These toes have also stepped straight into incomparable joy: in the labor-and-delivery room, on the dance floor, inside mud huts of Haiti. They’ve pirouetted through a thousand God-incidences.
And these toes have marched right up to the table of grace — that holy place where hungry, forgetful beggars are reminded, once again, to “do this in remembrance.”
Just now, I twirl that ring around my toe, between my fingers, like a bead on a prayer necklace. It’s a prayer for me and for anyone with blind-spots or a penchant for wanting her own way.
It’s also a prayer for anyone who has seen her best-laid plans fall straight out the bottom;
whose plans (or whole lives) were cut short;
whose plans got so rearranged, they don’t think life is worth living.
It’s a prayer for the people whose plans got really messy once upon a time, and they’re not sure they can forgive themselves. And it’s a prayer for the person who thinks God can never forgive her.
It’s a prayer for all of us — broken and battered and falling before the One who knows the plans He has for us. The only plans that really matter.
The thing is this: God knew we could never be left to our our plans, or our own devices. He knew our plans ought to make their way to just one place: Calvary.
I twist the toe ring, between my fingers, and I say Amen. And Amen.
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