Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Encouragement (among believers) (11/08/07)
TITLE: Daddy's Boots
By Martha Kirk
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Together we would walk out to the shed to feed his coon dogs. Well, Daddy would walk, I would run to keep up with his long strides! Sometimes when we got out there, I would tip the feed barrel so I could reach the dog food; only to find a mouse or some other trapped prisoner. Daddy would help me get it out and set it free—though I’m sure the cat only got fatter after we freed the poor fattened rodent.
After we had fed and watered the dogs, Daddy and I would go back in the house. Just inside the backdoor we had a homemade boot jack. Have you ever used one of those before? Best invention I ever did see with my 9 year old eyes! It was kind of like a teeter totter. It was a piece of board with a forked end. On the underside, closer to the forked end, was a smaller piece of wood which was placed for leverage. After a long day working out in the fields, Daddy would put his heel in the forked end and his opposite foot on the other end. He’d give his leg a yank and off came the boot! Ingenious invention! Of course, I had to take my shoes off that way too. It was, after all, the only way to take off the shoes of someone who had been “working” all day.
After my shoes were off, I would slip into Daddy’s boots. They came up to my knee. Daddy would smile and tell me that one day I might be able to fill his shoes.
A few years later Daddy went to heaven. He fought with cancer and we prayed that God would heal him, but He didn’t. Throughout the year that Daddy struggled with cancer, he had plenty of reason to complain: pain, fairness, costs, fear, long trips for radiation and chemotherapy treatments, not knowing how to feed his family, what would happen to the future. Yet, those are not the things that Daddy talked about. He spoke of Jesus. Heaven. Faith. He talked about Hope and Mercy and Grace. When we were all called to the hospital on the final day he drew breath, his last words were of Love.
Several years passed and I went on to become a missionary. I poured everything I had into the lives of young and old so that they might see the Love of Christ. Something was missing from my life. I began to feel “empty”. Finally I returned home, feeling beaten down and depressed. I felt I had not finished my “job”; that I had let God down. Funny thing is, after I left, the ministry began to grow. The people I had a hand in leading to the Lord, were now leading others to the Father themselves! Maybe that is what God was trying to tell me, I had to get out of the way so that He could make them grow.
I found Daddy’s boots awhile back and tears filled my eyes. I slipped my woman’s foot within the worn, cracked leather and wiggled my toes. There’s still room to grow but I’m closer now to filling my Daddy’s shoes than I ever was before. That’s special to me, but growing up to be like my Father means more to me than ever can be expressed.
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