I first read the poem ‘Footprints’ many years ago. It invigorated my soul. The author had so eloquently posed the question that had often stirred in my own heart.
Time and again I have read them to gather courage to endure the storm, encouragement to persevere through the barbs and thorns, and assurance that I am not travailing through this journey alone. Which is why I have it on a plaque hanging next to my bed where I can be reminded of the truth: I am not forgotten. I am not forsaken. My Father walks beside me. A truth I was once again reminded of about three weeks ago.
I stopped working end August 2014. I didn’t retire – although hubby keeps saying it like I did. I don’t mind too much, except that I’m far off from retirement age. I stopped working, because I was tired. A permanent neck injury and the culmination of 29 years of working full time in an industry that I was not designed for had been eroding away at my being. My passion, vitality and zeal had been sapped by my need to earn a living. By the time I resigned, my body felt crippled and my spirit under-nourished. I was a square being forced into a circle and my corners were being torn away from the rest of me to try and make me fit.
When, at 18 years old, I suddenly found myself orphaned, possibilities were no longer endless. They were limited. The transition into adulthood occurred at a faster and deeply painful pace. Where I may have determined to enrol for a journalism degree before, I now found myself applying for a low income job instead. Even though I excelled at the work I did and promotion came quickly, over time and many years into the future, I was working simply because I had to. My passion for all things creative – most especially writing – had been ousted out of spirit and soul. Until 29 August 2014.
The landscape of my life started shifting then. More mountains and valleys were being sculpted into the canvas that was once stark and flat. The Hand of my Saviour was infusing hue, contrast and texture, enriching the glow of the sky and refining the shape of the ocean waves. A splash of laughter here and a smudge of sorrow there.
Revival occurred at length. It wasn’t an overnight work of restoration. Nor a quick or simple work. The process extended over 20 months – a journey that lured me to the edge of the precipice, inviting me to adventure unknown. I inched a little closer with each month that dimmed from present to past, with wings unfurling and beckoning me to flight.
I was conscious of the moulding and shaping of my character and heart. Changes were needed and so I complied. I surrendered. But it was hard. My flesh wanted to stray at times, and tried to stoke up my spirit to wander along with it. But YHWH – He rescued me. Every month. Every day. Every moment. We wrestled and rested. We unravelled lies and revealed truth. We encountered deception and sliced through the cords of the enemy. Until I found myself steadily standing at the edge of the precipice, once again ready for flight.
On the cusp of this new portion of our journey together, I wondered at the work YHWH had accomplished in me. With pen in hand and my journal waiting for my words, I tried articulating all that He had done. But failed. So I asked YHWH to reveal it to me through His Spirit instead. This is what He told me:
“When you stopped working, you were bruised, broken and damaged. You were a bird with broken wings. So I lifted you out from where you were being scarred and brought you home, to a place of safety. A place where you could be alone and rest in my care. I nursed and nurtured your broken heart and crushed spirit and repaired your broken wings. I strengthened you to step off the edge and trust Me to teach you to fly again.”
In essence, My Father was saying: “My precious child, I love you and would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then I carried you.”