Shaped from the Feet Up
Shaped by an Assessment of Another
My visits to the podiatrist shaped how I viewed my feet — and rarely in a positive way.
The same morning I planned to visit the podiatrist, I had a run-in with the step-stool and the pinky toe of my left foot. Of course, the step stool won. By mid-afternoon, my toe throbbed. I originally scheduled the appointment to check the overall condition of my bunions, which I inherited, and a worsening toenail fungus.
Humor Didn’t Alter His View
I tried some light banter with the doctor but he didn’t have a funny bone in his body. He frowned and said, ‘deformed’ this and ‘deformed’ that. I attempted more humor. “Doc, I might as well just cut them off.”
He replied without blinking, “That’s what I was going to recommend.” What? Cut off my feet? I squirmed while he continued his assessment. “Surgery,” he clarified. “And I’d advise you get some of those nails with the fungus removed.”
I mumbled something about trying vinegar first.
A Litany of Imperfection
He pointed out how several toes were shaped wrong and how pushed up my hammer toe was. My left foot seemed worse off than the other or as the doc put it, “Your right foot is lagging behind.” As if it should hurry and catch up!
That’s when I remembered to tell him about the injured toe.
He shook his head as if there wasn’t hope enough for me in the world.
Wasn’t it bad enough I had bad vision and hearing? Apparently not.
“If you’re gonna remove your bunions, it’s better to do it sooner than later–before the window of opportunity closes. ” With luck, I might have five or ten years before my ‘deformed’ feet caused ‘irreparable damage.’ He even warned my hammer toe could mean ‘amputation!’
At the end, the technician took four ex-rays of my feet. The result would determine the course of my treatment. And oh yeah, there was a hairline crack of my pinky toe!
Shaped by Shame
On the way home, I felt ashamed. Even ugly. And upset. Just “less than.” The doctor forgot I was a person and not a diagnosis. Never going back there. But my pinky toe continued to throb anytime I wore my shoe. So I returned the following week for more help.
First, he told me about my treatment options. With no preamble, the doc said “You are not a candidate for surgery. The window of opportunity is past.” My heart beat faster and I reminded myself I didn’t want surgery. There was a cyst on each my bunion. So the doctor said it would not be an option to cut into … nothing.. I associated the word ‘cyst’ with cancer. But it didn’t seem to be anything that extreme, just impossible to cut into. All the doc could ‘offer’ was a steel rod.
A steel rod? That seemed as drastuc as his earlier suggestion of amputation!
Past the Window of Opportunity
I had to live with my badly-shaped feet now. He said many had ‘severely deformed’ feet. Why did he keep wording it like that? When I looked at my feet, they looked normal. Even if they weren’t, it wasn’t very nice of him to use that word.
At home, I took some ice water out of the fridge but I didn’t have any clean glasses. So I pulled a cup down from the top shelf. When I set it on the counter I saw Shaped to Serve engraved on one side. On the back, it read O Lord, we are all the work of your hands. Isaiah 64,
Shaped by the Master Potter
Just as God chose for me to look beyond the limitations of vision and hearing loss, he wanted me to ‘walk’ beyond the silly labels others put on my feet. My bunions didn’t matter. So what if my toes weren’t shaped perfectly? God shaped me, as a potter shaped clay.
I looked down at my feet. They were shaped exactly as God chose to shape them. Beautiful to carry His message to hurting people–those who needed to know about His love in their own less than perfect bodies.
Shaped to Serve Others
We are all imperfect. Nevertheless, God shaped us all to serve.
As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
I rejoiced when I remembered we are never ‘past the window of opportunity’ for His mercies are new every day! God gives us ample opportunities to be His feet.
What words of encouragement can you or have you shared with others pointing out God ‘s love for them exactly as they are?
You have read “Shaped by God by the Feet Up,” by Amy L. Bovaird. Copyright July 30, 2017. Please take a moment to leave a comment.