Take Off Your Shoes


The night where Christ stood up from dinner, removed His outer garments, and wrapped Himself in a towel. He poured water in a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with His towel. He was fully aware of how dirty their feet were and how messy their stories were. He knew each one of them would betray Him in just a matter of hours, and yet He knelt them down and washed them clean. He met them in an act of love, showing that He saw the good and bad in them, and He still wanted to use them. 

Last night, as the post-winter thundersnow storm raged, some students gathered in 55th for a semi-spontaneous slam poetry event hosted by the group Mad Skillz. Earlier in the day they taught us Dutch, Reformed kids a thing or two about worship . . . that it’s okay to talk in chapel. It’s not bad to say “Amen!” even if it’s not the end of the prayer, and if something is hitting you, it’s okay to snap your fingers to let them know that what they’re saying is resonating deep in your bones.

At the evening event, the host said “If a poem really hits you in a way that snaps and ‘amens’ don’t cover, take off your shoes and throw them on stage. Throw your water bottles. Throw your sweatshirts . . . whatever you’ve got, throw it up here.”

Poet after poet stepped up on stage and shared their stories through well-crafted words. 55th was quieter than I’ve ever heard it because people were listening. Snaps, amens, moans and groans, laughs and tears rumbled throughout the building and why? Because these stories sunk deep. The poets were vulnerable, and as a community we were able to see them for who they were. Good, bad, ugly, and redeemed, we listened and shared different parts of our stories.

Jesus was there.

He saw the dirt, the grime, the hurt, and the pain that poets and audience carried to the room that day. But in vulnerability, He met us as we took off our shoes and encountered each other in love.

When Jesus sees disease, He sees the opportunity to heal. When He sees sin, He sees a chance to forgive and redeem. When He sees dirty feet, He sees a chance to wash them.

At the end of that Thursday night, He gave His disciples a new command to love each other deeply and fully. “Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways.” Here we are, thousands of years later, and I saw the Lord use a pile of shoes and bare feet to demonstrate His love once again.

Take off your shoes. Let Him wash you. Love each other deeply and fully.


*Quotes from John 13 (Voice)


The Attorney Carries On


Some days the prosecution whispers louder than he usually does. The notes pile higher and higher, showing me all of my flaws and insecurities. Although I know the notes he slides me are lies, I am somehow able to pick out truth in each one of them. My identity is tied to each piece of evidence held against me.

I am guilty, and I am ashamed.

but the whole point of Holy Week is to say that Death does not win. My attorney has stood in my place, taking on all of my shame, and allowing me to walk free.

My Advocate allows me to attach my identity to His perfection and grace, not in the evidence against me.

This is mercy’s war, and I know the one who wins.

She Has No Idea

The other day I was poking around an old flash drive of mine, looking for an old paper, when I found a picture of me and my brother. We were playing at the beach on a family vacation over spring break, the week before Easter, to California. And all I could think was “She has no idea what’s coming her way.”

The little girl in that picture has no idea that as she digs through the sand, she’s slowly falling in love with places than her home in Minnesota.

She has no idea that her family is incomplete, and in two short years she’ll have a little sister.

She has no idea that as she played her great-aunt’s piano and develops a deep longing to take piano lessons, she will be propelled into an entire career of music and worship.

She has no idea that this week, Holy Week, will become one of her favorite times of the year, a week where she is able to further explore and develop her identity in Christ.

She has no idea that this is far from the last time she’ll visit California. She’ll come back again over the years for family, for school, and for love.

She’s never had her heart broken. She’s never experienced death or cancer. She’s never been to counseling. She’s never had to worry about how much her paycheck is or what the price of gas is this week. She’s never counted calories, never worried about who the president is or will be, and is not worried about where she will be a year from now.

This little girl is content with being at the beach and digging for seashells with her family.

Obviously, I’m a very different person fourteen years later. So many experiences formed and shaped me into who I am now, there’s no way I would ever be able to explain that to my six-year-old self. But maybe someday, I’ll see a picture of myself from spring of 2016 and think “She has no idea.”

I’m learning to trust God’s plan for the future because He has proved Himself to be faithful over and over again. I’m starting to understand the prayer to “have a child-like faith.” I want to learn to be content where I am, to stop and dig for seashells. I know so many things are coming my way, things good and bad that I have no idea about, but I trust in the Lord’s unfailing love and look to the future with excitement and joy.

She has no idea, and odds are, neither do I.