I'm not really sure where to begin my second boot story. There is what recently happened and what has long happened and how the two met.
I guess I'll begin with the boots.
Being unemployed, for me (probably not for Mr. Wonderful), has been one of the richest experiences of my life. I have experienced material blessing and more spiritual lessons than I could ever recount.
It never ceases to amaze me how generous and thoughtful people are, and I pray I never loose the "wonderment" (to use a favorite phrase of a precious friend) that spurs me to replicate the attitude and actions I've been the recipient of again and again.
Now, if you read ATO2B Part I, you know that I had already been given one pair of fantastic boots.
I had received the "Skittles" and was enjoying them (i.e., wearing them with everything but pajamas...as far as you know). But if you know me very well, you know that I am a bit...what is the word?...ok, I'm obsessive.
This whole new world of clothing had been opened up to me by my dear college roommate, and through her generosity, my eyes were opened to all sorts of fashion options. And precious readers, boots are a tremendous option! I mean tall ones, short ones, cowboy, stilletto, leather, suede...the choices are endless! (I'm sure you already knew this.)
So another dear friend of mine caught wind that I liked a rather expensive boot brand and that would love to have black boots.
Now, again, I have a pair of fantastic boots already.
But she wanted to get me these boots.
"Absolutely not! That would be immoral."
"No. Thank you, you are precious, but no."
For sake of post length, I will spare you the details of the back-and-forth conversation and how the final shopping trip came about (and I hope you will not judge me for going on it.) Well, I agreed that I would go if I could contribute what was left of my Christmas money to these boots. She agreed and we were off.
Upon arriving at the boot store, I saw a pair of boots that looked really fabulous, and since my friend was not to the women's boots yet, I stole a peek at the price (with the salesman right at my shoulder) and knew that we would not be trying these boots on, no how, no way. And I said so to the salesman.
Well, we looked at lots of boots and tried them on and I began to try on different colors in the style I wanted (Cowgirl. And there is a entirely separate story about that too!). None of the black ones really suited me, because I am super particular when I know what I want.
I found some cocoa "suede" cowboy boots and said to my friend that these would be great and would really go with a lot, including black. (Plus, my Christmas money would all but cover them. Bonus!!) She responded that that was wonderful... "Now let's find some black ones."
Again, I will spare you the details of the back-and-forth and how it came to be and just say that I walked out of the store with the black cowboy boots that "we were not going to try on." And she was so happy.
After we had coffee, shared and cried, we each headed home.
As I drove home I was struck with another lesson from the boots.
(Here is what has long happened.)
My relationship with Christ and accepting of His gift of salvation has been a journey. Unlike some believers, I can't give you a date and time although I know there was a pivotal moment somewhere when I made the decision mine, but I won't go into all that here.
However, being obsessive, over the years I tend to think about things. A lot. And this journey caused me to question and worry from time to time. Not over whether or not God will do what He says He will do in regards to His grace and forgiveness. But I just wrestled with resting in it and the temptation to want to "do something to 'get it.'" (Which is another theological discussion entirely.)
Now, here is what happened on my ride home.
I began to wonder to myself, "Why would someone want to do this for me? This is just too extravagant a gift. I don't deserve her doing this. It is not right for me to take such generosity like this. It is selfish." I was overwhelmed.
I think you see where this is going.
And it hit me.
"That is the point!"
God's gift of grace, mercy, forgiveness and love is LAVISH! It is EXTRAVAGANT! It is UNDESERVED. Yet He delights, like my friend with the boots, in giving it to me. He knows I am choosing the most "expensive item" in His "store" and desiring it for myself even though I'm not able to pay for it and I'm not worthy of it. He WANTS me to take it and own it and not even begin to think of paying Him back. He delights in being extravagant! And it is ok to receive His grace. He knows we don't deserve it.
And like my friend told me, "I had someone do this for me years ago (purchase something extravagant) and years from now you will do this for someone else."
God has done so much for me throughout my life. It wouldn't be right if I didn't pass it on, and so many times I don't.
If you made it to this point in this very long post, I want to thank you for letting me share the goofy way that God speaks to my heart. I mean really...boots? Yep.