When I say "need," I don't mean I am hankering for some pampering or dreaming about having my toenails painted some flashy color. No, I mean I need it, well, more specifically, my heels could sorely use some attention.
Uganda is tough on the feet. One of the downsides of wearing sandals all the time is the armor-like hardened skin that has formed over my heels. It is not pretty. It is hard. It has funny lines. And, no matter how much I scrub, it still remains. (On a side note, mosquitos' favorite dining spot are feet. I still have scars from bites from my first visit four years ago.)
My feet. Yes, those are tan lines, not dirt. :)
I enjoyed my first-ever pedicure on my birthday in July. Why, you may ask, did it take me 30 years to get one? Well, I am terribly ticklish, to put it mildly. I was afraid I could not handle someone touching my feet, and I could picture myself squirming in my chair, trying to hold still and not kick the kind person performing the service.
But, that wasn't my experience at all in July. I really enjoyed it and found it very relaxing. Afterward, I marveled at how soft and clean my feet felt. And, the royal blue toenail polish, to match my new dress, didn't look bad either.
One of my "armored" feet. (By the way, this is after I showered.) On the left is a healing wound from when I wore shoes with a back, more than a month ago.
However, within a week, my poor feet reverted back - they had become hard and calloused again. : ( So, I have been thinking about getting another pedicure soon.
As I pondered this this evening, I thought about one of my favorite scriptures,
"And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God." - Ezekiel 11:19-20
You may wonder what feet and hearts have in common, but I am focusing more on hard and soft here.
I have prayed at various times that God would remove my "heart of stone" and replace it with a "heart of flesh." Truly, He is the only who can perform the heart surgery. Honestly, have you ever seen a heart surgeon perform a delicate procedure on himself? I am in no way a heart surgeon - of the physical nor spiritual kind.
A heart that is hardened by sin, indifference, rebellion, hurt, bitterness, and other hardening elements, can only be taken care of by its Original Designer and the Chief of All Heart Surgeons - our Heavenly Father.
I like Adam Clarke's simple, but deep, commentary on these verses:
"And I will give them one heart - A whole system of renewed affections.
And I will put a new spirit within you - To direct and influence these new affections.
And I will take the stony heart out of their flesh - That which would not receive the impressions of my Spirit.
And will give them a heart of flesh - One that is capable of receiving and retaining these impressions."
Think about a trying to press a pattern into a stone. Not likely nor possible. Now think about pressing a pattern into soft clay - very possible.
I am just coming out of a season where I felt my heart was becoming hard. But, through time in God's Word and in His presence, He is softening it again.
Truthfully, I don't mind so much having hard heels, though I still think I need a pedicure. I can look at them and they reminds me of what I have been doing for the past year and where and Whom I am serving.
But, a hard heart is just not healthy nor the trademark of a loving, living-for-Jesus Christian.
Need a transplant? Talk to the Heavenly Heart Surgeon.