with bare feet

Vianden Castle in the rain

On Saturday, in a room with way too much wood panelling, but a perfect view out onto the castle in the rain at the top of the hill, I stood up and spoke. I spoke to forty women about embracing their place in God’s story, about looking back at our lives with new eyes to see his fingerprints all over each page.

I was the second-youngest person in that room, a fact I realised just hours before I was up, and which caused me some anxiety. I’d worked on this talk for a couple of weeks, a bit at a time. Inspiration would come and I’d drop everything to go and write another paragraph, look up a passage in a book I’d just remembered, a verse that would drop into my mind in the middle of something completely different.

I felt this message grow in me and I loved the process of preparing for it. But then the age thing. I’m about to give a talk on life and story and purpose to women who have so many more years of life experience under their belt? Who am I to bring this message?

Another women got up to speak before me. She talked about the shoes we wear on this journey, shoes that have been uniquely made to fit us, prepared perfectly for the journey we will make. She talked about spiritual gifts, and abilities and passion.

But then she stopped and quoted an ancient verse, from the days when God appeared to men and women in dreams and visions, rather than in a temple. And this one time he came to a man in the form of a burning bush, saying, “Take off your sandals, for the place you are standing is holy ground”.

This place we stand is holy. What we do is holy. What I do, as I stand up to speak to women seeking the truth, is holy work. And my first act must be just to recognise it. So when I gathered up my notes and got up to speak, I slipped off my shoes. No matter that a chill had returned to the air this weekend – I needed those bare feet, turning cold at the toes, growing dusty on my soles, to remind me of this truth: I stand on holy ground. This is holy work.

And so, no matter my age. No matter my doubt. No matter the life experiences that I have or haven’t accumulated yet. This message had be conceived within me and I was to bring it to life here.