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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Beautiful Feet

Fourteen months ago, my son, Palmer, was born. He was a beautiful dark haired, blue eyed, chubby, cuddly baby. He was perfect in every way.

But, there was just something about his feet.

The doctors said he had probably just laid in a funny position in the womb and not to worry. By the time he was two-weeks-old, I was scared. I could not figure out why his feet looked so different to me, so unique and unlike my other babies' feet.

I casually asked the doctor. He casually answered me. This momentarily eased my fears.

After all, if something were horribly wrong, a doctor would notice it, right?

I prayed and asked God to allow others to see what it was I could see, to show me if I was being a weird, paranoid, freaky mom.

We continued to get check-ups and to get the okay.

Fourteen months passed. I did not consciously worry. He has been described as "pigeon-toed" and other such terms. I asked general questions to the doctor and to others. Again, slight reassurances were gained.

Subconsciously, I was terrified. I silently declared victory as each developmental phase was reached. He rolled over, stood in the exersaucer, bounced in the bouncy thing, crawled, stood and walked around furniture. I breathed a sigh of relief each time we put on tennis shoes and he attempted to take a step. Each time thinking that when he hit the next milestone I would believe nothing was wrong. No achievement eased my fear.

Then someone I love who is around Palmer regularly voiced concern over his foot turning. As she voiced her concern exhorting me to call the doctor, I silently vowed to race him to the emergency room if I needed to.

The truth is there is something unique about his special little feet that only his mother (and his Heavenly Father) can see. I believe God gives us the "mother alarm" to alert us to things with our children that no one else seems to notice. Whether the sounding of the alarm moves me to pray more fervently or to demand a diagnosis more quickly, I believe God truly helps us to parent our children. I had asked God to allow someone else to see what I had been seeing if I needed to pursue this matter.

Outwardly I calmly replied that he was due for a check up as I echoed my concern. Inwardly my mind raced through hair-raising possibilities beginning a downward spiral that would threaten to overwhelm me with fear...and (gasp) guilt.

As I visited each worst case scenario in my mind, I began to pray. I scheduled a doctor's appointment. I prayed some more.

The first thing God did was remind me that fear of any magnitude is sin. I repented.

He then showed me that any "concern" or preoccupation we have is darkness and sin until it can be uncovered and totally in the light. I was worried about Palmer's feet. I would talk it out, look for answers and ask for God's help. I had been telling myself that everything would be fine when...He crawled, stood, wore tennis shoes, walked, turned one, etc. The Lord reminded me that the only way to dispel darkness is by getting it into the light.

I told myself I had asked the doctor about it...Light.

The Lord reminded me of the difference between a cloudy, rainy, dark day and a clear, bright, sunny one. Both are day. Both are in the light. One is marvelous light.

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. " (I Peter 2:9)

I'll take the marvelous or wonderful light over dimness or dreary and gray any day!

As I rocked him that night and prayed for a quick diagnosis (or quick walking), an effective treatment (if necessary), a wise doctor whose heart would quicken in response to my pointing this "thing" out and relenting guilt for not strongly pursuing this issue earlier in his little life.

God asked me a series of questions beginning with the issue of His sovereignty. Do I really believe He is sovereign in all things? Did I entrust Palmer to Him even before he was born? Do I believe God is in control of Palmer's life? Do I believe He's sovereign in identifying any potential problems at just the right time? Do I believe He can lead us to just the right treatment or heal him instantly if He chooses? All of these I answered yes. Do I believe anything I did or did not do while earnestly seeking God in prayer could mess up His plans? No, I do not believe we can thwart God's plans no matter how many blunders we might make.

Then, I recited Palmer's life verse, his name verse, claiming it for his life once more.

"See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands." (Isaiah 49:16)

As I prayed I began to see and once more believe that God is totally sovereign, even in the small, personal details of our individual lives. As belief and trust and faith began to well up inside of me, I began to experience His peace. I began to once more focus on who God is and not what may or may not be wrong with my baby.

I saw the purpose of this from an eternal perspective. God wants glory. This is not my life; it is God's. This life is not about me; it is all about God. God wants to receive glory from everyone and everything even little Palmer's feet.

As I began to pray this way, the war was so clear to me. Whether my baby's feet are used to run track or to climb to mountain villages in faraway places to share the gospel, God wants to get glory from Palmer's feet. He wants my baby to live a life of service and worship that gives God glory using all of his gifts and talents...even his feet.

As I prayed for God to make his feet healthy, whole and beautiful, God spoke again.

"The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." (I Samuel 16:7)

How does God's Word define "beautiful" feet?

"How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, 'Your God reigns!'" (Isaiah 52:7)

There is a spiritual battle taking place over my baby's feet, over my son's purpose in life, over how this child's life will glorify God.

Please pray with us as we fight for him on our knees.

"He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes (whether they are sickness, fear or worry)." (Psalm 112:7-8)

P.S. We had our first doctor's appointment this week. Our regular doctor said he would like to see him regularly until he begins to walk or until he turns eighteen- months-old. He is considered a "late" walker. I had two other "late" walkers. He said his foot position could be a sign of a balance issue, neurological problems or a muscular issue. There are a number of things it could be that would resolve themselves as he grows, develops and walks. Then again, he may need help getting there. We are getting a second opinion. Pray for wisdom, direction, peace and protection for us during this time.


Kathryn, Michael & Alex said...

Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba,Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Romans 8:14-16

I am praying for peace, wisdom and discernment for you and for precious little Palmer's beautiful feet

lisasmith said...

Thanks, Kat--I love your prayers! We have a therapist from Early Childhood Intervention coming to the house to observe him sometime in the next 45 days. I'll keep you posted. I love you!

Renee Heaton said...

The Lord is the light of my salvation - whom (or what) shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life - of whom shall I be afraid? When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident. (Psalm 27:1-3)

My prayers are with you and Palmer.

lisasmith said...

Thanks, Renee! I'll talk to you soon!

Angie Love said...

I love you and I could write a million different things here, but more than anything I want to tell you that I can feel your everything in my heart. I know you are a mighty woman of prayer and my spirit is crying out for you and Palmer with moans that words cannot express. I wish I could hold you both and pray with you, know that I am instead doing the same with Jesus. I can't wait to see him run like his parents.

lisasmith said...

Angie--You make me weep with the Spirit! Thanks for hearing and feeling my heart.

Pam said...

This is a beautiful post, Lisa, straight from your heart. I am still praying for Palmer. Every day!

LIZZA said...

Those baby feet in the first photo---absolutely beautiful. I'm praying for Palmer's feet but also that he will grow into a most beautiful servant of the Lord.

lisasmith said...

Pam and Lizza--Thank you both for your heartfelt prayers from your mothers' hearts.

lisasmith said...

Oh, Lizza, I couldn't get my own baby to sit still for a feet photograph. I even waited until he was sleeping and when I positioned his feet, he kept kicking! :)

Cherie said...

How many times we moms have to turn our babies back over to the Lord, trusting trusting trusting that He knows what is best. I would not want to be the one to tell God what to do. My ways are so beneath His. I only want to be the one who honestly can pray, "Thy will be done."

My prayers go out for all of you! There is much more going on here than a darling little boy's feet.

Calm your heart - let it be well with your soul, Lisa. ((((hugs))))

lisasmith said...

Thanks, Cherie. ((((hugs)))) right back!