Blessed are Those Who Limp

I have a bad foot.

I’ll spare you pictures and wordy descriptions. Just know that I had to wear corrective shoes when I was a kid. That I didn’t get my first pair of tennis shoes until I was in the third grade. That sports involving running were pretty much out of the question when I was growing up (and not just because of a lack of interest and athletic ability).

cutiesI now recognize the sacrifices my parents must have made to purchase those shoes for me. Back then, though, style was more important to me than the health of my feet, and I eventually stopped wearing them.

When I hit my mid 30s, however, painful bursitis in my hip led me to seek medical help. Upon learning that I had been walking on the outsides of my feet my whole life to compensate for the messed-structure of my left foot, the doctor recommended custom orthotics.

“It will improve the quality of your life,” he told me.

He was right. While the inserts do limit my choice of footwear, wearing them has dramatically improved how I feel. They even allow me to run on the treadmill regularly, which also has enhanced my life in more ways than I can count.

I say all that to say this. At my house, I’ve always been the one prone to limping.

Until recently, that is.

One day in early March, Lilly’s foot mysteriously started hurting. She could point to no sudden accident or injury. Before P.E., it was fine; after P.E., it hurt so badly she could hardly walk.

The family doctor diagnosed tendonitis. For a month, Lilly wore a brace, took anti-inflammatory medicine and reluctantly sat on the sidelines at her beloved ballet class.

Then this little foot story took an interesting turn none of us could have predicted.

On April Fool’s Day, younger sister Molly somehow fell off our very low back deck and fractured her foot.

The following Monday, the podiatrist put Lilly in a boot she had to wear continually for three solid weeks. And the very next day, Molly was outfitted with a lovely pink walking cast.

After going their whole lives with no major injuries of any sort, both girls were limping around in some serious orthopedic footwear. It was bizarre, to say the least.

Though frustration and disappointment cropped up from time to time, Lilly and Molly handled their hobbled conditions remarkably well. Randy and I did our best to encourage them, while keeping a sharp eye out for obstacles that might sideline one of us.

All the limping reminded me of Jacob, the biblical patriarch who suffered an unusual hip injury when he was on his way to meet his twin brother Esau after a long separation. In a Winter 2011 Leadership Journal article titled “Don’t Waste a Crisis,” John Ortberg offers some powerful thoughts on this narrative that I hope will add a bit of eternal perspective to my tale of family foot woe. He writes:

Jacob and Esau were separated by their struggle for the blessing. Eventually this struggle led to murderous threats and years of estrangement. Finally Jacob was coming home. In the strange story he meets and wrestles with a mysterious stranger, to whom Jacob says, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

Jacob is given a blessing, but also given another strange gift. His hip is wrenched. The next day he was limping because of his hip.

He looked up to see his brother. The text says that “Esau ran to meet Jacob.”

Jacob could not run. His running days were over. The rest of his life he would walk with a limp.

“Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept” (Genesis. 33:4).

Perhaps something about Jacob’s vulnerability healed Esau’s heart in a way that Jacob’s cleverness and strength never could.

Jacob was given a wound, and a blessing. Or maybe his wound WAS his blessing.

Maybe you will bless more people with your limp than with your strength.

Blessed are you who limp, for you shall walk with God.

Lois Flowers

P.S. Linking up this week with Abby McDonald at #RaRaLinkup, Jennifer Dukes Lee at #TellHisStory, Lyli Dunbar at #ThoughtProvokingThursday, Missional Women and Grace & Truth.

14 Responses to Blessed are Those Who Limp

  1. Bethany says:

    Oh boy! That is bizarre timing! Glad both girls are well and praying they heal well : ) I’d never thought about how Jacob limped while Esau ran to Him. What a picture. Thanks for sharing, Lois!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Thanks, Bethany! That whole brotherly relationship is a strange one, isn’t it? It never ceases to amaze me how God works to bring about reconciliation and healing in relationships. 🙂

  2. June says:

    Praying for healing, Lois! That must be so hard for your active girls, I’m glad they are taking it in stride (no pun intended!). I love it when our circumstances provide an opportunity to teach and glorify God and His ways. I’m sure they do more times than we choose to see it! Have a blessed week!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Molly’s in a boot now, and Lilly’s about to start back up with ballet. So healing is taking place, and we’re all grateful! Thanks for your kind words today, June … I hope your weekend is filled with lovely things!

  3. Linda Stoll says:

    yep, we’re all limping in one way or another. it’s just that some are more visible.

    but all can be redeemed.

    thanks, Lois …

  4. Yup – those limps often force us to lean on Him all the more, don’t they? So grateful He always holds us up. Blessings, friend.

  5. Angela Craig says:

    I will have to get John Ortberg’s book now. This is such a great reminder. Thank you for the personal application. You neighbor Angela from #TellHisStory and #RaRaLinkUp. It is wonderful to meet you!

  6. Trudy says:

    Thank you for sharing this, Lois. I’m so sorry about your daughters. I hope they both heal quickly. And I’m sorry your limp causes discomfort. I love what John Ortberg says, “Maybe you will bless more people with your limp than with your strength.” Such a comforting thought. I always love that story of how Jacob received his limp – that in the midst of all his blessings, he had to remember how dependent he was on God. Blessings and hugs to you!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      John Ortberg’s words are powerful, aren’t they? And I love Jacob’s story too … perhaps he needed help remembering to depend on God, and it seems God was willing to provide that help! Have a wonderful day, my friend1

  7. Meg Gemelli says:

    Wow, what a well-written and thoughtful post. I pray your little ones are feeling better and I’m thankful that God is speaking to you so clearly through the word – comforting you and your family. I’m always amazed at how I can related to people who lived thousands of years before me. I’m so glad Jacob was a comfort to you! Have a great week!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Thanks so much for your kind words, Meg! Your comment made me think of a verse I just read yesterday: “If I say, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your faithful love will support me, Lord. When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy.” (Psalm 94:18) I think I need to rest there again right now! 🙂

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