Thank God for Smelly Shoes
by: Lysa TerKeurst

The art of thanksgiving is one that we should teach our children. I'm not talking about how to cook pumpkin pie and turkey. I'm not talking about decorating with cornucopias, dried corn stalks and scarecrows. What I'm suggesting goes beyond setting a candlelit table with fancy linens and fine silver. While those are all artistic ways of expressing the day of Thanksgiving, I'm talking about the attitude of thankfulness that can be so easily overlooked. I'm talking about the art of saying "thank you," every day.

I am so blessed. But I sometimes get so distracted by the blessings that I forget to thank the One who delivers them. Do I see the loving husband I've been blessed with or do I just grumble about his faults? Do I see the creative child I am blessed with or do I just grumble about her artistic messes? It's easier to grumble about the sweaty laundry, than see the health of a son who can play sports. Do I see the home I am blessed to have, or do I grumble about the constant chores to keep it clean? Sometimes I'm more tempted to murmur about the many housekeeping chores I have, than to be grateful for the home and the ample supply of food we have.

I decided I wanted to get more intentional with expressing my thankfulness. I also wanted to get more intentional with developing an attitude of thankfulness in my children. I want the words thank you to fall so easily from their lips that it's second nature. I would like for them to thank the Lord for people they know, and even those they don't, with ease.

Realizing I must model what I teach, I decided to assess how thankful I really am. As I made a mental list of those things I was thankful for, I became distracted with the unusual number of out-of-place shoes scattered about my home. Not so spiritual, I know. But the shoes seemed to be coming out of the woodwork and screaming for my attention. I went from having a full heart focused on God to becoming a grumbling woman feeling frustrated and drained. How many times do I have to pick up shoes? Is this what the journey of motherhood will be like for me? A never-ending cycle of picking up shoes and putting them back, again…and again.

From where I was sitting, I counted over 14 pairs of shoes. Upon further inspection, they were everywhere - by the back door, the front door, in the laundry room, in the hallway, in the kitchen, by the dog dish, on the stairs, in the guest bathroom, in my bathroom, on the floor in the kids' bedrooms and even in the linen closet. To say I was frustrated was an understatement. Visions of chore charts and consequences for leaving things out and about, danced through my mind. I even went so far as to think this was yet more evidence that my kids are not as thankful as they should be. Kids who were truly thankful for their shoes would care enough to tuck them into their closets.

As I mentally chided my children for their ungratefulness, I felt God gently give me a piece of my own reprimand. Was I modeling thankfulness in this moment? Was I exemplifying the gratitude I wanted my children to experience in their lives? Scattered shoes are a normal, everyday thing with a hidden treasure about them. It's all in how I choose to look at these shoes which will determine whether I feel drained and frustrated or filled up and thankful.

I stopped and thanked God for these shoes … this evidence of life. Some had grass and dirt on them as proof our kids are healthy and strong enough to run and play. Some had scuffmarks from one too many dances on the concrete outside. Some had teeth marks from our beloved dog, Champ, whose favorite pastime is chasing kids, balls and stray shoes. One had paint on it from a school project. But all were well-worn, broken in, and definitely used.

So, here I am, making life's journey in this season with soccer cleats, princess shoes, basketball high tops, teenager wanna-be boots, kitten bedroom slippers and gymnastics flip flops. It's funny how these shoes tell stories of life, if only I choose to listen. Games won and lost, girlhood fantasies, dreams of the future, comforts of home, and expressions of style.

Maybe you've felt a little frustrated with the shoes scattered about your home as well. But the next time you pick them up, instead of letting frustration whisk you away, listen carefully to the story they tell. Listen carefully and thank God for each and every precious soul that wears those shoes.

So, what about my thankful list?

I eventually got back to that. I'm thankful for the gift of our Savior.

I am thankful for my husband and kids. I am thankful for friends and extended family. I am thankful for our home, full of life and lots of activity. And strangely enough, I'm really thankful for shoes … especially the smelly ones!

Rejoicing in His Amazing Love,


This article is taken from Lysa's book, "The Bathtub is Overflowing, But I Feel Drained," available through Proverbs 31 Ministries.

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Blogger rrk said...

I think when Smelly Shoes problem can be easily solved by using "Cara-Pace Socks", Lysa need not thank God for Smelly Shoes.

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