For my birthday this year, my husband Tom gave me a beautiful black and white striped jacket with hot pink lining. It was just what I had been hoping for. Now that I had the jacket, I just knew I needed the perfect pair of hot pink pumps to match its lining. I searched far and wide for three months to find the perfect pair of shoes that matched the jacket and my budget.
I realize this seems like an insignificant detail, but our God loves details and often finds ways to make significant life changes through seemingly insignificant details. Such was the lesson I learned again from these shoes.
Finally, one week before last year’s She Speaks conference, I spotted one pair of hot pink pumps on a lonely shelf on the clearance rack for $12.99. You guessed it! They matched the jacket, my budget and were just my size.
One week later I packed the jacket and shoes in my suitcase and headed to the conference. The second day of the conference is always a long one, and as I slipped on my new jacket, I hesitated to wear my new shoes for the very first time. The day is always jam-packed and a wardrobe change wouldn’t work. Pondering my wardrobe predicament, I heard the Lord whisper to my heart, “Wear the new shoes.” Being the obedient daughter I am (at least when it comes to fashion), I slipped on my new shoes and headed downstairs to begin the day.
During the afternoon I was introduced to a lovely, petite woman wearing a hot pink outfit. Her name was Pamela and she told me about the testimony she had given the preceding evening in her speaker’s group. Her story includes living with cerebral palsy. As a woman, she loves beautiful shoes, but she can wear only one style of athletic shoe and one style of black boots. She giggled as she shared, “When I get to heaven God is going to have a pair of hot pink pumps waiting for me.”
When Pamela finished her story, I took her by the hand, sat her down in a nearby chair and removed her socks and shoes. I slipped off my shoes and put her tiny delicate feet into my hot pink pumps. The shoes have a four inch high heel and they were at least three sizes too big for her petite frame, but I carefully maneuvered her toes and then her heels into the shoes.
My friends Rachel and Wendy joined in on the fun, and we flanked Pamela’s side. Rachel and I gently lifted Pam into a standing position. Wendy snapped a few pictures of Pamela in her hot pink pumps, then we sat her down and Pamela posed for a few glamour shots.
Sweet as this story is, the real significance was revealed that evening when Pamela heard the Lord whisper to her heart. God reminded Pamela to be as helpless before Him every day as she had been earlier that afternoon, when she was helpless to stand on her own in those hot pink pumps.
Pamela later told me about God’s message to her, and I was reminded of something Lysa TerKeurst said: “God paused for a moment in the scope of time to orchestrate an opportunity to encourage someone.” He didn’t need me to encourage Pamela. He could have chosen hundreds of ways to do that, but God gave me the privilege of participating.
How silly of me to think the Lord had provided those shoes just for my enjoyment. Before that day, I never would have guessed how He would use my shoes to make a significant difference in someone else’s life.
A few weeks after the conference, I was shopping when I spotted a pair of hot pink pumps which “just happened” to be Pamela’s size. I squealed out loud as I ran to scoop them up. A few days later I noticed a pair of hot pink bedroom slippers in her size. I mailed both pairs of shoes to Pamela. Although she is not able to walk in her hot pink pumps, Pamela told me she put them in her office as a reminder to stand helpless before the Lord every day.
God created me with a love for fashion. Although it seems insignificant in the grand scheme of life, God chose to use my unique style to bring encouragement and a loving message to another. God is a Master at creating significance out of the insignificant.
I’m reminded of 1 Peter 4:10: “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms” (NIV). This verse challenges me to look at all the gifts (spiritual and physical) in my life and consider how I am using them to bless others for God’s glory.
Hot pink shoes … who would have thought? What a wonderful and creative God we serve!