Grace and Shoes


Before I finally moved out of my parents’ house to my own place, my mom told me that I would never leave shoes all over the place in my new home like I did in theirs.

Mom was right about a lot of things, but this was not one of them. Shoes are in the bathroom, in the living room, in front of my dishwasher in the kitchen, on my front porch, strewn about my bedroom. My habit of leaving shoes wherever I take them off is a hard one to kill, apparently.

 I only think about how annoying a bad habit it is when it’s 6am and I need shoes to go to work. Yesterday I had to wear black shoes with brown pants because I couldn’t find one of my brown shoes. It’s somewhere, I’m sure. But in which room?

The road to permanent change is long and difficult. I resolve throughout the year every year to be a neater, more organized me. It happens, but it’s always a partial change. I slip into old mindsets and behaviors before I have even realized it. Periods of success and a sense of triumph are inevitably followed by the knowledge that yes, I still need to improve more. 

It’s here where I get frustrated with sanctification. Why can’t life just be an upward trajectory of growth and maturity? 

I want something that looks like this…

But I get something that looks like this…

Up, down, sideways. It’s not a smooth or easy ride in any way. 

As we go through this sermon series on what we as congregants should be doing to maintain a healthy church, I am reminded that growth is ongoing. That it will be a process throughout life. My habits in quiet times, tithing, Gospel sharing, and community are all sorely lacking in maturity and consistency. 

This self-knowledge is discouraging as long as it remains just that…SELF-knowledge. Add GRACE Knowledge to self-knowledge, and it is a whole different picture. Because there is grace for all of my imperfections and habits.

One of my favorite verses is Philippians 1:6, which says:

…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

We are promised that God will continue His work in us, no matter how frustrating or clumsy we are as we try to grow into healthy Christians. It helps immensely to remember this on days when you can’t seem to get it together or find your shoes.

Nancy Vasquez

Nancy Vasquez