Someone Else's Shoes

I can't imagine!

It is a simple sentence that we have all heard more than a few times during our lifetimes. When someone goes through a difficult time or experience, we often look into the his face or into someone's face nearby and claim, "I can't imagine!"

Most of the time we are right to say so. Most of the time I don't understand the circumstances of other people and how it feels to be in their shoes.

Only a few months ago I could have been accused of assuming I knew more than I really knew. I admit it. It was easy for me to look at others lives and say one of two sentences that are of two extremes. "I could handle that!" or "Oh, I just can't imagine." The first is worse. The second isn't bad as long as one doesn't just leave it at that. But to say "I could handle that." Hmm. To say "wow, that must be tough.... Can't imagine those shoes. Glad they aren't on my feet." Hmm.

Yes, that was me. Was that right? No. What has changed? I'll tell you.

My life has changed. Right now things are hard sometimes. A little more uncomfortable than normal. I'll lay it out. I feel "single" again. My husband of a short 9 months is deployed and has been for a month with a few weeks to go. I am blessed to be with my family, but I still miss my house, my husband and my new life. It is hard when you learn how to be a wife and then you are forced to be a "long-distance wife."

So you get that. But, this is my blog and I feel like I can be very clear here. So, with the many kindhearted voices saying "I can't imagine" and some brash, harsh voices saying, "get over it"; I have learned a lesson.

They can't imagine if they have never been through this.

They don't know what it means to say, "I could handle it."

It puts me in a place where I'm easily persuaded by my sinful heart to wallow in self pity. Yet. Yet. God's grace taught me another lesson.

He whispered to my soul that He knows how it feels to be misunderstood. He knows how it feels to have people who supposedly "love" Him say, "could handle this, God!" He let me hear Him say that there are many many other children of His who walk by me everyday. Their crosses to bear are hard too. Katy, maybe you shouldn't keep saying how hard or how easy their lives are and instead say, "I will keep my mouth shut and I will only speak words that are true and encourage."

Encourage. That is a far cry from what many Christians do these days. We are all about throwing out our opinions, but the ONLY opinion (and it is not an opinion) that matters is the Word of God. Other than that truth, your opinion and my opinion may be wrong. It may be rude. It may be from a warped perspective.

Our words need to focus on what is beautiful and true. I don't know your burdens, so I won't make them heavier. Kind words go a long way.

If we won't be kind and truthful, then who will be?


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