pete spoke this morning on love, and being generous with our love. he read the story of the good samaritan, and explained much of the historical and background context…giving the story a whole new meaning for most people. he asked us to love those around us. unabashedly. however god calls us to. whenever god calls us to. then it got crazy…
a video was shown from the organization, soles4souls. it explained a little of what they do, and how we as average, everyday people can partner with them to help put shoes on the feet of the 300 million in our world who have none. it was a tear-jerker…to say the least. when the lights came back up all the women (and I'm sure a few men)in the room were quickly wiping any traces of tears away. then pete challenged us. he asked if we would leave our shoes as evidence of our decision to live generously, and love fully. there was no guilt attached. it was not expected. if you walked out with your shoes, totally fine! but i cannot say it better than a women i was speaking with today.
"my husband looked at me and asked if i was going to leave my new boots, i said yes…he said 'me too.' and while yes, i knew i would be sad that i was letting go of my new boots, i realized that i could not let myself be sadder about the boots than about the people who have NO shoes."in that moment, i was blown away by this woman's realization of living for jesus.
jesus refuses to allow us to limit how we love, and who we love.
watching people rubber-band their shoes together and drop them in a cardboard box on their way out to 30 degree weather was surreal. but what really spoke to me, the thing that made my eyes well-up was watching parents get down on their kids' level and explain what was going on. some children understood, and were eager to help those in need, others were a bit more reluctant to give up "their favorite pair," still others came back after service with bags full of shoes. i had the privilege of capturing family after family donate their shoes…together. some children even understood better than adults. small children grasping the concept of loving your neighbor in a very tangible way was such an incredible experience. the 2 year old girl with a big red bow, and corkscrew-curly hair sobbing over giving up her shiny christmas shoes…put them in the box. the mom who had only had her boots a few weeks…put them in the box. the dad who had shoes he wears nearly everyday, every season…put them in the box. the high school senior cheerleader with knee-high boots…put them in the box. everywhere you looked people were grabbing their shoes and dropping them in the boxes. within moments, our 4 empty boxes became 4 overflowing cups of love. one man came into bellevue after first service with 5 boxes of brand new shoes. thank you soles4souls for partnering with us today. many were blessed by this amazing, yet simple suggestion of love.
a common phrase heard today among our staff was "cold feet, warm hearts." and it could not be more true.
learn more about the soles4souls program at soles4souls.org
please feel free to re-post these images! i was blessed to be a part of it, and am excited to share them with you!
all images ©bohobellphotography2010