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Don't wait for the potholes

A year ago, I carried a gray and burgundy pair of Cowboy boots in my car, in hopes of finding some feet, most likely those belonging to a homeless friend. 
(The boots were the third pair I’d received from my friend in prison—whom I’ve never actually met in person.)
He makes the boots using his gift with leather to create masterpiece, high-end Cowboy boots. And he sends boots not only to me, but to other people. 
That night, I had driven a couple hours to a Christian rehab/ranch, over the railroad tracks, out in the country, somewhere southwest of New Boston. I’d discovered this long-lost road with the most potholes in Texas, missing my left turn, and getting lost for awhile—before make that U-turn.
I eventually found the landmark spot, and caught a glimpse of the ranch, pulling into the church parking lot which sat next to the rehab-home. This Christian place is for teen girls who live on site as they find restoration, healing, hope, and a new life.
I joined them, to speak and teach, to encourage the girls with scripture and with my love of storytelling. And I hoped to lift their eyes toward heaven as we spent the evening together.
After service, I lingered with the group, learning one of the girls loved having access to this one horse at the ranch. She hoped for a pair of Cowboy boots, but since she’s estranged from her family, boots weren’t a possibility.
Did you catch that? She wanted Cowboy boots! And I had a new pair in my car!
I remember how my ears tickled. How my heart pounded in my chest. And how I prayed the boots and her feet were a match. But I had no idea if I would be allowed to leave a gift for one girl, since I didn’t have presents for everyone.
I checked with leadership and the next thing I knew I held the boots in my hands—passing them to the girl, who moved to sit on the platform. She didn’t waste a second, to see if they fit! And yes, they were perfect!
Well, now that you’re caught up, let me tell you about this past weekend. Stay with me. You don’t want to stop reading now.
I was speaking at a women’s retreat at Camp Shiloh just outside of Mt. Pleasant. On Friday, the tallest, teenage girl towered over me, seeing if I remembered her. It was Boot-girl! Whose name is Jasmine. From last year!
But here’s the best part. She wore the boots on Saturday! And they still fit! And she absolutely loves them!
Later this month, she’s graduating from high school and has no family attending the ceremony. She handed me an invitation, asking me to join her on her special day! Which of course, thankfully, I will be able to drive down that same road with the potholes to witness her victory walk!
I love such moments. Because in this world, there’s a bunch of people in prison. There’s also a bunch of girls who end up in a rehab. And there’s always someone who needs to know Christ came to redeem their season—no matter if the past is littered with too many potholes of sin. 
And all it takes is for God to set into motion a sequence of divine appointments—and we find ourselves breathless from witnessing His love and care over the details of our lives!
God can connect hearts in ways we never expect—using perfect strangers too. So I’m grateful for the man in prison. Who stitched the boots. Who mailed them to me. Who made a way. Who never gave up on life. Who serves God. Who displays kindness to others.
Because of him, I’ve been given a gift of friendship and becoming a step-mom of sorts to a precious young girl. I’ll stand in, as her family, at the ceremony! An honor that I’ll hold close to my heart!
But still, I long to have other chances to get to know her—to see her grow into the woman God is molding. To see her wear her own gospel shoes of faith, as she shares her heart and life with others.
So what about you? Is there someone you can encourage today? Who needs your friendship? And could it be, there’s a stranger nearby waiting for your visit?
Come on, don’t wait for a few potholes in the road to jar you into loving others for Him either.
But moving in the right direction, at least for me, does require a bit of eavesdropping! Does require plenty of driving! And does include plenty of visits to my trunk!

Bowie County Citizens Tribune

139 E.N. Front Street
New Boston, Texas 75570