Wednesday, September 10, 2014

How Beautiful the Twisted Feet

 "And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” (Romans 10:15, NLT)

I hate doors that require pulling instead of pushing to open them.

They probably aren’t a big deal for most of you, but I have come to loathe them.

What’s my beef with doors that require you to pull them open?

Because 5 years ago I spent the greater part of a year in a wheelchair. Then two years later, I spent several months on a knee scooter.

The incidents have now left me with two permanently deformed feet.

I don’t talk about it very much publicly. But I spent a year having to learn to walk again while wheelchair-bound.

To this day, I have to wear custom orthopedic shoes with custom-designed inserts. I have to be very careful in a lot of activities, and I have to pay extreme attention to the care of my feet.

By definition, I have a physical disability that greatly affects my life. Activities I used to enjoy and participate in are now prohibited.

So what’s the big deal with doors that pull open?

During the year that I spent in the wheelchair, I furiously wanted my independence. The challenge, I discovered, was that when the door required pulling to open, I was incapable of doing so, on my own, while wheelchair-bound.

If the door opened by pushing, I could simply push it open and roll through in one simultaneous motion. But opening a door that required a pull while independently rolling through was extremely difficult.

At the time, the church I was on staff with had a handicapped lift.  Inexplicably, the ramp to the lift was on an incline. If you rolled yourself up the incline to the lift, the door then pulled toward you to open, forcing you to back down the ramp.

It was a ridiculous and ineffective handicapped lift for all intensive purposes. The design defeated its very purposes.

I still get frustrated, angry, and depressed sometimes with my physical limitations and the things I can no longer do. Every once in a while, I stare at my crippled feet at night and I have a little pity party.
Why did this have to happen?

But, in the mornings, I watch my own son gingerly walking on his own twisted feet ravaged by cerebral palsy, clinging to his mother who is holding onto him for assistance. He, too, wears braces and special shoes.

I look at his twisted, mangled feet. Then I look down on my own deformed feet. And in that moment, my mind flashes to the cross, and I’m fixated on the image of Christ’s feet, twisted with gaping bloody holes from the nails that were driven in his feet. I’m reminded that he took my beating, bore my curse, and died my death for me.

All of a sudden, my disabled feet issues seem so trivial.  

I watch Jon Alex every step as Becky guides him, helping him.  He cannot walk unless she stands him up, holds him, and guides him. Then I look up from his twisted feet to his face and realize he is grinning from ear to ear. He always seems to be grinning. He squeals his happy sounds as she maneuvers him to his breakfast chair.

Then I am humbled and I have to repent.

Why can’t I rise above my own disability like my son? Why is he so happy despite his condition? Once again, I am the pupil and he is the teacher.

My year in the wheelchair, and resulting feet deformities, have now made me become even more determined, more passionate, and more understanding of the special needs community.

Coupled with my soon-to-be 17 years as a dad of a son with profound needs, my own experiences have given me such a broader perspective, and made me more effective as a minister to the special needs community.

I find myself often referring to our special-needs community as “my family.”

And now the cross, and the mangled feet of Jesus, all of a sudden takes on even more significance and impact in my life.

Christ became one of us, so that he could refer to all of us, as his “family.”

And my twisted feet, and my son’s twisted feet, fade in comparison to the image of his twisted feet.

How beautiful the twisted feet!

Photo by

PRAY: "Father, thank you for the reminder that the most beautiful feet can be twisted and scarred. Thank you for demonstrating that on the cross when you displayed your glory and brought forth your Good News."


  1. I, too, feel ashamed and humbled that I am sometimes embarrassed by my 18-year-old special needs daughter's right hand that is often pulled up and in a "weird" position due to her cerebral palsy. She is beautiful. I needed to be reminded of her complete beauty in HIs eyes. Thank you!

  2. Thank you Kerith! Your daughter is "fearfully and wonderfully made." Blessings to both of you.

  3. Popped by via the Autism Blogs Directory. This is a great post... confirming that I am not dopey, wondering how people in wheelchairs open heavy doors toward themselves and get into buildings. I eventually surmised they acquired the skill *somehow.* GUESS NOT!