Waiting for Baby Bird, When Someone You Know Is Infertile

Wearing Her Shoes

Wearing her Shoes

I will never forget the first time I saw her shoes. It was a cold wintry day in November, and there I sat speechless, patting her hand while wrapping my arm around her shoulder. I didn’t know what to do or say. I occasionally muttered the words, “I’m sorry,” but each time I said it, I felt like they were just words that hung in the air. She had struggled with infertility for years and was just told the precious baby she had come to love more than anyone or anything no longer had a heartbeat. She had only known about this miracle growing inside of her for a few short weeks, but she was in love. She was already planning maternity pictures, birth announcements, and dreaming of her first Mother’s Day.

She had a million dreams that turned into a million losses in a matter of seconds.

I will never forget the feelings I had and the thoughts that ran through my mind as I walked away from her that day. A part of me wanted to do or say more to ease her pain, but I didn’t know how because, at the time, I hadn’t experienced my infertility struggles or early miscarriage. I hadn’t walked a mile in her shoes; I hadn’t experienced the pain from the blisters on her feet, and as a result, I went weeks trying to encourage her out of her grief and wondered why she couldn’t just pick herself up by her bootstraps. I remember thinking and almost even saying common phrases that I had often heard, but now it makes me cringe. Phrases such as, “Let’s be thankful this happened early before you were too attached” or “At least we know you can get pregnant.” I am forever thankful those words never come out of my mouth.

It’s been three years since I saw her shoes, and in that time, I have not only walked a mile in them, but they now cover my own feet. On that day, she told me they hurt.  And she was right; they do. She told me how uncomfortable they made her feel. She wasn’t exaggerating. She talked about her blisters and how just when she thinks they are healed, an old one will open up, or a new one will form. And once again, she was right. There are days I can walk for miles without feeling any pain, but then sometimes, just when I think my feet are getting used to these shoes, the pain starts to resurface, and the blisters once again start to form.

But no matter how painful they are, how many blisters they give me, or how uncomfortable they make me feel, I never want to take them off. Because without them, I realize I can’t recognize the depth of another person’s pain or loss. I can’t understand how doubts and fears can consume and cripple a person from the inside out. Without them, I can’t find the words to say, and I don’t know the hugs to give or the cards to send. There was once upon a time when I knew her shoes hurt, but I never knew how bad until I put them on too. And that’s why I never want to take them off.

My sweet friend, the one reading this now, maybe you are also wearing shoes that hurt from some of life’s disappointments. Shoes from a divorce or another broken relationship. Maybe shoes from the death of a loved one or even the loss of a dream. Whatever it was, please don’t despise them. I know they cause you pain, create blisters and make you uncomfortable, but I also know they can give you the ability to offer encouragement to the discouraged and hope to the hopeless.

Your shoes are unlike any other pair of shoes because they give you the special ability to walk along with another person who is hurting, feeling their same blisters, acknowledging their same pain, all the while giving them the strength they need to keep moving…keep going…keep traveling through life.

So, friend, as much as you hate the shoes you are wearing and wish you could take them off, please embrace them. Please own them. Please walk proudly in them. Don’t try to hide them or the pain. And when you can’t seem to take another step in them, call upon the One who can–His name is Jesus. He will not only heal your blisters, but He promises to help carry your pain.

With Love

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61 thoughts on “Wearing Her Shoes”

    1. Yes because sympathy can only do or take you so far when trying to minister to someone else. Thanks for reading sugars! I hope you have had a great day! xo

  1. Love this post. Brought tears to my eyes! Many times I struggle with the “shoes” I have been given but I have to remind myself that God gave them to me so I could later hold the hands of other people that are walking in them. Love your heart! <3

    1. You indeed will be able to minister to so many that God will send in your path each day. I love your heart too! xo

  2. Beautiful! I love the word “embrace” — embracing this season with you! Keep up these beautiful and God-inspired posts! Xo!

  3. My favorite post ever!! Read it 3 times…and like always….an answered prayer I needed to hear today.

    1. Thank you for your sweet compliment! I have to remind myself often the shoes may hurt, but i know they make me a better person. Sending you hugs! Xoxo

  4. What a sweet and beautiful post, Elisha! It is only after we have walked in someone else’s shoes that we can truly FEEL what they feel…makes me think of our Savior and how He became one of us, so He could feel and truly understand our pain. I think of you so often, sweet friend, especially as I work on your little project! It keeps you on my mind even more, and with each those frequent thoughts, I mention your name to Jesus often. Trusting Him to soon fulfill His promise to you…what a wonderful day that will be!

    1. Can I just say that when I saw you left me a comment I got super excited?! I love reading your comments because they are so encouraging and supportive. Thank you so much for your prayers and the thoughtfulness in making me a gift. You are just the sweetest! love ya! xo

      1. Aww….you are so sweet and precious! I am so grateful for your kind words!! I am hoping to have this done in time to mail to you for Christmas!! Love and appreciate you!

  5. This is beautiful, Elisha. You spoke yo me about something I’ve been struggling with for quite sometime, which is a blessing. It is so true though, the pains and insecurities of my life are meaningful, because I can help someone feel understood and worthwhile. Thank you for this post!

    1. Marla, I am so happy it was able to bless you and help you see that despite the fact you think those shoes are ugly, someone else will think they are beautiful. Why? Because you were able to minister to them in such a way that no one else could. Sending you hugs! xo

  6. Thanks Elisha….yes…these shoes we are wearing are uncomfortable…and mine are falling apart. But I’m keeping them together…I will sew them up when they break and I will keep walking…I will own them and walk proudly in them…xoxo

    1. Awe I just stinkin’ love your attitude!!!! You let me know if you ever need a pep talk to keep patching up those shoes! xoxox

  7. Thanks for this encouragement friend!!! The shoes we walk in aren’t always easy, but thankful there is purpose in them even when it’s hard!

  8. I need to get back to the point that I don’t hate those shoes. I’m still deeply grieving, but I know I will get back to being strong. I appreciate you…your words, your love, your support, your prayers. There are so many other things, too. Thank you for writing this so perfectly!

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