I have a confession. I get made fun of a lot for wearing these boots. People always do a double take and ask me if it’s time to get new ones. They’ve often been branded incorrectly as Uggs, but truth be told, they are the cheap knock off from Costco. And I unashamedly correct everyone who brands them otherwise! I can’t even tell you how long I’ve had them, it’s been years, but I know they’ve been the best $35 I’ve spent. Ever.
They have been trashed, ripped, stitched, stained, in the ocean, frayed, laid in the sand, burned by campfire spit, and have lost any and all traction on their soles…to the point that if they’re wet and I hit the concrete with too intentional of a stride I end up flat on my ass! You’d think I’d learn that one, but apparently they still have plenty to teach me.
These boots have been through some serious times with me. They now bear some bling from the California glitter sand that has stuck to them from an epic girls weekend. They went into the ocean one night on that very same trip because it was too cold to take them off but I couldn’t resist and just needed to step into the mass of God’s grace after a deep and incomprehensible conversation with my brother. They have had countless steps with my kids to and from the park on cold winter days that the sun happened to be shining and watched the pure joy light up on their faces simply by being outside in the winter sun. They’ve run numerous errands to the grocery story or school pick ups keeping me warm while I manage this crew.
However, the most common question I get is how that tear, that one with the stitching that’s coming apart on the right toe…yeah how that doozy got there. I’ve never shared with anyone how it got there until just a few weeks ago. It was too deep. Too personal. Too painful.
This happened on the hardest camping trip of my life, and that tear is proof of the damage that was done to my heart that weekend. I stepped out of a deeply emotional meeting from a Teepee. Yes, you read that right, a teepee. Cuz that’s just what you do in a remote area for a camp that deals with adopted kids that have severe reactive attachment disorder. The meeting didn’t go as expected. It was a counseling session, really, but it was the first time I had the realization that the two kids we adopted couldn’t stay together. They had remained completely toxic for each other in the three years they were together and it was in their best interest to be separated. Permanently. How could this be? How could the kids we fought so hard for not work staying together? It was one of the most surreal moments and I remember it like it was yesterday.
As I turned around out of the flap door, I had caught my toe on one of the stakes holding said Teepee in place. I vividly remember the moment I looked down, saw the tear and everything in my soul crumbled. All I knew of adoption, all I had hoped for these kids came crashing down at the advice of some of the best adoption advocates in the Pacific Northwest. That tear is evidence of the heartbreak that can ensue when you step out on a limb for another human being that has endured so much trauma. Sometimes love just isn’t enough. Sometimes environments and circumstances need to change to offer the best healing.
Little did I know that this painful moment would also pave the way for my future career. It was a moment that unknowingly laid the foundation for what God truly had for me, for me to learn how to let go in the most hard of things in order to use them for other peoples good. It has been a painful road, but one I wouldn’t trade for anything.
And with that said, as my life unfolds, I have never been so confident that I am exactly where God wants me. I am free to step out into that pain and share this with so many of you who’ve asked about these boots. This tear has reminded me of where I’ve come and where I have yet to go. For that I am grateful. And I couldn’t be more content living my life on purpose in its entirety for the first time ever!
Brenda Lee is a Leadership Development and Team Building expert to some of the world’s most exciting entrepreneurs and professionals who have all the trappings of success but have hit a barrier they are ready to breakthrough.