3 year old Josiah has become my foe.

It started the day I was comfortably reading on the sectional and he decided to body slam me. Not wanting to miss an opportunity to engage this little guy, I cast my book aside and “fought him off.”  It has since become a daily ritual. “ZuZu (Grandma Sue) fight with me?”

And so I do. His toddler frame, my aging body, we are pretty much evenly matched. We roll around on the sofa, or the carpet, my “Joe Dragon” challenging his “Batman.” He takes flying leaps, unaware he could break my bones. I capture him, by the ankles, knees, waist, whatever I can get hold of, and threaten never to release him, until he fights and squirms and wriggles free, delighted to have escaped my clutches.

One day as he broke loose, I managed to grab the arch of his foot and threatened to steal his sock. I tugged at it taunting in hollow voice, “This sock has all your power. I’m going to take it from you!” He fought me off with a vengeance, but not a fun vengeance. It was one thing to tickle, and roll, and jab and pounce. It was quite another to steal his sock. He didn’t like it. He did not want to lose that sock. And his angst when I tried to take it, confused me. It was, after all, just a sock.

Within earshot of his protesting cries, 6 year old Mariele could stifle herself no longer. With the righteousness and confidence of a David encountering Goliath she marched up to the two of us, interrupted our tug of war, and with furrowed brows and piercing eyes, brandished her weapon:


After glaring and pursing her lips at me, she admonished her little brother…


Our duel slowed as I watched him process this information. Wanting the battle to continue, I tried to assert otherwise. But the Truth burrowed in, captured the flag, and staked it’s claim in Josiah’s mind.

As it took hold, Josiah jumped up and faced me. Fearless. Chuck Norris style. I ducked as he deliberately lifted a foot, ripped off a sock and chucked it at me. Ducked again when it’s mate came hurtling my way. And with that, Josiah was free. Free of the fear of losing his socks. Free of having to cling and fight and run lest they be slipped off his little feet. Free from believing his socks possessed all he needed to conquer his enemies.

The moment he understood his socks had no power, he ceased to need them.

Relate much? ‘Cause I sure do! More often than I care to admit, I’ve been in Josiah’s shoes socks, admiring their fit, believing their lies, thinking they suited me.

So many brands have warmed my feet. Socks labeled “unforgiveness” to punish offenders. Or the pair marked “guilt” to soothe my conscience. I wore some tagged “pride” to protect my image. There was even “dependency”, the pair I couldn’t live without.  I clung tightly to my socks, fought to keep them on, fending off anyone who would take them away. Believing they would make good on their promises. 

Instead, these imitation ruby slippers, fueled my anger, prolonged my sorrow, eroded my self-confidence and kept me weak. And worse, they concealed the best in me, things like mercy, compassion, humility, and strength. And as long as they were on my feet, I was their prisoner.

And I’m guessing,  you might be too.

Can I be Mariele for a moment, scorning the one who taunts you? Brandishing my weapon:


That it might burrow in, capture the flag and stake it’s claim. That it might take hold in your mind, so you might rise, victorious, Chuck Norris style, ready to bare your feet.

Because regardless or the price, or the purpose or the promise  – 


“Every happening, great and small, is a parable whereby God speaks to us, and the art of life is to get the message.”  ~Malcolm Muggeridge



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