How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
– Isaiah 52:7 NIV
I have to chuckle when I read the words of the apostle Paul in Romans 10:15, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
Beautiful feet? Say what?
Boyfriends and suitors have told me many things in my lifetime, but never that my feet were a thing of beauty. In fact, anyone who said that would be lying. My feet were never pretty. By age 17, there was absolutely no physical beauty in them. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for my feet; I’m just hoping they’re not my best feature.
At 17, I woke up late one December evening to the ring of the telephone. I jumped out of bed and ran through the den, and…BAM! My toes hit the fireplace hearth. Running while groggy is not recommended. And, if the furniture has been rearranged for the Christmas tree, you really need to be alert and turn on the light, because smacking your toes on the bricks of a hearth really hurts. I hobbled to the telephone, and wouldn’t you know it, the caller hung up. I shuffled back to bed. It took a few minutes to fall back asleep because of the throbbing in my toes.
Little did I know, this event would impact the rest of my life. I spent the next two years in and out of doctor’s offices, hospitals and clinics trying to figure out why the inflammation and pain would not subside.
Finally, two years and many medications later, I landed in the office of a rheumatologist, a doctor who treats arthritis and other autoimmune diseases. By the time I got to the rheumatologist, the pain and inflammation had migrated up my right leg into my knee. It was so swollen I couldn’t pull my straight-leg jeans over it. For a girl in the 1980s, this was a tragedy.
I began hurting everywhere in my body. My doctors seemed to believe it was some form of arthritis, but were baffled as to what kind. None of my blood work was conclusive. The arthritis appeared to be rheumatoid, but I didn’t seem to fit the profile. After months of treatment, my disease progressively worsened. At the age of 19, I withdrew from college and spent most of my days in bed. I felt hopeless.
Was My Life Over?
During a routine appointment, the doctor explained my disease had become aggressive, and I needed to prepare for the future. His prognosis was by age 21 the disease would cripple me, and I would live the remainder of my years in chronic pain in a wheelchair. I left his office sobbing, feeling my life was over. I asked God, “Why?” My dreams of finishing college, becoming a teacher, wife, and mother seemed to be slipping away. How could God allow this to happen to me? With regards to marriage and starting a family, I couldn’t become pregnant while taking high-risk medications, and my doctor predicted I would never be able to stop taking these drugs.
After five surgeries and multiple regimens of high-risk, long-term medications, I thank God I’m still walking! Oh, my toes are deformed, and I walk with a pronounced limp, but I walk! My feet aren’t beautiful by any stretch of the imagination, but they still take me where I want to go. My dreams? God handled those as well. In 1984 I graduated cum laude from the University of South Carolina (Go Gamecocks!) with a degree in Secondary education. I became a teacher, and in 1989, I married the man of my dreams.
Our Dream Maker
In 1990, my disease went into a five-year remission, and during that time I came off all medications. I was even given “the okay” to try to have a baby. And guess what? In February 1991, I gave birth to Alex, the most beautiful baby boy ever (in spite of his cone-shaped head and blue skin.)
Then in 1993, I repeated the process and became the proud mother of the most beautiful baby girl ever—Ashleigh! Wow! God really is a God of miracles.
I prayed for more than 12 years about having a family. I had no idea of the wonder the Lord was going to bestow on me with my husband and two children. God is our Great Physician, and He can do what man cannot.
Today, you may be suffering from physical or emotional pain. You, too, may feel your life is over or your dreams have been snatched from you. Trust me when I say, “God is our Dream Maker.” Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4 ESV).
When faith fades and doubt creeps in, think on these words: Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you (Jeremiah 32:17 NIV).
Friend, your life is not over. I’m telling you to keep dreaming, not because I’ve read it somewhere, but because I’ve walked it!
Cherie Nettles is a Christian comedienne, author and speaker. She is a mother of two and lives in West Columbia, S.C. with her husband, Mike. Blog: CherieNettles.net