Toe to Toad

“What is that smell?” Dan-with-the-sensitive-nose yelled. We had just finished our morning walk and kicked off our tennis shoes on the back porch. As we walked through the house, the scent became more disgusting. Yucky. Yucky. Yucky. Finally, Dan exclaimed, “I think it is my sock!”

While he dumped the offending sock in the washing machine and headed off to soak his foot in the bathtub, I went outside to check on his tennis shoe. There was a smushed toad in the toe. The situation was horrifying and hysterical at the same time. Dan has neuropathy in his feet and could not feel the bulky toad in his shoe. He didn’t choose to lose the feeling, it just gradually went numb.

On an emotional level, we may experience the kind of trauma in life that causes us to choose to turn off our emotional feeler. We find something that will allow us to go numb so we do not have to feel the pain. This is a natural response, but it keeps us from engaging in relationships with our family, friends or with God.

“God designed us to thrive by being in constant, loving interactions with Him and others, but perceiving His presence can be very difficult when we are flooded with painful emotion.  I Thessalonians 5:18 says, Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Gratitude becomes the means through which we become aware of the presence of Immanuel, the God who is always with us. (Joyful Journey by E. James Wilder et al)

I have found that journaling prayer will lead me into an attitude of gratitude. First, I write down all my frustrations followed by my gratitude. A friend calls this “pre-prayer”. Then I sit quietly and ask the Lord what he wants me to know today. He is faithful to respond. Why not give this a try?



The book Joyful Journey, Listening to Immanuel contains a more detailed description of this process called Immanuel Journaling.

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