Why Scuffed Up White Shoes Is All the Altar Really Needs

I need you to know something about me. Three years ago, God called Michael and I to a church on the outskirts of Kansas City, Missouri. Off of Stark Road sits a white church on a hill. We are a stones throw away from a peacock farm (yes, they exist and yes, they are beautiful —- and yes, they smell A LOT.) We have beautiful sunrises that fill the sky over hay bales and horses. And we have people. People that come to this little white church that crave to meet with God and long to live in richer community. But we all seem so perfect and my heart keeps ringing:


Maybe it is time to drop the act and bring our messes to the throne of God. Our messes don’t need good actors, they need a big God.


I struggled in coming to this church on the hill. I am a city girl. I like city things. I love West Elm and clean lines. I don’t do horses or cornfields. I can still remember my Grandpa, who owned a farm, looking at his little Whitney and laughing as I JUST ABOUT DIED when flies gathered in his pick-up truck. I couldn’t run fast enough from the smells or the dirt or the cows.


God caught me in pure sprint. So now I find myself driving to and from this little white church and my feet are quite tied to this place. I am bound to the soil where this church has been built.


I pray audaciously now for this little white church. I don’t pray simple prayers either. I pray for revival.


I believe for revival.


I know that in Liberty, Missouri God could quite literally set captives free. I am believing for it with all my might. This isn’t easy. There are weeks that the belief gets knocked right out of me. Literally. And there are weeks where I can breathe deeply because I feel His presence so thickly that I weep.


Like Peter wept. I weep because I know He is God and that through Him ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN despite ME.


Like most American churches, people get buttoned up and fancy for Sunday mornings. It doesn’t matter if we just waded through Hell – we could actually walk into church and pretend like everything is okay. We cover up our bruises and suppress our aches because Lord help us if someone finds out we are an absolute wreck. What would they think? How big would the stones be that get tossed our way? What gossip will erupt?


We are the worst to each other.


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And here we are waiting to celebrate the empty grave in several weeks. I can’t get over all the Easter ads full of new shoes and dresses because for heavens sake, we need new white shoes only to get scuffed up during an Easter egg hunt.


Every Sunday we have two options to bring to the altar:


1.  Dirty White Shoes – painted, decorated and covered up so that no one knows what lies beneath.

2.  Dirty White shoes scuffed up and exposed.


Scuffed up has become the cry of my heart. I can’t bring anything to the altar of worth except for my scuffed up heart and my faith. All that pretending in the pew is a lie that keeps me from sitting thick in the dirt and mud under the cross. Give me the dirt over clean, white shoes. Give me the blood that mixes and oozes over me. I’ll take that. My white shoes will never be white enough, anyway.


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Darling girl, to get here means being okay with coming exposed. I’m not sure if that means being exposed to a whole or being exposed to one – but it does mean to come undone. We have believed a lie somewhere along the line that our pretending might just fool God into seeing that we are good enough. We have become our own demi-gods and quite honestly, it is a bad look on us. We aren’t fooling anyone.


The only gift we have to leave at the foot of the cross is our faith. This pleases Him. Our small voices whispering our weakness is our only gift to Him.


Being imperfect lets us experience the cross again like we did the first time we sat huddled under His love. Being imperfect is also going to be the bravest thing you could do in our church age of buttoned-up and pretty Easter shoes. Being imperfect keeps you in line with the Perfect One.


The bravest thing I can do this week is radically redefine perfectionism.


Say it with me: All I have is scuffed up shoes and my faith.


And say this louder: They are enough.


“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

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Print it out. Post it somewhere. Memorize it. Let it sit in your spirit.

Redefine perfectionism, one verse at a time.






One Response

  1. So beautifully written, Whitney; and oh, SO TRUE! Thank you!

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