Barefoot Parenting


My friend’s eyes spied my daughter climbing through our side window, cradling a rabbit.

Yup. Our children use windows like doors.

Realizing this may not be the norm for most families, I let out a raw laugh,

Didn’t you know? We live like animals around here!

Her face lit up, Oh, we don’t have screens, either!

Ah, a kindred mamma spirit.

But, I did notice your kids don’t wear shoes very often…

She listed various times and events she’d witnessed my shoe-less children. It was a completely non-judgmental, endearing encounter. We giggled as she collected her cuties.

I didn’t recall half of the times she mentioned.

I kept saying, Really?!

Oh yes, last week when you picked up Micah, no one had shoes on then, either…


Apparently, there’s a crack in my parenting I wasn’t aware of.

The door shut. Jesus help me. I am truly raising animals.

My head sunk back. The admission slipped out in a single breath, Jesus, there are so many holes in my parenting.

His spirit whipped back sharp and clear,  It’s Ok. I can make them Holy.

God isn’t surprised I’m not a perfect mom. If my kids do miraculously grab a shoe…they can’t find the other one anyways! Still, I imagine he delights in watching their naked toes running through grass and tiptoeing through Target.

He must’ve been pleased with his servant Moses, barefoot before the burning bush and Joshua, a mighty warrior, barefoot before battle. “Take off your sandals,” he commanded them, “for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” (Exodus 3:5, Joshua 5:15) Holy translates to ‘set apart’.

Before both men where commissioned into their own form of battle, they were asked to remove their shoes. Well, my friend, parenting is a battlefield!

God is asking us to take off our shoes, too.

In ancient culture, removing one’s shoes had great significance. It could signify many things: reverence, submission, redemption of property, transfer of power, showing the legality of a purchase. It was also symbolic of giving up one’s rights.

Yes, God can make the holes in my parenting holy. However, I need to give up my parental rights to the perfect father.

There are areas I can’t reach in the hearts of my children; no matter how hard I strain to touch them.

The tears I don’t see,

The pain they don’t share,

The lies they believe,

The innocence I can’t protect…

These places are holy ground. They must be set apart for the Lord.

Because let’s be honest, we’ll never know the whole story of what happened at school that day. It isn’t possible to intercept every cruel word and relationship thrown at them. Sometimes, things slip between the cracks.

No matter how hard we try, there will be days our kids aren’t wearing shoes at Costco.

Sometimes this happens, because ALL the time, we are just human. Human parents, stomping around in our big ‘ole boots, thinking we got this parenting thing all figured out.

We think we love our kids more than God. Mamma Bears, you know this is true. This lie violently twists and tightens around our sandals, making it feel impossible to ever take them off in submission.

I’d lay down my life for my children in a heartbeat!  But, their Father in heaven already did.

I can’t beat that. I can’t love them like God does.

When we yank those sandals off, the rocky terrain of faith may bruise and bloody our sensitive soles.

Praise God, we have a savior who kneels down and cradles those steadfast Mamma feet. He gently washes and restores. Tenderly fitting them with readiness and peace, he prepares us to follow him into battle.(Ephesians 6:15)

He will even help us find that other stinkin’ shoe!

God’s ways are better for our children, because his love is bigger.

No parenting class, yoga pose, discipline strategy, special smoothie or supplement will help us to fill in the tender areas we fail as parents.  I want to be a generation of parents bowing before the great I AM, taking off our shoes and declaring, “Only through His strength, can we battle for the lives of our children!”

He is the only Father that can comfort their silent whimpers, mend their broken spirits, heal their bruised hearts, and whisper directly to their souls, You are loved, you are seen…when we cannot. We must intentionally dedicate them to the Father who never fails.

Parenting is holy ground.

I want to be barefoot before the Lord.


A Marked Life: Next time you see bare feet…

  • Ask God to continually fill in the spaces you can’t reach.
  • Take off your own shoes as an offering.
  • Trust his ways are better, because his love is bigger.




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