Walking in someone else’s boots

Yesterday, I walked all day in Chandler’s boots. It was painful. The heel was high and the shoe was three sizes too big for me, so I had to curl my toes to keep from sliding to the front of the shoe each time I took a step. It was a good reminder, because it’s so easy to stay in your own comfortable perspective. Walking in Chandler’s boots helped make some very important discoveries possible.


First, I understood from Chandler’s point of view where I had failed him as a father; and because I had decided I would be in his shoes, I chose to listen and not to defend myself. Had I stayed in my shoes, I would have drawn from plenty of excuses I had available and justified myself, and kept my distance. Instead, I understood how I had failed him as a father, and was able to ask him to forgive me.

Second, I heard about his relationship with the Lord, and had I been only in my own shoes, I would have missed it. I would have been too busy looking for any bad theology in his present understanding of God. I would have been listening to correct him, not hear him. As a result, I found out that he knows and hears from God on levels I didn’t know existed. Chandler is deeply spiritual, and wants to be a part of what I’m doing. We’ve been praying since he was a small child that Chandler would be the one to carry on the ministry. He’s telling me that he’s known that all along, and has already picked up the mantle.

Finally, I heard his ten-year plan for our family. That’s right; Chandler has a ten-year plan for our family. I don’t have much of a plan for today, much less for ten years from now. We went out to dinner and drew out his plan on the paper tablecloth with crayons. Had I been only in my shoes, I would have shot down what I thought was unfeasible about his plan. I would have looked at the plan from the perspective of what was impossible about it. Instead, I was able to see his plan from the point of view of what was awesome about it, and dream with him — even commit myself to taking some first steps toward making it work, which would include finding ways around what was unfeasible about it. It’s a damn good plan.

In conclusion, I’ve discovered that my shoes are much too comfortable, and my perspective is only interested in holding onto that comfort. Outside of that perspective is a new way of understanding. It’s like we have a new son, but actually, this Chandler has been there all along, I just have been too much in my own shoes to discover him.

Marti made a most important observation yesterday: “Who would have thought that Chandler would become the anchor of this family?” Well, certainly not me, if I stay in my own shoes.

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24 Responses to Walking in someone else’s boots

  1. Mark Seguin says:

    I luv today’s Catch 4 many reasons, plus hearing about Chandler’s progress blessed my heart!
    God’s speed & many blessings to the John & Marti Fisher family! 🙂

  2. Grace says:

    Wow Just Wow
    I just love this!!!
    It takes courage to look at your own responsability…but that’s the only way to true freedom isn’t it?!?

    “Freedom Reigns in the Walking In of Big Umcomfortable over Sized Boots of the One You Love!!”

    Chandler has the gift of prophesy he can see things that aren’t as though they are. He will speak to the dead dry bones and they will rise up and walk.

  3. Priscilla says:

    I copy that Wow from Grace! Chandler’s growth through this experience is phenomenal. John, one thing I have always appreciated about you is your willingness to take responsibility for your actions. Another is your ability to point out your own weak areas and do something about them. I am thrilled at what God is doing in your family.

  4. Tim says:

    One of the most difficult parts of parenting for me has been letting my three children discover their own faith or lack of, and respecting their journey.
    As my visions of spiritual grandeur for them have diminished I have learned that the walk they choose is more important because it is personal to them.
    Sometimes the shell we use to protect ourselves can look ugly and lost. Thankfully God sees past our ugliness and provided our salvation in spite of ourselves. Isn’t that the good news?
    We should wear many shoes of many people.

  5. Sara says:

    Your vulnerability in sharing this is breathtaking (I dislike exaggeration, and I feel this is really on that level). Thank you very much. I rejoice with you and Marti in the joy of seeing Chandler with fresh eyes.

  6. Kathy Palano says:

    This might be one of the best Catch posts I’ve ever read! How wonderful for Chandler, you and the whole family that he is doing so well. We sent our son to a 28 day rehab when he was about 18, (he’s now 32 and doing well) and I learned during that time that the thing about these programs is the chemically-dependent is not the only one being helped, or being made aware, but the entire family sees themselves in the issue. Or at least that is the goal- to take your eyes off the person with the “issues” and take a look at your own.
    Jesus came to walk in our shoes, to put on our humanity, and we now have a Great High Priest who is able to understand us at our core. There is nothing we can’t take to Him, nothing that we can’t discuss with Him – because he was tempted in every way and he understands us in all of our humanity.
    My son used to get discouraged because he never went to college and didn’t have the same experiences that his friends did, But I’ve told him that the experiences he did have have prepared him to help other people because he’s walked in their shoes. It seems that these things that Chandler is walking in now are preparing him for , somewhere down the road, to help others with the same struggles.
    Thank you for your honesty, your candor, and for sharing these very private family experiences.

  7. Lois Taylor says:

    What wonderful news you shared with us today, John. Praise the Lord!!! Thank you for making my day.

  8. Colleen Thake says:

    I really enjoyed your Catch today! It reminds me of my son somewhat! The things I spiritually learn from a 9 y/o is amazing, because like you took the time to see them and a peek at their thoughts and walk. I could never fit in my son’s shoes, but sometimes will allow a pebble to stay in mine, so I don’t get comfortable! I’m glad this experience has brought you all closer and understaning of each other 🙂

  9. kevinm1957 says:

    Such a wonderful catch! The part that gets me is that ” I would have looked at the plan from the perspective of what was impossible about it.” I meet so many people in ministry who have that outlook and want to direct the “plan” towards being in line with how things are done in an eartly sense. They fail to truly trust in God and let him make it happen. Remember; with God, all things are possible. And besides earthly ways are not His generally speaking (of course, as with everything, there are exceptions)

  10. Peter Leenheer says:

    Wow!!!!!! Putting myself in your shoes, you must have been just blown away by what this young man revealed to you. It seems it was a wonderfully humbling experience. It took guts to put this in this Catch. We benefit because of that revelation.

    Underestimating God is my foible and much to my surprise God is always way ahead of me. Perhaps we should spend more time practicing Isaiah 55:8,9 ie. believing what God says and waiting with eager anticipation as we wait for God to work out his plans for us.

  11. Elsewhere in the blogosphere, i’ve mentioned how iv’e basically missed most of this recent trial – If i hadn’t i may well have fretted much – we do that about people we care about…How Good and Great is our God! ..that he brings me in it just in time for the blessing…

  12. Gitta says:

    An amazing testimony of both you & Chandler. Thank you for your intimate sharing.
    It is like we are catching a glimpse of God moving/working in this trial for HIS GLORY.
    And a great encouragement for me to continue praying for the seemingly impossible
    for my own children & others to ‘the God of the impossible’.

  13. Kevin Krabbenhoft says:

    I dropped to my knees when I got to the part Chandler’s walk with the Lord and the 10 year plan. I was laughing, crying, and praising God and wondering “Where are my blind spots when I look at my family ?”

  14. hahimes says:

    Wow….so, so profound. Takes “walking in another’s shoes” to a whole new & deeper level. John, your honesty and vulnerability with Chandler and with those of us “out here” takes a lot of “guts”…and are gifts God uses to touch lives in ways that make a difference. Lives of persons you’ve never met, and the life of that one near and dear to you, Chandler. May God continue to draw you and your family closer to each other and closer to Himself. May you know you are being held and are loved and never alone.

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