the dance

Dancing to Shout to the Lord on the steps of the national stage of Uzbekistan, after dancing on the national stage of Uzbekistan where the crowd broke into cheers so long and loud, their spirits responding in awe when God’s Presence filled the hall, the MC had to tell everyone to sit down for the next act.

When I was a little girl, I watched her dip and spin.  Julie Andrews in a field of trees singing her heart out.  I want to do that when I grow up.  The more I watched the greater this hunger inside was to twirl in abandonment, to dance my heart out for another.

My mom, ever my cheerleader, took me from studio to studio and they told her to be reasonable, was she not aware her daughter had one leg? To let me do something I could excel at. Almost as if in their worlds even standing right there in front of them, I didn’t exist.  A dancer on one leg.  WHO had heard of such.  Probably no one in those days.  And still the desire inside grew.

When no one was looking I’d make dances up to Jesus until one day I grew up and believed all their words and the dance became an ache deep deep down pounding in my heart.  Years went by.  One evening in university a ballet company came and danced for an audience of One, Him.  And I sitting 10 rows back wept.  Hot liquid poured from my eyes and the dream within began to stretch its legs at an invisible ballet bar in my heart.  When dreams awake and press hard against the heart it can hurt.  Deep.

Another year came and went as I forced the dream back to sleep, settling I must have been given metaphorical steps instead.

One day, one very unexpected day Jesus came.  He walked in quiet to my prayers and handed me a dance, a literal dance.  It came in pictures swirling in my mind and His voice echoing so clearly through them, you will dance this dance before kings.

The next week comes and I take my place on our little church’s stage trembling. I am certain this is a mistake of cosmic undertakings.  I begin to move with the music, humiliation creeping red around my neck, confidence laid low by my lack.  Until He comes.  Engulfs the small room in His Presence and me with it.  And I realize this dance has NOTHING to do with me at all.

He comes and stands between me and everyone else until He is all any of us can see.

One simple dance to one simple song. On my one leg. No training, no crutches, just standing on real grace and spinning in raw faith.  For Him alone and He transforms it all.  I spend the better part of next decade traveling the world to twirl in abandonment a routine which would be utter foolishness if not for His kiss on it.  But He kisses it every time with His smile.  {Isn’t my very life foolishness except for His grace, His beauty, His faithfulness?}

This little girl told she could never dance, with not more than 5 hours any kind of formal training, has dipped and spun on national stages before kings and prime ministers.  Today I am reminded again.  Never ever let the words of men, steal the promise of God.

Grateful for birds singing, my children giggling, Sunday’s abandonment to worship, solar batteries, our staff family, an expanded dance with 117 darlings, antibiotics, almost having my voice back, family from all over the world helping us soar and His faithfulness in it all every day…