Dancing With My Father


Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing; Thou hast loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness That my soul may sing praise to Thee and not be silent. Oh Lord my God, I will give thanks to thee forever. Psalm 30:10-11

My sweet father passed away 14 years ago. He was a figure bigger than life to me when I was a little girl. I didn’t get a lot of personal, one-on-one time with him. But there are a few, sweet memories that live in my soul as exaggerated in size because of the rarity that made them so precious.

One sparkling summer evening, I was allowed to attend an adult party with my parents. I remember dressing up in a sky-blue dress adorned with delicate eyelet lace and belted with a satin sash. My black patent-leather shoes were just made for tapping my toes or dancing on the floor.

Suddenly, my handsome, smiling father swept over to the place where I was standing and easily picked me up in his arms. “May I have a dance with the princess of the ball?” He held me tight in His strong arms and easily swung my 4’8” frame round and round the dance floor. The bubbling excitement and pride that I felt at that giddy moment, being in the arms of my hero, who always appeared bigger than life, left me almost breathless. Finally, the music came to an abrupt stop. Gently, my father glided back to our dinner table in his long strides and set me lightly upon my chair.

“Thank you for the pleasure of your company, sweet princess,” he affectionately said, as he turned to find my mother.

This lovely memory is a picture to me of one of the ways I have come to view my own relationship with God—dancing through life, with deep joy and gratefulness filling the core of my being, as I am held and cherished in the arms of such a great, admired and worthy partner. The older I get, the more I have come to cherish with great delight the joy and beauty my Creator has generously bestowed on me—not because of anything I have done to deserve it—but because His very character is life and love and giving and celebrating and redeeming and creating.

I believe Satan would love for me—for all of us-- to focus on that which has been tainted with the stain of selfishness and destruction of sin. He would love for me to be ravaged in my soul with the fears that a post-modern world, filled with violence and a loathing for all that is pure and lovely, brings. Yet, he seeks to deceive me in more subtle ways, too. I am surrounded by those who live in the chains of legalism: a rule for every move in life, an air of condemnation, suspicion for those who celebrate the authentic joy of life. They, instead, live lives of worry, fear and condemnation. These have lost the vision of their Warrior King who has lain down His own life that they may have unending joy. Satan has deceived them into doubting and ignoring the light that is surrounding them. These, Satan would use to drag me down with them to the place of bitterness and harshness and oppression of soul, oppressed by my own inadequacies.

In order to continue to live beyond the oppressive blackness of the night, I must live with the ears of my soul straining to hear the music of the One who is creating, restoring and bringing life to a glorious crescendo that will envelop and swallow up all darkness. I must look with the eyes of my heart for the beauty and color and design that every day shouts to me; of the Creator behind the luminous colors, powerful sounds, lovely words and thoughts that speak to me of His reality. I want to go down dancing— to finish my life, choosing every minute until its close, to celebrate the reality of His life, living in the freedom of His gracious love, looking for the time when we will celebrate, in the final banquet, the victory He has so long ago preordained.

Praise the Lord! Sing a new song, And His praise in the congregation of the godly ones. Let Israel be glad in His Maker; Let the sons of Zion rejoice in their King. Let them praise His name with dancing; Let them sing praises to Him with timbrel and lyre. For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation. Let the godly ones exult in glory; Let them sing with joy on their bed. This is an honor for all His godly ones. Praise the Lord. Hallelujah! Psalm149 


What does it mean to you, to go down dancing?

Today at MomHeart Online, it's Book Club day! We're having a video I made for Chapter One of The Mission of Motherhood. Please join us and leave your thoughts in the comments!