Tag Archives: dancing

Shining

hot partyToday I’m writing the post I’ve avoided since last October.

It felt weird to draw attention to this issue.

It’s about letting the Light within shine out in all ways.

It’s hard to talk directly about shining in my body, especially when it includes issues around my figure.

But today I read an amazing journey of inside out transformation on another blog, and it prompted me to be more transparent with these thoughts I’ve primarily kept to myself.

I’ll start with last week, mostly because I’m a chicken about going all the way back to October. I’ll get there, though.

My church history includes calm churches, choir-singing churches, and a lot of churches with a praise band. I’m not often in dancing churches.  But here’s the thing: I’m a closet worship dancer.

Or I was before I let crap shut me down.

Most of my worship has been in my upstairs living room. The boys, watching ballgames in the family room below, no doubt roll their eyes as the thuds and thumps on the ceiling sound anything but graceful.

One time I danced on a real stage at a writer’s conference. It was this thing between God and me, my opportunity during a very rough time to make a public statement that I still worshiped the One I claim, even though my life at the time was so difficult I spent most of the conference hiding in my room, just trying to survive. My friends said my face was radiant that day. It was a high moment for me even though in my private thoughts I was embarrassed to dance in front of others carrying all the extra weight I had.

Life got harder and harder. My body got heavier and heavier.

I mostly stopped dancing.

Last weekend I attended a conference where there was worship music for an hour before the speaker. People there worshiped however they wanted: waving banners, clapping, stretching out on the floor, and DANCING.

I slipped out of my seat to an open area at the back of the room where I hoped I could dance without much notice of others.

Only I hadn’t done much worship dancing now that I have a figure again.

Immediately the voices started, telling me I shouldn’t dance, that it would attract attention to my now more attractive body, that if I was going to dance I should hide. Or at least do it when I have on clothes that aren’t fitted. That since I have a figure again it would be wrong to dance in public.

But another Voice spoke over me. It said to pull my shoulders back and stand tall and proud as a beautiful daughter of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It said it didn’t matter that I had on jeans and a t-shirt that fit. I didn’t have hide in loose fitting clothes to dance freely.

And so I danced. Long enough and hard enough to work up a sweat. Sometimes small and sometimes large. But always, always free.

I have no idea if I’m still the 5 ft 9 inch klutz I’ve felt I am since I grew way too fast and spent months tripping over my own feet, or if I now look graceful and beautiful. But it doesn’t matter because when I dance for Him, HE is enamored with the beauty HE placed in me. HE finds my worship graceful because while man looks at the outside God looks at my heart.

Which brings me back to last October.

I went to a party where there was dancing and music. It was not worship music; it was dance music. And I danced.

Freely.

In my new body and a great dress.

Jerry wasn’t with me. I didn’t dance with another man. I just had fun.

But then I noticed men noticing me. It’s hard to get used to that again after years of being overweight, and I awoke the next morning consumed with guilt.

I called one of my best friend in tears and asked her if she thought I’d dishonored the Lord by dancing my heart out in a great dress that didn’t hide my new figure.

She spoke truth.

I hung up the phone, still teary. My daughter and son-in-law were nearby. They’d seen me dance. I asked, “Did I dance in any way that was inappropriate or dishonoring to God?”

Their truth was the same my friend had just spoken.

Sarah said, “If anything you honored God by enjoying the new body He’s given you.”

Then my son-in-law, David, spoke. “It’s a new lantern you get to shine. A new way for you to show people what God has done for you and to help them.”

And I wept.

See, before I’d left for this event I had a God moment. In that half-awake stage of the night, He sang over me, “Be a Light.”

And so I dance.

Even if I look really good.

Tweet it:

Shine! No Hiding Allowed!

God’s Real Life Fairy Tale (Part IV)

It started with a burst of laughter and ended with skipping.

And somehow in the midst of funny stories, non-traditional music, and forgotten bouquets, we knew IT was there.

You know, LOVE.

Theirs.

His.

Ours.

And with so much love flooding the airspace JOY had to follow.

It floated on the sound waves of their laughter. It bounced from the couple to the bridal party, onto the preacher, and then broke into a million tiny shimmering bubbles and covered us all.

The ceremony began as the family was seated,

wedding, Darlene's disk (23)

Continued with the arrival of the preacher and the groom

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Then bounced in on Converse clad groomsmen

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And bridesmaids who flitted down the sidewalk, pretty in purple and lavender.

bridesmaids 2

Handsome nephews entered in green vests and ties,

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followed by the angelic flower girl and the handsome ring bearer who carried a sign proclaiming, “Stay tuned for the kiss!”

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Finally everyone was in place.

groomsmen

ceremony bridesmaids and flower girl

Suddenly the wedding coordinator nodded at me, and I remembered it was my job to stand, a silent announcement that the bride was soon to appear.

waiting for Sarah (2)

I stood, family and friends stood. The big moment had come.

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When Sarah first stepped through the farmhouse door and onto the deck, David’s face grew tender. Then she stopped in her tracks and disappeared back into the house.

“You worried, David?” someone yelled.

He shook his head.

Sarah reappeared waving her forgotten bouquet. The audience roared.

got flowers!

David shrugged, joining in the laughter. “That’s just Sarah.”

Entrance - David - Copy

All around me people turned, facing backward, cell phones in the air, snapping pictures of the bride’s grand entrance.

entrance

I glanced back at David. His laughter sobered as he watched her drawing near. I shouted. “Somebody get a picture of David!!”

And my brother did. In fact, he took what may be my very favorite wedding picture. It’s at least the one that will be forever etched in my heart and memory as it shows how much my new son-in-law loves my girl.

Entrance - David

When Jerry and Sarah reached the preacher, the pastor asked, “Who gives this woman to this man?”

My husband replied, “Her mother and I . . . have been giving this a lot of thought.”

not giving away

Sarah looked at her daddy like, “seriously???”

Jerry made more funny remarks, and soon everyone was laughing again.

laughter 2 sarah and dad

Then Jerry launched into this speech about how he could  never give his girl away, but that he could welcome David into the family and whole-heartedly support the marriage union the kids were entering in. He talked about how he knew the Grundy parents felt the same. When he hugged his new son, the expression on both of their faces was priceless. There was hardly a dry eye in the place.

jerry and david hug

There was a lot of that teary thing in this wedding. My tall, strong boys stood sniffling and wiping swollen eyes. It showed most on Stephen due to his light coloring, poor kid.

wedding, Darlene's disk (54)

David and Jerry were falling apart.

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I, however, mostly beamed in joy. I mean with the guys all heaps of emotion, someone had to stay strong, right? And honestly, I got no help from David’s sisters or the other bridesmaids who pretty much started crying when the tune of  “Come What May” played upon the speakers, and Sarah began her walk. Or they may have started earlier as they entered themselves to the strains of, “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.”

All I want to know is with all this crying why my nephew handed me a package of tissue as the wedding began?

Caleb gives Paula tissue!

But back to the story.

After David and Jerry hugged, David’s dad, Steve, gave a beautiful invocation, (which didn’t exactly slow the flow of the tears.)

wedding, Darlene's disk (61)

Neither did the sweet hug Sarah and her father-in-law to be shared.

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Pastor Whaid said, “The crying has started way too early in this wedding. I think I need to skip down in my notes!”

He then took us to the antics of Sarah’s daddy back in the days before I tamed him, and the audience was set aright. Of course when he turned to Scripture and quoted that the man and wife were naked and unashamed the giggles started again because my daughter shamelessly waggled her eyebrows at her unsuspecting groom!

Whew! It was getting steamy, and the air wasn’t even that warm! (My girl later told me that the little look was only for David, and she didn’t expect everyone else to notice. Uh . . . sweetie . . . you WERE the bride. People WATCH the bride and groom at a wedding.)

As the service continued the flower girl placed blossoms on her pretty lavender dress.

flower girl

playing with petals

And the ring bearer stood firm, despite the burden of his heavy sign.

Luke and sign

Family watched as a new life began for two young people very much in love.

laughter

Soon the couple stood drinking in a melody as Arvella sang, “Only Hope.”

wedding, Darlene's disk (77)

Her amazing voice enveloped the audience, the sun warmed us, and just then tiny sprinkles of rain dusted our cheeks.

“Uh, Lord,” I said. “We’ve been talking about this!” (Visions of my own flood of a wedding had kept me a little off balance about this whole outdoor celebration plan.)

I felt rather than heard His response, “Allow me this, okay? Just a tiny nod to YOUR special day. Trust me.”

I grinned and looked at my daughter. Her eyes were closed and her face aglow. One of her favorite things is feeling a little rain in sunshine. I knew then she was soaking in the blessings, not worried for an instant about the droplets, just receiving them as a gift.

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We cried and laughed again as Sarah and David exchanged both traditional vows and vows they had written themselves. (Okay, so David did start the whole tear thing as he got about two words into his vows and his voice cracked.)

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As they made promises we knew they intend to keep, we chuckled at the similarities of the vows, which they had not shown each other before the ceremony. Both promised to love the other even on the “days I don’t like you very much.” Both promised to age without growing old, always holding onto a childlike ability to play. David touched us all deep inside when he promised to ask forgiveness for the times he couldn’t live up to everything he had just promised, and there was a collective “ahhhh” when Sarah said, “I can’t wait to start saying goodnight instead of good-bye.”

ceremony - David

As they shared their hearts it was obvious they each entered into the experience, allowing the other person’s words and love penetrate past the day, the crowded lawn, the brief moment. They welcomed the declarations to settle deep inside, treasured, alive for eternity.

wedding, Darlene's disk (85)

They meant every word.

They received every word.

Then they exchanged their rings.

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Then they stepped back to grasp decanters of sand. As my brother, Curtis, and his wife, Anne, sang, “I Will be There,” David and Sarah blended their lives and talents into a work of art.

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Whaid offered the wedding prayer

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and pronounced them man and wife.

As David kissed his bride her nephews threw buckets of sprinkles into the sky and her brother set off fire crackers. (They were sure Sarah had always wanted to experience fireworks when she kissed her man!)

The kiss!

There was a brief nod to the whole Disney princess thing when Sarah and David gave the prince and princess wave.

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Then hearts full, we celebrated with the Mr. and Mrs. Grundy as they skipped down the sidewalk to “Come Dance With me.

exit

And THEN it was time for the party to begin! Tune in next time to dance under the stars!

(Special thanks to Kim at the Creative Pixel Photography for allowing me to use several professional shots in this blog post. A few of these shots are also from my sister-in-law, Darlene.)

God’s Fairytale

Let’s just say when God writes the fairy tale, it’s better than you can dream up on your own.

sign - fairy tale

Penned and painted by Sarah’s friends, this wedding sign says it all.

When David and Sarah got engaged almost a year ago, I began praying for the ability to give Sarah her dream wedding. We put a little nest egg away, but soon realized the sum was nowhere near enough. One step at a time God provided, mostly through the love and skill of others and the hard work of our daughter.

There were moments of intense stress. When a big event happens largely due to other people volunteering, you can’t be a drill Sargent. Things often came together slowly, and some fell through. During one of “those” moments, I complained to God, wishing I had more money and didn’t have to feel so helpless, so dependent on others.

I felt rather than heard His whisper, “Don’t you see what I’m doing? I’m bringing the community together to love Sarah. It’s better this way.”

I was to discover the truth of His words. Gift after gift was showered upon us giving Sarah much more than we ever could have on our own. When the big event occurred, touches of love were everywhere, reminders of dear friends each time we glimpsed the results of their labor. Such joy was much deeper than if the beauty had been created by simply throwing money at it.

Thanks to the Lord and the love of His people, Jerry and I can truly say our girl got her dreams.

I write about my BENew weight loss journey, but weight loss isn’t always physical. Sometimes we have weight that needs to go in the form of false perceptions about God, about ourselves, and about life. My husband Jerry and I are dropping pounds from a poverty mindset.

Somehow in our pursuit of God we grabbed hold of some ideas about Him that are not true. We equated holiness with little and lack. With finding good deals and not spending money.

Poverty has its place. It can lead a heart toward God as a dependence on Him is fostered through struggle. Sometimes God calls people–like Mother Teresa–to a lifestyle of poverty for a greater purpose. But doing without is not always a road to holiness or even His plan for us. Sometimes He wants us to have what we want, not just the best deal.

Jerry and I too often missed the joy and celebration parts of God’s character. While He is a God of sacrifice, He is also the Extravagant One who paints a double rainbow, designs a fuchsia flower, and puts a dollop of whipped cream on the top of mountain peaks.

joyHe is the Jesus who turned the water into wine at a friend’s wedding.

Our Lord delights in giving us good gifts and in our celebration of what He has given–like the gift of love He gave our daughter, Sarah, and our son-in-law, David, and the way we celebrated that on their wedding day.

I received an email from a friend as I fought not to freak out about wedding details. She said, “I was praying/journaling for you tonight . . . I saw this . . . open wedding with a semi-covered patio with the wood slats as the roof. Everything was beautiful for the wedding, enough ribbon, food, wine, and stamina. God will meet every need you have for this wedding, the spoken and unspoken desires of the heart. I saw that everyone was soooo happy. It is going to be a great day, take joy, my friend.”

It all came true.

When Sarah got engaged she and I each tattooed the word “delight” on a foot as a reminder that God pedi manidelights in us, and we delight in each other and in Him. This circle of delight shimmers in droplets of blessings. I’ve experienced such a thing many times, but perhaps this wedding reveals a shower of blessings unlike any other I’ve ever danced in. Sarah, too.

Please indulge me the next few days as I write about a different Benew journey–one where Jerry and I drop the weight of small expectations and grow healthier, embracing the abundance of beauty and celebration. Join us as we celebrate the union of Mr. and Mrs. David Grundy.

(A shout out to Marie at Fat Girls Slim whose blog about her son’s wedding inspired me to start writing our wedding story!)

Invite your friends to the celebration:

Dancing in droplets of Blessing!

Embracing Abundance, Losing the weight of lack

God’s fairy tales are the best!