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I was thinking about the things that contribute to the health and creativity and joy of a life, a family, a community, that allow it to thrive, to become beautiful and uniquely its own, in its time and place in this world.

In my own experience, the movement—the Beauty and Creativity and Joy—of the Spirit within it all, within us, guiding and directing, defining and correcting, moment by moment, is what matters most in the end. The Dance within, step by step, is more important than all the steps and turns and joy of dance itself. And that’s a lot of joy. What is more joyous than dance?

So what is the Dance Within? It seems ironic that I began to discover it in the midst of the saddest of saddest grief. I sat in stillness with God’s Love Letter to us. I began to need—to thirst and hunger—to know Him, not just about Him. And moment by moment, step by step, just as I had committed to the daily discipline and ritual of morning dance class for forty years, which had carried me through an abusive marriage and divorce, I followed.

But dance wasn’t enough to carry me through the deaths of my brother and mother and father, or through leading a nonprofit, or through the scariest affliction that led to a diagnosis of “incurable”. I was told it would take three to five years, minimum of weekly chemo injections, just to keep it from progressing. I am learning that it’s only through surrender, sorrow and suffering, through setting our self aside, that we begin to understand the great compassion Christ showed us through His Sacrifice of Love, to begin to know Him as both Friend and Lord of Lords.

When the Man of Sorrow, who suffered and died and rose to Life comes to live in us by the Power of His Spirit, and we let go and let Him lead, everything changes. We become a new creation, the one God intended us to be, His own Work of Art. And that’s a glorious thing. His Life in our bodies, we become free and the glory becomes all for Him. We let go of having to perform, produce, achieve, and we find freedom in Him. It’s a Mystery, “In Christ, is all the fullness of the Deity in bodily form, and you have been given the fullness of Christ who is head over every power and authority. (Colossians 2:9,10)

But it’s real.

When my parents moved our family from a farm house to a house in the city, my dad mistakenly pulled out a plot of lilies that grew alongside the house. Nothing much has ever grown there since, except for a few struggling hostas. That is, until yesterday when my husband T walked in the back door (of the same house we now live in) and said, “Did you see our new flower?”

I looked. Lilies! Three flowers and lots of buds!

It may have taken 50 years but just like God’s work in my own heart and life, which has taken nothing less, there’s always a miracle waiting to happen, to be discovered. His love never fails, His compassion never ends, and His faithfulness is for always. He is the Lord of the Dance.

Still. May our souls be still and not be shaken. “For we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God created in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10) Hope will rise as we wait…

Last month, after two and a half years of that chemo and my COVID shots, I decided I had had enough shots. I went to see my doctor for a checkup and to tell him I was done with chemo. I had been blessed with many prayers and much progress. Maybe you can imagine—not only did my blood work affirm my healing, I was told I had 20/20 vision and perfect hearing. And no more chemo!

Our God is a faithful God, He is my God who I trust through grief and affliction, through healing and joy.

I know we’re not always healed on this side of heaven. My mom prepared to go to Jesus with cancer. But His Love proved greater than her battle and the loss of her firstborn, as she lifted her arms with a shattered collarbone, exclaiming, “Glorious, glorious! It’s so beautiful! The Father! It’s too bright, I can’t see Him…” We don’t see everything…

We’re told to see the Unseen, to fix our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). So may our eyes be fixed, and our souls be still, and may we not be shaken.

“Forgetting what is behind, straining for what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13,14)

Hope will rise as we wait.

My perennials. Reminders of the New Life possible in Him.

Featured Image by Lisa Wenzler

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