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I’ve been thinking about things that contribute to the grace and creativity and joy of a life or family or community, that allows it to thrive, to become beautiful and uniquely its own in this time and place in the world.

In my own experience, the movement—Grace, Creativity, Joy—of the Spirit within it all, within us, correcting and leading and guiding, sanctifying us into new abundant Life, moment by moment, is the movement that matters most.

The Dance Within—step by step, reforming, transforming—is more pivotal 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 it? It’s the turning point.

Is it ironic that I began to discover that movement within me in the midst of the saddest of saddest grief? I sat in stillness with God’s Love Letter to us as I began to need—to thirst—to know Him, not just about Him. Day by day, just as the daily discipline and ritual of morning dance class had carried me through the trauma and grief of 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 an ever-growing nonprofit, or through the diagnosis of a scary affliction that led to a prognosis of three years of weekly chemo injections just to keep it from progressing.

What does it take to finally set our selves aside? How do we grab hold of this great gift of grace? Grief and affliction can become the Way into understanding the humility of Christ, His love, His sacrifice on the Cross. It can be the one way we begin to know Him not just about Him.

When we surrender to the Man of Sorrow, who suffered and died and rose again, the One who comes to live in us by the Power of His Spirit, when we surrender to His lead, everything changes. A new life begins, the one God intended for us to live—His plan, His purpose, His Own Work of Art. His Life in us. Then we can let go of having to perform, produce, prove ourselves worthy, and find freedom in and through Him—Christ in us, is the hope of glory.

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!” my mom told my doubting husband as she lay dying, half of her being in heaven, half still on earth.

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 walked in the back door (of the same house we now live in) and said, “Did you see our new flowers?”

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

It may have taken fifty years, but just as God’s work in my own heart and life 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.

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.

And I will end with this turning point. 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 believed 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)

And Hope will rise as we wait.

My perennials are always reminders of the ever-renewing abundant Life possible in Him.

Featured Image by Lisa Wenzler

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