I choose to dance.

It’s late and I never write this late, so perhaps none of this will make any sense – but that’s ok, because I write more for myself anyway, and it’s been too long since I stopped and shared my thoughts.  My kids have been on spring break this week, so any daytime writing time just hasn’t been a possibility.  I think the words just keep piling up in my head and heart until they just have to come out, which is where I’m at tonight.  🙂 
Usually, the words also revolve around a theme I’ve been learning, and tonight is no different.  This quote has been in my head this week:
“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass… it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

You’ve heard it, I’m sure.  Probably a million times, just like I have.  But it’s been circling around in my head especially this week.  Like I mentioned, this week was spring break for my kids, and I had high intentions of planning a lot of fun adventures.  Our local pool just opened back up too, and I told the kids we would get to spend time there this week.  But… then, it started raining.  And then got windy.  Then got cold.  Then got rainy again.  And basically our plans got washed away with the rain showers. 
But I’m getting pretty experienced with changed plans.  So instead, I’ve been really productive with getting some projects done around the house while the kids begged to watch Frozen again, so that we can be out enjoying the nice weather when it comes.  And between the work, we’ve read books, played games, eaten quite a few desserts, and laughed a lot together.   So no, it’s not a spring break any of us will probably be talking about for years to come – but then again, who knows?  Maybe it will be.
I am not a good dancer.  If I can’t even dance well on a dance floor, you had better believe that I would immediately slip and fall if I tried to dance for long while dodging puddles during a rainstorm.  But I’m thankful this quote means more to me than just the literal translation.  Because there have been a lot of life’s storms around me lately.  Aside from our own hardships, there have been several people we know and love going through some really hard things even this week.  It makes me want to throw up now just thinking about what they are having to endure. 
If there’s one thing I’ve seen in the last 14 months, it’s that life can change instantly, leaving us in a pile of tears and questions.   Every one of us wakes up in the morning having no idea what we will be hit with that day.   Maybe it will be something exciting.  These days, I wake up hopeful that it will be.  But I also wake up with the realization that this world is full of pain and hardship, and I can’t wait for the pain and hardship to go away before I do things.  Because nothing but our Heavenly Father and His love for us will ever really be a certainty in this world. 
So, I choose to dance, and for me, to dance means to live.  Depending on the type of dance, I may have to go slowly and follow a learning curve, but I still choose to try.  To choose to be the best me I can be today and not wait around until tomorrow to first find out if it will be a better day.  To stay up late reading books sometimes even when I know I’ll be tired in the morning, because it’s the only “me time” I’ve gotten for the last few days.  To push myself in the gym even when I know I’ll be sore the next day.  To watch Spiderman cartoons on YouTube so I can be the best storyteller possible to my little boy who is missing his daddy’s great bedtime stories.   To sit and play another board game when the sink is full of dishes.  To go after dreams, even when I have no clue if they will ever come to fruition.   

Because dancing is way more fun than just watching or wishing.  

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The beauty of broken.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided that I needed to unplug some, and just focus on falling deeper in love with Jesus.  I write that with zero desire for any praise or compliments whatsoever, because the reason was not at all a good one.  I realized I was doubting Him.  I realized that I was struggling to let Him be enough for me.  I knew He was asking for that, and I needed to be willing. 
So I took Facebook off my phone and put strict limits on how much social media I was allowed,  and entered into a 10-day period of trying to quiet all the distractions and just trying to feast on Him with every moment He allowed me.  I prayed that I would be overwhelmed by the love that He longs to lavish on me.  And I was.  But along with it, what I discovered wasn’t all that pretty.  Pride.  Fear.  Doubt.  The more time I spent with Him, the more undone I realized I was and the more I realized I needed Him.   And I realized He was asking me: “I know you believe that I can make beauty from ashes, but do you really truly believe I can do it in your life, your family and in your mess?  And do you understand that it may not happen the way you think it will or want it to, but in MY divine way?”
I’m only writing this down to remind myself of and to hopefully encourage others with, because in this journey, He led me to a book called The Beauty of Broken, by Elisa Morgan.   In this book, Elisa, the former CEO/President of MOPS International for many years, opens up with her very personal family story of pain and what most would call “messy.”  Yet she weaves God’s redemptive grace through all of it, like a red ribbon of hope because of the blood His Son shed on the cross to cover all of the sin and the mess.  
And that?  That transforms all of the ugly mess and makes it all beautiful. Only through Him. 
I absolutely love this part of the book, wrote it down, and was so encouraged by it that I knew others need to hear it too. 
God used…
Two broken stone tablets… to bring about the Israelites’ repentance.
Broken pitchers that covered torches… to make Gideon’s enemies fall back.
A broken heart… to return King David to His heart.
A broken roof… as an access for a cripple to receive Jesus’ healing.
Broken bread loaves… in Jesus’ feeding the more than 5,000.
Broken fishing nets… to challenge the disciples to fully depend on Him.
A broken flask of nard… to express love that flows out of a relationship.
A broken ship… to steer Paul to Malta to share the Gospel.
A broken body… to provide salvation for all mankind!

Wow.  He not only CAN use brokenness to bring beauty, but He seems to delight in it.

I just have to be willing to let Him.  

“…but You are the Savior, and You take brokenness aside and make it beautiful.”

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