A God Who Loves

Christianity is the only religion that is centered around a God who loves. Maybe the thought that a God who created the heavens and the earth and everything in it is too much for people to handle. I’ll admit that it can be pretty mind-boggling at times, but I’ve learned to accept it. I figure that if God loves me as much as the Bible says He does,  He probably wants me to accept His love. How would you feel if someone never accepted the love you extended to them?

Before I ever learned to dance with Jesus, I witnessed another person’s dance with Him. Some friends of my family (a married couple portraying Jesus and His bride) were going to dance for their church, and I was able to watch them practice. I guess my heart has always secretly longed for this dancing relationship with God because I was enraptured by the beauty and romance of this dance. In the end, they were asked to re-choreograph their dance because it was “too intimate” to be performed in church. Too intimate? Jesus is very intimate. Ephesians 5 talks about how marriage is a picture of Christ and the church. Could God explain Himself as being any more intimate? Traces of His romantic love are scattered throughout the Scripture. It could take me all day to pull out every reference regarding God’s immensely intimate love for us, but I’ll leave you with this one thought from Hosea 2:19-20:

I will betroth you to Me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord.

Those are God’s words – His promise to us. Maybe that promise doesn’t capture your heart like it does mine.  Maybe you aren’t moved by verse 15 where God says we will call Him “my husband.” And maybe your heart won’t leap when you browse down to verse 23 where God says He will show love to the one He called “Not my loved one.” Maybe your heart isn’t stirred by the fact that God has called you “His people,” but I know that mine sure is. And sometimes it makes me feel like dancing.

Once Upon a Dream

Flashback into a Disney scene in Sleeping Beauty: It’s a typical fairytale set-up including the woodland creatures skittering about the beautiful forest. Lost in a world that is entirely her own, our fairytale heroine reflects on a dream she had recently experienced. And since this is a Disney film, of course it came out in the form of a song.

I know you
I walked with you once upon a dream
I know you
The gleam in your eyes is so familiar a gleam
Yes, I know it’s true
that visions are seldom all they seem
But if I know you, I know what you’ll do
You’ll love me at once
the way you did once upon a dream

As she’s vocalizing and dancing about to the memory of a dream, her song is suddenly joined by a masculine voice, strong arms wrapping around her waist as her Prince materializes before her eyes. She melts into his embrace and they dance as one, both enraptured by the same dream. It’s so charming, so romantic, so… perfect. This is one of those scenes that elicits the statement: “Walt Disney gave me unrealistic expectations of men.”

Now, I’m pretty sure Walt Disney didn’t set out to crush the hopes of young women everywhere. I know he was an advocate of dreaming big, but I don’t think his intention was to set us up for disappointment. I think it’s our own skewed perspectives that are breaking our hearts. Fairytales weren’t meant to be realistic. I mean, come on, Sleeping Beauty, fairies, magic spells… When’s the last time you pricked your finger on a spindle and fell asleep for a hundred years? And would you really want to watch the movie if Prince Charming had simply walked up to her in that moment and said, “Hey, you’re kind of cute. Want to go out?” Whoo. Exciting.

Let’s be honest with ourselves for a minute. We’ve taken fairytales to a level they were never meant to achieve. Stop blaming Disney for your heartaches, leave Prince Charming in your dreams, and live as if you believed your life was meant for something far greater.

A Time To…

I think the one thing that is most harmful to single women who hope to be married one day is that horrible word called “timing.” We rush into unhealthy relationships because we don’t want to wait, or because we think we are ready, when in truth, we are not. I’ve come to learn that even good things can be bad things when done in the wrong timing.

I recently finished the book Lies Young Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Dannah Gresh. Aside from revealing some hurtful lies in a candid, compassionate manner, this book made me question something I had never really thought about before. Nancy and Dannah surmised that the tree that caused mankind’s downfall was probably meant for good… if Adam and Eve would have waited for God’s timing to enjoy the fruit. But they didn’t wait. And instead of enjoying the blessing that could have been, mankind was faced with a terrible curse. That my friend, is what is happening to us. We’re rushing ahead of God’s timing and turning relationships (which are a good thing) into a bad thing.

Ecclesiastes chapter 3 tells us that there is a time for everything – a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance… and so on. There is a time to be in a relationship and there is a time to embrace singleness. Don’t rush God’s timing. Don’t think that He is wrong. It may just be that He has a blessing beyond imagination waiting just around the corner. One day it will be time to dance with your husband, but until that day, enjoy the freedom of dancing to your own rhythm.

No matter what else may be eluding your grasp, there is one thing that never goes out of season… Now is the time to live.

Dance With the Joyful

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt, O Virgin Israel. Again you will take up your tambourines and go out to dance with the joyful.” -Jeremiah 31:3-4

I love the last four words of that verse. Dance with the joyful. God’s love is so deep, so true, so wonderful that I cannot help but dance. Sometimes I get so excited about something God is stirring in me that I literally have to twirl in a circle. The joy of the Lord can be overwhelming at times. I feel like this verse is God’s permission for me to allow the emotions He stirs in my heart to flow out in the form of dancing. If King David (who was considered a man after God’s own heart) worshiped God by dancing around the streets in his underwear… Well, I’ll keep my clothes on, but I may get a little wild at times.

I mean, just look at that verse again. “I have loved you with an everlasting love…” Am I the only one who gets excited about that? Just think of the excitement and romance of dance. It’s intimate, enticing and beautiful. Something that evokes that much passion is surely meant for the glory of God. The promise this scripture contains should evoke enough emotion to make anyone dance – even those who may not be naturally graceful, namely me. Though I’ve developed a little grace over the passing years, I’m not meant for the spotlight. All I know is that God has placed a song in my heart to which my feet cannot help but move.  Don’t suppress the song that is playing deep within the recesses of your soul. Don’t be afraid to let it loose and get a little wild. Even if it is only behind closed doors, don’t be afraid to release a little shout. Dance with the joyful for the glory of your King.