May 28, 2015

The Dance of Redemption

When she was 6, our Anna fell in love with dance. She took a ballet/tap combination class every Tuesday...we called it “Tutu Tuesday." I knew how much Anna loved it when she was sick one weekend and told me, “I have to get better by Tuesday so I can go to dance.”

Four months after Anna first put on her ballet slippers, her grandfather died. There was no warning, no time to even try to try to get ready. “Papa Lonn” was young, healthy, and vibrant. His death was an utter shock. In one terrible moment, my husband lost his dad, best friend, business mentor, confidante, wood-cutting partner, fellow college sports enthusiast, and earthly model of Abba—God as “daddy.”

Our family was completely unprepared for the season of grief we were thrown into. Blindly, we started into the year of firsts without Lonn.

Anna’s dance recital, it turned out, would take place on Father’s Day Eve: the night before my husband’s first Father’s Day without his dad. I began to dread a weekend we would simply get through, would merely survive.

But then: I started asking God to redeem the day. I asked Him to make something of it beyond what it would be without His intervention. I asked Him to make it more than just a day we would grit our way through.

Redemption carries with it the idea of something being held captive, of a price being paid for the release of someone imprisoned. The prisoner is powerless to secure his own freedom, and his redeemer rescues him by covering the cost.

I asked God to release my husband’s Father’s Day—and Anna’s recital day—from sorrow, loss, grief, and dread. I asked Jehovah to pay the price and free the day to be glorious.

On Father’s Day Eve, my husband, his mom, my parents, Anna’s big sister, and I took over a row in the auditorium. We did not know to expect the worship experience we saw and took part in that night. It was a tapestry of music and movement. We watched Anna’s class come on stage. In their electric-blue tutus, they had the audience before they'd even started dancing.

We beamed proudly as Anna steadily performed each movement. At the end of the night, she was awarded a scholarship we had no idea was coming, and we all gasped in surprised delight. It was glorious.

The day after the recital, we celebrated Father’s Day without Lonn. I knew God had said yes to my prayer: He had redeemed the day. He had bought it back from mourning and had purchased it for dancing. Abba had given a gift to my husband, who had lost his earthly daddy but still found joy in the careful steps of a little girl in a blue tutu.

"And they sang a new song: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain and with your blood you purchased men for God' "(Revelation 5:9).

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Do you have something you need God to redeem? If you do, there is a Redeemer for it—the LORD of hosts, the Almighty! Ask Him to buy whatever it is back from whatever is holding it captive and make it more than it can be without Him.  

And when He does, I hope you feel 
like dancing.

17 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this story! I have been blessed reading about how God worked in such a hard situation and answered your prayer specifically. And that is such a sweet picture of your daughter!

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    1. No, thank YOU for the opportunity, Rebekah. I greatly appreciate all your support and encouragement and hope to pay it forward to another beginning blogger someday. In the meantime, I'll look forward to following your story and other recollections of redemption you share. "Redeeming love has been my theme and shall be till I die!"

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  2. All Elizabeth has related is so true and held firmly in my memory and heart. Thank you daughter for using this gift of writing that God has given you. I would much rather read your blog than see your spotless house (which I love, by the way). As I said in note...I love this house and those who dwell therein"

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    1. Thank you, Mama! All who dwell within this house love YOU!

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  3. Oh, Elizabeth. I cried my way through this and still haven't fully caught my breath. I can only imagine the emotion caught up in that weekend and your words, "Redemption carries with it the idea of something being held captive, of a price being paid for the release of someone imprisoned. The prisoner is powerless to secure his own freedom, and his redeemer rescues him by covering the cost. I asked God to release my husband’s Father’s Day—and Anna’s recital day—from sorrow, loss, grief, and dread. I asked Jehovah to pay the price and free the day to be glorious." are piercingly beautiful to me. I have something that has been weighing heavily on my heart and those words about seeking the release from imprisonment and finding His redemption are incredibly uplifting. This was just what I needed in so many ways. I asked God earlier in a prayer to deliver me some comfort for the day ahead, and just as your daughter's recital delivered grace on the eve of that first Father's Day without her grandpa, this has delivered grace to me on the eve of a difficult day ahead. She is blessed and talented, as is her mama. Thank you so much for sharing this with me. IHS sounds like the perfect fit for what I've been looking for to get my daughter involved with. And I think it is so neat and wonderful that one of your daughter's could potentially be her teacher! I would love to come watch them in December. Thank you again.

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    1. Kristi, Kristi...how can I tell you how your words have broken my heart in the best possible way? This story means so much to me and to our family, but I have often wondered if it would ever minister to anyone else. Now I have my answer. I will--will!--cry out to God the Redeemer for you and for the weighty, difficult days ahead of you. One of the songs we heard and saw, in dance, at that first recital was Michael W. Smith's Healing Rain, and truly, the words and music of the song and the movement of the dancers just washed over me, and I knew God was answering my prayer for redemption. May that same healing rain fall fresh on you. I would love to meet you in person and can't think of a better place than at the Christmas recital if it works out! Blessings and prayers to you now, dear Kristi!

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  4. Thanks so much for sharing this beautiful reminder that God is good and sovereign. Visiting you from Theocentric Thursdays.

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    1. Thank you, Eva. And yes, The Great I AM is!

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    2. Thank you, Eva, for following up with our #TheocentricThursdays participants!!!

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  5. Elizabeth, this is such a precious story. What a great idea to pray for God to redeem a day that would normally be so difficult! While my heart breaks for your family's loss, I'm so glad you thought to do this and that the day turned out so beautifully.Visiting from Grace & Truth ...

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    1. Thank you so much, Lois. Aren't you a sweetie! God is good and faithful and turns mourning into dancing...this we know! Thank you for taking time to stop by and to comment...blessings back to you!

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  6. What a beautiful little girl you have- and what a beautiful story. Our God is a God of redemption. Thank you for sharing this.

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    1. Yes, He is, Dawn! Thank you for reading and sharing in our story. Blessings to you!

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  7. Thank you so much for sharing your story of redemption on #TheocentricThursdays. It becomes so easy for us to forget how involved God wants to be in our daily lives.

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    1. Thank you, Carrie...and bless you for hosting #TheocentricThursdays!

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  8. Thanks for this beautiful story and testimony to the power of prayer, grace, mercy, and love! The testimony is a beautiful and powerful reminder of redemption played out in front of us that we could overlook if we were watching for Him.

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    1. Thank you, Pam! I am truly still so grateful, all these years later, for the lavish way God redeemed that time for our family. Thank you for your sweet comments and for taking time to stop by!

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I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to tell me what you really think. Years ago, I explained to my then-two-year that my appointment with a counselor was "sort of like going to a doctor who will help me be a better mommy." Without blinking, she replied, "You'd better go every day." All of which is just to say I've spent some time in the school of brutal honesty!