I Want To Go Out Dancing

Hadley dancing

My granddaughter is a Princess.  She loves wearing her little dresses, especially when she can twirl around and see the skirt billowing out.  My grandson is into super heroes.  But the two of them find a way to merge their playtime.  Hadley will pretend she is the princess and will tell Hudson which super power to use to protect her and the palace from the “bad guys.”  When he is successful in saving her, she will bestow on him additional powers which thrills him.  Hudson tried to teach me how to be a good Ninja, but Hadley always said that Hudson was the best and gave him the coveted rewards.

One evening while all three of my grandchildren were staying with us, Hudson played with his Paw Paw while Hadley and Harper played with me.  Of course Hadley was on her way to the ball at the castle and Harper and I were following her lead.  Once we got to the ball, she instructed us that she needed to teach us to dance.  She would proceed to twirl around the kitchen and I would try to repeat her steps.  Although Harper is younger and doesn’t fully understand the privileges of being invited to the ball, she did her own little dance as well.

A couple days later, Ken and I were working outside when my daughter and her husband and the grandkids came driving up the driveway.  The day had been quite windy and the leaves had been falling all around us.  As Hudson got out of their car and came running toward us, he said, “It’s raining leaves!”

It’s so much fun looking at life through their view of the world and the imagination they have.  I have to admit, though, they teach me a lot, too.

I have always loved the Fall.  I love the brilliance of the vibrant colors of the leaves.  It saddens me when the leaves start falling.  But as I started thinking about Hudson saying it was raining leaves, I paid more attention.  The leaves that were falling still had color in them.  They were not just falling, but they looked as if they were dancing through the air.  They were twirling and even lifting at times before they finally reached their resting place on the ground.  The leaves that continued to hang on to the limbs of the trees, are now turning brown and are dying.  They are losing their beauty but are stubbornly hanging on.

Although I do love this time of year, it also makes me contemplate how quickly life is passing by.  With my Dad being sick this past year and with Ken’s Mom also facing challenging health issues, I realize that life is precious, but also is short.

But then again, hearing Hadley tell me that she needed me to practice more dance moves with her, makes me feel young.  I started thinking maybe it’s possible to be both.  To realize I’m getting older, but continue to dance like a princess at a ball.

There are verses in the Bible about dancing.  They are not referring to the dancing we see on TV shows.  It isn’t dancing done in seductive ways.  It’s the kind of dancing that is the result of pure joy in knowing the Lord.

I remembered a verse in the Bible about King David dancing.  He was bringing the Ark of the Covenant back to his city.

“Then David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod.”  2 Samuel 6:14 (NKJV)

David was thrilled that the Ark, the symbol of the Presence of God, was once again going to be close by.  The last part of the verse about the linen ephod is telling us that David threw off his royal robes.  He wore a tunic that others, besides priests, would wear in their service to the Lord.  He was laying down his claim to royalty in order to serve his God.

Psalm 149:1-5 is another passage I like.

Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song,
And His praise in the assembly of saints.

Let Israel rejoice in their Maker;
Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.
Let them praise His name with the dance;
Let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp.
For the Lord takes pleasure in His people;
He will beautify the humble with salvation.

Let the saints be joyful in glory;
Let them sing aloud on their beds.

We are also told this:

To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:  A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance;  Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 (NKJV)

And one more passage:

17 O God, You have taught me from my youth; And to this day I declare Your wondrous works.
18 Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come.   Psalm 71:17-18 (NKJV)

I don’t plan on becoming completely gray headed anytime soon, but I do pray that God will allow me to serve Him until He takes me home.  I want to dance with the innocence of a child, with abandon like the leaves letting go of their grip and with the Super Power of the Holy Spirit giving me the strength to serve until my last breath.  I want my grandchildren, the next generation, to see me worshiping with all my might.

I don’t want to grow old and die, hanging on to past moments of glory, even though at the time I was truly blessed. Instead, I want to go out dancing.

Frilly Dresses

If you stopped by because you read my devotion today (May 31, 2016) over at Encouragement Cafe, WELCOME!   So glad you are here!

Hadley Ball

Life Of A Princess

I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.  1 Timothy 2:9-10 (NIV)

My two year old granddaughter loves clothes and shoes. It started when she was only one year old.  When she saw someone wearing shoes that she liked, she would tell the person to take them off so she could slip her little feet into them and attempt to walk around.  Even though she stumbled and fell often, she was determined to keep them on, smiling the whole time.

She seems to be developing into quite the little fashionista. She loves to pretend she’s a princess.  It’s common to see her wearing a pretty, frilly dress that she has picked out herself.  But it’s just as common to see her wearing those princess dresses while holding her own as she wrestles with her big brother.

Even When It’s Wrong…

 

Joan - overcomes

…God Still Loves Me

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.   It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.   Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.   It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV

 

I am thoroughly enjoying being a grandmother.  No one can tell what is going to come out of the mouths of little ones.  One day my daughter was correcting the behavior of my 4-year old grandson.  They had a discussion with him about what he had done wrong.  In between his sobs, he said, “Even when I am in trouble, God still loves me.”

Exercise of Faith

When we tap into the power that God gives us full access to - Copy

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

 I love watching my grandkids learn how to do new things.  One night my son-in-law was trying to show my 4 year old grandson how to do a push-up.  He had him put his feet against the baseboard so that they would not slip on the hardwood floor.  Then he tried to show him how to push his arms up to lift his body off the floor.  Of course, his little belly and behind was not in line with the rest of his body.  It was funny seeing him trying to coordinate the movements.

Who Does She Look Like?

Who Does She Look Like?

Growing to Look Like My Father

“Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”  1 Peter 2:1-3 NKJV

I love the commercial where a man is at the gym and he gets on the scale to weigh.  After weighing, he takes a lap around the gym, runs back to the scales and weighs again.  He is noticeably upset that there is no change.

Isn’t that just how we are?  We want to make a change, but we want it to be an instant transformation instead of a slow, gradual process.

Ready Or Not…

“1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.  Ready or not, here I come!”

How many times have you said that in your lifetime?  Playing hide and seek is currently my grandchildren’s favorite game.  I guess it is taught early because even when they were less than a year old, they thought it funny for me to place a light blanket over their face and then quickly pull it away and say, “Peep-eye!”  Their infant giggles conveyed their enjoyment that never tired.  I could do the same thing for several minutes straight and that smile never stopped.

When they began getting around on their own, they would get under a blanket on the couch and wait.  We would say, “I wonder where Hudson (or Hadley) is?”  After saying that a couple of times, we would yank the blanket off and quickly commence to tickle them.  Once we took our hands away, they would say, “Do it again.”

They have now graduated to actually going to hide somewhere out of sight.  They always want either their Paw Paw, Aunt Martha or me to hide with them.  Then one of the other adults and the other grandchild will begin to count.  After saying the famous words, “Ready or not, here I come,” we start heading to their hiding place – which is always very obvious – and say, “where’s Hudson?” or, “where’s Hadley?”  Many times, still being new to the game, they would call out, “Here I am.”

My grandson is now 3 and ½, and knows how to stay hidden until you find him.  He still wants an adult to hide with him, I guess for the comfort of not being alone.  My granddaughter, now 1 and ½, is helped with the counting, seeking and hiding.  At first, she wouldn’t try to count.  Now, she is learning to count, holding out her fingers as she names each number.  From time to time when they are hiding, they still can’t be completely quiet.  They are so excited hearing someone coming and can’t contain their giggles.

The adults playing the game always tire of it before the kids.  It’s not so easy anymore for this 51 year old body to crawl under tables and beds or squat behind chairs.

I enjoy remembering those times of play when they are not around.  But this morning as I was enjoying the recollections, I had a new thought.

In a way, God is playing hide and seek with the world.  (This isn’t the most theological example, but stay with me.)   When God created Adam and Eve, He spent time with them in the Garden.  They knew His voice.  Then they sinned.  When God came to the Garden of Eden and called their name, they hid, because of their shame.  When God found them and confronted them with their sin, they were sent out of His presence.

After that, God would appear once and awhile to men, and He called out to them by name.  Sometimes when He called, men would say, “Here I Am.”  At other times, God had to seek them out to get their attention.    When men sought after God, He could and can always be found.

At some point in our life, God speaks to us, calling our name, and when we come to Him and accept Him as Lord and Savior, we can be close to Him at all times.  When we try to hide ourselves, separate ourselves, from the world, God is beside us to comfort and encourage us.  When we are led to do certain things by God, He is always there to take our hands, leading and guiding, until we get to the point at which He wants us to be.

When Christ came to earth, once again He was able to spend one-on-one time with His people.   He taught us “the game.”  He taught us how to live in a sinful world.  Then as He ascended into heaven, He told us to go into the world to seek after those who are lost.

As Christians, we have God living within us.  We are supposed to be seeking to follow His ways all the time.  Sometimes, when we have unconfessed sin in our hearts, we feel that He is not near, that we can’t find Him.  The problem is not that He can’t be found.  The problem is that we are not looking for Him.  When we get the sin out of the way, when we are ready, through confession, we find Him still there within us.

One day, and I hope it is soon because I’m getting tired, the final game will be played.  Right now, Christ is sitting at the right hand of God.  People are being allowed to “play” with the world.  Some are in the game, seeking Christ.  Some are off doing something else.   The countdown is occurring even now.  Whether we are waiting for Him or not, someday God the Father will tell His Son, “Go, get My Children.”

Christ will stand up, and I can almost hear Him saying, “Ready or not, here I come!”

Are you ready?

Let’s Play Hide And Seek

My grandson loves to play hide and seek.  He’s two years old and doesn’t really understand the whole concept of staying hid.  He will go hide and then I will start saying something like, “Where’s Hudson?  I wonder where he can be?”  Of course, the whole time I already know where he hid.  He will reply, “I’m in here under the table!”  He won’t come out, mind you.  He will stay right where he is until I find him.  There are a lot of giggles and hugs when I stoop down to come face to face with him.  Then he will want to immediately play again and will go right back to the same place he hid before.  I guess he loves the game of hiding, as long as he knows for sure someone will find him.

I’m sure the day will come when he is older and he will hide, not letting anyone know his whereabouts.  He’ll really understand the idea behind the game and will be creative in the places he chooses.   We will really have to seek for him without his voice to lead us to himself.

I have to admit I enjoyed the game myself when I was younger.  I enjoy playing with Hudson as well, just because of seeing the enjoyment he gets from receiving my attention.

Did you know God enjoys playing hide and seek with us?  Life gets so busy that we often lose the joy of everyday living.  Many times it’s our quiet time with God that we omit from our schedule because of all the things we are involved in.  We all need to learn to make our time with God a priority, not something we do only after everything else has been handled.  We need to spend time one-on-one time with our Father.  It’s a time of refreshing and yes, enjoyment, to be in His presence and hear Him speaking and teaching from His Word.  David understood what it meant to seek to spend time with his God.  As we seek out time with Him, we receive His protection and all the blessings of a close relationship with Him.

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  Psalm 91:1

David went on to tell us God’s point of view of us searching Him out.  God promises as we call out for Him, He will answer.

15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. 16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.  Psalm 91:15-16

Just like Hudson craves the attention and wants to share an enjoyable time with me, we need to desire to spend time seeking the presence of God.  Sometimes as we go through certain things, it is us that calls out to God, seeking His comfort and help, just as Hudson will call out to me to let me know where he is so that I can easily find him.  At other times, it is God calling out to us, wanting to teach us His truth and to guide us to do His will.  When that happens, we need to be willing to answer Him and go straight toward the direction He is calling from and leading us to.

When Hudson gets older he will not let us know where he is hiding.  As we mature in Christ, we learn that it is just as important to seek time with Him and just be silent.  We ought to go into His presence not for the purpose of asking for something from Him, but just to listen to Him, to praise and worship Him simply for Who He is.

When I play with Hudson, I always know exactly where he is.  God also knows where we are all the time.  There is nothing hidden from Him.  We can be assured of the fact that He always will meet our needs exactly where we are.  Another Psalm I really like that speaks about this is Psalm 139.

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.

17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with You.

19 Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God!
Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men.
20 For they speak against You wickedly;
Your enemies take Your name in vain.
21 Do I not hate them, O Lord, who hate You?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
22 I hate them with perfect hatred;
I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.

 

So yes, God loves for us to hide in His presence, to seek after Him.  And He will seek us out as well.  On the negative side, sometimes we try to hide from Him when we have sin in our lives.  Those times are not enjoyable.  I remember when I was young and I played hide and seek, there were times when I hid too well.  No one could find me.  It wasn’t nearly as fun to sit and wait in my hiding place only to have no one come.  I eventually would reveal myself to find that the “seeker” had stopped seeking.  Although God will never “lose” us, He will allow us to do things on our own for a time until we realize that the joy and peace we long for can only be found in Him.  When we once again seek Him out, He is ready to allow us to hide under His wing.

I love spending time with my grandchildren and cherish the fact they desire my attention.  So many things I do with them remind me of the truths of having a relationship with God.  So take the time to hide and seek with God.  Hide in the shadow of the Almighty and seek time enjoying His presence.  God deserves the attention and we reap the blessing.

Cry Out

I have a granddaughter who will soon be 1 year old.  Of course, she is the most precious and sweetest child ever!  She likes being held and will lay her head on your shoulder and say, “Um, um.”  That’s her way of showing her love to the one holding her.  But she does not want to be held for long at a time.  She wants to be down and moving, exploring everything around her.  It’s fun to watch her amazement and interest in things that are new to her. 

Like most children her age, though, she also likes to put things in her mouth.  The other day she was outside and my husband and my son-in-law were watching her walk around.  There were some flowers next to a walkway and she squatted down next to them.  Then she picked up a small rock and proceeded to put it in her mouth.  My son-in-law immediately got the rock out of her mouth.  He popped her little bottom and told her she should not put rocks in her mouth.

She wasn’t happy with being corrected.  And it wasn’t even because of the little spanking, which was not hard enough to hurt.  It was being told, “No.”  She began to cry and then she called out for her beloved grandfather and said, “Paw Paw!” 

None of us like to be told that we have done something wrong.  When discipline comes, it’s not the “spanking,” but the voice of correction that hurts us.  It’s never pleasant to be told by our Heavenly Father, through the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, that we have sinned.  It brings hurt and shame to our hearts.  Yet it is necessary for our own good.  Just like my granddaughter must learn what is not right to do, we also must be corrected when we are out of the will of God.  We are told in Hebrews 12:11, “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” 

We have to be trained just like a child.  Just as a child should be taught the difference between right and wrong, we as children of God also have to be taught.  Just as a child learns from their parents when they spend time with them, we learn about God’s requirements for living a righteous life by spending time with Him in prayer and from reading His Word.  The older a child grows and the more they learn, they should be doing more right than wrong.  The longer we are Christians, the more time we spend following Him, the less we should be sinning. 

When my granddaughter was hurt, she cried out to her Paw Paw, knowing that she is loved by him. We can do the same.  When we cry out to our Father, the one who loves us above all others, He will pick us up and love on us.  We are assured that He will forgive us in 1 John 1:9 where it says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 

My granddaughter knew her Paw Paw would not fail her.  She has been around him enough already, even at 1 year old, that she knows with him she is loved and protected.  Again, this is like our relationship with God.  We can have the assurance that He is always there for us.  He never leaves us or forsakes us.  David said in the Psalms that his help was from the Lord.  “I will lift up my eyes to the hills— From whence comes my help?  My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2.  And because we are His, we can cry out to Him.  1 John 2:1, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”

Correction is never pleasant, but it is a necessary part of learning to walk a righteous life.  We have the assurance, though, that along with forgiveness, we are loved by our Father.  We also know that He will always hear our cry.  Galatians 4:6 says, “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’”  I’m sure my granddaughter will face additional discipline as she grows, just as we all will in our daily lives.  So when we are being corrected or when we are hurt, we just need to cry out to Him. 

Clap Your Hands!

I love talking about my grandchildren.  Every other grandparent I know is the same way.  We can stand and tell story after story of the things they do, laughing with joy at their sweet sayings and rambunctious antics.  The only difference between me and the way my grandparents bragged is that they would pull out their wallets to show pictures of their grandchildren, but I just pull out my phone!  Hundreds of pictures and videos to show to anyone who will look!

One thing I love about my two and a half year old grandson is the excitement he shows over everything.