There is...a time to mourn, and a time to dance...(Ecclesiastics 3:4)
How I loved to dance in my single drinking days. Back in my wild youth, I thought I was a real “dancing queen!” Yes, sir, I danced myself right into trouble many times in the arms of a stranger. And I kept “dancing” in and out of relationships for years. I carried a lot of shame about those years.
Even before I became a Christian, I quit drinking and tried to become a “good girl”. I thought it might be too tempting to go out dancing, so I had abstained for years. When I became a Christian five years ago (a 56 year old grandmother), God had plans to restore things to me I never would have imagined. First, He filled me with a presence and a joy that I had never known in my life. But He wanted more for me.
I loved to express my gratitude to Him by singing along with Christian radio. Cleaning house one day, with that sweet Christian music playing in the background, I felt that Jesus was inviting me to dance! It took my breath away to imagine leaning so close to my Savior. Waltzing around my living room with Jesus was one of the most intimate experiences of my life. Tears of awe slid down my cheeks; I had never felt so worthy and forgiven from my past. I had simply never felt so wanted and loved.
Often after that, in the privacy of my home, I would dance around praising Jesus, but never once did it cross my mind that I would dance in a church sanctuary in front of other people! I knew without a doubt that Jesus saw me as beautiful in His sight, but I was still inhibited to show these feelings and move my body in front of others.
But then, I heard about this class called “Dance to the Lord” and it excited me to think that I could express my feelings to Jesus in this expressive, worsphipful way. So here I was, getting ready to dance with 30 other people!
The instructor led us into the softly lit sanctuary where music was playing. He told us that dancing pleases and ministers to God. “Close your eyes and let the music move you,” he said.
Though I felt nervous and self conscious, I listened to the words of the song and they were words of love to the Father. I just looked at Jesus and starting saying those words to Him and I felt Him inviting me to dance again. I said yes!
I began to move slowly towards Him. The instructor said: “Show your love for God”. I was suddenly energized! I was dancing for His eyes only. It was thrilling! I twirled, I lept, I dipped, I swayed. God loved watching me! You would have to see me to really appreciate this; I am not a graceful skinny woman! But self consciousness was gone, I was only conscious of the Father's pleasure. I never once thought about my weight or what I was wearing; I was clothed with joy! I was beautiful to God. Dancing had replaced my mourning! I was transported to another dimension! I was filled to overflowing with the love I had searched for all my life. God was there! What a day of sweet liberation! I was uninhibited and unashamed. I could have danced in front of anyone because I was looking at Jesus. I thanked God and praised Him for this freedom. I expressed my love freely to Him, “You are my Father, my Husband, my Life, my Center! O how I love you! I am Your bride.” When Jesus saved me, He not only restored the years that were lost, He made me into the woman I always wanted to be. Thank You, Jesus, for making me Your own.
You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever. Psalms 30:11-12