When Your Whole Self Sees

Alaska Kennicott

For B.

conversation 17

[M]y Lord, I wish my words could write out the vision I see. For I see you. And I feel you close.

Your arm wrapped around my back, the touch of your palm behind me. Your other hand wrapped around mine. I recognize you, while we dance.

I know what it means to have you look at me. You draw me deeper, where it is just us two. It is the place where I am myself. It is the place where I am free.

I might seem beautiful here. But it is only the reflection of you. You, my Lord, overwhelm me. How can I be in your presence and be able, still, to stand?

I fall on my knees, my head bowed, knees trembling. I can’t raise my eyes. But I see you, in my heart. I know your eyes, though I am afraid to look at you, straight on.

But I must.

Your fingers are under my chin now, and you tilt my chin upwards until I can see you. And you are bent so low, leaning down over me.

Why do you bend so low, my Lord? How do you do it? How can I remain here with you? For you are so amazing, so fearful and mighty. Yet you are gentle in your fierce love for me. You are tender in your steadfast pursuit of me. You are not reckless but careful and wise in your determination to stay here, in this place of love, with me.

Oh, my Lord, how do you stay? How do I stay? Can you continue to teach me who I am and who you are and how to keep within me where you are?


[C]lose your eyes now , my child. Can you hear it? Can you see it ? I know you do. You are surrounded by love. You are surrounded by beauty. You are surrounded by joy. You are surrounded by voices raised in singing. It is time to worship, my love.

Stand tall now. Raise your hands. Lift your voice, your whole soul singing out. You can’t help but do it. You are made to sing. You are made to dance. You are made to be, completely, with me.

In this place where I am there is no separation between us. And my presence may overwhelm, yes. But it is what restores you, heals you, fills you so love overflows from your whole self. You are whole here. You are complete here. You raise your voice and shout out loud the truth of hope that you can’t keep to yourself anymore.  You can’t help but worship and respond to me with your full heart.

Your complete self.

Your whole self.

Stay here? You can’t not stay here with me.

And when you stay, you worship. And when you worship, you see.


[S]ong to Listen to: “Heaven,” Daniel Bashta, featuring Mac Powell


[T]his is day 17 of Voice: 31 Conversations: Click the image below to find out more.  Subscribe to follow along each day.

VOICE a journey towards life (1)

When You’re in the Middle of it All and You Just Have to Dance

Abby & Jennifer hiking

There’s a project I’m working on, and I’m excited to tell you about it soon. But that’s not why I’m writing here. That’s not what I’m eager to tell you right now.

You see, in the middle of my typing, in the middle of working on the project, a song played through my computer speakers–music that made my fingers freeze over the keys.

It happens to be a song written a couple of years ago to play in the credits of a movie about, well, vampires.

Teenager vampires.

In love.

But vampires or not, this song is just romantic, just beautiful, and I have to keep it on repeat now, because this is what happens sometimes, when music grabs my heart and I have to pause.

(I know this happens to you, too.)

Now, I’ve told you about this before. I’ve told you before how I sometimes just need to stop what I’m doing–even if I’m in the middle of something that feels kind of important–and dance with Jesus.

I’ve also told you before this important fact: I’m not a dancer. Well, at least, I’m not the one at parties who feels comfortable being the center of attention. So, you know, at weddings, when everyone gathers in the middle and celebrates on the tiny dance floor? I do it . . . but I have to almost close my eyes to have fun.

So I do that, too, with Jesus. I close my eyes, and, in my head, I’m dancing. It’s just the two of us, in the garden. (I’m trying to get comfortable in calling this place my garden, or, better yet, our garden, as it’s where Jesus and I are almost always together.)

No matter what adventure Jesus is calling us to with Him–wherever you are with Him is the place of freedom, the place of movement, the place of beauty, the place where your heart knows where and who she is.

So, what else can you do?

You just have to dance.

And you are going to do it differently than anyone–anyone–else.

And you’re going to be amazing at it.

And that’s why I had to pause that thing I was working on . . . the thing I get to tell you about in a month or so . . . and tell you how good it is, how necessary it is to stop whatever you’re doing sometimes and listen to that music He wants you to hear. (And it might not be the music playing through any computer speakers, or even, music heard audibly at all.) The music that is most important to hear–the music to heed above all other noise going around you, is that music He’s playing, right now, to your heart.

Jesus is music within you, my sister. He is playing it in you and for you. He is orchestrating the whole darn thing, and He is reaching out His hands, His arms stretched out wide. For you. Oh, wow, because He loves you. He loves you so much.

You’ve just got to listen to that music.

It’s just for you, you know.

YOU HAVE TO DANCE PIN

And when you do . . . when you stop and you ask Him to play the music for you . . .and you close your eyes and you see yourself dance with Jesus. . . where are you? Wouldn’t it be fun if we shared with one another what the place looks like, or how we feel, or what we are doing, when we dance? You can read more about my heart for dancing–and Jesus’ invitation to you to dance with Him–here.

And one more thing: do you know that I love to invite sisters to come alongside me and listen for Jesus together? Do you know I’d come to you, come into your house or some other place where we can get cozy and be quiet and share together, and facilitate a retreat with you and your friends? You can find more about that here.

Wouldn’t it be amazing and wonderful to see each other, in person? (I’d so love that.)

Until then, get on with that dancing.

Love to you, my beautiful dancing, sisters,

Jennifersignaturescript

how much do you want it?

First words, this new year. Time bending in, her hand outstretched. I hear her, see her wooing, come on now, look ahead and stay right here, both. This day. This moment. And everything in me wants to stay.

This new year.

I am up in the mountains with my family, we five, and my sister and her husband and their beautiful duo of daughters. There is no snow, but blue sky. And we gather up in a rented house with yellow paint facade and a Christmas tree lit bright and happy on the porch outside. When I go for a run on New Year’s Day, my husband partnering with me, on his mountain bike, I am grateful for crisp air in stale lungs. I don’t know what’s ahead, but I see a trail now, a path for these feet to travel. And I wonder how much God loves determination married with faith to go forward, running fast and hard and humbly, into what He has.

do you want it? window

do you want it? -mountain road

do you want it? railroad

I write out the words for Loop a few days earlier, “How to Get Through a Day.” And I love the title, the practicality it suggests. I so often want an itinerary, a good plan, with God’s stamp of approval, for my day, let alone my year.  It isn’t quite what He offers, in the whispers that come next. But He talks about the value of rhythm in a day, the sway of a girl and her father to music they create when they are in sync, when they dance, when the daughter notices the Father’s lead and bends to follow His next steps for her.

This new year.

He loves to grasp the hands of His daughter and gently lead her forward. He leads her forward into their dance of no distractions and total focus and beautiful adventure and good things He has designed just for her. How much does she want it? How much does she want to dance with Him, trust Him, move into this new year with full-on, abandoned, desire? Does she desire her God? Does she desire all that He has for her this new year?

Your hands fit perfectly here, the way your fingers curve around mine. Your arms fit perfectly here, the way they reach up and out, bent and strong. Your feet know the steps I teach you. Keep stepping out, ready for pauses, alert and ready for subtle changes in pace, in movement. I love how you do this, daughter. This is a dance all our own.

This new year. This day. This moment. A dance–with His daughter. A dance with me, a dance with you. A dance only we, in our own  unique way, can participate in, with our Father, the one who calls us home. 

How much do we want it? How much do we trust?

This new year.

Shall we dance, friends?

when you’re invited to dance

She feels it rising again, that part of her that believes she needs to prove her worth. Funny how the word of God, His whispers in her heart, as she prays, can get so easily twisted and confused, when she lets them.

She hears:

My eyes are on you, and your eyes are made to be on what you love. And I can show you how to love Me more. What you are made to love, with Me, will be blessed by the fullness of my love. All this will be done through the unique way you see, with the unique way your eyes are on Me.”

And she can easily ignore the blessing–the reminder of His love for her, that she is enough and has been gifted with unique talents and strengths. It is easier, more comfortable, to look at what she needs to do: “love Me more” . . . “I can show you how.” Rather than listening to the words pouring out, again and again, reminding her of who she already is.

She doesn’t need to be more to love well.

She is already made to love well.

sheisseenwatermark

She, already, is a blessing walking around. She is made, and she can’t help but bless, when she lives knowing she is loved, when she lives with the freedom of knowing this truth: she doesn’t have to earn it.

She reads the words again:

“Daughter, I love your gifts. I love what you are equipped to do. I love how you are made and the way you see. You are needed for the way you see.

The way you love is unique to everyone else. You are needed to reach out, for I give you eyes to see things no one else will notice. Your heart beats fast, its own rhythm. And I love how it is made to beat in alignment with Me.”

Her Father speaks of sight, of seeing. And it is beyond vision, she thinks. It is a knowing, a response to knowing. It is recognizing the heartbeat of her Father within her. It is looking inward, into the truth of her, as a creation of Christ, and living and loving outwardly, only by knowing, inwardly, that she is loved.

Love is what equips her to love, to move with grace, to know the steps she will take this day.

And this is what her Father describes as dance:

“The way you move, with Me, is a pace that feels like dance. You move with beauty and with grace and with light that cannot be contained. It is made to be seen. You are made to be seen by Me, and I see you, and I delight in you, and I love how you do it.”

She is her Father’s daughter, woman all grown up, still His little girl, dancing with beauty and grace and light. She moves with confidence when she knows she is not alone, when she remembers each movement is taken in by her Father’s loving gaze.

She is not alone. She is seen.

This day, this moment, each step she takes, even when it feels like she has no idea what she is doing, what steps to take next, when stumbling feels more familiar than grace and beauty and light . . .  She can choose to claim the vision He casts for her, His vision of her that is truer than the one she has of herself.

He will show her how to see, how to see what He sees. He will show her how to trust His eyes, His heart, so that she can trust her own.

And then she dances.

She dances, a unique way to move and see and love unlike anyone else’s dance. And the Father loves how she dances. And He doesn’t want her to dance any other way. For the steps she takes when she hears the music He places within her, her response to His whispers of love to her, are what fuel her love. Her response is to the rhythm of two hearts beating, as she takes one step, and then another, this day. She is not alone when she dances, for she is with Him.

“You love what you are made to love when you keep your eyes on Me. For then you see what you are made to see, your dance steps in sync with Me. You turn and dip and bend and twirl, and we keep step together. There is music, now, when we dance, to bless the ones you see.”

She is loved, so she can learn how to love. She knows what to love, as her dance steps are locked with His. She is gifted with a way to love people unlike anyone else. So her dance is unlike anyone else’s. Her music, her heartbeat with His, unlike anyone else’s.

And her dance is needed. Her beauty and grace and light, His heart in hers, do more than fill a room.

They bring rescue. They bring invitation to hope. They bring a new rhythm of living and moving–and all who notice can’t help but want to join in.

Do you believe you are invited to dance? Do you believe your dance, with God, is beautiful? What does your dance, with Him, look like right now?

This post was inspired by Loop: “The Way You Dance”. Subscribe to Loop to get encouragement, just for you, delivered to your inbox twice a week.

Want to hear a little bit about what I shared, on Restoration, at the Soli Deo Gloria Retreat, last weekend? Click here.

Lonely

Lonely

I know this place, the place where you believe you aren’t seen and you forget there is a place all your own, hidden among the rushes, the tall greens bent, swaying back as you pass. It is both familiar and new, and longing for home quickens the pace, lets the hands open up a bit more, fingers spread so they would fly, like this.

If only you could fly. 

But you can walk. You can walk home, to the place where the whole land bursts with energy, the soil singing, rocks crying out. Yes, yes, you know how to get here. The water in the river sparkles blue and the fish jump out, singing, too. The earth is awake, the animals leaping and running and you can hardly realize you are here. Here, where you are part of the canvas, the song, the creation, all folded in and exploding and it’s where you know to stay now.

No matter the doubts about being good enough, worthy enough, beautiful enough, interesting enough.

Called home, you are alive and singing and surging and busting forth.

You are busting forth.

And lonely? Well, lonely. . . there just isn’t a name for that anymore.

I’ve been missing my Five-Minute-Friday community. So thankful for these 5-minute writes and the writers who courageously venture out, exploring a single word. Head on over to Lisa-Jo’s to hear her beautiful words and countless others, on the prompt: Lonely.

Yes, I will dance


Father, train my mind to hear You.

Help me give You these thoughts of mine that feel heavy — that want to reject Your truth and live out the lies that feel more real sometimes.  Because this stay-at-home mom can feel like she’s on a noisy treadmill most days.

And in the quiet, where You still me, where You remind me of Your invitation to . . . dance. . .

Oh, Father, there You go again, surprising me, always, with Your invitation to dance.  And I feel so awkward and bumbling.  But You tell me I am graceful.  And I am.  With You I am.

I claim that truth, then — that I am graceful and beautiful and desirable and worthy and lovable and  . . . that I have a voice {and that can be the hardest and most necessary truth, somehow, for me to claim}.  For I am — all these things — with You.

And I believe these truths, Father,  I do.  Right now, as my fingers press hard onto the keys, I do.  But it is hard to stay here, Jesus: To hold these lies captive that tell me the opposite even while I lean in, listening, desperate for You.

 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

I know You are here, Jesus, so what are you saying?

Sarabeth, friend, {His hand on my shoulder, His chair pulled up next to mine as I type, throat aching the way it always does when the tears pour and I realize His closeness, His wanting to be right. next. to me.}

You don’t need words.  You need a friend.  And I am your friend.  I am your buddy,. You ask your boys to remember that they are buddies, despite how much they want to fight and argue.  And you forget that I am your buddy, too.  I go where you go.  I want to be with you.  

I want to be with you.  

Your choices don’t determine how much I love you.  Your worth is not measured by invitations and comments and phone calls.  And it is okay to say no to the world’s callings, the world’s measurement of success.  For I have a calling for you, dear one.  I call you.  I see you.   I want to be with you.  I give you eyes.  And a heart.  I give you compassion. And time.  I give you energy.  And rest.  

Life with Me is fluid.  Thre is no stagnant water here.  I flow through you.  I am next to you.  I am in you.  Can you see Me?  You carry Me in you.

{Deep breath.}  This life is not tied up with a bow.  And this post isn’t going to be either.

But the aching has stopped now, girls, like it always does, when I choose to believe.

When I choose truth and claim it {because He will help me believe the truth is true, even for me}.

When I choose to see Him.

When I ignore the stumbles of my heart that make me feel like I am — in the language my eight-year-old son likes to use when describing something that is all messed up — an “epic fail”.

I am not anywhere close to an “epic fail”.

No. Not at all.

And you aren’t either.

After all, He has invited us — you and me, friend, {can you believe it? . . say ‘yes’!} to dance.

 

Love linking up with other dancers in their personal dancing homes:


Life In Bloom