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.


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,


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.


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.



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

Faith Dancing

Father, you know how I feel about dancing–how I don’t feel very coordinated and how I am terribly self-conscious, and yet You give me the picture of us, Your girls, dancing with You, together, and You continue to speak to me about my heart and how You see us all dancing. And last year, when I first heard You say it, Father, You know how much that pierced my heart in its beauty. But, girls, I also had so much trouble receiving it. The enemy is so quick to come and condemn, to strive to harden our hearts, to get us to reject the voice of the Father. Truly, the Father says things to our hearts that can seem too good to be true. But when we do receive His words, accept that they are true, we grab that hand of His and say, “yes, I trust You, let’s go”.

Girls, our Father loves to take the rug out from under us (in a good way!), and reveal to each of us things that we have kept hidden, even to ourselves — things we never knew were there but that we can recognize, when He brings them to light, are true. What joy He has in Him! What delight it must bring Him to see His children step away from the shadows and into His light! And, so, thus, the topic of dancing, girls. He got me last year, at the beginning of this blog — and today — with dancing.

When Jesus invites me into the garden with Him — into my heart united with Him — we are often dancing. He shows me beauty, and encourages me to go on adventures in the garden with Him, amidst the beauty of sweet flowers, of green grass that tickles my legs, of sweeping mountain ranges that go beyond the scope of my vision, of blue waterfalls that crash majestically to the pools below. Everything glorifies His Name. And I am there, with Him — sometimes walking, occasionally running, once rafting down the waterfalls and once swinging from trees, but, quite often, and this had always perplexed me: dancing.

Girls, I am not a dancer. In public, I am often too self-conscious to let the music inspire my body to move gracefully, with any decent coordination. Two years ago, when my youngest brother got married, my husband dedicated a song to me (a fast one) and it was so difficult for me to go out to the middle of the dance floor in front of everyone. I love music, and I do enjoy dancing (usually with my 5 year old daughter at home!), but when it comes to dancing in public, I am often filled with anxiety. So, when I find myself with the opportunity to dance with Jesus, in this garden of my heart, I am actually a bit stunned by the whole idea. In my insecurity around dancing, even with Jesus, I am hoping I am doing it right. Even though I know He loves me and just loves my being with Him, I still feel like my dancing is not beautiful enough. If I am going to dance with Jesus, I want to be good at it. I want to be graceful and lovely and comfortable with the whole experience. I want Him to want to keep dancing with me.

Do you see the problem?  In His love, the Father leads me to Psalm 51, beginning with verse 7:

Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;

Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Make me to hear joy and gladness,

Let the bones which You have broken rejoice.

Hide Your face from my sins

And blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,

And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not cast me away from Your presence

And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation

And sustain me with a willing spirit.

Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,

And sinners will be converted to You.

Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation;

Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness.

O Lord, open my lips,

That my mouth may declare Your praise.

For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it;

You are not pleased with burnt offering.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;

A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

By Your favor do good to Zion;

Build the walls of Jerusalem.

Then You will delight in righteous sacrifices,

In burnt offering and whole burnt offering;

Then young bulls will be offered on Your altar.

I let His truth wash over me, penetrate my heart. He then points me to the same verses in The Message.

7-15 Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean,

scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.

Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,

set these once-broken bones to dancing.

Don’t look too close for blemishes,

give me a clean bill of health.

God, make a fresh start in me,

shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.

16-17 Going through the motions doesn’t please you,

a flawless performance is nothing to you.

I learned God-worship

when my pride was shattered.

Heart-shattered lives ready for love

don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.

18-19 Make Zion the place you delight in,

repair Jerusalem’s broken-down walls.

Then you’ll get real worship from us,

acts of worship small and large,

Including all the bulls

they can heave onto your altar!

And then, after reading these words, I asked Him to point out my transgressions, to cleanse my heart so it is united with Him. And this is what He says:

My daughter, I do not forsake you. Believe Me. You need to believe Me. In heaven you will dance. Your heart dances with Me now. When you say ‘yes’ to My invitation, My arms around you, holding your heart, the music of My love flows in you, and the dance begins. This is not a mistake, My love.

Your words penetrate me, Father. I repent of my wilfull, self-focused heart. Thank you for coming for me again, for always coming, for inviting me to dance.

Girls, a dance requires intimacy, a giving up of ourselves, an awareness of our space, our existence in a place, our role with our partner. There is touch and there is trust. There is risk and letting go and seeking beauty and giving over. When we follow the lead dancer, our partner, the dance is beautiful. In this dance we are not alone. With Him, our heart is always dancing. Most importantly, and for this truth I am so grateful, there is no other dance.

How are you being invited to dance, as you look ahead, anticipating what He has for you, this coming year?

I returned to this post this morning, revising it after first writing it last year, November 3, before You Are My Girls was off the ground.  Today, we are invited to dance with Him together. What will it look like?  How will it feel?  Where will it be?

So grateful for you here, reading this now, fellow dancer,


Advent is an invitation to dance

As Christmas approaches, there is much talk of Advent. Advent means “coming,” and it is the season the Christian church marks to wait, in expectation, for Jesus. For thousands of years the Jews waited for Him, and currently, now that He has come, we celebrate His having come while awaiting His return. His coming gives life, gives hope and joy and gratefulness for His living in us –- and excitement in anticipation of seeing Him face to face someday.  And it is in this face-to-face encounter that we must remember Christ’s posture of humbleness when He came.

We are familiar with the story of the humble surroundings described in “Away in the Manger”. We are familiar with the wooden statues of nativity scenes displayed on mantles and tables during this time of year. What would it be like to let the Father show us our posture if we were part of the real nativity scene, this moment?  How do you picture yourself at the King of King’s humble introduction to the world?  Imagine yourself there, fully present to the sounds and smells and sights of a teenage girl and tradesman caring for a swaddled infant in a feeding trough.

Are you standing?  Are you sitting, kneeling?  Are you speaking?  Where are you, in the stable?  Do you position yourself in the dark corner?  Are you hanging out with the sheep?  Can you make out the baby’s cries above the rustling movement of the animals?  Can you feel your beating heart?

When I consider this, it is so easy for me to find myself lurking in the shadows, intimidated, overwhelmed, scared.  I am unworthy, this girl who tries so hard to have it all together and often fights to not have to surrender; and, in my unworthiness, how can I even look on Him?   I consider the human baby, God come down, in a smelly animal enclosure, and I can hardly take it in.  (Look at Him.  Look at His posture of complete surrender. What is mine, as I say, in this season of Advent, I come to worship the King of Kings?)

One of the dangers of me entering in to what Christ brings — keeps me standing there, looking in, observing Jesus from afar — is my romanticizing who Jesus really was, how He really came, how He really lived.  Striving to be worthy of worshiping our God who chose to come down to earth, become human, let a tradesman guide His head out of a human’s womb, have the smell of work animals and the hard ground of a rough stable be the stage for His arrival on earth, can be too beautiful, too powerfully humbling for me to want to feel like Jesus would want to be by my side.  I forget that angels from heaven came to shepherds in the night, not to earthly kings on a throne, inviting them to rejoice in the coming of Light to the world.

How do I rejoice?  How do I worship? What is my posture of celebration when the King invites me in?

Father, You teach me that Your rescue mission for Your children came through Your Son epitomizing humbleness –- showing, through His sacrifice as a human, that it is possible to live a life of Light, of love, of freedom, of joy. Christ, fully human, fully God, was on earth showing us what it is like for a human to depend fully on You. And I stay at the periphery of the stable, unable to worship Him, move toward Him — with Him — unless I humble myself too.

In John 17, as the day of the cross draws near, He prays to His Father, on behalf of us, on behalf of His disciples. It is here that I am reminded of the Son’s complete dependence on the Father. He did nothing without Him, and this is the truth of it all: this is what makes Christ God’ son, what makes this baby, our Savior, worth more than all our praise, worth more than all our worship. It is in His glorious humbleness, the beauty of His complete surrendering to and trust in His Father that we can throw down all of our hopes of ever feeling more put together, more worthy, more invited in to be present with Him, than we do now.

Where we are invited in to worship the King who came, as we wait again for His coming again, we remember how Jesus turns all the expectations of this world upside down.  This no static nativity scene.   As we remember how Christ came we celebrate His life in us now, His joy in us now.  He pulls us out of those dark corners where we live regretting all of our past mistakes and feel the weight of our unworthiness to come close.  Yes, we are unworthy.  Yes, we have messed up and have fallen short of the glory of God. And that is why He came;  that is why He came like He did. And isn’t that perfect, really, how we need Him so?

 Press on, My daughter, enter in. You can do this, for I am in you, too. I was in My Son, and My Son came for you. My Son comes for you, dying for your life. I have chosen you, too. I live in you, too.

Move in it, child.

Don’t stand at the periphery, child. You are in this scene, too. This is your worship. This is how you move in. This is how you move with Me. You are not an observer to Life. You are in this, too. I came for you, child. Dance with Me, now. Celebrate the birth of Life with me. That is your life.

Girls, we are invited to dance with Jesus around the stable, kicking up dust, and rousing the animals from sleep. We are invited to worship through surrendering, becoming humble, like Him, and joining in on this celebration of waiting on His next coming, the next Advent,with Him, holding our hand, hearing the music and helping us match His stride.

What do you think?  Shall we kick up some dust and join in?



Shouting Hallelujah All the While

We sit around the circle, music lifting me close, and I hear His voice whispering, deep into this heart that clenches in, this heart that can still disbelieve that Words would even want to enter:  What do you most want Me to say?  Where are you willing to follow Me?

And I know the answer to the first, for it is always the same.  And I am tired of it being the same:  I want to believe I am captivating, that I am desirable, that I am wanted, by You.  But the answer to the second is an invitation to believing — truly believing — that He already answers the first.  I am captivating.  I am desirable.  I am wanted.  Following Him means believing this heart of mine is not so flawed that I can’t hear Him — that with the crafting of me, with His two hands, He had a purpose in mind (Isaiah 64:8, Ephesians 2:10).   Me — this heart, with all its vulnerabilities and flaws — is beautiful to Him for He redeems it all.

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws (Ezekial 36: 25-27).

Every choice towards Him, no matter what other poor choices I have made years and moments before, is far from a mistake. I loosen my grip on mistakes, poor choices, whispers that pull me away from truth.  And I knock again, on the chest of this Savior who does not tire or turn away.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened (Matthew 7: 7-8).

For, like always, like always, He flings open that door.

An answer from Him comes in the night, a message on the screen of my phone that invites me in to more of Him, more truth, more healing, more beauty.  I want it.  I want to be lifted from self-condemnation.  I want to sing.

My friend writes how –in our vulnerability and trusting Him — our hearts, our words can’t help but lead others towards God.  If I follow Him, I will hear what my heart most desires Him to say.  My following Him, my taking His yoke upon me, my partnering with Him means I trust that I am worth partnering with.  And it would be good for me, she thought, to write down those fingerprints of God in the details of my life.  Shouting Hallelujah all the while.

She calls me out, beckoning me to rise, with Him, to not cower in darkness and heed the whispers that make me focus on my own short-comings rather than rejoice.

I will rejoice.

I wil see the light falling through the shutters, on my hands, as I stir the banana bread my mom taught me how to make.

I will gaze into the eyes of my son and see him.  I will see him, and I will hold him and tell him what I see in him, how I am delighted in how he is formed, how the Father created each piece of his heart.

I will head out of this house and visit friends whom I have known for years but from whom I can find myself tempted to hide.

I will grab this hand that reaches out to me to walk with Him, by our river, our waterfall, our wild garden where water rushes and flowers stretch and His hand never loosens its grasp.

I will hold onto this hand and I will heed His voice in my heart, this heart in which He delights, for which He has good plans.

I will enter in to this heaven here, this reality of life with Him here.  And I will worship with my  life.  I will give Him glory for what He has done in my life.

For yes, friend, His fingerprints on our lives are what make the angels shout with joy for what He has done.  Together, let’s shout Hallelujah all the while.

Sweet friends, this post was a battleground for me today {a battle for my heart that He won}.  Where is your heart struggling?  How does He long to grab your hand?  How can you choose Him and shout with praise for what He has done?  

Joy to Claim

My daughter twirls, her blue petticoat skirt lifting as she turns.  She hears music in her head and doesn’t hesitate from dancing.   She believes she is beautiful, knows I like to watch her.  She asks why I am laughing.  “You make my heart happy,” I tell her.

And she does.

Last night I take that blue skirt out of the wash, notice a small tear under one of the ruffled seams where something punctured the cloth.  I hang it to dry and remember not to wait for joy to grip me.  Always offered, this moment.  Joy.

A new discovery in this mother’s heart as I hang this piece of delight.  Joy — did I believe I had outgrown it?  How often I find myself wistful, wishing it were mine.  And there it is, all packaged up, a gift for me to unwrap and claim as mine.

Joy is not just for little girls in twirly skirts who reach to heaven and sing.

This joy is for hearts who have suffered and still believe, for hearts who have chosen to keep seeking, despite regrets.  It is for hearts who look forward, expectant for the glory of the future and thankful to celebrate this moment of now.

I am joyful when I am here, present in the gift.  I am joyful when I know I am loved, known, cherished.  I am joyful when I remember I am His joy, chosen, redeemed.

His joy resurrected me from the dust.  From that day in the orchard when I made that decision to end a life and believed, for twenty years, my life had ended, too, He lifted me and offered joy.

A gift I don’t deserve.  But because I am loved, brought from death to life,  I can’t reject it.  To be resurrected from that night of death I must accept life.  Life brings joy.   It is impossible to have one without the other.

And so I ask for His help to pick this joy up.  Help me to dust it off.  This gift I must claim precisely because it is what I don’t deserve.

You repair this torn cloth, Father, and You invite me to see You.  I will let You fill me and I will wear Your joy.  It is for us — for Your  girls whose hearts are heavy.  You lift us up, out of the dust, showing us how we make Your heart happy, too — Your laughter filling us as we dance, lifting and twirling in the sun.

Discipleship Dancing

My daughter, what is it you seek?  Why do you doubt I am with you?  Why do you continue to think you don’t measure up, that your doing will bring you in closer relationship with me?  I reach for you, I am present with you, I adore you.  You are special in My eyes.  You read that the disciples chosen were not the best-of-the-best — that they were not the “A-team” — that they were less qualified.  But what does it take to follow Me?  What does it take to have a heart that is soft, open, willing to lay down oneself, believing you are not more worthy than another to come after Me? Yes, you are chosen, yes, you are imperfect, yes, you rise with Me, if you are humble and are willing to hold onto my hand.  Come.

You remember the image of us dancing, the offer I give you to let Me lead.  I know you don’t feel comfortable dancing, at least not where any eyes can see.  I know this image, of the two of us, together, My arms around you, is one that requires you to trust Me.  It is difficult to imagine, but it is true that it is you that I want. I have chosen you to be My partner.

Your following Me, as a disciple, is not the following of  Me in a straight line.  You often cannot see where it is I take you, where you will spin, and the music speed will increase — and when the music slows, the volume softens.  But with the dance, the adventure, it is all a response to the music that plays with the two of us together. I have special music for you, a life of beauty where you might not see around the next turn.  You may notice how, together, on the dance floor, it is about the two of us; but it is also about everyone else, too.  My invitation is open.  I  hold you, and you can join the dance where I go, to dance where the music takes us.  The Spirit leads, and I follow.  He is in you now, sweeping you with Me, so your feet don’t even touch the floor.

Go where I go, child.  My princess, My daughter.  Yes, you are the daughter of a King.  You are given everything you need to heed the music within you that allows us to dance. The Spirit has been given.  Ask for Him to awaken you again —  to help you stay awake and alert, to follow My steps with grace, and energy, hope, and joy.  I bring peace in the dance, daughter.  There is adventure in the unknown; but if it weren’t for that there would be no dance together.   The music wouldn’t play.  Trust that it is playing now, in your heart, for you to heed, to respond to with this full heart I have given you.  You and Me dancing to the Spirit’s music, the most beautiful sight I see.

Would you like to join me at the You Are My Girls Community Facebook page?  Just hit “like”, and there you go!  I would love to see you over there!


Choices to Go, to Stay

She feels trapped, thinking nobody sees

walls press in, this place where she has chosen

to stay.

Delightful one, I see you, He calls.

Wanting her to hear it deep in her heart,

but the heart is clouded with self-doubt, self-preoccupation,


Christ and His Father, in the waiting, never

just stay.

Grab hold of My hand, daughter, My flower.

The waters by the sea press close, and I delight to carry you.

Sometimes I let them come nip at your heels

and it is My job to see you choose Me

to help you to stand.

My heart longs for you.

You are mine, and I long to remind you of that.

I live to remind you of that,

treasured one.

Not only can My face not turn away from you, but my hand cannot

help but reach for you,

your closeness warming Me as the light of the Father shines within us.

One Spirit, you and I, when my Father sent me,

when I willingly came.

It was for you.

No mistake.

It was for you.

You are My lovely one, the one that makes Me catch My breath,

the one to whom I offer choice to reach for Me,

and I stay, waiting,

waiting for you to choose.

Sweet girl, holy woman, daughter of God, My sister and

My friend

come close.

Your breath warm on My face,

your shoulder pressing close to Me as we

walk, hand in hand.

I wonder what is around the corner?

I wonder where we should go?

The light shines on the path where we walk, our feet sure, the way straight,

despite bumps and turns and the map unclearly written

so it is hard for you to read.

My Father reads it.  I read it.  I decipher it for you.

I know where we are going.

So, please, stay close, trust that I have good plans for you,

that the journey we set out on together will be a journey where

I never leave your side.

Daughter!  Let’s go!  I can’t wait!  So much in store!  Hold My hand. 

I’ve got you.

I never leave your side.

The Story We Tell

Yesterday I was invited to participate as the prince in the “dinner-feast  with the prince and princess”, a play performed to the audience of stuffed horses, unicorns, and puppies.  My daughter, five-years old, dressed me in a crown and asked me to bow to her, the princess, and we danced in the light of late morning, ducking behind the rocking chair in the corner when it was time to exit the stage.

And I enter this world, where magic lives, the hand of a child grasping mine, dropping the other roles that consume me so easily and becoming, instead, the pursuer of the princess, the dancer who joins his beloved at the ball.

Music of the apple-blossom fairy swells and my daughter twirls and knows she is beautiful, my delight.  I know that watching her, seeing her, participating with her, in the dance, when she asks, is how I am most needed now.  The other to-dos, pressing, must wait.   This moment, entering in, slows the hurry of the things less of the heart.  Oh, but, sadly — and this shows the truth of my struggle– it is so hard for me to stay.   The pressure of what I think needs to get done this day makes me flee too soon.   And the music of my heart stops as I let my agenda, not my Father’s, dictate what I do.  Jesus, forgive me:  let me say ‘yes’ to this dance You offer with You.

So many moments I squeeze short, opportunities to stay with Him, heeding His voice, trusting His pace.  My daughter, asking me to stay, to keep dancing, sees my pace and asks me to slow.  Dancing is a response of the body to the heart. “Look, mommy, I am telling a story without talking.”  (Oh, beautiful, I see!)  And I watch and see what she means.

What story do I tell her, in my running from moment to moment, addressing the present in a flurry of activity with the eye of my heart on the next?  I voice whispers, “Stay, heed the music being offered”.  Do I stop often enough to hear the music playing in my heart?  Am I heeding the music He brings?

The music of the heart–the dance He invites me to dance with Him– might be full of twists and turns, fancy footwork, and complicated rhythm.   But maybe not.   Maybe it’s a slow dance, a lullaby, a nursery rhyme, the soft beating of a heart. Whatever music He sings promises a story of beauty and hope, of redemption and joy. Open my heart, Father.  I want to hear it.

My dance of this life tells a story.  I can participate with Him, or away, and my heart with Him, in response to His music in me is the story where I am fulfilled, present, soaking up the words He gives, not critical of the beginning, anxious for the end.   And this is the story I want to present to the Father, the story of the heart that gives His life to others, the story I want my daughter to read.

Hearts Together Take Flight

“Behold, I am making all things new ”  Revelation 21:5

Hearts Together Take FlightThe light dances off the flowers in the back yard.

Spring is coming, Father.  Let it enter me.   The birds are giddy, flitting back and forth across the grass, and I want to join in.  You invite me here, in this place, to stay with You.  My little guy is home sick with me, and as much as I hate him feeling down, I love this chance to be with him, have him all to myself.

Do you feel that way about me, Father?  Wanting me all to Yourself?

We spend the morning building legos, searching for a way to make all the small pieces fit together.  And I love that, searching for the coming together of things–working, playing alongside my son.  We listen to music–we know the same songs–and as we build next to the windows, light streaming in, we look outside, celebrating the freedom of the birds, their dance that invites us to Joy from us just watching.  We need both, Father–and we see both:  Your arms around us as we dance with this Joy, the coming together of our hearts with Yours, the freedom that comes from Your protection, Your guidance, Your song that gives us wings.

You show where Life is.  I am grateful.