This week we learned that our worship pastor will be moving to a new church. I have to admit that I was in shock as I sat and listened to the announcement, but I won’t go into all my thoughts or feelings regarding the loss of his family to our church, and specifically, to me. I consider multiple people in that family close friends and I’m not pleased to have to say goodbye to them! (And my oldest son calls their youngest son his best friend. He was troubled to hear the news, too!)
However, I do long to dance! The dance ministry had a big year last year, especially at Easter when we did four (five, sort of) dances! So at our worship pastor’s recommendation and the request of some dancers, we took the summer off. At the time I said that I felt like I was packing up part of myself in a box. As August rolled around, I started thinking and talking to the dancers about resuming. We were losing some dancers and the few who remained would be of limited availability, but it seemed like we could still do some smaller dances, so we set a start date in October. I was looking forward to unpacking that missing part!
Not that I didn’t dance during the summer. I did a kids’ program at the church in which I taught 4 dance classes over 3 hours. It was fun and I played around with some dance genres that I haven’t done much with before. However, dancing with kids isn’t quite as freeing as dancing with like-minded adults, so I was really looking forward to meeting with the adult dance ministry again!
I suppose that you’ve picked up by now that the dance ministry won’t be resuming — for now. My husband, who loves me far more than I deserve, was immediately planning and trying to make things work out for me. He knows how much I have loved doing dance. He has seen God at work in and through me in dance. He has seen in me a gift that I never knew I had (and still sometimes question!). He’s seen a fire and passion in me that mostly shows itself in dance. And he’s seen how my face will be bright for hours after completely giving myself to my King through dance. I think he knew in that moment, more than I did, how much it would hurt for me to lay dance down — even if for a brief time. Knowing this, he attempted to console me that dance ministry could still go on in the interim period. But in the end it was agreed that it should be put on hold.
Some may wonder why. Some may think it silly. Some would just go forward with dance regardless. And some will understand without reading any further! I wouldn’t want to offer a dance that did not have the oversight our worship pastor was always so willing to give. There were at least three dances to which I can recall him making minor changes. There was one dance that I simply had no vision for. Once he offered it, the dance fell together very quickly. There were costume issues a time or two. And if there were complaints, I don’t know of them, because he was my covering, my protection. If anything needed to be addressed, I know that he would have come to me and gently make the need known. Otherwise, I know that he would go to bat for me in the case of any complaint or offense. Knowing that I was fully in submission to his authority and protection offered me complete freedom to not just perform dances, but to worship my Creator and Savior every time I did one. This is my main reason.
The worship pastor is with us for a few more weeks. I sought his counsel. He agreed that this was the best course of action. And I was okay with that! Until I had to go through the motions of shutting down. I know, how much could there be to do when we hadn’t even begun?!? But I had been gearing myself back up! I had gotten the rehearsals scheduled on the church calendar. I had pulled out some of the dance props and been working up a couple of different dances. And I had replaced some of my personal dance gear, already. I was sad to put my dance bag away. When I asked the office to take rehearsals off the calendar, I got teary. When I stopped by the church to put away the dance props, I cried. For longer than I expected. Then I got mad at myself! Why the tears??? Oh yeah — the missing piece. It’s not getting unpacked. At least not right now. And until today I refused to truly admit my sorrow. I was determined to walk through it, chin held high. But when a close friend pointed out that for me it’s saying goodbye, I realized that it’s okay to be sad! I shouldn’t live in the sadness. And I won’t, because already God has shown me that He is working in and through me in other ways. But to deny my sadness would be lying! But God is Truth! He doesn’t want me to pretend I’m fine and be walking in a lie! He wants me to run into Him with the sorrow! As my friend also pointed out, this same worship pastor once said “It is always safe to fall apart in Christ’s arms because He holds all things together!” And this I am now doing.
So now I’m willing to confess that “I want to dance!” I don’t want to leave it lying down!!! (Did you see me stomp my foot, ball my fists, and get the pouty lip like a two year old?!?) I don’t want to leave dance in the box, but I do want God’s best and I know that in his perfectly good, sovereign plan He is doing something great. I don’t know if I’ll ever dance on a stage again. I could end up paralyzed tomorrow. And there’s always the chance that I won’t have any part of dance ministry again! This thought makes me teary all over again! But I will continue to dance in my heart. And I will pray that the grace of God would enable me to be part of a dance ministry again in the near future. (This story is continued here.)
If I could dance right now, it would be to this song.
And to my husband, thank you for fighting for me. Thank you for being so gracious and kind to me as I have wrestled with this these past days. Thank you for encouraging me to walk in the gifts God has given. And thank you for letting me cry more tears than I’d like to admit! You are a picture of Christ to me, giving more than I deserve because of your precious love.