God Be Praised!

Generally I don’t like to show videos of me doing solo dance. I don’t know if I can explain it except that it seems proud and presumptuous. Perhaps it’s really pride that keeps me from doing it. I’m not sure. But today I’m going to break from my norm because this dance has a neat story!

On Tuesday, September 27 I met with our former (it makes me very sad to officially say that! ūüė¶ ) worship pastor. In the course of the conversation, he casually said that he’d love to have me be part of his final Sunday. I didn’t answer him. I did tell him that I didn’t want to, but I’ve finally¬†learned not to immediately¬†tell him no, because every time I end up going back, apologizing, and agreeing to his plans! At some point I agreed and he sent me a song Thursday, September 29 asking if it would work. I spent some time playing with the song, told him I thought I could do something to it, and went home that night only knowing that I would use a piece of white fabric.

Monday, October 3 I went back to the church with my boys¬†for a while and worked with the song some more. After about 1.5 hours, I came home with maybe 5 or 6 ideas for certain moves. The next evening, I left the boys at home and told my husband as I walked out the door that if I didn’t have a dance by the end of the night, then I wouldn’t dance. It was very matter-of-fact. I wasn’t stressed. I wasn’t trying to be a brat (unusual for me! ūüôā ). I just knew that I was supposed to practice with the orchestra the next night and I wasn’t willing to take the risk of doing improv! At 7pm that night, I was tired and had no more than when I had walked in. I picked up my phone intending to call the pastor while cleaning up. In that moment, I remembered a dear friend who had once asked me to text her so that she could pray for me whenever I was making up or rehearsing dances. She was speaking specifically of the Easter dances that I was somewhat struggling with, but I knew that she would be willing again in this. So instead of calling him, I texted her. She quickly responded,

It’s in there… HE PUT IT IN THERE FO HIS GLORY, TO BRING SOME HONOR TO CAREY’S MINISTRY AND TO DRAW US TO WORSHIP WITH YOU… don’t struggle or doubt… just move. Praying right now!

Not only did I need her prayers, I needed the reminder¬†to not struggle. I was striving after making the dance happen.¬†I put the phone back down, turned the music back on, and¬†just sat listening — letting the¬†Truth pierce my soul, focusing on¬†the praise being given to God. Then I jumped up, turned on my video camera (I¬†try to video anytime I’m choreographing¬†so I¬†can see if things look the way they feel, remember series of moves that I really like, and discover¬†moves that look good even though they feel strange), and I just danced.¬†I think I did it a dozen times, then completely exhausted, I sat down to watch the video.¬†I didn’t even look past the first time I had¬†danced it through! I loved what was there with the exception of a few¬†seemingly empty spots. So I cleaned up, texted my friend, “The prayer of a righteous woman availeth much!” and went home.

It is hugely important to me that any dance done in the corporate worship service be given oversight and approval of¬†the leadership. For the last two years, that has been the worship pastor and I don’t think that there has¬†been a dance that he hasn’t made some change to. The changes are usually minor in the scheme of the dance, but always¬†create a neat moment or¬†better flow. Only once did he ask me to change something for the protection of the congregation and it was a part that I didn’t like and had struggled with. He gave me the perfect solution. So, the first thing I did was send him the video of the dance that I had liked and I mentioned a couple of places that I wanted to change. He wrote me back, “PERFECT in every way. Don’t change a thing.” Now, I’m not very good at listening. I’m really stubborn (just ask my mom!).¬†Normally, I would have changed it anyway, then had to go back and realize that he was right and change it back. For once, I listenened! The only change I made was to slow down nearly everything and to double a turn in one place, simply so I’d fill time and have room for the next thing.

So the point of this long story is that I think this just might be my favorite dance from the last two years — because it wasn’t of me. By God’s grace, I was able to cease striving, know that He is God, and that He would exalt Himself! Then came¬†a dance! Not by my effort. Not by my wisdom. It was all His work! This is the original choreography video:

Even doing the dance Sunday morning was by His strength. I came in feeling feverish and sick to my stomach. At first I just thought it was nerves, but when I ran the dance for sound check, I wasn’t shaky like when I’m normally nervous. And I fell out of several turns because I physically couldn’t get my eyes to focus on my “spot.” The worship pastor asked me if I wanted to run it again. I’m a perfectionist. Normally I would have said yes, but I felt really awful in that moment, so I said no. A recurring theme in my Bible reading lately has been God’s protection of us like a mother eagle’s wings. The first song we sang in the worship service mentioned that He would lift us up on His wings. I still wasn’t sure if I was going to go up on the stage. I just kept feeling worse as the morning went on, but as I sang that line, I remembered how He had been working over the last weeks, so I turned it to my prayer. I prayed that if He wanted the dance, that He would make it soar on His wings because I didn’t have the strength. He definitely did this! As I began dancing, the pain in my stomach disappeared and by the end of the¬†dance¬†my head cleared. Almost as soon as I sat back down in my pew, I felt sick again! And today my four year old (poor thing!)¬†is complaining of the same things that I felt yesterday, so I’m sure I wasn’t just nervous! Like I said, I don’t like to post videos of me dancing by myself, but this is pretty special. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t dancing, but that the Spirit was moving through my weakness. So going against my norm, here is the solo dance:

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