Up before the sun, and on went the glue.
“Hold still,” I chuckled nervously to my daughter, “I don’t want them to stick on crooked.”
My seven-year-old squinted to catch my expression as the first false eye-lash cemented itself onto her eyelid. We both laughed as I covered up what I’d messed up with black eyeliner. It may seem over-the-top, unless you’ve ever applied mascara to a child before. #dancemomproblems
When Brianne began to dream of pointe shoes and pirouettes, I jumped whole-heartily on board. I knew that her dream would be harder than she or I could ever anticipate, but the journey sounded awfully amazing. As we drove to that first dance competition, fake lashes and bellies full of butterflies, we both had visions of how this dance journey would end …but neither of us knowing how the middle would be filled.
Surrender to sacrifice avoids spoiling our people potential. There are people purposed in the reach of each gift. Even through the joy of those who witness Brianne dance. Don’t listen to the critical voice of impossibility; give in to God’s view of reality.
God challenges us to reach people from where we are at. Brianne may have a lofty dream, but she’s not demanding I accomplish the dream for her. She works. She prepares. She practices. She prays. But she needs a ride to class. She brought her Bible to me one day and wanted to talk about Nehemiah. Her pink and purple princess Bible introduces the book as such:
“God gives us tools to rebuild the broken into something beautiful.”
Nehemiah had a position close to the King, where God placed him in provision for the mission at hand… to rebuild Jerusalem. Nehemiah didn’t need to go back and re-establish Jerusalem, but his compassion for his people there literally moved him. God’s Word motivated him to achieve beyond what he could believe.
With God’s provision our lives change. They become purposed for purpose.
We are all placed by God with the same great care to detail as Nehemiah. It’s no coincidence that God has entrusted me to be Brianne’s motherly provision …to be there when she can flip across the stage like the dancers she admires, and as she struggles to land a cartwheel right now. I can’t, and won’t choose to (#freewill) do it right all of the time… but I sure will try my best to honor my place in her sweet life.
What will happen when I get there?
Faith in God will move you to prepare to do the work to obey God. There’s no room for comparative standards, or worry about whispering, within God’s call for your life. I have an intervention with myself every time I’m drafted to help my kids learn or practice something new. It’s uber frustrating to watch them fail, and beyond my level of patience to channel the whining. They cry and my forehead vein surfaces reality-tv style. During the last episode, I found myself yelping, “KEEP SMILING…” through a grit-toothed, probably crazy looking smile. I think I made her repeat the same ten seconds twenty times. Poor gal. Her dance teacher is definitely called to prepare my child for her dreams in dance. My preparation in helping is sometimes simply to prepare myself to let go …a little.
While the lashes were being peeled off on the car-ride home, Brianne asked if I had noticed her shaking while she danced on stage. I hadn’t, and inquired as to what she attributed her strength from.
“I prayed out loud to God about it last night,” she responded.
Prayer was Nehemiah’s power source. He leaned into prayer to propel him to action. He was smart, and hard-working. He planned and prepared. He resisted all manor of insult and attack with prayer.
Brianne cried all the way home when I told her she’d be dancing a duet in competition this year. “But you love to dance, I though you’d love this…” I stammered.
“With only two people on the stage?” She bawled. #terrified
…but she knew she did truly love to dance …so she prayed …and worked…and prepared.
Brianne conquered some serious stage fright, to let her light shine bright for the Lord. She learned where her strength comes from and what her gifts are for …at least for now. May she always…
After Jerusalem had been rebuilt, the people praised God.
I should often be praising God for the “sacrifices” I’m spoiled with. Dictionary.com defines sacrifice as “the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.”
By learning who God is, I remember who I am. I’m not privy to the middle. Day by day, prayer by prayer, I will eventually look back and know how it was filled in and what people God placed within my reach.
It’s imperative to step out of the bubble of familiarity to face the fear and the whispers. To get up on stage no matter how afraid we are, if that stage is where God put us to be. I’m confident Nehemiah’s motives for leaving the comfort of the castle were whispered about… It’s human nature to criticize what we can’t comprehend.
What’s your stage? Where has God placed you to shine bright in the name of Christ? I would love to hear about it.
Pray to Him out loud in the dark. Step outside of your bubble. Pray. Be brave. Shine.