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Monday, December 26, 2011

Dance or die…(dedicated with love and pride to SR and NPD)

He Treats Me to a Feast; Notes from my Abundant Life

Dance or die…(dedicated with love and pride to SR and NPD)

…knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.   But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
James 1:3-4 (NKJV)

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
Philippians 4:6 (NKJV) courtesy of SR

This year, I witnessed a new Christmas miracle.  I learned giving, and I observed spiritual maturity, (literally watched someone grow) as God made me wait patiently (which I hate to do) until He spoke to and through someone else, allowing me to pray, cry, rejoice, and finally minister the celebration of the birth of Christ through dance in a whole new way.  It wasn’t the Christmas I anticipated, it was simpler AND more joyful than any I can remember.  Sometimes, you just have to Dance or die…

Precisely two weeks before Christmas, a member of our worship committee confirmed that I was dancing Christmas morning.  I laughed.  No seriously, I did laugh, because I hadn’t any idea what she was talking about.  I do not dance with the liturgical ministry at my church.  I belonged to another ensemble before we joined, and maintain that affiliation.  Turns out God had a work to do and my only choice was to let Him do it.

Just before we prepared to minister through dance on Christmas morning, one of the deacons passed through our warm up space, saying (I’m paraphrasing…) when you are preparing to bless someone through ministry, seven devils will try to come against you.  We laughed, because we’d already battled them:

Since we hadn’t been given any previous notice about dancing on Christmas, we had nothing prepared.  We prayed about it, and decided to dance anyway. 

Once we’d decided to dance, we learned there’d be an additional artist to work with.  We prayed about it, and committed to dance anyway. 

We couldn’t find suitable rehearsal space; the choreographer I’d reached out to had no time to work with us.  We prayed about it, and determined to dance anyway.

One dancer had to be found (she eventually got lost again), another decided to step in, just because that is her spirit, as a third felt led to manage operations rather than dancing, from the sidelines.  I tried to release all my concerns and promised, prayerfully, to dance or die.  We all prayed, and hoped we’d be able to dance anyway. 

By the evening of dress rehearsal, program having already gone to press, we were down from 4 to 2 in reality, and down to 1 actually, in terms of what other participants observed in dress rehearsal.  I was tired and sore, my steps were leaden, uncertain.  I was optimistic (or blind).  If ever there was a time to pray and dance anyway, I’d landed on it.

At this point we were spiritually spent, emotionally drained, and out of time AND options.  I was deeply discouraged, but not ready to give up.  Then my phone rang.

I thought my burdens were heavy.  I thought I had a lot going on.  I am reminded of Plato, famously quoted as saying, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” I got a little lost in my own stuff.  Had I been looking to my left, I’d have witnessed the evolution of a new depth of spiritual strength, as I watched a sister go from frustration, resignation, anxiety and disappointment to strength, joy, and an intensity of praise that inspires me even right now.  Had I looked to my right, I’d have seen the kindess of someone who agreed provide rehearsal space AND to dance with us, going even further by crafting my random ideas into a cogent work of choreography merely suggested by me and fully orchestrated by her.  Her stalwart strength (and it's quiet power) just gave me confidence.  Sometimes, in spite of your fears, frustrations, in spite of it all, when the music begins to play, without stopping, you must be fierce. You must keep moving like your only options are to dance or die.

We danced anyway.  We prayed hard, cried a little (at least I did), and gave our best work to God (SB would have been proud).  From our meager offering, He made much.  I am again changed.  Not by the dance, but by the sheer work it took to get us there.  Once again, it’s not about the outcome, it’s about the process.  So, I’ve learned another lesson, counted yet another blessing.  Happy Birthday, baby Jesus, God with us, Light of the World.  For Unto Us a Child is Born….just my daily reminder, that God is Good.

Today’s feast: Buttermilk Biscuits

Back story~ the cooking equivalent of dance or die, make these once or twice, and the process (more a process than a recipe) becomes part of you.  Once you master it, you are no longer afraid, and can master tender, flaky, southern biscuits like you were born to it.  This recipe makes a richer and slightly fussier (in a good way) biscuit than my drop biscuit recipe.  Enjoy!

2 C Eagle Mills Ultra Grain, flour (or whatever you’ve got lying around)
5-6 T cold butter, cut in small cubes
2 ½ t baking powder
Scant 1 t sea salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Mix all dry ingredients.  Cut in butter ( I use a fork) until the mixture looks like streusel (crumbly).  Add buttermilk sparingly, starting with about a 1/3 C, until mixture comes mostly together.  Dump out onto a floured work surface, and kneed gently (without overworking) until you have a dough.  Cut with a glass or biscuit cutter, and bake until golden brown.  They won’t even need butter.  

OneWord 2015

OneWord 2015

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