I’ve been told more than once that I am spoiled. That statement usually comes from the mouths of my friends who witness the kindhearted love and attention my husband pours over me. However, I tend to bristle at the word ‘spoiled’, so I’ve decided to embrace the word ‘blessed’.
To give you a clear picture of my ‘blessedness’, let me show you what my man gave me for my birthday:
Several years ago, before I fully understood grace, we took a trip to Gatlinburg with some friends. As we moseyed down the crowded street, I noticed this painting (and its price tag) in the window of an art gallery. My friend Carol and I, accompanied by our two men, went in to get a closer look. I was mesmerized by the big smile on Jesus’ face. This seemed to be such a happy scene! The fact that Jesus was enjoying His time with children resonated loudly in my heart. I totally understood that! While Carol and our men meandered through aisles of other paintings, I kept my eyes on this one until I could almost hear feet slapping stone, lighthearted giggles and rhythmic music. I wondered if I could ever feel that carefree in Jesus’ presence.
Shortly after seeing that painting, my freedom journey began. Every once in a while my mind’s eye would return to the happy scene I’d etched in my memory. Slowly … oh, so painstakingly slow … I began to identify with all those happy faces. I began to realize how much I had once resembled the frowny-faced, Pharisee-looking guy on the left behind the crowd. I had been desperate for grace, I just didn’t know it.
Today, I’m happy to say I feel exactly like the little dark-haired girl in the blue dress – the one with both feet in the air. I now hear Jesus’ grace music loud and clear, and we dance together daily.
So, to make a long story shorter, Ron and I stepped inside a new art gallery in Pigeon Forge just a few weeks ago, and guess what I found! Yes! And that sweet man of mine ‘blessed’ me with a grand version of “The Dance of Grace” for my 60th! Oh, yes he did!
But, the story doesn’t end there! When I read the artist’s reason for painting the picture, I was blown away. What a perfect way to cap off a season of life-changing freedom! Please read what artist Mark Keathley had to say about “The Dance of Grace”.
“The Dance of Grace is not intended to be an illustration of a moment in the life of Jesus 2000 years ago, but rather a present depiction of the delight and celebration which He invites everyone to join in the present. I’ve chosen to portray Him dancing with children, for they come to him as they are, with no pretenses, with no performance or sense of duty. Looking in their eyes and knowing every decision they will ever make, whether good or bad, He laughs with delight because they are His. While onlookers watch, their hearts are stirred up to either desire to join the dance or to turn away, but the sheer joy and love that is seen captivates even the skeptic.
Too often we imagine we must “get ourselves in order” before we can experience his delight, but his call is simple: “Come to me and I will give….” Such is the meaning of Grace – when what we need is given freely. Not realizing our need keeps us from what Jesus said He came to do: “bind up the broken hearted, proclaim freedom for the captives and to set the prisoners free.” Do you recognize the chains? Do you feel the bondage from the lies? Do you want to be free? Let Him do as only He can – and join in the celebration of His love and the Dance of Grace.”
~ Mark Keathley (http://www.infinityfineart.com/danceofgracebymarkkeathley.php)
When you witness the grace dance of someone else, you can’t ignore it. You must either join in or turn away, but you will not forget what you’ve seen! I hope you dance!
“Happy are the people who know the joyful shout;
Lord, they walk in the light from your face.
They rejoice in your name all day long, and
they are exalted by your righteousness.
For you are their magnificent strength.”
Psalm 89:15-17, CSB