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On summer vacations, my parents would take my sister and me on simple road trips from Michigan to Virginia to hang out on the front porch with our grandparents. I’d catch lightning bugs and hold them in my cupped hands or, standing between pink bedsheets that hung on the clothesline above my head, I’d watch the shadows on the grass when the breeze blew fresh.

Good times.

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By now, a good portion of the world has settled on their word of the year. Kashoan has shipped out hundreds of pieces of handmade jewelry, each individual word of the year cut from a vintage dictionary and secured beneath a beautiful bubble of glass to wear around a neck, a wrist, an index finger.

I wasn’t surprised last year, when I tried to place my order.

“Can you find my word?” I asked her, then.

“I’ll try,” she answered. And try, she did. Kashoan will move heaven and earth for you, she will. But even she couldn’t make a vintage dictionary produce the word disco.

I have been more conventional in other seasons. For years, my one word was grace. Grace dropped into my lap one day, before I even knew one word was a thing. I slipped grace into my heart and carried it around with me and it made the difference I didn’t know I needed. I thought of it the way the Bible study people teach it: grace = unmerited favor. But, I also thought about it the way my ballet teacher had taught it to me as I turned pirouettes on hardwood floors: grace = light and soft and lovely and gentle.

A few years later, my word was peace. It seemed grace had grown up and moved out on her own, and peace moved in to take her place, or to pick up where grace had left off. Peace nestled softly at the base of my neck, a gift wrapped in velvety cloth. “As much as it depends on you,” I’d remember, “live at peace with everyone.”

I needed those words in a tough season where my natural inclination was to walk hard and rough over someone else’s feelings, or to throw up walls of defensiveness in response to disappointment or frustration or loss. Light and soft and lovely and gentle. As much as it depends on you…

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One year, I finally reached a bend in the road. I saw light at the end of a dark and musty tunnel that had cut off my oxygen for far too many years.

Grace hadn’t really moved out, I realized. More like, settled in. Peace calmed my pulse. We had been comrades in arms — grace, peace, and me. Quiet warriors in a cold arena with stories to tell.

“Thank God for the Light,” I may have whispered to those stalwart companions. Thank God for music and for lively, polyester, bell-bottomed, brave, and beautiful dancing.

Thank you, God. From the overflow of a heart wide open. Like a swatch of pink against a clear blue sky, when the summer breeze blows fresh.

Clothesline image by Grant MacDonald. Necklaces image by Kiley Ward of KraftyKash.

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  • http://www.robindance.me Robin Dance

    Grace as a pirouette? From one ballerina to another…I love that analogy, Deidra.

    Also? This subtle shift I’ve seen in your writing the past 12-18 months. It’s beautifuler than ever. :)

    xo

    • http://redemptionsbeauty.com Shelly Miller

      I agree Robin.

      • http://dianatrautwein.com Diana Trautwein

        Me, three.

  • http://lemonlanecottage.blogspot.com Patty Marker

    Beautifully written. I love your two grace analogy and see Christ in both. – Patty

  • http://www.marybonner.net/ mary

    When this popped up in my inbox with the title of the post, I KNEW you had written it. I couldn’t wait to read it. And it did not disappoint. “One year, I finally reached a bend in the road. I saw light at the end of a dark and musty tunnel that had cut off my oxygen for far too many years.” I think I am getting close to this place…thank you for the post, thank you for hope, thank you for YOU!

    Hugs~
    Mary

    • http://www.deidrariggs.com Deidra

      Every day is one step closer. I believe that, Mary. Hope does not disappoint. XOXO

  • http://lauraboggess.com laura

    Oh, this makes me want to make some moves on the kitchen floor today. Beautiful, Deidra. Just loveliness.

    • http://incourage Cindy

      Thank you for your word pictures that I saw in my mind this morning! I too love dancing, motown, and grew up listening to everything from The Supremes to Black Oak Arkansaw, I love the diversity of music.
      After 2 days of my husband drinking and fighting, I need an island of calm and any oasis. God gets me through so much! I need faith and hope to get me through my situation.
      Thanks for your encouragment!

      • http://www.deidrariggs.com Deidra

        Cindy, I’m glad these words were a breath of fresh air for you. I’m praying for you. If you’re reading this, please send me an email: deidradriggs@gmail.com

      • Beth WIlliams

        Cindy,

        Prayers for you and your husband. May God cover you with His wings and bring peace to your situation!

        Blessings :)

  • http://www.belovedinbluejeans.com Amy

    My word is “grace” this year and I’m wearing the beautiful piece by #kraftykash now….I think I’ll dance a little disco with grace this year. Thank you for reminding us about the light at the end of the tunnel, Deidra.

    • http://www.deidrariggs.com Deidra

      Yes! Those one word necklaces are the best!

  • http://www.laurarath.blogspot.com Laura Rath

    Love this Deidra! Like Mary, I knew it had to be written by you when I saw the title sitting in my inbox. :)

    I never thought much about the word disco, but as I read your words here, a whole new image came to mind. Disco is being yourself in a world that wants to tell us how to be, and not being afraid to be who God made you to be. I think I like this new meaning for the word disco. :)

    • http://www.deidrariggs.com Deidra

      I think I’m just gonna go ahead and own that definition, Laura! That’s it, exactly!

  • Marilyn

    Grace! That is my word this year and I think I will mosey over to kraftykash to display it for all to see and for me to cherish.

    Loved this post!

    • http://www.deidrariggs.com Deidra

      #KraftyKash will not disappoint. Trust me.

  • Bonnie

    Yes thank-God for the beautiful dancing!! I just got done my running and dancing at home with beautiful upbeat Hillsong live Miami united album it just keeps me pumping and love the praising at same time!!

    • http://www.deidrariggs.com Deidra

      On a good day, running feels like dancing to me. You too? I believe our bodies were made to move, and it’s amazing how God sometimes meets me right there on the treadmill. Keep on keeping on, Bonnie!

  • http://www.especiallyfondofyou.com Christy

    Mmm,mmm, good. I loved this. Thank you for sharing. <3

  • http://www.dianewbailey.net Diane W. Bailey

    Grace as a ballerina, yes, light, soft, lovely, gentle…beautiful, Deidra.

  • http://www.marcyholder.wordpress.com Marcy

    Love this! And I agree with Robin about your writing, there are beautiful new layers of gauzy grace covering your words.

  • http://stateoftheheartliving.com Caryn Christensen

    Deidra, as soon as I saw the word “Disco” in my email, I just knew it had to be connected to YOU! I love how God designs us so individually, knows us so intimately and you, my friend, so beautifully. You inspire me :-)

    • http://www.deidrariggs.com Deidra

      I’m so glad people associate me with disco…or disco with me. Whichever one it is, I’m glad. ;)

  • http://www.leliachealey.com Lelia Chealey

    You always make me dig deeper and think harder. Love that about you. You draw the best out of yourself and others.
    Love seeing a post with you and Kashoan in it. ❤

  • http://learntoembracethestruggle.com Alison Hector

    Love the concept of you, grace, and peace cohabiting. That’s how it should be. With a disco ball twirling above you three!

    • http://www.deidrariggs.com Deidra

      What a great image: grace, peace, and disco!

  • http://redemptionsbeauty.com Shelly Miller

    I will never again look at a disco ball without thinking about you. And that is a good thing, let me tell you.

  • http://outofmyallegedmind.com/ Nancy Franson

    Disco isn’t in a vintage dictionary? I’m sitting here thinking about a poor kid in a spelling bee someday, asking about the origin of the word. Wonder when it started being one?

    I remember when you chose that word, and I’m so glad you did. It helped me remember things like the importance of playfulness and remembering God’s delight in His children. I think we will disco in heaven.

    You know, when we can make ourselves push away from the table.

    • http://www.deidrariggs.com Deidra

      Nancy, I credit you with giving me permission to choose disco as my word. Do you remember that?

      I know this is hard to fathom. Difficult to image it could be true. But…I think there may be something even better than disco in heaven and, whatever it is, I’m looking forward to sharing it with you!

  • http://dianatrautwein.com Diana Trautwein

    SMOOCH. Love this, love this, love this. We need some sparkly, glittery stuff every now and again – and sparkling all over things like grace and peace? Oh, yeah.

  • http://susandoak.tumblr.com Susan

    What an inspiring post! It got me thinking about what my word for 2014 will be. I’ve challenged my sister with it as well. It’s kind of like a Bible verse that you claim. 2014 is here and I am on fire for the Lord! I can’t wait to see what HE has for me!

  • http://www.ourstoriesgodsglory.com Elise Daly Parker

    Oh wow…you’re awesome. Really! I agree, your writing just gets more beautifuler. Tonight you made me cry. I’m not quite sure why, but I have to sit with this a while. Thank you!! Grace…peace…love…joy…it happens, no as you said, we become companions eventually.

  • http://www.jennrene.com Jennifer

    Wow…and i choose the hard words! I promise to choose a fun word next year. This year my word is making me grow up. But thanks for helping me grace, peace and disco can be friends, in a dreamy sort of way. Amazing…

    • http://www.deidrariggs.com Deidra

      I think, sometimes, our words choose us. I’ve had hard words in the past. Those are the words that make way for the Light.

  • http://frontporchministry@blogspot.com Renae

    Have you heard the song “God’s great dance floor?” Well for the longest time I kept hearing “God’s great disco!” I kept wondering what God and Disco had to do with one another. Well, now I guess I know!!!!!

  • Beth WIlliams

    Deidra,

    WOW! I never thought about disco in that way. Love that disco is just being yourself..no matter what the world wants. I, too love dancing and various kinds of music. I will be doing the disco in Heaven and rejoicing with everyone!

    God Bless: )

  • http://soulstops.com Dolly@Soulstops

    Deidra,
    Love this picture of you, peace and grace being comrade in arms…always enjoy reading your words :)

  • http://www.winsomewoman.blogspot.com Kim

    The disco-dancing ballerina. Grace, peace & LIFE . . so you, Deidra :)