In the fall of 2011, we discovered our daughter, Faith, had a broken neck. Before and after her precarious but successful corrective surgery, Faith endured strict limitations on her mobility. For months, she reluctantly kept her physical activity to a minimum. Playing on the jungle gym during recess at school? Nope. Riding her bike around the neighborhood? Double nope. Faith couldn’t even go down the stairs at home without one of us holding her hand.
And if you think this was a difficult period for our independent, doesn’t-like-to-sit-still girl, then you’d be right.
After adhering to this regime for months, the glorious appointment arrived when the neurosurgeon gave Faith the green light to abandon the neck brace and grab onto selective physical activity. I can still see her face taking in the news — her grin, a country mile wide, as her pastel world turned jewel-toned.
On the drive home, we laughed and sang a chorus of “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow.” For dinner, I made Faith’s favorites: hot dogs, apple slices, and macaroni and cheese. Afterwards, I flipped on the radio while we cleared the table and swept the floors. As the music of Lady Antebellum’s “We Owned the Night” twirled through speakers and around our dining room table, I looked up from the kitchen sink to find Faith doing the same. My mouth dropped open at the scene before me, soapy suds dripping from my hands hanging mid-air.
Because while I had hoped and prayed my girl would dance again, I couldn’t picture it till that moment when I saw His grace in her graceful motion, my quiet hope now plainly visible.
I ignored my tears but dried my hands before grabbing Faith’s. We indeed danced like we owned the night in royal fashion, right there in our linoleum and Formica kitchen.
I stopped long enough to mark the date in my heart:
Today we saw the hope of the Lord, the giver of fresh starts.
That was several years ago, but every time we hear that Lady Antebellum song, I dance and remember that moment as a promise of hope when the difficult, we-don’t-know-how-this-will-end turned into something we could see in plain sight.
At one time or another, each one of us will slam into hard times with end results that remain a mystery — times when what you hope for doesn’t show itself this side of heaven. During those times, we hold onto God’s presence like the lifeline it is and know that because we belong to Him, we belong to His good character. Because we belong to Him, we have His ever-faithful presence no matter the road we’re traveling.
But sometimes God orchestrates moments when what is spiritual becomes tangible, something you can almost hold in one hand and toss into the other, when what you hoped for is felt and real, when faith becomes sight. And it is good to let those moments mark our hearts. It’s good to build a figurative altar and praise God for His abundant faithfulness.
My Faith still has residual effects from her broken neck. She is healed but not completely whole physically, so certain activities will always be off limits for her. However, much is possible. Beauty surrounds her, and there are endless reasons to be grateful as we celebrate His faithfulness, seen and yet to be seen.
And because of this, we dance.
Tune me in to foot-tapping songs, set these once-broken bones to dancing. Don’t look too close for blemishes, give me a clean bill of health. God, make a fresh start in me, shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Psalm 51:8-10 (MSG)
The Lord is the giver of fresh starts. -@Kristen_Strong: Click To Tweet