bare white

bare white


Beauty for Ashes and Bloody Toes

I have watched her for years in the studio meticulously taping her toes day after day trying to find the right way or at least just a way that helps. Some ways have worked for a few minutes, some not at all, some for an hour, but never completely. There is nothing more I have wanted to do than to tell her to stop. "You gave it a long go. It's okay, just be done and save your feet for the rest of your life." Because, to me, that seems wisest and safest. But I can't. I can't say it because I see what it does to her when she gets what she has worked so hard for.  I can't say it because when she dances, there is a fire that ignites in her eyes. I can't say it because I know, for this moment right now, she was made for this.

"I believe God made me for a purpose, but I also believe God made me fast and when I run I feel His pleasure." (Eric Liddell)
Every painful dance, every equally grace filled dance - it does something to her.
I see it.
I hear it.
I watch it.
And I am left in awe.
From the pain arises a beauty that words can never fully describe.

I watched her again the other night, trying out a new taping method and I was so tempted to tell her to throw in the towel. As I watched her intently, still after years of not understanding fully how she does what she does, because I was never a dancer, it hit me with an absolute wonderment. I don't know how or why it didn't hit me before this night.
No beautiful thing comes without a trail of ashes behind it.
No ounce of loveliness is made without a hard, sometimes ugly story.
No prepossessing thing exists without muscle being torn, then built up and pain being had, then healed.

As I looked at her, I commented,
"I know this is hard, I know you are in pain, but from it is coming a beautiful dance! And you know what? When you dance it is obvious you feel His pleasure. So dance for him Addi - don't leave anything in the dressing room or studio floor. When you leave that stage, no matter how it turns out, may you know without a shadow or doubt, you gave it everything you had...for HIS glory!"

After she left for another night of class, I smirked to myself and thought...isn't this similar when you become a mom? By birth, by adoption, by just pouring your heart completely out into the life of another. There is an indescribable pain you will feel, a deep hurt you will know, a fear that will leave you breathless at times, and scarred...oh the scars! Wether you gave birth to that child or they were placed in your arms by know what I mean. And yet, we move forward one brave step at a time. Though those heavy steps don't always feel brave. In fact, dare I say it, most of my steps seem to be filled with questioning and fears and sometimes, in all REALness...I feel like I can't go on.

"Then I think that maybe courage is not all about the absence of fear but about obedience EVEN when we are afraid. Maybe courage is trusting when we don't know what is next, leaning into the hard and knowing that it will be hard, but more, God will be near." (Kate Majors, Daring to Hope)

Maybe scars aren't bad. Maybe they are just a part of my story, her dance. Maybe those pains are what make us exactly who we are created to be. Maybe in the pain is when we see our deep need. Maybe if we share our stories, and our dance with each other in a REAL-life way, maybe then true bravery comes because we realize that beauty really does come from burned up by fire ashes. Maybe this is when comparisons will fade, judgements shatter, and words will finally bring life because this is when we see stories unfold and grace beheld and love become so much stronger.

Is it possible to live a beautiful life, a life that is really beauty FULL without ashes?
I say no.
Maybe what we think is beautiful might actually be fake. Because here it is, I only see beauty in REAL life lived which is full of taped toes, blistered and bloody heals, sharp pains, and disappearing toenails. I see beauty in stories of real, scarred life. I see beauty in brokenhearts - mended, prisoners - set free, scars - healed. So unique. Never two the same. Never. And this, THIS is real beauty.

"The Spirit of the LORD is upon me..He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them beauty for ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting, so they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD that He may be glorified." (Isaiah 61:1-3)

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