Today’s Letter to Me is from a fellow For the Love Launch Team member, Andrea Stunz. This lovely lady has such wisdom and grace in her words. She encourages me daily and I am so very thankful for that. She is the keeper of Empty Plate Full Heart (this post is one of my favorites) and I am honored to have her letter to share with you today.
Dancing faces you towards Heaven, whichever direction you turn.
Someone asked me recently what my biggest regret in life is. I have to admit I’ve lived a mostly “goody two shoes” sort of life. No major life issues, no major life mistakes, tried my best to live by the rules and not mess up and have pretty much succeeded in that. Although a mostly no regrets sort of life is a good thing, a REALLY good thing, I’m not bragging so don’t read that into my words – that’s not what this is about. As I pondered this “biggest regret” question, I did some thinking and came back to wishing I would have danced more. Or some…
I thought about what I now know and what I wish I could tell my 6-year-old self, my 16-year-old self, and then my wedding day self, over 26 years ago.
Dear 6-year-old self,
When you twirl around in your new (or new to you) Sunday dress and let your skirt catch so much air that your panties show, stretch out your arms and tilt back your head in reckless abandon and twirl. Smile and laugh and breathe all of that joy right in. One day the world will try to tell you to stop dancing, to stop twirling, but for now, TWIRL! Even though you’re a little shy, go ahead and twirl. Maybe you can’t twirl in front of others, but at least go in your room and close your door and twirl. Have fun! Try hard to block out all of those voices that tell you to act a certain way, to fit in, to use boring colors, to stop dancing. Except maybe at some point wear shorts under your cute little dress because showing your panties will become sort of socially unacceptable.
P.S. You won’t always wear knee socks with your dresses and have bad haircuts. Promise.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them,
for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
Dear 16-year-old self,
Not by your own doing, this is going to be a hard season for you but you’ll make it. It’s ok to acknowledge your pain. It’s ok to let yourself feel. It won’t kill you. I promise. It might seem like it will, but it won’t. Your pain will not be wasted, but you’re going to need to feel it. It will make you stronger and more compassionate to others going through their pain. Learn to take deep breaths and see. See what God is doing or might be doing. Taste and see that He is good (Psalm 34:8).
When it seems like you are invisible because so many others around you are in crisis and needing more attention than you… like when you move back to your hometown after being away for two years and all of your “friends” have moved on with their lives or like when a young family member has a baby and they come to live with you or like when your grandmother turns ill and not only do you have a hard time processing her upcoming death but those closest to you need to spend the bulk of their time caring for her and not you… know that you are loved. Dear young girl, your family is doing the best they can. They really do love you. Know that even though you don’t feel like dancing because it hurts too bad or someone told you that you couldn’t or maybe you forgot how, try to let go, try to dance. But, if for some reason you can’t muster the courage to dance amidst all the pain and uncertainties in your life right now, know that your Heavenly Father is singing His most beautiful song over you. He loves you so. And He longs to see you dance your best dance. When you do feel brave enough to dance, dance only for Him. Some will try to steal your dance. Dance only for One.
P.S. You won’t always be able to eat cake so eat that whole darn thing while you can!
I have heard so many songs
Listened to a thousand tongues
But there is one
That sounds above them all
Heaven’s perfect melody
The Creator’s symphony
You are singing over me
The Father’s song
Matt Redman, The Father’s Song
The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will rejoice over you with singing.
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
…a time to mourn and a time to dance.
Dear 21-year-old self,
On the 19th day of November, you will wake up as only one person but by the close of this day you will be one with another. Get ready to soak this day in. This day will be glorious because as you will later find out, good things happen on rainy days. It will be a day filled with family and friends who gave up their precious hours to help prepare and celebrate with you. A day filled with joy and laughter, cake, and such good food, and all things beautiful. Open your eyes and see everything! Every detail. Every flower petal. Every face. Every tear. Every smile. Everything.
Dear young bride, especially today, see yourself as God sees you. Oh, how He loves you so. He is smiling at you and over you, reveling with His good God pride in the beauty He has created in you. Look at yourself in the mirror and see His beauty and not your imperfections. See His good and not what you wish was better. Listen to the good that others are telling you. Because it’s the truth!
On this day, you are beautiful, inside and out and in every way. And that man that you are about to join hearts with forever thinks so too. Relax and let him love you. Relax and love yourself. You don’t have to get it right. Your dance doesn’t have to be rehearsed or smooth or perfect but, dear beautiful bride, dance. Dance with your man. He may step on your toes, but that is just proof he’s there. With you. Close. And he wants to be. You may stumble in your inexperience and it might seem awkward to you to trust another. But stumble together. Try hard not to be afraid. The dance will get better. Easier. Smoother.
Dear young bride, don’t sit this one out. Let go, free yourself, free your heart…. dance. Oh, please dance.
P.S. Your dress gets lost at the cleaners after a fire but that’s ok because the insurance claim helped put a down payment on your first home. Where would you have stored that big ol’ thing anyway?
Praise the Lord!
Sing to the Lord a new song,
his praise in the assembly of his faithful people.
Let them praise his name with dancing
and make music to him with timbrel and harp.
For the Lord takes delight in his people;
he crowns the humble with victory.
Let his faithful people rejoice in this honor
and sing for joy on their beds.
Dancing with the feet is one thing, but dancing with the heart is another.
As I write this, I am almost my 48-year-old self. Quite a few steps have been taken away from my 6-year-old self. Somewhere along the way I found myself listening to those voices that told me I needed to blend in, to sit still, to color inside the lines, to be ashamed, to hide, to stop twirling, to stop dancing. And I spent too many years doing just what they told me to do. I imagine how my heart would have been happier and freer (not physically restrained, obstructed, or fixed; unimpeded)… if I’d just have danced. Think about it… You’re free when you dance. You laugh when you dance. You cry when you dance. You feel when you dance.
I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance,
Never settle for the path of least resistance,
Livin’ might mean takin’ chances but they’re worth takin’,
Lovin’ might be a mistake but it’s worth makin’.
Don’t let some careless heart leave you bitter,
When you come close to sellin’ out reconsider,
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance,
Tia Sillers & Mark Sanders
Andrea has been a wife for 26 years. She and husband, Tommy, did some of their best work in their 3 amazing gifts from God. She is a mother in law of 2 stellar humans beings and a Gimi of one adorable little dude. She is a homemaker, a traveler, a seeker, a writer, a pilgrim. She loves cooking and sharing good food with others who love good food. She takes pictures that tell a story, her story, God’s story. An almost empty nester. A fellow struggler. A fellow stumbler. In need of God’s grace, coffee, a sunrise, and her grandson. Visit Andrea at Empty Plate Full Heart.
Look for future Letters to Me from guest writers here at MrsDisciple.com. To submit your own Letter to Me, contact me for details on guest posts.