The Dancing Princess Bride

The person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. 1Corinthians 6:17

Last June, six weeks after Lee had departed for his home in heaven, I attended a conference on creativity at our church. I was in deep, deep mourning, my heart completely overcome with grief. No one could have begun to describe the level of grief I felt in those first weeks without Lee by my side.

Lee and I, and others at church, had been talking about doing this conference for several years. Our friend Sylvia, a dancer, had taken this dream in hand, and hired the conference leader. It was actually going to happen. Lee was cheering Sylvia on, and he and I planned to attend the conference together. We all wanted to see a renaissance in the arts in our region, beauty restored, a fresh new face on the arts in the church. Artistic gifts unlocked, a renewal of a sense of wonder, inspiration to flow... We are created in God's image (Genesis 1:27) What was holding us back?

"Every person here is an artist. Don't listen to the lie that you can't draw a straight line," the conference leader said. She challenged us. After lunch the 30 women and a handful of men attending the conference had the opportunity to paint. Many had never touched a paint brush before, or thought they ever would! We were asked to paint a picture of ourselves before the heart of God.

True, beautiful art flows from the heart. My heart was broken that day -- shattered in a million little aching slivers and shards. The paint brush felt stiff and awkward in my hand. Painting was Lee's arena, not mine. He was gone and I was being asked to paint?! To put on his big shoes and paint myself in front of the heart of God?! I was finding new, unfamiliar aspects of God's heart I wasn't sure I liked.

I could not reason in my mind how I would ever put something on that canvas in the hour we were given. I was still very numb, unable to think. I said, "Okay Lord, this is entirely Yours. Whatever You want on that canvas will have to come from You."

The Lord took me by the hand right after I said this prayer. I found myself drawing a picture of  a dancing princess bride -- in front of a heart. I painted the heart purple. I realized later that the purple heart was very significant. According to the internet, the Purple Heart medal is awarded to members of the armed forces of the U.S. who are wounded in battle and posthumously to the next of kin of those who have been killed.

I am the bride dancing in front of God's purple heart. He knows my heart. He knows every painful step He has ever asked me to take. He knows the sacrifice -- where He is taking me, and why. I am His bride, and I can dance before Him.

Lee was known at our church for his joyous proclamation of the freedom he received through Jesus, his Lord. The freedom we receive through Jesus. Freedom was Lee's victory cry -- and now it is mine!