Dancing in the Minefields

IMG_2715I posted a song called “Dancing in the Minefields” a few years back on our anniversary.

It was the year we received hard news on the health of one of our kids. We were also going through another move, a job change, a new baby. It was a wonderful, challenging, exciting, strange time. It felt like we were dancing through some minefields. But dancing nonetheless.

Every year has been full of laughter. And learning–about each other and God and where we’re headed in Him. We’ve journeyed through 7 homes, 3 babies, 2 states and approximately 4,329,422 Lego acquisitions. It’s been a fast, funny, lovely ride.

Now here we are. Celebrating thirteen years of marriage. If you had told us we would be on the brink of opening our doors to God knows how many children not born of my body, we probably would not have believed you. If you had told us we would be ready to open our hearts to children from broken places, we probably would not have believed you. If you had told us we would be looking at our three magnificent boys and then headlong into the scripture of James 1:27 and saying, “there is room for more”, we probably would not have believed you. It would’ve sounded like too much.

But. The beauty of these past twelve years is that it’s not. Not too much at all.

We went dancing in the minefields
We went sailing in the storm
And it was harder than we dreamed
But I believe that’s what the promise is for

‘Cause the only way to find your life
Is to lay your own life down
And I believe it’s an easy price
For the life that we have found

And we’re dancing in the minefields
We’re sailing in the storm
This is harder than we dreamed
But I believe that’s what the promise is for

So when I lose my way, find me
When I loose love’s chains, bind me
At the end of all my faith, till the end of all my days
When I forget my name, remind me

‘Cause we bear the light of the Son of Man
So there’s nothing left to fear
So I’ll walk with you in the shadowlands
Till the shadows disappear

‘Cause he promised not to leave us
And his promises are true
So in the face of all this chaos, baby,
I can dance with you

(Dancing in the Minefields by Andrew Peterson)

So here’s to another year of dancing. Through minefields. Through storms. Through promises and joys. With this man it is an honor and privilege to dance through it all.

The Point of it All

I remember receiving a Christmas card from a friend of mine a few years ago.  Her beautiful family was standing in front of the ocean, their outfits perfectly matching, smiling.  She confessed to me later that her family was miserable in that picture.  Her kids were cranky, her husband was upset because it was taking so much time; it cost too much money.  She sadly looked upon that picture as a huge mistake—memories of frustration.  Her card could’ve said “if you only knew…” as easily as “Merry Christmas”.  Another friend sent a refreshingly honest Christmas card.  It revealed her five-year old daughter laughing and twirling, while her twin toddlers each threw a colossal temper tantrum—delightfully dressed, mind you.  We try so hard to convey meaning and significance with one picture, don’t we?

Consider Georges Seurat’s painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte.  There’s something intriguing about the fact that from up close, all you can see are dots—thousands of individual, lovingly- placed points.  A collection of paint.

But when you step away—one step, two, ten—

a picture of unmistakable beauty comes into focus.  It’s so much bigger and well thought-out than you ever could have imagined mere inches from the canvas.  And what’s breathtaking is not just the overall picture but also that the artist knew the piece well enough to place each distinct point of color in the exact place it needed to be in order to complete the masterpiece.

Now stop and think about the original Christmas picture.  A baby in a manger—the Savior.  A woman, unswervingly obedient to her Lord.  A man who believed.  Up close, the picture is simple and beautiful.

But there’s so much more.  When we step back, the portrait becomes bigger—we see God did not mean for us to stop at the manger.  We’re meant to start there and then try to understand the masterpiece from His point of view.  Stop merely looking and start receiving, accepting, believing, doing.  Start living it and loving others from the Artist’s perspective.  Every moment we live purposefully for Him is a lovingly placed point of color that contributes to the glory of God.

It is my wish that we take the time to savor the up-close beauty of Jesus’ birth while fully understanding the immense miracle of God’s big picture.  Let us see the point of it all.  It makes for one whopper of a Christmas card if you ask me.