I have become a collector of hearts, but I do not collect just any hearts. They are gifts from my daughter, Danielle. Each is like a time capsule, capturing a memory from her youth.
One is a foil heart of two colors. Yet another is a heart-shaped rock she found in the garden. She skipped to me, squealing with delight, carrying her little rock. We washed it under the hose and she cradled it. Then, she kissed me on the cheek, told me her little treasure belonged to me, and ran off to play. Periodically she would check to make sure I was cradling the heart to her satisfaction. One heart is of twisted wire, fashioned as a pendant for me to wear. Another is of clay. Because she was older, it is detailed, and thinner, with the letters “I” and “U” flanking this heart.
I look at these hearts often, as I remember that my daughter will forever be in my heart as I am in hers.
What do Danielle’s hearts have to do with dancing shoes? Let me tell you a story that will give you the answer.
Pretend you are a little girl, age four-and-a-half. Yes, “and-a-half” is important when you’re that age. At this time, you’re learning to love Jesus. You love to run, bounce on couches, and play bowling with Daddy where you and your brother get to be the pins and a giant beach ball is the bowling ball. Yes, you’re an active girl. Your hair is golden with hints of red and your locks are shoulder length.
You’re taking dancing classes. You learn to pirouette, point your toes, jump, and twirl… The teacher who you’re learning from loves Jesus.
Then it happens…
You are in church with Daddy, Mommy, and your little brother. A holy hush comes upon the Sunday congregation. There’s a stirring, as spontaneous worship begins.
You listen in…
A gentleman starts singing in the balcony. He is joined by a lady in the choir. Another lady in the nave begins to sing. The congregation joins in. Soon, the worship becomes exuberant! You tug at Momma’s hem.
“Momma, can I dance?”
“Jesus is here. Can I dance?”
With permission granted, you run the aisle of the church, twirling in exuberant worship. Your dance is the perfect picture of what Jesus says about the innocent trust of a child; “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:14b ESV)
To your parents’ delight, you worship as only a child can fully do. You are carefree, real, trusting, and innocent. The joy you display comes from within your heart. You make Momma and Daddy proud that day, and we smile really big. All day.
The next morning, you point to the heart-cross pendant your momma has worn for years. You tell me, “I wanna wear a cross with a heart just like you, Mommy.”
“Sweetheart,” I say, “when you know what it means to be saved, Momma promises you, I’ll get you a heart-cross pendant.”
“It’s just that… Well, sweetie you’re four.”
“Your birthday is soon. We’ll celebrate it.”
“I wanna wear a heart. With a cross.”
You cross your arms.
“When you understand…”
“But Mommy, I do understand.”
“How about you tell Mommy what you believe about Jesus.”
“He died on the cross, and He is alive.”
“And He loves me this much!” You spread your hands as wide as you can. “And when I put my dancing shoes on, I can feel Him right heeeeeer…..” You point to your heart and twirl.
“I will get you a heart with a cross.” I say, “because you do understand.”
I’d love to say I got that first heart-cross pendant for my daughter but I did not. You see, Danielle’s dance teacher came to me that next Sunday and told me how much my four-and-a-half year-old was really into worship. Her teacher was impressed not by the perfection of my child’s moves, but by the spirit in which she performed them. She asked permission to give her a gift. I agreed. She handed Danielle a tiny box.
Inside, was a pendant—a cross within a sparkly heart.
Danielle jumped for joy! But I cried, knowing the Lord Himself had confirmed to me she really did know what it meant to be saved.
The Bible says, “For with the heart man believeth.” (Romans 10:10a KJV) May I add, sometimes the inner heart puts on dancing shoes. And sometimes the one who believes is a little girl, age four-and-a-half, who knows without reservation that John 3:16 is real.
Dancing Shoes is a tribute to my daughter, Danielle. Copyright © 2018: All Rights Reserved: VineWords Stories and Devotions: Author Diane Virginia Cunio; Pen Name, Diane Virginia; Dancing Shoes: http://www.vinewords.net
Published: Christian Broadcasting Network: Senior Editor Beth Patch: March 6, 2019: http://www1.cbn.com/devotions/dancing-shoes
Published: Faith Beyond Fear: Editor Alynda Long: February 2018: https://faithbeyondfear.com/2018/ (FB Page)
Published: Faith Beyond Fear: Editor Alynda Long: February 2019: http://faithbeyondfear.com/2019/02/11/dancing-shoes/ (Website)