Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.~Mark 10:14 ESV
I have become a collector of hearts, but I do not collect just any hearts. They are gifts from my daughter, Danielle. Each heart is like a time capsule, capturing a memory from her youth.
One 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.
Another is of twisted wire, she fashioned as a pendant for me to wear. Yet another is a foil heart of two colors. Another is a collection she made from clay. Because she was older, it is detailed and thinner, with the letters “I” and “U” flanking two hearts. 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. Let’s enter the world of make-believe and simple truths…
Pretend you’re a little girl, age four-and-a-half. Yes, “and-a-half” is important when you’re that age. At this time, you are 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 bean bag 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 are 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 mom has worn all your life. You tell me, “I wanna wear a cross with a heart just like you.”
“Sweetheart,” I say, “when you know what it means to be saved, Mommy promises you, she’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 and swing a foot.
“When you understand, I’ll…”
“But Mommy, I do understand.”
“How about you tell Mommy what you believe about Jesus.”
“Jesus died on the cross, and He’s alive. He’s up there.” You point upwards.
“And He loves me this much!” You spread your hands as wide as you can.
“That’s true too…”
“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 I can see you do understand.”
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.~Diane Virginia, author of The Kiss of Peace: A Contemporary Exploration into Song of Solomon
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 my deepest hope–that 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.
Have you, or someone you know experienced salvation as a child? Share your thoughts.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the simplicity of the Gospel message, that even a child can understand it. Children, youth, middle-aged, and old people of every nationality are Your intended recipients, and I commit to sharing with everyone You place in my sphere of influence.
In Jesus’s Name, Amen.
Genre: Creative Non-fiction
Copyright © 2018: Dancing Shoes: Diane Virginia: All Rights Reserved
Published: March 6, 2019: Christian Broadcasting Network: Beth Patch, Senior Producer
Published: February 2019: Faith Beyond Fear: Editor Alynda Long
Meet Our Contributor
Diane Virginia (Cunio) is an award-winning author, and the founder/ director of VineWords: Devotions and More. She is an ordained minister, holding credentials since 2005.She is a member of Word Weavers, Piedmont-Triad, North Carolina.
Diane’s book, The Kiss of Peace: A Contemporary Exploration into Song of Solomon (Mount Zion Ridge Press),won The Sparrow Award, Second Runner Up, at the Asheville Christian Writer’s Conference 2019. The sequel, Behind the Veil: Becoming the Ascended Bride of Song of Solomon, is in the works.
She has developed the model for motion-activated musical prayer centers for use in the garden retreat, themed to the places where the Bride of Christ travels to in the allegory, Song of Solomon. She envisions these prayer gardens to serve as refuges for seekers and believers alike where they can tarry, worship, and find or deepen their relationships with Jesus Christ.
Diane is a co-editor, co-compiler, and contributing author to Love-Knots: Stories of Faith, Family, and Friendships (VineWords Publishing).
Diane is published at Answers2Prayer, Christian Broadcasting Network, Christian Devotions Ministries, Faith Beyond Fear, Inspire a Fire, Pentecostal Publishing House, PresbyCan Daily Devotional, The Secret Place, VineWords: Devotions and More, and other ministries.
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