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Thursday, March 02, 2006


sunday joy


She starts dancing somewhere in the middle of our first song. As the worship team settles in and focuses and begins to practice "There is Joy," Aliya walks in front of us and proves it.

I try to concentrate on the words.
There is joy in the Lord
There is love in His Spirit
There is hope in the knowledge of Him

But that tiny girl has begun spinning and jumping right in front of my microphone, and I can't take my eyes or my thoughts off of her.

She's wearing a green corduroy jumper and white tights and tennis shoes. Her strawberry blonde hair, secured in the front with five miniature clips, hangs in springy tendrils past her shoulders. As she spins and dances, those curls come alive.

She dances us out of that song and into the next.
You are the Lord, the famous One, famous One
Great is Your name in all the earth
The heavens declare You're glorious, glorious
Great is Your fame beyond the earth
And for all You've done and yet to do
With every breath I'm praising You ...

I want to be Aliya. I want my praise of God to bubble up and spill over in every breath, every movement.

We move on.
Blessed be Your name, in the land that is plentiful
where Your streams of abundance flow, blessed be Your name


She twirls, and raises her head toward the sky, and smiles.

Blessed be Your name, when I'm found in the desert place
though I walk through the wilderness, blessed be Your name
Every blessing You pour out I turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord, still I will say
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name


Watching Aliyah, I bless His name.

And then I see Hannah walking through the foyer. She marches like a girl on a mission, straight down the center aisle and toward the worship team and her father. She, too, has living curls, captured (barely) in two springy blonde pony tails that swing in frenzied spirals as she marches. Under one arm, she carries a red book.

"Daddy!" she squeals, in a tone that is one part insistence and three parts pride. "Look at my Bible!" Corey is singing and strumming, but he still manages to convey his approval. She grins, spins, and retraces her march back down the center aisle, pausing at every familiar face to repeat her Bible show-and-tell.

I want to be Hannah.

After worship practice ends and we pray for the service, I look toward the foyer again and see my friend, Noelle, walking through the door with her mother. I make a beeline for her, because we have a routine, this girl and I. She's never said much to me beyond "Shannon!" and "Bye!" but we have our own language, nonetheless. When she sees me, she grins, drops her mother's hand, and starts our shimmy. I mimick her, shaking my waist, laughing, and running through a couple of movements we've added recently. As Noelle performs our "hello" dance, the thin, silver butterfly clipped to her hair shakes as though it might take flight.

She fills my heart, this girl. I watch the pure delight on her face and the joy visibly energizing those little arms and legs, and I want to be Noelle.

Make me a child again, Lord.

Then Jesus called the children over to him and said to the disciples, "Let the little children come to me! Never send them away! For the Kingdom of God belongs to men who have hearts as trusting as these little children's. And anyone who doesn't have their kind of faith will never get within the Kingdom's gates." --Luke 18:16 (TLB)

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16 Comment:

At 3/02/2006 9:41 AM, Blogger Milton Stanley had this to say ...

Shannon: Make me a child again, Lord.

Milton: Amen!

 
At 3/02/2006 10:12 AM, Blogger Priscilla49 had this to say ...

Thank you! I have been in the valley but have been so encouraged by the pure joy and hope on the faces of the children of my church! Yes, I too long to be a little girl again... Soon, when He returns.... soon...

 
At 3/02/2006 10:52 AM, Anonymous Pam D. had this to say ...

Beautiful word picture -- I could see them without the photos!

I don't remember ever being so uninhibited -- even as a little girl. That is a delicious freedom I look forward to in heaven...and no more self-critical thoughts to fight off.

 
At 3/02/2006 12:36 PM, Blogger bjk had this to say ...

Boy...I asked Him to show me what Praise and Worship looks like and here it is...Thanks a life lived in Praise and Worship...abandoned to it!!

 
At 3/02/2006 1:49 PM, Blogger Cathy West had this to say ...

A post to treasure and take to heart, Shannon.
Thank-you.

 
At 3/02/2006 6:56 PM, Blogger Paula had this to say ...

Oh, amen Sister! What a wondeful post. If we could have the faith of children we could revive this land. I want to be free to worship like these little ones, Full of faith and wild abandonment!

I mentioned your book in my post tonight. If you get a chance, check it out. I am still enjoying you book!!! I won't part with it, never!

Your story at CWO brought me to tears. You are an excellent writer!

Your Sister In Christ,

 
At 3/02/2006 7:02 PM, Blogger Cora had this to say ...

Shannon, what a beautiful post. It never ceases to amaze me how you take simple things and turn them into praise for the Lord.

I, too, was there that morning and love to watch Aliya dance, see Hannah with her smiling face, and, of course, you and Noelle shimmying. I don't think it would be Sunday without it.

Thanks, also, for the reminder about what a blessing children are and how we can learn so much from them.

 
At 3/03/2006 5:30 AM, Blogger Dionna Sanchez had this to say ...

Yes - we have so much to learn from children.

 
At 3/03/2006 6:22 AM, Blogger Gina Burgess had this to say ...

Shannon, God never fails to use you to touch my heart. I had started to close out my blogger reading so I could get to work, but something stayed my hand and I clicked on Wind Scraps... what a blessing! If we keep going, God always gives us a blessing just around the corner. What joy!

 
At 3/03/2006 7:01 AM, Blogger shannon had this to say ...

Thanks, Milton :) Glad you agree!
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Priscilla, I'm right there with you. Today would be a great day for the Lord's return.
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Hi Pam! Yes--I'll be watching when we meet in heaven. Can't wait to see your new, uninhibited dance. :)
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Hi BJK--thanks for the visit.
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Thanks, Cathy ... and Paula, thanks for the mention in your post today--and your kind words. :)(
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Cora, don't you just love those girls? Don't we have the cutest, funniest kids?
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Hi Dionna! Thanks for coming by.
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That's so nice to hear, Gina. Thanks!

 
At 3/03/2006 9:28 AM, Blogger Darlene had this to say ...

The body would not be the same without the baby toes and the pinky fingers.

 
At 3/03/2006 9:09 PM, Blogger Jimmy had this to say ...

Shannon, What a wonderful story. It reminds me of why we must come to Jesus as children...with the simple joy and love that these children have. Thanks for sharing about this wonderful music rehearsal!
Jimmy

 
At 3/05/2006 1:33 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman had this to say ...

Shannon, are you sure it's OK for children to "interrupt" worship like that?!!

Yeah, I'm sure it is. Oh, that we might be interrupted more like that, so that we might be reminded what worship really is.

A little child shall lead them!

Thanks, great post, as always.

 
At 3/05/2006 4:01 PM, Blogger shannon had this to say ...

Love those baby toes, Darlene. :)

Thanks Jimmy! How goes the book?

Yes, Wayne--I'll take more of those interruptions. Just so you know, though, this was during rehearsal. By the time the service actually started, Aliya was dancing in a classroom somewhere. :)

 
At 3/07/2006 10:58 AM, Blogger Vicki had this to say ...

Ah, these really lifted my heart today. Thanks, Shannon.

 
At 3/19/2006 11:07 AM, Anonymous Stephen had this to say ...

I want to be like that, too.

 

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