My Sentimental Journey

An ordinary girl's walk with an extraordinary God


Confessions of the Too Tight Tutu


Excitement filled the fall air as my first  ballet class at the coveted Judy Marsh School of dance had arrived. At a mere tender age of eight yet feeling well on my way to becoming a budding prima ballerina. Thoughts long had danced in my mind laced with ballet shoe ribbons,  twirling images of lavish costumes and billowing tutus.

And now entering my class full of anticipation accompanied by jittery nerves.  Newly purchased pink tights providing necessary support to my now wobbly knees. Little ballerinas  all a flurry while small hands and feet energetically removing our coats and shoes. Emerging ready to dance,  donning soft  pink leather ballet shoes scurrying to position ourselves at the polished wooden ballet barre lining the mirror.  Miss Marsh’s serene voice instructing and encouraging her little ballerinas to greatness.

Each week I was resolved to faithfully attend class, while at home committed to practicing my newly learned dance steps. As the weeks progressed my enthusiasm digressed with each class technique I could not master. What I had envisioned for myself and what I was capable of doing were two completely different things.  From my perspective, it seemed so effortless, yet it was considerably harder and more difficult to perform causing my spirits to droop right along with my tights.

My slouching deposition heightening after each class  as I returned to a car filled with the wafting smell of delicious Fryer Tuck spuds. Wishing I had skipped class and ate those tender morsels right along with my waiting mom and brother. Questioning yet again if class time was worth missing out on the pipping hot bounty of potato wedges as I dug into the foil bag for a few lukewarm leftovers. This ballerina was swiftly losing passion and  appeared on all accounts to be ready for her final swan song.

Finding myself ready to prepare for the final curtain call on my short lived aspirations, a second wind arose upon  learning  Mrs. Marsh  had a Christmas surprise for each of us.  Gathering at the ballet barre, anxiously wiggling and chatting, one by one we had our waists measured for her plans.  Within a few short moments it was time for the  golden tape to be slipped around my waist soon revealing its’ measurements. Completely confident of the proper etiquette when having one’s waist measured I did what I thought was the  right thing to do… you take a deep breath and suck it all  in !

However, this “right” answer turned out to be terribly “wrong” considering I was getting fit for a tutu  made with a snap closure waistband. Elastic would have been far more forgiving for a girl who loved Fryer Tuck spuds so dearly.

For immediately upon wearing this heavenly white tutu of layered tulle with a satin waistband, it exploded off my unrestricted waist every time I bowed to  plie or breathe normally. The class erupted in wild giggles, instantly becoming the unintentional class clown, cheeks warm from the blush of embarrassment. The dream of being a refined and elegant ballerina was already fading fast and now it was gone in a “snap” because  of my too tight tutu. The time had  indeed come to lay to rest the dream of learning ballet, thus choosing to retire this tutu and shoes into a box of memories.

Many years have passed since that final curtain call and still somehow those memories seemed rather unfinished.  Thus, I began to trust in a God  that loves to restore what the locust have eaten. Deciding in my late twenties to give ballet a good old college try regardless of my mediocre skills… signing up at Mt Hood Community College.

Mustering up the nerve to face my fears and attempt to relearn ballet . Once again I found myself in the same predicament… never finishing this class either. However, God who is so loving and  full of mercy brought me needed healing;  gently reminding me it’s all about the journey and never about the envisioned or perceived destination.  For not only did this class bring me more closure to my first wildly “unsnapped” ballet ending, it also gave me the idea of starting a cottage business making ballerina bears… which by the way is a whole other story!

Do you ever feel like you don’t measure up?   Perhaps you’ve had to “suck it up” to fit in. God’s word lovingly encourages us, “not to compare ourselves with each other as if one of us was better and the another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives, each of us is an original “.*  Though I was too young to know then what I’m journeying to fully grasp now, my heart is profoundly grateful to God for… “By His grace I am what I am, and His grace towards me was not in vain.”**  And so it is with you.. because you matter incomparable to Him, more then measuring up in His eyes, as He  beckons you to breathe freely and generously, His heart bursting with love and acceptance for the one of a kind you.  So come into His presence fully accepting all He longs to give you, arms open wide to embrace you… too tight tutu and all. While possibly saying  to yourself “Oh Snap” Why didn’t I do this sooner….

You did it: you changed wild lament
into whirling dance;
You ripped off my black mourning band
and decked me with wildflowers.
I’m about to burst with song;
I can’t keep quiet about you.
God, my God,
I can’t thank you enough.
Psalm 30:11  The Message (MSG)

* I Cor.15:10  NKJ Bible      ** Gal. 5:26  The Message Bible


Dancing Queen


Strolling through the household items while at the Salvation Army store my eyes became completely drawn to a beautiful picture frame. Black glossy details on crisp white ceramic with a swirl of chartreuse, its’ top bedecked with a stunning jeweled crown.  Upon examining the framework more closely it revealed the beautiful scrolled  words  “Dancing Queen” written on the base. Thus far this little gem was scoring winning marks on all counts… then suddenly plummeting from it’s current number one position.

How could I, a bona fide two time ballet school drop out, who preferred  clinging  to the ballet bar rather than  venture out onto the dance floor possibly relate to the declaration “Dancing Queen”?  Not an affirming  message I hoped to add to my newly decorated craft room.  For when decorating I find it important  that it matches the color palate or theme.  Advantageous  if it holds a special meaning or memory, that stirs my heart in such a way making me confident it will make our house more like home.

Even though its’ title threw me off momentarily  this item was compelling enough to keep a hold of it tightly in hand pondering it as an option. Continuing leisurely, I made my way through other favorite sections of the store, while music softly played. Suddenly, I heard something that made my ears perk up to the next song serenading us overhead;  to my utter astonishment  it was the song from  Abba, the “Dancing Queen”.  Temporarily frozen in my tracks, clutching a frame bearing the very same title, I somehow  gathered my senses.  My legs began to propel onward looking for my family, excitement mounting while eager to show them this silly coincidence.

No other sign now needed, this 2.99 purchases had a special meaning for me!  What glory would it unfold as it graced my new space?, which  formally had been our oldest sons room. Perhaps its’ presence reminding me to see myself in a new  light, that had through time grown dim. During my childhood years I dreamed of being a ballerina yet  early on it was clear I lacked the confidence and determination to be one.  Plagued with self depreciation in the mirror of my mind it revealed a distorted image. Over and over rehearsing the lies and half truths  till they spun out of control.

This frame already began igniting  truths to see  myself not with  limited abilities but rather unlimited possibility.  Dancing if not fully in body  (though I still give it a try in  private) certainly could allow my spirit to confidently move within my soul.  An open invitation  graciously extended to all His sons and daughters.

Our King of Kings and Lord of Lords who rejoices over us with singing, lovingly calling us to dance with Him; moving us with glided steps, twirling freedom and  leaps of faith  producing joy before our feet even touch the floor.  Eyes fixed on the lover of our soul never longing to stray nor wander from His plans and purposes… in step with His lead.  While He remains completely enthralled with us regardless of our two left feet, capturing His acceptance  with reckless abandonment.

What a comfort to know that this dance school drop out is free from the shame of past mistakes and labels imprinted with lies as ink. The safety of the ballet bar no longer needed beyond its’ true intent and purpose.

Clinging to Christ alone and letting go of our crutches, may “We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his doors to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand–out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise”.* Today may you accept His invitation to dance, walking away from past hindrance or good intentions, stepping out into your life filled with a plethora of dreams, a gleaming new start pulsating with vibrant hope.  When you do you don’t be surprised to experience what Abba sings so poignantly that not only can  you  dance you’ll be…  “having the time of your life”.

*Rom. 5:2-4 The Message Bible.