A most rewarding part about teaching dance fitness classes is watching my participants begin to let go of their fear of moving in front of other people. At first, many people feel self-conscious and embarrassed. However, over time they begin to get more comfortable with moving their bodies and begin to care less about what people think. I watch them lose their inhibitions and become more free; it is a lovely transition to behold. It doesn't matter if they are 16 or 60, it is an incredible sight. Not only is there freedom for my participants, there is freedom for me as well. That hour that I have the privilege of instructing them in dance fitness is an hour where I can move with them to the music and feel truly free. It has been a gift from God in my life.
One of the reasons that I started this blog is because I was desiring a new creative outlet as I entered a new stage of life. You know that phrase, 'a woman of a certain age'? I guess that applies to a woman who is not quite young and not quite old? Or is it not young and just old? I don't know. I only know for sure it means not a teenager. Well, I am going to change that phrase. Since it's my blog I can do what I want. On this blog the new phrase is 'a woman of a certainly beautiful age'.
Tragedy has brought very dark days and disillusionment was an unwelcome intruder into my life. Just like the woman named Much-Afraid, in the book Hinds' Feet on High Places, Sorrow and Suffering have been my two companions. God has used the creative process of blogging in my life to lead me to freedom. It is a vulnerable place to post photos for people to see and thoughts for people to read. My kids or my husband take the photos of me and they aren't really photographers. I don't really know how to use my camera. Aim and shoot. On auto-focus. I don't have Photoshop so I can't edit a perfect looking image. I've never studied fashion design, I just like style. I don't consider myself a writer. I wasn't even an English major in college. And when I write my thoughts about Christianity...well, I'm not a theologian, I'm a woman holding on to Jesus. So every time I write a new post and I click the button that says 'Publish', I surrender. I surrender fearing what people think. I surrender the fear of someone not liking what I wrote. I surrender the fear of people forming opinions about me; that I am either full of myself or obviously needing praise. Every time I surrender those fears, I look to God for my worth.
My desire is not to let the disillusionment of life and broken dreams define who I am. I want to be like Much-Afraid and take the hands of my companions Sorrow and Suffering and journey to the High Places. Transformed by my loving Shepherd from Much-Afraid into Grace and Glory where Sorrow and Suffering become Joy and Peace.
A few weeks ago I was thrifting at Mel Trotter and ran into my friend Kellie. When I arrived back home I decided I should ask Kellie if she would let me feature her on my blog. And she said she would. Kellie is also a woman of a certainly beautiful age and she is certainly beautiful. She came over the other day dressed perfectly for a cold, windy fall day. She wore a jacket, scarf, cute mittens, red boots, and a pair of thrifted jeans. When you can find a great fitting pair of thrifted jeans, you hit the jackpot. Have you seen the price of new jeans lately?! Yikes!
My time on Saturday taking photographs of Kellie was like watching the ladies in my classes when they lose their inhibitions. She felt a little unsure when I started taking the photos, but I watched her release that and have fun. She was glowing!
As a woman of a certainly beautiful age, I am learning that even while you hold the hands of Sorrow and Suffering, Jesus offers you freedom. Freedom from the fear of what people think. Freedom from believing that the lies you heard during your tragedies are true. Freedom from letting the opinions or actions of others define your worth. And he will foster that freedom in unexpected ways like music, style, dancing, and blogging.
Now let me introduce Kellie, my certainly beautiful friend.