When she was six years old, our daughter Anna fell in love with dance. She took a ballet/tap combination class every Tuesday (we called it “Tutu Tuesday”), and I knew the depth of Anna’s love for her new art when she was sick one weekend and told me, “I have to get better by Tuesday so I can go to dance.”
Four months after Anna first put on her ballet slippers, her grandfather—my husband’s father—died unexpectedly. “Papa Lonn” was young, healthy, and vibrant. His death was an utter shock. In one terrible moment, my husband lost his dad, best friend, business mentor, confidante, wood-cutting partner, fellow college sports enthusiast, and earthly model of Abba—God as “daddy.”
Our family was thrown into a season of grief we were completely unprepared for, and we started, blindly, into the year of firsts without Lonn.
We soon learned that Anna’s dance recital would take place on Father’s Day Eve: the night before my husband’s first Father’s Day without his dad. I anticipated a weekend we would simply get through, would merely survive.
But I started asking God to redeem the day, to make something of it beyond what it would be without His intervention. I asked Him to make it more than just a day we would grit our way through.
Redemption carries with it the idea of something being held captive, of a price being paid for the release of someone imprisoned. The prisoner is powerless to secure his own freedom, and his redeemer rescues him by covering the cost.
I asked God to release my husband’s Father’s Day—and Anna’s recital day—from sorrow, loss, grief, and dread. I asked Jehovah to pay the price and free the day to be glorious.
On Father's Day Eve, my husband, his mom, my parents, Anna’s big sister, and I took over a row in the auditorium and settled in for our family’s first-ever dance recital. Nothing could have prepared us for the worship experience we saw and took part in that night—a tapestry of music and movement. We watched Anna’s class come on stage: in their electric-blue tutus, they had the audience before they even started dancing.
We beamed proudly as Anna steadily performed each movement. At the end of the night, she was awarded a scholarship we had no idea was coming, and we gasped in surprised delight. It was glorious.
The day after the recital, as we celebrated Father’s Day without Lonn, I knew God had said yes to my prayer: He had redeemed the day. He had bought it back from mourning and had purchased it for dancing. Abba had given a gift to my husband, who had lost his earthly daddy but still found joy in the careful steps of a little girl in a blue tutu.
“And they sang a new song: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain and with your blood you purchased men for God' " (Revelation 5:9).
Do you have something you need God to redeem? An ugly relationship? A sinful habit you can’t seem to break? An anniversary or milestone you’re dreading? Whatever it is, there is a Redeemer for it—the LORD of hosts, the Almighty. Ask Him to buy it back from whatever is holding it captive and make it more than it can be without Him. Ask the Redeemer to repair, restore, and renew your relationship. Ask Him to free you from your destructive habit. Ask Him to give you hope for the date looming on your calendar.
And when He does, I hope you feel like dancing.
Written By: Elizabeth Spencer
Elizabeth Spencer is a great sinner rescued by a great Savior. She is also a wife, mom of two daughters, worship team member, Bible study facilitator, baker, band parent, and unaccomplished pianist. She blogs about faith, family, motherhood, and chocolate at Guilty Chocoholic Mama and writes bite-sized Bible studies for tween and teen girls and their mentors at Sweet For Your Soul.