I have become a collector of hearts, but I do not collect just any hearts. They are gifts from my daughter, Danielle. Each is like a time capsule, capturing a memory from her youth.
One is a foil heart. She added two colors of ink to make it extra pretty.
Yet another is a heart-shaped rock she found in the garden. I still remember her squeal of delight with this discovery. She skipped to me, carrying her little rock. We washed it in the hose. She kissed me on the cheek and told me her little treasure was now mine. Periodically she checked with me to make sure I cradled the heart to her satisfaction.
One heart is of twisted wire, fashioned as a pendant for me to wear.
Another is of clay. Because she was older, the detail is more refined and thinner, with letters “I” and “U” flanking this heart.
I look at these hearts often, as I remember 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.
Pretend you are 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 the bowling ball is a giant beach ball. Yes, you’re an active girl. Your hair is golden, 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 are learning from loves Jesus. Then it happens…
You are in church with Daddy and Mommy and Lil’ Bro. A holy hush comes upon the Sunday congregation. You listen in. There’s a stirring, as spontaneous worship begins. 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)
Your dance is the perfect picture of what Jesus says about the innocent trust of a child. - Diane Cunio Click To Tweet
Yes, to your momma’s delight, you worship as only a child can fully do. You are carefree, authentic, 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 momma has worn all your life. You tell me, “I wanna wear a cross with a heart just like you, Mommy.”
“Sweetheart,” I say, “when you know what it means to be saved, Momma promises you, I’ll get you a heart-cross pendant.”
“It’s just that… Well, sweetie you’re only four.”
“Yes. Your birthday is very soon. We’ll celebrate it.”
“I wanna wear a heart. With a cross.”
You cross your arms.
“When you understand…”
“But Mommy, I do understand.”
“How about you tell Mommy what you believe about Jesus.”
“He died on the cross, and He is alive.”
“And He loves me this much!” You spread your hands as wide as you can. “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 you do understand.”
* * *
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 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, of four-and-a-half, who knows without reservation that John 3:16 is real.
Copyright 2016: All Rights Reserved: VineWords Stories and Devotions Inspired by the Vine: Author Diane Virginia Cunio; Pen Name, Diane Virginia; Dancing Shoes: http://www.vinewords.net
Dancing Shoes is a fictional story, 99 ½ percent true, about my daughter, Danielle.