Dancing With Destiny

by | Jun 29, 2012 | Five Minute Friday

My daughter’s suitcase smells like Jamaican red clay mixed with sweat,rainwater and salvation. Dirty t-shirts lay intertwined with hand painted canvas, murals of palms and sea.  The beauty of poverty brought home and the lilt of her voice reveals an exchange of the wallflower ticket for a dance with the King.

She’s smitten.

She waxes long of bumpy bus rides, steep hills and carrying concrete blocks. The way the local boy works beside them joyful. Because it’s his house they built.  Of enthusiastic eyes of an evangelist, tender words and hearts draped over altars. Conversations that fill empty trenches.

And with each scoop of dirty clothes into the washer, the fragrance of Jesus permeates perspective. It’s in the experience of getting our hands and feet dirty with the soot of the world that we understand our need to be clean.

He’s twirling her around in laughter on the dance floor now, her dress swaying in His embrace. And the fragrance of Jesus, it smells beautiful on her.

Let them praise his name in dance; strike up the band and make great music! And why? Because God delights in his people, festoons plain folk with salvation garlands! ~Psalm 149:3, MSG

My humble thanks to those of you who gave to my sweet daughter in prayer and deed so she could experience this mission trip to Jamaica.

Ever taken a mission trip? How did it change you?

Linking with Lisa-Jo for Five Minute Friday with the one word prompt: Dance.

And joining Graceful Summer with Michelle today too.


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  1. Amy

    Spending my life in China 🙂 … did not see that one coming 23 years ago when it first came on the radar! So glad your daughter had the experience and your support!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      She can’t wait to go back in two years, and to Pittsburgh next year for outreach. Her heart is on fire. And that is a good thing.

  2. Sandra Heska King

    Oh girl. I think you’ve danced with Him before, too. I smell that fragrance on you.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      You keep me humble Sandy, thanks for your kindness.

  3. Jennie Pollock

    What a beautiful word-picture. There’s not many people who can smell heaven in a pile of dirty laundry! Glad I stumbled on your post through the 5 Minute Friday link up today.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Jennie, please fall right into a chair and stay awhile. So glad you came by. I’m pulling a load out of the dryer now, wanna help me fold?

  4. r.elliott

    Shelly…so glad she is home and that her heart is full…this is so true… “It’s in the experience of getting our hands and feet dirty with the soot of the world that we understand our need to be clean.” My son returned from his trip…seeing more of his need for Christ. enjoy and drink up as her heart pours forth…blessed day to you my friend.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      So thankful for our kids that teach us how to live better Ro. Thankful for you. Hope you have a great weekend.

  5. Kristin

    What a beautiful picture put into words!
    I’ve never been on an overseas mission trip but my son has…Costa Rica and Scotland. He’s hoping to go to Africa some day. He wants to be a full -time missionary after college.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I hope you get the chance to go an overseas trip one day Kristin. There is nothing like it to give you perspective. Your son sounds wonderful.

  6. Tereasa

    Wow! That went by so quickly. (From this end, anyway.) I am dancing with your daughter to the music of memories. She will never forget this experience and I pray it will change her forever.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      It seemed fast and like forever all at the same time. I am so thankful for these markers in her life that shape her into the woman God plans for her to become. Thank you for your prayers, they are mine as well.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Oh, I hope you have a wonderful trip. Really enjoyed your story about the girl from Africa, it touched me deeply.

  7. Heidi

    Beautiful post Shelly! What a blessing for your daughter… a dance she will not soon forget 🙂 Blessings!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Amen Heidi. I hope not. She is already looking forward to the next one!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I think you have become my friday promoter Eileen. Your tweets are so gracious, really. Thank you.

  8. Debbie Petras (@Panda444)

    How beautifully you write about your daughter’s mission trip and …dance!

    I went on a mission trip to Haiti years ago. I remember thinking that I would never complain about having enough stuff after seeing the poverty. It has stayed with me through the years.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Yes Debbie, there is something about going on a missions trip that changes us in a way that nothing else can. So glad you stopped by. Hear is super hot in Phoenix already.

  9. Pam@Writing...Apples of Gold

    “He’s twirling her around in laughter on the dance floor now, her dress swaying in His embrace. And the fragrance of Jesus, it smells beautiful on her.” Love those words and that beautiful image, Shelly! And the version of the scripture you shared – lovely, never heard that before (I could have used that one on my latest post 🙂 I may use it for one upcoming on the same subject) Sounds like your daughter was blessed to be a blessing! Beautiful…

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I saw it before I wrote it, which is usually the case when I write. Thanks Pam. I know, I love that version of scripture too. It sings in a new way.

  10. Annie Danielson

    Your amazing gift of painting holy pictures of life in Jesus transports me back to the beautiful truth of who He is and how divine life in Him truly is! Thank you for a lovely gift this morning 🙂

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Annie, this comment just made me teary. Thank you. Really. Those words coming from you is great encouragement, an answer to prayers. I’m humbled.

  11. Heather

    I love this. So beautiful. What an amazing experience for your daughter. And blessing for her mom.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Yes, the trip was a gift to us both. In more ways that one. 🙂

  12. wolfsrosebud

    beautiful piece… a joy to know youth are serving… lovely write

    • Redemption's Beauty

      It is a beautiful thing to see the heart of a young one turned toward serving and loving Jesus. I am so grateful.

  13. simplystriving

    So grateful she went. So relieved she’s home. I never knew laundry could be a sacred event until I became a parent…and I love how you get it, too.

    You captivated me, friend. beautiful

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Me too. Glad to have them both back home and sighing relief that God heard my prayers, answered beyond my expectation. He just has a beautiful way of doing that doesn’t He?

  14. Mindy @ New Equus - A New Creation

    Love this! We are getting ready to go to Honduras in two weeks and my daughter has been bitten by the missions bug but to Italy no less! 🙂 GREAT post!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Oh wow, would love to go to Italy and blessings on your trip to Honduras. May you see and experience much fruit.

  15. kelli- AdventurezInChildRearing

    yes yes – what an awesome experience- I love the comparison – Jesus really is in it all – it’s all for Him 😉 “with each scoop of dirty clothes in the washer – the fragrance of Jesus permeates perspective” love love this!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thanks Kelli, love your enthusiasm, its contagious.

  16. Lynn Morrissey

    Oh Shelly, I can just picture your daughter dancing with Jesus right there in the Jamaican trenches. How I loved reading about the way she followed her Partner’s lead straight to the least and the lost. In 2011, my daughter Sheridan and I waltzed across the ocean to Prague to share Jesus with those who had been oppressed by Communism for years, to those who had lost the music. The tragedy that they couldn’t even hear its echo was etched firmly into the frowns and creases of their countenance. We didn’t think we would ever see them smile. And then, as our choir sang American Gospel songs and songs in their native Czech tongue, we knew we were singing the universal language, the language of angels, the language understood by the soul. God connected our hearts to theirs with the language of love and the sounds of music. I think God danced with delight in heaven that day, as frowns turned to festoons of praise. Some received Him as Lord and were decked with garlands of salvation. Thank you so for sharing and for helping me to remember this! It makes *me* want to dance!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      What a beautiful story of your experience on the mission field. It does much to change us doesn’t it? And the fact that you got to experience that together is such a gift.

      • Lynn Morrissey

        It was incredible, Shelly. This was Sheridan’s sr. trip w/ her Xn school choir. OUr lives will never be the same! And how wonderful that your precious girl is so open to sharing her heart w/ you!!

  17. Brenda @Triple Braided

    Shelly, your writing is absolutely beautiful! I went on my first mission trip to Africa this past November, and wow! It’s hard to put into words. There was a purpose like I’ve never felt. Thank you for sharing your daughter’s experience with us!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I’ve been to Africa several times and the first time we went as a family and our kids were very young but it made a huge impression on them. My daughter wants to go back some day. Glad you got to have that experience. Africa casts a spell on you as soon as you set your feet on the soil, a piece of your heart is left there.

  18. lolitavalle

    The first dance is always so awe-inspiring. You could never begin to really describe how felt. The time that you were in the spot where healing and grace abounds……makes you feel the arms of Jesus and see Him smiling down at you.

    She is right on the road, Shelly. It is so admirable for one so young to have the heart of a missionary.

    There will be more ballrooms to come for her to keep her in the arms of Jesus. Alleluia. God bless you and yours.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      It wasn’t her first time on a missions trip but her first time to the Caribbean and going internationally without the family with her. Yes, I agree. I am so thankful for her heart of compassion for others. Love that ballroom analogy – beautiful.

  19. Michelle DeRusha

    Your daughter is amazing (I suspect she gets that from you!).

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thanks Casey, appreciate the link. I’ll check it out.

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