We have boot scuff marks on our living room ceiling.

Our son pointed them out as our family sat together sharing our ‘funniest stories ever.’ He has told the story about the ‘dance gone wrong’ many times, and with each telling, one thing is certain…laughter.

dancing on the ceiling ellen oelsen

All three of our sons have taken dance lessons. That means our daughter, being an ever ready dance partner, has too. I have watched in awe as they perform dance moves that require athletics and strength to lift and twirl dancers above their heads while dancing the Texas Two-step. But on occasion, our living room ceiling was just too low.

This past summer our entire family attended the wedding of a childhood friend of one of our sons. The venue was an old Texas dance hall reinvented from its glory days. The seasoned barn wood and the floors polished by leather boot soles gave testimony to its history. Potato sacks lined the ceilings and the walls creating a perfect back drop for twinkling white lights. Electric fans the size of small economy cars blew air into the hot Texas evening.

Our family filled one round table. The bride and groom arrived and the toasts were made. I was not expecting what happened next.

The crowd fell silent as the father of the groom stood, made some announcements and invited our son to pray. I watched a grown man stand up from our table and walk to the podium. He prayed a blessing over the couple and over the evening.

Have you ever been surprised by an unexpected gift?

My heart caught in my chest. I glanced at my husband and our eyes locked in a sacred moment of knowing. Two warriors who have fought hard to rediscover God and his truth for our marriage and family.

The bride and groom danced and the floor was open for guests to enjoy.

“Let’s get the party going.”

My husband squeezed my hand and I hesitated.

I would have spoken an instant ‘YES” if there had been other people dancing. But there weren’t.

My husband is an unpredictable man of fun and he does not follow any rules while dancing. He dips in unexpected spaces, he spins without warning and he sings loudly with lyrics all his own. My hesitation was to wait for other dancers to hide behind….

“Everyone is watching-you’ll look like a fool!” The perfectionist inside my head was alive and well, begging me to sit it out.

But the dancer inside me was alive and well too.

The courageous one who rises to a challenge and risks dancing in the unknown and unpredictable in spite of the possibility that the dance could go wrong.

I chose to dance.

We were the only couple on the dance floor for what seemed like an eternity when I looked up and saw our kids watching. They joined us on the dance floor and in my mind I heard the words and saw a flashing neon sign heralding the words “Victory Dance”.

There we were on the dance floor…a testimony of our history together…a testimony of God’s faithfulness.

… “We will not hide them from ‘our’ children;
we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,
his power and the wonders he has done…”
Psalm 78:4


photo-4Ellen Oelsen lives in the Texas Hill Country with her husband of 26 years. She is a mother of 4 children and loves their 2 dogs and 1 cat. Her hobbies include cooking, nature, reading, plays, and two stepping. She delights in offering hospitality of the heart and creating spaces of care, rest, play and reflection to inspire hope. She is beginning to expose the writer within her.
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