A Letter to The Three-Year-Old Girl Who Showed Us What It Means to Step on God’s Great Dance Floor

April 20, 2015 | 6 comments

Dear Gracie. Amazing, amazing Gracie. 

We went to your baptism on Sunday, and I can honestly say that I’ve never been to a baptism quite like yours.

You couldn’t stop dancing. It was like a Jesus Dance Party with fireworks—all exploding in you. (Video at the end of this post.)

There was no music—at least that any of us could hear. But you must have heard the inaudible song, because your three-year-old self wouldn’t stop dancing. It made the rest of us yearn to hear what you were hearing, and to feel what you were feeling. And that’s what you did for us, Amazing Gracie. You made us feel again.

You were the music, and you helped us hear it, too.

You wouldn’t stop dancing. Not during the responsive readings. Or during Pastor Adam’s explanation of baptism. Or during the prayers.

You wouldn’t stop dancing until Adam was about to put water on your head. And then you stood on tip-toes, straining so you could see.

The only thing that stopped you in your tracks? Was grace.

Amazing grace.

We all stood still with you, in awe.


Later, your new friend Carlos Whitaker delivered a message, about letting God “blow your mind every single day.” It was a pretty awesome message, but I felt kind of sorry for Carlos, having to follow up a three-year-old’s mind-blowing interpretation of the gospel. 🙂

Carlos didn’t seem to mind.

Sweet Gracie, You moved us all. And you moved something inside of us all.

You showed us what it looks like to dance on the hem of glory.

Your little dance party was more than amusing. It was sacred. It was Gospel, leaping off the pages of our Bibles and landing upon your sandaled feet.

May you always dance, Gracie.

May you always live creativity. Teach everyone you meet how to hear the music, and how to make poetry with your whole self, unashamed.

It wouldn’t surprise me, if you feel the music under your ribs.

I hope you never forget what that feels like, because there will be days when the music is hard to hear. I pray that your soul never forgets what it knows right now.

You made people hope again, Gracie. There were people in that room who haven’t smiled for a long time, but you made them smile. That’s the power of a strong life-force like yours. That’s more powerful than any office you’ll sit in, any ladder you’ll climb, any Who’s Who list you land on.

I read something once about how Jesus invites us all to a dance every single day, but we have turned that dance into a rigid march. We’re always looking to the left or to the right, to see if we’re doing it right. We start forming lines. Legalism draws the dance out of us. And we carry on like soldiers instead.

Legalism will try to cram you into a tiny box. But keep living outside of the box, sweet girl. Keep making up your own moves. Never apologize for who you are. Live the dance.

Let us always be like David, who said it like this: “In God’s presence I’ll dance all I want! … Oh yes, I’ll dance to God’s glory—more recklessly even than this.”

I want to dance like you, Amazing Gracie. I want to dance, holy and undignified, because there will always be something that makes me not want to dance. There will always be something that tells me I don’t have time for dancing: tight deadlines, laundry piles, a fever, a conference call, a messy floor, a sick kid, the ring around the tub, hurt feelings, smashed-up pride, bad hair, rejection letters, whatever. Any of that can keep us from stepping onto God’s great dance floor.

But then we would miss it, wouldn’t we? Gracie, you taught us on Sunday morning how to not miss it.

Little lady — Thank you for showing us what it looks like to live in the mind-blowing grace of God, to kiss the floor with your feet, to do a cartwheel every day, to be the music you can’t hear, to dance the sacred dance,
and to be all you,
fully you,
beloved you.

We love you, Gracie.

~ Jennifer

Video of Gracie’s Unforgettable Baptism

(Email subscribers, click here to view the video on my blog.)

by | April 20, 2015 | 6 comments


  1. Caryn Jenkins Christensen

    Oh.my.goodness! Oh YES! What an awesome reminder to DANCE before the Lord! You had me at “you couldn’t stop dancing” and I smiled through this entire post. How happy the Lord must be when we dance with all of our hearts before Him! Thanks Jennifer <3

    • dukeslee

      It as an unforgettable moment. Thanks for reading and sharing, Caryn.

  2. Veronica

    Go, Gracie, Go! Look at that big smile and boundless exuberance. 🙂 And how amazing that her parents didn’t try to quiet her, but gave her the freedom to dance big. Thank you for sharing this video and message, it made my day.

    • dukeslee

      Right, Veronica! I thought the same thing.

  3. Nancy Ruegg

    My pastor-husband (now retired) officiated many baptisms for infants and young children over the years. Almost always the fussing, fidgeting, and crying stopped as the actual baptism took place. I often wondered if these young souls are more in tune with the Spirit of God than we might think. Little Gracie is no exception. Praise God for her exuberance that encourages us to celebrate with holy abandon!

    • dukeslee

      The same with Gracie, Nancy. As soon as it was time for the actual baptism, she stopped moving and stood up on those tip toes to see what was about to happen. Such a beautiful picture! Thanks for sharing, Nancy.


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