Dancing in the Arms of God: Finding Intimacy and Fulfillment by Following His Lead

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9780310201137: Dancing in the Arms of God: Finding Intimacy and Fulfillment by Following His Lead

Deep within, every woman longs for her own Cinderella experience: to rise from her humble past, discover the best in herself, and be appreciated by a true, lasting love. Yet, her own efforts to fill the yearning often end in tatters. And no man can rescue her. %In Dancing in the Arms of God, the Cinderella fairy tale provides a powerful allegory for women's deepest hopes and dreams and the God who longs to fill them. It's a message proved true in the life of author Connie Neal. For all of us who have wrestled with disillusionment, abandonment, our own limitations, and the lies that whisper we're not beautiful, Connie's true-life insights reveal what it means to dance with God . . . following his lead until every promise he's ever made proves true.

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From the Author:

Connie Neal is an inspirational speaker and author of numerous books. She lives in Antelope, California, with her husband, Patrick, and their three children

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

ONE Dancing in the Arms of God Finding intimacy and fulfillment by following his lead Perhaps we love the Cinderella fairy tale so because it corresponds to a hope within every one of us. It captures the desire of all humanity in its promise of deliverance from bondage, its hope for a 'happily ever after.' And its themes speak deeply to longings hidden within us. Some women seek fulfillment by looking inside themselves. But true fulfillment comes by looking to God, yielding to his loving embrace, and following his lead. It's not an independent effort; it's a dynamic relationship. I call it dancing in the arms of God. Cinderella themes resonate throughout the Bible, drawing me in, stirring up hope that my hunger for intimacy and desire for personal fulfillment can be satisfied. The prophet Isaiah says that God comes to mend broken hearts and set prisoners free. He promises a crown of beauty, the oil of gladness, and a garment of praise (Isaiah 61:3). Those who have had a hopeless beginning can be freed and transformed to display God's splendor. This is the promise of God, who cannot lie. I cherish my Cinderella aspirations in light of God's promise. Perhaps I do so because my early life mirrors the beginning of the story, and my aspirations, like Cinderella's, exceed anything I could reach without powerful help. I share my story to encourage you to rekindle your Cinderella aspirations regardless of where you now find yourself. The black and white snapshot came from a box of old family photographs. The little girl in the photo looks to be about six or seven. Her long, blond hair is parted evenly into two ponytails, each adorned with ribbons tied in pretty bows. Her bangs are shiny-clean and well combed, and her plaid dress is smoothed into folds. The smile on her little-girl face beams brightly. But she is seated on a garbage can, amidst other garbage cans in an alley. The photograph is a picture of me as a little girl. I don't remember who took the picture. I have no idea why they would put such a pretty little girl out with the trash. Surely that is not what they meant to do. But the picture connected with something hidden deep inside me, something I feared about myself. It seemed that, regardless of how pretty I looked or how sweetly I smiled, anyone seeing the photo would see me only in the context of the garbage surrounding me. Like Cinderella, whose beauty was originally obscured by the cinders in which she sat, I feared that the circumstances that had surrounded my life might keep me from expressing the beauty shining in that little girl's smile. I feared that, no matter how hard I worked or how much I tried, I might always live my life against the backdrop of garbage. When that photograph was taken, I was trying hard to hold on to my hopes and dreams, even though the harsh realities of life threatened to disillusion me. My sister and I were being shuffled back and forth each week between two sets of parents: Mom and her husband, Abie, and my Dad and his wife, Edith. My mom and dad had never been married to each other. Mom drank heavily. Her husband, Abie, was dying of emphysema at the age of forty-four. Two of their five children were teenagers, still living at home, and one son was in prison. My sister and I, Mom's two youngest daughters, also lived with her and Abie during the week, staying at our dad's house on the weekends. I was very close to my stepfather, Abie, and held a favored position in his eyes. This only made the pain of watching him slowly cough himself to death that much harder to take. I tried my best to be a good girl, desperately hoping that if I were good enough I could hold back death. But for the first time, I realized a valuable lesson: I didn't have the power to protect myself or those I loved. Abie died when I was seven. Mom drank more regularly and grew terribly depressed, behaving erratically after Abie's death. Yet the more Mom drank, the harder I tried to please her. I couldn't help thinking that if I could make her proud enough of me, maybe she wouldn't drink anymore. For years I tried to be good enough to change those I loved. When that didn't work, I rebelled, daring anyone who cared to try to turn my life around. No one seemed to notice or care, at least not enough to do anything. All the while, part of me was still that little girl, smiling my best, hoping someone would see me the real me and love me. I always had the feeling my life mattered greatly to someone out there, to whoever created me. I wanted God to come to my rescue, but I didn't know how to reach him. I struggled through several difficult years, losing touch with the God I believed in as a child. I also lost touch with my little-girl hope that I was a special person. All hope I had of distancing myself from the pain and struggles around me began to fade, and I ventured into adolescence with a fair amount of anger because life wasn't turning out as I had wanted. I began to medicate my anger and uncertainty with alcohol and recreational drugs. One cold January night when I was fourteen, I went with a friend to a place called Calvary Chapel. We didn't go looking for God; like most girls our age, we went to meet boys. The enormous tent was filled with others like my friend and me: young people in search of a good time, drawn by word that something unusual was happening here. The young people in the crowd dressed casually, in jeans and jackets and tie-dyed skirts. Some had blankets wrapped around their shoulders to fend off the cold. Some looked like hippies I saw a lot of long-haired boys and more than a few pairs of drug-dazed eyes. Not your typical church crowd.

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Neal, Connie
Published by Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.A. (1995)
ISBN 10: 0310201136 ISBN 13: 9780310201137
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Book Description Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.A., 1995. Hard Cover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. Third Printing. A Zondervan Christian Biography hardback, INSCRIBED AND SIGNED BY AUTHOR. Book condition is new, no wear, no writing other than by author or stamps, Dust Jacket is also new with only light edge wear.*We have other titles in this genre in stock and give discounts in shipping on additional books sent in the same package, please contact us for more info.**.WRAPPED IN A PLASTIC BAG TO PROTECT CONDITION OF BOOK.Summary - Deep within, every woman longs for her own Cinderella experience: to rise from her humble past, discover the best in herself, and be appreciated by a true, lasting love. Yet, her own efforts to fill the yearning often end in tatters. And no man can rescue her. In Dancing in the Arms of God, the Cinderella fairy tale provides a powerful allegory for women's deepest hopes and dreams and the God who longs to fill them. It's a message proved true in the life of author Connie Neal. For all of us who have wrestled with disillusionment, abandonment, our own limitations, and the lies that whisper we're not beautiful, Connie's true-life insights reveal what it means to dance with God . . . following his lead until every promise he's ever made proves true. Signed by Author. Bookseller Inventory # 111006202

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