Updated: Mar 5
March 3, 2023
[Autographed ballet slippers from The Nutcracker.]
All my life he called me “Little Tiny” – this dad I knew growing up. His song for me was Tiny Dancer:
Ballerina You must have seen her Dancing in the sand Now she's in me Always with me Tiny dancer in my hand
He used to tell me about how, when I was a newborn, I fit perfectly along the length of his arm. With my head cradled in his hand, my feet just reached the bend in his elbow. I was born a few weeks early, so “Little Tiny” was fitting.
When I was 5, I started taking ballet classes. I was soon put in advanced classes, and before long, I could do full splits in the air. My ballet teacher wanted to put me in toe shoes, but my mom, concerned about the damage that would do to my young feet, took me out of ballet entirely. But I was so obsessed with becoming a prima ballerina during this time, I wanted to change my name to Tina. (I had a 45-rpm record called “Tina the Ballerina” that heavily influenced me.)
I was named after my grandmother, Mary. Because we called her “Mary,” instead of a nickname for a grandmother, and because my middle name was Susan, to avoid confusion, my parents and siblings called me “Mary Sue.” But when I announced to Mary that I wanted to change my name to Tina so it would rhyme with ballerina, she acted shocked and asked, “You mean you don’t want to have the same name as me?” I felt guilty about my desired name change for years after that.
But back to the dad I had. He made some mistakes. Some really big, really hurtful mistakes. His dad did, too, I guess. And they weren’t the kind of mistakes that we could explain. They were strange mistakes – mind-boggling, actually. None of us was ever able to imagine any explanation at all. But it’s all OK now.
After he died, two of my brothers had visions of him with Jesus, and I had a dream. In my dream I saw my dad as a child, about eight years old, standing on a rock in a river, fishing. As the scene pulled back, I saw a man in a blood-stained robe standing on the bank of the river under some trees, watching my dad. It was Jesus. He was wearing the scarlet stains of my dad’s sin, and my dad was free – free from whatever tormented him that made him do what he did. I’m free now, too. I’m actually all grown up now.
It’s funny. When I met first met Jesus – actually met Him in person, not just in theory – he allowed me to sit in a beautiful garden with Him for quite some time. Then mom died, and things got really hard. But by then I knew Him, and He was unbelievably close to me during that time.
Yet the effect of my dad’s mistakes lingered, persisted, and even tormented me, until recently. In November 2022, I went through deliverance ministry. A few weeks later, as I was outside feeding the doves who frequent our backyard, one dove lingered in the tree above me and cooed several times before it fluttered away. I was aware I was being watched. I was in a fluffy robe with my hair down, and I felt clean, warm, safe, and at peace. I had a deep awareness of who my Father really is. The knowledge that I was a Child of God finally settled deep into my heart. What a long journey it is from the head to the heart. But now I know I belong to God. Before this, I was really only striving to believe it.
I am a child of God. He is my Father, and my protector. He is the glory, and the lifter of my head. Now I’m a Tiny Dancer again, this time for my Abba, Father, the Creator of the universe, who chose me before the foundation of the world. The One who gave His perfect Son to die for me, and to marry me at His return. So, I dance and sing and praise and pray and talk to Him, and keep Him close. He is always on my mind. And I have always been on His.
Now He’s in me
Always with me
Tiny Dancer in His hand