Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Dishes in the Sink...

Dirty dishes stacked, spilling out of the sink... it's a sight that has always discouraged me. I don't like starting a new day cleaning up yesterday's mess!

But one way marriage has been good for me is that while I can tend towards being a (mild) neat freak, Ryan, while he enjoys a clean house and thanks me for it, isn't as bothered by messes. He easily overlooks them, and his priorities are in different, better places.

Evenings are precious time together to read, walk, sing, pray, or spend time with friends. While I would naturally  clean up after supper, Ryan often wants that time to be together - he just got home from work in time for dinner, and it's time to connect. So I'm learning to choose to look away from the sink and into the eyes of my love. We're building memories that last, a relationship with a strong foundation of quality time.

And those dirty dishes? Ryan surprised me early in on marriage one day by thanking me for them. He'd gone into the kitchen before me, and said when he saw the dishes, it reminded him of a great evening and made him think, "My wife loves me."

While I'll still take the times I can to do dishes at night (while Ryan sings and plays at the piano, reads to me, or completes a one-man task), I'm learning it's sometimes better to leave them. Showing my husband love is more important than having a spotless house.

The site of those dishes still makes me sigh inside, but ever more they're a reminder of my love for Ryan. They make me smile, as I remember the evening that left them there. So, as times to choose love over perfectionism arise, I'll keep leaving dishes in the sink...

Monday, May 13, 2013

God Fulfills His Promises!

The lights dim, and the audience hushes in anticipation. I’ve seen this a dozen times, sometimes sitting in the audience as I am now, sometimes from the wings. But as the music begins and the dancers spin into motion, there’s a crucial difference: I don’t know the steps.

So much has changed in 4 months. Sure, I know more than the average attendee; I helped guide the choice of songs and costumes, and answered questions along the way. I know almost every one of the dancers by name. But as “The Promise Fulfilled” gets underway, I stop thinking about the “how’s” – I forget to note specific choreography as the dance tells the story; I don’t think about how the dancers got onstage (though I know the ins and outs of how hectic line-ups can be!) as I’m caught up in the moment; I don’t know if a dancer misses a step because I didn’t choreograph the dance. And it’s powerful.

I expected to be amazed at what God has done, as He took something started when I was 16, made it grow, and continued it after I left with a team of my former students, but I didn’t expect to be blown away! I was moved by the presentation, by the story brought to life. It made the life and death of Jesus real in a new way.

“The Promise Fulfilled” was the perfect name… not just in how it fit the storyline of the ballet. It rang true in the way God faithfully brought things together when I was tempted to doubt and wonder how on earth I could get married mid dance-year, and leave my students with no classes to continue. “Trust Me” He kept saying, as I trained in replacements and yet still knew I’d failed to communicate some things. And trustworthy He is! I smile as I squeeze the hand of the man next to me – my HUSBAND. At the time I started choosing songs last year for this presentation, I hadn’t even met him. But now I have a shoulder to lean on, someone to whisper observations to, and there’s a little one growing inside me. All those years I wondered if I was doing the right thing, pouring my life into a bunch of girls instead of getting out and meeting guys… God knew. “Trust Me” He’d say… His faithfulness is amazing!

From the stage, it doesn’t seem like much has changed. Familiar faces beam with smiles as they dance for the Lord. And yet, I enjoy the new choreography with fresh styles; girls I’ve had in class since age 4 execute moves I didn’t teach them; I see growth and progress. The girls that took over aren’t just “filling the gap” and allowing things to continue as normal. They’re growing in creativity, and challenging the students to progress. They’re glorifying the Lord in greater ways. And as I see a student I couldn’t get to smile beaming with confidence and joy, I see that the teachers aren’t just training them in skill; they’re mentoring them and pouring the love of Jesus into their lives.

An exciting change is the addition of more guys to the stage – 15 to be exact! The guys that had filled roles for us in the past have grown in strength and expression, and when a group of 8 took the stage (the song a complete surprise to me!), moving perfectly together and looking like they were having a blast, I wanted to cheer. Wow – God’s taken something that started primarily for girls and given guys a great outlet to worship Him too!

When asked at the end what my favorite dance was, it was impossible to choose… from little ones with hands on shoulders or skipping around a "sycamore tree" to older ones moving together with the same angles and expression, there was something in every single one that made me smile, sigh at the cuteness, get goosebumps at the power portrayed, and even tear up. Ryan exclaimed, “That was my favorite presentation yet!” and then seemed a little apologetic, realizing all the others were ones I’d directed while this one I’d not. But I agreed – “The Promise Fulfilled” was my favorite too. Maybe partly because I didn’t have to do any all-day work to help bring it together… ;) But mostly because of the clear message of Jesus life, death, resurrection, and the joy that awaits us in heaven. When the girls ran up the aisles to “Jesus” at the end, I wanted to run up and worship with them!

As the teachers stood at the end and shared how the semester had challenged and grown them, they too radiated the faithfulness of God. “It’s when I knew I couldn’t do it that He did even greater through me than I imagined.” “When things went wrong, He worked it out and left me with no doubt that all the credit goes to Him.” “What we do is all for His glory.” And it was evident. As I see the lessons of faith learned and the confidence in Him gained… yes, He fulfills His promises. I pray these girls never forget that.

My sister asked me later that night if seeing everyone dance made me miss it. And I realized I didn’t… the season I’m in as a wife and soon-to-be mother is sweet and fulfilling. It’s quieter, but one I’m rejoicing in. Teaching was a wonderful, rewarding time. But living each day with one man is more rewarding and wonderful than teaching 100 girls… I always wanted to be a dancer when I was growing up, but surpassing that was my desire to be a wife and mommy, and that time is here. :)

Our God is faithful. I always knew as I worked on productions and saw them come together that it was God, not me. There’s no way I could have brought everything together; He gave me strength and led me to do things I never would have dreamed of because He was the One doing them. And yet when I was leaving, people wondered how it could continue without me… Well, The King’s Praise Ballet was God’s all along, and He’s not just continued it; He’s made it blossom and grow in my absence, showing that He is the Giver of creativity, harmony, and grace. I’m praising Him!