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
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!