A dear friend of mine invited me to guest blog on her blog this month. Knowing that this was going to be my birth month she offered me an opportunity to get any lingering thoughts and emotions out. I will be making an appearance on her BLOG Nov 27th. Her and I also thought it would be fun to swap blogs so she is guest blogging on my blog today!
I met Sarah way back in college many years ago. We were apart of the same organization together, CRU. Sarah is the most spiritually-spunky person I know. Her zeal and love for the Lord is like none I’ve ever seen. She truly is a women with a childlike heart. Everyone needs a Sarah in their life! She is currently living in Nashville with her husband David, her beautiful little girl, Ella, her giant St. Bernard, Howie, and a little one on the way!
It has been super exciting watching what the Lord is doing in her life. He is calling her to something far more greater then I think any of us can ever think or imagine. But, thats how God is, He calls us to big things. He calls us to dream up the impossible, and says, “look, I can make it possible.”
In the words of Sarah herself: ”Redemption is beautiful in so many different forms”. Se below how God stringed together “random” events in her life to redeem and call forth a piece of Sarah’s childhood she thought was long dead. Ah, redemption.
My story toward love starts with a heap of ashes and ends with a crowned glory, not one of my own doing, but the doing of One who is way greater than I expected, who loves with a love much deeper than I had ever experienced and with much more fervency than I had ever known. I call Him the God of Second Chances, the mysterious and ultimate Creator, counting the very hairs on my head and choosing the DNA that came to be, well, me.
This story of love is the story of my recognition of the brilliant creation that He has made. Some may call it self-love, some may call it self-awareness, some may call it prideful (though I don’t think it so), but what it really is is my overwhelming response to the delicately planned out life that has been created just for me to enjoy.
But first, let’s start with the heap of ashes part.
I grew up the baby of three in a small town in Ohio. I had an innate ability to act, dance, sing, create full-scale pageantry programs in my front yard, as well as work over a crowd with my witty words and high-squealing voice. I’d write books, create my own Broadway plays—in which of course, I played every character, and I would go around the house with my “Home Alone” tape recorder capturing that sweet voice while creating my own radio show with guests and my favorite tunes. I was born for the creative arts.
But life had its way of moving me along, capturing more of my book brain, which was merely the rote memorization of facts and figures that lead to A’s on my report card. Though I didn’t grow up in a family where success was pushed or where good grades were of the utmost importance, something in me that was yet fulfilled pulled me more toward performance acceptance and left my heart fizzling out on the back burner.
When it was time to go to college, I chose to study medicine and left most of my heart for the arts in that “unrealistic” portion of my life. You know, kid stuff. Who went to school to be an actress or a dancer? Of course, I would instead choose to be smart and study medicine, the IQ of what I thought was significant in that frame of time. Please do not get me wrong, I did have a love for medicine and healing, but my motive for choosing it was more of mere confusion than of true passion.
I spent four years in class, re-gained a wonderful new sense of purpose by re-connecting with my faith, found my soon-to-be husband, was crowned Homecoming Queen (did I mention that soon-to-be-husband was also crowned Homecoming King?), and even earned my first D on a report card—in none other than Organic Chemistry. By the end of it, I ended up happy that I had graduated, with honors of course, and smitten with the man of my dreams yet empty in my heart of what I had really just accomplished.
Creativity was calling me back.
Meanwhile, my husband and I moved to the desert of Arizona. I was wooed away from everything and everyone I had known and had a chance to start over. I now realized the passion and love of what I had given up. And therefore, as a college graduate with a hoity toity degree, I wondered how in the world I was going to get back into what I had left behind. Was I even qualified to do such a thing? It had been 6 years. Could I re-train my body to dance again? Did I really even have acting abilities? And writing, well, what did I even have to say that anyone would want to read?
And so, as I lived in the scorching land of cacti, any and all of my demons tried to keep me from pursuing and expressing the hidden treasure chest of creativity inside myself. They pushed and shoved their ways to the front, each taking their selfish turn in trying to persuade me away from what truly made me feel alive, all in all just exposing the places in my heart that were yet to know Love.
But the grace of God was evident, opening doors that no man could open and closing doors that no man could shut. He lead me to people who would not only help me pursue those yearnings in my heart but would also teach me about faith, forgiveness (not only of others but of myself), and life. I was soon connected to a group of newfound friends in a very similar place in life. Together, we created. We were vulnerable, we were raw, and we were real. We expressed our hurts, our fears, our hopes, our dreams, and our lives—together. And in this pursuit, not only did we find ourselves and find community but we also found God.
As life does though, people must move on into new ventures in their lives. We all moved onto new places, not only in our creativity but also in our locations. I found myself in a small town on the Gulf Coast, not exactly where I thought was the epitome of creativity. And yet, I didn’t realize the desert would reclaim in me a new sense of purpose, but it did. So, this time I sat by the ocean and watched the water crash onto shore and questioned: “All these hopes and dreams that have been opened back up, how is this going to happen, God? I’m in the middle of nowhere. You’ve got my heart on a string here. I gave up my whole other way of “living” and now I feel like I’m back to square one.”
And then that night, I had a dream.
The details of the dream are mostly insignificant here, but most importantly it spoke of a long time childhood dream of mine to do voice-over work. Oh, how I had yearned to be a cartoon when I was a kid. And this dream so seriously confirmed it. With my headphones on, in front of a microphone, God spoke: “This is where it starts.” And I awoke.
With a sense of renewed purpose, as well as confusion, I kindly told God “Ok, if this is for real, I need your help here. I have no idea how to make this happen.” A few months later, we packed up and settled in Nashville. As I spent most of my days there behind a latte machine, I continued in my dreams as best I knew how through dry spots and writers block. And then, one day while pouring a brewed cup of coffee, I heard one of my regulars tell a barista about the film he was working on. I looked up and thought to myself, “Surely, Alan the regular is not also Alan the former soap opera star and director that runs the acting school which I am currently too timid to take a class.” And to my surprise, he was. He encouraged me to check out his website at my somewhat silly moment of revelation that the man who I had been pouring Venti Decaf coffee for the last 5 months was exactly who I needed to meet.
And, sure enough, when I went home and typed in his website, the list of classes came up. And as I excitedly scrolled the page, I laughed out loud as the “Intro to Voice Over class” came jumping across the screen.
God had done it.
And in that small fleeting moment, my laughter turned to soft tears. He had really done it. And a part of me, that was yet to have dreamed and yet to have experienced Love, slid right into place, overwhelmed with the design of redemption for a girl from Ohio who had been given a second chance to live. To really live. In that moment, part of my identity was re-claimed. The ashes were blown off by a swirling wind, and a tiara—much like that of a Homecoming Queen—came rising to the surface. I was indeed coming home–back to a place of my divine design. From commoner to Queen, realizing that my life, my desires, and my hopes were all part of a greater good, Love. And this Love beckoned me to not only to myself, but also to Him. With each step I took toward the dreams in my heart and the loves of my childhood, the more I understood the Love of the ultimate Creator. The Love I was created with, and the Love I had to give others through my own unique expressions. And so I am in my journey, continuing in Love—writing several books, continuing acting courses, dancing and performing in public appearances, and auditioning and receiving voice over jobs.
nd I feel very full. And very expectant.