After 2 “seasons” and a summer, I moved home. At 19 my father had lovingly told me, “you have 5 years to find a life-support system.” 😂 He did not hold much hope for making money in ballet… especially in San Francisco.
The Atlanta Ballet offered me a job and so, home I flew, back to my old room and purple VW. Driving into Atlanta daily, felt familiar and comfortable. This was the city and company I’d grown up with.
However, something was still missing; I wanted more. Was this all there was: 25 yearly performances a year of Nutcracker, Cinderella, la femme garde’e… ? I had offered it ALL up to God before leaving California. Somehow, I wanted to dance for Jesus.
My Bible and “A Way Through the Wilderness” became my constant companions. Sitting in AB’s break room, reading and searching for answers, I gained some controversial attention. Lots more maturing and 2 seasons later, I was on the move again!
Jesus warned His sheep, all other potential guides were to be evaluated for fruit, their words sifted and actions weighed. Strong caution was advised!
When my children were small it was easy to warn them, telling them when and how to be on guard. But as they grew, I had to trust their own judgement skills and instincts, praying what their dad and I taught had stuck.
The same went for spiritual training. We told them all we knew to be true, every treasure we personally had discovered, and The greatest Joy we’d ever found- Jesus! But even in being as vulnerable as possible, our little flock had to decide who they were going to follow.
Independent thinkers. Experimental – Adventurers. Compassionate sometimes to a fault, each one (now a young adult) has taken their own route to seek out what life has to offer.
So I pray… our sheep –raised for God– will not listen to any stranger’s words, if it conflicts with the Truth. That they’ll truly know the Voice of the Lord in the crowd. And they’ll never be snatched away and deceived by robbers.
Among the world’s many poor guides, there is only One Good Shepherd. He is The Way, The Truth and The Life. So I ask God to help our fold recognize anyone trying to get around the One andonly Door to the pen.
“No imposters, no pretenders!”
1 “I tell you the solemn truth, the one who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber.
2 The one who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
3 The doorkeeper opens the door for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
4 When he has brought all his own sheep out, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they recognize his voice.
5 They will never follow a stranger, but will run away from him, because they do not recognize the stranger’s voice.”
10:8 All who came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.
10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.
10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” –Jesus
In 1985 I moved to San Francisco alone to dance full-time with their ballet company. Fresh out of high school, my dream was coming true. I had trained with them summers prior, but this would be more …permanent. 😱
I rented a studio apartment on Market & 8th with a girl from LA. Paying bills, riding subways, grocery shopping for myself – all of it was new. Each day was a learning experience in independent “city life.”
What I cared about most was getting to class 4 blocks away! And of course getting a good part in the next SFB production.
My daily walk took me through downtown. Those blocks were literally full of people living everywhere. On the sidewalks and benches, in the park. I had never seen anything like it. Early morning and late at night we stepped around or over them to get to our door.
I started talking to Jesus more and more as He opened my eyes to the world around me. I was heartbroken at what I saw. My successes and failures paled in comparison. As compassion for humanity grew, so did the reality that “life wasn’t all about me.”
Those 16 months in California were some of my most difficult. A deep dependency and friendship grew with my Lord. Something that’s stayed with me all these years. How thankful I am now for that time. For His mercy, grace, patient protection, listening ear and Spirit-led guidance.
God did not leave me self-absorbed as I was, He sought me out and shook me up! Love, true Love, seeks to better us… make us more like Jesus. Sometimes that only comes through hard places, and lonely times of soul-wrestling.
Hebrews 5:14 : But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have trained their faculties for the distinguishing of both good and evil.
How I love a good Biblestudy, complete with DVDs and a workbook. To hear someone’s perspective on a book of the Bible feeds my soul.
I also love podcasts from pastors leading churches “at the gates of hell” (my words not their’s). Churches that lie in cities full of people who do not believe in God and do not care what the Bible has to say… and yet these leaders continuously stand strong, speaking the Truth of God’s Word!
Portland, OR – New York, NY – Los Angeles, CA… locations of a few of my top 5 teachers. They are serving up solid food from the Bible to those that will hear. Those that aim to practice what ispleasing to God-at all costs. Those who are training their faculties.
Oh, to continue on the path of seeking and finding God’s treasures. To distinguish rightly good and evil using the lens of God’s Word. To stand up for truth even when culture says “that’s wrong.” To practice God’s standards even when it’s not popular.
…and do it all in extravagant love toward others. What a challenge! I need more training-
“Take this most seriously: A yes on earth is yes in heaven; a no on earth is no in heaven. What you say to one another is eternal. I mean this. When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of Me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.” -Jesus (from Matthew 18:18-20 ) The Message
Wow, What a picture of prayer! What a picture of believers gathering to lift something or someone up. Are we causing a way to be made by our prayers? Or are our hearts coming in line with God’s Will, as we gather in prayer? An age-old question that only God can truly answer…
However, my sweet prayer￼-partner (and sister in the LORD) agrees with me on this: It doesn’t seem as much -us moving God with prayer -as through prayer, Him opening our eyes to see where He’s already moving! I wrote about that once before in conjunction with fasting ❤️
I believe strongly, God is always working on behalf of His children, but are we watching? God is always speaking, but are we listening? God is always searching for His lost sheep, but are we praying, hoping, and waiting? It is a wonderful, joy-filled life of anticipation, trusting God for the next good thing!
It’s a choice I have: to dwell on the “what if’s” of life or the “but God will’s” of life. I know He has before and He can again, so I choose to look for how He might today. Today could be the day (!!!) for the healing, or the salvation, or the rescue, or the needed change. Either way, He loves me! He loves me so much, He sent His beloved son, Jesus to die for my sins and make a Way for me to be eternally close to Him.
Numbers 14:27 “How long must I bear with this evil congregation that murmurs against me?
1 Corinthians 10:10 “And do not complain…”
or grumble & argue:
Philippians 2:14-15 “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God without blemish though you live in a crooked and perverse society, in which you shine as lights in the world”
even about who’s in charge??:
Romans 13:1 “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except by God’s appointment, and the authorities that exist have been instituted by God.😱
However, groaning is good! The aching, longing of the soul kind…
Romans 8:22 “For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers together until now.”
Romans 8:23 “Not only this, but we ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we eagerly await our adoption, the redemption of our bodies.”
Romans 8:26 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how we should pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings.”
What’s everything groaning about?Sin
James 4:8 Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and make your hearts pure, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn, and weep. Turn your laughter into mourning and your joy into despair.
ECCLESIASTES 7:3 “Sorrow is better than laughter, For when a face is sad (deep in thought) the heart may be happy [because it is growing in wisdom].”
2 Corinthians 7:10 For sadness (over sin) as intended by God to produce a repentance that leads to salvation, leaving no regret… but worldly sadness brings about death.
2 Peter 2:8 (for while Lot lived among the people of Sodom, day after day, that righteous man was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard )
God encourages us to join His crowd and grieve/groan over sin… But remember the battle IS Won! The enemy HAS BEEN DEFEATED! Pray for all ears to open and eyes to see! Victory is ours in Jesus🙌🏽
Workouts for me are essential, my hormonal equilibrium and mood depend on them. Not to mention bone health and general muscle tone. But finding the balance is tough!
I swing from seasons of running to seasons of weight-lifting… cardio to core-work. Whatever I’m currently doing seems to allow for weakness in another area. Ahhh how to keep all the plates spinning??
Spiritual strengthening can feel the same. Prayer is an absolute, but so is reading Gods Word! Biblestudy alone is key, but so is meeting in community! Serving at church is great, but so is just being fed! Lots of options… so little time.
I have discovered over the years that different seasons have brought different opportunities and going with what is available has brought me peace. Just like following my daily exercise regime -that changes, so has setting aside a specific quiet-time.
Some days I may only read. Somedays my heart is too full to do anything but pray. Sometimes it’s all study or a podcast. The point being, it’s there, on my schedule and I’m open to connect with my Lord. He will feed me, because I come to Him.
Eventually it’s all covered, slowly, daily over time. Nothing anxious, just consistent. Growth happens. He is faithful.
Galatians 6:2 Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
I can’t tell you what it meant to me, through our cancer journey, to get a card or text that someone was praying for us! To think, total strangers and friends who heard, “dad of 6, has colon cancer,” stopped what they were doing and prayed.
Whether for healing or strength or just good ol peace, I felt those prayers. Everyday, they came and everyday I knew I would be given just what we needed for that 24 hours.
Paul had a similar story of suffering and comforting:
2 Corinthians 7:6–7 “But God, who comforts the humble, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming, but also by the comfort with which he comforted… because he* reported to us your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more.” -Paul
Someone caring. Someone longing. Someone else mourning, for us in our situation. It brought a sort of relief, and an actual rejoicing. We were not alone! Others were walking with us, bearing our burdens.
God did not create just one human and leave him alone, He gave him a mate -a wife. Genesis 2:18 “I will make a companion for him who corresponds to him.” And through that… a family… and through that a community. We humans need each other!
Do you know someone hurting or struggling today? I encourage you -send them a quick text, or note, or message. It meant so much to me and I’m sure, it will to them. Probably more than you’ll know.
Everyday I have choices: how long to linger in bed, what to wear, how much coffee to drink, even whether to smile.
I can look at my “to do” list and let feelings of being overwhelmed consume me… or just start. Do the next thing. And ask God to help me get something accomplished, believing He will give me enough energy and enough time for today’s needs.
I can choose an attitude! One of possibilities and hopefulness …or sullenness and defeat. I can choose! To look at what God has already done ..or the heaps of prayers that have yet to be answered.
These are my exercises of the will. God has lots of “I will” verses throughout the Bible. Things He Will do! My favorites ❤️❤️ …But He challenges me to flex my will as well. Will I walk by faith? Will I consider His valiant deeds? Will I remember all He’s accomplished?
Will I trust and obey His voice today, while I wait to see answers come? Yes, I think I will.