Not only is that a title of a song (or two), but more importantly, it is a moment in my life when I exhaled and said, “Lord, I surrender all to you.” And I felt peace for the first time in a long time.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
A year ago, in 2012, my husband, D, lost his job because the company he had been with for only 2 months found themselves in a financial bind. So it was a case of last in, first out. To add the cherry to the top of this tale, our car decided to die on us a few weeks before, and we had just gone into some debt to have the engine replaced… AND I was an unemployed actress, only temping from time to time. Suddenly it looked like all our dreams for the future were starting to crack and crumble around us.
I tried to stay upbeat, even though inside (and every now and again, outside) I was completely freaking out. Sure I had faith that God was going to bring us out of this, but just how much faith could I really have when all I could think about was, “How are we going to pay our rent?” or, “What are we going to eat?” and “Where will we live when they kick us out?” (Yes, we were threatened with eviction after informing our leasing agent of our situation, and requesting an extension on our payment date). Yet, through all of my fear and worry, my husband’s faith never seemed to waiver, always encouraging me, and prayerfully placing our needs at the feet of Jesus. And God, oh did He come through for us! Through blessings from a few friends and family, we were provided with 2 months worth of groceries, we were able to pay our rent and have our car’s tank filled. Prayer and encouragement were also in abundant supply, and by this point, my lack of faith should have been well and truly, a thing of the past. Yet, at the very first job offer D received, that niggling little pest we call fear, came creeping back into my heart, and I almost managed to convince him to take the job, even though in his spirit, there was an uneasiness about accepting the offer. But of course, God came through once more. Because of prayer and his faith, God gave D the wisdom to go for one last job interview, where the company seemed very eager to have him on board. And that was the job God blessed him with – after only 1 & and half months of unemployment.
So, this is where we should live happily ever after, right?
Nope. Not me.
Psalm 42:5 (NIV)
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.
Even though I was relieved and praising God for His provision, that fear still had a hold of my spirit. I could feel that there was going to be another storm, but this one, was going to be tailor-made just for me.
One night after supper, about a week or two after D had started his new job; he sat me down to have “the talk”. The talk that every unemployed actor dreads “the full-time JOB” talk. Tears immediately started flowing down my cheeks. I knew that it was coming. We were in debt, and even though we had been surviving on his salary alone, and could possibly still, I knew that we had some big dreams for our future – dreams that could benefit from a second regular monthly income. And as D sadly explained all these things to me, and assured me that this was not the end of my acting dream, but just putting it on hold for a while, I was dying inside. And every day after that, for the next month or maybe even more, I felt like something within me, something that was such a big part of who I was, was slowly dying. I screamed and cried before the Lord. “Why are you doing this to me? Why would you place this passion in my heart, open all the doors for me to be on this career path to just cruelly rip it away from me?” I was mourning the end of my passion, my dream.
Anyway, I then quite begrudgingly started to look for a 9 – 5 office job.
I went for a few interviews at places where I thought I would be perfect for the job, and ‘sort-of’ content in those companies, but none of those were ‘meant to be’.
I was starting to give up hope.
Then, one Sunday in June 2012, during the church service, God started this ‘stirring’ in my spirit. He needed me to just be still and listen. And so I did. And he told me to let go. Surrender all. All my fears, my worries, my needs, my desires, my dreams – he wanted me to let Him control, and just rest in him. He needed me to confess with my lips, publically, that I was surrendering all (especially my fears) to Him.
I then poured out my heart to Him, and, as the “Christianese” saying goes, I let go, and let God.
That’s when God started pouring out His blessings over my life. He opened up a fulltime position for me at the company I had been temping at (on short contracts) since 2010. God once more knew what I needed – to be at a place where I was happy, even though what I was doing wasn’t my passion.
He also gave me an outlet for my acting passion – within the ministry. And boy, was it such a great experience! Working with the youth on their play, and being reminded of how I first fell in love with performance when I was a teen, was such a blessing. I was able to use what I loved to glorify God, as well as build relationships with those who were still finding their place in Christ, and in the world.
To add the icing to this delicious cake of a tale (cherries, icing – yes, I love cake), God saw fit to allow me to use my acting – as an actor; on a professional stage. While still working fulltime! It proved to be a bit of a juggling act, but the graciousness of my manager and the director of the play to work around my schedule, allowed me the outlet to do what I loved – Perform. And even though it was only a short run, I felt so rejuvenated, like I was ready to take on the world!
Looking back, I see now how I had started to put this acting dream, this passion, above what should have been my only passion – Christ and His kingdom. And even though I have only tasted tidbits of my acting dream at this point in my life, God has shown me how he has birthed new dreams in my heart. A dream which started with marrying the man God designed for me, and which also now include building a home and starting a family with him.
Isaiah 43:19 (NIV)
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
At this moment, I am perfectly placed, because I am in the centre of God’s plan for my life.
And who knows, if it is part of God’s plan, I could still play a character or two on a professional platform… even if it only happens to come later in my life.