By the time you read this, God will have already worked out the details, but I am putting my prayer and praise to text in order to share later in the joy that is answered prayer.
A year ago, God gave me a vision for a pre-professional company. One that would grow into a professional company that honors and glorifies Him while sharing the Gospel in a clear and meaningful way. This vision came without a guide book. What seemed like an impossible feat had to be worked out by God alone, not by me.
The vision kept growing, and in October when Ballet Magnificat! came to perform with our students, I was able to sit down individually with the dancers and hear them share their heart about what was the most helpful and meaningful to them as they were training, and also what makes a company a cohesive unit and thus gives the ability to truly share the Gospel of grace. God used them to make the vision clearer, but still, it was impossible to do alone - something I didn't feel was in my bag of strengths. I had the vision, but I needed an artistic director to bring it to possibility.
The job application was sent to every Christian company that I could find on the internet, praying that I would get responses...I got one. She was lovely but ended up choosing a different job, which was a peaceful choice for both of us. Then I got another application, this one from Michael Viator. I never considered hiring a male Artistic Director. I know that sounds odd in the ballet world, but it simply hadn't crossed my mind. However, when speaking to him, I heard that his vision and his strengths were just where I would want them to be! The only issue was that backstage at performances or on costuming days, he really wouldn't be able to do what a woman could do with the dancers...if only there were some sort of mediator to make this more possible. Then, I heard about Olivia, a professional dancer who had a heart for Jesus and was to be married to Michael. I asked God to bring someone to fill this company, and He did more than that - He brought a team!
They were offered jobs. They were perfect. And then they had to say no. I remember clearly the day they turned down the jobs, feeling as though God just needed them to work some things out and that maybe in the future, if the jobs were available, they would be able to take them. It was hard to explain the immense peace that was felt by me. Me, the planner and visionary. I want to just do things right now and not take time for God's plan. This was the perfect team, but there was really a peace that passes all understanding as we said goodbye for now, and they were going to stay in Mississippi and give their company another year contract. January was the deadline for their contracts to be signed. As January lagged on, I kept feeling as though this couple was going to be just what God wanted for Grace, but at the same time, I knew that they had until the end of January to change their minds...and then, January ended. I woke up the morning of February 1st with a clear and peaceful mind. I thought about the fact that January was gone and so was the hope of this dream coming to fruition this year, but I knew God would work out the details in a way only He really can.
My daughter, Haddi, finished her mathbook this morning, so she created a dance party in our house with treats and fun music, and the whole family was dancing together when I got a text from Olivia asking if we could chat. You see, February might have come, but a date on a calendar does not stop God from working miracles. The companies Alpha and Omega learned that they would be merging into one company and not everyone would be asked to stay. Dancers had one day to decide if they really did want to renew their contract if they were the chosen few to be asked back. Michael was asked to stay with the company, but God gave him peace and courage, and he told them he would not return, that God had other plans for him...plans to bring him to Iowa.
I don't know why God seems to do things the hard way, except that the time between learning that this dream wouldn't happen the way I wanted and today, God worked amazing things in my heart to trust Him and step in faith...Logos were created, names were trademarked, things were done for this company that wasn't even going to happen because God had said HE would do it, not me. Michael and Olivia had spent the month growing in faith and learning to obey, and now, here we are....in what feels like the new year, learning that God just needs us to trust Him and blindly follow, and He will lead us into a more amazing future than we could have ever imagined on our own.
So, I am hoping someday when you read this, you will see it was all a God thing, and I get the honor of being a part of it! Praise God for all He has done and will continue to do, and may we always share the Gospel through the splendor of dance.
I am waiting to hear the official word that Michael and Olivia have accepted the positions - here you can see my vulnerability in declaring it a God decision. If they end up saying no, it's still a God thing. I will trust and praise God no matter the outcome because His gifts are endless and far more valuable than I could ever express.
Today, I stand here and say that Encounter Performing Arts Company (Encounter PAC) belongs to God, not to me. May God do what He will with it for HIS glory and no one else's.