"You can't dance for at least six months, maybe longer," said the smart-looking Physical Therapist checking my ankle. "There is literally NO feeling in my ankle," I squirmed in response, trying to muster up some kind of signal to move my ankle. Grimacing, I realized that as much as I tried to flex my foot, nothing was happening. A flood of emotion and tears rose inside of me. "I’m ruined," I thought. I had recently been accepted into a prestigious dance company on my college campus. I was one of the youngest members accepted – and now I had to tell them I couldn’t dance! Eventually, I learned that I had to quit all my dance classes for the whole semester. The anger inside of me swelled. "Why would you do this Lord?" I asked.
I'm sure you can relate to the feelings of confusion and sadness over a loss of a dream or a passion taken. Likely it was something that felt like it completed you... gone. Looking back, I can tell you exactly why the Lord took away my dancing for those six months. I was seeking dance before him. I wanted nothing more in life than to dance and succeed in my dancing. I placed it above what he wanted for me. Looking back, it seems like a distant memory but at the moment it was life-altering. A huge catastrophe.
Now, a little bit older and a little bit wiser, I’ve had a lot of life-altering moments like this. Moments that made me question God. I have gone through many seasons of deep discouragement, and disappointment. Seasons that whispered to me: he just doesn’t care. Seasons upon seasons that have brought me to places that I just didn’t want to be. Whether it was my long struggle with depression, or my move to New Hampshire, these times in my life were dark…I questioned his providence. Most of all, I was disappointed with the direction my life had taken.
Now, looking back, I have the dance career I always longed for. I could never have planned for how my dance schedule fits into my life as a mother. I am able to teach and perform professionally while taking care of those who mean the most to me. God has met the desires of my heart, but in a deeper and sweeter way than I could EVER, EVER imagine. Don't cut God short by trying or pushing for your own way. Let him lead and watch to see the amazing places he brings you.
Yet, other areas of my life are still internal struggles. My move to New Hampshire still leaves me feeling isolated and lonely most days. I still question God’s direction for my life. My season of depression, although a HUGE teaching season for me, still floods me with sad, lonely memories.
But, what I can say about all of this is: God has always, always ministered to my heart. He has remained steadfast and grown me in amazing ways.
Through this time, I have learned countless lessons. But, one of them is this: Christianity is the only religion that doesn’t talk about trying to do away with suffering, instead, Jesus says he will turn our suffering into good. He will enter into our suffering with us. He will take our loss, and count it as gain. He will teach each and every one of insurmountable lessons, but mostly, he will reside with us in the suffering.
One of my all-time favorite quotes from Streams in the Desert says this:
“We once saw a man draw some black dots. We looked and could make nothing of them but an irregular assemblage of black dots. Then he drew a few lines, put in a few rests, then a clef at the beginning, and we saw these black dots were musical notes. On sounding them we were singing, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow, Praise him all creatures here below.” There are many black dots and black spots in our lives, and we cannot understand why they are there or why God permitted them to come. But if we let God come into our lives, and adjust the dots in the proper way, and draw the lines He wants, and separate this from that, and put in the rests at the proper places; out of the black dots and spots in our lives He will make a glorious harmony.”
Let God turn your mourning into dancing, your heartache into song. God has taught me over the years that losing can be gain when we give it to Christ. Lessons learned the hard way can be blessings in disguise, and although we don’t always understand what he is doing, we can be confident that HE IS FAR BETTER than anything the world has to offer. I always go back to this verse, “Yet, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake, I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ. (Philippians 3:8)
Find more of Mikella's awesome writing and heart on instagram @chasingsacred