She prays, “Senor Jesus, thank you for the life of Hannah. And for the value she’s brought to us.”
My friend whispers the translation in my ear, but I know “gracias por la vida” and tears slowly drip as I realize that this little girl living in a small barrio in Honduras is thankful for my daughter. That she was born. That one day when she was seven she decided to enroll in a ballet class. And that when money got tight, and I was unable to keep her in dance, a lady named Dee Ann decided to keep her there.
All those decisions. Those seemingly unimportant, daily offerings. A generous lady, Hannah’s hours of ballet. My rides to and from class. Miss Allison and Miss Michele teaching and correcting. So normal and unexciting. Long hours, hard work, no instant gratification.
Until…God calls Hannah to Honduras and combines it with it her love of dance. And He calls a woman and her family to the mission field in 2011 and then introduces me to this woman (Brittany) in 2012.
That would lead to a friendship. That would lead to a conversation during lunch at a retreat in 2015. That would lead Hannah to Jardin de Gracia to teach ballet. (With many more “that’s” in between.:)
The orchestration of our week in Honduras could not be accomplished by us. There’s absolutely no way. The road began for Hannah almost 10 years ago. The road for me almost five.
But He knew.
He saw a group of tutu-ed girls prancing around a tile floor in a building tucked into a poor barrio thousands of miles away. And He began sewing, creating a tapestry called my life, Hannah’s life, and – best of all – their lives….Gina, Naomi, Angelina, Suany…He is writing their stories too. And His composition included Hannah alongside them, even if for one chapter.
And I do not know why I am amazed at His knowing. I know he knows, but when I step back and trace the threads He’s woven into the tapestry of my life – of Hannah’s life – I still stand in awe.
I stand in awe of His work in our hearts as we lived life alongside the Fosters for a week. I stand humbled by Hannah’s role in the stories of these sweet little girls. Because, friends, this is really about them. About Gina and her mom, praying for ballet – something they could not afford. About Angie leaping across the floor, confidently and proudly. About the laugher as they danced and hugged and about the fervency with which they spoke prayers of thankfulness.
The ballet class served to remind each of them that they are loved. They are free. They are enough. Their efforts are appreciated and applauded. There is hope. And so much more.
And for their moms…a true gift.
Moms, we all know there’s nothing quite like watching our kiddo dance across the stage, hit the homerun, kick the goal, achieve an A, receive the award. Aren’t you so stinking proud when you sit in the crowd and watch your child? Don’t you want him or her to find “the thing” she’s good at and pursue it? Isn’t that why we sign them up, drive them all over the country, and sit at games and competitions for hours upon hours?
All of the time and money…it’s to help our kids find something that makes their hearts soar – to use their skills and gifts – to develop them into team players and disciplined young men and women.
We want our kiddos to be happy, to express themselves, and to feel they’re gifted.
And so do they – the Honduran moms and dads who show up to the final day of ballet class for the “recital,” taking a seat with phones in hand for recording and picture taking. Fixing hair into buns and helping with tights. Smiles beaming. Hearts swelling with pride. They’re no different from us, wanting the absolute best for their children.
I could go on and on…it was such an enlightening, awesome week. But, if I could leave you with a few things that might sound trite or overstated, but I KNOW to be true…
Don’t stop praying for that thing you’ve been trusting Him for. It’s not too trivial. I know many who think the time and money invested in ballet class is a waste – that poor children in third-world countries praying for a ballet class seems frivolous. Sigh. If He’s laid it on your heart, keep praying. See how He works.
Notice His work. Take a moment each day, each week to see how He’s writing your story. Don’t believe the paths you’re crossing and roads you’re taking are just big coincidences. They’re not. His work takes time. This moment came from 10 years (or more) of preparation. Persevere. Your moment is coming.
This is not about us. Hannah and I learned so much this week. Yes, God changed us. But, we didn’t go to be changed. We went for these little gals and to love and support the long-term missionaries who give of themselves everyday. And I pray you hear my heart – that’s not some kind of false humility. Yes, it seems like Hannah did this big awesome thing, but truly, God did this big awesome thing in and through her because He called her and she answered. And while I could not be prouder of the young lady Hannah is becoming, I know it’s Him and that the calling and answering looks different for everyone.
Perhaps He’s teaching you something right now because He knows in 10 years He will use that skill – that experience – that refinement – for the kingdom. Friends, He often uses our everyday for His glory, to bring His kingdom to earth. I pray you keep on, keeping on, knowing He is always at work. Each day, each decision, each commitment could make a difference for Him. May His kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.