I have so many things tumbling around in my brain right now . . . so please excuse my horribly random post today. But I just had to get some of this out there. I’ll appreciate any prayers, encouragement, advice, insight, etc.
Passion #1: Drama
No, not the kind of thing that is infamously associated with “drama queens.” But rather, the theatre. And music. I am not musically talented at all. In fact, I never took lessons for any type of instrument. But I absolutely love all kinds of music. I even have this strange partiality for movie soundtracks. There’s nothing like a great movie with great music. Which leads to the real root of my drama passion – my love of storytelling.
Not long after I totally committed my life to Christ in college, I got to have several experiences working with different types of drama ministries. I even got to lead a drama team at the church we were working with in Colorado before our kids were born. I can’t adequately put into words how much I loved each of these experiences. And I’m not even particularly talented in acting, writing, or any of those things. But I started noticing an interesting development . . . sometimes when I would hear a new song, I would suddenly get inspired with an idea for a story that could go along with that music.
This still happens to me today. When this happens, I’ll listen to the song over and over, while the story takes form in my mind. In the past when I was working with the drama ministries, I was able to actually take some of my ideas and make them a reality. I have written, produced, directed, acted in, and organized several small productions. But lately I’ve had new ideas that just swarm around and around in my mind with no tangible outlet. I’m not part of a drama team right now!
So I decided to start writing down my ideas. This is a slow process, since I don’t have a lot of spare time. But maybe one day I’ll find an outlet for my stories – something that is totally God-honoring, outreaching, and fulfilling. After all, Jesus was a story teller too. I just know He will show me a creative way to live this passion out.
Passion #2: NICU Ministry
After my son’s premature birth, my depression, and everything else that went along with all that, God planted a desire in my heart – to reach out to other parents going through similar circumstances (having a child in the NICU) with practical helps and genuine encouragement in the name of Christ. It was even something that Jeromy and I talked about together. It’s a shared passion for us. Although, it was just an idea at first. We didn’t even live near a hospital at the time. And what do we know about starting a non-profit ministry? So the idea got pushed to the back burner for quite some time.
But now here we are in Chicagoland, only 5 minutes away from a hospital with a large NICU, and surrounded by millions of people who don’t know Christ. Needless to say, the back burner is flaring up! I did some research online and found a similar ministry in Alabama. I have tried contacting the leader several times but haven’t been able to touch base yet. I really want to ask her some questions and get any tips, pointers, and suggestions that she may have. But whether that works out or not, I still feel like this idea is from the Lord. So if we have to forge ahead on our own, so be it!
The first things we have to do include finding out about starting a non-profit, as well as figuring out how in the world we can get a connection at the hospital so that we can actually go in there. Then of course there will have to be fundraising and volunteer recruiting. We want to begin the ministry by making small care packages for the parents with children in the NICU. Here is a link to the ministry in Alabama: http://nicufootprints.org/about.html We hope to do something similar.
The kids are really keeping me on my toes these days. My son has entered a new phase -- story telling . . . hmm, maybe he’s like me? One day he came home telling us that his teacher brought her dog to school. Then the next week he said she brought two dogs, a boy and a girl. Then one day the story was that the dogs had puppies, and the kids in the class got to hold them. He even told me that they took the dogs to the gym and played Frisbee with them.
So the first time he told me about a dog visiting school, I thought it was possible and didn’t really question him much. But as the story grew, I knew something wasn’t right. It didn’t take long to figure out that he was creating this elaborate tale. As parent-teacher conferences approached, I decided to confront him about it. But gently, of course.
Me: So, can I ask your teacher about these dogs?
Eli: No, don’t do that!
Me: Why not? I want to ask Ms. R. about them. They sound so neat.
Eli: Well, she doesn’t like to talk to the parents.
Me: Are you sure? She’s talked to me before, and she seems really nice.
Eli: Well actually, she does like to, but she’s not used to it.
Me: But I really want to see those dogs, they sound so cute! I think I’ll ask her about them at the conference.
Eli: No, you can’t!
Me: Eli, I need to ask you something. Are you telling me the truth, or are you telling me a story about these dogs? Are you making this up?
Eli: No! It’s not a story! Look at me, am I smiling? [He proceeds to make a very serious face to prove that he’s not lying.]
Me: Eli, I need to know if you’re telling the truth or not. If you tell me stories, how will I ever know if you’re telling the truth?
Eli: Mom, I’m not making it up!
So yesterday we had his parent-teacher conference . . . and when Jeromy said he was going to ask the teacher about the dogs, Eli said, “No, you can’t. The dogs are dead!”