“It is a truth universally acknowledged that…”
Half-laughing to myself because she seemed almost skittish in approaching me (I don’t think I’m that intimidating), I gave her my warmest smile and, trying to put her at ease, said “Absolutely. What’s up?”
Fully expecting her to ask me some question about, well, I don’t know… how to deal with ingrown toenails or corns, which false eyelashes I use (105 and 111’s if you’re wondering…), or maybe a question about the choreography, I was totally blown away by what followed.
You see Carlie and I have something else in common (other than both loving ballet and having a flair for the dramatic – you should have seen this girl as Shoe Lady #3 in Cinderella!). We both love Jesus. That’s the something I mentioned earlier… the same something, the same Light, which I hope shines from me too!
And this love, this Light shone even more brightly through Carlie when she shared with me a story from the pulpit that had inspired her. The previous Sunday the pastor at her church had spoke of a little girl he’d met in eastern Washington.
Her name is Ella Mae. She’s a vibrant, energetic 6-year-old little girl who loves Jesus and ballet too. Ella Mae has big beautiful eyes, the sweetest smile and Spina Bifida… a condition that among other serious medical complications has her in a little walker as she’s paralyzed from the waist down. But that doesn’t stop Ella Mae! She wants to be a ballerina just like Carlie and me- be it by God’s gracious, omnipotent and healing hand or when she’s finally at Home with Jesus in Heaven. In a conversation to her little brother Levi (overheard by her Dad) she said,
“Levi, do you know what will make heaven so wonderful?” “What?” he said. “Heaven will be wonderful because there won’t be any walkers, braces, wheelchairs, or Spina Bifida, which means I’ll finally get to run and play with you like I’ve always wanted to do,” —said in her excited voice, as only she can— “and I’ll be able to dance for Jesus too. He’ll love it. He’s amazing you know, and he really likes ballerinas. I can’t dance now because my legs don’t work, but he’ll fix them in heaven, and then I’m gonna dance my heart out. He can’t wait to see me dance.”
“So I was wondering if you’d be able to help me get Ella Mae tickets to the ballet and maybe a backstage tour?” said Carlie after relating to me this story.
Forget “if.” “When”?!!!!
This was the only question on my mind… Tonight? Tomorrow? Shoot… “Today” wouldn’t be soon enough. But the Lord knew…
June. June 11th at 1:15pm to be exact. This was the day I met Ella Mae. Clad in a beautiful pink tutu complete with magenta ballet flats and a glittering tiara too, she arrived in the strong arms of her escort… her very tall and very proud papa, followed by her mama & little brother. And I, dressed in my mismatched ugly orange peasant costume, took them backstage where Carlie met up with us so that Ella Mae could not only meet ballerinas but get the chance to dance on stage too. And boy does this girl have some flair!! She showed me her moves, striking her sweet little poses… And right before Carlie took them to find their seats for the show, I gave her a couple gifts – a pair of my pointe shoes and a Giselle poster signed by most of the company.
But these gifts were so minimal compared with the gifts I received through this experience.
What a gift it was to not only meet Ella Mae and her amazing family, but to share her story with all the other dancers in the company. Testimonies are powerful – lives lived for Christ – and hers is one that I know the Lord is using in an incredible way to draw people to Himself, even ballerinas. Because as Ella Mae’s said, “He really likes ballerinas.” And I can’t agree more!
But also, what a blessing little Miss Carlie Mills has been to me. She’s shown me that a deep love for Jesus and His Kingdom isn’t something to just think, talk or blog about… it does! It’s active. It doesn’t just contemplate conviction, but it takes the tangible steps to serve others.
And what a gift it’s been to serve the Body… the bigger Body. Because even though Carlie and I don’t attend the same church, we are both a part of the Body of Christ. We both love Jesus and His Kingdom. And in the end that’s what it’s about. Loving the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and loving your neighbor as yourself… building up the Body of Christ and furthering His Kingdom.
It’s a small world. Had it not been for Carlie I would never have met Ella Mae. But I have been blessed beyond measure by these two beautiful ballerinas. And I thank the Lord for making the world small and bringing them into my life.
There’s so much more to this story… I feel like I’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg with this post. I’d encourage you to listen, watch, or read the sermon that inspired this whole experience along with this follow-up blog post to the sermon written by Ella Mae’s dad. And you can follow Ella Mae and her family’s adventures here.
But I’ll end this long blog post with some photos so you can see and hear that God is good! Enjoy!
PS… Corey Everett Smiley deserves a HUGE shout out… You are the best. Thank you for also being an integral part in orchestrating this Divine appointment!