A year ago I never would have imagined my life as it is right now… Back home – Like HOME home… as in the same house my parents lived in since before I was born. I’m helping my brother launch a church. I’m teaching dance again – and not just teaching again, but getting to do so with my friend, Dede. That in itself is a miracle. Never, EVER, would have imagined it, I tell you. But, now it’s my new normal. And, I couldn’t be happier. Truly.
Post aftermath of the winter of 2016, I honestly thought my teaching days were over for good. I believed I was disqualified from my calling. That my mistakes were unforgivable and I was unredeemable. I gave merit to the person who said I’d never work in this town again. I convinced myself I wasn’t welcome in Hampton Roads anymore. I allowed myself to feel shame. Worst of all, it didn’t just make me question my calling to teach dance – it made me quit. And, I was okay with that. It felt like a past life and I was ready to move on to the next chapter. To move on to whatever God was calling me to do next. So, that’s what I did…. I moved on… To Texas.
Texas was perfect for me. It was a safe place. It allowed me time to heal. It gave me space to be vulnerable without judgement. But, I’ll never forget the day I sat at my desk at my new job in Austin and had the following conversation with God…
Me: God, thank you so much for this job. I love that I feel like I’m making a difference. I’m so glad you brought me here. But, as much as I enjoy what I’m doing, is THIS my calling now? To be a Connections Coordinator for a church? If this my current assignment or is this my calling now?
God: Lacey, what did I call you to do?
Me: Ummmmm….You called me to dance… To teach dance… To mentor and inspire others through dance.
God: Exactly. My gifts and call are irrevocable.
And, I started to remember how I was as a driven seven-year-old who knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up. Every night after my family went to sleep, I cleared the coffee table out of the way, popped my music into the cassette player, and entered my own little dance world. Into the wee hours of the morning I would create movement, imagine entire productions and dream of what it would be like to be a dancer someday. It was my favorite place. My escape. Just me and God. And, it was in those days of sweet innocence, I knew God called me to dance.
Then I thought about how my mother saw the gift and calling on my life and did everything she could to see I had every opportunity to pursue it. Even as much to send me to a dance conservatory in Florida when I was 13… and she let me stay for five years! I still can’t believe that to this day. If I were her, there’s NO way I’d send MY 13 year-old to live in another state! But, you know what? When people asked her how and why, she’d tell them she’s letting her daughter follow her calling.
And, it was at the dance conservatory in Florida where my mentors uncovered my gift for teaching. I didn’t even know I had it. But, they didn’t just see it – they cultivated it. It’s a good thing, too, because that’s actually where my passion lied. A lot of my friends went on to dance professionally, and even though I made a brief attempt to as well, it never felt like the right path for me. My calling was to dance… to teach dance. To invest into others what was invested in me. It made it possible to influence hundreds of students through my work at Bethel School of the Arts – a performing arts school I co-founded and directed from 2004-2015.
“God’s gifts and God’s call are under full warranty—never canceled, never rescinded.” – Romans 11:29 (The Message version)
It hit me like a freight train… I wasn’t disqualified. Yes, I messed up. But, His call on my life is irrevocable. I’ve read and heard Romans 11:29 so many times before. How could I have forgotten that?
That revelation gave me so much to pray about. With a few connections to the Texas dance world, I thought some doors would open. But, they didn’t. I had no reputation there. How was I suppose to fulfill my calling to dance and teach dance in Texas?
When my friend Dede asked me to think and pray about moving back to Virginia to team up with her and expand her business to include dance, I knew God was up to something… And, He was… He was leading me back to my calling. The place where I had sown many seeds and had yet reaped a harvest. A place where my teacher reputation was known and appreciated.
I’m not going to lie. I questioned my decision to move back to Virginia so many times. I had it made in Austin. I really did. It took me a few weeks to fully believe I made the right decision. But, I can honestly say after teaching three weeks of dance camp for young girls and watching them go from being forced to dance to LOVING dance, I know I made the decision that aligned with my calling.
This is Mia and Ally – two of Dede’s junior aerial students forced to take dance camp.
Let me tell you… They went into the experience all but kicking and screaming with the promise if they didn’t like it after the first week, they didn’t have to do the second or third weeks. Well… not only did they change their tune about dance and beg to do the second and third camps weeks, they stayed up late the night before the last day and made up a dance for me. The emotion I felt watching them perform a routine consisting of movement inspired by what I taught them brought tears to my eyes. And, it just confirmed to me once again I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.
Teaching dance is what He’s created me to do. It makes me feel alive. It gives me purpose. I’m in my element when I’m in the studio creating, teaching, and inspiring. And, I’m beyond grateful to God for reminding me that my past didn’t disqualify me from His call… Especially when I’m willing to answer it.