There were two decisive factors which led me to forgo pursuing further education. We came under a legalistic method of living which precluded further education for women at a secular university. The second omen-like factor was that the number assigned to me for my university application included the numbers 666, which is the number of the antichrist. We were convinced that Jesus was coming soon and I did not want to do anything that would make me unworthy of escaping the Great Tribulation.
Well about thirty years passed and I fulfilled a longing I had for further education by taking a bridging course for women which was sponsored by York University Women’s Program. While I did well in that course I did not decide to pursue further education at that time. It satisfied my longing and validated my ability which was further confirmed when I was asked to write an essay about my experience taking this course. The program was celebrating their 25th year with the publication of a book, which would contain essays by a few women from the hundreds who had taken this course. Taking this bridging course and doing well and then writing an essay for the book nudged me in the direction of pursuing writing; joining a writers’ group; and creating a blog.Over the years I longed to have the opportunity to do creative dance again in the context of worship. About seven years ago a young woman taught several dance workshops at my church. I enjoyed taking part and she invited me to be a part of a group of ladies who would do a liturgical dance at our church for the Christmas Eve service. I felt alive when I was taking part in this and while many people were surprised to see me dancing, they felt that I was good at it. One of the women in the group encouraged me to take adult ballet classes at a local dance studio where the young woman taught classes. After my first dance class some of the women commented that I was a natural and that they could tell that I once took dance. That was an encouragement to me and I continued to take the classes for another full year. I had the opportunity to perform in a special worship celebration service at a church the month before I was diagnosed with stage 3 Ovarian Cancer.
It has been a journey of discovering who I really am as an individual and what it means to deny myself as a follower of Christ. I now have a greater understanding that God created me to be creative, which includes the ability to write and to dance. I am still learning to deny myself by not giving in to selfishness and allowing the Holy Spirit to express the fruit of the Spirit in my life. I now realize that both statements are not in conflict nor do they contradict each other. So I can be a woman who writes, dances, and exhibits the fruit of the Spirit, all to the glory of God.
* ["Getting Lost" was this evening's topic for the writers' group.]