Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Dream

When you spend three months living out your dream while being wowed daily and inspired hourly, it's hard to come back to normal. It's hard to appreciate the little things when you start getting used to the big things. It's like getting one spoonful of Bluebell Ice Cream only to realize the rest of the bowl is filled with Breyers.

 I've been battling this for the past 10 months. Training with Cirque in Montreal was the experience of a lifetime, but when I didn't get handed the golden ticket immediately, it wore on me. It wore on my husband. I think we would all agree that it's hard to be patient when what we want is at our fingertips, and it's even harder when it's completely out of our control.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverbs 19:21

Somedays I would wake up a Positive Polly, training hard and hopeful that I was going to get the magic phone call. Other days, I felt defeated and worthless. I felt like a 24 year old living off of her husband without a career... because I was. I have always been driven. My younger self would have expected me to be climbing up the ladder of success, but I was stagnant and completely clueless as to what my life would look like without Cirque.

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. James 1:6

On the down days, God was there. I kept telling my husband that every time I was mentally prepared to let go of the dream, I would randomly see a connection to cirque: Knocked Up would come on and Paul Rudd and Seth Rogan would do shrooms at a Cirque show, an ad would come on TV, or I would pass a Cirque billboard while driving on the highway. It wasn't irony; God was leaving me remnants of hope. One morning when I was particularly close to tossing in the towel, the woman in front of me at the grocery store was on the phone with someone talking about seeing "O" the previous weekend. God was leaving me remnants, and He was leaving them everywhere.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

At the beginning of August, my husband was offered a promotion. Max has been working with Worthington Industries for two years, and he was offered the territory manager position over the states of Maryland and Virginia. Outside sales has been something that we had put off to pursue the Cirque dream, and we felt like we couldn't turn down another offer. With joy, Max and I decided to accept the position and move to Baltimore! Plans proceeded, and we began to seek out a future in Maryland. We realized that we couldn't spend forever waiting on Cirque, and we knew that this opportunity with Worthington would be irreplaceable from a professional standpoint. His contract was to begin September 9th, 2013. God had other plans.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

I have been working at Lululemon Athletica, and I was hoping to transfer to a store in Baltimore when we moved. I was working a Saturday shift on the 24th of August, and I decided to check my e-mail to see if I had heard back from any of the stores I had contacted. To my surprise, I had an e-mail from my recruiter at Cirque. It was a message asking me to call as soon as possible.

After a bit of phone tag and an an hour of trembling, I received the phone call that I had dreamed of since I was twelve and saw my first show. I was offered a contract with Corteo, a show that I saw live in Houston in 2007. As excited as I was, I was equally mortified at the fact that my husband had just signed an agreement with his company. God has his own way of working things, so it might not be that surprising to anyone that it just so happened to be a contract that would begin on September 9th, 2013- the EXACT same day as Max's. 

For His eyes are upon the ways of a man, and He sees all his steps. Job 34:21

I went straight home after work, eager to talk to my husband. How would he respond? Should I even tell him or just let this go? Why THIS timing? I had a million questions and no answers, but if there's one thing I'm sure of, it's that I married a man who has supported my dreams and pushed me past my insecurities for two years. I married a man who loves God and wants to do what is best in God's eyes for his family. I knew that no matter what the future held, I was in good hands with my husband.

I might have married a good man, but I still married a man, y'all. When I told Max, his reaction was pure anger. Although he didn't yell at me or punch a wall or break something, I saw the anger in his eyes and heard it in his footsteps. As much as I wanted him to be excited for me, I knew he was thinking some of the same questions that I was: Why now?! What do we choose? Do we have to do long distance marriage... again? Why take risk when there is the opportunity for stability?

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. Ecclesiastes 3:1

God was at work within us, and He was teaching us some valuable lessons. Over the next two days, Max and I prayed, cried, and I went without sleep. Max can sleep through fire alarms, so I didn't expect him to keep me company during those trying hours! We also drove from house to house and called person after person, asking for guidance and prayer from a close handful of loved ones and mentors. During those two days, we bounced back and forth from long distance to both of us going to Baltimore. We couldn't find peace in any decision, and we felt the pressure of time against us as Max's new job drew closer and my contract was sent over e-mail. What was the right choice?

We finally decided that long distance wasn't an option. We wanted our journey, whatever it may be, to be a journey that we take together, side by side. Although we had narrowed it down, we continued to battle between options.

Baltimore: Longterm financial stability. Purchasing our first home. Living near our favorite Terps and attending games on the weekends. Ability to have an automatic community with people we already loved. Within driving distance to our Columbus family. Seafood!

Cirque Du Soleil: Fulfill the dream. Give up everything we own for a checked bag and a carry on per person. Pay the price for Max to join me. No family. No definite longterm stability. Max gives up a promotion that he has already agreed to.

The more that Max and I looked into our hearts and our future, the more we realized that choosing stability isn't usually what God calls us to.

It is good to work and have. It is better to work and have in order to give. The world is not impressed when Christians get rich and say thanks to God. They are impressed when God is so satisfying that we give our riches away for Christ's sake and count it gain.

If our single, all-embracing passion is to make much of Christ in life and death, and if the life that magnifies him most is the life of costly love, then life is risk, and risk is right. To run from it is to waste your life. I define risk very simply as an action that exposes you to the possibility of loss or injury. If you take a risk you can lose money, you can lose face, you can lose your health or even your life. And what's worse, if you take a risk, you may endanger other people and not just yourself. Their lives may be at stake. Will a wise and loving person, then, ever take a risk? Is it wise to expose yourself to loss? Is it loving to endanger others? Is losing life the same as wasting it?... Risk is right. And the reason is not because God promises success to all our ventures in his cause. There is no promise that every effort for the cause of God will succeed, at least not in the short run. The power to risk is in the promise of God.
-Excerpts from Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?...No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39

Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Matthew 6:25

I think you know where I'm going with this. We chose the risk. Max and I will be moving to Montreal for one month while I train for Corteo, and after that month, we will be touring South America!

April 2, 2003: I attended my first Cirque Du Soleil show, Allegria, in Houston
January, 2012: With Max's encouragement, I filled out Cirque's online application
April 30, 2012: Invited to General Formation to train for "O"
August 6- November 4, 2012: General Formation in Montreal at IHQ
August 24, 2013: Offered a contract with Corteo!

That's a total of 3,797 days or 10 years, 4 months, and 22 days!

The ticket from my first show in 2003.

For we walk by faith, not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:7

You who are young, be happy while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will being you into judgement. So then, banish anxiety from your heart and cast off the troubles of your body, for youth and vigor are meaningless. Ecclesiastes 11: 9-10

We don't have a clue what this journey entails. Honestly, I leave in 5 days and our house isn't even packed yet! But we know that God is good, and we know that God is faithful. I'm looking forward to writing about our journey and experiencing this next phase of life with my eyes set on the skies. If you're doubting God's plan for your life or His ability to direct your paths, then I hope what He has done in our life will be a testament of His faithfulness and constant presence. God is good... ALL the time.

I know this post is long, but it's almost over!  

I have to give credit where credit is due, and I have to say the BIGGEST thank you to my husband! Max, you have supported me emotionally, physically, spiritually, and financially for the past two years as I have pursued this dream. You've dealt with the tears and the waiting, and you have always been the first person to risk it all for my goals. In a world where married men with children let Miley Cyrus grope them on national television, and business trips are a place to vent about the old ball and chain, you are a man who has continued to make sacrifices out of love for me. You are a fine example of a Godly husband, and I know that one day He himself will tell you, "Well done."

I promise to fill your life with infinite back rubs and back scratches. I love you all the blue in the sky, and I can't wait to explore South America with you. Thanks be to God.


  1. What a sweet journey to experience together... not what is coming next... but what you have struggled with & endured to get to where you are RIGHT NOW... Trusting Jesus in the RIGHT NOW. Praising God that you are each seeking Him for every step & all direction. No regrets. Praise Him for His guidance & peace for the Right Now decisions. I know that the Lord has a plan for each of you in South America as He has called you to go. I pray that Max can hear His clear voice to serve the purpose laid out for him & further the kingdom in a sweet & mighty way. I pray that the people with whom you are surrounded will never be the same as the fragrance of Christ will envelop them. I am so excited!!! Now to save some moooola to go to South Americans!

  2. WOW!!!!!!!!!!! Congratulations, Abbey!! And what a wonderful testimony of not only diligently seeking the Lord, but following where He leads! Excited about your next chapter!