February 06, 2012

God touched my heart

Last year I had the privilege of competing at the CITA competition in South Carolina.  I came with my school without any big expectations for the year apart from having fun and growing as an actor.  At CITA, I found both of these things and so much more.  
I made it to finals that year in my long monologue, which was a pleasant surprise --one I hadn't expected.  However, the biggest blessing of the weekend was not the wonderful workshops, the adrenaline rush, the new friendships, or even making it to finals.  The biggest blessing started with sitting in my seat at the final rounds, watching Mr. Rich perform before I went on stage.  He performed a monologue as Paul and presented the beautiful story of transformation within a man's heart.  While watching Mr. Rich, this joy took off in my heart that words can hardly put meaning to.  I saw an incredible actor, but more than that, I saw a follower of Jesus Christ loving and glorifying God through his passion for the arts.  How he can use one passion to glorify His greatest passion is a work of art within itself, it is a gift.  
Perhaps, it was his love for God that was so real.  Maybe it was the understanding of God's power Mr. Rich had prior to his monologue that brought such depth to the stage.  I can tell you one thing for certain, God was in the room.  I felt his delight over me and for Mr. Rich.  After watching him, all I wanted to do was get on stage and perform for God like him, and I was able to.  I was not performing a timeless story from the Bible or anything that really had to do with God at all, but it was for him.  It's never been that real for me.  God and I were the only two in the room after that.  It was father and daughter simply delighting in each other.  When I got off stage, I didn't care about the outcome.  I had been given a new perspective.  I didn't win that year, but it really didn't matter.  I spent the two hour drive home in the back of my car looking at the stars and reflecting back on God's beauty.  
I can't tell you what happened that night, except that God touched my heart during Mr. Rich's performance.  God really used him that night and I know God is continuing to.  
Just as the uncreated God reached down to touch Paul's heart, God also reached down that night to touch mine.  I thank God that there are people like Mr. Rich Swingle, who can praise the Lord with the gifts He's given them.  In doing this, we truly can be a reflection of our Creator, and I know it brings Him glory and gives him delight.
-Sara Bachtel
Currently a high school senior
Lawrenceville, GA

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