Mariah Easter 2010 dance – The Via Doloroso

Easter at Loma de Luz was filled with our own traditional styles of celebration. Many of us were busy in one way or another with preparations.  A month before, three of us ladies began planning the Easter program. We had a choir, dramatic readings, praise and worship, music videos, special music and other things to organize for the glory of our Savior. Of course there were also wonderful Easter dishes for the potluck to prepare as well. The most challenging preparations for our family began two months before Easter Sunday when Sharon, a dear sister, asked Mariah to consider doing an interpretive dance for the Easter service. We left the decision up to her. We encouraged her to do it but told her that she needed to determine what God wanted her to do. Dave and I and Suzanne prayed for her as she determined that very thing. After a week of prayer she believed that God wanted her to dance. Thus began the biggest spiritual challenge Mariah had ever faced.

For most of her younger years ballet had been her life. Since we moved to Honduras Mariah’s passions have changed from dance to music and the guitar. There simply is not a proper ballet studio here for her to train at and the majority of the youth at Loma de Luz play an instrument. Also, none of the girls here have had dance lessons and many have never seen a live ballet. Therefore her circle of friends here aren’t in the least interested in dance. There is very little negative about the social environment among the teens here, but they do have a tendency to tease one another.  In fact, many times they have teased Mariah about her “ballet past.” This was the main reason why Mariah did not want to dance; For fear that she would (mess up and) never hear the end of it from her friends.    
She did receive many encouraging words from adults which she respects greatly. She was even able to work with our friend, Carrie, who had done interpretive dance in the states. Carrie encouraged her to dedicate one hour a day to her dance weather it was in time with God, working out, meditating on the words of the song, or practicing the dance itself. Mariah applied these words of wisdom and dedicated an hour a day whenever possible. But a sudden change in her schedule threatened her dedication.
Part of being involved with the bilingual school she attends is to help two days a week for two hours with the “English as a Foreign Language” class offered to local students. We found this information out after Mariah had already agreed to dance and while she was in the middle of writing a thesis paper. We have always taught her to honor her word and reminded her that God wanted her to dance… Into my hita’s heart waltzed doubt, stress, and more fear – fear of failure. She was sure that she would not be able to do everything well and thus disappoint everyone – including God.
The word of God tells us in Romans 5: 2-5… And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
With hind-sight I can see how indeed this scripture worked its way through Mariah’s situation. Nearly every day she came home and did her homework, worked on her paper, warmed her body up and danced. Nearly every day she said, “I don’t want to do this;” Some days she said it with tears. But she persevered.  Mariah had been advised not to show anyone her dance ahead of time for many different reasons. The evening before the Easter program, Amy – a older teenage friend of Mariah’s, asked Mariah if she would show her the dance. Amy wanted to prove to Mariah that her fears were unfounded. Indeed, Amy was a great encouragement to Mariah that evening. Mariah went to bed feeling much better about her upcoming solo.
Easter morning arrived and so did the doubts and fears again…and to add to all that the hormones of a 13 year old. There was much gnashing of teeth and wailing – she was definitely under attack by the evil one – both physically and spiritually. Dave and I prayed with her and encouraged her, gave her scriptures to proclaim over her fears, loved on her and told her that “In Christ she can do all things.” She was in her costume when we left for the service and was convinced she looked like a fairy. Upon arriving she basically began to panic. Then she found out that a local boy that had been unkind to her in the past was there. She really freaked out at that information. She knew that he would never let her live it down.  She continued to say, “I’m not going to do this,” or “I can’t do this.” Then Amy entered the office and prayed and encouraged her again. This calmed her down enough to listen to reason and truth and to start believing both.  
And so here you see some pictures of my beautiful daughter dancing before her God in obedience and trusting that He would be her strength. Mariah did a beautiful job. Her giftedness in dance shone through the storm as she let His light pierce the darkness of the devil’s schemes. Those who had known her struggles and had been praying for her were brought to tears to see her triumph over her fears. For days her friends only had wonderful words of encouragement for her. We were proud of her and her heavenly father was too.  
The character of Christ is built up in us through the difficult things in our lives. Mariah’s character matured greatly. Her hope in God did not disappoint her as God poured out His love for her through the power of His Holy Spirit. God is good – all the time. ~ Marinajo