Looking in the mirror, I see my exhausted reflection: bruises on my hips, torn skin below my neck, and sticky black marks behind my ears. All I could do was laugh realizing I had brought all this upon myself.

Let’s start at the very beginning. I got a call mid-October that sounded like this, “Rachel, I just got back from New York and have seen over 100 girls, and you are the only one I want for Jane. Will you be the lead in the musical Tarzan!” My breath left my lungs as the director spoke over the phone, “You have two hours to let me know if you will take it.”

If I took the role, I wouldn’t see my family at Christmas and would be sacrificing sleep/sanity as I would be directing our Church’s Christmas production at the same time. I was torn, but then my mother reminded me, “Rachel, we won’t always be together at Christmas. And do you remember when I drove you to all your post-college auditions, and you didn’t get a single role? How great is our God that people are calling you for roles now?”

Then I spoke of my hesitations with my husband who said, “Rachel…you are Jane…accept the role.”

The next few months marked one of the most amazing experiences I have been honored to have. I made friends from New York, Florida, and Italy. I was surrounded by people who challenged me every day for the better. I got to accomplish one of my life long dreams of flying. Yes, I said FLYING!! Jane had to swing through the jungle, so I got hooked up to a harness and defied gravity. It was everything I hoped for, except for those harness related hip bruises.

I got to be a Disney character, another lifelong dream. Dawning Jane’s yellow dress for the first time I just sat there, trying to take in this realization. But as beautiful as the dress was it had to be held up with toupee tape in certain areas…hence the red marks below my neck. And then the sticky black stuff on my neck…mic tape.

I looked at my battle wounds and thanked the Lord for the memories that came from them.

And while I did cry with this show, it was always tears of joy. I remember my last moment onstage when Jane was talking to her father about how we didn’t belong in the jungle. I turned to my co-star as I said my final lines and saw a tear roll down his cheek. I echoed his sentiments as the tears then poured down my cheeks, both of us silently realizing this journey was at an end. In a few moments, we would return the costumes, take down the set, and say goodbye to our new friends.

And it’s been a hard transition. But as this season ends I think of wise words an eight-year-old said to me after we finished a Fudgsicle, “Don’t be sad it’s over; be happy it happened.”

Thank you to all who came to see the show and for your prayers and support. God is always surprising me and I am excited to see what he has in store for me next – bruises and all!