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Monday, January 26, 2015

Renee Grabiec

     Most people have the desire to be the center of attention, the person in the spotlight, the "star of the show." But there are others who are happy to help that star to shine. A person with the gift of helps is content to quietly get things done. She is satisfied in knowing that her service, no matter what it is, when it is done for God, honors Him. When you read this blog, I hope that you are inspired by how other women of faith use their gifts. I also hope, that by seeing various gifts being used, you will be encouraged to use your own gifts and if you are not already, that you will get involved in ministry. I would like for you to meet my dear friend Renee. She uses her gift of help to bless so many people, and while doing that, God is certainly glorified!
     Two years ago, I was asked to write a play for the upcoming women's retreat. I was scared to death. But I prayed, felt God's leading, and stepped out in faith. I trusted that God would provide what was needed. I assumed that our friend Heidi who was usually in charge of directing the plays, would direct this one as well. It turned out that she was going through a major health crisis so she would not be helping. Again, I was terrified. But Renee, who helped out in previous years, would be there to help me. Thank you Jesus for Renee! Not only did she co-direct, but she was also the stage manager, took care of all the costumes, time schedules, small medium and large details, and everything else that a stage manager does (which is ALOT!!!). She was such a blessing to me! It really would not have happened with out her. She uses her gift of helps mightily. Renee worked last year with me as well. And again, the play was successful. I have had so much fun getting to know this sweet, witty, generous, and multi-talented lady, and I know you will too.
     I asked her to share how she came to be a stage manager and here is what she shared with me:
"My grandmother taught me to sew at an early age. I was always amazed at her ability to see a dress in a store and then to make it for me. Hers were always better. Whenever I would visit her, I constantly wanted to sew or embroider. She worked as a tailor for many years and I am sure she would have liked to take a break from sewing, but she never said so, or even gave me a complaint. My mom also encouraged me and gave me my very first sewing machine one year for Christmas. I think I was 13 or 14. After that, I sewed almost all of my own clothes, including all Winter formals and prom dresses. A friend asked me to sew formal dresses for a cruise she was going on with her parents. That's when I started making things for others. I did a couple of  theater performances in high school and  really liked it, so several years, two kids and a husband later, I tried out for community theater...twice. I didn't get a part, but the second time, the director felt sorry for me, and said they had no stage manager and asked if I would like to be involved that way. I said yes. It was a lot of fun, and he asked me to do the next one. It was a musical version of Peter Pan. I did that also, and found out that I had an eye for the costumes too. Sadly, that was my last "professional" gig. I went back to work full time and with two young boys, there was no time for a hobby that took so much time.  Fast forward almost 20 years. I offered my sewing skills for vacation Bible school. They gladly accepted me. I made a cop costume and I was hooked again."
     "I love to be behind the scenes. It's a lot of work to memorize lines, remember cues and all that goes along with being on stage. I have great respect for people who do that so well. I am happy to make costumes and to be available to help back stage when I'm called to do that. I haven't thought of auditioning again, although I have made a few appearances at women's retreats. Fun as it is, my true calling is helping bring it all together. I sometimes think I am going to "sit this one out," but then, God reminds me that it is a talent He gave me and He is pleased when I use it for His glory. How can I say no?"
     "I have to stay organized to be able to handle all I need to by the deadlines given. I never thought I was organized until recently. I've never been a procrastinator, so that helps. If I put things off until the last minute, organization goes out the window. All is lost to a frenzied-up-too-late-meal-skipping-husband-neglecting-heart-thumping-survival-instinct. I learned in the behind-the-scenes banking industry (20 years) to pay more attention to the details. If you are a detail oriented person, you drive the "big-picture" people crazy, but we need you. I've learned from a few really good managers and patient  detail people (my husband for one) that the details matter, but shouldn't keep you up at night."
     "I've been working on VBS productions for about 6 years. I love to see the vision each year come to life. But more than that, I love to see the smiles on the faces of the little ones. That blesses me more that all the chocolate on the planet, or a whole warehouse full of fine fabrics. I tear up just thinking of them and the looks on their faces."
     "My own grandchildren inspire me each day too keep doing what I do. Even though they don't have the opportunity most years to be at VBS, I think of them when I'm working on costumes and all the others who will not see the work I've done, but will see God's work in our lives instead."
     "Each morning I try to spend time with the Lord and to hear from Him. I give Him my 'agenda" and list of what I need or want to get done that day. I ask that He help me to be productive and to do what He would have me do. I have a peace in that. I know He is faithful, so if something doesn't get done, I try not to stress about it. I also have a wonderful husband who is very supportive of my ministry involvements. Without his support, I would not be able to do what I do and serve. I don't always balance this well, but somehow it all works out."
     "I would encourage anyone who has the desire to get involved with productions, VBS, or any ministry, to take that first step - PRAY.  Then fill out a ministry questionnaire.  That can be the hardest part, but God will give you answers. Don't doubt yourself or your abilities.  God has given you this desire for a reason and He will give you what you need when you need it.  The enemy wants to steal that from you - don't let him do that!   Also, be willing to do the small things to start.  Be faithful in the small things.  Be flexible and willing to serve as called.  That's all I do.  When there is a need, as I am able, I step in and fill it to the best of my abilities.  That's all God asks. One of my favorite scriptures is Matthew 19:26, But Jesus looked at them and said, "with men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
     When I think of Renee, the words precision and detail automatically come to my mind. I can't help but think of how what she does, is so similar to the way she uses sewing patterns to create clothing and costumes...there are many pieces, and many steps involved, but, with great attention to detail, dedication, and determination, the end result is  a fine garment that is both beautiful, and useful. Corinthians 12:28 tells us: "Here are some of the parts God has appointed for the church: first are apostles, second are prophets, third are teachers, then those who do miracles, those who have the gift of healing, those who can help others, those who have the gift of leadership, those who speak in unknown languages." I truly am blessed to have so many women who exercise their gifts in my life. Each one of you is an inspiration to me!

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