Saturday, January 26, 2008
The large, widespread Benzing family has known a number of successes on the stage. I guess you could say most of us share a bit of flare for the dramatic. From my dad in his frequently repeating "narrator" roles, to my uncle Matt as Harold Hill back in the day, to the current generation of Benzing actors and actresses (myself just a blip on the screen among them), we must have something in our genes that makes us unafraid to don those costumes and take on the role with abandon (side story -- the speech teacher at my college once used me as an example of someone who had "abandon" in her drama class. I was not in this class. I'm pretty sure it was a compliment.)
None of us have the experience that my cousin Elise Benzing has. She has been in "countless" shows from age 4 to 20, including Annie in Annie, Louisa in the Sound of Music, and her favorite, Alice in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Elise auditioned to be a part of the theatre program at the University of Central Florida when she was 18, and was one of only 12 students accepted. But after 3 semesters and several challenges to her faith, she decided to walk away. It was, as she said, a "Very hard time in life while considering that maybe God didn't want me in the secular theatre world (it is, I've come to realize, a sinful sinful sinful world. Surely not what God intended for it... and God, who used so many parables, must have had wonderful plans for 'storytelling' (theatre)... but it would take a stronger person than me to live for the Lord in that sector of the world). All things work together for good though and this was no exception."
These days, Elise lives with her mom and younger siblings -- playing a great role as an outstanding big sis! She is hoping and saving to go back to school, perhaps to BJU and study in a different field. I just love Elise's transparency and openness! She has a vibrant walk with Christ that is a huge encouragement to me. When I asked her to tell me unique ways God has blessed her, she answered "He has sought me: Luke 15: 4-7. Over and over again, I rebelled against God but he never stopped burdening my heart. I am so thankful that he asks us to know him and believe on him by faith. I am so glad he strengthens us in our afflictions. I am so awed by his mercy and his promises."
Elise also frankly and openly shared with me about her struggle with eating disorders. Her fight has come through counting the words of Scripture as true, dependence on God's grace and attacking the sin (she was pointed in telling me that it was not a sickness!). I think Elise is a beautiful girl who has an amazing story to tell, and will continue to bless those in her path her whole life long. She will make an amazing wife for some lucky guy, as well as a mentor for girls who are walking the same path she has walked.
Don't you love my gorgeous cousin?? My life is richer because of her!