I CAN'T EVEN IMAGINE...

March 29, 2018

I love movies based on true stories.  I’m inspired by people who triumph over tragedy. 

 

I decided to see the movie, I Can Only Imagine, based on Bart Millard’s true story. 

 

                          

Bart Millard is the lead singer of the group, Mercy Me and he wrote the #1 Christian song, I Can Only Imagine. To quote a line from the film, “let the pain be your inspiration.”  Boy, was it ever!

 

I must confess that I have found Christian films preaching to the choir.  I’ve been praying for a film that raises the bar.  I believe I Can Only Imagine is that film.

 

When the film was over, I couldn’t get out of my seat.  I was sobbing.  Bart’s story hit a chord in me. No pun intended. 

 

From childhood, Bart loved music.  It was his comfort to escape from a life of being battered by his father both physically and emotionally.  He would lose himself in music.  He didn’t even know he had a gift for singing until his high school glee club teacher recognized that gift and forced him to perform the lead of Curly in the musical Oklahoma. 

 

After graduating high school, Bart left home to get out from under his father’s physical and verbal abuse. 

 

Even though he is a gentle soul, anger burned deep within him; and he blocked off that deep place that would allow him to come to terms with his rage.  With that, he kept people at a distance.  That anger also prevented him from creating music from the depth of his soul.

 

Only when Bart was broken and was able to forgive his dying father did he then triumph over tragedy.  It was out of this pivotal decision did he come to the place to inspire others through I Can Only Imagine.

 

HOW COULD GOD LET THIS HAPPEN?

Oftentimes people ask, “How could God let this happen?” or “Where is God?” 

 

Jesus did say, “In this life you will have tribulation.”  It is out of life’s storms that we should become stronger.

 

 

The oak tree has a very deep root system which enables it to withstand hurricane force winds.

 

Because of my deeply rooted faith, I have been able to withstand the storms life has thrown at me.

 

I grew up believing I couldn’t do anything right and I was stupid.  That came out of years of intense discipline both at home and in school. In elementary school, I used to get put in the dumb row if I got an answer wrong.  I was punished for things I didn’t even do. I felt attacked if I was told I was wrong; and I needed to prove I was right. 

 

 

That’s exhausting and doesn’t win popularity contests.

 

I had to fight my way up the corporate ladder.  I felt like a complete and utter failure when I was laid off in 1989.  I couldn’t understand how this could happen.  I worked hard, and business results reflected my efforts. 

 

During this time, I had to fight back from financial disaster.  I was always a saver; but, after being out of work for quite a while, my finances were completely depleted.  I was in such a desperate place.  I didn’t know where my next dime was going to come from.

 

I cried out to God.  This is the time I started to seek God on my terms. 

 

 

I didn’t want religion.  It was here that I discovered it’s not about religion.  It’s about relationship. 

 

I had to fight back from major health issues.  In May, 1996, I was on a business trip and fell over a man’s luggage at LaGuardia Airport.  I fell to the ground screaming in pain.  I tore the meniscus in my right knee.  I couldn’t walk and needed surgery.  I developed RSD, reflex sympathetic dystrophy.  My nerve endings were on fire and there was no cure. I wasn’t healing and needed a second surgery.  All of this was happening during a corporate takeover.  I needed to go on disability.  Again, I cried out to God.  HELP ME!

 

On June 26, 1997, I managed to get to a Christian Miracle Crusade at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island.  I received a miraculous healing from God and was able to walk again. 

 

 

My healing is medically documented.  I was ready to go back to work.  Then, a crushing blow. I was told I no longer had a job. 

 

How could God let this happen?

 

The country was in recession; and I was told I would have to take a lesser job title and less money.

 

Then, another miracle.  I received a job offer with the same title and more money.

 

BEAUTY FOR ASHES

Many people have arguments that God is not real.  But, I have experiences that say He is and they have strengthened my faith.  I believe God’s promise in Isaiah 61:3 that:

 

 

I believe that the Lord has led me through the storms that have challenged me to bring me to a place that I have had to trust Him. People let me down.  I let myself down. 

 

Through it all, I’ve come to understand that the Lord will never let me down.  He is faithful.

 

I believe the path I took and the storms I have faced led me to the decision to finally leave corporate America.  I believe seeking God’s will for my life enabled me to rediscover the childhood dream within me – acting.

 

Bart Millard’s father told him, “Dreams don’t pay the bills.”  My mother told me, “Acting is not responsible.  It doesn’t put food on the table.”

 

Unlike Bart, my father always believed in me. He believed I could do anything I set my mind to doing.  Instead of taking hold of what my father thought of me, I spent too many years believing I was a failure.  It wasn’t until later in life that I realized his words of encouragement were etched in my heart. 

 

My earthly father seeded the way for me to believe what my heavenly Father promises. ‘With God all things are possible.”  (Matthew 19:26)

 

I’m going after my dream.  I’m going after the impossible.  My walk of faith has taught me to have hope and to…

 

 

I can’t even imagine where I would be if I didn’t put one foot in front of the other and take those steps of faith.

 

I can’t even imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t discover my passion for acting.

 

Because now, I can only imagine where my dream is taking me.

 

I can only imagine how I can inspire people that…it’s never to late to go after your dreams!

 

 -Claudia DiMartino

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Claudia DiMartino is a successful business woman turned actress and playwright. She took a risk and left corporate America.  She now shares her life's journey which helped her realize - it's never too late to go after your dreams.

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