Mixed Blessings


Part One of Two

The term “mixed blessings” is redundant. Why do I say that? Because all blessings—all real ones—are mixed. I only fully realized that this morning while contemplating the day I met the woman I was destined to marry.

More on that later, but first this.

It was the start of my career. I’d just come back from England. As a brand new theatre instructor, I’d wrangled an unbelievable summer gig teaching Shakespeare to American students alongside members of the Royal Shakespeare Company, including future “sirs” Patrick Stewart and Ben Kingsley. While I was there I fell half in love with a British nursing student and completely in love with England, so I couldn’t wait to return. As I was stitching together my plans, a friend handed me a phone number. A comedy trio famous in the Christian world, Isaac Air Freight, was looking for a new member. On a whim, I auditioned. And they said yes! But what about England? What about that adorable nurse?

So, I asked some friends to pray for me. The minute they said, “Amen,” a visitor handed me a slip of paper. “You’re the reason I’m here. God told me to give you this,” she said (I never saw her again). The slip said, “Behold, I have set before you an open door that no one can shut ” (Revelation 3:8). So, I joined Isaac Air Freight.

7fe10ac97cae45579f295d0abf950586I toured with them for 4 years, appearing in videos and recording albums (5 studio recordings and 7 radio show compilations). That experience laid the groundwork for my entire career to come. So, why do I call it a mixed blessing?

In a word: relationships. We were oil and water. They were down-to-earth funny guys with an undying love for sports; and I was an artsy-fartsy type who’d just come back from teaching Shakespeare in Stratford-upon-freaking-Avon! The only thing we had in common was our love for God. We were oil-and-water. Which meant we had to constantly stir the pot to make the ingredients mix. But mix they did. Why? Because God, the mixed blessing specialist, had put us together.

Zoom forward to 2013: I was struggling to build a film production company, when I got called to audition for the lead in an independent film. For reasons I couldn’t fathom, I felt like I was “supposed” to do this, that it was “a God thing.” When I was offered a small 2-day role instead, I figured I’d been mistaken. But then, two days into filming, the producer halted shooting, insisting they’d made “a terrible mistake” in casting. One week later, filming resumed—with me in the lead! I was terrified, but exhilarated.

promises-to-keepAfter production of Promises to Keep was completed, I assumed I’d go back to my original plans. But God had something else in mind. The producer who’d cast me in the lead pursued a friendship with me. Why? We were oil and water: he was more Catholic than the Pope, and I was a loosey-goosey Jesus-follower. We saw eye-to-eye on almost nothing. And yet…

The following year that producer greenlighted my first feature film as a writer-director. Why? Because God, the mixed blessing specialist, had put us together. So, who were we to say no? That feature film Over-the-Rhine has won 20 awards and nominations and is due for national release.

Now, about my marriage…

To read Part Two, click here.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Memoir, Movies, Religion/Faith, Story Power and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to Mixed Blessings

  1. Completely relating to this as I stand in an almost empty house, about to embark on the 26th move of our 39 years of being married. My husband was military and we lived in many cities that I loved but the one place I swore I’d never be moving back to after retirement was in Louisiana. Guess where our moving truck is headed today? Mixed blessings because the job is good, we’ll be much closer to our grandkids, and we have good friends there but oh, that heat, and the absence of four seasons will be a real loss for me. However, I trust that God is putting me where His plans are the best and I also trust I will discover those plans when the time is right!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. sashiengland says:

    I heard someone say once, “if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I know what you mean. I have been married for 38 years to the love of my life and she drives me crazy sometimes. I am by nature very aggressive and intense while she is often edgy and nervous, not a good mix at first, yet we learned and grew. Nevertheless, she is and always has been my first love. Mixed blessings are right. Because I have heard the voice of the Lord most of my life and have seldom been in error there is a tendency to grow arrogant. That is where she came in. The Lord knew what He was doing, of course. She questioned everything I have ever said in the Name of the Lord. She doubted me and harangued my slightest slip up or addition to God’s voice when I was younger and dumber. The Lord used my loving and beautiful wife to keep me humble, honest and in check. Thank you Lord. Mixed blessings. Great post!

    On Thu, Jan 12, 2017 at 10:29 AM, Mitch Teemley wrote:

    > mitchteemley posted: “Part One of Two The term “mixed blessings” is an > oxymoron. Why do I say that? Because all blessings—all real ones—are mixed. > I only fully realized that this morning while contemplating the day I met > the woman I was destined to marry. News anchor voice: ” >

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Trusting God is always a beautiful thing — as viewed from faraway future. If only it looked a fraction as good in the muck and mire of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. nancyehead says:

    God can do such amazing things–especially when we get over the denominational barriers.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nancy Ruegg says:

    “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking, I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24). These stories of yours, Mitch, prove the truth of this promise. God must smile as he engineers events for our good that totally catch us by surprise!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      What a great verse, Nancy! It makes me think of the CERN experiment in which the Higgs boson particle arrived before it was actually sent, confounding the world of physics. I can hear God saying, “Yep, that would be Me.”


  7. Thank you for sharing! Yes, God has a good sense of humor. My life is full of mixed blessings also. Too many to tell here. It’s enjoyable to read yours!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. When I was first diagnosed with cancer and still reeling from the news I stumbled across a little wooden plaque that says, “If this is a blessing, it sure is well disguised.”

    I had no idea that cancer would be a bigger blessing than I could have ever imagined. Within just a few weeks of hearing the news I began to see that the blessing wasn’t disguised at all…it was right there in plain site.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. UpLyftr says:

    Awesome read. Its amazing how God takes us into relationship at times with complete opposites.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Jennie says:

    Love this post! It is straight from the gut and the heart, with history and humor to make it just right. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. BelleUnruh says:

    I love hearing how God has led in people’s lives. I’m looking forward to part 2.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: Mixed Blessings (Continued) | Mitch Teemley

  13. Roos Ruse says:

    Stories of your career are delightful, Mitch. I enjoy reading about the background and developments that brought you to the marvelous family you are today. I can hardly wait for Part Two.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. anchorrock4 says:

    Your post is so timely and appropriate. Our love for God should be a unifying factor across the board for all people from all walks of life. Jesus Christ, the Express Image of God, is the common denominator, the foundation upon which we should stand and find our one-ness as children of God (John 17:21). We need to ask the Holy Spirit to help us see others as God sees them and to feel for them the way He does.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      Indeed. As a non-believer some years before I met my wife, I was engaged to someone else, and though I honestly loved her, I doubt that–without Christ to bind us together–that marriage could have lasted.


  15. gpavants says:

    Hi Mitch,

    We have seasons that we pass through. It is good to look back and see what we have gone through. Just remember the best is yet to come.

    In Christ,


    Liked by 1 person

  16. Pingback: A Month My Life Changed | Mitch Teemley

  17. mitchteemley says:

    Reblogged this on Mitch Teemley and commented:

    My new feature film, Notzilla, had its Premiere this week! I was planning on writing about it, but am still gathering photos. So here’s a review of how my first feature film (and media ministry/career) came to be.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. revruss1220 says:

    Oooo! A cliff-hanger! I can’t wait for Part Two. Great story so far.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I remember Isaac Air Freight! (Weren’t they the ones with Luke and Lena Logger?)

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Mitch, the secret to mixing water and oil is that too much stirring and add a little air and you have a form of grease which makes things more slippery and hard to clean off. With each giving up a little to the other makes a fine mix of beauty. The bubbles will tell the tale. great info.

    Liked by 1 person

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