Mixed Blessings

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The term “mixed blessings” is redundant. Why do I say that? Because all true blessings are mixed. God isn’t just in the blessing business, he’s in the growth business, and growth requires challenges, difficulty. Just as our muscles don’t grow unless they’re pushed, neither does our character.

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 visiting American students acting 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 resume both career and romance in the UK. 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? And what about that adorable nurse?

I asked my study group to pray for me. The minute they said, “Amen,” a stranger walked up and handed me a slip of paper. “God told me to give you this,” she said, and left (I never saw her again). The slip read, “Behold, I have set before you an open door that no one can shut ” (Revelation 3:8). And so, I joined Isaac Air Freight.

7fe10ac97cae45579f295d0abf950586I toured with them for four 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 freaking Stratford-upon-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 role 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 two-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…

Healing River PosterThe 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 Healing River has won over twenty festival awards and honors, and remains one of the top-rated inspirational films ever shown on Amazon Prime. I look forward–with a healthy dose of fear and trembling–

To whatever mixed blessings God has in store next!

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Memoir, Movies and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

54 Responses to Mixed Blessings

  1. God is a mixed blessing specialist. I love it, Mitch! It sounds like oil and water has been essential to your growth. A former professor of mine used to say, “Life is like a bottle of vinaigrette dressing: shaking it up now and then makes it better.”

    Liked by 5 people

  2. It is pretty clear that God holds an advance degree in Holy Mixology. And lives at the heart of the mix.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Yup, God does stuff like that. I often find that the people I don’t mix well with are just the ones who have something to teach me.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The film “Healing River” is just awesome. What a journey to reach it, and to share it with the rest of us!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. aaordona says:

    Great story, Mitch ! You have a knack for intertwining your past and current lives with your spirituality. It’s great stuff!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. This was a very uplifting post! I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Blessed blessings–the journey of life!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Kate Duff says:

    Lessons are not always pleasant but isn’t that the best way to learn and remember? And God is the ultimate teacher, with a sense of humour and irony I have found, or perhaps that is just the way I am, so how I receive them.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. God does work in ways beyond our human understanding. Coming to the USA was never part of my life plan. Yet, here I am.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is a great morale booster, particularly today. I had several things happen that I don’t understand or know where they will lead but there is an unction it’s “a God thing.” Regardless of the end in the process there is refinement of character happening. Thanks for your story.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Webb Blogs says:

    Wow awesome to learn new things about you Mitch. I would love to watch Healing River, I’m going to head over to Amazon Prime and see if it’s still there 😀 😄

    Liked by 1 person

  12. K.L. Hale says:

    Mitch, these mixed blessings of yours turned out to be blessings for all of us. I love learning more of your life!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. gregoryjoel says:

    Mitch, I love your stories. I’m constantly reminded of God’s blessings, mixed though they may seem.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. As a perpetual understudy/”also-auditioned,” my thoughts on reading this story focused on the lead who got replaced. I wonder how that mixed blessing worked in his life. 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

  15. revruss1220 says:

    What an amazing path… laid out by an equally amazing God. I see every blessing in my life the same way: decidedly mixed. How boring it would be if our blessings always matched our blueprint to the “T”. So glad you kept following those proddings.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. When God decides to lead you through an open door…powerful things can take place. I really enjoyed this Mitch! Thanks😊

    Liked by 1 person

  17. murisopsis says:

    Wow Mitch! This is a beautiful example of listening to that small still voice!!

    Liked by 2 people

  18. rwfrohlich says:

    A winding road to get this far. I just watched Healing River with my wife tonight. What a powerful story of forgiveness. Glad for the path God has laid out for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      Thank you so much, Rob, and likewise. P.S. May I encourage you to leave a brief review at Amazon? (The more reviews it gets, the more they recommend it). Also, you can rate it from 1 to 10 stars on IMDb (link below). Note: IMDb only recognizes the rating if you rate a few other movies, as well. Thanks and blessings, my friend! https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5848326/

      Like

  19. Ananda says:

    Wonderful story Mitch. Am going to check out Healing River as soon as i can 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  20. pastorpete51 says:

    Great subject and post. Yup – the God of blessing is also the God of
    testing. (It’s an old song from Vineyard) Congrats on your film again.
    Is this available in DVD yet for us old guys?

    Liked by 1 person

  21. You trusted in God when you felt Him speaking to you. Better yet, you listened. Your faith is commendable. Thank you for sharing your experience. Now I have a couple movies to watch!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I watched Notzilla–loved it! The humor is spot on for me. Although, I don’t know if a millennial would appreciate It, or maybe understand why it’s humorous, as well as a baby boomer or an aficionado of old monster movies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      Hard to say, Nancy. We’ve gotten some specific feedback, but reviews at Amazon don’t include age of reviewers. It does seem to be a hit with boomers and gen-Xrs, but then younger families, esp. dads and kids have loved it, too. And, yes, monster movie and spoof fans love it; it received standing ovations at G-Fest, where most of the audience were millennial kaiju (Godzilla) fans.

      Like

      • mitchteemley says:

        P.S. I so glad you enjoyed it! May I encourage you to share it on Facebook, and to leave a brief review at Amazon? (The more reviews it gets, the more they recommend it). Also, you can rate it from 1 to 10 stars on IMDb (link below). Note: IMDb only recognizes the rating if you rate a few other movies, as well. Thanks for the laughs, Nancy! https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9035000/

        Like

      • No problem, Mitch. I’ll rate a few of your movies on imdb after I’ve viewed a couple more. I’ll definitely share Notzilla on Facebook & review it on Amazon. Thanks also for reading my posts.

        Liked by 1 person

      • mitchteemley says:

        Thanks, Nancy! Btw, your ratings don’t all have to be for my movies, just other any other movies (even ones you’ve already seen). In theory that’s how IMDb guarantees that you’re a real person.

        Like

  23. LaDonna Remy says:

    Mitch this is a beautiful post. Our most difficult challenges truly do hold the best possibility for growth. And, our faith guides us through. Congratulations on your film and thank you for the inspiring post.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. This is such a spectacular testimony! Thank you for sharing this fantastic illustration of how God works in and through and forth us!!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Pingback: Mixed Blessings – Nelsapy

  26. You just don’t know how blessed and encouraged I am to read this now.

    Thank you. God bless you. 🙏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

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