Anna Macke is a wife, mother, actress, writer and artist who attends ECC and has also been a member of the Emmanuel Theatre Co. for years. (Now you might be thinking, “This is a weird way to introduce Joan Ross,” but hang with me!) Anna does periodic interviews and gave permission to reprint this one highlighting a Worship Arts volunteer, Joan Ross. Let me say that I have been deeply impacted by Joan’s love of life, her care for others and her love for Jesus. But enough of me…let me hand it over to Anna.
Today we are talking with someone you probably see on a regular basis at ECC, Joan Ross.This vibrant and joyful middle-school, social studies teacher is a member of the Emmanuel Theater Company and shares her gifts regularly on stage during the school year. Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us, Joan!
I grew up on a California vineyard. I was born the middle of four brothers, and it is no surprise then, that I was a tomboy with an “anything they could do, I could do better” attitude. I love my brothers! However, when I look back at some of the “activities” we were involved in in creating our own fun, I’m amazed that we survived. Living in the country was never boring. My family made raisins and, whatever the season, there was always some job to do in the fields. During the summer we’d get up early and work in the field until it was too hot to walk barefoot in the dirt. We spent many afternoons jumping off cliffs and swinging on ropes out over the one river flowing through the county. My oldest brother was the daredevil of the group, and he’d come up with all kinds of challenges for us to try – which, of course, we did. Some of his more creative challenges included playing circus (complete with the knife-thrower act), making rocket ships with big boxes and shoving them off the trailers with people inside, building a treehouse in one of our huge sycamore trees and jumping out of it, making forts with the heavy wooden boxes that were used to pack the raisins in, and playing hide and seek in a field at night, of course, with about twenty neighbor kids. Somehow we all lived to tell the tales, and are still thriving today! Most of my family is still in California, and I try to get out to see them as often as possible.
2. Tell us how you came to faith in Christ and what that has meant to you.
I grew up going to church every Sunday, but my roots weren’t deep and it was easy to fall away during my college years. For eight years I was an extremely shallow believer, but the Lord just waited. When I was pregnant with our second child and was more than half way through the pregnancy, the doctor asked me to have an ultrasound (in those days it wasn’t a regular thing like now). While the technician was checking me, he suddenly blurted out, “yes, the baby’s dead”. I freaked out! With me sobbing uncontrollably and my husband visibly furious, we went back to the doctor who apologized saying the tech never should have said anything. Not only that, but apparently that there was one part of the scan missing, and I’d have to come back to be rechecked the following week (this was on a Friday and we could not come back until Monday) before they could decide what to do. On the ride home, I was staring out the window crying. I silently screamed “HELP” and I just knew, in that moment, that Jesus was right there wrapping His arms around me telling me He was there. I felt an overwhelming peace, the peace that passes all earthly understanding. All I could think was, “He’s real…. He’s really real!!!” And I’ve never been the same. I KNOW in my heart that Jesus is who He says he is. As a result of this realization, I began a renewed relationship with Jesus and have striven to walk closely with Him ever since.
3. I know that waiting on God’s timing is difficult for all of us. How do you wrestle with this issue, and what do you find encouraging as you wait?
Waiting for the Lord’s timing in bringing my unsaved loved ones to accepting Him is such a challenge for me. Patience is not one of my strong points, and I sigh every time Denny preaches about waiting for God’s time – not ours. It is my single biggest 32-year-long challenge. But the Lord has given me His Word to help encourage me to give Him control, and trust in His timing. One of my all time favorite passages is Romans 8:28, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Another favorite is the prayer in Ephesians i3 :14-21. Someone once told me how wonderful it was to pray that passage while changing the “you” to the name of the person you were praying for. And I found that, for me, it is so powerful. Similarly, Philippians 4: 4-6 is another one of my favorites to remind me that God is in control and that I should be thankful in all situations. Finally, my favorite psalm is 139, and it’s always a reminder to me about how amazing our God is!
4. On a lighter note, what’s your favorite place to go out to eat?
Over the years, we’ve become friends with the owner of “Flannigan’s”. He’s Greek and knows that I love Greek food. Sometimes during various holidays, he tells us not to order off the menu and brings out traditional Greek holiday food. It’s absolutely fabulous. I also love hearing about what it was like for him living in Greece.
5. Expense aside, If you could spend one day doing anything you wanted, what would it be?
I would spend the day on Santorini (the Greek island) going through the archeological dig of the Minoan village that is being uncovered there – much like Pompeii. While there, I’d watch the sun set on the Mediterranean Sea. Also, if there was one, I’d love to zip line from the top of the cliff there, down to the sea. I LOVE zip-lining…the faster, the longer, the better!
6. What’s your favorite flower?
All of them? I think of flowers as God’s kisses! I once was known as the crazy daisy lady because my house was entirely surrounded by yellow daisies. I also love cone flowers, bleeding heart, lily of the valley, and I was pleasantly surprised by Jack-in-the-pulpit popping up in my yard for the last four years.