The conference was what I wanted. The topics sounded informative, the lodging looked beautiful, and the hands-on video training was only slightly intimidating. I calculated ninety-six hours I could spend fine-tuning my speaking craft. I even planned out my free time. Between classes, I’d retreat to my room, practice my speech, and edit my novel.
So, I registered and attempted to book a flight. The plane schedules were awful! Flying would take almost twice as long than if I drove. It dampened my enthusiasm. I reluctantly decided to drive.
The long road trip turned out to be easy, even relaxing. I spent the alone time alternating between speech practice and listening to Contemporary Christian music. The drive wasn’t what I expected at all.
While unloading my vehicle at the lodge, another conference attendee, named Jerri, struck up a conversation about the protein drinks in my back seat. She obviously had better success with disciplined behavioral eating than me. She encouraged me, and I looked forward to visiting with her more. Jerri was the first of thirty-two women I would interact with over the next several days.
The conference wasn’t what I was expecting. Instead of concentrating on book lessons, the days were spent building relationships with like-minded women who understood how I felt and what I wanted to achieve. We shared meals, stories, and heart-aches. We worshiped, laughed, danced, and sang. We worked together, cried together, and listened together as each testified about the goodness of God during their video presentations.
The drive home wasn’t what I expected, either. Music now alternated with reflections about lessons I learned from the other women. Granted, the classroom instructions were in depth and informative, but fellowshipping with my precious new-found friends was inspiring.
God derailed my plans for those ninety-six hours. He planned for a group of strangers to gather and fellowship with him. His purpose was for relationships to be built and strengthened for his kingdom work. I’m so thankful God has plans much loftier than mine.
God is all about family. He wants his children to know each other and visit. He wants them to mentor and motivate one another. Most of all, God wishes to be glorified. The Almighty wants his children to lay aside their plans and worries, and to recall the mercy and grace he provided at the cross.
God’s plan is energizing, and I am refreshed when I lay aside my aspirations to line up with his will. He takes great delight in that.
“Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” Colossians [3:16]-17