The story I have to share with you today is not the story I thought God would write in my life.
You haven’t heard from me in a while, mainly because I’ve been super busy launching a book (MotherStyles: Using Personality Type to Discover Your Parenting Strengths) and a business (helping people get their books written and published).
Concerning the latter, I thought it would be very useful to go to the annual Christian Booksellers convention this week in Denver to renew my publishing contacts. Gene goes because he works for a publisher. I would have been able to stay with him, no extra charge. Time away from the children, together!)As an author, my publisher could get me in. The kids had friends they could stay with for a week. My only expenses would be for transportation. Surely God would provide that.
I prayed about it. I tried to earn extra. I even asked a couple of people to help me out. The money did not seem to be forthcoming, and I felt strongly that this was not something to put on the credit card, even if it was a business expense.
The day before Gene left for the convention, a friend called. After she told me about how God provided for her at the 11th hour, I mentioned my situation.
She said, “My husband has a voucher he got when he was bumped a year ago, and I think it expires this week. Let’s see if I can find it, and if it’s transferrable.”
She did find something. We each called the airline company, described the vouther in details, and were reassured that it was usable and transferrable.
I checked flights to Denver, thinking this was God’s amazing way of providing for me to go to the convention after all.
No flights to Denver available under that voucher.
I hung up, very disappointed. Then it hit me: I have a free ticket to go anywhere! Where did I want to go?
Portland, I decided. As in Portland, Oregon. I have two sets of dear friends out there I’d love to visit.
Called the friends. They’d love to have me! Portland is so beautiful now! We’d have so much fun!
But then I checked the airline again. No flights to Portland on that voucher. No flights to Seattle, either. At least, not through Nov. 8, when she stopped checking.
But there were flights to Miami. I have a cousin in Florida I’d love to see. Called her. Debbie said it would be a fine time to visit. We’d have so much fun…. “We’ll do whatever you want to do,” she said.
The Amazing God Story I thought I’d be writing was how God knew I needed a vacation even more than I needed to be at the convention.
But it was not to be….
When my friend, who had the plane ticket, went to the airport to transfer it over to me–a trip he did not relish taking–the airline told him it was not a valid travel voucher. Despite us having called the airline at least 7 times, describing every inch of the paper and being told it was indeed a voucher and transferrable, US Air told Bill it was not valid.
No vacation for Diane.
Did something wonderful come up for me this week anyway? Not yet. I stayed home, got a lot done. Today I’m taking a retreat of sorts. I will try to get something done that I’ve been trying to find time for for months. (Something that will benefit my Abundant Gifts readers.)
But here’s what God did, that I can recognize. The morning my friend called about the plane ticket, right before she called in fact, I talked to a neighbor. The neighbor was having a garage sale, and I stopped by on my walk.
We got to chatting, and she told me that in April, she lost her future son-in-law. He dropped dead of a heart attack one day. Her daughter, who is 49, was devastated. She’d finally found the love of her life, and was all set for a wonderful future. Jane and her fiance had bought a house. They were to be married this summer.
Within a week of that tragedy, my neighbor, Genevieve, also lost her 33-year-old mentally handicapped son, who lived with her. She lost a son and son-in-law, her daughter Jane lost a fiance and beloved brother. All within a week.
Genevieve told me that she and Jane have a strong faith in God, and that is what is getting them through. Her faith lingered with me. I returned later that afternoon and gave her a copy of Abundant Gifts.
Genevieve’s story framed my own disppointment with a new perspective. What was my diappointment in a missed vacation compared to the crushing disappointment of losing one’s love and a future that seemed a dream come true? Of losing the son one has cared for and lived with for more than 30 years?
In a strange way, God used their story to help me. Even though I felt very disappointed in not being able to take the vacation I thought I’d take, I felt an underlying peace and sense that God is in control.
He has provided miraculously for me in the past. This time he chose not to. I may never know why, or he may reveal it. Either way, I know he’s with me.
Life is full of disappointment. But it tends to evaporate when the presence of God is trusted.