This is a conference that loves, that teaches, that challenges and supports. And I am always a renewed spirit at the completion of the final session.
So you might be able to imagine how it felt when our 3-year-old was sick as a dog to his little tummy 12 hours before we were supposed to leave our home to fly halfway across the country for this conference--like the floor dropped out from under me. He was sick for seven straight hours on Nov. 1. His usual boundless energy was zapped for the lack of food in his system, so we put him to sleep early (surrounded by lots of towels) and prayed for mercy from the Lord.
What is a mom to do? Our dear friends had assured us that they would take the best care of him, and I knew they would. But what message would I send to his tender heart if I would choose attending a conference over attending to him in his sickness? On the flip side, what message would I send to my husband if I would choose to stay home with a sick boy rather than spend that precious week growing with him?
God is doing a work in my heart, no doubt. There were many years before this one when I would have chosen fear or discouragement or self-pity when such a situation threatening to cause ruin to my beautiful plans. But that day, in those down-to-the-wire hours, I had peace knowing that if we stayed or went, that He would have a beautiful plan for either. I was strangely content in the midst of the struggle (after my brief worst-case-scenario freak out moment, of course).
Going to bed that night, I was mentally prepared to be up every hour, with a hungry babe on one knee and a sick little boy on the other. And I was worried about running out of lap space for the kindergartener, who I was certain would catch whatever bug had gone through the rest of our ranks.
And then it didn’t happen.
I woke up once to feed the smallest one, and as I checked on my sick boy, he was sleeping peacefully in the same spot we had left him. The towels around him were still clean and dry. I said a quiet prayer of thanksgiving.
And at 5:15 the next morning, that sick little boy was climging on top of his dadda and over the couches, begging for “beckfrest.”
We were still holding our breath in anticipation of seeing those breakfast cheerios come up again, but they stayed down. And then some toast stayed down. And some milk.
And we put our bags in the car. The kindergartener ready for the week ahead. The baby showing no signs of sickness. And my husband and I began to let ourselves get giddy with excitement. He was well! We were going to be able to go on our trip! We would not be separated for the week! We would not be spending hundreds of dollars on change-flight fees!
God had heard our prayers, and in his mercy had given us just enough.
We had an amazing week. The conference revived my soul, my marriage, my long-distance friendships, my love for my Lord and my desire to work for Him.
As I return from “retreat” and enter into this season of “holiday,” this is a good word for my heart: that God gives us enough, that He is enough, that his gift of grace to us is enough. As I might get fretful about my to-do list and what will or will not go the way I expect, the Prince of Peace is present and has a Beautiful Plan that he wishes to introduce to me. No amount of worry on my part will do. The best thing I can do is confidently wait for him to show up. And he does. And he did. And he will.
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13