BY JERIS HAMM
It's easy to get caught up in our plans. We cross off items on our to-do lists and mentally check boxes on our important agendas.
As we spin in separate orbits and acknowledge that Jesus is the Light of the world, we tell ourselves that all of our busy-ness revolves around Him.
What about God's plans?
Instead of trusting Him, we often run in circles and fail to see the perfectly orchestrated trajectory of His will.
I arrived at the 2012 KCWC full of anticipation. I had business cards ready to go and a conference schedule marked with stars. In one of my folders, I had a copy of an article I'd written for kids.
At the meet and greet on Thursday evening, I signed up for an important appointment with Jesse Florea, the editor of Clubhouse Magazine. Would he be interested in the children's article I'd written? I’d hoped so.
Friday morning began with a great keynote address by Twila Belk. I confess, I don't remember much about the workshop that followed, and there's a good reason why.
Right after the second session, I headed for the cafeteria. As I stood in the lunch line, a horrible pain shot through my abdomen. I truly thought I might pass out.
God, please don't let me faint. Please don't let me be sick right here.
I hurried from the lunchroom to the lobby and spoke to a woman at the information desk. "I feel really bad. Is there a clinic near here?"
Carlton Hughes of the planning committee came into the lobby. Along with the nice woman, he helped me find a doctor's office close by. Once at the clinic, a nurse practitioner surmised that I probably had a virus.
I returned to my hotel but started feeling tremendously worse. I took a couple of Tylenol and tried to rest. In between bouts of sleep that afternoon, I worried about my plans.
I knew I'd have to leave the next morning. Would I make it home? Would Jesse Florea think I just hadn't show up for our appointment? I feared I'd never write for Clubhouse again.
Since I thought I had a virus, I drank a lot of fluids and soon finished my bottled water. After that, I had to quench my thirst by drinking hotel room tap water. I know, right?
I soon took the elevator down to the snack room and tried to retrieve a Dasani out of the drink machine. My friend, Sue Potts came in.
"Sue, I'm really sick."
She offered to help. I told her I'd probably be okay, then explained about my appointment with Jesse. She perked up.
"I've got an appointment with him tomorrow," Sue said. "I can tell him you're sick."
I hugged her with relief and returned to my room.
Miraculously, I slept that night and woke up feeling better. I started the five-hour drive home, not knowing how far I'd get. Again, I prayed.
Please God, be with me.
The miles ticked by. I made it to Bowling Green, then Nashville. A couple of hours later, I arrived at home.
I know God kept me safe on my return trip because, later that night, I ended up in the emergency room. The attending doctor had a new diagnosis: I'd passed a kidney stone!
I emailed Jesse the next week, apologized for missing the appointment, and attached the article I'd written.
All of my plans for the conference had been a bust. I didn't get to see Jesse. I didn't get to attend the workshops or enjoy the music and fellowship. I filed my article away and almost forgot about it.
A few months later, Sue Potts had good news. Clubhouse had accepted her article for publication. I "liked" her post on Facebook and congratulated her. Sue's success reminded me of the article I'd written.
I opened the file and reread it. I felt God would speak through the written words, if only I could get them into print.
Two years later, I got an email from Jesse Florea. He'd liked my article when he read it back in 2012, but it hadn't fit the monthly themes of the magazine. Until now.
My article, "Someone's Knocking," was published in Clubhouse in March 2015. I'm humbled to think that somewhere a child may be reading it, the Holy Spirit speaking to his heart.
God's timing for the article wasn't in 2012. Only He knows the children who will be reading it this year.
And I've learned one thing about planning for a writer's conference. Whether it's a pesky little stone or a meteor that crosses my orbit and knocks me out of my usual path, God's got this. His course doesn't change.