The command came to me this morning from Meagan on her way to work.
“I’ve read the same post about five times now and I need something new to read!”
I have to write about my trip to Mississippi. (Does anyone else spell that by rehearsing the childhood memory technique? “MISSISSIPPI: M. I. Crooked letter. Crooked letter. I. Crooked letter. Crooked letter. I. Hump back. Hump back. I.” Just wondering.)
This time last week, Kristin was finishing my wardrobe checklist. (Most of you will remember that I’m rather fashion challenged and she sets up all my outfits when I travel. It’s good to know your limitations and where to find help.)
“If you get there and it’s more casual, just wear this necklace instead of that one. Only wear your black shoes with these two outfits. And you can put heels with either of these if it’s dressier than you expected, Mom. Mom! Are you paying attention?”
Frank arranges everything for me and weighs the bag because he can organize better than anyone I know.
And the entire time we’re packing, Gracie (the shih tzu) skulks around the bedroom; looking at me out of the top of her big brown eyes. She doesn’t need words to express her total disgust with me for leaving her - again!
This time I was headed for Columbus, MS; which has it’s own regional airport about twenty minutes from the hotel where I was staying.
Plan A was for me to arrive there around 7:30. Grab a bite of dinner with the hostess and turn in early so my body would be all adjusted to the time change.
Plan A crashed and burned!
Plan B consisted of a missed connection in Atlanta and a reroute into Birmingham, AL. A lady from Tuscaloosa picked me up in Birmingham around 10:30 (which was actually 11:30 my time). We drove for an hour and Loretta (the weekend hostess), Pastor Shane and Dana met us at a Chevrolet dealership somewhere. We shuffled my suitcase, I hopped into their vehicle and we were off again.
Columbus, MS – here we come!
I finally hit my hotel room around 3:00 Saturday morning. “Travelling is such a glamorous adventure!” If you could have seen me stumbling toward the breakfast bar and coffee pot just four hours later, you would have seen the glamour! And gasped!!
Fortunately, the banquet didn’t start until 5:30. So I did get some rest before being handed a microphone. My family only would have cringed a couple of times during the sermon had they been there.
We laughed a lot. We cried some. We felt closer to Jesus when the evening was over. That’s always the objective!
The real kicker was when I woke up Sunday morning with a searing migraine headache. Fortunately, it was still dark when I stumbled out to the car to go find some Aleve. UN -fortunately, I bumped my head on the door getting into the car.
“Don’t cry!” I told myself. “Crying only makes it hurt worse!”
I must have looked pretty rough because the worker at the breakfast bar found change in her own purse and bought the Aleve for me. She waved away the dollar bill I offered her.
I love living in the South! She kept crooning, “Oh, Honey! Oh, Honey! Those ol’ headaches are so miserable!”
By the time church rolled around, I was able to stand without weaving. And when I went to the platform to preach the morning message, I knew that lots of people had been praying.
Usually a migraine leaves me totally depleted. But God had a message He wanted to deliver to the marvelous congregation gathered at THE POINT church in Columbus, MS. I literally felt an infusion of strength. I showed pictures of my family; told a funny story and it was game on!
The altar time at the end of the sermon was precious.
Their church looks a lot like Heaven. Even though it’s in the heart of the Deep South, the Gospel has united races. A nearby college has a large group of international students and many of those attend THE POINT church, too.
It was wonderful to watch such diversity harmonizing as they all prayed to the same loving God.
I finally got back home Sunday night around 11:30, instead of the scheduled 9:30. And I was in Tampa instead of Orlando. But my suitcase got there with me so I counted it a win. I hugged Frank tightly, climbed into the Tahoe and relished the cup of hot tea he’d brought.
When Plan B over takes Plan A, we all wonder: WHY?
I met the WHY on the second leg of my journey, last Friday. I’ll call her Tara.
She was a beautiful, confident young lady in her 30’s. Talking with her was easy. She wasn’t supposed to be on that flight. (Plan B for her, too.) Yet here we were. Seated by each other, sharing about our lives, when we weren’t even supposed to meet.
I think it was a divinely orchestrated appointment!
There was a similar situation coming home. “Jennifer” was a young mom sorting out life, marriage, children, and career. It’s amazing how transparent you can become on a plane with a stranger when a loving heavenly Father sets it up.
It’s taken me almost this entire week to catch up while still carrying on with my regular office hours. But the truth is – when Plan B brings about such wonderful results, I don’t mind it at all.
If Plan B wrecks your schedule this weekend, watch for the divine appointment. I’ll bet you spot it right away!