Recently, I traveled to Canada. So, people keep asking me, "How was your trip?"
Quite honestly, I tell them, "It was hard and good. It was wild and wonderful!"
On this trip, God led me completely out of my comfort zone!
Before I tell you how, let me share a little history. For years, I have heard:
"You should write a book!"
"Do you have a book?"
"When are you going to write that book?"
And, for years, I have felt guilty that I STILL did not have a book.
A few years ago, during a flight to a speaking engagement in Arizona, I shared with the woman beside me the marriage message I planned to present to two moms' groups. "I need that message," she said. "Do you have it written anywhere?"
I was so convicted, when I returned home, I started this blog. I knew I needed to have a place, if I was ever asked that question again, where I could send someone to read the stories and lessons that I love to teach.
Then, the past three years, very little writing or speaking took place, because the Lord needed to use me in others ways. However, during this hidden, winter season, the guilt about not writing a book began to subside. And I realized, as the Lord took me to deeper places in my walk with Him, a book would have been more about my opinions and ideas than about His truth, faithfulness, and plan.
SurprisingIy, I became thankful I had not written a book...yet!
Until, 2017 began! Then, with all my heart, I knew it was time! Time to write that book.
I made a goal to attend at least three writer's conferences. All in the United States. BUT GOD kept leading me to a Writer's Boot Camp in Canada.
This was HARD for me. Traveling out of the country, alone, was scary. Still, I am pretty sure God was smiling as He watched me wrestle with my decision, and finally reach the conclusion that I would be GOOD. For in His grace and sovereignty, He had allowed me to visit the same area last summer while on vacation with my husband. It was familiar to me. And, an added bonus, I loved it there!
Traveling to Canada was HARD for me. Memories of our last visit were still fresh on my mind, as I recalled the strong pain killers I had to take because of chronic back pain. I wondered if my back would be a problem again. But, I prayed and asked the Lord to keep my back strong during the long rides in airplanes and rental cars, hotel beds and conference chairs, and long walks with luggage. Graciously, God heard my cry and the trip was GOOD! My back held out until the night after I got home. Where, the next day, I was able to visit my amazing chiropractor, who just happens to be Canadian.
For most of the trip, I was asking the Lord, "what am I doing here? There is a great writer's conference hundreds of miles closer to home. Why did you send me to Canada?"
I knew I would be with Christians who expressed their faith more demonstratively than I usually did. There were times during our 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. meetings when the group would burst into song or prayer or prophetic word. I confess, at times, I struggled to join in, and thought, "I just want to learn how to publish my book!"
Much to my surprise, during these "break out sessions," I actually had a word or two, myself, to share with the group. And on top of that, the Lord used me three times to pray for one of the leaders. WILD! First, I prayed for her headache, and then two times for a bloody nose. The headache left, and both times her nose stopped bleeding, instantly! WONDERFUL!
After that, for me, it was WILD again, when the leaders laid hands on me (in front of everyone) and prayed for the Lord to use me to pray for others to be healed. In my early walk of faith, I had prayed earnestly for God's gift of healing. But, in that room, when they asked, "will you receive this gift," I admit I was cautious. Not about receiving a gift from the Lord, I want every gift God wants to give to me! But, this was so unexpected and so outside my comfort zone!
Overwhelmed, one of my new friends pulled me aside and asked how I felt about what had happened. I told her, although there was a time when I had prayed for the gift of healing, now the longing of my heart was to help people to heal in their heart, in their mind, and in their whole being! I also confessed how I generally expressed myself a little more quietly and behind the scenes. It was WONDERFUL when she said, "God will use you just the way you are, the way He uniquely made you."
Before I knew it, the writer's boot camp was over. We celebrated dinner together in the beautiful home of one of the participants, where I visited with new friends, exchanged contact information, and then returned to my hotel exhausted. But that night, and the next day on my drive back to Calgary with a new friend, I realized in between the long hours of learning to write, publish and market a book, and, for me, the WILD times of ministry and worship, I had the WONDERFUL joy of meeting some amazing people, with powerful redemption stories.
Traveling to Canada was hard, yet good! It was wild, yet wonderful! In going, God led me WAY out of my comfort zone. He did so to better equip me to write my book; to stretch me to travel further than I would have naturally; to use gifts He graciously apportioned to me; to worship together with others far more free to express themselves than I. But, the best part of all, God enriched my life with the extraordinary gift of meeting new and precious brothers and sisters in the Lord!