In the little things

We were ready.  Our four children were with family for the weekend, work was set aside, the house was clean.  There was nothing that could stop us from heading two hours south to Louisville to attend a youth leader's convention.  Well, actually, there was a lot that could stop us, but the obvious things were taken care of.  We had plans for an uninterrupted dinner together before the opening ceremonies, and I had been thinking all day about going to one of my favorite places, Panera.

Throughout the day, we'd been listening to the forecast of bad weather, but most of what was predicted hadn't happened.  We figured the meteorologists had gotten it wrong again as we headed down into northern Kentucky.  Shortly into our drive, it began to rain.  I pulled out my unnecessary, fancy phone and began to watch a live stream of the news.  Tornadoes, 3 inch hail, damaging winds up to 60 miles per hour were all headed straight for us.  The more I listened, the harder it rained and the more the wind began to pick up.  Doubt entered my mind and out of my mouth.  I sweetly suggested that we should go home, and come back down tomorrow.  Tim, with both fists gripped to the wheel, decided we should bravely continue on our journey.  My next suggestion was to find the closest overpass and hide under it, which was welcomed by the captain of the ship, but unfortunately mile after mile passed and we never found one.  It was intense!  We both took long, hard swallows as we passed a jackknifed 18 wheeler in the median.

Nearly there, we began to relax as the sun finally began to peak through the clouds.  We were behind schedule as we unloaded our bags in front of the hotel.  I was feeling out of sorts from the danger that nearly made my sister the lottery winner of four kids, not to mention mourning the loss of my BBQ chopped chicken salad that had been squeezed out of the schedule.  Priorities, right?

We were escorted to the wrong room, and after some configuring we carried all of our bags two floors down to the correct one.  I felt the clock taunting me.  I put on a brave (though somewhat grumpy and increasingly hungry) face as I tried to "fix" myself in the allotted ten minutes and head to the conference.  We traveled through the maze of hallways at the hotel, and while I was feeling cute in my new heels I soon realized I couldn't walk properly in them.  Slowly, painfully I followed Tim's hurried gait.  We finally made it just outside the conference with twenty minutes to spare.

The story could end here, and I could write about God's goodness and mercy in bringing us to the conference safely and on time, but it gets better.  As we turned around from the conference doors, there just outside and across the street was. . .PANERA!  This is what I call a God moment.  There are times in my life where things work out so uniquely and perfectly that you know it couldn't be coincidence.  I didn't ask for it.  I didn't pray for it.  I didn't hope for it, but it was given to me anyway.

I wonder what joy God had when he saw me turn around and see that restaurant.  Was he giddy with excitement?  Did he laugh out loud?  He'd been planning that moment for me all along, knowing what my day was going to bring.  I could almost hear him say, "Surprise!  Look what I did for you!  Are you happy?  Did I make you feel loved?  Do you see how much I care, even in the little things?"

I had no words, which was good, since my mouth was being stuffed with soul satisfying salad and mood uplifting pieces of whole grain baguette.

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