This summer I got to participate in a lot of ministry. But if I only ‘did’ ministry and didn’t listen and learn, then I would be doing it wrong. In this series, ‘Summer School’ I present some of the lessons God taught me.
Summer School Lesson 1: Two are better than one…
I had been signed up for the She Speaks conference in North Carolina for months, and had not been this excited about something in a long time. It was a conference for Christian speakers and writers, and I felt like it was made specifically for me! I could not WAIT to get there and see what God had in store.
So when the gate agent suddenly announced my flight there was cancelled because of mechanical issues and that all other flights out of Austin were full that day, and I realized that it was very likely that I would not be able to make the first half of my conference, things looked really, really dark.
But just two minutes before that announcement, God had sent me a little message. “Nicole, it is going to look bad, but trust me. I got you.”
That little ‘pre-disaster’ message came in the form of a lady who had sat down next to me, chatting on her cell phone. Just before she hung up, I heard her mention North Carolina. She hung up and gave me a warm smile, which I returned. “Are you headed to North Carolina?” I asked. “Yes, to Charlotte,” she confirmed. “I don’t suppose you’re going to a conference there,” I continued. “I am!” she said. “I am going to She Speaks.” This is how I met my new, dear friend, Judy Patterson.
We only had time to exchange cards before that fateful announcement about our flight cancellation, but from that point on, we worked as a team. A quick trust was formed, and we decided to make our changes together instead of doing it ‘every woman for herself’ style.
- My call to the airline got dropped, so she handed me her phone with her booking agent to get my reservation done, too.
- I made the suggestion that we abandon the airport, split a rental car and drive to DFW for our connecting flight, and she said ‘Let’s do it!’
- Instead of abandoning me, she waited patiently while I saw about my checked luggage, and as a reward, the clerk suddenly found a way to get us by Super Shuttle van to Killeen to connect to Dallas, then to Charlotte late that night, courtesy of the airline. No expensive rental car!
- Our late arrival in Charlotte meant that we would both miss the available transportation to the hotel. Judy called the hotel and got the number for the conference shuttle coordinator. When she typed it into her phone, it was already in her contacts because it was a friend of hers. The friend/shuttle coordinator said don’t sweat it; I will come and get you no matter how late.
These are just a few of the ways that we supported each other all day. We grabbed each other’s bags, shouldered each other’s loads, compared iPad apps, laughed and talked all the way to Charlotte. In all earthly standards, this would have been a long, frustrating, disappointing day. It was still long, but it was absolutely delightful because my new friend and I got to see God work out the details and fulfill His whispered “I got you.”
At the conference, I met up with Judy at her booth for womensministry.net many times, and we carved out a lunch together. She snuck in to listen to one of my speaker evaluation group talks and offer wonderful support. Also, we found out that we were on the same flights home as well! I helped her pack up her booth, and we set out together again. No cancelled flights this time, but it was a better day to travel with a friend.
I went to the She Speaks Conference to learn more about my craft of speaking and writing. I went to be filled and refreshed by God’s word. All that happened. But one of the biggest ways I was blessed was in the airport by a cancelled flight, and the living sermon that it provided.
Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecc 4:9-12