I was too focused.
He knew better than to waste his efforts on me during the conference:
I was too confident.
He knew better than to start in on me during the trip home:
I was surrounded by too many fellow attendees.
In fact, I can't think of a time in my life that I have felt more protected, sure of my calling, and supported than I did last weekend.
The night before my trip to Charlotte, as I sank exhausted into bed for a three hour nap before morning, an unexpected warmth washed over me. God reassured me, tenderly, that I was on my way to a divine appointment. What a gift, to carry that with me all weekend!
At the end of my flight day, I collected my suitcase off the conveyer belt, turned around, and saw the one person of 650--the one person in all of Charlotte--that I already knew personally. The rest of the evening was spent in catching up and sharing with Laurel, a leader in my home church whose office I shared during my summer ministry internship over a decade ago. What a gift, to start the weekend with one who has known me since I came of age, who knows my parents and knows me!
At dinner, we invited a few others to share our table. Halfway through the meal, Katie suddenly recognized me as a blog friend. We have followed one another's stories for three years, and there she was sitting six inches away from me! What a gift, to realize all this blogging business has real people on the other end of it, and that we can meet in a place like this. My world grew three sizes in an instant.
Before my first publisher appointment the next afternoon, I connected with Shona and Caroline, two more friends I had known only through the internet. Both supportive, both helping me work out some of my jitters. What a gift, to have Caroline sit me down 20 minutes before my time and let me practice my pitch on her!
Walking through the hall later, I saw a face I thought I recognized. Squeee! Emily, whose magical, thoughtful prose first cast me a vision for a blog that could be a living thing, engaged in conversation with me. What a gift, a treasure to satisfy my secret desire to meet her in person. And she really is as sweet and just-right as she seems.
On through the weekend, the divine appointments continued. Clear through the entire trip home, through date night at the end, through the beginning of the next week as I unpacked, counted, and treasured each gift.
The mountaintop high didn't end Tuesday, when I learned the Captain would be taking a business trip for the remainder of the week.
It didn't end Wednesday, when Lulu found scissors and cut her lovely goldilocks for the second time in a week.
It didn't end Thursday, when I worked on an article until 3am, and went to my room to find ants milling around on the floor of my closet.
But oh, my friends, all good things come to an end. And that sneaky prowling enemy just lurked, waiting for his opportunity. Friday, the mountaintop experience came to an abrupt end.
At 8am, I got a call that the Captain's flight home from D.C. had been cancelled and rerouted, which would cause him to miss the last flight into town, thereby stranding him overnight in Dallas.
At 10am, I found inappropriate months-old pictures on my phone, taken by my children,
At noon, the baby ran around the house yelling potty words learned from the children in the above description. She also regressed a bit in her potty training progress from before my trip, and had two accidents on my sofa. At this point, I outlawed all potty words and banned laughter from the house.
At 2pm, I took out the trash, which led to the discovery of a moldy yogurt container in the bottom of the can; which led to a delay in taking out the trash, which led to the bag leaking a clear bile-smelling liquid on the floor and carpet; which led to floor mopping and a bleach incident (bad for my bleach-fumes allergy); which led to the discovery of rotting potatoes in the pantry next to the new trash bags; which really put me over the top for the day, smell-wise. At this point the kids were enlisted as slave labor; and they folded laundry (a first), picked up and vacuumed the living rooms, and otherwise earned their keep for a few moments.
At 4pm I didn't care anymore, and went back to bed.
At 6pm I took the kids out for dinner and a few groceries, whereupon my exuberant boy chased the baby right out of the store through the low grocery cart opening while several horrified busybodies stared and blocked my path as I shed my dignity and chased her like the sassypants she is.
At 8pm I got a nice call from my sister-in-law, during which the kids took total advantage and messed up all their beautiful tidying progress from earlier (see 2pm).
At 10pm the Captain called, and after we traded war stories from the day
But I had a slip of a dream remain with me all day. I dreamed about another appointment, one I haven't had yet, in which a nice lady smiled at me and asked for my book proposal. Her interest, and obvious belief in me, set my heart right at ease. It's a nugget to store with that peace and tenderness moment given the night before my trip, to reassure me through all the other moments. I am on the right path, and I have confirmation of it in the many divine appointments I seem to be keeping all along the way.
That sneaky old enemy may have scored a round on me, but he will not win. I am confident of this, that the one who began this good work in me will be faithful to complete it. And I am confident he will complete the work he is doing in you, too. Just treasure your gifts and watch out for those divine appointments!