Last weekend I flew down to Orlando, Florida, for the FPEA home school conference. (In previous years, we’ve gone as a family with our van and trailer, but this year we decided it would be wiser for just one of us to fly down.)
A good friend and Bright Lights leader, Chelsea Owen, picked me up at the airport, helped me run the booth at the conference, and helped me give the session Sarah normally gives on “Training Young Ladies to be Bright Lights for the Lord”. Chelsea was a great “partner” for the week—definitely the Lord’s perfect provision! She was also a lot of fun. 🙂
Chelsea and I, (and our “now water-proof boxes”), ready to head to Orlando.
We saw our Heavenly Father watching out for us in so many specific ways. Although we did face several “glitches” along the way (it wasn’t exactly our “typical conference routine” [smile]), one by one each problem worked out.
For example, Wednesday afternoon after I arrived in Florida I learned that the tables I thought we were going to be able to borrow from another vendor weren’t available anymore. Great. Now what? Thankfully, Chelsea’s church had tables we could borrow—exactly the size we needed. (And, they were the lightweight plastic kind, too. Whew! I really dislike those super heavy 8 ft. wooden tables…[smile])
Loading up tables from Chelsea’s church
We drove from Chelsea’s house in Clearwater to Orlando and arrived in good time. Although parking last year was a nightmare, this year a security man directed us to a parking spot right by the entrance, and some boys with an extra cart took all of our stuff in for us in one trip. That was easy!
Chelsea and me
Katie, Chelsea, Myself, Alethea
Katie, Alethea, and Chelsea all lead Bright Lights groups in Florida. It was really nice to be able to have some time to get better acquainted and hear about their groups!
Carissa and Hannah, new Bright Lights leaders.
Chelsea explaining about Bright Lights to people at the booth
We sold out of just about all the Bright Lights material we had brought. Yea! We were encouraged by the enthusiastic response we received about Bright Lights.
As we were packing up, Chelsea asked, “Do you think it’s going to rain tonight? Because we don’t have a tarp to cover the boxes in the back of my pickup—and the garbage bags we used on the way here are now ripped and ruined.” We had a long drive home, and we knew it was too much of a risk to transport 15 cardboard boxes of books in the back of an open pickup.
That wasn’t our only problem. Upon our first trip out to the truck, we found that the bed of her truck had a few inches of standing water in it. There’s no way we can carry our boxes in here, we realized. Additionally, the sky had suddenly grown dark and we could tell it was going to start pouring at any minute.
Thankfully, God knows our needs before we ask Him. Chelsea’s brother, Cale, “just so happened” to be stopping by on his way home from college and agreed to take the boxes in his vehicle. Now all we needed to do was load them into Chelsea’s truck temporarily and then transfer them to Cale’s vehicle which was parked in a lot a little farther away.
Quickly, we laid the plastic tables down in the truck bed and piled the boxes on top. We couldn’t close the back, but that was okay, because Cale jumped on top and held them all in place while we took off to find his vehicle.
The sky was now a dark gray and lightning was flashing around us. Our boxes were about to get drenched! “Lord, we really need you to hold off the rain!” Chelsea prayed.
Cale was shouting directions to his vehicle, but in that gigantic parking lot it took forever to find it.
(Yes, I had to stop and snap a picture… [smile])
When we finally spotted Cale’s vehicle, we all jumped out and loaded the boxes into it as quickly as we could. As we were putting the last box in I almost started to laugh. Yes—the rain started to come. “I knew it!” The Lord was so good. One minute later, it was a heavy downpour, but we didn’t mind because the boxes were safe and we were dry and ready to go find something for dinner!
We wondered what we ever have done without Cale there to help. I really have no idea! On the way to dinner, we were praising the Lord and naming all the other dozens of ways we saw the Lord taking care of us all throughout the trip.
At church the next morning we sang “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” I had to smile, feeling as if the Lord arranged that hymn choice just for us. When I think back on this trip, I am definitely going to remember God’s faithfulness.
I’ve recently been mediating on Philippians 4:6-7 and this conference was a perfect opportunity to work on application! “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”