The Heidi Search Center (HSC - direct link on above photo) invited me to speak at their banquet to "help" them, yet it was their invitation that "helped" me ~ so we "helped each other". Of course this is a rare and isolated type of helping others yet its one that demonstrates anything is possible. Who would of thought I would ever travel to Texas, especially as a speaker? Not me. I'm grateful for the opportunity and humbled at the same time for God's grace and mercy for opening this door.
Secondly, their invitation helped me face some of my fears. The greatest of these - traveling alone. When Crystal asked, "Will you travel to Texas and share your story of hope?" Once the tears stopped, I said, "yes, thank you." It was a couple days later when the reality of what I agreed to set in. "I HAVE TO TRAVEL TO TEXAS...ALONE!"
To cancel was NOT an option. God opened the door for me to do this, so in His strength, protection, and guidance...I go. Months of prayer and preparation came down to the day before I would leave. I had a sense of peace and was ready. I arrived at the airport on Thursday afternoon ready to fly, feeling confident, and excited.
And then...the real adventure began. First, my flight was delayed. I check to see the new arrival time, only to learn I will miss my connecting flight. I join other flyers in line to seek assistance for this alteration of my flight plan. An angel dressed in a United Airlines uniform, Mike, greeted me and said, "Oh, this isn't good. Let me see what I can do." His first option wouldn't put me in San Antonio until 9 p.m. Friday night, after the banquet. How can I help the HSC if I'm still in the air?
I explain to Mike the reason for my trip and the importance of getting to San Antonio. He makes some phone calls, and figures out a way to get me to Texas in time for the banquet but I'll miss the morning time at the center itself. Discouraged and heart broken, I thank him for his help. I call Ed to return to the airport to pick me up. He and Mary make the drive back to the airport to find me red eyed and shaking my head.
In between walking out of the airport and waiting for my chariot, I called Crystal in Texas to update her. She as such an encouragement, sharing a few verses from the Bible with me ~ some of the same ones I read earlier that day. Ed and Mary encouraged me on the way home and assured me all would be well the next day.
Friday morning came and Ed returned me to the airport, earlier than I needed to be but this allowed him to make it to work on time. Thank goodness I was early because once I checked in I was told there was no room on my flight and I wouldn't be able to make it to San Antonio for last night. I explained to this attendant the reason I needed to get there to which she replied, the only way this will happen is if you are on this flight (points to the one boarding), have two connections, and switch airlines. I agree and life is set in motion.
I am on a plane two hours earlier than planned thanks to the help of another. I spend the day arriving late, racing to my next departure, and arriving in enough time to share HOPE with others. If it wasn't for the help of others like Mike and then the attendant, Erika, on my last flight ~ I wouldn't of made it to Texas.
Erika, provided food and drink to a tired and hungry traveler, me. Due to turbulence on my first two flights, the beverage cart couldn't even come out and because there. So instead of passing out for low sugar (I'll have snacks in my bag on the way home, lesson learned), Erika helped me by providing a complimentary meal and kept my soda cup full once they started serving.
A lot of people worked together to help the HSC prepare for a beautiful banquet. People came together to support, encourage, and be there for each other. I made it to San Antonio in time for the banquet because someone helped modify my travel plans around the bad weather's path. Someone helped me by providing nourishment. Some shared Scripture to help me push through my fears and the obstacles.
And hopefully, I helped others know they have hope and are strong. Together, we are a mighty team and when keeping our eyes fixed on Him...anything is possible.
Part II of my message: Help OTHERS!
Before you start throwing tomatoes at me, hear me out. I remember a time when I didn’t think I could help myself, more or less someone else. Is there anyone here tonight feeling like this? Let me encourage you, YOU can, and probably ARE helping others.
In our lives, there are people we interact with each day. These are those in our “circle” if you will, like a rubber band – I remember the days and weeks after my sister disappeared, just to shower or brush my hair took great effort. It took the words of someone else to encourage me – one person said, “You look so good, I don’t know how you do it.” On the inside I was falling apart and felt helpless but to others, I was viewed strong.
There are people in your circle watching your strength, determination, perseverance, and actions in awe. You might not recognize the strength you have BUT those in your circle of life – do.
Who are the OTHERS you can think of? These are the people in your circle that help you in your greatest time of need. It’s okay to cry and lean on those around you. Just as you are helping others, let them help you.
This was a great and difficult lesson for me – to receive and accept help.
"All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.
When they are troubled, we will be able to give them
the same comfort God has given us."
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NLT