Dear friends, a fellow SUMite, Gillian Russell Meisner, has an amazing story to share with us about her experiences at the Intentional Life conference we held in Texas in April of 2013. It's a great story, told in three parts. So enjoy part one this week! Thank you, Gill, for sharing your heart with us! Providence by Gillian Russell Meisner
Last winter there was an announcement on the SUM blog, a special conference, for the Sumites ( and others too). I saw the post and immediately my heart soared at the possibility, but I knew I had 3 small boys at home, and it was such a long way to travel from Canada for a one day conference, so I smiled at the thought, decided it wasn't the time, and let it go.
But then about a month later something happened as I read one of the SUM posts and all of a sudden, I really, really wanted to go. The same thing has happened a few times before, I will have, in peace, made a decision to decline an opportunity, and God will swoop in and change my heart. That's how I know it's Him. It still seemed pretty crazy, to want to fly all the way from Canada down to Texas for a one day conference, but in particular I recalled something I had been reading, about living for God alone:
“The saints simply asked themselves, “What is God’s will for this moment” If they concluded that something would help them draw nearer to God and the best version of themselves God desired them to be, then they embraced it. If they decided that it wouldn't, then they turned their backs on it regardless of how alluring the opportunity was."
And when I thought about it in that light it didn't sound so crazy anymore. I knew it would force me to rely on God in a big way (travelling alone, navigating airports and another country), it would teach me more about the world and people far away that I could share God’s heart for them, it would be the fulfillment of a dream and it would help me grow in my marriage as well. So I made the decision in my heart, and my husband said it would be ok for me to go, though it wasn't in the budget.
Leading up to my trip God was already wowing me with His provision as He took care of every detail of getting me to the Southern US, while still honoring my husband’s wishes. God provided flights, and abundant funding, more than I could have dreamed. Then in the span of about 15 minutes He provided me with a place to stay so I didn't have to worry about hotels, food or cabs while I was down there either, except once from the airport.
For those 2 months leading up to my trip to Texas I had been struggling with colds and feelings of discouragement but by the time I got to Toronto I felt it was all worth it, already. I discovered that every person I met on my journey, every encounter, were all divinely ordained and planned out in advance by God, just for me. All the way He provided me with people to talk to and opportunities to reach out w His Love and Truth to others. :).
During this trip God taught me so much about myself and my relationship with Him and about His provision and care. Over and over and OVER that week, God proved His incredible faithfulness to me. The whole time I watched my Daddy take care of His little girl like I had never seen before:
Travelling down I had to walk a lot with the baby and several heavy bags and every time I needed help, God sent somebody to help me carry my stuff; a stranger on the train who hadn't spoken a word to me just gave me a sandwich one morning. Everywhere I went God made sure I had everything I needed and more: He provided food and drinks, directions, extra donations, rides, and even coffee!
The way He put it on people’s hearts to reach out to me, it just showed me in a very powerful way how much this world is still under God’s control, much more than we realize. Everything God did for me He wants to do for you too, and for all of His children, if we will only put all our trust in Him. ("Tune in" next week for part two, Freedom: God Always Knows Best)