Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Unexpected Answers

The past two years I've gone to the Children's Ministries Promiseland conference at Willow Creek. The first year was with my mom, the second with Amy (my Early Childhood Director). Both years were refreshing, challenging, encouraging, enlightening and energizing. Unfortunately, both years were also expensive. This year my resources are a little more limited. Amy and I have been praying that somehow God would provide the $3200 needed to take the two of us and two other team members to Chicago. In November, an unexpected gift of $1300 came our way. I was certain this was a word of encouragement from the Lord that we were on our way to Promiseland.
But these three months have passed with no increase to the conference fund. We prayed and prayed, and prayed some more. But over the last month I've felt the possibility of our time in Chicago slipping away. I struggled with this. After all, we need this conference. Why couldn't God provide the money? With a new service added and an increase in attendance, I can feel myself physically, emotionally and spiritually needing a get away, a refreshment, a retreat.
This week I met with Ken, our executive pastor, and it became clear that a trip to Willow Creek wasn't a possibility this year. I had to fight off emotions and accept what was going to be. But then, as I walked down the stairs to my office, I remembered something. Just a few weeks earlier I'd received a program for the NW Christian Educator's Conference. At the time I just flipped through the booklet and threw it away--after all, I was going to Promiseland. But now, with my precious dream thrown out the window, NWCEC sounded like a silver lining. And guess what! I figured out that with the money already sitting in my account, we can take the four of us original conference attendees, plus one more, with money left over!
While the retreat won't be what was expected, I'm sure God can work through it just as much. And, it comes a month and a half earlier. Probably at just the time when I'll be ready to run away due to exhaustion.
And as though this new discovery wasn't encouraging enough, I also received affirmation for the change. Last night, Nolan and I were at our college/career group and the speaker was teaching out of John 4--when the government official went to Jesus to heal his son. He made a long journey with a request and a hoped for answer. In his view, Jesus needed to touch his son for healing to happen. But Jesus had a different answer. He told the official to go. His son was healed.
Who knows what God has in store for us at the NWCEC. All I know is I came with a request and an expected answer, but Jesus responded with another. He's telling me to go in faith. Who am I to argue?


Richmond said...


I'm sad to hear you won't be going to the Conspire Conference, but happy to hear that God has lead you in another direction.


Anonymous said...

I'm so thankful that God is teaching you to trust Him. What a beautiful story of God's faithfulness.

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