The Story Behind the Steamer

Saturday night when I went to bed (after our family dinner and private fashion parade), my heart filled with such sadness knowing that they were leaving the next day. I asked God to stretch out the hours on Sunday until they headed to the airport at 2pm. As you can read above, He did!

I lay in bed thinking, “This can’t be it. I don’t want them to leave. Lord, I don’t want this to end. I want to go with them. I want to see the show. I want to see them again. I’m not ready to say good-bye.”

All I could do was pray that God would make my heart ready or make a way for me to see them again. I told them I was going to pray for God to provide a way for me to go to DC. When I got to the church to drop them off I told Hannah, their tour coordinator and she said it would mean so much to the women. I told her I didn’t know how but I knew if God wanted me there He’d make a way.

I hugged the girls and told them I would try my best. It was a bitter-sweet good-bye. As they drove away in the shuttle bus, Christen came up to me and said, “I heard you say you want to go to DC. I have been feeling the same way. My husband is a pilot for Air-Tran. I can get a buddy pass and I may want to go with you.” My jaw dropped and a glimmer of hope came over me. I really didn’t want to go alone. Maybe this was God’s idea and not just mine. Maybe I could find a good rate and we could fly together. I fluttered between excited and shocked. We traded phone numbers and said we’d pray and touch base.

It was Sunday, I’d need to leave in a few days. I came home and checked online. Tickets were $400-500, plus hotel, car, food, etc. Too much to spend. I went running that night and prayed that God would show me what to do. I looked into the night sky for a sign – a shooting star, a meteor, something. Nothing happened.

I kept running and praying. It was beautiful and cool outside. I prayed for the women. I asked God to show me what He was doing in me. Why was my heart so full? Why did I have this longing to experience more of what He was doing through these women and in me when I was with them?

I went to bed that night at 10:30. I was reading a book called “Left to Tell” about a woman who survived the genocide in Sudan. It made me miss the women that much more. Then I felt like God whispered – go check your email. So I climbed out of bed and powered on my laptop. I thought maybe Mary or Stella has written to me. But there in my inbox was an email from Christen saying she could get ME a buddy pass and it would only cost me $55!

I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t even know this woman a few days before and here she was offering me an airline ticker for $55. Despite the fact that I was a horrible steaming assistant. I am so glad I obeyed that call to go get a steamer. I don’t know that I would’ve even met Christen. It was the only time we crossed paths that weekend. And over the following days she would become a new treasured friend1

I read her email to JJ, who then looked at me and said, “Well, there’s your answer.”

There is more that happened lead up to me flying to DC that Friday – five days later! I wavered between going and staying because some other things threatened to get in the way – BUT GOD!!!!!!! He made sure I got there. It was amazing and I will have to brag on Him and the details this week. He gave me a special role to play in serving them and loving on them for another 30 hours before they headed back to Africa, where they are now.

If you read this story all the way through – WOW! Thanks for sticking with me!

I truly believe God has daily adventures for each of us if we will step out of our comfort zones and listen to His voice in our hearts. I like my safe little life but it’s so boring!

And all those questions of why I didn’t want it to end… I figured out that it was HIM that I was hooked on most. His nearness. His direction. His presence. My absolute dependence on HIM. It must be why Moses was so insistent about not going anywhere unless God went with Him. I think I am getting it and here I thought I already knew. He has so much more for me to learn.

About Renee

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, story-teller, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also a wife, mom, friend, daughter and author of A Confident Heart, a Retailers Choice Award winning book that became a best-seller and has been published in six languages, with over 150,000 copies sold. Renee is speaks around the country at women's events and and serves on the writing team for DaySpring’s inCourage blog. For twenty years, Renee served in leadership at Proverbs 31 Ministries and as former co-host of the ministry's radio program, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee.

Comments

  1. Oh my sweet friend. So much of this post resonated in my heart. I think of the almost strangers who reached out to me to get me to "She Speaks" this summer and how God showed up in such an incredible way…but then…you know that story :o)

    I can't help but wonder…what if you hadn't done this…or what if you hadn't done that…would God have kept asking? Would He have moved on to someone who would have listened and obeyed?

    God can do immeasureably more than we can ask or imagine. A $55.00 plane ticket – ONLY GOD!!

    I can so relate to the safe and boring life. But, like you, once I've tasted and seen how incredibly amazing God is, I no longer want to live on yesterday's stories. I want to be in the center of His adventure every minute of every day. No turning back….no turning back.

    Rejoicing with you tonight Renee and thanking the Lord for the incredible gift of His presence He lavished on you.

    Love & hugs,
    Joy

  2. Renee, It was great to read your story, each word was a blessing. It’s encouraging to hear you talk about the joy of seeking him and being in his presence. What a wonderful place to be! Thank you for sharing – it was worth the wait to hear the rest of the story. I loved your words about the fact that we can re-live the story as we write, how true, and it gives the reader a glimpse of your world as well – what a blessing!

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