Saturday, June 25, 2011

*She Speaks* Candidly

Please take a seat and get comfy. I'm going to tell you some things that no one knows about my adventure at She Speaks last year. What I have told you is that it was like church camp for women. I felt God's presence like I hadn't in sometime. He spoke. That's why I was there. Well, ONE of the reasons anyway. I have so enjoyed our She Speaks chat group on facebook. All the questions, answers, and excitement have blessed me. Some of the anxiousness reminded me of some funny things that happened to me last year. 

I went to She Speaks a very sick girl. I had never flown alone and that made me really nervous. I am also going to be really candid on the WWW and tell you that I had to stop 3 times in a 45 minute trip to use some of the most horrid, stinky gas station restrooms along the way to the airport.  Yeah, remember me? I'm the girl whose is allergic to food, the girl whose food flies as fast as a jet plane through her system.  Remember, I said candid.  So, I was embarrassed and thinking things were not going to go well before I had even arrived at the airport.  
So, there I was. The truck that brought me had one of those covered beds that locked. Well, the key was suddenly missing with my luggage locked in the back. Note to self: do not put luggage in a truck with a lockable bed cover.  There I was, needing another restroom, sweating in the Texas heat, with no way to get my luggage out. Cars zoomed around us probably wondering why this lady and her big white truck wouldn't get out of the way. I threw up a real quick "Satan get away from my luggage in Jesus name!" and we found the key.  
I sauntered, like a lost puppy, through the airport asking what seemed like the dumbest questions for an adult in her twenties. I managed to find the right line only after I had found the wrong one. I prayed my way through security with a "Lord, please don't let me go the bathroom on myself and please take away the feeling that my insides are falling out." And I did. I made it through. I found my gate and quickly found my seat. Then, I saw this "lady."  She screamed "writer."  She had a sweater tied around her neck and a cute tote. I questioned myself again. Was I suppose to be here?  I was emotionally exhausted and physically a wreck. And I totally didn't look the part. 

Then, God reminded me; He had already gone before me. Months earlier, I had felt the nudge to attend. I had no money to do such a thing and my health was bad. The ladies in my Bible study prayed with me about it. I told God, "God, I don't have the money for that and my health is bad, but if you want me to go your going to have to find the money for me - cause I can barely pay my bills." My courage was hiding in a dark closet with the door locked, and she had even swallowed the key. I tried to get scholarships and didn't. Then, suddenly, three people offered me money to go- it was just enough to cover the cost of the entire conference. 
I bought my plane ticket. 
My seatbelt was fastened and my stomach had calmed. And then... there was turbulence. I'd never experienced turbulence. Turbulence + me = No bueno. I prayed it would stop and it didn't. So, I asked Jesus if he planned on taking me home like this. I mumbled another "Satan get away from this plane in Jesus name" under my breath so my seat-mate didn't think I was nuts. The turbulence stopped. Two hours later, I had arrived.  

I hurredly followed the crowd cause I still had no idea where I was going (even with signs)  down to Baggage Claim. Then, the unthinkable happened. 
I waited. 
And waited some more. 
I looked and strained my eyes for the fluorescent luggage tag I had put on my red Wal-Mart suitcase. I stood nervously until only one other red, Wal-Mart suitcase remained. But, alas, it was NOT MINE!  My suitcase was gone. Not only did I not have clothes, but I had at least $100 dollars of gluten free food inside of it (in case the food wasn't gluten free and I had to resort to granola bars and rice bowls the whole weekend). 
 I began to hyperventilate. 
And I found the nearest bench and sat. I was tempted to cry. Okay, there was this one tear that made a lovely path through my blush. I had never flown alone. I didn't even know where to go or what to do.  So, I said outloud, "Lord, send me someone."  
And then....someone...sat down beside me.  I didn't even notice her official airline uniform or her tag that read "Baggage Claim" when I mumbled with a cracking voice: "And what do you do if your bag doesn't come out?"  She said, "Honey, there is one bag still on the belt, is it not yours?"  And I told her that my bag was red, but had fluoresecent tags. That bag was red, but had old tags. 

She was my baggage angel. She truly worked in baggage and had left her little baggage claim office and 'happened' to have a seat next to me. Immediately she sprung into action and told me that someone must have mistakenly grabbed my bag and I now had theirs. We called the number on the suitcase. The number belonged to a family member of a teenager on my flight- his step mom's. However, the kids biological mom had picked him up from the airport. The step-mom called the biological mom and within 20 minutes they turned around and brought me back my bag.  
Oh yes, and I forgot to mention that my MAC computer was also in that suitcase why I had packed it instead of put it in my carry on bag I will never be able to answer.  
In the nick of time, I caught the shuttle. 

Things had settled down. I had even scored a 15-minute slot to have The Writing Spa review one of my articles. I happened to have an hour window before the appointment, so I scheduled a massage at the Hotel Spa. When I got out of my massage, my locker wouldn't open. I went to the front desk and asked for help. The girl couldn't get it open either.  I had 15 minutes to get my locker open, change my clothes, and get my article out of the locker. After ten minutes of trying, it was apparent that I was going to miss my 15-minute appointment. 
 There I stood:
Spa robe and three-sizes-too small, rubber sandals with my room key, article, and clothes all locked in my locker. 
I prayed again - at this point the no clothes standing in a robe type of point  it wasn't funny! After several tries, the girl got a special tool sesame. I had 2 minutes.  Sweating, I sprinted up the stairs and  had my article critiqued.  
So, what's my point?  My point is- you can do it! Everything that could have gone wrong in my trip, did in a way. But, at the same time, everything still went right. At every turn it seemed like Satan had me pinned. Yet, in the NAME OF JESUS, he must flee. Our God is big. He can unlock bed-covers, calm turbulence, give us back our misplaced baggage, and get our clothes out of a jammed locker.  In the midst of all Satan's tactics, God was there. He renewed me, blessed me, connected me with awesome women of God, and clarified my purpose as a writer.  Just remember, if Satan is on you like white on rice in these coming weeks, take heart and know that you must be on to something profound or you wouldn't be worth his time.  

Psalm 31:24: "Put away fear and let your heart be strong, all you whose hope is in the Lord." 


ellen stevens said...

great story. i love your transparency and heart. looking forward to sharing my adventures with you at She Speaks.


Jessica Kirkland said...

Ellen, I read your story today in The P31 Woman. Awesome testimony. Let's definitely get together at the conference. I'll PM you my cell and we can connect.

Kristy K said...

This post makes me feel so much better!!! I know you had such a great experience last year, and to hear that all these little bumps in the road didn't ruin it is wonderful. Thank you for sharing!!!

Rachel @ The Lazy Christian said...

Jeepers. That is some story! I'm so grateful you shared it. I feel lots of attacks from the Jerkface coming on, and he's using every angle possible. Thank you for reminding me of the power of Jesus' name!

B His Girl said...

what an adventure Jesse! You overcame many hurdles and kept leaning on the Lord. Way to keep on truckin' by faith! B

Caroline said...

I needed this. Thank you. Especially that last paragraph.

Mining for Diamonds said...

Wow! You are a survivor and an overcomer! I would've been tempted to give up! I'm so glad you didn't...and you even have the courage to try again this year! Go girl!

And...wait a minute! The hotel has a MASSAGE PARLOR?!?!?! Uh oh...

Jessica Kirkland said...

@Kristy K - Well, I'm glad it helped you. No one knew all those little "near" disasters that took place and I felt like I should share.

@Rachel - Love the term "jerkface" so very appropriate. LOL. Yes, the jerkface knows when we are moving on to new levels in serving Christ and knowing Him better. He can't have our souls, but he will try to keep us preoccupied and beaten down.

@B His Girl - Thanks for reading. Can't wait to meet you ladies.

@Caroline - I'm glad it helped. Sometimes Satan's tactics can be pesky but nothing is out of God's hand.

@Mining for Diamonds - Yes, there is a spa! I enjoyed it quite nicely (until I couldn't get my clothes out of the locker.) LOL

Wendy Mueller said...

Jessie, you have me in tears. Your story sounds so familiar. I cannot wait to meet you next month. What are the chances that God would put two sick women, who cannot tolerate gluten, through such challenges and bring us both to post our links on SS on FB within days of each other?

God bless you for your courage.

Reasonably Less said...

Very Interesting, Love it! Nice site, I will be sure to come back to visit!

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Jessica Kirkland said...

Wendy - I can't wait to meet you either. I'll PM you my number on facebook. I'm so glad Danielle decided to start the group on facebook. It's made such a difference already and the conference isn't even here. So many people who I probably wouldn't have connected with at the conference. So excited!

Rachel- I will certainly check out your site. Please come back often and always leave me a note so I'll know it's you!

productjunkiemama said...

This is very inspiring and it recalls to mind the importance of knowing that there is nothing miniscule that God cannot attend to. Thank you for this candid post and hope nothing but the best for you. Nice to also have connected with you via Voiceboks! Welcome and I hope you find a home here!

Nikki said...

You have a great blog! I am visiting from voiceBoks! I am your newest follower and would love it if you would check out my blog and follow me back! thanks so much!


Wendy Bello said...

Thanks for writing such a real-life post. Looking forward to the Conference and some face to face chat!

David said...

Candid is good. And so is the Lord.

Cindy Bultema said...

Love, love, love your story. I'm so sorry it happened to you ~ but I appreciate your authenticity and vulnerability ~ and you made it! God is so faithful, isn't He?!
I sure hope our paths cross at She Speaks this year. God's richest blessings to you!
Cindy :)

Kathryn said...

Oh my, Jessica! I laughed and cried while reading your story! So sweet of you to share so that others know everything will work out when God has a purpose!

I look forward to being able to have time to come back and check out your site more soon.

Melanie said...

Oh my. I'm glad you were not defeated in all of the things that went wrong.

Jessica Kirkland said...

Thanks Melanie. My mind was swirling though, just kept trying to move forward and put them out of my mind. LOL. It's funny (only in hindsight). Thanks for reading!