A couple of years ago, I enrolled in a Christian Writers Conference in Estes Park, CO. Since the conference was held in May, I decided to commute back and forth to the YMCA from my parent’s home in Fort Collins. My typical route to Estes Park was closed due to flooding and road construction. The detour to Estes Park was through Hwy 36, a winding and scenic 90-minute drive.
May is a beautiful time of year in Colorado. But sometimes the weather can be very unpredictable. That’s when I met Valarie – Winter Storm Valarie that is…On May 18, 2017, Estes Park and the surrounding area received over 30 inches of snow. To get a feel for the road conditions, view the following videl: https://youtu.be/28L1CAQqZ8M?t=5
The snowstorm limited my attendance at the writer’s conference. I was very frustrated by the circumstances I’d encountered and here’s what I recorded in my journal:
Bummed…I came to Colorado to attend a Christian Writers Conference with the goal of connecting with publishers and agents and learning how to market my book, “The Discipled Leader.” I attended the first day but missed the rest of the confrence. You see, I made some bad decisions and circumstances beyond my control prevented me from going. I planned to commute back and forth to Mom and Dad’s house during the conference. The weather forecast predicted heavy snowfall in Estes Park beginning Wednesday night. I thought that I could commute on Wednesday and then travel back up to Estes Park on Thursday morning, stay at the YMCA through Friday night and come back on Saturday.
It was snowing hard when I woke up Thursday morning. The night before, I dreamed about my journey up Hwy 36 into Estes Park and the snow storm. I stressed out during my dream and felt like I heard “don’t go.” But I did. I felt confident that I was going to make it up the pass because the road would be plowed and sanded. Heck, I grew up in Colorado and knew I could handle the conditions. Or so I thought. . .
Things began to deteriorate as I drove up the canyon. Rounding a bend, I saw a line of cars and police lights on top of the mountain in front of me. It was snowing hard, and the road was becoming more treacherous. I stopped a van that’d turned around and was coming back down the mountain. The driver told me that the police closed the road and weren’t letting anyone through. After experiencing the conditions and hearing what the driver said, I had no choice, I had to turn around and go back home before the storm worsened.
Timing – one other circumstance…When I drove home Wednesday night, the low-pressure tire sensor came on. Dad and I took it to a local dealership to have them check it first thing Thursday morning. The mechanic filled the tire with air but wouldn’t fix the leak because we didn’t have an appointment. So, I went to another tire place. The good news is that they took me right away. The helpful mechanic found a nail in the tire, plugged the hole and finished in 15 minutes. And, I guess because of the troubled look on my face, they didn’t charge me. But my tire escapade delayed my morning departure.
So, I left later than I planned. Had I left 30 to 45 minutes earlier, I may have made it to Estes Park, but I didn’t. Because of the Winter Storm Valarie, I wrote the conference lead to tell her that I wasn’t going to be able to make the rest of the conference and requested a refund. The whole thing was a missed opportunity.
I don’t know why this happened. I don’t understand. Maybe I never will. I’m very frustrated with God…I’m trying to “love him and develop people,” to disciple others. But I seem to be thwarted, resisted at every turn. It seems that all paths are going nowhere and all of the opportunities are drying up. Staying with Dad through Sunday morning and heading home.
Maybe you hear the frustration in my voice. At the time, I couldn’t understand why the circumstances turned out the way they appeared. But here’s the rest of the story…
Because of the snow storm and my returning to my parent’s house, I was able to invest the rest of the weekend with my Dad. My Mom was traveling, and Dad was at home alone for a few weeks. We hung out together and talked about life. Toward the end of the weekend, I had the opportunity to share the Gospel with Dad. He later gave his life to the Lord, but that’s a whole different story.
Lastly, my enrollment in the writer’s conference afforded me the opportunity for paid agent or publisher 1:1s and was the main reason I enrolled in the conference. The goal of meeting with the agents and publishers was to pitch my book and receive feedback hoping all along that an agent would sign me. You can imagine the disappointment of not getting the chance to network with agents and publishers when you’ve been working on a manuscript for seven years.
But God was good. After the conference, I contacted some of the agents and told them my circumstances. Several of them agreed to meet with me over the phone. One of the agents I spoke with encouraged me to keep writing with the help of an editor. A year and lots of hard work later, I signed a contract with Credo Communications literary agency to represent my book to publishers.
I didn’t see it, but God was working out my circumstances even though I couldn’t see it at the time. If I’d attended all of the conference, I’d missed the opportunity to invest time with my Dad and share the Gospel with him. And, God made a way to sign with an agent even though it appeared my efforts were fruitless.
Three verses come to mind:
#1 – “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps” (Proverbs 16:9 NIV) – God governs our world and engineers all circumstances. I had a plan, and in the midst of what seemed like a fruitless of string events, God worked things out.
#2 – “That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good” (Romans 8:28 MSG) – For the Christian, the events in our lives are worked into good. We may not see it right away or ever. In the midst of my circumstances, I couldn’t see what good could come from striking out. But what I saw as striking out turned into an opportunity for something more significant.
#3 – “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track” (Proverbs 3:5-6) – Trusting God and that’s he’s got your back will make a big difference in how you see events in your life unfold.
What about you? What happens when you encounter circumstances that don’t work out the way you planned? Do you trust that God engineers all circumstances and works every detail into something good? Friend, I encourage you to trust God with all of your plans, and if you do, you’ll become a God-confident leader.
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