Hey Everybody! I couldn’t wait to share with you all that has transpired this week! Last Sunday night, I was getting prepared to travel again, this time to New Bern which is four hours away – the furthest distance I’ve ever gone to speak. I started to think I had booked too many speaking engagements in one month too close together. This would be my 3rd trip to speak in 7 days. My speaking instructor warned me not to over commit with a family…so I am not exactly sure how I got to this point! (I know I was thinking at the time when I made these commitments I would have my books along).
Balancing my writing (attempting to get my manuscript back to my publisher this month), speaking, and keeping my role as mom and wife a priority is a new juggling act for me. Leaving Monday morning for New Bern, I decided I needed to walk through these doors of opportunity gladly, while trusting God’s sovereign plan – over my lack of thoughtful scheduling around my family.
During my journey this week I came to see, these are times of realizing God’s presence! All the way God was leading me! Storms were in sight coming and going, but none of them ever came near me, except a 5 minute shower on my drive home. Soon after the rain, the sun came out, I drove a little haphazardly…looking for a rainbow! I did take the scenic route through downtown Raleigh and once in New Bern, accidently, but…I enjoyed the sightseeing with the beauty of spring and I finally made it to my destination!
My stay overnight in New Bern would be my first! My speaking engagements were booked for Monday night and a Tuesday morning luncheon. As I arrived at the home of my hostess, the view was refreshing from her ranch home located on a small lake. This was her first hosting experience for StoneCroft as well, but I would have never known if she hadn’t told me! Immediately, I sensed affirmation when I walked into her house. The more we talked, the more we had in common!
My favorite tree bearing flower, the Magnolia was part of her decor everywhere in her home, but in her guest bedroom hung the same print I have hanging in my bathroom. I shared wtih her that she’d have to read my book to find out about my Magnolia story. My sweet hostess has been speaking for StoneCroft for 20 years and she is still so enthused…encouraging me that I am on a wonderful journey! She quickly shared her love for journaling and scrap booking. She confessed that she too used to lie in the sun for hours. (I am not sure how we discovered that about each other! Being near the beach, I guess!) We laughed at how we regret our habit of sun worshipping! We talked at length about her speaking experiences all over the states. She inspired me to keep a scrapbook of all my speaking engagements. We discover our mutual passion for prayer as she shared her new ideas as the prayer coordinator for her women’s club group. If that’s not enough…she kept calling me Sarah Jane. I didn’t think I had told her my middle name, but she said an invitation to my speaking event had a “J” after Sarah, and her granddaughter she calls Sarah Jane, even though her name is Sarah Renee. The entire visit I could not help but to admit, surely God cares about the details! In His wonderful love, He planned for our lives to weave together. God has blessed me with a wonderful new friend in this journey!
To help me relax and not stress out getting lost around New Bern, my hostess drove to the restaurant where I would be speaking. On the way, we did a little intentional sightseeing. She took me to see all the restored, historic homes along the Neuss River, where she often hosts her prayer events.
We had a wonderful evening on music and delicious food. The ladies were so welcoming and encouraging. The beautiful female musician sang one of my most favorite, heart touching songs during this time in my life called “Mighty to Save.” I was glad I didn’t have to speak right after she sang, my tear ducts were flowing! I know God has great plans for her to share her talent. She had definite Idol potential!!
Tuesday morning was nice and relaxing. Thankfully, I slept well, woke at my usual time, and went for a 3 mile run. Again, my hostess lead the way as I followed her in my car. We arrived at the country club in time for me to meet some of the ladies, share my book flyers, and pass out contact information sign-up sheets for book release.
The morning was refreshing with a view of the golf course. Again, the women all made me feel welcome and at home. Many ladies enjoyed my message; several were attending for the first time. One of the ladies asked if I’d be willing to come back to her church for a women’s retreat. She also mentioned she was from Greensboro, where I also grew up. She attended my brother’s church at the time, and would you believe… she knew him! My hostess also thought it would be neat for me to come again and stay to share my books with her prayer group.
God is preparing the way for me and His presence was apparent! I so enjoyed the adventure traveling and the opportunity to speak. God watched over my family. My husband was able to have a more flexible schedule and leave work in the afternoons and friends were able to help us carpooling my kids to their activities.
All week I’d been singing a song by Chris Tomlin. Even Sunday, my worship leader sang it. “Surely goodness and love shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Ps 23:6). My trip to New Bern ended up being more than I had asked or imagined…Surely God’s goodness and love followed me there!