This past weekend I found “normal”…Normal, IL that is. I spent the weekend speaking at Hearts at Home National Conference held in Normal, IL. This conference is geared toward equipping mothers to be the best mom’s they can be. Over 6000 women attended! They are having two more conferences in the fall. One in October 3-4 and the other one is November 7-8. I will be at both and would love to see you there! You will walk away renewed, refreshed, and encouraged as a mom with the tools you need to fulfill your God-given calling as a mom.
While I had high hopes of experiencing what “normal” really is in Normal, IL, I found that the “norm” for me is the same no matter where I go. I flew out of Nashville Thursday morning for IL with a connecting flight in Atlanta. In Atlanta, I met up with LeAnn Rice, our Executive Director of Proverbs 31 Ministries, who was accompanying me on the trip to Hearts. We had just enough time for lunch before our flight to IL so we ate at Chili’s just around the corner from our gate. The time went quickly as the two of us chatted away catching up on the events of each others lives. LeAnn noticed that we only had 10 minutes before our plane left so we paid the bill and made a dash toward the gate.
Having just had lunch, I knew that soon I was going to have to empty my bladder of diet Coke. At my age, it’s important never to pass up a bathroom. While there is a bathroom on the plane, it’s the same size bathroom you’d find in a pre-school classroom. Squatting over a regular size toilet and achieving perfect aim is trouble enough, but when you’re attempting to balance yourself over a pee-wee size toilet without smashing your nose into the door directly in front of you is virtually impossible! So, I suggested that we “go” before boarding the plan. While LeAnn was concerned about the time, I convinced her they would wait for us. I was wrong.
Even though our plane was still on the ground, once they close the door no one gets off or on! (Even if you beg.) We had missed our flight! I felt horrible! We didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. LeAnn comforted me by saying, “I had a funny feeling that traveling with you would be an adventure.” She was right.
The next plane to IL was 3 hours later. I suggested we shop to pass the time. LeAnn suggested we find our gate and plant ourselves there. That’s what we did.
In the meantime, I called my connection in IL to let her know we’d be arriving much later due to the fact that we made a stop for the bathroom and missed our plane. Apparently, a person from the South needs an interpreter to communicate with someone in the North because she misunderstood the reason we missed our plane. When I said we made a “stop” she thought I said we went to “shop” and missed our plane. When we finally arrived in IL, everyone wanted to know what we purchased on our shopping spree that caused us to miss our flight! I spent all weekend explaining the misunderstanding to every person who had heard about the tale. I’m not sure what was more embarrassing…having everyone think we were shopping instead of focusing on the conference or having to explain that we actually missed the plane because we were in the bathroom.
I know what would have been more embarrassing….missing the second flight! Sitting for 3 hours is a long time. During that time, LeAnn and I had a large Starbucks coffee. Just before it was time to board the second plane, I decided to make a quick run to the bathroom. Does this seem familiar to anyone? LeAnn decided to wait at the gate. It was a good thing that she did because they began boarding the plane early. As I was making my way through the crowd back to the gate, I met LeAnn who was frantically screaming, “Come On! Hurry Up! They’re boarding the plane?” I responded in shock. “You’ve got to be kidding me?” We raced through the corridor yelling, “Wait! Wait!” Luckily, this time we made it!
As they say, “All’s well that end’s well.” The conference was a huge success. Several came to know the Lord through this imperfect, flawed person whose norm in life seems to be followed by unexpected chaos. …But this is how God works. He uses all my abnormalities to encourage others who feel just as abnormal as I do. Woman after Woman came to tell me how much they related to my life and being able to see God’s faithfulness in the midst of it all gave them hope.
Bottom line…normal life is full of mishaps, troubles, and chaos—whether it touches our lives from an outside source or they are brought on by our own actions. Yet, in the midst of it all, we have a God who bigger…a God who says, “In this world, you will encounter many trials, but take heart! Have peace! I have overcome it all!” In God, no matter what we face, we can succeed because he has overcome it. Regardless of all we went through to get to the conference, LeAnn and I made it to IL where God did much in our hearts and those who attended.