Monday, July 13, 2009

Now and Forevermore

"The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore." Psalm 121:8 (NIV)

I'll never forget the morning of March 18th, 2008. After a sleepless night, I reached for my Bible and journal, desperately needing to hear from God. Events that transpired over the previous twelve hours had shaken my world and I needed confirmation from the Lord. On my knees, in tears, I begged God to speak to me. Longing to hear, yet uncertain how He would answer, I opened my journal. The verse above was written on the top of the page. My answer had come.

For those of you who don't now this story, God miraculously opened doors for me last year to attend the "She Speaks" conference in North Carolina, but my fear of flying was keeping me from registering. I’m nervous of heights. I don’t understand the scientific reasons or how a huge plane filled with passengers can defy gravity and stay up in the air. I just couldn’t get past my fear of flying. I knew of no-one headed down to the conference with whom I could travel and in my heart of hearts I knew God was calling me to fly and to go alone. Although God had already intervened in ways beyond my wildest dreams, I had to have the assurance of His presence if I was to step one foot on that plane.

He will watch over my coming and going both now and forevermore.

God wasn’t guaranteeing me a smooth trip or even necessarily a safe trip, but He was promising me and reminding me of His presence.

Before I could change my mind I registered for the Conference and I found out later that as soon as I registered, they closed the registration.

I wish I could tell you that for the next 3 months, from March to June when the conference was being held, that I ran with determination, confidence and joy, but the truth was I was on quite the roller coaster ride. Some days I was going to tackle this no problem and other days I would have surrendered my ticket in a heartbeat.

My husband booked my flight on a little 50 seater plane - which didn’t encourage me much. I wanted the security of something large, but you see, again, I was placing my faith in the wrong thing. It wasn’t the size of the plane that would get me to N.C., it was the size of my God.

The morning I was to fly out my husband drove me to the airport, and I must say I was shocked at how quickly he abandoned me. He basically dropped me off, pointed me in the right direction and told me to have a great time as he kissed me goodbye.

After discovering I had to take a bus to a different terminal to find my Gate, I sat in the waiting area calling on God’s Name. In my hands I held 31 pages of typed written verses, prayers, notes of encouragement that friends and family sent me - and I was claiming His promises.

About 30 minutes before my flight was to depart, I happened to look up and I saw a girl walk by - and as I looked again - I knew her!!! I got up and followed her to the next aisle and as she was sitting down I said, “Lorie?”

She looked up and said, "JOY!" We embraced and I questioned her - Are you going to the She Speaks Conference? Yes! Are you flying Air Canada Jazz? Yes! Lorie and I had attended school together back in grades 7 and 8, but in the last 30 years I had probably only seen her about half a dozen times. We quickly reminisced and then the stewardess gave the Boarding Call. As we gathered our belongings, and went to stand in line, Lorie asked me where I was sitting. I grabbed my Boarding Pass and told her I was near the front of the plane. She then told me that she had booked her seat on-line, but when she arrived at the airport just half an hour ago, they had changed her seat. She went on to say she couldn’t understand why this had happened as the flight we were travelling on wasn’t even half full. As she pulled out her Boarding Pass and we took our seats on the plane, guess where she was sitting? RIGHT BESIDE ME!! Just half an hour before take-off God had moved her seat.

Where God guides He provides. If there’s an adventure with your name on it, and you’re hesitant, know that He will not abandon you. He can do immeasurably more than you can ask or imagine. Could He have asked me to travel alone? He most certainly could have, but we have a God of compassion. He saw my fear. He saw my willingness. He saw my mustard see faith. He saw my trust and my obedience IN my fear and He honoured that step of faith.

He continues to watch over my coming and going, both now and forevermore.

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Lori said...

What a God Moment, Joy! I have read this before on your blog, but was delighted to read it again! "My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and hearth!" What a Father we have that takes care of the details and even gives us "extra" attention when he knows we need it!
Lori - AZ

~Grace and Peace said...

That is an amazing testimony. We serve a wonderful, compassionate God.

And just so you know, everytime I read your blog, I am encouraged.

Keep on keeping on dear sister!

Chef Diane said...

Wow, this gave me goose bumps! That God He loves to show off. I love it!
Oh, how I wish I would have know you were there last year. There are so many of you I would like to meet.
Maybe you remember seeing me, I was the one who drove around on the red scooter. I was hard to miss.

I am looking forward to going this year. I again will be the one in the red scooter. Yipee

Colleen said...

Thank you so much for directing me to your post from Lysa's blog. I, too, am traveling alone to She Speaks, flying alone for the first time in 30 years. Though not afraid of heights, I am very nervous about traveling alone. I am concerned about being alone in airports, finding the right gate in in strange airports, finding the shuttle, checking into my hotel, just about everything! I have signed up and found my own flight, and am going forward with faith. Thanks for the Bible verse - I will have to search and write out more verses to remind myself that I am in God's hands, no matter what. After all, I believe He walks with me every day. This adventure should be no different. Your story of finding your friend and her change of seat assignment gave me goose bumps, too! I know He is always by my side, and I'm sure His seat assignment will be right near mine!

Anonymous said...

Joy--you said in your comments on Lysa Terkeurst's blog today that all you ever pray for is one life encouraged. Well, your prayers have been answered because I make a point of reading your blog everday and I am always encouraged. We are about the same age and I also have a twin sister, so I can really relate to you. I was especially encouraged by your words today. My daughter, Amanda, works for Operation Christmas Child at Samaritans Purse and is traveling to West Africa alone on Thursday for a conference. I have to admit that I am a little nervous about it and God's word, through you are exactly what I needed to ready today. I have been reminded that God will be with her every second of every day! I am praying for all of the women attending the She Speaks conference who are anxious about traveling.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

And I am the better for your having the courage and faith to make that flight. I'm thinking about it a lot these days, as the conference is drawing near. I wish we were going, don't you?

God does work in amazing and unimaginable ways. He's proving that to me over and over again, as I step out in faith believing in his "bigness" (is that word?).

You inspire me, friend, to take a look at all that is going on around me in my life and to trust God for everything that comes my way.

Have a good night. Nick had the first part of his dental implant today (a titanium screw inserted into his upper jaw). He's been an absolute hoot today on all his pain meds. Bless his heart.


Raylene said...

I can so relate to this JOY! I know that God is the one who brought us here to Colorado Springs~and I like your phrase: "Where God guides he provides"....I have been worrying about our finances, but also knowing that HE is the one who lead us here and how smooth most of the transition has been....I know I need to BELIEVE and TRUST...thanks for sharing!

Kathy S. said...

What a precious story Joy! I love it. I went alone too and have a story. I looove flying (how was it for you by the way?) As long as I am not the pilot...

I got to register after the confrence was closed! I heard about it too late, and said, "Lord, if you want me to go, I will..." Put my name on the list, and vwalla! A spot opened up. Then I went to the blog and found room mates...then I booked the wrong return day, and ended up just forfieting the ticket and buying a new return ticket (it would have been alot of hassle to try to exchange it, and cost as much as booking a new one, so I just did it that way... It did cost me, but God provided, and I believe really wanted me there. Not exactly sure why yet, lol...

In His time. Maybe next time we will be there together!

Unreasonable Grace said...

That's too stinkin' cool!!! I just love the way He surprises us with His marvelous ways!

Anonymous said...

Thank you! This brought tears to my eyes and chill bumpbs to my arms. You spoke to me in my anxiety about traveling. I am taking my first baby steps in writing for Him. I feel the call, though I have tried to ignore the Spirit calling my name. I am going to the conference JUST to get started. But I know my spirit will be spoken to in ways I could never imagine. Thanks. Diana, formally known as anonymous.

Deb said...


Thanks for sharing this testimony. I attended She Speaks 2007 and have a wild story as well.

Just this morning, I prayed Psalm 121:7-8 over my daughter. God gave me these verses several years ago for her, and I continue to pray them.

Our loving God.

He takes my breath away.