(At first when reading this post you may wonder why I have titled it, “A Flight Cancelled.” I want to invite you to read the whole story and see how it will make sense towards the end. I don’t usually post anything this long but I really thought that this story was worth telling…)
I had an experience this past weekend that absolutely changed my life. I was in Columbia, SC for a few days preparing for an outreach that we were doing that weekend. It was a Saturday morning and I was trying to get everything together for a large group that was coming together to meet before the outreach. Some of our plans changed so I was trying to find a meeting place for our group. We prayed and then the hotel suprisingly volunteered to give us their conference room that typically rented for $250 per day for free so our team could prepare for the day!
After leaving the front desk of the hotel I walked into the dining area where the hotel was still serving breakfast. I had already eaten breakfast but for some reason I just walked back in there. I saw two women who were getting their breakfast and was suddenly drawn to talk to them, so I walked over and grabbed a plate so I could get some food as well.
I ended up getting a waffle and one of the women wanted a waffle as well so I volunteered to make her one and we began talking. After I made her a waffle I made my own and then went to go sit down. As I was heading to my table I really felt the Lord say to go and sit with them and eat breakfast. Before I could even ask them one of them said, “Hey, you wanna come eat with us?” I told them, “Sure!” and sat down with excitement because I knew God was up to something.
As we started talking they asked me why I was in SC. I told them that I was with Teen Challenge and that we were reaching out to people in the area struggling with addictions. Then I began to tell them part of my story and how I got involved with Teen Challenge in the first place. They started asking a lot of questions and I was able to share with them some of the miracles that happened just before I came to Teen Challenge and then how God radically changed my life when I encountered His love. As I shared my story I was unusually emotional and could feel God’s presence so strongly. I looked over and one of the girls was crying as I shared the story.
After sharing my story the woman sitting next to me began to open up and to my total surprise she confessed to having a 15 year addiction to meth. I was blown away. She then began to tell me a story that absolutely astounded me. She said that earlier that week she was released from jail early so that she could come to SC and see her neice graduate. The day before we met, her and her girlfriend had a flight back to the west coast but it was cancelled because the door on the plane would not shut properly. They both were then sent to the same hotel I was staying in. That morning she said felt like rushing to breakfast but ended waiting for her girlfriend to finish getting ready to go eat…
This series of events led them both to come out to the eating area at the exact same time when I walked in. The woman began to tell me that she NEVER would normally invite someone to eat with them. Her partner nodded and laughed because of how unusual it was for her to do that. She then told me that inside she didn’t actually want to invite me to the table but something told her to invite me. She said she fought it at first and then suddenly she found herself inviting me to come over. She said, “something was just pulling me… it was like an energy or something.”
She told me that she saw something inside of me that drew her. She then told me that when she heard me share my story that she was suddenly open to sharing her own story with me. She told me how she had been battling this addiction for years and had told almost no one about it. She said that after sharing with me she felt so relieved and felt excited that she had met a new friend!
She began crying as we were talking together and I asked her if I could pray with her. She agreed and as I began to pray God started to pour His love on her in a really special way. I asked her if she was ready to follow Jesus and she said that she was. We prayed together and she made a decision to follow Christ. After praying she told me she suddenly felt so much peace. She said she felt so much better and couldn’t really describe what was going on inside of her. I smiled and reassured her that now she was a new creation and that from this day forward that life would never be the same.
It felt like I had known her for years after we spent that hour or so talking together. I was so overwhelmed with gratitude that God had allowed her to get out of jail to come to South Carolina and then cancelled her flight back home all so that we could meet. It absolutely blows my mind how God orchestrates our lives and plans them out. I had no idea that this was going to happen and honestly it happened when I was the most busy and least expected it. I am so humbled and so grateful that God allowed me to meet her and lead her to Him.
I gave her a number to a women’s Teen Challenge in her county and also my own contact information. She said she had been looking for a program like this so that she could change her life. I can’t wait to see what God is going to do in her and through her life! I know that she will never forget how God revealed himself to her this past weekend and I won’t forget either! God is so amazing!!!