Though I have yet to write about the amazing experiences I had earlier this year in Ogden and Nashville, I wanted to take a moment and write about some of the experiences I had this weekend in Calgary. But before I share more about this weekend, I've got to give some background first. I have a pet theory that I've been slowly gaining evidence for over the last several years. - that when I encounter obstacles and opposition as I'm trying to prepare for something, I need to keep pressing on and not become discouraged by the obstacles. Because the obstacles mean I'm on the right track and the thing that I'm preparing for is very important. Something spiritually great is on the horizon.
Sometimes the spiritual experiences are small. Like when I have a difficult time motivating myself to get to Church, or all manner of roadblocks are thrown in my way when I'm trying to get there. It's always been the case that I NEEDED to be in Church that day to learn something vital.
Sometimes the spiritual experiences are large. Like when I was co-directing a production of "Savior of the World" at an important time for the Church in our Boston community. A local member of the Church (who I won't name, but it sounds like Pitt Shmomney) was running for a major political office, and we suddenly had a great deal of focus on who we were as a people and what we believed in. We knew the production was critical to that, and were grateful for the timing of the production. Though the cast was wonderful and everyone was working hard, behind the scenes, we were dealing with some pretty huge roadblocks. We'd figure out a way to work through them, and more would pop up. A couple of weeks before the show opened, when we were already working through a tough day - things really spun out of control. It got to the point where all I could do was laugh. And then I said, "Satan must really be working hard to keep us from putting on this show. I've never experienced this much opposition from this many sources. But we know the Lord wants us to do this, and we know He will help us figure all of this out." And He did.
Fast forward to this weekend in Calgary.
As I was preparing to leave, I had the distinct impression that I needed to pack differently than I normally do for an event. For previous events, I have flown on an airline where I can check two bags for free, so I check my prop suitcase and a smaller bag for the baby and I. For the trip to Calgary, I was flying a different airline that charges for checked bags. So, I took a small duffel as a carry on with absolute essentials, and planned to just check the prop suitcase. I was starting to put my performance outfit in the large bag I was planning to check, stopped and thought, "If my prop suitcase gets lost, I won't have anything appropriate to wear. I need to put the outfit in my carry on just in case." So I did.
We boarded the plane in Austin and then sat for a while waiting to take off. Longer than I thought we should. I checked my connecting flight and realized that I only had a 45 minute layover in the Dallas airport. DFW is such a huge airport, and with an international flight I would have to change terminals. Since it looked like I would be landing late, I started to panic a bit. I checked to see when the next flight was from Dallas to Calgary - it was at 7:00 p.m. If I missed the connection, I would miss my performance. Thinking of my opposition theory, I calmed myself down by telling myself that if the Lord needed me there to perform for these women, I would make it.
The plane landed in Dallas as my connecting flight was starting to board. And I was on the back row of the plane with my baby. I sprang out of my seat, got by as many passengers as I could, and got off the plane as quickly as possible, then RAN (with a sleeping baby harnessed to my chest) as quickly as possible to the train that would take me to the connecting flight. I made the flight five minutes before they closed the doors. Sitting down on the flight, I was so relieved that I made it. Then I looked out the window at the baggage handlers and realized - there was no way my bag would make it.
Sure enough - no bag waiting for me in Calgary. I was so disappointed. I really doubted my ability to create the performance I was hoping to without those props. But, there was nothing I could do about the situation, so I just prayed that I'd be able to do the best I could and that the women would feel the Spirit regardless.
Based on the feedback I got, they did. I was so grateful. And in the end, I was grateful the bag didn't make it. Because now I know I can perform without the props, and the presentation will still work.
It's so humbling to have the opportunity to perform for these women. Someday I'll figure out a way to better put it into words. The most humbling thing has been that every performance is slightly different - and I'm convinced it's because of the women that are there and what the Lord needs them to hear. It's so overwhelming and humbling to have the opportunity to be a small part of that. There were some moments in this Calgary presentation where I was almost overcome with emotion as I looked in the faces of the women in that audience. Knowing who they were and how much the Lord loves them. It's amazing.
Also amazing? The way the Lord manages to create the event that the women in that audience need. I'm sure much of that happens behind the scenes as presenters are scheduled for the different cities. But though I've only been part of TOFW for a short time, I've seen it happen at the event. And it happened again this weekend.
One of our sweet presenters ended up on her layover without her passport. She had it when she left Salt Lake, and then she didn't have it. And she had no choice but to turn around and go back home. But our general manager, Laurel Christensen, felt prompted to bring the notes for a TOFW presentation she gave a few weeks ago as she was leaving her house Friday morning. And Laurel ended up speaking instead. As she was speaking, it was abundantly clear to me and the presenters I was sitting with that Laurel was the one who needed to speak to these sweet Calgary women. And I needed to hear what she had to say as well. It was such a testimony building experience for me. The Lord knows us. He knows what we need. We just have to be willing to show up and pay attention and do the work required to become what He wants us to become.