Thursday, September 27, 2007

Close Encounters

My flight home from the outrageously fabulous American Christian Fiction Writers’ conference in Dallas landed me in Minneapolis. Almost all the way home. Storms prevented three connecting flights from getting off the ground. The airline begged people to agree to stay overnight at their expense and take a flight the next day. They sweetened the pot with a voucher for future travel, so I talked to my husband about it and he agreed that “free” trumps the desire to get home sooner!

In the morning, I made my way back to the airport, passed through security in good time, and then looked for ways to kill an hour or more without spending much money. A specialty restaurant offered unique breakfasts, so I set up camp at one of their tables and spread my Bible and notebook in front of me while I waited for my meal.

An exuberant, engaging hostess came to my table, eyed my Bible, and said, “Do you mind if I ask what you’re studying?”

“God’s Word,” I answered.

“I know. I mean, which book? I’m in Matthew.”

A kindred spirit! What a great way to start the day! She said she’d spent too much time ignoring the Lord and was now back on track. She’d gotten into all kinds of dangerous habits following the death of her toddler son. My heart broke for her pain and yet I was so spiritually proud of how far she’d come.

Within minutes we were both in tears over God’s goodness for our grief. She said all she’d heard from those around her for so many years was condemnation. They told her she was ugly, dumb, retarded, would never amount to anything. Now she’s lost 180 pounds and is walking with Jesus every day, falling in love with Him all over again.

I looked into her beautiful dark eyes sparkling from that glowing mahogany face and said, “Honey, you are one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever met, and one of the wisest. Don’t let anyone ever tell you differently again.”

My heart was so full of joy after that breakfast and the unexpected encounter. I would have missed it if the storm hadn’t grounded my plane and forced me to stay until the next day. I invited that darling woman to write to me sometime. I hope she follows through with that. The enthusiasm of her rekindled faith gave mine a boost that morning.

A close encounter of the Jesus kind.


Dawn said...

Cynthia, thanks for sharing this wonderful story. It gave me needed encouragment today as I'm facing some struggles in the work place. This was a good reminder that God can and does amazing and unexpected things in our lives.

Page McManus said...

How cool! You had a divine appointment! Maybe one day you'll know how much your words meant to her.

Thanks for being faithful.