I had the opportunity to attend a writing conference this past weekend in Austin, Texas! I found out about it by stalking Ted Dekker’s Facebook page and I also discovered that they were offering a scholarship. There was no way I could afford to go without the scholarship and so I submitted my information saying a prayer that I would receive it.
A few days later I received the news that I was one of the recipients of the scholarship! Thankfully we had just received our tax return refund and so we were able to pay for the airline ticket down to Austin.
In additional to learning from amazing authors, editors and experts in the writing, publishing and editing business, I had the opportunity to meet with the Fedd Agency and share my (almost complete) book with them. I had about two weeks to finish up final edits and while the perfectionist in me would have liked a few additional weeks, I knew I had to just leave it as it was and trust God to move mountains if it’s meant to be published.
But first I had to get there!
My flight was scheduled to leave Sioux Falls on Thursday, February 26th at 6:00 pm. I put in a half day of work, ran some errands and picked up the kids from school at 2:45. We then went home and I started getting my things together and finished the last of my packing. At about 3:30 Pat called telling me my flight was cancelled.
Sure enough, it was cancelled. We first thought it was because of weather in Dallas, but all the flights out of Dallas were still a go. I may have started to panic just a little.
I called the airline and the soonest flight out of Sioux Falls was the next day at 4:00 pm. I would miss the entire first day of the conference. That was not an option for me. We then began looking for flights out of Omaha or Minneapolis. The best option was for me to fly out of Omaha the next day at 6 am, which would get me to Austin at 2:00 pm. Still not ideal, but I had to take it.
After I hung up Pat asked me how I was going to get the car back from Omaha if my flight on Sunday came into Sioux Falls. Good question! I called the airline back, and it was a good thing because she said the change I had just made hadn’t been finalized! We got everything situated for me to fly back into Omaha on Sunday.
I finished gathering my things, gave goodbye hugs and kisses to my family and was on the road for Omaha.
After checking my email for an hour, I still hadn’t received confirmation of my flight changes. I decided to check my Orbitz confirmation since that was how I made the original reservation. Sure enough, the changes had been made, but they had not been confirmed. I called Orbitz and of course my 6 am flight out of Omaha was no longer available. The soonest was 8:30 am which would still get me to Austin at 2:00 pm. However, she recommended I still try to get on the 6 am flight and that there was an earlier flight out of Dallas which would put me into Austin at 11:00 am.
Are you following me here? If you are, great job!
So, I’m on my way to Omaha, knowing I have to be at the airport at 4:00 am to try to get on the 6:00 am flight. What do I do? Spend $100 we don’t have on a hotel room, only to have to get up at 3:00 am? I then thought of a much better idea.
I found a movie I thought I would like at 8:00 pm (Still Alice – very good!) and another movie at 10:15 pm (Hunger Games). I chilled out in the movie theatre, had some popcorn and then made my way to the airport after the last movie. I got to the airport at around 1:00 am and hunkered down for a power nap. Now granted, the chair I managed to find was very uncomfortable, but I can guarantee you it was much more comfortable than the floor would have been! The one problem with trying to get a power nap is that the lights were blaring bright and they had music playing way too loud. I did manage to doze off for a little bit as I awoke to my alarm at 4:00 am.
Praise the Lord, I was able to get on the 6 am flight AND I was able to catch the early flight into Austin!
In addition to getting into Austin earlier than I had originally thought, I was able to get a room at the conference hotel. When I made my original reservations they were sold out. I was also able to get a full refund on my original hotel, which was amazing! It was so much less of a hassle to be able to stay at the conference hotel and not worry about getting cabs back and forth.
But wait, we aren’t done yet folks! Feel free to take a bathroom break, pop some popcorn, grab a soda. I’ll wait.
OK, the new hotel reservations were for Friday and Saturday night. I was scheduled to fly out of Austin on Sunday morning at 6:00 am. When I arrived at the hotel, checked in and paid for my weekend, my card wouldn’t work. A payment had went through that I had forgotten about and the credit from the original hotel wasn’t posted yet. I started to have a mild panic attack and then just asked him if I could pay for one night and I would take care of the second night in the morning.
How, I had no idea. But God quietly spoke to me that He promises to provide.
There was no way I was going to be able to afford to stay at the conference hotel Saturday night. Now I had two options:
1. Leave the conference at 4:00 and try to catch an earlier flight home.
2. Stay at the conference until it was over (10 pmish) and then go to the airport and repeat my experience of Thursday night.
I kept going back and forth but finally settled on option 1.
I got to the airport only to find a two-mile long line of people waiting at the ticket counter. I then learned that the Dallas airport was completely shut down. Therefore there were hundreds of people trying to get other flights. Just like me.
When I finally made it to the counter an hour later the airline guy told me there was no way I’d get on a flight that night. The best option would be to fly out at 6:00 am and then try to get on an earlier flight to Omaha.
Again, I was faced with a decision. Camp out at the airport or… Well, I wasn’t sure what my second option was. I had $150 in cash and that was it. I decided to walk a little and see what the Austin airport had to offer. Unfortunately there wasn’t much before security. There was one little food place and maybe two dozen chairs.
I found the cheapest hotel that had a shuttle to and from the airport. It looked a little scary but I felt that it was my best option. I then decided to check our bank account and sure enough the credit from the original hotel reservation had gone through! Thank you Jesus!
My cheap hotel experience really wasn’t bad at all and I was back at the airport at 4:30 am to make my way home. I landed in Chicago and quickly made my way to the gate of the next flight to Omaha. I was put on stand-by and finally after everyone was boarded my name was called and I was given a seat! I would arrive into Omaha at 11:00 am instead of 2:00 pm and since I had three hours to drive from Omaha to Sioux Falls, I was so thankful for a little extra time!
The moral of the story?
God’s mercies are new every morning. It’s a promise in His Word. It’s a promise we can rely on.
I get so frustrated that I get so frustrated when things don’t go exactly according to plan. I should know by now that God is control and He has gone before me. He sure did show Himself to me this weekend!
I pray that I would continue to learn to rely on the mercies of my heavenly Father, knowing that He will provide for all that I need.