Well, after months of back and forth decisions on whether or not we were going to the fall ACFW Conference, it finally came down to finances.
The manuscript questions fell to the wayside with Marcus Goodyear and Randy Ingermanson’s encouragement that even a first draft is good enough to pitch.
But the money dried up and there was nothing for the conference, travel, or hotel. Nothing.
So there I sat Monday morning, July 28th, opening mail. One was from our insurance company, and it basically said that they had some extra money of ours that they didn’t know what to do with. I called customer service to make sure I understood. Something about an intermediary account that had been nickeled and dimed up to enough money that they thought they should notify me. And what would I like to do with it? Buy more insurance?
I said “No. Send me a check.”
But it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t even one third of what we would need to go to the conference.
So I sat there thinking through the finances and budget for the next year, and try as I might, there was nothing more. Even in my wildest imagination, I couldn’t come up with anyway that the rest of the money would be available.
So I prayed a simple prayer. I said, “God … this isn’t enough. If you want us to go, you have to do it. I can’t.”
And then I went to work and joined my fellow employees for our weekly Monday morning meeting.
And there … within one hour of praying that prayer, it was announced that the company would be giving out bonuses at the end of the week. Completely unexpected bonuses. And it was twice what we needed!
It was even enough that, combined with some other money we had saved, I was able to give away our old 1990 Tempo backup car and purchase a used 1999 Toyota Avalon. This allows my wife to use our mini-van while Adele and I are at the conference, and for us to have a backup car that everyone actually fits in, since the kids outgrew the Tempo quite awhile ago!
And buying the car was another amazing provision. I had made a low-ball offer (end of the day, last day of the month, to get the salespeople to accept it) on a clunking 1998 one the week before and been laughed out of the dealership. And then I found this one … a year newer, fewer problems, same mileage, for 25% less than I had offered the week before.
And I actually had given up on getting an Avalon (one of the more reliable cars for that age) and was looking at the Camry. But God provided this one for half what it was worth.
And what other model car than an Avalon would an Arthurian novelist drive?
So we are set and going to our first writing conference, and all I can do is give praise to God for his provision. I did nothing, He did everything!
God’s will is often inscrutable. Why He says no sometimes, and yes others is beyond me. He said yes for us, but I also understand that He’s said no to others who wanted to go. All I can advise is pray and seek His will. He has a plan for each of our lives, and his own, hidden, strange, and surprising timing.