During springtime, I keep one eye on the radar at all times when I know a storm is headed our way. I take storm warnings very seriously. I am ready at a moment's notice to head to the half bath and hunker down with my Bible, my cell phone set on the weather app, a flashlight, food, water, and whatever other earthly provisions I think might be helpful to have on hand.
This spring, the weather tended toward the cool side, and the radar stayed calm during March and April. I assumed that we had made it through the spring unscathed.
Then last weekend, the weather forecasters started warning that Monday had the potential for severe weather, including tornados and hail. This was all set to occur on Monday afternoon and evening, which was the very same time that my friend Nick had gotten me a ticket to a taping. And this was not just any taping, but a taping with my favorite author and blogger, Ann Voskamp, and an opportunity to meet with her after the taping. And so the wrestling with the fear of the storm versus this wonderful opportunity began.
On the way to pick up a friend at the airport on Sunday evening, my route took me by the building where the taping would occur. A quick glance revealed that the building was a tank; it looked like it could weather just about anything. So I took comfort in thinking that if I could get to the building, I would be fine.
As Monday afternoon rolled around, and the radar lit up with green, yellow, red, and even purple, I decided it might not be a good idea to drive my newish car to the taping and found a coworker whose route home takes her right by where I needed to be. My car could stay in covered parking at work.
With those details nailed down, and in spite of reports of the tornado damage that had occurred in Moore, Oklahoma, I decided that I would take the plunge and head to the taping. Yet, I kept asking my coworker who was driving me to the taping whether this was crazy (after all, she had survived a tragic tornado in Wichita Falls), but she assured me that she would keep me posted of any weather developments and was willing to come and pick me up afterwards if the weather was bad. I'm so grateful for her encouragement and her help because the Lord had great things in store.
As I sat in the audience and waited for my friend Nick to arrive, I felt the covering of being under the Lord's wing--that same covering described in Psalm 91. The weather was the furthest thing from my mind as James and Betty Robison interviewed their guests, including Ann. As Ann shared from her book One Thousand Gifts A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, I was reminded of why I have continue to record the gifts the Lord has given me--because it helps conquer fear as you see His faithfulness daily.
After the taping, they announced that Ann would stay for twenty minutes to visit with members of the audience. At the twenty-minute mark, she had only signed autographs and taken pictures with a handful of the fifty or so people who were in line; when the staff asked whether she wanted to leave, she replied that she would stay until she had gotten to every single person. Her generosity with her time was beautiful.
We were the last in line because she had wanted to speak to my friend Nick. I was blessed to hear how her blog touched his life in such a profound way that he left a successful career in the corporate world and responded to the Lord's leading to attend seminary. He then blessed Ann with a special gift for her son who is headed to college.
As the evening came to a close and more stories poured in about the devastation that had occurred from the storms that had swept through Oklahoma, the enemy tried to inflict guilt: How could I have gone to such an incredible event when others were hurting? But the triumph is that I went to the taping IN SPITE of fear and was blessed to experience the Lord's covering. That was what the Lord had for me on Monday evening, and I would have missed out had I given in to the fear.
As Ann's inscription so beautifully reminded me: "Alyssa, your testimony means so much to Jesus! You are so loved by Him. All is grace. Eucharisteo!"
Yes, all is grace. And His gifts continue:
#3391: Getting to meet Ann Voskamp
#3392: Hearing Nick's testimony of how Ann's blog impacted his life