I stood there about to lose it in the middle of a church parking lot. I was stuck. I had exhausted all of the obvious solutions in finding a venue for the A21 Walk for Freedom – at least in my limited thinking. I was stunned that I had not gotten the response from the Christian community that I thought should have been an eager “yes”. The temptation at that moment was to get upset at the “church”. However, contradictory to where my thinking was tempted to go, the church, or it’s leaders, were not my enemy.
I’m sure anyone looking my way was wondering who this lady was waving her hands to the sky and talking passionately to herself. I had said “yes” to God’s call for me to host the A21 Walk for Freedom (which is to bring awareness to the issue of human trafficking). In the natural, there was no possible way I could get permission or a venue in our community this close to the event date. I had started too late.
I figured I would knock on church doors after the community association had said all desirable town venues were booked. I didn’t need the church’s help or money, I just needed their property to start a walk from. The parking lot where I was having my toddler fit was the perfect location for the event. The visibility required for the community to become aware of the issue would have been textbook.
So I decided to have a candid conversation with God.
“God. I pushed past my fear and gave you my yes. I’m sure you asked me to do this. There is no doubt that you want to free captives. Everywhere I have gone the doors have been closed. I thought your people would be more than willing to help out. I assumed this would be an easy open door. The “obvious” yes in my mind, has instead been a loud and definitive “NO”. Are you working out the pride in my life? Then ok. Let’s work it out. I know you told me to put on this event. I am convinced that you called me to it, and I believe you will see me through it.”
At that moment I was at a crossroads where I could choose what I was going to believe.
- The temptation was to become angry and bitter with the Christian community. That didn’t sound like a fun option. God had closed the door, not the church. The enemy wanted me to blame the church.
- I could question my faith. However, I was too convinced from years of studying and experiences that I was not going to doubt it.
- I could trust what the Holy Spirit had made clear to me earlier; that if I wanted to see miracles, I needed to be in a place where everything was out of my control so that I could not take the credit for it. I had to say yes to what seemed impossible, and believe that He would open the right doors at the right time.
The correct answer was obviously number 3.
I found out that the Holy Spirit is not intimidated by a short haired woman feeling sorry for herself or having a fit on asphalt. As He listened to my rants of immaturity, He interrupted and told me something quite clearly.
“Bonnie, I didn’t ask you to hold the walk on church property. I want all religions, political stances, ages, races, and genders to feel welcome. Human trafficking is no respecter of those groups. You are thinking too small.” I understood what was said, but now I was running out of time.
I’m not sure if you can relate to needing an answer with none in sight. That is where I was. At that moment, I thought a good connecting point would possibly be our Interfaith organization that was associated with everyone in the community. However, I did not have an easy way in. Little did I know that while the Holy Spirit was asking me to change my direction in thinking, He was working something out that I could not have even imagined or thought up (Ephesians 3:20). The answer that I needed to make the event happen was closer than it appeared.
A couple of days later, I walked into my hair salon for my appointment. As I settled into the chair for my monthly pampering, my trusted hairdresser turned me to the mystery customer sitting next to me and let me know that she was the president and CEO of the Interfaith organization in our community. “Bonnie, tell her about the walk that you want to put on.”
What?? This was exactly who I had needed to meet with, but didn’t know how I would make it happen. While we sat there in our capes and foils, she eagerly connected me with multiple influential people in the town who could help me out. At the end of this unanticipated divine appointment, she told me she wished she could be at my event but had her own gala that she was putting on that same day. It was to raise research money for a rare and incurable disease that her son has.
That moment was humbling and thought provoking on many levels.
Not only did God unpredictably open doors for me that day, He also introduced me to a unique individual who was incredibly selfless, willing to share her resources, and full of incredible hope in her own very challenging circumstance. He opened my eyes to see and allowed me to meet a very strong woman who had faith to believe God where there had not been answers. I was starting to catch on.
A few days earlier I had no idea how God was going to answer my prayer, nor that it would be so soon. He was asking me to trust Him with this process and not fall for the temptation that my struggles were related to man. That thinking would have taken me off course – and it always will. His plan for this event was to serve a much bigger purpose that I was not even aware of at that moment. That day I realized that the answer to my prayer was indeed closer than it had appeared. It was important to walk with this new faith I had discovered. God had put me on an assignment. I was required to say yes. He was responsible for the outcome.