Growing up my grandmother would always talk about things that she referred to as ‘God Winks.’ It wasn’t until I became an ‘all-in Christian’ about 3 years ago, that I too started to take notice and fully understand these ‘God Winks.’ Just little things, little moments of encouragement or approval that happen quickly and can be easily overlooked, just like a wink. I know however that it is the Big Guy up there making His divine presence known to me, a little reminder that He is there, He is involved and He’s got this… even in moments when I don’t.
This Friday, as I traveled from Winnipeg to Minneapolis on my way to Austin, something happened that was WAAAY more than just a ‘God Wink.’ It was more like a big, bold, neon sign flashing with one of those fun, yellow, blow-up things you see outside car washes, demanding my attention. It said, ’HEY, Courtney. I am here, I know what you desire, I know what is on your heart, and when I want something to happen, it does. You are on the right track.’
Friday morning, I had a 6 am flight and because of my 4 am wake-up call, I was not in the friendliest of moods. I walked on the plane, sat in my seat, and was ready to sleep. The gentleman sitting in the same row as me quickly sat down and with a friendly smile said 'good morning.’ I responded, then quickly put my hood over my head, popped my earbuds in, and slept… the whole flight.
I was jolted awake when the plane hit the tarmac, as I came too, I almost forgot where I was. We taxied for a bit and once we got to the gate, the gentleman stood up and helped retrieve my luggage from the overhead bin. I still was NOT in the mood to talk but to be kind and match his friendly nature, I commented on 3 woven, wicker bags he was carrying. He proceeded to say thank you and tell me they were from Uganda. Immediate my interest was sparked.
Uganda, for those of you who don’t know, is where I met my husband, Scott, and (more importantly) where I gave my whole heart to God and became an ‘all-in Christin.’ We were a part of a group of 16 people, all strangers, who traveled to Uganda with Love Does, an incredible organization out of San Diego founded by Bob Goff. Scott went on the trip as part of his sabbatical and I went because I was living a lifestyle I was not proud of and desired more. It was the most incredible 10 days of my life. Needless to say, Uganda will forever hold a huge part of my heart.
As we waited to deplane, we continued our small talk. He was from Uganda and was now a doctor. He was in Canada and traveling to the States to speak at churches and conferences about what he was doing in Uganda in the medical field. I told him about Scott and my meeting in Uganda and how I loved it there. Then we smiled again, the line moved and we walked off the plane.
As we exited, he a few people in from of me, I was so angry at myself for sleeping on the whole flight. I knew the moment he got to our row, smiled, and said hello that we could have had a friendly conversation, but I was tired and annoyed and just wanted to be asleep. So boom, as quickly as I popped those earplugs in, I shut down the opportunity to get to know this stranger. As I walked up the jet bridge and into the terminal, I just wanted to kick myself.
Then, as I was mentally beating myself up, I saw him standing there at the end of the jet bridge, waiting for me with that friendly smile.
He said, “I am sorry, but something told me to stop and wait for you and talk to you.”
So we stood in the middle of Terminal C at the Minneapolis Airport and chatted. He proceeded to tell me more about his work. He was born and raised in Uganda and had been a doctor since 2012. He started the organization Jungle Medical Mission. They provide free health care services to the urban poor and rural populations in Uganda. He was currently traveling to speak and talk about a new program they are working on that is focused on pregnant mothers who have nowhere to go. They take them in, care for them leading up to the pregnancy, deliver the babies and keep them 6 months post-pardon until the babies are old enough to receive their first round of vaccinations. Through providing medical attention, they hope to share the Gospel, love, and promise of God and encourage the young mothers in their purpose and worth.
And just like that… there I was, standing in terminal C, broken down, tears coming from my eyes, next to my new friend from Uganda. It felt like the world, for a moment just stood still all around me.
As he noticed my watering eyes, another smile came across his face, a smile that just said, ‘It is ok. I understand. God is here. God is at work.’
In my best effort to pull myself together, I apologized for the waterworks and began telling him about SHE WEARS WORTH. How we are on a mission to start a movement helping girls and women know they are worthy and to get them to understand why! I told him that I knew I was put in this world to spread this message.
I then apologized for sleeping through the whole flight, that I felt guilty seeing as we could have been talking that whole time. I shared that I was a little overwhelmed by all of this. Out of all the fights, and all the seats he could have sat in, we sat right next to each other. What were the odds…?
He looked at me and said “you know, coincides are God’s humor. I don’t believe in them. I knew I was supposed to talk to you.’
I don’t even know where or how to begin describing the feeling I had during our chat with words. Somehow there was a sense of peace, joy, excitement, gratitude, confidence and HIS presence.
I gave Franklin a SWW business card and contact info, he gave me his information, we hugged, I prayed for his safe travels and we went our separate directions.
In terminal C, with people whizzing by, rushing to their gates, I felt God’s divine presence, His love, and His assurance so fully. It was remarkable.
I sat on the next plane ride and replayed it all. As I was processing, I was (and still am) overwhelmed by a few things:
When He wants something to happen, it does. Even in MY best effort to avoid conversation with this stranger, the Big Guy upstairs wanted us to meet, so we did. It is as simple as that. God, who is all-knowing and mighty, God who created the earth and sky, has such incredible power, yet He WANTS to intervene in our daily lives. He is NOT a God that sits high and mighty on his thrown, too good for us, expecting us to accomplish works to get time with him. NO, He desires to be a part of our daily lives. He wants to be there, even on 6 am flights when we are grumpy and annoyed. And even when we might close the door in his face or not be fully open and aware of Him, He persists. He doesn’t give up. He wanted Franklin and me to meet…So we Did.
Proverbs 16:9 “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
He knows the desires of our hearts. Ever since leaving Uganda almost 3 years ago, I pray (almost) daily that somehow, someway, God will call Scott and I back to pour into the people there. Maybe just for a week, or a month or for a longer season, but somehow. However, this is a prayer I very seldom ever vocalize or talk about because well, I understand that it is a bit of a selfish prayer. Scott and I are newly married, hoping to soon be able to start a family and love the community of people we 'do life' within Crystal City, so openly praying about how I desire to pack a bag and live on the other side of the world, in a 3rd world country would be a lot to swallow. HOWEVER, the God I love is all-knowing. I don’t have to verbally tell him, or journal about it, He knows what is on my heart. He knows me. Even when I don’t say or reveal my heart to him, he can see it. He knows it.
Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
He has a marvelous plan for me, for all of us and He delights in encouraging us. As much as I believe and know that the Big Guy has a plan for me, I so often get bogged down with the doubt, fear, and worry that comes from the stupid, nagging thought of ’what if?’ What if things don’t work out? What if I never get to…? What if SWW is a huge fail? What if I have no idea what I’m doing? What if? What if? What if? One of the reasons I am flying to Austin is to host two SHE WEARS WORTH collection events. One with a group of ladies from my old church, Gateway, and another with past co-workers and friends from Kendra Scott. For time's sake, I’ll just summarize and say “I AM SO NERVOUS.” I have been playing the ‘what it’ game for the last few weeks. Being open and vulnerable and honest with strangers on Instagram is one thing, pouring your heart out to a room full of people you know and that come from all backgrounds, beliefs, and ideas is a whole other ball game. But Friday morning, after talking to Franklin, I felt at peace about it all. Our conversation was the reminder I needed, encouraging me. It was as if God was saying… ‘Hey, Courtney, see Me? Do you see me working here, where you probably least expected it? Stop doubting, I AM HERE. I am always here.”
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Last, Friday morning, I was reminded that we never know when, where, or how the Big Guy is going to show up or show off. Often, I am guilty of putting Him, His work, His love, and His power in a box, per se. Confining His capabilities to a place or space, a time of day, or a mood I am in. For example, let’s say I have a super busy week ahead, with things non-stop and I make 30 minutes each morning to sit, be still and read or pray. Because I am setting aside those specific 30 minutes, I assume that it is in THOSE minutes that I set aside that He will show up. Setting aside time to focus solely on Him is a GREAT practice and habit to get into, but that doesn’t mean we limit Him and his capabilities to only that time. He can, He will and He wants to show up every non-stop, a busy hour of our day. Friday morning, as I was standing in the long security line, I made the decision that I would wake up and be chatty, friendly, and smile at strangers after the flight, after I got some sleep, during my layover. I expected Him to show then, during that time in some way, NOT when I was tired, grumpy, not feeling great, and basically giving off a strong don’t talk to me vibe but he did. He showed up and He showed off! I am so thankful and relieved that He doesn’t need me to be on my A-game for Him to show up.
Ephesians 3:20 “Now to Him who can do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us…”
After writing down and processing all of this, I am still blown away and overwhelmed by the experience and the emotions I felt meeting and talking to Franklin. And ya know what, that is ok. It’s a great thing. No, actually, it’s the BEST thing and I am so thankful that I can’t truly describe, grasp or understand the whole encounter. It gives me assurance and confidence that I know I have devoted my life and my love to something and someone so incredible, so deep, so wide, so strong, so remarkable that I (and we as humans) will never fully grasp, on this side of heaven. And to think that someone that spectacular and grand loves me and desires to know me on a personal level is legitimately MIND-BLOWING. And guess what… He loves YOU and desires to know YOU (whoever you are, no matter what you’ve done or what you currently believe) jJUST AS MUCH! I promise you, He is just waiting for the opportunity to blow your mind!
I look forward to connecting with Franklin and the work he is doing. For the next 3 weeks, He is traveling the US and Canada speaking and getting support for his new mission. I have no idea what will become of our meeting and our conversation. Maybe, God, had our paths cross because He knows one day Scott and I will spend time in Uganda, maybe He wants SHE WEARS WORTH’s mission to one day be global or maybe, just maybe, He simply wanted to use a busy airport terminal to remind a tired, doubting girl that He’s got her in the palm of His hands.
Only He knows… and I am ok with that because I know His plans are good and they are FAR better than mine.
Prayer- Lord, I am overwhelmed (once again) by your incredible, unending, never ceasing love and power. You are always here. As you know, I was brought to tears this morning in the Minneapolis airport meeting Franklin…. Like how, how in the world do you do that? I am not sure why I am questing you because you made the universe, clearly, you do small things like putting two strangers in each other's life for a purpose, but what blows me away, even more, is how you know my innermost desires. The things I don’t even say out loud or want to tell Scott, you know it, you know that it is on my heart! It is unreal.