This past month I was at International Christian Retail Sales (ICRS) in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was a l-o-n-g drive up, almost ten hours! And by the time we arrived it was pretty late at night. It was so good to get to bed and rest, but at the same time kind of scary knowing I had interviews and a book signing to face. Plus a three block to the convention center and back, multiple times a day. With hip problems, this worried me. Would I even be standing on my own power by the time of some of the afternoon appointments? I struggled with self-security. I wanted to appear “normal” and not handicapped, but I determined to give it to God and prayed a wheelchair would be available if worse came to worse.
I woke up that next morning, raring to go. Steve had gotten up early and went for breakfast, but my three girls and I went down as soon as we were ready. Ah, fresh fruit in the breakfast buffet. Yogurt in fancy little glasses with a topping of granola and fruit. Heaven! Steve joined us for a cup of coffee since he’d already eaten.
We walked over to the convention center and the excitement was in the air. A Starbucks! Wow. Yes, I got myself an iced coffee, but not right then. Later in the day. We went to the main arena where publishers and Christian distributors from across the globe were demonstrating their products and giving away select items. Videos. Books, books, and more books. Water bottles. Balloons. And more!
I got in line at the first book signing I came to, and the author says, “I’m so excited! This is my debut novel!”
“Congratulations,” I reply. “How exciting!”
“What is your capacity?” she asks, peering at my name badge. “I mean, what are you here for?”
“I’m signing my book this afternoon,” I answer.
“Is this your first, too?” she asks.
“Um, no.” And whisper a prayer of thanksgiving to God for using me in the fiction category the way He has.
“What number is it?”
“Um, fifteen.” I mentally count them up. I got it right, if I don’t count the ones that are written and waiting (for editors, release, contracts…)
“Wow! You are where I want to be!”
I accept the book and wish her the best then invite her to my book signing. She says she’ll be there. But to be honest, I have no idea if she was or not. The line was formed when I got to my table, early, and didn’t break until after it ended, I signed longer than my allotted time. I have no idea the capacity most of the people in my line were in. But I was invited to a bookstore someplace in Ohio for a book signing if I ever get that way.
The blessing is that God held my hand the entire way through. From the heavy traffic (which freaks me out) and giving us a safe trip the whole way. To the convention where I was able to interact and talk comfortably with people I didn’t know (and this is way out of my comfort zone) and I didn’t end up in a wheelchair being pushed around. I was still walking at the end of the day. Admittedly my husband held my hand on my bad hip side and I wobbled a lot, but by the grace of God I was still walking.
Thank you, God, for hearing and answering prayers for the little things, the prideful things, and the major things. And thank you for the courage to face the adventures that life brings. Amen.