Y’all I was on a roll. I’d read my Bible for 125 days straight in a Bible app on my phone (84 this year). I celebrated each milestone and so did the app. There was confetti and balloons and congratulations messages. It was amazing! I become quite focused on reading and enjoying the experience of intentionally connecting daily. It was a resolution/aspiration that I had for the year, such to the extent that I actually started before 2019 began. I wanted to see how long I could maintain the consistency. I was pretty proud of myself. Then, the unthinkable happened.
I arose one morning at 4:30am West coast time to run a half marathon. It was an amazing race! I caught a red eye at 11:00pm on my way home to the East coast. I was scheduled to have a brief layover in my hometown of Chicago. However, upon my arrival at O’Hare, I learned that my connecting flight was cancelled. I ended up spending eight hours in the airport, walking from terminal to terminal, being listed as a standby, yet never making flight. Within the eight hours, I purchased Garrett’s popcorn for family and friends, called my brother (who lives in the Chi), ate breakfast, people watched, engaged in social media and racked up 10,000 steps. When I finally reached home, I’d been awake for 26 hours straight (did I forget to mention I have difficulty sleeping on planes?). After visiting with the fam, I found myself knocked out about 8:30pm. The next day after the Lord allowed me to make it through the day (pain, weariness and all), I opened my app to read and saw the number 1 as opposed to 125. I refreshed the app and assumed it was just a little slow. However, the number didn’t change. I then noticed the “M” for Monday had a hollow hole, signifying that I’d missed a day. When I tell you I wept, I cried audibly. I was absolutely heartbroken. At first, honestly, it was about the confetti and starting all over again, but then the realness set in. I moved deeper than the surface and cried all the more when I realized that I’d spent an entire day, frustrated, moving to and fro, talking with agents and attempting to navigate my way home, without taking even a brief moment to commune with God in His Word. I’d failed to go to my place of solace. I’d missed the opportunity to be instructed to witness to someone in the airport. What if my time spent was purposed and in my quest to pass what I presumed as meaningless time was wasted. The grief overwhelmed my soul and I pressed God for forgiveness. After a while, I settled down, but the lesson continued to remain close on my heart.
The following day, I walked into the women’s correctional facility where I volunteer. A discussion was being held about Martha and Mary. The conversation centered on missed opportunities to spend with Jesus. I shared my airport situation and striking out on my streak. When I finished, one woman wept and said, “Stephanie, thank you. I really needed to hear that. I’ve been overwhelmed lately and I couldn’t figure out why. But, I haven’t been in my Word. I need to spend time where I know my help comes from.” I could hardly keep it together. The fact that God would allow me another opportunity – not to right what I wronged, because to be sure, that is and was over – but to move forward from this point. Romans 8:28 affirms, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” In the end, it worked out. I am pleased that the sharing of my shortcoming blessed someone else. And I hope that I’ve learned yet another lesson and that is when I am in the midst of difficulty, I am reminded to turn to God to lesson the blow. The thing about streaks, is that they last for a while and when broken, grace steps in and allows us to begin again. As long as Christ doesn’t break His connection to me (and He won’t), I’ll do my best not to break my connection to Him. There is no loosing in Him.