Over the past twenty years as a professional speaker, I’ve had my fair share of speeches that didn’t go my way. But last week’s presentation to the National Charity League in San Antonio was an epic disaster.
I was so excited because the NCL’s mission aligns so well with my message of fostering the mother daughter relationship and developing confident young women leaders, and 250 mothers and daughters would be there for my talk.
Never in a million years did I imagine that weather would be a factor in traveling from Florida to Texas, but that day 50 mph winds prevented us from landing in San Antonio and we were diverted to Houston.
My speech was at 4:00pm and it was already 12:30. As we sat on the tarmac, I kept telling myself, “God makes all things come together for my good,” even though things didn’t look so good.
Then the pilot announced that it would be several more hours before we would be heading back to San Antonio. I called the meeting planner and she told me her husband had also been diverted and was at another airport in Houston. I took a cab to the other airport, met up with her husband and together we drove the 3 hours to San Antonio.
By the time I got there, I was an hour late and half of the crowd had already left. I got on stage and my slide show wasn’t working and by that point I seriously wanted to cry. Instead, I took a deep breath and decided that I was just going to do the best I could do under the circumstances. A calm came over me and I began to deliver a heartfelt message. About twenty minutes into it, a woman came up on stage and said, “I’m sorry but you’ll have to stop now or we’re going to get charged extra for the room rental.”
One of my favorite passages from the bible is 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.” But as I walked off the stage, I couldn’t for the life of me see how this could be part of that plan.
Then the most amazing thing happened. All the mothers came up and thanked me for demonstrating grace under fire and for showing their daughters how to deal when things don’t go our way!
I was blown away at how God used all of it and not one moment of it was how I thought it was supposed to go.
But the blessings didn’t stop there. The next day I had a sample coaching call scheduled with a mother and her 12-year-old daughter who suffers with anxiety and depression. During the session, I told them about my presentation and was able to get the girl to see that even though things aren’t going the way she thinks they’re supposed to right now, God has a plan for her life. At the end of the call the girl said to me, “Thank you so much. That was the first time I’ve smiled in a really long time and you gave me hope that things can get better.” The next day, her parents hired me as her coach.
Then two days later, I gave another talk right here in Naples. I opened with that story and because it was a christian school, I got to openly speak about God and how he transformed a total mess into a powerful message. It was the best speech of my life and they want to bring me back every year to speak to the whole school, and someone in that audience invited me to come and speak at their church in Ohio!
Shakespeare once said, “Things are neither good nor bad, but thinking makes it so.” My thinking told me that I had failed miserably, but God’s Word says: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” I think I’ll stick with God’s plan from now on!