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One sunny Sunday in Florida I was glowing over the opportunity to attend a Christian writers’ conference running simultaneously with a huge convention in Orlando. I had come the day before and excitedly checked into my hotel just a couple blocks away from the convention center on International Drive.
This was the big time for a small town woman like me. I was raised in a little rural community in northeastern Ohio and had lived in the suburbs since I’d become an adult. The prospect of rubbing elbows with other writers, editors from major publishing houses, and agents was a dream come true.
I had purchased a pass for the “I-Ride,” a trolley that runs up and down International Dr. In the short walk from my hotel room to the trolley stop, I learned that my “comfortable” shoes really weren’t. By the time I got to the Sunday morning service at the convention center, I already had blisters on my feet. It was only 10:00 AM and I had four full days to go!
Although I thoroughly enjoyed the Sunday morning service, the rest of the day held several disappointments for me. I left to catch the I-Ride at 5:30 that afternoon. After waiting 45 minutes to catch the trolley, I phoned the trolley office. While they were assuring me that one would be along within five minutes, two cars had a minor collision by my stop. Surely, that would just slow traffic more, so I began to walk.
Wearing my favorite silk skirt, I thanked God for my umbrella when it began to sprinkle, and then pour. My feet were now bleeding and I was limping. I rested at another trolley stop. The next one finally arrived but it was full—I’d have to wait. Instead of looking back to see where the next trolley was, in my impatience I began to walk. Within one minute, another one passed me!
My shins were aching as I tried to run to the next stop to catch it. The driver saw me and took pity on me. He stopped between trolley stops and I had to walk on grass to board. Between exhaustion, numb feet, and my overloaded messenger bag, I fell just before getting on.
Stumbling onto the trolley, I could hear people laughing at me. In an embarrassment-induced stupor, I tried to cram my now wet and crumpled paper trolley pass into the dollar bill slot. The kind driver patiently took it out of my hand and put it into the correct opening.
I squeezed my wet bag and myself onto the front side seat, between two women. The older woman asked, “You new here?” confirming my notion that I looked like a total rube.
The next stop was mine. Surely, it wasn’t time to get off—I just got on—so I didn’t move. By the time I exited the trolley, I had to backtrack a block to my hotel. Limping through the rain, I lost all concern about my silk skirt and shoved through the hedges to the back of the hotel where my room was.
Upon entering the room, I dropped everything on the bed, took the shoes off my swollen, bleeding feet, and began to run a few inches of water into the bathtub. It was 7:40 PM; it had taken two hours and ten minutes to walk two blocks!
I was not about to leave the room to find dinner, so I sized up my inventory of bottled water, turkey jerky, peanuts, and chocolate candy. “Looks like dinner to me,” I moaned.
As I sat on the edge of the tub soaking my throbbing feet, I slowly picked the excess pepper off the turkey jerky, sipped water, and contemplated my miserable day.
Amazed that I wasn’t crying, I suddenly began to laugh. “What a hick I am,” I mused aloud. “I’ve become so suburbanized.” Then I began to think of those people laughing at me on the trolley. “I am so humiliated, Lord,” I whispered. He responded clearly within my heart. “You mean ‘humiliated’ like that which causes humility?”
I stopped eating and just stared. I hadn’t felt especially smug that day. I had been nice to everyone I’d met. Did I still need to be humiliated to create humility in me? “Hummm,” I responded in this heavenly tub-side conversation, “Really? I’m so sorry, Lord. I guess I’d forgotten from where you brought me. Thank you so much for humbling me.”
Pride is a bigger problem than I’d realized.
Although I was not feeling prideful, God knew otherwise.
Proverbs 11:2 says, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” I had been praying for wisdom for a long time. I am so grateful that my loving Heavenly Father sees fit to put me in circumstances that will bring me to wisdom and wisdom to me.
I cannot forget where I was when Christ came into my life. I was so unlovely and yet He reached out to me.
God blessed me beyond measure the last three days of the writers’ conference. I believe He needed my heart to be in the right place to do so.
I’m still praying for wisdom and He still humbles me whenever He sees fit. I realize that such humbling times come not to paralyze me, but to help me grow.
So, if you see me fall in public someday or do something equally humiliating, just know that my Heavenly Father is showing me that He loves me and is positioning me for bigger blessings—including the biggest blessing any of us can have—wisdom.