In 2004, I was struggling with a very serious illness affecting one of my daughters. At the time, she was also being tested for additional illnesses in addition to her initial diagnosis. As a parent, I became consumed with fear and worry. One day, I decided that I needed to take a break. I needed a significant span of quiet time to talk with the Lord.
My daughters stayed home with their father while I traveled west without a particular destination in mind, only a prayer that I would find a place where I could hear God’s words without being interrupted by “life.” I ended up at a small island in Lake Erie named Put-in-Bay.
When I checked into my hotel, I remember the desk clerk asking what brought me to the island. I told her I just needed some time away. In my room, I knelt down and prayed that God would help my daughter and help me cope with the situation. A little later, I went down to the front desk to ask the clerk for recommendations on places to eat, and we started to chat. I remember her asking probing questions about my life, but I wasn’t willing to share anything.
The next morning, I went down to the desk and found the same hotel clerk, and we talked for a few more minutes. Later that afternoon, after I arrived back at the hotel, she struck up another conversation with me. I started to open up about my life, specifically about my daughter. She shared details of her life with me. Every time I passed by the front desk, we talked more and more until I shared all my worries and concerns.
She reminded me that the Lord wants us to live in the moment and focus on His blessings. She shared a newspaper clipping she had on her desk of a list of things that God wants us to do. The first listed item was to focus on the blessings He gives us in the present. I was struggling with letting go of the worry until she asked me point blank, “Is your daughter OK, right now?” I told her that I did not know what was going to happen. She asked me over and over, “Is she OK, right now?” She said to me, “You are worrying so much about what may or may not be in the future that you are missing the blessings God is giving you and your daughters today.”
The next day, after thinking about our conversation all night and continuing to pray, I decided to head home. I stopped at the front desk to thank the hotel clerk for our conversations. On the way home, I listened to an audiobook that she recommended. I remember talking and crying to the Lord, telling Him how thankful I was that He led me to that hotel for that very specific message.
About six months later, I took my two daughters and my mother to Put-in-Bay. We stayed at the same hotel. I wanted to introduce my family to the hotel clerk and share with her that my daughter was doing just fine. We were thanking God for His blessings in our life. We checked in, and I inquired about the hotel clerk from the past spring. The woman waiting on us said that she didn’t know of anyone that fit my description. I asked her manager about the hotel clerk that I remembered. Her response to me was, “I have managed this hotel for over a year, and I’ve never hired anyone that fits your description.”
I looked at my family and realized that God sent a messenger to help me through that trying time in our lives. Often I remember back to that special weekend and have shared this experience with others who expressed their worry over various issues. Praise God for His patience and mercy on us!
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