Published November 4, 2014

Shelia Shares....
"Defining Success"

When you pray for an answer, does God always respond? How do you know it is a "God" answer? What if the results aren't what you expect?

Recently I saw a sign offering tables for vendors at an upcoming craft show. I called for info and the tables were "dirt cheap." I looked at my stock of new quilted wall hangings, baby blankets, comforters and pot holders. Crafted in Lancaster County, I had more than enough pieces to fill an eight-foot table. So I signed up.

Even though the evening before we had emceed a concert 140 miles away and had arrived home at 12:30 a.m., I bounced (or fell) out of bed at 5:45 a.m. All my items were packed and Paul wrestled two big bins down the stairs and into the car. He drove me to the church sale venue, carted the bins inside and left for his morning at the office.

I looked around and saw everyone organizing their tables. I forgot my tiredness and was excited about the prospect of making some sales and getting some needed money.

By 8 a.m. when the sale officially opened, there were no lines at the doors. By 9 a.m. I was praying for any customers. I remembered I had prayed for sale of merchandise, but I had also prayed that I would have the opportunity to speak with whomever God had for me to meet during the day.

I began making my way from vendor to vendor, all the while, keeping an eye on my table. Who had God put in my path?

One lady was selling items made by women in Romania, where her sister is trying to help women who might otherwise be caught in human trafficking. This lady was concerned about her sister's safety and was missing her, so far from home. I was able to speak from the perspective of having served in a foreign country and knowing that God gives extra grace when it is needed. The fact is that being in God's will, wherever that may be, is the safest place you can ever be. I felt like I gave the encouragement this vendor needed regarding her sister.

Another lady who had a table close to me was a bubbly, cheery sweetheart. Her ready smile and sense of humor was fun. When I asked where she goes to church, she told me she doesn't. She grew up in a church similar to my background. But, today she reads her Bible and does crafts rather than go to a church.

I shared with her that we all need to meet with other believers. We need a group of people who encourage us to hold on to Jesus when times get tough. We need to fellowship with others. That is how we are challenged and how we grow and how we help others to grow. I invited her to our church and when she asked I told her it is a small group, which turned out to be the only size with which she would feel comfortable.

When I gave her a hug before I left the venue, she grabbed a paper and pen and asked me to write the name of my church and when the church service begins. I hope I see her again.

So, was my venture into craft shows a success? Monetarily I cleared about ten dollars. If money was my goal, I was not successful.

So, was my venture into this craft show a success? I believe we do not meet people by chance. And, if I believe I was an instrument to encourage someone and to challenge someone for the Lord, then my venture into craft shows was a booming success.

Lord, help me to show and share You in every situation. Make my witness for You a success.

- Shelia

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