Have any of you ever experienced those times when you are sure you have remembered everything, yet, at the last moment, someone points out something you have done wrong or something you have omitted to do altogether? Sadly, I have—more than once.
Take the time some of you may remember at our Christian writers’ conference when I arrived early at the site, specifically to check that my laptop would work with the data projector there. Yes, it seemed fine. Then I arrived early the next day for my actual workshop to check again. Yes, everything looked fine on my laptop—I heaved a sigh of relief. However, I omitted to check whether my lovely presentation actually showed up on the big screen behind me. Imagine my horror when the participants pointed out it was blank! For some time after, this experience shook my confidence in using power point presentations. Yet it also taught me not to hinge my entire input on them and to be able to ad lib better at a moment’s notice.
Or take the time I arrived to speak at a meeting of what I thought would be a small group of women and with only a few of my books, only to find over a hundred men and women present in equal numbers. I quickly revised the illustrations I had planned to use, in order to relate better to the men, but there was nothing I could do about my books. From then on, I have always made sure I can relate to both men and women, if necessary—and that I carry some extra books in my car!
Or take the day I turned up to speak at another group to find the meeting well under way. I had not realised that the time I had been given to arrive was the very moment I was expected to start speaking. I have never set out my books and organised my power point presentation so quickly in my life. This experience taught me to enquire more closely when given arrival times—and then to allow another thirty or more minutes on top of that!
Now I am in the throes of that final check through my latest manuscript for any little glitches I might have overlooked. I am sure it is perfect. After all, I have read it through so many times. Imagine my chagrin then, when one of my proofreaders points out a typo on the very first page—then another in the middle of a key Bible quotation that changes its meaning entirely. Worse, she questions some facts I have included early on in the book. Heart in mouth, I check them out again in the sources I used. Hmm, she could be right. Far better to leave the whole section out than to be incorrect.
These little glitches might well be embarrassing at the time. Yet God has used each one, I believe, to teach me more about humility and to give me strength and wisdom for the next part of my journey. Things might go wrong. Things might take us aback. But God is there through it all—and I am so grateful for that.
How about you? Have you ever experienced any little glitches like mine?
Jo-Anne Berthelsen lives in Sydney but grew up in Brisbane. She holds degrees in Arts and Theology and has worked as a high school teacher, editor and secretary, as well as in local church ministry. Jo-Anne is passionate about touching hearts and lives through both the written and spoken word. She is the author of six published novels and one non-fiction work, Soul Friend: the story of a shared spiritual journey. Jo-Anne is married to a retired minister and has three grown-up children and four grandchildren. For more information, please visit www.jo-anneberthelsen.com.