Praying for my business turned out to be an adventure in itself. The Lord continued to be full of surprises, most coming when I least expected them. Somehow I had always thought that prayers needed to be about “important things,” but God was teaching me that he delighted in planning special treats for his children.
I remember when I was asking God about certain aspects of my seminars and a strange idea hit me: Why don’t I ask the Lord to let me go out west to work?”
The West has always intrigued me. I grew up with the Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers, and Hopalong Cassidy. The only toys I owned were guns and holsters, tents, cowboy outfits, rifles, and two dolls that I never played with. After school the boys would come to my house, and we would play cowboys and Indians until it was dark. Even today when I see cowboy pictures on television, I get nostalgic about those early years. I dream once again of getting on a horse and riding across the prairie.
I had savored my time in Wyoming several years ago and had often thought of returning. But that was back in 1975, when I was teaching school. Now I had a business to run, and I needed to pay attention to it, Still, the question persisted, “Why don’t I ask the Lord to let me go out west to work?”
What an exciting idea. Why not? I had traveled to California, Texas, and Wyoming but hadn’t been able to see other western areas. So I got out my map, studied it carefully, and decided to ask the Lord to let me visit three specific states: Utah, Nevada, and Arizona. Having asked this of him, I had to laugh.
“Sue,” I said to myself, “you are really stretching it. Utah, Nevada, and Arizona have so few people in them, they probably close these states every Thursday.” But that was the impression I received, so I stuck to my prayer.
A few months later, I gave a seminar to six women in a small town in Virginia. At the end of the talk, one of them approached me and said, “Sue, do you travel in your business?”
“Well,” I replied, “I’ve done some traveling, and really, I’d like to do more.”
She excitedly said, “Would you be willing to go to Utah?”
My eyes got as big as saucers, and I said, “Oh, yes!”
Then she told me her story. Her sister was living in Utah, had four children, and was getting a divorce and going back to work. She wanted to know if I’d be willing to organize her sister’s house. I could hardly believe it.
Arrangements were made, the date was set, and I was on my way out west, just as I’d prayed. I organized her sister’s entire house in three ten-hour days; then we toured Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park. The week was exhilarating.
Where do Nevada and Arizona come in? Well, to get to this lady’s small town in Utah, I had to land in Nevada. When she picked me up to take me to her house, we had to go through part of Arizona. I was beginning to learn to listen to that still-small voice.
I thoroughly enjoyed Utah, Nevada, and Arizona. Once you’ve experienced the West, it’s hard not to want to go back. As I was praying for more travel, especially out west, the Lord had a special idea in mind for me, but he created a roundabout way of giving it to me.
I was doing a seminar in Virginia for a construction company. The company was having its annual weekend conference, and I had been hired to make a presentation to the spouses of the construction workers. Everything went well, and after the weekend, the owner of the company and his wife invited me to their lake home to relax and meet some of their friends. My hostess, a wonderful lady with a great heart for the Lord, felt that this might be an important connection for both me and these other visitors.
Out at the lake, I met Tom and Sarah Hemingway, and in the course of conversation, we talked about our different vocations. Tom runs a Christian retreat center, Spring Canyon, in the mountains of Colorado. The camp is primarily for military families and is owned by the Officers’ Christian Fellowship. They asked me about what I did, and we talked late into the night. One thing led to another, and in the ensuing years, they’ve asked me to come and speak each summer. Every year I travel to this beautiful part of Colorado, and each time I see some old friends and meet some new ones.
In addition to enjoying my time in this breathtaking country, I’ve made military contacts who, in turn, have invited me to speak and organize literally all over the globe.
The Lord has continued to open doors for me, and when I launched this business, I couldn’t have dreamed of the people and places it would involve. In New Hampshire I organized an antique dealer’s new home and office; in Texas I worked with a tree farmer in her business; church offices in Alabama and California were on my schedule, and I even organized a kitchen for a Christian retreat center in Canada. From pastors to high-powered executives, from the D.C. area to the “Wild West,” from the homemaker’s kitchen to a college campus, I never ceased to wonder at the ways he chose to work.
Who could have known from my unusual beginnings that my life would be such an exciting one? I have a great time in my work, and it is satisfying to know that something I have can be useful and beneficial to so many people. What do you love to do? What do people tell you you’re really good at? Maybe God has a change of plans for your life. You just never know, unless you ask.
“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
—Psalm 37:4 (NASB)