Thursday, October 16, 2014

Grace in Saint Louis by Heidi Chiavaroli

Heidi Chiavaroli
As I unpack my suitcase and mull over the events of the 2014 ACFW Conference, I am in awe—again—of God’s ever-present grace.

Where God’s grace found me:


12:30PM, Baggage Claims, St. Louis Airport—As I watch the carrousel come to a stop…without spitting out my luggage.

12:35PM, Baggage Claims Desk—As tears flow, I explain to the Delta clerk I have an appointment with an editor in two hours. I CANNOT wear jeans and sneakers. Neither would jeans do for the Gala that night.

No makeup. No hair products. No dress. And certainly no spanx. More tears.

1:00PM, Shuttle To Hyatt—Via cell, I pour out baggage woes to hubby and parents. Weird, but a strange peace fills me. I vow to fashion skirt out of hotel curtains if need be.

2:15PM, Hyatt—I spot my friend, Melissa, who offers khakis and a shirt for my appointment. I borrow her MIL’s Birkenstocks, three sizes too big, but better than sneakers.

3:00PM, Appointment—Gracious editor doesn’t seem offended by unruly hair, imperfect makeup, and too-big Birkenstocks.

3:25PM—Melissa issues Facebook plea for dress.

4:20PM—No Facebook bites. Drastic measures must ensue. Melissa and amazing friend, Karin, and I power walk through St. Louis. These friends must prepare for Gala, but they accompany me on quest for cheap perfect dress.

4:38PM, Can’t-Remember-The-Name-Dress-Store—Amidst pricy dresses, I settle for a dress in clearance section.

5:01PM—Check with guest services. Luggage still not here.

5:15PM—Put on dress and realize all undergarments can be seen through dress.

5:30PM, Melissa’s Room—Don black pants and Birkenstocks and assure myself it’s not that bad. (Oh, but it is!)

5:40PM—Step into elevator with ladies in stunning gowns and perfect curls, my own frizzy hair and makeup pitiable in comparison.

5:43PM—Elevator doors open on fourth floor. Tear off Birkenstocks and run downstairs to lobby to inquire of luggage one more time. In a small miracle I still can’t fathom, I am told my luggage has arrived. I do happy dance. Clerk refuses to get luggage until I repeat happy dance.

5:45PM—Late for Gala. I ask Happy Dance Clerk to break the lock on my suitcase. He is excited to do this.

5:48PM—I drag my luggage to the nearest bathroom where I change and thank God the entire time.

8:30PM—I accept the Genesis award for Historical Fiction and make my speech. My appearance is far from perfect, but I have a dress. God has supplied me what I need.

Through all this, I felt a sense of undeserved caring—through friends and attendees, through the Hyatt staff, and mostly through God. On the plane ride home I wondered what He was trying to teach me through this. Then it hit me. He wasn’t trying to teach me anything.

He was trying to show me. Himself. His amazing grace.

Extravagant enough to send His only Son to die for me, simple enough to send a dress three minutes before a Gala.

Heidi Chiavaroli writes History Woven in Grace. She is a wife, mother, disciple, and grace-clinger. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and has finaled in the Genesis contest and My Book Therapy’s Frasier contest.


  1. Great post, Heidi! I love it when God does things in way that shows us only He could have done it. Of course, it's not so great when we're going through it. :)

    1. lol Absolutely Sandy! The going through it part is tough. :)

  2. Oh, I missed the happy dance and breaking the lock detail, even better! Glad to be a part of your no-good, much better day. I had a feeling from the beginning it meant a win!

    1. How did I NOT tell you that part, Melissa?! I am so glad you were a part of it--and it was so nice to win with you! ;)

  3. Heidi - you looked perfect at the gala! I saw you on the big screen and no one would have guessed you got ready in 3 minutes. You seemed so calm - another provision of God's Grace. So wonderful how God supplied your needs.

    1. Terri--it had to have been God's grace, there was no other explanation. ;) Thank you!

  4. Heidi, I'm sorry you had to go through all that, but I'll bet it was an experience you'll always remember, right? God is so good!

  5. Hey, all. Heidi is at a Writers Retreat today, and internet connection is a bit spotty at the conference center, but she will try to respond to your comments when she can. Hope her luggage made it. :D

    1. God is so good, Dora! Yes, my luggage has arrived! Phewf!

  6. Oh, my goodness! I was stressed for you just reading this - even knowing it was all over! God is good and faithful, isn't he? Truly an experience you'll never forget. Congrats again on your reward!

  7. Wow, Heidi! I had no idea! I remember meeting you shortly after you arrived at the hotel and you, me, and Cynthia Roemer chatted for a few minutes. I was so touched by your heart then, even in the midst of all the chaos. I remember you saying you were just trusting God, knowing He would provide somehow. And boy, did He! :) What a story. I'm sorry to hear how stressful it must have been for you, but thrilled to see how God did answer and bless you through it too. Thanks for sharing. And congrats again on winning your award!

  8. Awww, thanks so much, Savanna! It was such a pleasure to meet you too! And yes, He certainly did provide. ;)


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