Even the best laid plans…………………

I love the leaders I serve, so when one of them invites me to join them in an event that’s meaningful to them and those they love~~ well, I’m IN!  Last week was one of those times!  Thursday I was up early, packed and ready to fly to Dallas, TX to be a part of a wonderful Christmas event in an amazing church in Keller, TX.

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Weather reports showed that there “would be” a change in the weather; it would be cold. I was disappointed but knew I would be so involved with my leader and her event that I wouldn’t really notice that the weather had turned cold.  Then… the ICY SLEET fell upon the state of Texas and everything changed.  The moment the plane touched down in Texas I received a text letting me know that the event I was planning to attend was cancelled.

Hmmmm…….Lord, I have flown all the way here….You know everything……..Help me know your purposes in my stay here.

From my hotel window I watched car after car spin and crash into guardrails and other cars, heard the warnings from newscasters to just stay OFF the roads, and the continuing announcements that almost every flight out of Dallas was cancelled and would be cancelled for some time.

Lord, I am all by myself here. I wanted to be a blessing but now feel like I am a burden~~ah, the best laid plans!

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Life throws us lots of twists and turns doesn’t it? Weather, finances, health, even relationships have elements that we simply cannot always control! Finding value, even in the challenge, is a choice we can make.

Let me be totally honest; there were moments this week when the tears were flowing at the thought that getting home would be nearly impossible, moments where I tried to make sense of the fact that I was sitting alone in a lovely hotel without a purpose to my stay….

However, amidst all the hysterics of roads and flights; I was able to get home at midnight last night! 🙂

This makes me wonder about God’s view of things;  was the unplanned conversation I had with a woman who had just lost her son to cancer meaningful?  Was spending time with a precious couple new to my church/community on the plane worth being stranded?  How about the young man who forged his way in the sleet to open the BUCKLE store he managed? we had a long conversation about his journey to find his faith in Christ; his father was a pastor? Did that conversation matter in God’s view of things?

In my desire to catch my 3:30 flight home out of Dallas, I went to the airport around 9:30…….Just to be diligent.  I had a 5 hour wait and needed to power up my phone a couple of times. One of those times there was a man sitting next to me who had been trying to get home for 3 days! He had waited hours and hours before being told his flight was cancelled.  Needless to say –He was tired. Sitting there he began talking about his family; especially his oldest daughter whose choices caused him heartache. Our conversation was meaningful and emotional for him.  Sadly – his flight was again cancelled, so I said that I thought we ought to go to my ticket counter and see if he could get on my flight! Amazingly, the airline employee smiled at him and said “I just had a cancellation, you can take that seat!”  He smiled at me and said to me ” you are either magic or blessed!” I told him blessed.  He was home that night!  Hmmmmm……..In God’s view of things, was that man important enough for there to be value in my “stranded” experience?

How about a surprise encounter with two people with whom I have not had reconciliation for a few years showing up for the same flight as me; getting a chance to talk, to show kindness?  Then the lovely older gentleman who was seated to my left on the final leg of my flight. Just a few years ago he had to file bankruptcy as he was a developer in our area when the market hit bottom; he spent a lot of time talking through his sadness about 3 of his colleagues who committed suicide due to feeling hopeless during that season in the economy. We we got off the plane he introduced me as his “new best friend” to his colleague!

Were these conversations of high trust God ordained or just a chance happening?  No, I can’t answer that…I’m asking you; the reader, what you think?  I am still pondering the possibilities…..sometimes I just wonder about those best laid plans…………………!

Psalm 139:16 says “All your days ordained for me are written in your book before one of them came to be.”  Yes, He knew.

Airports~~

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I’ve done a lot of airplane travel over the past year.  I remember as a kid the idea of flying on a plane caused me to much excitement that I could not sleep all night just thinking about my upcoming adventure.  Though I am thankful for the option of taking a flight rather than embarking on a LONG drive; I no longer find it thrilling.

One thing I find especially interesting is the magnitude of people; all walks of life, all ages, all religious beliefs, all occupations gathering in one place to get to and from business or family connections.  Does God have His eye on each one of them? Is He mindful of their lives?

As I look at each face I imagine what their life may be, where they are headed, or what their family may be like. Based on their clothes, accent, or age I come to my own conclusions about them.  Yet, I am quickly reminded that scripture is clear that ” man looks at the outer appearance, while God looks at the heart.”  Even if my conclusions are not in any way critical, I still don’t really know their story or the condition of their heart like God does.

Being at the airport reminds me again and again how big and broad God’s view of us is; my world and context is so small!  Being at the airport reminds me to try to see “other travelers” with Gods point of view and compassion.  Perhaps you have a place you frequent where people regularly gather; school, Starbucks, church, or even a park. When you look around at the faces, think about how God might see them. It will change your perspective as it has mine.

Just something to consider on this blustery Sunday. 🙂

Paralyzing Fear~

I had it all planned out! Three glorious days in the sun and then I’d fly into Bend from Seattle around 11:30 pm Friday night.  There was clearly enough time to get a good nights rest, get up early on Saturday, and attend our son’s graduation from George Fox University (Redmond Campus) where he was receiving his Masters in Education.

It was 11:30 pm in Seattle when they cancelled the flight! ( I had already been waiting for the flight for 4 hours!) We were politely told that the airline would pay for our hotel and that we would get home safe and sound around 4:30 pm Saturday. Um….no….may son is graduating at 9am!!

Tears began to trickle down my face as I beat myself up for having even gone away for a few days! If I thought this could happen I would never have gone!! Two sweet young gals in line began asking me why I was so full of tears; they were so compassionate.  As we neared the desk to receive our vouchers for our hotel I had a gal from the airline tap me on the shoulder asking if I was the lady with the son graduating in the morning?

Apparently, one of the young gals in line had gone over to the gate where they were boarding the last passengers who were headed to Eugene.  This 11:45 flight had ONE seat left. This young lady had appealed on my behalf and got me on that last seat on that plane! Remarkable! I was so grateful.

So, Plan B:  I will get to Eugene, rent a car, get a room, sleep a little and then head to Redmond for the graduation!!  Uh – oh~ got to Eugene, it’s 12:15 am and they can’t find a car to rent to me!  Finally~ I drive away from the airport in a sturdy SUV in search of a room for the night!   It’s 12:30. After an exhaustive search I find that there is no room in Eugene because 7,000 women have gathered for a Beth Moore conference!!

Now my cell phone is almost without power so I don’t want to go over the Cascades alone at 1:00 am -alone-without a phone! Plan C~  I decide to take Hwy 5 and head to Salem, get a room for a couple hours, rest, and then head to Redmond for the graduation.  After a long drive I arrive in Salem around 2:45 am.  I have a tiny bit of power on my phone and I see a message from my husband letting me know that he has been calling all over town and there is only ONE hotel room in Salem, it is reserved for me.  I have no idea where the hotel is and now my phone is dead!  I look for something that is open to ask for directions but I find nothing.  Literally~ I pulled over to the side of the road-tired & scared- and I cry out to God begging for Him to help me! Crazy as it sounds I immediately felt a fresh sense of resolve, drove a couple of blocks and saw the lights of the Hotel I was looking for!

At 3:30am I clicked off the light thanking God for this much needed rest and for His hand of safety over me. Up at 5:30 and off to Redmond for Dave’s graduation; got there 15 minutes early!! Cried the moment I saw him standing there in his cap and gown!

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I know this is a long story; but there is a big part that I left out of the details.

  All of my life I have been unable to drive in uncertain places, especially at night. Navigating the unknown has thrown me into panic attacks….so I never even attempt it, an embarrassing and crippling fear!  This crazy fear has kept me from many wonderful road trips, adventures, and business opportunities.  I had no idea that God was going to “give me the opportunity ” to address this fear so dramatically but He sure did!

I learned a lot about myself that night but more about God~He never left me, His comfort over-whelmed me, His favor blessed me, and (with help from my hubby) God even got me to the Hotel! Best of all~I made it to graduation in the nick of time! 🙂

Perhaps you have a fear that paralyzes you, like I do.  I pray you can believe that if you are  given the “opportunity” to address it God will never leave your side, and He will make you stronger and more able!

“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”  Deuteronomy 31:8