Today during my daily morning time with God, the opening lines in my devotional, Jesus Calling, summed up a recent experience of mine.
“TRUST ME, and don’t be afraid. Many things feel out of control.”
These were simple words which revealed an area of my life that I have battled for years. In a recent blog, I shared about my struggle with fear. As usual, I wrote openly and honestly, but I didn’t reveal my biggest fear of all. Those closest to me know that fear intimately, because I do talk about it even though I would rather not. My actions, both those grace-filled and those not so much, have reverberated how much control the fear of flying has held me captive. In all actuality, the fear had become a strangle-hold that has prevented me from participating in many life events, sadly including seeing family and serving God.
When I wrote that previous blog, I knew full well what plans I had to conquer (okay, let’s get real) – to challenge fear’s death grip on my life. I am blessed with some of the world’s best friends, and a special one gave me the opportunity to go on a cruise with her. The only catch was I somehow needed to get to Tampa. Oh, that’s only 1650 miles from my home.
As I researched my options, I discovered the most economical and most convenient (read: not taking an extra week of travel) option was to fly. Since God had already lain on my heart that I needed to let go of this all-consuming fear, I knew what I had to do. I didn’t like it, but I needed to be obedient to his call on my struggle. I will confess that it took me three months to have the nerve to buy the ticket, but once I did, I knew there was no turning back.
Previously, all my thoughts would have fixated on the panic of being inside the airplane. By all my thoughts, I mean every waking thought. So great was my terror that I could not watch airplane movies and even would tremble when purchasing tickets for previous flights. I won’t even tell you how bad my behavior was on those actual flights. Although, I will say I met one of my dearest friends that way – mid-air, consoling a sobbing me who was convinced she was going to perish that day.
This time was different. My captured thoughts (2 Cor 10:5) were spent giving my fear back to Jesus. My hands did not tremble when I purchased the ticket, and every time doubt crept in, I whispered, “Fear of flying, meet my Jesus.” Initially, I told very few people about my trip because I wasn’t completely confident of my abilities to do this. (It would not be the first time I walked on a flight and got right back off.) I acknowledged that I couldn’t do this, but instead placed it at the feet of my Lord, who could. Somehow, my heart filled with peace. It was a slow transformation.
The day arrived, and much to my surprise, I wasn’t filled with trepidation. I announced the day as “Freedom Day” to my family as they drove me to the airport. Freedom from what was holding me hostage was a huge obstacle to overcome.
After boarding the plane, I immediately set my mind on my previous week’s and day’s humble beseeching prayer, and hoped for the best. (I rest assured in the hope I have placed in God and his Son, my confidence in me, however, was marginal, at best.) Never one short in hugs or stories, I did the one thing that came most natural to me – struck up a conversation with my seatmates.
In the way that only God could orchestrate, my new found friends were a pastor and his wife. I marveled at their peace and reassurance of my situation (even on occasion holding my hand), but also at how much we had to share with each other. I came away buoyed not only by their friendship, but also their wisdom in many of the topics we discussed during the flight. We shared that while we all have struggles; God is faithful through it all. With that, I was reminded that I had already lived through (and survived) my worst nightmare (of losing a child) with God’s steadfast hand ever present. While our lives were not mirror images, we did have one reflection in common – a burning desire to live life for Jesus while loving on his people.
The hours passed quickly as we swapped stories. Faster than I thought was imaginable, the flight was over! I successfully flew with help of God and my new friends (B & T)! Letting go of my personal kryptonite, I tasted how sweet freedom truly was.
I wish I could tell you that is where the story ended. But that is not exactly what God had in mind! A week later, as it was time to return home, God provided once again! Because there in seats A and B to my C, were my friends from a week ago!
As I have professed before, the only things I truly collect are God’s blessings of friends. I was blown away by some amazing new ones who will always be able to say not only did they witness “Freedom Day”, but they were a part of God’s plan for it.
When I read those words this morning, I heard God’s gentle reminder –
Trust me, Kandy. I’ve got it all under control.
Humbly, I am truly thankful He does.
From → Faith Family Football