Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Boarding Pass at the Ready

Yesterday's little trip to Austin, TX, was quite the adventurous one.

We arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare and when time, boarded the plan for what we thought would be a routine little trip down south. Boy were we wrong.

We taxied away from the gate and before too many minutes the pilot informed us that because of a thunderstorm, Dallas Ft. Worth Airport had issued a ground stop, meaning no planes were going in or out. We were told it could be 30 minutes and that meant the "powers that be" would decide if the ground stop would continue or the flight would be cancelled. At the 30 minute mark, it was to be another hour. 10 minutes into the hour, we were told it would be 20 minutes. About 15 minutes later, we were cleared to taxi to the runway.

Now you should know that I'm not a fan of taking off, landing or any turbulence in between. We did have some turbulence but nothing major. I'm here to tell you God gave me incredible peace. Every moment the anxiety would even try to open its mouth, I'd pray major praises to God and the peace would just wash over me. I didn't even ask for peace, I just praised Him for it and thanked Him for being a Sustainer and Protector. Amazing!

We circled the airport a few times (seeing the same area of Dallas more than once will convince you of that) and finally landed. We thought we'd missed what was to be our connecting flight by 15 minutes but in reality they had cancelled it. The first thing we did was try to find a ticket booth to get help. We walked for a tiny bit and found what, at first, I thought was a ticket counter but turned out to be just a gate desk. Ask anyway, we did. The lady we asked got on the phone to find out how to help us. While we waited, the guy standing next to her took our no-good boarding passes and magically pressed a few buttons on his computer and handed new boarding passes back to us with 2 seats next to each other on the 8:30 flight to Austin. Wow, we thought. How amazing was that! We rejoiced and took the tram to the A gate building.

Finding our destination, we stand for awhile in confusion because the delays have caused chaos. And while all around me were confused, I had peace. I just knew this was going to work out somehow even if it meant going back home. Pretty soon we found a little restaurant to sit in and after about 5-10 minutes I hear an announcement that our flight was changing gates back to the C gate building, where we started from. So we headed back to C-11.

At this point the flight is pushed back to a 9pm departure time but each time there is an update from the crew, it gets later and later. By this point I've finally admitted that I'm starving and thirsty so I go to the convenience store for a pop and crackers. When I come out, there is no one left in gate C-17 seating. Yikes! I hear my name called, my boss standing not far away, and I'm informed I'm in for another gate change. What!? This is hilariously ridiculous at this point. I was honestly laughing. I think the punch-drunk status had set in.

I had been a bit of a doubter about the "seats" we got assigned to, checking them several times. I tend to be a doubter in life and I'm sure some of it directly relates to that anxiety issue. I finally decided to let the concern go. What was the worst that could happen? We'd go back home and not go to the training. But we pressed on. And by the time the plane was ready to board there were 76 people on the stand-by list. But you know what? When we walked up to board the plane, our  boarding passes worked, much to my doubting relief. A huge sigh of relief escaped both of us as we walked down the gate to the plane. Settling in and finally leaving that airport (10:30 by the time we got to the runway) was the best feeling in a long time. We had to have gotten the last secure 2 seats on that flight. Isn't God amazing?

We got to Austin safely and went to get our "mid-sized SUV" rental car only to find they were out and the only vehicle left was a brand new GMC Yukon with all of the bells and whistles. Would you mind, they asked? Are you kidding, we thought. What a cool blessing after such a long day of patient waiting.

I got about 5 hours of light sleep. My brain was too paranoid about missing both the wake up call and the iPhone alarm I had set. But God woke me up before both were necessary. And I sit here, as I am regaling you with tales of my adventure and I realize just how amazing God is. And I think about how this adventure is like our journey to salvation.

Just when we think we have run out of options, run out of hope, if we just obey, and trust that one guy - Jesus - our boarding pass is printed out with secure seats to Heaven.

Perhaps you don't know where you'll go when you die. I believe there is a Heaven and a Hell. And I know we have all sinned. But the Bible says there is a way out. There is hope. There is salvation. His name is Jesus. Romans 10:13 says "all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved."

Is your boarding pass secure? If you would like more information about salvation or just need support in an issue, please leave a comment and I'll be in touch. I'm praying for you today.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I'll Fly Away. Oh Glory!!

Today, I'm flying away.

I'm going on my first-ever business trip. My boss and I are flying to Austin, TX for a training meeting. I've been in this job for about 6 months and have gone through a lot of training and growing pains over that time.
This trip is not your ordinary training workshop. I'm going because my predecessor did some things that were not good and this is a means of "correcting" the problem. Even though it's meant as a punishment, I'm going to view this trip as an opportunity for God to teach me more than I know now. And that's a good thing. Isn't it awesome how He takes what's mean for evil and turns it to good? (see Genesis 50:20)

Even though this trip is only for one overnight, it holds great significance in my spiritual life. I know God is already working in me - for good, for victory, and to strengthen my faith. You see, a little over 2 years ago, I went on a trip, on a plane and stayed in a hotel room. It sounds like your average vacation, but it turned out to be the catalyst for a deep-seated anxiety spawned from shame and all kinds of fun stuff like that which I'd never dealt with fully. I won't go into all of the details but I will tell you that it was bad. My husband ended up taking me to our family doctor and I was put on Celexa for anxiety. And God used that medication to calm the storm while I got help in learning to deal with the shame from childhood and the anxiety that was my modus operandi. Never let the world, the church or the enemy tell you that your faith isn't strong enough if you have to take medication!! God can use ANYTHING to heal you. I believe that. Some people He has walk by faith alone, some people need the help of a pill. I was one of the latter.

Over the course of the past two years, I've seen a therapist who has given me practical tools to unearth and crush the long-time chain of worry and fear in which the enemy had me wrapped. I've also been drawn closer to God once again. I think sometimes God allows us to fall hard in order to remind us that we still need Him. As I've drawn closer to the Lord, I've seen people healed in many ways, including myself. About 3 months ago, I sensed it was time to take a leap of faith and go off of the anxiety medication. There was no doubt that God was directing me. I prayed about it and asked for God's wisdom. And I waited until I heard His voice. I didn't share this with anyone and yet the very next Sunday a couple in our church felt led to pray over me and my husband (also on the same meds). They sensed the Lord saying "we are healed" completely. And I took that as a sign. And I stepped out in faith and went off of my medication. Trying to be wise, I weaned myself off gradually because Celexa is known to cause very nasty withdrawal symptoms and that just didn't sound fun to me. And you know what? I didn't have a single withdrawal symptom. Not one. Now that is the power of God!

So fast forward to today, I'm taking this trip, staying in a hotel and even this morning the enemy tried to bring back those old anxiety tapes to mind. I immediately asked people to pray for me, and I turned to God's word. And peace is again in my mind and my heart. And so, because of His glory, I'll fly away...

Isn't God good? How has God brought peace and healing in your life lately? I'd love to have you share!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Lean and Clean in 2013

This year is to be a year of orderliness.
I feel strongly I'm supposed to get my life, and all it contains, into order. As the years have passed, the order around me has disappeared. I realized I must get things in order. I sense it's also something that will benefit my spiritual life and am eager to see how God leads me.

As I've gotten back to blogging, I've come across some blogs that have inspired me to be more frugal, to get things orderly at home, to keep things clean and to find things to keep me going.

The first step came this weekend. I had brought some boxes home from work this past week and I started in on the bedroom. In the past, I have tended to let myself get overwhelmed before even beginning. Not this time. I threw out old software, a 20 year accumulation of electronic-related cords that have gone unused for most of their stay in our home. I went through paperwork, receipts and all manner of paper. I have a large bag ready to shred and a much smaller pile to file. If I look at the external, I don't see any progress because all of things I got rid of were in "hidden" places. But I know I made progress.

I have a long way to go even just in the bedroom, but I'm taking this one step at a time.