This past weekend I attended the Moms In the Making Leader’s Retreat. I don’t have the words yet to express what happened in my heart and mind, but what I can say is; it was powerful. Eighteen women gathered in a quiet cabin and pushed into Jesus and He showed up in bigger than I could have ever dreamed. We talked about disappointment and who God is in the midst of it. We dreamed big dreams and drew circles around big prayers. We prayed big bold prayers. We cried together, and laughed more. I am so excited to see the fruit from the seeds that were planted this weekend!
Sunday, we ended our time together at a delicious restaurant. I was in no hurry to leave. I was enjoying my friends, soaking up our last few minutes together and paying no attention to when I would need to get to the airport. I trusted we would get there with plenty of time, I mean, I have TSA pre-check so there was no reason to rush. When it was finally time to say goodbye, we lingered. We hugged “one last time” at least three more times and took several “last pictures”.
When I finally sat down in the car taking me to the airport, my heart was full. Honestly, it was more full than it’s been in months, and that’s when the trouble started.
My sweet driver typed in the address to the airport and it showed we were thirty minutes away. I nervously laughed and said out loud “Oh, I thought we were only 10 minutes away.” She assured me we would be fine as did two more sweet friends in the backseat.
We turned to begin our drive to the airport and the road was closed with a huge “detour” sign. We followed the detour, only to find another detour. Then we had to slow down so we wouldn’t hit the chihuahua dog in the road. Yes, that’s true, I can’t make up tiny dogs running into the road and keeping me from the airport! As we turned and hit another detour, I watched the arrival time turn from 30 minutes to 35 minutes and started getting nervous. I reached for some gum and began to nervously chew hoping the mint flavor would somehow distract me from the fact I was never getting home.
I nervously joked about how I had asked God to help me with my “control issues” and how I was trying to work on dropping the “Type A” label I carry around like an ugly security blanket. My sweet friends tried to encourage me that I would be fine. I have TSA pre-check. I really only needed an hour. I listened, I even agreed, but as each minute ticked by, I became more and more sure that I was never going to make it home. I would probably never see Dan again. At least we had a good run.
When we finally arrived at the airport, that I am sure was at least 200 miles away from where we ate lunch, I quickly hugged my friends and basically ran into the airport. There was no “one last hug” three times at this point! I had a plan. I was going to get through security, then find a bathroom and a drink. After accomplishing all of that, I was going to camp out by my gate and process. I wanted to think through all that had happened. Security needed to go quickly, so I could get to my plan.
But instead, the security line was at least four million people long AND there was only four TSA officials who were in NO hurry to move us along. My TSA pre-check meant nothing. I was stuck in line that I was sure was at least six million people deep, with the plane leaving in minutes. If you’re wondering how lines go from four million people to six million people in matters of minutes, you’re going to have to talk to someone who is smarter with mathematics. I just think there has to be an equation out there somewhere about how long lines randomly multiply when you are in a hurry.
Finally, after what felt like hours, I realized there was a TSA pre-check line, however the entrance was in a different hallway. I decided to exit the line and get into the TSA pre-check line. This simple act frustrated no less than three customers. One of which did not have pleasant words to say to me or about me. Some curse words mixed with words about my lack of character were hard to hear. Didn’t he know I was about to miss my flight? I am sure my eyes didn’t tell a friendly story as I grumbled under my breath. Didn’t he know I was never going to hug my husband again?
Once I made it to the correct line, I was frustrated to realize one of the TSA officials had decided to take a break (aka – he stopped to help a customer put his bag on the conveyor belt). The nerve! This made the three other officials working move even slower and I began to nervous sweat. The nervous sweating left me thirsty and then I began to panic about not being able to get a drink before I missed my plane.
At this point, worry started to borrow worry. I was already worried I was going to miss my flight. Since I was going to miss my flight, I started to fear sleeping in the airport on a cold bench where someone would obviously steal my bag. Without my wallet, I’d never be able to get on a plane again. I’d start a new life as a hobo in the airport. Maybe I could make friends with the slow TSA officials who seemed to be moving even slower the more nervous I became. Maybe not, I had been nervous sweating for awhile. They may not want to be friends with someone who was so sweaty.
Finally, I made it to the point that I could put my bags on the conveyor belt. I had been given a special card to alert the official that I was TSA pre-check, however one official choose to ask me 400 questions. I didn’t have the brain space for 399 of the questions and I am sure I sounded like I had lost my mind. I tried to tell him I was going to miss the only flight that was ever going to my city, however he didn’t seem to care. I mean, looking at the situation now, I am sure he thought I had lost my mind. No flight only goes to a city once a lifetime!
So, I waited. I nervously sweated. I tapped my toes. I worried about my new life as an airport hobo. I was anything BUT patient. Finally, I made it through security. I briskly walked to the gates, to find my gate, B14, the very first gate. I wanted to hug someone. I had just made it through something. I wasn’t going to miss my flight. I was going to get to sleep in my bed and hug my husband. I wasn’t going to have to live as an airport hobo after all!
Not only had I not missed my flight, I had time to use the restroom (just two gates down from mine), grab a water bottle, and sit down at my gate long enough to listen to one worship song. One worship song may not have been what I had planned but I had plenty of time all along.
As I sat listening to the worship song, I felt the Father say “How quickly you forget.”
There’s a story in the bible I feel we don’t talk about nearly enough. In Matthew 15:32-37, Jesus calls his disciples together and tells them to have compassion for the crowd. The bible tells us the crowd had been following Jesus and listening to him preach for three days and had nothing to eat. The disciples ask Jesus how they can feed so many people, they only have seven loafs of bread and a few small fish. Jesus says no words. He simply quieted the crowd, blessed the food, broke the loaves and gave it to the disciples to start serving it. The entire crowd ate and was satisfied. After they finished eating, the disciples gathered the leftovers – seven large baskets full. On that day, 4,000 men were fed. Yes, you read that right. This isn’t the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000. In fact, Jesus fed the 5,000 in Matthew 14:13-27 BEFORE he fed the 4,000.
I don’t know how many days truly passed between Jesus feeding the 5,000 and the 4,000, but it’s literally one chapter later. There has been so many times I have read these chapters and thought the disciples were crazy. How did they forget so quickly what Jesus had done? How did they so quickly forget his provision?
However, friends I did the same thing. It had only been hours since we had prayed big prayers. Minutes since my heart was the fullest it had been in months. And yet, somehow in that short amount of time I was sure I had been forgotten forever.
Let’s break down my ridiculous thoughts. We made it safely and on-time to the airport. The detours (and small dog) didn’t add any extra time to the trip. The security line was never four million people long, it was more like twenty. It also wasn’t growing right before my eyes. The man who said such hurtful words may have been having a terrible day. The TSA officials were doing their job as quickly as they could to keep the passengers safe. I was never going to become an airport hobo (my Dallas friends would never let that happen) and there was plenty of flights flying to Springfield. In fact, there were two more that day! However, those thoughts derailed me. They spiraled me out of control and, for the short term, they made me forget.
In Deuteronomy 7 and 8, Moses is talking to the Israelites one last time before they enter the promised land. In this final talk, he continues to say “Remember that the Lord your God…” or “Be Careful that you don’t forget the Lord your God…” Moses tells the Israelites at least five times to remember what God has done. But why?
Because remembering is a weapon. (My Favorite Memories) When we remember, we can tell the enemy He doesn’t get to win. We can remind him how his story ends. When we remember what God has done in the past, we can remind ourselves He has always been faithful.
This weekend, I shared big dreams. I prayed bold prayers. I pushed in. I was vulnerable. I shared the deepest parts of my heart and I let the Father work. The enemy hates that. He wants me distracted. He wants me to forget who I am, and what my Father has done for me. When I was distracted thinking about my life as an airport hobo, I might have missed my opportunity for something great. Maybe I missed my opportunity to be kind. Or maybe I missed my opportunity to speak life. Or maybe I simply missed my opportunity to be still.
This isn’t about making myself feel terrible because I may have missed an opportunity, it’s about recognizing I have room for growth. Jesus isn’t expecting perfection from us. He is expecting faith. The easiest way for us to choose faith is to remember what He has done for us in the past.
I have been married to Dan for nearly twelve years. During that time, Dan has come through for me time and time again. He has provided for me, loved me and walked through life with me. I have faith in Dan because of the history we have built. Remembering what God has done builds the same trust and faith. Its not just about actions though, just as it is important for me to remember Dan telling me he loves me, it’s important for me to remember what God has said about me. (Did God Really Say…)
So today, I want to challenge you to make your list. Pull out a notebook or a note-taking app on your phone, and make a list of all the things God has done for you or said about you. Take note of the things He has done in your life, so when the enemy comes in and tries to distract you with crazy thoughts you are prepared and can remind him who your God is.