The Plane That Didn’t Crash

If you have ever read anything I have written (or have spent more than five minutes with  me), you may have noticed that I have a bit of flare when I tell stories. Since I tend to add a little extra drama to the stories I tell, I can totally relate to the “boy who called wolf.” Sometimes, when I tell real stories without any flare, my friends think I am being a bit dramatic. Hear me now, the story you are about to read has NO added flare. These events are real. I recently almost died in a plane crash.

Two weeks ago, I headed to the airport to catch a flight to attend the 3rd annual Moms in the Making conference. I feel like I type these words at least once a month, but as I have said before, flying is not my most favorite pastime. With that said, the last few times I have flown, God has met me in the air and so I have really tried to change my perspective. Instead of dreading flying, I have tired to look at flying as a special date with my Father.

On the morning of the flight, I was excited. Not only was I looking forward to seeing so many sweet friends, I also knew the Father had something good in store for me and I was excited to find out exactly what it was. My in-laws dropped me off at the airport and my mother-in-law prayed for me before I got out of the car. I walked through security with confidence and got to my gate without any trouble. I sat down close to the gate agent desk, opened my book, and then the trouble started.

Our airport is small with only 10 gates. The terminal has tons of windows, and it’s really easy to see what is happening at all the gates. As I sat waiting for my plane, I literally watched a storm blow in. On any other day, this would have been incredible to watch and, at first, the storm didn’t bother me too much. However, as the clouds got darker, I started to notice the gate agent checking things a bit closer and making a lot of phone calls. This made me a bit nervous.

Then my gate changed. Still, I brushed this off quickly. Gate changes happen. It’s no big deal. I moved down to my second gate (seriously this took two minutes) and settled in again near the gate agent desk. This gate agent seemed even more flustered than the last. I watched as she picked up the phone and hurriedly talked to the person. Then her fingers flew across her keyboard with lighting fast speed. Something was happening.

The gate agent announced the flight was oversold and the airline was offering a travel voucher to anyone who was interested in taking a later flight. No one took the agent up on the offer, and within a few minutes the gate agent offered a higher amount of money for anyone who was interested in taking a later flight. This is very common practice at my airport and typically it wouldn’t phase me, but I had been watching the gate agent a bit closer than normal on this particular morning. Once I caught the eyes of the gate agent and saw something I don’t typically see in their eyes… fear. Before you roll your eyes and say that I was just imagining this, please remember the disclaimer I mentioned at the start of this story. I am not crying wolf here!

A few seconds after I saw the fear in the gate agents eyes, she called a second gate agent to help her. When the second gate agent arrived, they talked in hushed voices and then both agents seemed to busy themselves with calls and crazy typing. Something was definitely happening.

About 20 minutes before our flight was to board, gate agent number one told gate agent number two that our flight would be delayed due to weather. The storm was so bad the flight was having to fly in and out of the storm. A few moments after that, number 2 announced the flight would be very bumpy and so no beverage service would be offered on the flight. He then offered an even larger travel voucher for those willing to take a later flight.

My heart started to beat a bit faster at this point. I have been on planes where the flight attendant has said the flight would be turbulent and there would be no beverage service, however I have never heard a gate agent say that! Friends, this gate agent was literally trying to pay people not to get on the flight!

Fear and anxiety are enemies I have met before, (Fear, You Don’t Own Me) and I have worked to give myself tools to combat them in war. One of those tools, is note cards with scriptures written on them. I typically have the cards with me at all times. When I start to feel anxiety knocking on my heart or fear creeping in the space next to me, I typically pull these cards out and read them over myself. While I have a lot of the scriptures mostly memorized, something about tangibly holding the cards and reading truth helps me stay calm and focused on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, excellent and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8).

So, I reached into my purse to grab the note cards, and realized they weren’t there. Someone had stolen my scripture cards! Maybe that’s why the gate agent had been so nervous? The shifty eye gate agent had stolen my scripture cards! Okay, so at this point you are probably guessing that I am using a little of that “flare” I warned you about, but I promise this is a true thought I had! Anyways, after a few moments, I realized it was not true, noble, right… etc. to think the gate agent had stolen my hand written scripture cards. More likely, somehow when I packed for this trip and switched pursues the note cards didn’t get packed. Ugh.

I tried to recall the scriptures I have read over and over again, but suddenly my brain was blank. I had my bible with me and I picked it up and started flipping through the pages, but suddenly I couldn’t remember any reference. Honestly, I am not sure I could even remember my middle name in that moment, let alone scripture. So I texted Dan and two friends and told them I was nervous. All three quickly texted back to tell me they were praying for me.

About this time gate agent number two announced the plane was going to be late, however they would do everything in their power to get us in the air quickly. He then warned us again the flight would be turbulent and explained that the normally hour long flight would be closer to two due to the weather. For the hundredth time, he announced that travel vouchers were available for people who were interested in taking a later flight.

At this point, the air around my little gate started to feel very thin. It’s like everyone started to feel the tension of the pending terrible flight. It felt like everyone was hyper-ventilating. Okay, maybe that was just me, but I really do think the tension around the gate did increase as more and more people grasped the words the gate agent was speaking. Three people ran to the gate to ensure they didn’t have to get on the “world’s worst flight.”

Finally, our flight arrived. It looked to be in one piece and was only 10 minutes past our original scheduled boarding time. I watched as the passengers walked off the jet bridge, and started to realize each of of them looked like they had been through something. You know what look I am talking about, right? They all looked very tired, very stressed and just simply worn down. They looked happy to be alive, happy to leave the airport, happy to be safe on the ground. Then the pilot walked off the plane and I heard him tell gate agent number one it was the worst landing of his life.

Those words stuck with me. I am not generally a great judge of age, but this pilot looked to be old enough that he had flown more than a few planes in his day. If the landing was the worst in his life, what had the passengers felt? Why were we getting on the plane to go back up? Was the plane damaged? Could I talk to the person who had checked the plane to make sure it wasn’t damaged? I need to see that  person’s credentials now! I texted Dan and told him I didn’t know what to do. I had to get on the plane, this was my transportation to an amazing weekend, however my body was frozen. I was frozen in fear. Dan simply texted four words…. “Fear go. Peace remain.” Tears started to roll down my face as I read the words over and over again. I could do this. Fear doesn’t get to control me, I can do this.

Finally it was time to board the plane. I waited and watched as person after person scanned their ticket and slowly started making their way down the jet bridge. The flight attendants still looked flustered and nervous. I tried to be kind as I scanned my ticket and then I walked down the jet bridge and got onto the plane. I could do this. I quickly found my seat, got settled and put my headphones in. Then is started to rain. At this point I started to get a little annoyed. I mean, the pilot had already said this flight was going to be miserable, I didn’t need the plane to hydroplane before we even got in the air!

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The night before this adventure, I asked Dan to buy me some new music to listen to on the plane. While we looked for something new, we realized Skillet had released a new album in August 2019 called Victorious. Neither of us had any idea that the band had released a new album, but we both love their music, so the album was purchased without any questions.

As the rain got heavier, the flight attendant was reminding everyone the captain had stated the flight would be turbulent. There would be no beverage service. No one would be allowed to get up.  I again questioned why in the world this plane was even going to take off, but there was nothing I could do about that in the moment! Instead of continuing to listen to the gloom and doom, I decided I didn’t need to hear any more updates. I turned my headphone volume up and I choose to start the new Skillet album. My phone was set to shuffle, so the first song that played happened to be the seventh song on the album. The song is titled “Terrify the Dark”. The lyrics start this way:

No power on Earth, no power in Hell
Is gonna steal my peace

I literally stopped the song and restarted because I couldn’t believe my ears. Tears started to fall yet again as I realized this song was meant for me at that exact moment in that exact place.

No power on Earth, no power in Hell
Is gonna steal my peace
Ten thousand enemies, they will
End up on their knees
When I’m hopeless, I can notice, You’re with me

Your light will terrify the dark
I call upon the name
That tears another part
My doubt will answer to Your scars
And fear will have no place
No hold upon my heart

I realized right there that I had a choice. I could choose to continue to let fear steal my peace or I could choose to walk in peace. This flight could be the worst and most turbulent flight I have ever taken, but it did not have the power to steal my peace unless I gave it the power. 

The bible tells us that God did not give me a spirit of fear, but He gave me the Holy Spirit who gives me power, love and self control. (2 Timothy 1:7). I have been given the authority to trample EVERY spirit that tries to sneak into my mind. (Luke 10:19). I have the ability to take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). I can choose to think on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, excellent and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). When I choose to walk in the authority given to me,  take the thoughts captive, and only think about the list above… supernatural peace is the only thing left. (Philippians 4:9).

Did that supernatural peace I feel automatically guaranty the flight wouldn’t be turbulent? No. Did the fear suddenly lift? Honestly, no. However, in that moment I choose not to allow anything to steal my peace. I choose to not let fear hold it’s grip on me. I chose to sit on the plane, even though it was scary, and trust the Father.

As the plane packed up from the jet bridge, I quickly texted a few people a simple text. I told them the flight was getting ready to leave and the storm looked bad. I also told them that I didn’t know what was going to happen, but I knew who controlled the storm. After sending my goodbyes to my loved ones, I turned my phone to airplane mode and closed my eyes. This outcome was out of my hands, but I could choose to rest in peace.

After several minutes of waiting on the runway, we took off. I braced myself for the turbulent take-off. I waited for my stomach to somersault as we slowly ascended through the clouds. I held my breath waiting for wind to throw us around. The clouds were ugly, however, the turbulence never came, my stomach stayed still and the wind never seemed to catch us.

Not only was the take off just fine, but when the little bell rang to alert us that we were at altitude, the pilot called the flight attendant and gave her permission to walk around. A few minutes later, the flight attendant who was nothing but doom and gloom on the ground, passed out pretzels. Then she actually came back through the cabin with water. At one point the captain turned off the “fasten seat-belt” sign long enough that a few people where able to actually move around the cabin. During all of this, I listened to Skillet’s song on repeat over and over again as I watched the clouds.

Where could I run? Where could I hide?
You’re breaking in on me
Restoring ruins of my life
From rags to royalty
I can see You, I believe You, I trust You

Your light will terrify the dark
I call upon on the name
That tears another part
My doubt will answer to Your scars
And fear will have no place
No hold upon my heart

Before my eyes, the clouds changed from dark and ugly to white and fluffy. I literally got to watch the sun break through the storm.

Moments before getting on the plane, I was allowing everything around me…everything I could see…to tell me about me what to expect about this flight. I was listening to the doom and gloom report others were giving. Today I want to remind you, no matter what you are facing, the gate agent and the flight attendant (the doctor, the bank, the employer, the friend) do not get to tell you how turbulent the storm is going to be. Don’t give the people around you authority they were never meant to have.

The entire world said this flight was going to be the worst of my life. The doom and gloom was so heavy, I basically texted my final good byes to my family and friends. (If you are wondering why you didn’t get a goodbye text, please give me a little grace, I couldn’t remember my own middle name!) However, the pilot flew above the storm at a safe distance that made the flight one of the best I have ever been on.

Not everyone on the flight had the same experience I did. The poor young man next to me was terrified the entire flight. He tapped his toes and checked the time on his phone several times. He was jittery and played with the pocket on his pants over and over again. When the flight attendant passed out pretzels, he poured the entire bag into his hand and then threw the entire hand full into his mouth. He quickly chewed as if he would never eat again. Then, when the flight attendant offered water, he chugged the water so quickly that she was able to pour a second cupful before moving on. When the captain turned off the fasten seat belt sign off, he jumped up and almost ran to the bathroom. When the landing gear released he almost jumped out of his seat, and then he looked nervously at the floor, until I tapped his leg and told him it was just the wheels.

Why did the poor guy and I have such different flights? Because I chose to not allow the threat of a horrible flight steal my peace. I chose not to listen to the report of others and focused on the only one who could control the storm. I can’t say it enough, we have the authority to tell fear to go. You can’t tell my fear to go for me, I have to take authority over it myself. I have learned that sometimes I need tools to help remind me of the authority I have. It’s okay to have tangible reminders. Hang scripture up, wear jewelry that points you back to truth or tattoo it on your arm… what works for me may not work for you, but find something that does work and use it. Surround yourself with truth.

Sometimes you may find yourself in a situation where your mind goes blank and you can’t remember your middle name. I understand. The best people have forgotten their middle name in a fit of fear. Determine now who you can call when you can’t remember your name. Ask yourself who is the friend who will pray for you and send you truth. Who is the friend who knows your name? If you don’t have someone pop into your mind, it’s okay. Start praying now that the Father will reveal who that person is in your life. He will answer that prayer.

The flight landed safe and sound, and again I started to cry. As we taxied to our gate, I realized this was just the start of all God had in store for the weekend. I expected a special date on the plane, but He delivered so much more. He showed me again how powerful it is to live unafraid with Him. The best part, He was just getting started. He IS just getting started.

Friends, this is more than a not at all dramatic retelling of the time I almost died on a plane that didn’t crash. This is a story about who God is in the midst of our fear. This is a story about what happens we choose to walk in the authority that He has given us. When I walked off the plane, I had been through something… something that left me marked forever.

  1. Fear go. Peace remain. Amen!!!! Love you, friend! 🙂

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