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Monday, October 2, 2017

tur·bu·lence

You know, sometimes there are stories that can only be shared after a certain period of time has elapsed and some healing has occurred.
This is one of them!

“Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. It looks like we've hit some unexpected turbulence and I'm going to turn on the seatbelt sign. The seat belt sign is now on. Please remain seated until the seatbelt sign goes off. Thank you.”

As someone who has struggled with motion sickness her-whole-life, these types of announcements make me instantly break out in a cold sweat.

On our last day in Australia, I had intentionally reduced my caffeine intake, sipped water all day, eaten healthy food, taken my travel sickness medication and of course prayed, but then as the plane made its way into the air… the dreaded “turbulence” announcement rang through the cabin loud and clear. 

I decided to avoid the food they were bringing around for dinner but even still, the combination of the food smells and onset of unsteady movement in the plane was enough to set me off on a path of a VERY-MISERABLE-JOURNEY back home to Thailand. 

After about 5 hours of continuous vomiting, I staggered unsteadily off the first flight, spare sick bags tucked into my pockets. It was as we departed the plane though that the unexpected occurred, our youngest shrieked a panicked cry; he too was feeling sick. We grabbed a spare bag and not losing pace with the rest of the passengers departing the flight, we held it for him as we all kept walking and he lost the contents of his last meal. Poor guy. 

At the airport in-between flights, all I could do was to be still.  I was weak and every part of my body ached.  Finding a spot on the floor, I lay down, exhausted and drifted in and out of a state of dehydrated, distressed sleep. 

Waiting till the last minute, my family gently guided me to the next flight but I already had a terrible feeling that this one was not going to be much different to the last.  But I was wrong… IT WAS SO MUCH WORSE! Not only was I sick for the whole flight but so were TWO of my children!  Poor Dave! He lost count of how many times he had to go and ask for more bags. 

Just when we thought we would be stuck in the air feeling nauseated forever, we finally touched down and stumbled weakly off the plane. Lacking strength and energy we tried to focus on the fact that we were almost home.

Making our way through immigration and baggage, we exited the airport and found a songthaew to take us the twenty-minute or so ride home.  Through the winding streets and familiar city sites, we all stared unemotionally out the back of the truck until we were eventually dropped out the front our house. 

As we unlocked the front gate and started to haul the suitcases to the door one-by-one, there it was…. the final, depressing, reminder of what had been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Our youngest threw up all over the front door step. Yep. We’d made it home!

But, as you know, “turbulence” doesn’t just strike on planes though either.  
This season has definitely seen some turbulent times for our family. Unsteadiness, uncertainty and a bumpy ride have jolted and stretched us in ways that we have not experienced before. 

And there have been days when the words “BE STILL” in the command “Be still and know that I am God” have gripped me in the same way like at the airport that day when I literally had to be still.  

That day, I needed to be ‘physically’ still, to block out all the other noises and movement and activity around me. But sometimes the noises and the distractions around us are people’s comments, the enemy’s lies, or our own insecurities or unmet expectations.  Sometimes the movement and the activities are distractions like a lack of boundaries or over commitment or not letting go.  In the end, it’s all the same.  We must eventually be still.

Being still is a bit like saying, I will not pay attention to the storm going on around me but I will trust in you God.  
Being still cannot be done in front of a computer screen, on our phone or in the crowded places of our lives. 

If we will not be still voluntarily, then sometimes it will take a big shaky dose of turbulence to get our attention and have us crawling into a still, small, quiet place alone to understand and know, “HE is God”.  Not us. 

We are doing a six-week study at church and in our small groups right now called ‘God’s Grand Story’.  After finishing our chapters on Moses and the Israelites, I was telling a friend about my journaling the other day. 

I had written, “I hope that through our family’s wilderness experiences that we really truly learn the lessons that God would have us learn in the desert. That we would not miss the ‘Promised Land’ of what God has for us next and that we would grow in our trust and obedience to Him”.  

I love the lyrics in Lauren Daigle’s song “Trust In You”.  How challenging to think that no matter whether God answers our prayers in the way we want him to or not, that we would fully trust in Him. 

Let’s find time this week to BE STILL in the turbulence.


Trust In You (Lauren Daigle) 

Letting go of every single dream
I lay each one down at Your feet
Every moment of my wandering
Never changes what You see
I try to win this war
I confess, my hands are weary, I need Your rest
Mighty warrior, king of the fight
No matter what I face You're by my side
When You don't move the mountains
I'm needing You to move
When You don't part the waters
I wish I could walk through
When You don't give the answers
As I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You
Truth is, You know what tomorrow brings
There's not a day ahead You have not seen
So let all things be my life and breath
I want what You want Lord and nothing less

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