Sunday, April 7, 2013

trust in the take-off

photo credit:  sarah elizabeth
that moment on the runway.  that moment when the plane begins to pick up speed and the passengers begin to hold on tight.  when the flight attendants buckle in and the engine cranks up. when the cabin lights dim and the babies grow quiet.  that moment when hearts flutter and stomachs drop. that moment.

you can't tell me you don't feel it too.  we all do.  even the seasoned flyers feel a little bit of something as the plane moves from the solid comfort of ground to the mystery of unknown air.

i don't know about you, but i pray.

my guess is that you probably pray a bit too.  even people not prone to praying, probably pray--at least a little.

in the past month i've flown with emily to texas for college visits, i've flown alone to georgia for a women's retreat and i just flew with the five kids to birmingham for a week at the beach.  (no beaches in birmingham. we flew in, visited another college and then drove 5 hours to florida).  that's six airplane trips.  if you count the two extra connecting flights, i've experienced that "take-off" moment 8 times this past month.

and i've prayed each time.

granted, this past trip to the beach i had bella sitting next to me singing the little einstein's theme song.  "we're going on a trip in our favorite rocket ship..."  but still, i prayed. she sang.  i prayed.

and friday night when we were taking off one more time and i was praying one more time, i thought about how good it is for us to have those "take-off" moments every once in awhile.  it is good to be at that point where we are a little unsure, a little out of control, a little on the edge of our seats.   it might not be fun, but it is good to teeter a bit between the solid and the mystery.

there's a humility which comes when we cannot control.

there's a hush which occurs when we have to be still.

there's a holding-on which happens when we feel the shake and rattle and thrust.

and it's good for us.

my mother does not fly.  end of story.  well, sort of end of story.  she doesn't like the take-off moment.  she doesn't like a loss of control.  i can't say that i blame her.  in fact, i'm pretty sure there's no person who would stand up and claim that as a favorite feeling.  it's probably a universal most unpopular moment. but is a necessary inconvenience when we want to go places, get somewhere.   i've pushed my mom on the subject a few times.  my siblings and i all live spread across the country.  flying would be an easier, quicker way to travel we tell her.  it makes sense to me, so i've badgered her about it.  we even got her on a flight several years ago.  my dad would tell you, it wasn't worth it.  it might have been quicker, but it certainly wasn't easier.  not for him and definitely not for the stranger sitting on the other side of my mother.

but this take-off moment doesn't just happen on airplanes, does it?  we have them in life. times when we are leaving behind something solid and heading out into something unknown.  we don't know how it is going to work.  we don't know how it is going to happen.  flight seems improbable. impossible. inconceivable.  a part of us wants to put on the breaks and turn right around.  i get it.  i have felt that way a lot in life -- especially in these past few years.

you see, i might fly on airplanes, but really, i am a lot like my mother.  i, too, don't like the loss of control.  i want to be in charge of my own vessel.  i want to hold the wheel.  i want to have my foot on the break. i want to set my course and navigate my skies. i want to be in charge -- of everything.  call it evidence of my birth order. call it my teacher training mentality. call it my type A personality.  call it whatever you want, but i'll call it what it is:  my sinful nature.  i want control.  i like to be in charge. remember eve in the garden?  yep, her too.  she didn't want the apple.  she wasn't hungry for food, she was hungry for control.  i get eve. i have no doubt if that slimy serpent had been whispering words of pride into my willing ear, i would have eaten them up too.

this need for control might make me a good executor of details, a good party planner or trip coordinator,  but it doesn't make me a good follower of Jesus.  it is the thing i have to work on -- a lot.  in fact, i am certain it is why He set us into the middle of an arduous adoption journey. it is why He took us through a medical crisis.  it is why He moved us 1000 miles away from home.  it is probably why He gave me 5 children.  these things have created take-off moments for me -- for my family.  they have kept us not only on the edge of our seats, they have kept us on our knees.

and that's the place i need to be.  on my knees.

not just when the airplane lifts off, but each day.  every day.  always.  unfortunately for some of us, we need to be a little unsure and a little unsteady in order to be a little more aware of our desperate need for Him.  what happens when the airplane dips? what happens when it shutters and shakes?  what happens when the captain announces an emergency landing?  the prayers pick up.  the "our Father who art in heavens" become loud and clear and compelling.  i am astounded at how quickly i can move into an attitude of self-reliance when things are going smoothly.   time after time, God whispers in my ear, "get ready, we go."  and i have to hold on.

and maybe this loss of control is a hard thing at first,  but i have to admit, when i'm up in the sky and looking at the plane having to land on a narrow runway below, i am really, really glad someone else is in charge.  because the truth is, i couldn't do it.  i couldn't safely land the couple hundred passengers and i couldn't safely land myself.  i'd fearfully end up wandering around in a cloud somewhere until i ran out of gas.

 we always run out of gas when we try to take control.

i'm not sure what has you on the edge of your seat right now. most of us have something.   but i want you to know this place of teetering can bring you to the point of trusting. let it.  true flight takes place when we move from the edge of our seats to the center of His will.

oh friend, don't be afraid to fall.

on our knees.
and into his arms.

He has you.  He has me.  He has us.


here's a few fun photos of where our airplane took us last week when we reconnected with our atlanta friends in watersound, florida for spring break:

we had a chance to celebrate sarah's 13th birthday at the beach!


Aus said...

Ya know Jody - I "get" what you are saying - but (and ain't there always one?) - It's not the moment when we "let go" - it's the moment when we (however briefly) recognize that what we thought was "control" was really illusion - we can't "let go" because we never really had control in the first place - and recognizing that is really liberating!

As for the pictures and the holiday - so glad to see all that joy - all that life - all that love!

hugs - aus and co.

Aus said...

I had a PS - good seeing the bike!

hugs - aus and co.

Stephanie said...

I love your analogy of the take-off. Especially true for those of us on the adoption journey.

Would you be willing to let us feature this post (the part about the take-off) on "We Are Grafted In"? ( It is a Christian adoption website that seeks to encourage adoptive parents and those considering adoption as well as those with a passion for orphan care and foster care.

If you are willing, I'd just need a brief bio and a picture to use when it is featured so we can direct our readers back to your blog.
Just let me know!

co-administrator of WAGI
smurphy28 @ juno . com