You know the hustle and bustle of getting on an airplane for a trip. Whether you are going on vacation, a business trip, or coming back home, you hop on a plane, plug in those ear-buds and hope the flight is smooth and speedy. There is, however, that annoying time during take off and landing when you can’t have those pesky electronic devices on. The last few plane rides I’ve taken I’ve always noticed that when the plane descends and we have to shut our devices off, people actually begin to talk to one another.
Normally I’m one of those people who dreads those devices-must-be-off times. Perhaps it is my inner introvert, but I don’t usually like chatting it up with some random stranger next to me on a plane. I want to listen to my music, I want to read my book, tune out the world, enjoy the view from the sky, and dream about my vacation or my return to my own bed. Then again, maybe I’m just selfish and I don’t want people bugging me on my flight. However, after one glorious flight last summer, my thoughts on those devices-free times have changed…
I was flying home from North Carolina after a wonderful week-long vacation. I was blessed to witness one of my best friend’s wedding on our college campus. The day was beautiful and the reception was fun and filled with times of reminiscing and wondering how we got to be where we are today. In a way, the vacation was also healing. I boarded my plane in Denver, bound for North Carolina, reeling from a break up and desperately needed some time away and fresh perspective. The wedding was a welcome relief, and when I caught the bouquet, I had to laugh. As I got on my plane to return home to Colorado I relished the opportunity to turn on some good tunes and keep reading the first draft of my book, editing it all the while. Clearly, as is quite usual in my life, God had other plans.
Sitting next to me was a sweet Southern gal with a charming and inviting smile. I couldn’t tell you how now, but we struck up a conversation. We began talking about our lives – we’d both been to weddings and caught the bouquet. We even laughed at catching the bouquet because we had both gone through painful break-ups. Before we knew it a bond was formed and we kept talking. On my lap I had pulled out a giant binder filled with the first ever printed draft of my book. This sweet girl sitting next to me asked me about it and I happily told her of my project, my desire for writing the book in the first place, and my dreams of publication. How that three-hour flight passed so quickly, I’ll never know, but the plane began to descend just as quickly as I felt we’d risen. Upon landing the gal next to me and I both turned on our phones and started following each other on Twitter and became Facebook friends. Then we went our separate ways, her to Alaska, and I caught my connecting flight home.
A few weeks after that flight I announced on the blog (which she began following) that I’d written a book, and was looking for people to read chapters and give me feedback. Imagine my surprise and my joy when she reached out to say that she’d love to read the chapters for me! I sent her the first few chapters, along with some questions for her to answer about the book. When I got her feedback, her words, beautiful and honest, brought me to tears. You see, I had no idea what God was starting on that flight, and I had no idea the beauty that would come out of that forced time of having our devices off. Her words touched me so deeply that I kept them and re-read them while I was editing the book, struggling with whether or not I should even keep going with the book. She wrote,
“I fully believe that God has a plan for my life and His hand is in everything I do. My talking to you on the airplane this past June was nothing short of a “God thing.” I know this began as me doing a favor for you with providing an opinion about your book, however your writing of God’s words has touched my heart and impacted my life in a way that was completely unexpected. Thank you for sharing God’s love and His vision with me and others…As I read the chapters, I felt as though God was holding me in His arms comforting me…I forgot what a wonderful job God did during creation and focused on Satan’s voice whispering how out of control I am of everything…I had tears streaming down my face as I was realizing how Satan won me over by getting to my heart. I felt like I nearly had it all and just wanted more…This book will be flying off shelves. We have built a world where women are expected to be “perfect” and it is tearing down our gender. Women today will be able to relate and find comfort in this book.”
Sound familiar? Perhaps because her words are on the back cover of the book. Those moments on that plane ride were more powerful than either one of us realized, and I am so grateful that God pushed through the noise in our lives, the stubbornness in my own heart as I boarded the plane, and my introverted tendencies to reach into our lives and let His glory shine. Proof positive that you never know what God is up to, you just have to sit back, let Him do His thing, and revel in His glorious plan.