But God.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Source


Over the last three years, I've struggled with the fear of flying. Really struggled. But before I get to that, I thought I'd recount a little of my flying history... the major events, at least:

The 1986 version of Whitney flew to Germany as a 6-month-old baby. She felt no fear. (Ok, ok... that doesn't count.)

2002 Whitney flew in a 5-seater Cessna through a thunderstorm from southern Texas into rural Mexico. This flight was epic. We thought it would last an hour or so, but it was double that time because of the horrible weather. I sat in the co-pilot seat, and my mom, sister, and a friend were crammed with our luggage in the back. It was a total relief once we landed, but more because we were nauseous from being thrown about in the skies than anything else.

2007 Whitney flew non-stop from Chicago to Tokyo, a very long 13 hours where we even passed over the Bering Strait. No problems on this flight at all, and it felt like quite the adventure.

2009 Whitney flew a very routine flight from Nashville to Chicago - one she had flown many times - that was very turbulent and brought about her first full-blown panic attack. You can read about that here. The pilot said we were experiencing "challenging skies," which did me in. From then on, my eyes were opened to the fear of flying. I'd never fear it before, even a little bit. I didn't even fear flying when I probably should've been afraid, like the Cessna trip into Mexico.

From April 2009 on, every flight was dreaded. Every flight was an event. On every flight, you could find me in a window seat near the front of the plane, wide eyes glued to the window at every tiny bump, tightening my seatbelt and gripping my armrests with clammy palms. It sounds pathetic, but it was reality. I usually kept my Bible open on my lap and prayed through a psalm when my heart began to race. And by the time we landed and I could finally breathe, I felt utterly drained.

I tried so many things to get over this fear.
I tried researching what turbulence really is.
I tried envisioning God carrying the plane along with his own strong hands.
I tried praying.
I still felt like a mess.

Until this week.

On Tuesday evening, I flew by myself to Chicago - and just flew back this morning. On our way to the airport, my Mom asked me to pray aloud about the flight. I prayed, just like I had for the past 3 years. But for whatever reason, God chose to make this time different. This time, I calmly boarded the plane, opened a book, and only glanced out the window a couple times.

On today's flight, the last 30 minutes were very bumpy, and you would have normally found me in a cold sweat as all I could see was the pure white cloud cover as we traversed through it. But today, those same bumps lulled me to sleep. TO SLEEP! I can't emphasize the contrast enough. To those of you who have never feared flying, this all may seem a little dramatic. But to those who have feared flying or have feared anything so deeply, you understand this experience for what it really is: a miracle.

Have you ever noticed how often in Scripture the phrase, "but God" exists? It's all over the place.

"The wicked go down to the realm of the dead... but God will never forget the needy." (Psalm 9:17-18)
"Day after day Saul searched for him, but God did not give David into his hands." (1 Samuel 23:14)
"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." (Psalm 73:26)
"But, because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions." (Ephesians 2:4-5)

This God of mine is a God of contrast, of redemption. He is so "other," characterized by these verses that tell us that the situation was going poorly - Saul searching to kill David, our failing flesh, being dead in our own sin - and he comes along and radically changes the whole story.

But God.

How thankful I am to have entered a new season of travel, one that I'm not sure I ever believed would come. But God surely did. Oh, how He did.

21 comments:

  1. I cannot believe you FELL ASLEEP. I am truly amazed at God's goodness! And encouraged that my fear will hopefully leave soon too. He's a big God. So so happy. I miss you already! And we're so lame- I have not one photo of us! :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YES. That is my prayer for you. It really is a miracle (we both know how crazy scared we've both been). And yes... lame. I just realized that too. The only people pictures I have at all are of me with Livie & Charlotte... which is good, but still. Next time!!!

      Delete
  2. I know that same fear, and I know that same prayer. And, I know that same God and I know that same result. Amazing when He decides to do something special.

    Love you,

    Dad

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dad, I love how He answered that prayer for you, too. He is so good. I love you!!

      Delete
  3. Oh my goodness, this sounds to a 'T' like me!! Except I haven't yet been "delivered" from my fear. Seriously, all of those things you listed of trying to get over your fear? Exactly what I have done/still do. And I didn't used to be afraid either! I grew up in Hawaii and flew ALL the time and then suddenly when I was 20 or so, I got so, so freaked out every time! I keep praying that God will take away my fear, because I know he can, so your post is very encouraging. :)

    P.S. I stumbled across your blog and suddenly realized I recognized you/your family. I lived on the same floor as Kelsey at Wheaton. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He can take the fear away for you! I will add you to my list of those to pray for about this... seriously.

      And what a small world! :)

      Delete
  4. SO, so true. So glad that God is bigger than any obstacle I may face.
    Love, Leigh

    ReplyDelete
  5. I know the fear of flying, just like you and it came on very sudden like and seemingly for no reason. How I have prayed and struggled with this! I consider every day I get to stay on the ground a good day (and trust me, I do not fly often). My entire flight (after boarding in tears) consists of "What was that?" and checking around to see if others look scared too (or marvel how they can be so calm). One flight there was a pilot hitching a ride across the isle and I watched him every second trying to convince myself everything was okay ("See? He's sleeping. He's not worried"). Even some serious talks with a pilot haven't helped but I WILL NOT give up and accept this fear. Thank you so much for the encouragement and I am so happy that you have been set free.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my goodness... I've so been there. I've watched the flight attendants' faces as we hit bumps and try to read any sign of fear or anxiety (there's never any, which always confounded me). I will be praying for you, too, for freedom!

      Delete
  6. Isn't it amazing how powerful God is, and how He can help us through our struggles and fears? I was never afraid of flying as a child {I actually really enjoyed it!} When we flew to China to adopt my precious little sister, my family endured SEVEN flights in a mere two weeks. It went well until our last flight, from L.A. to Orlando. The plane was shaking a little bit on the runway, and once we got up into the sky, the plane suddenly dropped. Talk about scary! The pilot said it was "turbulence" although I had a bit of a rough time believing him. When I stepped out of that plane, I was praising God and thanking Him for getting my family home safely. I have not been on a plane since then, and I have to say that I am a little nervous to do it again. God is good though, and I know I can trust Him through everything! I am so, so thankful!! :)
    I am so happy that God has helped you, Whitney!

    Many Blessings,
    Jenna

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, Jenna. So scary! Thankful you're ok and for your faith!!

      Delete
  7. Oh love this post and how the words "But God" can complete change everything! How we have nothing without Him but with Him we have all we need. With Him, we become overcomers! So glad you got to relax enough to sleep on your flight :)

    Bennett Love

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have only just developed a fear of flying (since the earthquakes in Christchurch, NZ) I think the bumps remind me of the quakes and that I am not on solid ground. I have only flown once since and was in tears the whole time! It is so great to know that God has delivered you from that fear and I will remember that next time I fly :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Whitney, this post is so great! I was hit by a car a few years ago (not seriously injured, just shaken) and have had a similar experience of struggling with fear and working through it. This post is so encouraging to me and I'm so glad to hear how God worked on your last flight. Exciting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jenny, I was also in a pretty bad car accident when I was 16, and for YEARS afterwards I was the worst backseat driver and would always jump a little when a car would come from the left side, just like it did in the accident. Thankfully, time has healed a lot of that... and I will pray that God just takes that fear from you too!

      Delete
  10. It always comforts me to know that others have faced this fear and overcame it....I have prayed my heart out to be delivered from this fear, to no avail and I have to fly a lot. But I continue to fly, medicated, of course because otherwise I'd be on every "no fly" list. It's so embarrassing and I'm hopeful that one day I'll get on the plane with absolute certainty that I'll be ok! Thank you for sharing your story.

    ReplyDelete
  11. He is preparing you for that plane ride you will one day take to pick up your baby! :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks so much for sharing your story! I felt as if I was reading my own story. I was always a little nervous when flying but never completely terrified until one flight home from a bad job interview and I had a panic attack on luckily a very short flight. There were several contributing factors such as high stress and low blood sugar but now every flight is absolute torture. I have tried everything from therapy to relaxation tapes but I still have not found a cure. I believe the only way I can overcome this is with God's help. I think I am partially afraid of flying and partially afraid of the panic attack and that out of control feeling. I will pray for all of you and I hope you will keep me in your prayers as well!

    ReplyDelete

I just love reading every one of your comments...
If you leave a question for me, look for a response in the comments section!

Proudly designed by Mlekoshi playground