I wish I could tell you that when you try to do great things with the right heart for the right God, things go exactly according to plan and it is very easy to do. If I’m going to be honest, that sounds like good logic. Good things should happen when you try to do good things. But they don’t. And I can’t tell you it’s easy, and here’s why:
I almost didn’t get on the plane today.
I almost didn’t get on the plane today several times over the last couple of weeks.
In the chaos that seems to be my life, my passport disappeared off the face of the earth a few weeks ago. It is nowhere to be found, and so Hunter and I made a trip to the passport agency in Chicago tow weeks ago. I had to argue with the processing agent because we showed up 4 days before my appointment time because, if we had waited, I would not have gotten my passport in time. I found myself standing on the outside nearly in tears, defending my calling and explaining to this woman that NOT being on this plane today was simply NOT an option. There is a team of twelve people expecting me to be on that plan. There are three little girls out in the bush of a country that no one has heard of that are counting on me to be on that plane. There are dozens of people who have mailed in money to finance this trip that are eager to know that their support helped spread the Gospel a little bit further than it was before. I have spent the last 52 weeks counting down from 365 for this flight and not being on it is not an option. I am standing here in front of you with tears in my eyes. There is no one else in line. I have waited patiently and prayerfully. Please do this thing for me.
In the end, the processing agent did process my passport and it did arrive in my mailbox in plenty of time, but there are so many more things that almost stopped us from getting on the plane:
Funding: we got on the plane today with a $1200 balance for our trip.
Wellness: Hunter and I both came down with something this week—a cough, sinuses, sore throats—something that we could easily pass to a kid who doesn’t have access to proper medical care or nutrition.
Finally, and most frighteningly, I spent more than thirty minutes with a flustered ticket agent trying to get my name straightened out. I hadn’t planned on changing my name legally until after we returned from Swaziland FOR THIS VERY REASON, but with needing a new passport, I had no choice…however, my ticket had been purchased under my maiden name, and our travel agent wouldn’t change it. I stood before this ticket agent, who was trying her hardest to get me checked in, completely paralyzed in fear because I was so close and yet so far away. It took several phone calls and rounds of being on hold, but Kym was finally able to change my name on the ticket to match my passport and other travel documents. We flew through security, only to hear my name being called to the gate agent because there was an issue with my passport. Ellie, that poor gate agent, accidentally deleted my reservation while trying to fix the passport issue. It took another phone call or two to get things straightened out, and I was one of the last people to board the flight to Atlanta. I was sick for the whole flight, I think from drinking too much coffee on an empty stomach, and my ears wouldn’t pop. Everything sounded as though I was underwater through the layover, until we’d been on the plane to Johannesburg for about an hour.
In my last post, I talked about the attacks of the enemy on our team in the weeks leading up to our departure. Sometimes, the enemy attacks in really big ways, and sometimes, he attacks in the littlest details that make the biggest difference. Sometimes, the Father allows things that feel like attacks to happen, but it’s all part of the plan. When bad things happen, like everything today, I try very hard to remember that last part, and look for Jesus in every detail—where he is, where I can see him, where I can praise him, where I can represent him—and it’s extremely difficult. Just about the time I was ready to let defeat overcome with the ticket agent, I was thinking to myself, if I don’t get on that plane, my God is still good. Within minutes, I was walking away, guitar in one hand and boarding pass in the other. Everything is a teachable moment around here, and a lot of times, the only lesson is that I am not in charge. That was the case today, but there was another lesson too. It’s something we all know, but tend to forget when things are hard. I almost missed it, until I heard it on a commercial for our airline as I settled in to watch a movie:
There is no stop in us—only go.
I almost didn’t get on the plane today, but I did. We did, because there is no stopping us, and God is still good, even when things are not.