Last year I passed up on a trip to London because a Goliath-sized airplane stood in my way. My husband ended up taking his mom and my daughter while I stayed home and wallowed in self disgust…until a dear friend reminded me that God is my Maker. He created me and knows every single thing about me. He knows what a panic-inducing eight hour flight would have done to me, and he provided a way for my daughter to enjoy the trip without me (thank you, MIL!)
Tomorrow I will face a two hour Goliath plane ride to sunny Florida. What is exciting to many people is grip the seats, grab the pounding heart, frantically fan the face scary to me. While on an airplane, I do not move around. I sit in my seat with my seatbelt securely buckled. I keep my nose in a book in an attempt to distract my mind so it won’t go into over-the-top panic mode. I find it difficult if not impossible to eat any food on the day of a flight. I am quiet and withdrawn and pray wordless prayers as I feel the fingers of anxiety worm their way in control of my body.
Panic attacks are difficult to describe to those who have not experienced them. The chest pain they induce send many people to the hospital thinking they are having a heart attack — and the symptoms are identical. Crushing chest pain (imagine an elephant sitting on your chest!), excessive sweating, dizziness, nausea, uncontrollable trembling, and shortness of breath, all at the same time. Sometimes in the midst of one of the attacks I can feel my heart “skipping” a beat, which in turn leads my imagination down paths best left alone.
So where is faith in the middle of all this anxiety?
It comforts me to no end to know that God is faithful even when I am faithless. It’s not that I disbelieve his promises. I read my Bible and recite comforting verses and visualize him holding the plane in his mighty, capable hands. I visualize how much more powerful he is than the jet engines. Somehow, someway, He has gotten me through at least twenty flights over the past 18 years…but in every one of them, my stomach was tied up in knots to the point of intense pain. In every one of them, I had a difficult time swallowing due to the anxiety. In every one of them, my hands trembled so much it was difficult to read the book I was holding. In no sense of the word could any of those flights be described as enjoyable.
And I so want this one to be!
One of my favorite songs is Voice of Truth by Casting Crowns. I took a moment and found an excellent video on YouTube:
But the stone was just the right size
to put the giant on the ground
and the waves they don’t seem so high
from on top of them looking down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
when I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
singing over me
Suddenly I’m not as afraid. God has always spoken to me through music. When I listened to the song again just now, I felt chills run up and down my arms. God has been faithful. He has seen me through at least twenty successful flights — in none of them did I lose control and have to be put in a straight jacket! He will see me through tomorrow’s flight and then back again, and, like David, he’s given me (at least) five smooth stones of just the right size:
- Dramamine to knock out motion sickness
- Bach’s homeopathic Rescue Remedy to help me relax (I haven’t tried this yet, but it comes highly recommended)
- The Voice of Truth and other inspiring songs on my husband’s ipod
- His Word in my Bible and on my heart
- The prayers of my bloggy friends and family
Will you help me knock Goliath out of the sky by praying specifically for me to experience zero anxiety (I’m aiming high here!)? Will you pray specifically for me around 4:30 tomorrow afternoon? Take-off has traditionally been the time that the panic has me in its grip…there’s just something about the extreme power of lift off…and the very uncomfortable “elevator” feeling I get in my stomach as we lift up in the air.
If I could change the person I am, I would transform into someone who actually enjoys the experience. I would have the courage to look out the window and marvel at the beauty of the clouds and the scenery. I would even be relaxed enough to enjoy a carefree nap and would wake refreshed and energized. I would not be hungry on the plane because I would have been able to eat throughout the day. I would be able to get up to use the bathroom instead of sitting with legs crossed unable to stand.
Thank you all for your prayers! We are flying to Florida in an attempt to view Friday’s space shuttle launch and to spend a week with family. As much as I wish I didn’t have to fly to get there, I know I will enjoy walking the beach again. I can just feel the sand between my toes and hear the waves crash against the shore.
It just struck me how much of an auditory person I am. I react to sounds. After a busy day at co-op with 300 kids trying to talk over each other, I savor the quiet so much that I don’t even turn on the radio on the way home. The sound of ocean waves soothes my soul like aloe on a burn. I could spend hours alone on the beach, just listening to the sounds the Lord made. The sea gulls’ cry…the slap of the waves…the wind whistling through my hair.
I’ve never been to a shuttle launch, but I’ve heard there will be a great deal of BOOMING going on, so my ears will probably need a little time on the beach to recover. But what an amazing experience…I will take pictures and post about them when I return…
Until then, bloggy friends…thank you for praying!
The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness
all who keep his covenant and obey his demands.
I entrust my spirit into your hand.
Rescue me, Lord, for you are a faithful God.
Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your justice like the ocean depths.
You care for people and animals alike, O Lord.
How precious is your unfailing love, O God!
All humanity finds shelter
in the shadow of your wings.