I made a deal with Jesus a long time ago. I told Him that the next time I flew it would be in the rapture. He didn't tell me any different so I figured we were good with this.
So the man and I were preparing to take a trip to Florida for the Assemblies of God General Council. I asked if we could take a train. The retro-chick in me is just dying to ride in a sleeper car. Because somewhere in my mind I know it'll be black and white just like in a 1940s movie. So romantic.
It's set. A train it is.
Until he starts checking out the prices of flights and realizes that he can save money.
And thus begins my demise.
Okay, maybe that's a little melodramatic.
I can do this. I mean, I'm a forty-six year old woman. People do this every day. I have a cousin who is a flight attendant, she's still alive. Certainly I can do the Philly to Orlando and Orlando to Philly thing. Right?
Well problem #1 started when we boarded. Southwest doesn't assign seats. Stupid idea.
I wasn't able to sit with my people.
Problem #2 - I had to sit with strangers. I'm an introvert. Just getting on a full plane is more than enough for my little introverted self.
Problem #3 - I cried on the plane on the way to Orlando. My eyes leaked. I was terrified. We were sitting right over the wheels, that freaked me out. Thankfully the man I was sitting next to explained that to me. He really was a gem. An older man, traveling with his granddaughter. They'd just flown over from England and he was on his way home to New Orleans. I'm so glad he was nice. If I'd had to sit by a mean stranger....ugh.
Okay, throughout this whole time I was listening to Jesus music on my phone and I was praying. And begging God to help me. I tried everything I knew. By the time the flight was over I was worn out both mentally and physically. The fear won. I felt so defeated.
None of this went well for my body. My legs were shaking when we got off and I spent the rest of our trip begging the man to just drive us home in the rental car that we had.
At about mid-trip I realized that this was not going to happen and that I was going to have to get back on that
During his message one little line hit me hard. It was something about humbling yourself and confessing your needs to others and having them pray for you. That when you humble yourself and confess to others and ask them for prayer, that is then when God will step in and do His thing.
Meanwhile, a friend was messaging me and telling me that she takes Xanax when she flies and then she explained to me that it takes that feeling of fear away. Like she's up there and calm. She knows she should be afraid but she isn't.
So I sent out a message to my close friends, some pastors wives, and a few other people. Told them of my fear and asked for prayer.
I was sobbing at midnight the night before the flight home.
My husband prayed with me. He even pinky-promised me that after this I would never have to do this again. My friend prayed with me via text messages.
The friend we were staying with prayed with me in the morning before we left. Husband prayed as we boarded the plane. Several close friends prayed with me via text and email. Several more on Facebook. One even said she would fast and pray for me.
I got on the plane and was greeted by the most adorable flight attendant. She saw my apprehension, asked me a question and I told her I didn't like to fly. She hugged me. Hugged me! And told me it was going to be okay.
I sat down, between my people, and had the most unbelievable peace. I felt like what my friend described when she takes the Xanax. I still didn't like being on the plane, but the fear was gone.
There was no fear at all.
It was the prayers of my friends that got the answers I needed. My prayer alone didn't cut it. I needed to admit my struggle and ask for help.
God answered. Big.
I am forever thankful.
I seriously thought, "This isn't bad. I could do this again."
Just don't tell my husband that.