I never travel alone. Not on planes.
Except for last week, as I headed to the faith-based conference, “Choose Joy: Surviving Infertility and Adoption”.
Last weekend, as the plane took off towards California, I swore I had vertigo. The clouds below me seemed up, the blue above appeared to be an ocean below. This homebody-Alabama girl was traveling to speak in slick, sleek, Orange County. I think the world had flipped upside-down.
I’d prepared for this conference for nine months. Nine months — just the right amount of time for God to birth something new from me. Part of my labor pains included a literal miscarriage only months before the conference… and God used this to place me back in the shoes of those I’d be speaking to… women hurting and hoping in God as they wish for children through pregnancy or adoption.
Travel does a funny thing to me.
It makes me feel small.
I see new places and realize how big this world is — and how much bigger God must be.
I trust a seventy-ton airplane to hang me through the sky — and I breathe deep, remembering it’s truly God’s hand that holds me.
As the weekend progressed, I felt myself shrinking and shrinking.
Shrinking at the sight of ocean cliffs and emerald mountains.
Shrinking into the down of hotel beds more lavish than I deserve.
Shrinking into the warm laughter of friends loving enough to travel with me.
I was blown away by the women I met and the stories I heard.
One lady: eight years of infertility, followed by two failed adoptions before finally becoming a mother.
And she is still smiling at God’s goodness.
And she wouldn’t take back any of it.
Another lady: similar infertility and adoption stories as the first. Plus, she’s just committed to moving her family”somewhere” (location still unknown to them), to help plant a church.
Each woman seemed to have a story like this.
It went on an on.
I was inspired.
Part of me wanted to hide under the table and say, “Nevermind! I don’t belong here! I’m nothing! My story is nothing!”
But I didn’t do that. Not even for a minute. God kept reminding me to lean into my smallness. Embrace my weakness. Remember that I’m nothing without Him.
Christians can be weak and powerless without an ounce of insecurity. We have a God Who is strong where we’re weak, and Who is effective where we can do nothing. Because Jesus’ priceless blood covers every paltry inch of my insignificant body, I am now a worthy minister of God’s love.
And so, on Saturday, I spoke at two breakout sessions.
Thank God insecurity didn’t keep me from this conference.
every conversation there…
It was blessing, blessing, blessing.
And I still swore I had vertigo.
The world still seemed upside down.
At this conference, everything was a part of God’s upside-down kingdom, where Jesus says BLESSED are those who mourn, who weep, who are poor of spirit. I got to look these beautiful, broken women in the eyes, (from my own broken eyes,) and say “blessed are we who ache.”
I boarded the plane towards home and felt again the nausea of my spirit trying to orient itself.
My soul, trying to resist the lies this world tells us about what is good, what is important, what is a blessing.
Trying to point my compass towards Bethlehem’s star.
Dear God, teach us that our weakness is where we find Your strength.
Give us more of this upside-down world, where we who hurt also administer God’s comfort.
Where pain leads us not to despair, but to the gift of more You.
Where the leaders are the servants, and the first are last.
Thank You God, that in our smallness, we are blessed.
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