On the day we were supposed to fly home from Rome, the airline had an unexpected emergency. This delayed our flight for over two hours, causing many people to miss connections.
We were stuck.
As soon as the airline announced the change, our leader began making phone calls to figure out how to get the nine of us home.
I’ll be honest, my first response was fear. “What if . . .” niggled in my mind, stirring up uncertainty, and churning in my spirit.
I thought about the changes to our schedule, how to walk through the unexpected delay with Edmund and the other students. I watched Ed, who doesn’t deal well with changes to “The Plan.”
There are certain expectations when one travels in a group. The adults watch over the students. They’re a covering, making sure all the details are taken care of.
Students have the opportunity to grapple with the changes without the stress of determining the next steps. The adults in our group worked out the details.
When a trip is extended unexpectedly, our perspectives must shift. Whether or not we like it, when reality shifts, we can either flex with it or fight against it.
Except when airlines are involved. Then we either get mad or flow with the changes. Or both.
Our group flowed.
But I was ready to be home.
Have I mentioned that I don’t like uncertainty? Not knowing the way forward?
In the midst of those hours of waiting to learn the next steps of our journey, God gave me verses that kept my thoughts, my spirit, grounded.
It was in the stress of the uncertainty where my spirit feared. Waiting for answers . . .
. . . waiting for the new flights to be determined,
. . . being out of control of every circumstance forced me to live what I say I believe.
I knew we wouldn’t be stuck in Munich forever, but stuck we were for a little while.
We waited for luggage that never dropped onto the carousel. I watched over the teens while two other adults in our group talked with airline representatives to figure out how nine tired people would cross the ocean toward home.
This new plan included a one night stay in Munich.
God used these verses to settle my spirit. The Lord reminded me that I believed in Him, and that our group would see His goodness. We would not be stranded forever in Munich. He strengthened my heart and kept me from becoming fearful of the unknowns in our situation.
And, let’s face it. Being stuck in a foreign city is rarely a permanent state of being. When the unexpected happens, things eventually get back on track.
It was probably the longing to be home that had me anxious to get out of the stuck place.
When we’re stuck in unexpected circumstances, sometimes, God has blessings for us. Other times, He has learning for us. And sometimes, we just need to trust in the not knowing.
We always, always have choices in stuck times . . . choices in how we respond to the situation. When my plans go awry, fear tries to set in. In these times I need to turn to God instead of giving into the unsettled feelings uncertainty brings.
When I choose to trust the Lord, He offers peace. And, in these circumstances, He gave me a calm spirit that enabled me to keep our students from becoming anxious.
When we face circumstances beyond our control, God offers a beautiful opportunity to grow in trusting Him. He always holds His kids in the palm of His hands. He never drops us or forgets about us. Everything He allows into our lives is intended to draw us closer to Him.
What about you? How have you handled “stuck” seasons? How do you stay steady when life feels stuck?
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I’m glad you finally got home, Jeanne. At least you got a wonderful blog post out of the night in Munich. 🙂 I can relate to so much of what you wrote … uncertainty is not my favorite, not by a long shot. I love how you point out that we have a choice in how we respond. Banging my head against the wall in frustration might be my first inclination, but praying for God’s will is what actually helps steady me during these times. Hugs, friend.
Thank you, Lois! I’m thankful that God is always with us, and we always have the opportunity to look to Him when life goes out of control. And yes, praying for God’s will and His perspective is beyond helpful when things go wonky. I continue to pray for you, my friend. Thanks so much for your visit!
I’m like you and I don’t initially do well in situations like you described especially when traveling. How wonderful that God gave you exactly what you needed. I did travel to Europe a long time ago and my luggage was lost. It was before 9/11 so I was able to pack my overnight with all the essentials. I really wasn’t worried but at that time it was because of the calm of the people I was traveling with. Thank you for pointing us to God and the choice we can make to flex with it or fight against it.
Oh, Mary. We had a parent on the trip whose luggage was never tagged. And when our flights ended up changing, she and her daughter had nothing. Thankfully, they eventually found it. It is a marvelous thing to travel with people who stay calm in stressful situations, isn’t it? I’m so thankful we have a Father who loves us and always sees us, even when we feel stressed and invisible. Thanks for your visit, my friend!
It is good to remember that situations are most likely not always permanent. I like what you said about that, “When the unexpected happens, things eventually get back on track.” Sometimes we can enjoy the upset if we choose to look for God’s blessing instead of focusing on the challenge. Good post!
Marcie, I love your perspective shift! Focusing on looking for God’s presence, His blessings in the situation, rather than focusing on the challenge. Wise words! Thanks for visiting!
yep, fear is often our default mode, isn’t it. but along the way we realize that it’s not working for us and begin to turn to God quicker and quicker.
He speaks peace. and our fears fade, sometimes slowly.
He knows we’re human. and He loves us anyway.
welcome home, friend …
So true, Linda! Fear has been my default mode for far too long. I’m working to develop a better pattern of turning to Him quickly. I love what you said about how He speaks peace and that causes fear to fade. I love your wisdom, my friend!
This post has so many good reminders for seasons of change and uncertainty. Thank your for reminding us how to keep seeking God’s presence through the midst of these times.
Isn’t it interesting how “stuck” can look different based on the season we’re in? I’m so thankful that, no matter the situation God is with us, and He’s always there for us when we seek Him. Thank you for stopping by!
. “. . being out of control of every circumstance forced me to live what I say I believe.” Hmmm, sounds like a good place to be. I remember a 17 year old girl teaching me, “Whenever God changes your plans, it is always better!” Oh, to remember this perspective!
That place of being out of control of every circumstance is a stretching place to be, don’t you think, Beth? But good, when it causes us to turn to the Lord. That lesson the 17 year old girl taught you is a great life lesson! Such a beautiful perspective.
Dear Jeanna, this is very stressful! It’s one thing to have a change of plans when by yourself, but when leading a group of students, that is a completely different creature! But like you, using scriptures to anchor my mind and heart to the God of all, gives me strength and peace I cannot “conjure up” by any strength of my own. Great message!
Melissa, thankfully, there were three adults, but still . . . I’m not a big fan of screens, but on that day, the kids’ phones kept them kind of occupied and not thinking about the bigger scope of the situation. 🙂 I’m so thankful for the Lord and His word and how He knows just what we need when we need it. Thanks for stopping by!
I definitely relate to that fear and the out-of-control feeling when plans change. I remember being on a trip when I was about 16 and learning that we wouldn’t be able to get home until the next day and I just burst into tears right there in the airport! Hopefully I’ve learned to deal with it a little better now! I’m glad you all managed to cope and that you made it home in the end, and I love the lessons you draw out about trusting God in the uncertainty.
Lesley, I can imagine that, at 16, that kind of delay must have been overwhelming! There are so many emotions that come when this kind of out-of-control delay happens at the end of a trip. God gives us the lessons we need in the proper season, doesn’t He? Hugs, friend!
Welcome home, Jeanne. I, too, enjoyed your FB photos.
I think I wrote today’s post on my blog especially for you: “When God moves you outside your comfort zone, he’s stretching your spiritual muscles. It’s physical therapy for your soul.” You are stronger, my friend, for your European physical therapy!
Shirlee, I’ll have to stop by your place! yes, God’s been speaking to me about fear and trust. He brings lessons along for me to learn from. 🙂 I love the picture of physical therapy for the soul!
I love these pictures, dear Jeanne. Your reminder to flex instead of fight is perfect. I am living in an unexpected place that showers me with blessings when I flex rather than fight.
Blessings ~ Wendy Mac
Thank you, sweet Wendy. Yes, flexing instead of fighting always ends up being the best choice. May God help you keep your eyes fixed on Him in your own season of unexpected. Hugs, friend.
I loved reading about your response to unexpected changes in plans. You eventually got to the place you needed to be. That’s what most of us do! Your story reminded me of the times I used to take students on field trips when I was a teacher. We never went overseas, though. Being responsible for other people’s children requires bravery, patience, and good-humor. As you found out, being able to go with the flow doesn’t hurt either!
Thanks for your encouragement, Laurie! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who doesn’t tend to immediately go to that “mature place” of instantly trusting God. I’m working on that, but . . . I’m not there yet. When I taught, I was always thankful to have extra parents along on field trips. Their eyes and willingness to be involved was a huge blessing! After this trip, I’m not sure the teacher will be eager to embark on another adventure for awhile. 🙂
I loved this!! This is wonderful thoughts of how we turn our hearts and minds to Jesus when the unexpected moments come!! We are also in a foreign land waiting for our permanent home and while we are here we must learn to wait, learn to go with the flow as we strive to keep following the best guide in our travels!! #teaandwordlinkup
April, your perspective is spot on. We are in a foreign land here on earth. We can long for our permanent home and can you even imagine how glorious it will be to know we’re finally HOME? I’m grateful for God’s patience as we learn and grow here on earth, and as we learn to let go of what we know so that we can one day know completely as we dwell with God face-to-face.
Thank you so much for visiting!
Jeanne, thank you for this. I’m a really structured person and I also have an anxiety condition that kicks in in situations such as your airport one. Basically, I just shut down. I need to learn to trust Him in those situations.
Kathy, I like structure too. When structure falls apart or shifts, I have to choose not to fear, as I mentioned. Anxiety can be debilitating, and it seems like, for me, I’m having to learn to turn to the Lord more quickly than I have in the past. I’m praying for you today, friend.
Jeanne, I have so enjoyed seeing your photos on FB! They are beautiful! How often we forget that the journey which brings us so much beauty to enjoy can often hold a bump in the road or a detour. Thank you for the reminder to trust Him and allow all things to draw me closer to Him.
Thanks for your kind words, Joanne. I’ve enjoyed sharing my photos. I had tons more, but I tried to find some of the highlights so as not to overwhelm everyone. 😉 And you’re so right about those bumps in the road. Because, other than the flight delay, we really had a smooth trip. I should learn to anticipate those bumps and not be taken by surprise so easily. 🙂 I’m going to join you in remembering to trust the Lord and choose to be drawn closer to Him in all things.
Loving these lessons from the road, Jeanne.
And I’m still a work in progress when it comes to plans going awry and getting stuck where I don’t choose to be, so thank you for this moment of quiet to resolve and trust for grace to do better.
Thanks, Michele, for your encouraging words! I’ll just confess it . . .I’m a lot like my son. I LIKE plans to go the way I expect them to. So, when they go awry, it forces me to choose whether or not I’ll trust God. I’ll join you in desiring to choose trust and grace to do better when plans go differently than I wanted. Hugs, friend.
In a season of waiting; love this perspective and the verses. Thanks!
Thank you, Candice. Waiting seasons are challenging sometimes, aren’t they? I so appreciate you stopping by!
Glad your home, Jeanne. Beautiful pictures. Lovely post!
Thank you, Gail. 🙂 I’m glad to be home too, but I did love all that God allowed us to see while in Europe. 🙂
I’ve seen your photos on FB Jeanne, and they are lovely! Looks like it was a wonderful trip. Deepening my trust in Him is the learning I take away in uncertainty. I’m learning how important it is to take care of my mental health during this time too, so don’t fall into despair. So to steady myself, it’s to take that nature walk, journal, and always stay in God’s word and connected with others including letting people in on what’s going on.
Lynn, you’re so right. We do need to care for our mental health during stuck seasons. Otherwise, we become stuck in multiple aspects of who we are, and that’s never good. I always love your photos shared on your blog and online. There is something about taking a nature walk that enables me to breathe deeper. And journaling has been one of my go-to’s for years. I love all your suggestions, my friend. Thank you for sharing!
When life’s something from a horror film
with day far worse than night
and your chances are zip-to-slim,
well, that pic’s none too bright.
It’s easy to get stuck in this,
to wallow in despair,
to think the world will someday miss
my soft and bouncy hair!
And thus the traction in the mud
comes from making fun;
laugh enough, and then the crud
will surely come undone.
Yeah, fersure, everybody dies,
but when you laugh in his face, the devil cries.
Andrew, I always appreciate your words, and your fun twists in your poems. And soft and bouncy hair? Most of the women here are jealous. 😉 And thank you for the reminder that God has imbued laughter with power, and when that power strengthens us to live well in the midst of pain and hard circumstances, we bring Him glory. Thanks for your perspective, friend. You continue to be in my prayers daily.