Blessed in the Stress

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“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26

Looking back on the trip Shannon and I had to Kansas a couple of weeks ago, it would be easy to call it an emotional disaster; but that isn’t true because God outdid himself in the blessings department. The story actually started the week before we even took the trip and continued until we safely reached our front porch again.  Buckle your seatbelt because this story is an emotional ride!

It all started when my amazing Aunt Mary was nearing the end of her remarkably courageous battle with cancer. It’s a horrible feeling that hangs like a storm cloud: just waiting, wanting to cling to her but knowing you can’t be selfish and deny her the prize of heaven. We knew we would only have a day or two to book flights and be on our way.

I was a little worried about timing because Shannon was a homecoming queen candidate and I wanted her to enjoy that experience although she was ready to pass it all up in case of a conflict, because saying goodbye was more important to her than any sparkly dress or parade.

The first blessing: the timing was perfect; we were headed out on Tuesday and back on Thursday, but we didn’t know what awaited us in Chicago.  Our first flight to Kansas City was cancelled so that put us on standby for the next four flights to Kansas, each of which would be filled before we got a chance to get on.

God blessed us with a sense of peace as the afternoon came and went.  I can’t tell you how much I treasured all that time with my daughter that day.  It was such a blessing because there was no work or schedule to distract us…just us and a neverending list of things to talk about.  That was a mother’s great blessing.

As evening came I realized we weren’t going to make it home in time to get to the wake and we would miss our chance to see her one last time and say goodbye; that was the hardest part of the day! As the hours ticked away we had one last chance to get out of Chicago.  We were able to get seats on the 9 pm flight but as the clock approached 10:30 pm we wondered if we would even leave.  I feared we wouldn’t get home for the funeral the next morning and then all we would have had was a $1,300 trip to O’Hare airport.

Shortly before 10:30, airport personnel began setting up rows and rows of cots for stranded travelers and my heart sunk. Just as I was beginning to feel tears sting my eyes I looked down and saw a penny.  Every time I see a penny I read the words “In God We Trust.”  It was his blessing to me and a loving reminder that he had everything under control.

Within minutes they announced the boarding of that long-awaited flight. We were blessed!  Once we finally got settled in the last row of the plane the flight attendant quietly asked Shannon and I to follow her to the front of the plane where she pointed to two first class seats.  Our motto all day was “If God can part the Red Sea, He can get us to Horton, Kansas,” and as it turned out he not only got us there, but he gave us great seats! Blessed again!

By the time we got to Kansas it was after midnight and I was worried about my friends who were picking us up and what a late school night it had become for them. Blessings rained down again as we realized that all of NE Kansas was still up at midnight watching the KC Royals win their biggest game in two decades!

The next morning on our drive to Horton, I overestimated the drive time and we got into town early enough to stop at the funeral home and say our goodbyes; blessed again.  Shannon and I were able to sing at the funeral and I was able to deliver the eulogy all without falling into my own puddle of tears.  My heart was truly breaking but somehow I managed to keep it together and do what Aunt Mary had asked me to do and that was a gigantic blessing! It was a great blessing to visit with family I hadn’t seen in years and years and of course some time at my dad’s kitchen table was awesome!

Thursday morning we headed to the airport emotionally and physically soggy but excited to get home for all the homecoming excitement ahead. Early afternoon, when we should have been back to the Grand Rapids airport where our car was, we discovered there was no way we were going to get there until Friday afternoon.  The thought of spending the night in that airport inspired me to practically sprint to the nearest ticket desk and beg.

The first two agents I visited couldn’t help us, but all of the sudden I heard a boarding announcement for Kalamazoo.  I raced to that gate and begged, including shameless tears to get the two of us on that plane.  My tears weren’t working so I looked right into that crabby ticket agents eyes and said, “Sir, surely if God could part the Red Sea, you could get us on that flight because we have to get home tonight!”

God is good, and he stirred in this man’s heart who radioed the gate agent to wait for two late boarding passengers.  BLESSED!  Dave had to head to an airport we’d never seen and we had to drive to the other airport an hour away to get our car but we were on our way back to Michigan.  It was dark and stormy as we left Chicago and as I plunked into my seat I started to feel a little overwhelmed by the emotion of the day.

Just as I felt like I was about to melt into a blubbering puddle, the plane soared above those storm clouds and into the most beautiful bright sky sprinkled with white fluffy clouds and God blessed me with a heavy blanket of peace: it was as if I could feel his arms around me saying, “See Sheri, that’s what happens when you trust me!” I realized that I have to trust with my whole heart, even with the situation is stressful and inconvenient, God can do mighty wonders!

A Seed To Plant: Sit for a quiet minute and ponder the most stressful thing going on in your life and invite the God who parted the Red Sea to swoop in and take charge then prepare to be blessed in your stress.

Blessings on your day!

Copyright 2014, Sheri Wohlfert

 

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About Author

Sheri is a Catholic wife, mom, speaker and teacher. She uses her great sense of humor and her deep faith to help others discover the joy of being a child of God. Her roots are in Kansas but her home is in Michigan. The mission of her ministry is to encourage others to take a good look at the simple ways we can all find God doing joyful, blessed, amazing things smack dab in the middle of the laundry, ball games, farm chores and the hundred other things we manage to cram into a day. Sheri also writes at JoyfulWords.org.

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