May 8, 2008

Flying Lessons 
Meghan Kleppinger, Editor, Christianity.com

“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”
Jeremiah 29:11, NAS

While traveling to Chattanooga, TN a few years ago, I read the autobiography, Dorie: The Girl Nobody Loved, by Dorie Van Stone. The book retraces the past of a deeply wounded child transformed into a woman with heart on fire for the God who loves her.

As a child, Dorie was rejected and abandoned by her mother, and abused by orphanage workers, foster parents, and relatives. In the midst of a horrendous childhood filled with daily mistreatment, Dorie was introduced to the One who did love her and would never abandon her. Her life is now one that reflects not her past, but her Savior.

As I finished reading the final chapter on the plane, I shared with the Lord that I wanted to meet Dorie, give her a huge hug, and thank her for writing the book. 

During my layover in Atlanta, I saw a woman resembling Dorie in one of the airport stores. I pulled the book out of my bag to compare the woman in the store with the photo on the back cover. I shook off the possibility and thought the same thing you are thinking now, “There is no way!” I proceeded to my gate promising myself if I saw her again I would I ask if she was, in fact, “Dorie.”

I’m not proud to admit that when she appeared at my departure gate, I was a complete wimp and did not approach her. She sat two seats behind me on the plane, and still I said nothing. In Chattanooga’s airport she kept popping up, but I continued to come up with excuses for not asking a simple question. Finally, while waiting for my baggage, I heard someone say, “Mrs. Van Stone.”

I turned to her and finally asked, “Are you Dorie Van Stone?”  She answered “yes” (of course).  “Oh my!” was my intelligent response. I continued with, “I just finished your book on the plane.” 

“What did you think?” She asked, smiling.

“It was wonderful!” I managed to gurgle out. “I promised myself that if I ever met you I would give you a big hug!”

Without hesitation, she dropped her bags and gave me the biggest bear hug imaginable. I thanked her for writing the book and we quickly embraced again before going our separate ways.

I was amazed by the marvelous gift God gave me in meeting Dorie Van Stone. My adrenaline high was cut short with the reality that I could have spent a lot more time talking with her, but was too afraid. God was prompting me, but I ignored Him. Instead of listening, I waited until it was safe to ask. To this day, I regret the lost time I could have spent with Dorie.

I committed to never again allow fear to guide my decisions.

Every day, in little ways, God asks us to step out and trust Him. Sometimes He is asking us to share the gospel or help someone in need … and sometimes He is answering a prayer or simply asking us to receive a gift. Isn’t it easy to make excuses or justify saying “no?” We cheat ourselves when we respond this way. He offers us His goodness, shows us His glory, invites to be part of His work, and all we have to do is sensitive to His prompting and say “yes.”

Intersecting Faith & Life: Remember what I learned that day – When God asks you to do something that is a little challenging or out of your comfort zone, He’s not asking you to blindly jump off a bridge to your death, He’s offering you a chance to fly!  So, prepare for flight, find comfort in the shadow of His wings (Psalms 36:7), and experience His goodness and love.

Further Reading

2 Timothy: 1:7
Your Ordinary Life Can be Extraordinary