First Flight

Okay, I confess, this is not about the first flight I ever took. But this is about the first flight I took with my husband and daughter where I not only felt like her Mom, but my mind also wasn’t calculating all the different ways I could take my life while aboard the plane. Prior to this May flight, the last time the three of us flew together was to and from treatment in North Carolina. To say I was anxious about all of this is an understatement.

I wrote this while in air on May 18, 2021 at 9:15 a.m.:

“We are in the air, finally at cruising altitude. Olivia is sleeping peacefully with Gabe, as are most people around us. And I find myself with tears streaming down my face. Not so glamorous when you have a mask on that is soaking in tears and snot; but, I digress.

I am trying to stem the flow of these silent tears. But I realize that I need to honor this moment. I am so filled with gratitude at the work God has done in me (and subsequently with my family). There was a time when I couldn’t fathom even staying alive another hour, let alone actually living life. This tear-filled moment is a victory and confirmation of God’s promises.

Jeremiah 29:11 pops into my head… plans for welfare… a future, and hope…

Sometimes it takes going to that place to truly find yourself in Christ.

Pressure = diamonds

Refined in fire = gold

Murky, filthy darkness = lotus flower

Anything growing forth from the earth = a seed that is typically planted in cold, damp, seemingly inescapable darkness. But, the light. The light is what brings forth new sprouts of life; Christ is referred to as the light and bread of life. It is He, and only He, that can rescue us when we are buried, and turn that grave into a garden. We are forever blessed by His work on the cross that forgave our sins. He rescues us over and over because we are incapable of doing so ourselves. His suffering. His strength. His LOVE!

Okay, back to the airplane. If you have been reading my blog over the past year, you know that the last time I flew out of Spokane was to travel across the country for treatment. You know that on those flights, my mind gave me plenty of ways to take my life aboard the plane. You know that I sobbed the entire way trying to withstand the lure that death provided to relieve my suffering. So the thought of flying out of Spokane was very scary and triggering for me. What if my mind correlated these events and started spiraling with intrusive and/or suicidal thoughts? The anxiety just built and built until the last two nights I couldn’t sleep. Sleep deprivation is a huge issue for me in this recovery; it will send me back in a heartbeat. So that had me very worried this morning as well.

Then there is the mask issue. We haven’t traveled or gone anywhere really that has required continuous mask-wearing. My PTSD and anxiety doesn’t respond well to wearing a mask and I really struggle. I couldn’t even make it 15 minutes with one on without having a significant panic attack last year. So therein lied another big concern of mine.

And then there is Olivia. Last time she flew she was 3 months old. She still slept a lot at that age, so the flights were fairly smooth. However, now she is an 18 month old full on toddler experiencing the age-appropriate tantrums and meltdowns. The screaming has been back full force the past couple weeks. I’ve been praying so hard that she would do well on this flight. Not only do I not want to be “those” people; I also can’t handle her screaming. It is honestly painful to me and can also send me spiraling.

As you can see, there are a lot of triggers in play heading into this trip, thus the ruminating thoughts keeping me awake.

But, God.

I am running on 5ish total hours of sleep for the last two nights.

I have to wear a face mask and have had it on with small breaks for over 3 hours now (at the time of this writing).

Olivia screamed through much of the airport because she is exhausted from being woken up so early.

Olivia also let out some shrieks for about 20 minutes on board.

My mind is racing about the busyness of California; traffic, crowds, etc, and it worries me for my mind.

And yet, God has worked it all out. All of these things have culminated in this beautiful moment of clarity at how far I have come. God laid all this before me so I could see the healing and growth that has taken place within me. And not because of my own strength. Only because of His.

So I am embracing this tear-filled moment. Am I who I used to be? Absolutely not. But that is exactly the part, isn’t it? I am still engaging in therapy and taking medication; maybe that will never change. And that is okay too because I get to engage in my life again. I get to experience the joy of being Olivia’s Mommy and all the love that brings. What a beautiful gift God has bestowed upon me! And I deeply feel that I am called to be a steward of my testimony and sharing my faith. That being said, I know there are “religious” people that believe certain things about why we suffer through illness and affliction. I know they have thoughts on why I, and others like me, have not been supernaturally healed by God. But how do you know that God isn’t providing healing through earthly tools? That He isn’t using this opportunity to minister to myself and others? To those people I say: God is so much bigger than we can comprehend. The plans He has for each of us is so unique, as are the paths we each must take to fulfill His plan. If you truly believe that some health conditions deserve to be treated while others should suffer under the guise of faulty faith, then you are not abiding by God’s word. When I talk with other struggling Christian Mamas, especially those that have received feedback from prior churches regarding mental illness, I remind them that God’s heart is not for us to suffer. God has placed vessels here on earth as an extension of His healing touch… they can be therapists, doctors, pharmacists, etc. I tell Mamas, treatment AND prayer (lots and lots of it)!

We all have to endure different struggles during our time on this earth because we live in a fallen world, which equates to suffering. However, that does not equal condemnation.

Do you want to be the diamond in the rough? Then endure the pressure.

Do you want to be the gold adorned by many? Then endure the refiners fire.

Do you want to blossom into the beautiful lotus flower? Then endure the filth and isolation.

Do you want to grow and bear good fruit (John 15:8)? Then endure the darkness and let Jesus guide you into His glory!

Become rooted in good soil by staying steadfast in His word.

You can ENDURE so much through Christ as he strengthens and upholds each of us.

And as we are now getting ready to land, I will wrap this up!

You are a beacon of God’s light; don’t forget that. Please let me know how I can pray for you, support you, and/or provide resources. I love you all.”