Thursday, July 8, 2010

Start to Finish

Coming home was a bit of a nightmare. But it's been a week and a half, so I think I can talk about it now.

The school that Michael and I taught for only allotted us a specific amount of money for our airline tickets home, so we had to find the cheapest flight possible. That happened to be China Eastern Airlines. This was a bit of a risky move considering that we were going to be on that plane for 12 hours, but we didn't have much of a choice, so we tried to be optimistic.

We got to the airport several hours before our flight. After some drama, including going to the wrong terminal (I guess we were wrong to assume that a flight to LA would be in the international terminal), having to change gates 3 times, and waiting in line to board for about an hour, we finally boarded the plane. We got settled in and waited for take-off, and waited, and waited... After another half hour or so sitting on the tarmac, we find out that our flight is being delayed due to "bad weather." We looked out the window - it wasn't even raining; in fact, it wasn't even cloudy. I had already taken my Dramamine, so I fell asleep and completely missed take-off.

The 12-hour flight was as to be expected. After sleeping as long as I could, then reading as long as I could, then watching movies as long as I could, I looked at the clock and we still had 2 hours to go.

We were so excited to be back on US soil. We were completely beside ourselves to see signs that we could actually read, to see other Americans, and even to hear people speaking Spanish. We made it through immigration without a hitch. Then we had to pick up our luggage to go through customs. Again, China Eastern made us wait, and wait, and wait. When we started waiting for the bags, we had 1 hour to make it to our connecting flight (we were supposed to have a 3-hour layover). We got our suitcases, loaded our carts and took off at a run for customs. They let us through quickly and we sprinted out of the international terminal and to the domestic terminal. We found an American Airlines agent to help us - we had 30 minutes before the flight was scheduled to leave. She informed us that we were 15 minutes late. Your suitcases have to be checked 45 minutes before scheduled departure. That's when the crying started.

Missing the flight might not have been so bad - after all, it's LA and they have lots of flights going to Dallas everyday - but another American Airlines flight to Dallas had been canceled. So a full flight of passengers had to be put on standby for the remaining flights to DFW. We waited in a ticketing line for 2 hours to find out that all the flights were overbooked and the best she could do was put us on stand-by. By this time I was crying so hard that the poor airline agent gave us "stand-by priority." But that doesn't mean much when there are 65 people on the stand-by list.

So we went to the gate for the next flight out, sat on the floor and prayed for them to call our names. They didn't. We used a pay phone to call my mom. She said to keep praying, then she made some phone calls and had a whole bunch of other people praying for us as well. We made a trek to the gate for the next flight out. As the line of boarding passengers dwindled to nothing, they started calling names for standby's. We were numbers 3 and 4. Numbers 1 and 2 didn't show up. More tears - this time they were tears of joy.

After all that, we finally made it home. I was so happy, I hardly even noticed that we were 4 hours later than we were supposed to be.

While we were sitting in the airport, praying desperately to get home, I asked Michael why I could ask for something so desperately of my Father and He wouldn't give it to me. Wasn't there a verse about that? 1 John 3:22 says, "and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him." Hadn't we been spending the past year keeping His commandments and doing what pleased Him?

I doubted Him. After all that He had done, after all that He had gotten me through, I doubted Him.

I am so thankful that I have people in my life who keep faith even in difficult times. And looking back, I'm so thankful for those few hours of testing that I received in the Los Angeles airport.

My focus had been lacking over those last few days in China. I was so consumed with going "home," that I had forgotten that my life is God's and that there is no shifting of the wind that He does not have a hand in. I relied on myself to get me "home." I needed a reminder that I NEED Him, even when I'm going home.

He took me to China. He protected, supported, and held me up while we were there, and He brought me safely home. He was there from Start to Finish. And He is still here. And He will always be here.


  1. Thought-provoking post, Kris! It is so easy to lose focus, but Papa knows how to get our attention and remind us of our dependence upon Him. The awesome thing is he does it out of love, not frustration. He wants us accepting and relishing our dependence upon Him because that is where we are most secure, passionate and fruitful!

    Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to seeing you and Michael this weekend. You are doing good work! Keep on keeping on!

  2. Thanks for sharing. This is a lesson we all need to be reminded fully rely on Him.
    Thanks, again, for sharing your heart !
    Love ya,