Standby, 4 strangers, and the highways of Texas

My life lately seems to be full of many moments that I can choose to see as awkward or as anointed. I choose the latter.

On Thursday, I arrived to Orlando airport to make my journey to Dallas, Texas. I had just been at the convention center in town to be a part of a large ministry conference for pastors, specifically, it is the General Council of the Assemblies of God. While there, ministers and lay pastors, along with missionaries, get to see what is going on in our fellowship and community both nationally and abroad. It is so inspiring to see some of the amazing things people are doing all over the world. Some of the less fun stuff included sitting in business meetings where we voted on various things that would affect the next steps of our churches and ministries. One of the things I realized during my days in Orlando, and especially on Thursday, is that God has us where we are for a reason.

You see, I have felt somewhat nomadic lately, borderline lost. I haven’t a had a clear picture of what I am doing for a few years now. I have been searching and praying for the next thing God has for me, the thing he has been preparing me for…you know, the thing you were born to do. Applying job after job, receiving rejection after rejection, I have found myself going to General Council with a whole lot of uncertainty, lack of clarity and no direction. Most of the people go to this conference represent their church or ministry, or in missionary’s cases, their mission field. They vote to represent where they work. The whole week is basically surrounded on the premise that we know where we are….except I don’t. I wasn’t voting for my church. I’m not on staff at a church. I’m not a missionary. My job right now has nothing to do with what I want to do; it simply pays my bills (barely).

Then I had a crazy revelation on Thursday after my flight had made it to Houston. I was connecting to get a flight from Houston to Dallas. When I landed, I barely made the time for boarding for my flight. But that wouldn’t have even mattered. You see, part of my nomadic feel of life is that I fly standby. I don’t by tickets; I instead fly standby as a non-revenue passenger because my dad is a retired pilot with the airline. I only get a seat if there is room by unsold seats or no-shows. And on Thursday, there was not a chance that I’d get a seat…all day. I stood there at the gate trying to figure out what to do, knowing flying from Houston to Dallas was not an option anymore. I had to get to Dallas by 9am the next morning. Standing there at the gate among a few dozen other standby passengers (yes dozens!) also in the same boat as me, I silently prayed to myself for God to lead me. In spite of feeling lost in basically every other area of my life, I felt like I couldn’t handle another lost moment of not knowing what to do.

Within a second it seemed that my prayer was answered in the strangest of ways. Two other young women, seemingly around my age, perked up and said “We’re renting a car and driving to Dallas. Want to join us?” Any other people, I probably would have said no to simply for the reason of safety and stupidity. But being that it was two women asking me, I quickly said I’d join them and split the cost. They then asked another woman standing there with us if she’d like to join. What started off as crazy chaos and traveling impossibility turned into a hilarious adventure among four strangers.

We found our way to the rental car desks and decided to play the field for the best price using pilot discounts, AAA, whatever we could do to save money and get a car fast. Within a few minutes we had a rental and were about to be on our way. Before leaving, the rental company decided to upgrade us to a brand new (10 miles on it) black GMC Acadia. Holy comfort! It was such a simple thing, but what a blessing in the midst of insanity. And we were off…four strangers from four very different backgrounds headed to Dallas for four very different reasons. Two of us were pilots’ daughters. Another was a pilot’s wife. The other was an employee’s daughter. I was headed to a porn convention (try that one for an icebreaker!). One girl was going to her Advocare convention. The pilot’s wife was headed to her class reunion. And the other employee’s daughter was going to a job interview. Over the course of our 5ish hours together, we learned each other’s stories. We learned some of the brokenness within our lives. Ultimately what I realized in that car ride is that I was not surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I have always loved hearing people share their story and learning about what got them to where they are now. What was a surprise to me, was that while I felt lost and stuck, God provided a literal way of showing me that he cares for me and has a plan. Sometimes that plan doesn’t look the way we plan. Sometimes that plan comes at a different cost than we were expecting. Sometimes, it involves being around other people, and doing life together, than trying to do it alone. God showed me in such a real way that he has such a deep, deep love for me, along with a love for those three other amazing women I got to know.

You might find yourself in some difficulty, lack of direction, frustration with your life, or an array of other feelings. Believe me, I can sympathize with you. Don’t give up. Try to see God working in the everyday and the normal. See God working in things you would least expect. On the highways of Texas, God showed me he was faithful and still doing something in me.


*Vanessa, Danielle and Lizz…It was amazing getting to know you. I believe it was with purpose that God brought us together. What I do know, is that he loves you all very much.**