I called Mom. It’s what I do when things go haywire.
“The shuttle still hasn’t picked him up.”
Zach was stranded at the Ted Stevens International Airport parking lot. I was watching over three suitcases, three car seat bags, and one stroller bag.
And four carry-on bags.
A diaper bag.
Oh, and my three kids.
We looked like gypsy camp in the corner by the automatic doors. We watched people wheel in their luggage and tag their bags at the ticket counter.
“We got here an hour ago,” I told her.
Ironically I’d decided this time to clock how long it really takes to unload, park the car, and then check our bags. Is our system efficient enough? It is when the parking lot shuttle runs its route.
“If he’s not there in ten minutes, start checking your bags. Ask for help. That’s why they’re there.” I hung up and checked my watch.
My wrist dropped to my side and there she was. A friendly face approaching our camp. “I just wanted to offer you encouragement,” she said.
And through the words of a stranger the Holy Spirit was speaking to me. I recognized him immediately.
Call me crazy, but everything about that experience felt supernatural.
“You’re doing a great job. We’ve all been there and no one is staring at you judging you. We’re all saying a little prayer and cheering you on.”
I believed her. I believed Him.
“It’s a God thing you showed up just now,” I told her. Then I explained my haywire situation.
When she offered assistance, I did the wise, brave thing. I accepted help.
“I can’t check in for ten minutes. I’ll watch the kids while you check your bags. My name is Sara, by the way.”
Sara and Abigail struck up a conversation as I dragged all our luggage to the counter.
“Did you check in twice?”
Fumbling my words, I told the agent I didn’t know. (The check-in kiosks were a little confusing.)
“What do you mean you don’t know?”
I was polite while making it clear I didn’t have time for her scolding. I was maxed out emotionally, unable to feel bad she was working a little extra to help me. What could I do now but patiently wait for her to sort to the minor mess and print new tags?
As the Alaska agent was tagging the last of our bags, Sara came to the kiosk to check in. Zach was back.
“It really was a God thing I came to you when I did,” Sara said. “I’ve been stuck here two days because of the ash cloud. I was told I had to wait fifteen more minutes before checking in and that’s when I saw you.”
Her story, my gratitude, and our open conversation about God things must have melted the heart of the Alaska agent because she smiled and decided to help us bring our car seats to the oversized luggage area.
“Ask for help. That’s why they’re there,” I heard Mom say again.
If you tune in even one second you’ll see God moving all around you.
And just like Peter experienced while walking atop the water, it only takes a nano second to lose focus and sink.
Walking to the TSA line I had the thought, “Now to board a plane to Honolulu, a six hour oceanic flight while an ash cloud hovers over the Gulf of Alaska.