Lost Luggage and Lessons Learned

Aren’t we women creative?  We know how to plan and fix things.  If there’s a problem, we can come up with a detailed list of 1,2,3’s that will end all difficulty!  That is until the Lord steps in and reminds us that He is in control and we are not.

As I packed for my recent trip to Nova Scotia, I didn’t want to pay $25 to check a bag and also run the risk of losing my luggage and getting to the retreat unprepared.  So, I packed my allowed two carry-on bags with the essentials, happy to know I had everything I needed for the weekend on my person!  That is until I arrived at the gate of the first plane I was catching.  The attendant looked and Kellie and me and said, “Step aside, please. I’m calling the stewardess in the plane to see if there’s room for your carry-on bag.”

Kellie and I looked at each other, with a look that could have meant we were headed for the guillotine!  How could we let go of our bags?  They had everything we needed – not just clothes, but the session outlines for the retreat, hygiene products, make up, curling iron…  We waited.  Then the call came – No more room on the plane for bags.

The attendant urged us to take out things that were urgent – medication, phone chargers, etc.  We thought everything was urgent, but we didn’t have room for it in our backpacks that would be going with us, so we took out a few things, and then with an ominous air, our bags were snatched away with these words –

“Your bags will be shipped to your final destination.”

“They’ll be in Halifax when we get there?” we asked.  We were assured that this was correct.  We boarded the plane feeling a little relieved; not having to pay the normal $25 for checking a bag, and the delight of not having to drag that luggage through Atlanta and Toronto.  It was a great day!

Later in the evening when we arrived in Toronto, we went through customs, passed through the baggage area, then on to security.  I jokingly said to Kellie when we passed the baggage claim area, “I sure hope our bags aren’t over there waiting for us!”  We laughed innocently and headed to the security line.  We were approached by a woman who said, “Did you check bags?”  We explained to her that our bags were going on to Halifax.  “Sorry, but your bags won’t be in Halifax.  They HAVE to go through customs at the first spot of entry into Canada.  You should have gotten your bags here.  Now there’s not time for you to go back or you’ll miss your plane.”

Our hearts sank.  We had been given incorrect information, but there was nothing we could do about it.  We boarded the plane to Halifax, prayer in our hearts to our God who knew exactly what we needed.

Sure to her word, our bags were not on the conveyor belt in Halifax.  After talking to the very kind man at the customer service department, we were told our luggage would be flown in by dinner tomorrow.  

It was well after midnight now and not much was open – aside from a truck stop that was as prepared with emergency products as a beach bum would be prepared for a blizzard.  We did each get  a toothbrush, and Kellie had toothpaste in her backpack; at least our teeth would be clean!

The next morning, I realized that I could be speaking to these ninety ladies in my traveling clothes that had also served as my pajamas. Speaking in white jeans would be a first! I had no fresh makeup, my hair wouldn’t be “fixed,” and the outfit I had carefully planned out would not be worn. The theme for the retreat was “The Woman in the Mirror.”  I was going to be a living illustration of someone who was stripped of all outside appearances! But you know what?  The Lord gave me a perfect peace.  We had many laughs over the whole situation.  With whom was there to be angry?  After spending time with the Lord in prayer Saturday morning, I wrote these thoughts the Lord brought to my heart:

  1. I am more desperate without God than I am without my luggage! – If the Lord didn’t go with me and speak through me, I would have stayed in my cabin, but I had His promise that He would strengthen and equip me for this task!
  2. If God needs to strip away the veneer of my outside so that He might be glorified, then it’s best.
  3. I can lose things, but I’m eternally secure in Christ.
  4. The only control I have is over my own choices.  God is sovereign! My response to this situation was critical.
  5. Things don’t matter.  God, His Word and souls are eternal and are the important issues to dwell on.

I plunged on through the day desiring to make the most of this unplanned situation.  I had to do a little preaching to myself from time to time.  It’s no surprise that one of my sessions was on the sovereignty of God!  He was giving me a first-hand lesson!

That afternoon a few hours before the retreat started, we were driven to town where we were able to purchase things with $100 each, (provided by the airline) that would get us through until the luggage arrived.What a blessing!  I did wear my top and sweater that I’d had on for 36 hours, but I found a petite skirt to wear with it!  Kellie knocked it out of the park with a cute skirt outfit she found.  We got to clean up and look a little less like Tennessee hillbillies and more like women who were prepared for a retreat!  We were so thankful!

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A happy reunion with my luggage!

Then wonder of wonders, as soon as the first service was over, our luggage was delivered to our door!  I did get a little happy at the sight of my suitcase, but it was paired with the joy of the things the Lord had taught me in its absence!  Who needs luggage when you have a sovereign God in control of everything that touches your life?!  He has a plan that far outreaches my plans or the airline and I can trust Him!  Losing my luggage wasn’t such a bad thing after all!

When have you had to trust the sovereign hand of God?  Maybe even today something is out of your control, but God has not forgotten you.  Trust His plan and rest in His care.  He’ll do something marvelous!

With love,

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7 thoughts on “Lost Luggage and Lessons Learned”

  1. What a blessing, Denise! I so enjoyed reading this. A great illustration of how we do what we can — you had prepared so prudently for your trip, being so careful to see that you would have all that you needed with you — but then the outcome is in God’s hands. It was such a blessing reading how you handled this! And almost funny how perfectly your situation fit the “woman in the mirror” theme of the retreat! I imagine that your words will stick with the ladies even longer than they might have, because you were indeed a living, breathing illustration — an object lesson — of the scriptural truths you were teaching.

    I’ve been in many situations — hard, hard situations — and I have learned that even when things look out of God’s control, they are not and never have been. He has reminded me over and over that He is indeed in control, He has a plan, and His plan is for my eventual good and for His glory.

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    1. I did have to keep preaching truth to myself, but it really did end up being funny! I’m just thankful I didn’t have to speak with no make up – that could’ve been frightening for those attending! Thanks for smiling with me!

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  2. This post goes along with the post about a week ago when your husband hurt his hand, and your day wasn’t quite what you had planned. There are some words you wrote in that post that have stuck with me all week: ” . . . my plans are often changed by the Lord, who knows exactly what I need in order to trust Him, do His sovereign will, and grow in Christlikeness.” Understanding those three things–that God is teaching us to trust Him and to do His will and to grow to be more like Him helps us to get through life’s circumstances (big or small) that do not make sense at the time. Thank you for this post. I appreciate you so much!

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  3. I had to chuckle at your post this morning…especially your retreat topic! If my flat iron is not available then the woman in the mirror looks vaguely like Bozo the clown with hair sticking out everywhere. One of the blessings of getting older is realizing that we control so little in our lives and God is big enough to handle things!! Speaking of the Walmart skirt, I went back later and got a coral skirt just like the black and white one. They are so comfy and quite a bargain. I have washed them both and they will get me through the summer nicely!!

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