Written by: Tabi
Sometimes, when you face obstacles on your journey, it is that you may see the Lord clear the way before you.
March and April have been emotional months for us.
On Wednesday, March 14th, Mike’s father passed away suddenly. It was a big blow to the entire family. He was the kind of man you dream about having in a family. Kind, caring, loyal, patient. A good man, loved by almost everyone who knew him.
We decided to fly up as soon as possible. There was one setback, though– although we had begun the process to get Caleb’s passports (he has dual citizenship), we had not received them yet. We spent all of Thursday explaining our situation to the proper channels and asking for expedited processing. Thankfully, they complied, but couldn’t get us his Chilean passport until after the weekend.
We talked as a family, and decided that it was best for Mike to fly up that evening and spend as much time with his mother as possible. We filed the paperwork necessary for me to travel alone with the kids (Chile has laws preventing parents from travelling alone with their children, to prevent kidnapping). Buying the tickets was going to be a heavy blow to our budget, but it didn’t matter. A close friend of Mike’s sent a message: “Let me and my family buy your tickets.” I have rarely seen Mike so deeply moved, and this one one of those rare moments.
We bought the ticket and he flew out that night. I stayed with the kids, for the weekend. I’ll skip over the anxious days and several frustrating “not ready today” moments, straight to Monday.
I had read that morning that there was a big protest holding up traffic on the highway and delaying travel. I hoped it all cleared up by the time I left that evening. I called to see if the passport was ready. The answer was a resounding NO.
I cried, and prayed, and cried some more. I called to cancel my ticket, because they had assured me it would be ready on Monday. I felt like we were facing obstacle after obstacle, and all I wanted was to have my family together. Please God, just give me this. My own spirit challenged me. What if He says NO? I pondered the question. Reluctantly, I handed over my will. I’m not happy about it, Lord, but I’ll take whatever You decide.
And around 4:00 PM, they called again. “It’s ready.”
Overjoyed, I hurried off to retrieve it, and called to re-book the flight. It was too late. I would have to fly out Tuesday night. No matter. We had the passports, and our family would be together again. I remembered then, about the protest. Good thing you didn’t have to travel today. It would have been very difficult to get there in time.
Tuesday evening, my friend Sara drove us to the airport. She arrived much too early, but we went anyway, thinking a little extra time wouldn’t be such a terrible thing. At the airport, we ran into Jim Hurley (a missionary friend), who was there to drop his parents off for their flight. We commented on the coincidence, took some pictures, and continued on our way.
When Sara headed back home, I went ahead and started to go through security. A little extra time spent inside the airport wouldn’t be too bad. And that’s when I realized . . . I had forgotten the paperwork clearing me to travel alone with kids back at home.
I cried, and prayed, and cried some more. I sent some messages to Mike, and he calmed me down. I ended up calling our neighbor and close friend, Malli, who sent her son to our house to pick up the paperwork. They called an Uber to take him to the airport. Back at the airport, I paced nervously, waiting for news. I berated myself and my forgetful brain, prayed some more, and paced some more. Each minute that ticked by meant that we got closer to missing our flight. Good thing Sara showed up too early.
I called again. The Uber driver had refused to go to the airport, so they had called another one. More minutes ticked by. “He’s on his way” texted Malli. One knot gone from my stomach, but he still had to arrive. I prayed for no traffic, and no delays. I got another message. “The Uber driver refused to go into the airport, so my son is running up from the entrance to get to you.” Mike suggested I see if Jim was still around. I found him still at the airport, just getting ready to leave. I asked if he would watch Lydia while I ran out to meet up with Malli’s son. He did, and I ran to the entrance. Good thing Jim just happened to be there when you needed him to be.
I met up with Malli’s son and got the papers, thanked him profusely, and ran back inside. I picked up Lydia, thanked Jim profusely, and we hurried into security. They took the papers and the rest of the process went smoothly. When we arrived at the gate, the agent waved us in, because it was time to board. We made it in the nick of time.
Once we were situated in our seats, I heaved a deep, deep sigh. Gratitude, relief, and wonder filled me. I realized then that, even if God had, indeed, said NO to this trip, I would have been all right. But I was grateful for His help every step of the way, and for each “coincidence” that got me to this moment.
We arrived in Pittsburgh on Wednesday afternoon. The reunion with Mike was tender, and long-awaited. For Lydia, the joy of rejoining her Papa was added to when she saw the beautiful and fresh SNOW. And though it was probably not a blessing for many, for our little family, it was the promise of God’s pure and gracious provision for His beloved children.