What Happened When God Trumped My Plans

“You need to be OK with not knowing what comes next,” my husband said eye to eye with our oldest son.

Caleb loves a plan. He loves executing a good plan even more.

“And after that, we can do ____, and then come back and go _____”

There’s always ONE more thing to tie a bow to his well packaged plan.

I am no different. It’s funny how the things that bother me most about my children really mirror what bothers me about myself, if I’m honest.

I knew God had planned this trip. But there was one thing I’d requested – no, wouldn’t even go that far – one thing I’d pushed out of my mind as a possibility…a missed flight.

Traveling 30 hours with 3 children sounds insane to me. It’s hard enough on me, how do I be mom as well?


My husband has flown to Africa 5 times now. This makes my 3rd.  It’s always been smooth. Only 1 time has there been a delay in 5 years. Apparently, it was time.

Our plane was one hour late to board from our starting point.

“We’ll make up the time,” I thought. “We’ll still have 1 ½ hours to hop on our next flight.”

Eight hours later, as our plane circled the airport waiting for its turn to land, I was counting the minutes.

“Well, we’ll have 30 minutes till they close the gate.”

The gate to our connecting flight was only 2 gates down, so it was feasible. I drilled the kids that we would have to grab our stuff and RUN.


20 minutes…10 minutes…5 minutes…

The plane landed, we grabbed our stuff, we tell the flight attendants we have a connecting flight to Africa to catch, they tell us the other plane will wait…

We exit the plane, pass the guard, see the connecting flight gate, and watch as the pilot closes the door. Never to be opened again.


“But please ma’am, our plane just landed – we are the first ones off…”

In broken English we make out the words, “Go to gate 29 down there.”

We run there only to be told the same story, but different gate number. After we have followed the same group of people to atleast 20 transfer desks, I finally realize we aren’t arriving in Kenya today. My backpack suddenly feels heavier on my shoulders as my expectations sink like a led bowling ball to the bottom.

“You need to be OK with not knowing what’s next.”

Yes, Lord, it’s just gonna take me a minute.

You know what the difference was from our 1st transfer desk to the last? The last one had a longer line. Then a plane the size of Texas must have just landed, for it looked like someone kicked an ant pile and people ran out….straight to the customs line…which is where we were headed. Except for the fact we had to stop by the visa desk first, which meant all the ant pile of people got to go ahead of us.

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“God why didn’t you hold open the gate? You parted the Red Sea. You could’ve. I believe you could’ve!”

I don’t actually know why. It could’ve had something to do with the lady my husband talked to in the taxi on the exhausting drive to the hotel. She also had a layover, not due to missed flight, but landed in the seat next to him. She believed in Christ. Along with every other god and popular religion out there.

She voiced her very knowledgeable spiel and Adam asked, “Yes, but does all that fill that void in your soul? And when you stand before God after your last breath, why will He let you in His Kingdom?”

She seemed OK with her views and stance on spiritual matters. She basically said assurance of eternal salvation was learning life’s lessons well. She’s done all she could to learn hers, so she was good. God would see she did all she could.

My daughter leaned over and said to me, “Mom, maybe we missed our flight so Daddy could talk to her.”

Yes, I wish I had your faith. Wasn’t there another person he could’ve talked to on the plane in a similar situation? No, that was the one. I pray she listened.


Before we left a friend gave me some money with the instructions to keep this on me and we would need it toward the end of one of our flights. I immediately worried at what might be ahead of us.

Will someone be taken captive and this is the ransom money?

The temporary visas we had to purchase in order to stay the night in Turkey was an unexpected expense. It was then I remembered my friend’s words. I pulled out the money.

“I knew you would be here. I’ve provided for you,” rang the words. Tears spilled down my cheeks at how personable my Savior is, taking care of the little details for me. I wish I could say my attitude improved. Maybe a little. Maybe.

But when you miss the flight, miss home already, are tired and worn out, hungry and not understood, He knows. He sees. He provides. He loves.

My attitude may not have changed instantaneously, but I was grateful, to be the child of the King.


BTW – We did finally make it to Mombasa. It may have been a day later than we planned, but right on time with God’s plan.

3 thoughts on “What Happened When God Trumped My Plans

  1. Steve Rumpf says:

    Well written! Thank you for the honesty.

    I am most encouraged by the faith of your children… You two have done a good job of parenting.

    Blessings, Steve Rumpf, St Peters, Missouri


  2. Jennifer Riley says:

    I love this so much. Our family has experienced the Lord’s provision, but it never ceases to amaze. I LOVE it when He shows up in the small details. 🙂 Love your blog. Thank you for writing this. I needed to be reminded of this today. Love you!


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