Coffee For Your Heart: On Death Grips and Inspiration

We’re sixteen days out.

Sixteen sleeps, as I tell my girl.

It’s crazy…craaaaazy…that in just two and a half weeks, our family of three will be boarding a plane bound for Indonesia. (Only for a two week visit…just in case you thought we were moving back. Nope.) :)

To be honest, I don’t think I’ve fully processed all that will actually go into an opposite-side-of-the-world trip with a toddler. I know there will be extra packing and more organization than normal needed…gone are the days when we can toss things into suitcases the night before and call it good. Now I actually have to plan what she will need, not only while we’re there…but while we’re on the plane. While we’re in the airports. While she’s up at two a.m. and running circles in someone else’s house, thanks to the inevitable, sleep-stealing, jet-lag.

I have gone over and over potential details of this trip in my head…meaning I’m pretty sure I’m missing a lot. (I need to just Make. A. List.) 😉

But I’ve planned surprise activities and gifts for Mae. (A huge thank you to the dollar section at Target.)

Lots of snacks. (Hello, endless fruit snacks and goldfish. Hypothetically, of course. Of. Course.) 😉

New headphones so she can watch movies and play games. (The first flight is 14 hours. The second, nine. Plus a stellar eight hours in the Doha airport. Yeah….)

My goal is to do everything in my power to keep her busy, entertained, and blissfully unaware of what happens when the plane lands.

Because here comes the confession. 😉

I’m not a great flier. I do fine once we’re in the air, but the takeoffs send my heart rate up, and the landings? Well, they send it through the roof.

It’s pretty safe to say I hate landings, which is so weird and ironic, because those landings mean we’ve finally arrived, and the fun can begin.

But I still loathe them…and freak out far more than a person should.

Though the takeoffs make me nervous, I totally plan on grabbing Mae’s hand, comforting her if she’s scared, being close and letting her know that her mommy is there as the plane soars into the sky.

She thinks we’re taking the plane to heaven…goodness, I hope not. 😉

But the landings…well, that’s where I might get selfish and hand it ALL over to my hubby. I’ll be too busy trying to calm my own heart, attempting to keep my pulse inside of my body, hoping I don’t break my fingers as I death-grip the armrest.

And that will be hard for me…I know it. I will struggle as my three year-old sees fear in her mama, up close and right in front of her.

It’s not something I’m proud of…but I also know something. I’ve been on a gazillion flights…I think, last time I counted, we are hovering near the 200 mark.

And I know…I KNOW…it’s not going to be different.

I’m not going to magically have a calm heart and be all chill when the plane hits the runway and, most likely, does a hopefully-only-little bounce. I can pray, and I know He will give me the strength to get through it.

My Father knows how good my prayer life is when a plane is about to land…but He also knows that’s how I face fear.

I’ve been thinking about fear and how I so often view it as a weakness.

But it’s not. Really, it’s just an opportunity to lean on Him and not let that fear overtake me.

And that’s what I’m hoping my daughter sees in me when we have the first of six landings. And the second, the third, the fourth…

When I think about people who inspire me (though I’M not necessarily inspired by ME) I think of those who stare down fear and rise above it.

And that doesn’t always mean the death grip is released and the heart rate returns to it’s usual, whatever number.

It simply means there’s a trust that God is bigger than all of it. Because He is.

I think of a sweet friend and mama who is raising her six precious kiddos alone. She’s so brave as she lives a life that looks different from what she planned, and I’m sure there are times when she is afraid and times when her kids might even see that fear. But she faces it, she trusts in Him as she walks in Grace, and she inspires a lot of people.

I think of a friend who is facing unknown right now…scary unknown. And he chooses joy and trust in the midst of it, knowing that God’s plan is always the right one. That? It’s inspiring.

I think of a dreaming sister who fights for her family and for what’s right, even if it comes at a cost. The days can be hard and the future blurry, but she walks on in faith. And she inspires me.

And I’m hoping that maybe…maybe…one day down the road, my sweet Mae will see the death grip and the shaky, sweaty hands of her mama as inspiring.

Someday. 😉

In the meantime, I’m gonna fight that fear…because He didn’t give me a spirit of fear.

He gave me a reason to lean on Him.

Our Indonesian adventure with a toddler is just 16 days away…bring it on!

This time, as a family of three…and I. Can’t. Wait.


I love my sweet friend, Holley‘s, new link-up! Her Coffee For Your Heart: 2014 Encouragement Challenge is just what it sounds like. Think of Wednesdays as that day where I just share some encouragement…and you can pretend that we’re sitting at a table over coffee, just sharing life. Sounds like a great way to spend Wednesdays in this space. :) I hope you’ll hop over and join us!




  1. Sounds like an exciting adventure. Good for you for facing your fear—you’ll have lots of practice. How we need to lean into Him when we taste fear and ask Him to give us faith to overcome.
    Enjoy your trip!

  2. Mel, love, love, love your open, honest, transparency…helps your readers feel more willing to be transparent, too :) I think our children (and grandchildren) gain much from being with us as we “push through” difficult things… “if Mom can push through this, so can I”…it is even true with life experiences like breastfeeding…because I breastfed my children, when my daughter was breastfeeding our grandson and came to difficult times, it helped her to have me share with her how I had “pushed through” even though it was difficult…now she’s helping other breastfeeding moms through La Leche League :)

    • That’s so great…thank you for sharing! I think for me it’s a mama-pride thing…and I know I just need to face it…she’s definitely seen far worse moments from me than an airplane landing. 😉 Thank you for your encouragement…have a great day!

  3. I took my kids to Rwanda and all my fears were quickly put to rest. Like you, I planned for all the contingencies and you know what, they did great. Never complained, slept great on the plane, ate well and they have fond memories that are markers in their lives. They now are huge fans of long road trips, they love being nestled in the back seat with music, books and music. Maybe being introverts helps with travelling?

    • It’s so good to hear that other mamas have survived the ’round-the-world travel thing with toddlers. I forget that she is resilient and will just jump right in. :) Have a great day, friend…blessings! :)

  4. Sounds fun! I’ll pray for a super smooth take off and landing:) I’m looking forward to hearing about your trip. I think it’s fine for our kids to see fear…makes us more real to them:)

    • Thanks, Tonya. :) We’re excited to go back…I’m sure there will be lots of stories to tell! (The adventures just always seems to find me…) 😉 Happy Wednesday!

  5. Yay!!! You got this :) and what an adventure for your girl :) I will be interested to see just how God helps you handle take offs and landings with your baby girl in tow. I have a feeling it’s going to be amazing!! Love you and so excited to hear about your adventure!

  6. I love this! And i admire your admission of fear..i have a fear…rats..i absolutely hate rats! and i saw one recently outside my front door eating off of a bird feeder…i’m getting better at not running and screaming…what a silly childhood gross out fear!…i’m cool with planes but you put a rodent in or near my house and i’ve been known to put some stilettos on in case the loose mouse ran over my feet!…so ridiculous. I’m excited for your adventure with Mae. What a marvelous experience! what a feast! I see my kids learn when they see my weaknesses and my admission of them. love to you

    • Remind me to have you skip the chapter in my book about rats. 😉 (Seriously.) Can I tell you that it’s not an irrational fear? Not at all…I hate them, too. They just gave me too much good material, and so I had to write about them! Love you, friend…thanks for being here. You are a blessing!

  7. So. Stinkin’. Excited. for you! All three of you! What a priveledge to travel as a family and to show her the world, starting at such a young age! Praying for blessings throughout the travel… safe flights – (all three parts… the take off, the in flight, and the landings too!) Can not wait to hear all about it!

    • Oh, girl, you are so sweet! Thank you! :) I will definitely try to blog and post as many pics as I can while we’re there…so looking forward to giving my beautiful community a taste of my Indo home. :) Love and hugs, friend! So thankful for you. :)

  8. At least you don’t let your fear stop you from obtaining your dreams! I know your adventurous spirit will get you through any snafus or trying times, and the fun will prevail! And you can always ask to borrow M’s video/earphones for the landings. Knowing M she’ll want to ride out on the wings during those times anyway! 😉

    • That was a funny visual…I’m sure at some point, she’ll ask to walk out onto the wings. 😉 It’ll be fun…and good idea to borrow her headphones, too!

  9. What a wonderful trip and time you are all going to have! Making some memories, girl! I’m totally with you though…the take-offs and landings are my least favorite parts of flying. I’ll be praying for you to be calm and tuned into what your daughter needs! You got this!

  10. Really beautiful Mel. I just love this post. It really is true…fear can make us rely on God all the more. Oh I pray your trip is amazing. And I’m believing that God can calm your little heart. He did mine! Have a wonderful adventure. Blessings friend.

  11. When you said you were ‘escaping to the tropics’ in your tweet last night I just assumed you meant the Carribean or somewhere south. You mean the big time tropics! :) have a wonderful trip & I’ll look forward to reading all about it along with a little bit of jealousy of the warmth;) safe travels & smooth landings!

    • Thank you, friend! And I had to smile when I saw that you commented today…you were sitting right behind me on the plane to Allume! (Did you notice how tightly I gripped those armrests during the landing?) 😉 Blessings and hugs.

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