My husband John asked me to bring our youngest daughter, Julie, a senior, to the airport to fly back to the University of Arizona. We have three daughters, all of whom have gone to colleges a plane ride away from home. But John is usually the one who takes them to and from the airport. This time, I was the designated parent. Let's just say I don't do airports well! The drive to Newark Airport is confusing and I am a wreck sending my children off . I always feel like I’m sawing off one of my arms when I say goodbye.
This particular day, I woke up with worry and anxiety. I eagerly opened my daily devotional, given to me by a friend - Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace In His Presence by Sarah Young. Sarah writes in the first-person as if Jesus is speaking.
I was stopped dead in my tracks when I read,
"Entrust your loved ones to me; release them into my protective care.”
“When you release loved ones to Me you are free to cling to my hand. My presence will go with them wherever they go, and I will give them rest. This same presence stays with you as you relax and place your trust in me; watch to see what I will do.”
I couldn’t believe what God did in that moment. I responded, “Lord, what a gift that I can release my daughter into your arms and I don't have to worry so much.” I felt pretty good.
Reluctantly, I drove my daughter to the airport. We arrived at the drop-off, but there didn't seem to be any curbside attendants. Julie and I abandoned my car because it was time for her to board the plane. With no help in sight, we dragged all three huge duffel bags toward the check-in counter. We found an airport attendant, who gave us a bunch of luggage tags and paperwork. He told us where to drop her bags. Then I quickly said goodbye to Julie. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see her run for the plane holding all the paperwork and tags. By a miracle of God, my car wasn't ticketed or towed!
I got in the car and drove to our home in the easternmost part of Long Island, Montauk Point. My husband and I were looking forward to spending sometime there alone. I met him at one of our favorite sunset spots. While waiting for our dinner, I said, "Babe, how does the airport know where Julie's luggage should go? What is the critical tag that identifies where it needs to go?" My husband has the ability to go from calm to hysterical in a heartbeat, so he exclaimed, "What do you mean? They give you a long tag for each bag. Didn't you see the tags on the bags?”
Now I am in full anxiety mode. I don't remember seeing the long tag!
Within five minutes we were convinced that all three of Julie's duffel bags were still on the floor, abandoned, in Newark Airport. Julie is in the air…and soon she will be arriving to her new apartment in Arizona with no luggage and it's my fault!
I was so stressed, but I had no choice but to give all of this to God.
Once I did, He gave me peace of mind. My daughter either had her luggage or not and I would just have to wait to find out.
God whispered to me in that moment, “Nancy, she has her luggage.” Right then, of course my husband came into the room and Julie was on the phone saying, "Yes neurotic parents, my luggage made it.”
Needless to say, I felt a great urge to give a major gratitude prayer under the stars. But I was distracted and exhausted from the emotions of the day. I thought, “Tonight I’ll just say a quick prayer in bed.” Just then, my husband called out, "Would you please check that all the lights are off on the deck?”
"No problem!” Our deck is over the roof of our garage, so I headed outside and up the stairs. I was greeted with a drop-dead perfect round bright moon.
Instantly I heard God call to me, “Stay with me.”
“Yes, Lord, of course. Wow, you want me to take time and praise you for what you have done for me with Julie's luggage story.”
“Thank you! Thank you! You are wonderful. Thank you, Lord.”
I proceeded to turn around and attempt to start down the stairs, when I heard God again, “STAY with me.”
“I have Lord.”
“Stay longer. Nancy, sit down.”
As God is my witness, I sat down and looked up at the clouds and let out an audible, “Ahhhhhhhhh!”
In the clouds, lit by this intense moon was the face of Jesus…Classic Jesus face almost like the clouds formed a photo of Him. I was shocked to say the least and immediately said to myself, “No way! I'm forcing this. This is not what I'm seeing. I'm imagining this for a really good God story.”
God immediately said to me, “Way! Yes what you're seeing is really me. I have been with you now and always. When I say trust your child to me I am true to my word. I will take care of her and that includes the luggage.”
This complete understanding and clarity from God was extraordinary.
In that moment, I felt such enormous love. His love and how much He loves all of us. Most importantly, I knew I could trust Jesus in all things. This moment was truly life changing for me.
Now, I don't start my day unless I first have my coffee with Jesus, read my daily devotional, and take some quiet moments to hear Jesus’ whisper of how I can serve Him best for that day. I pray that I stay on this path that I am on, as I have never felt such peace before.
Nancy Gentile has been married to her beloved husband for 30 years. She has three grown daughters and is delighted to be adding a son in love when one of her daughters marries this fall. She loves traveling this journey of faith with her friends and family…and is often amazed and blessed by how God shows up in sometimes subtle and sometimes wildly obvious ways. Nancy was an actress for over 20 years, appearing on Off-Broadway, national TV commercials, industrial films, and numerous national magazines including the covers of Newsweek, Prevention, and Good Housekeeping. She is now a realtor in New Jersey. Her two careers melded together in 2007 when she appeared as a featured realtor/cast member on HGTV’s Bought and Sold. She is also the co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Selling Your Home. Find her at http://www.nancygentile.com/.