In the clouds

By Natalia Hatton | Blog

Oct 18

A perk from my years as a missionary kid was the flying, changes and adventures.  I loved flying from New Zealand to Australia, then onto Indonesia and back again over the years.  Once all the sitting around the airport and goodbyes were done you got to get on a plane.  That is where the fun began with being given an activity pack and then the wait to see if you were the kid chosen to pass around the lollies to the entire plane and head up to see the pilot.  There were many times that I got to do it because others declined out of shyness.  There was no fear in me that it was insanity a big steel object was filled with people and in the sky, even with some bad turbulence and hairy moments from out of control fellow passengers.

This all changed when I was sixteen and flying from Rotorua to Wellington.  I’d spent time with my Granny in Te Puke during the school holidays and was headed back down to my parents and where ‘home’ was in Featherstone.  I happily waved as I headed onto the tarmac and climbed the steps to the very small plane.  Sitting in single rows, it was that small.  A businessman with his briefcase open on his knees as he shuffled through tasks at hand, over to the right across the aisle.  Some others scattered through out the few seats minding their own business.  An air hostess keeping busy as she went about her jobs.  All rather uneventful until we were nearing Wellington and we took a massive drop.  Suddenly the businessman was gripping his seat and fear filled his eyes.  The air hostess clicked into her safety seat and uttered ‘I didn’t think I’d die like this’.  Her words are what made me realise I needed to take this seriously and the fears of those around me became mine.  I’d never been so grateful to see my parents once we’d finally circled a few times and managed to land after many jostles and drops.  But that day I vowed never to fly again and it significantly altered my thoughts on travel and adventure.

For some reason I’d concluded that it was because my parents weren’t with me that I had my worst flying experience.  You see I was nothing, but God needed them.  Years on when I was a youth intern at church we had to fly down to Christchurch and then Wellington for block courses.  Fear gripped me and I tried to convince myself that with the youth pastor and associate either side of me God wouldn’t allow the plane to go down cos they were too important.  When it came to our honeymoon and we headed off the fear was more substantial as I wasn’t sure we mattered enough on God’s radar.  The dream of heading to the States with my man saw me do what I thought was never possible.  I didn’t allow fear to hold me back from adventures and travel but the shine of being in a plane was not at all the same and it was a very exhausting time in the clouds.  My wonderful babe knew not to talk to me for the first moments on the plane as I went through my checklist of prayers and pleads for no turbulence and safety.  Then any little jostles and his arm would come to steady me as I locked eyes with him, the fear seeping and so very clear to any and all about.

Well I can’t say that I’m a fan of flying, but nor does it fill me with consuming anxiety as it once did in the lead up to a trip.  I wouldn’t feel the need to rattle off an extensive and detailed list, to plead my worth and desires.  To leave on as good a term as possible with any and all, incase. God had taken away the lies of my worth being nothing, of the rank on His love and fingerprints in a life.  I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that little ordinary me was of worth, of importance and concern to Him.  I knew I didn’t need to hope for some influential person to be on the plane as a security blanket for us.  I knew that in the turbulence, the jostles, in the unwanted and in fact opposed happenings it didn’t alter His character, His heart for me or any such thing.

BUT I am still human and so little dislikes can quickly build to clawing at my mans hand for comfort, of singing worship songs and reciting fav verses in my head to mellow the moment.  This very weekend we flew to Dunedin and I was excited for experiencing a place never traveled.  I was so over the moon at getting to spend time with my man and have an adventure together.  I’d not given the logistics a second thought.  Till the turbulence went on a few seconds longer than I find acceptable and the level of jostle increased to what I just find down right intolerable.  My man had his eyes closed and so I didn’t want to disturb for my needed calming. So I turned my head to look out the other sides window (not something I’d usually do as I don’t like to be reminded of the insanity that is).

How glad I am that I looked out to the clouds.  They were fluffy and full.  They were glowing as the sun streamed through them from behind.  And how my heart leapt for joy, my eyes glistened with happy tears and I just loved the ways of my God.  Ever faithful, loving and tenderly purposeful in the way He interacts with me, tailor made to the way I am.  You see ever since I was little I would look up to the skies and see these full, fluffy clouds and think they just looked so happy and inviting.  I’d been told heaven was where God was.  I’d been told heaven was up there.  And so my naturally small focused mind thought that God was sitting in the clouds with His legs dangling down looking over to Jesus and the Holy Spirit to let them know I was coming to hang.  I’d imagine myself jumping from cloud to cloud with the three of them, all of us laughing and hearts exploding with happiness and contentment and love.  Tearing around as we played and enjoyed.  Cheeks rosy and breath puffy from the hilarity.

Then I heard in Sunday school that heaven had streets of gold, was filled with jewels and mansions and many people.  The picture of heaven didn’t seem so fun to me anymore.  In fact it sounded very grown up and boring.  A place that had rank based on performance, expectations and activities that couldn’t be chosen but were merely done.  Remembering of course that was my muddled take on what teaching came from the front, the mumbles from those around and knocks I experienced in life, all giving a very different picture of God, life and eternity.  In the here and now, as well as ahead the fun was sucked out.  And if I’m honest it didn’t have the same ring as my child like simplicity.

Don’t get my wrong.  Never did it stop me from loving God.  Nor did it stop me from doing life with Him at the core for there was this internal tug that kept me close to Him.  It wasn’t till I hit  my hardest part in the road at 2010, sitting at the recurrent miscarriage clinics mandatory counselling session, that I realised how much doubt and struggle and gunk there was to wade through.  I needed to discover the true character of God, to know His heart for me, unpacking what doing life with Him really meant and felt like.  So began the greatest adventure of all times, and how grateful I am for that.  Because now when I fly in a plane and those not so nice moments unfold I can look out to the clouds and be reminded of so much.  It’s as if the fingers of bright, warm light coming from beyond the fluffy, fun, full clouds are God saying “Hey Tal, I’m right here.  I’ve got you!”

As I sat for the remainder of the short flight from Auckland to Dunedin I couldn’t help but get a grin across my face over and over again.  My heart all happy and full.  The jostles not fazing me as much as they could have.  Because I was reminded that in this grown up world God, the one who created and knows me by name, who instilled my love for child like ways over boring adult ones, who perfectly placed me with my man, who allows me to live out an adventure each day in the highs and lows of life, who sees me skipping and hopping through life with my fuller, bigger more correct picture of Him is just crazy for me.  He loves me for me.  He delights over me and tenderly cares for the things that make my heart sing and soar, and works in what makes my heart sad and heavy.

Oh the reminder that we wouldn’t let …

Fears see us shrink,

Bad knock out the expectation and innocence,

Lies suffocate the wonderful truths,

Mundane over rule the adventure.

Instead that we would grab hold of …

Sweet reminders around us that God is for us,

Truth that display’s who God IS,

How to experience His love to it’s fullest,

Life as God always intended it to be, with Him!

About the Author

Natalia has bravely written two books that show a road not often talked about … infertility. She is real and vulnerable in it. Yet you see how God can turn broken pieces of her life into something beautiful, where deep faith and rich growth are seen.

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(2) comments

Lanita Adams October 31, 2017

Love your writing Tal…. and so glad you and Brett love us enough to fly to New York and Australia to see us…

    Natalia Hatton October 31, 2017

    Thanks Aunty Lan on the writing front, and of course we love you enough to come hang wherever you may be. You have always been, and always will be so very special to us! We are so looking forward to the stints with you ahead. oxo

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