“What if I put bubble wrap around them?” I asked.
“Wrap them in clothing?”
“Tried that, too.”
“Surely there’s some way I can get these home?” I insisted.
“The only way they’ll make it intact is if you carry them,” she said.
So that’s what I did.
I wrapped them in bubble wrap, tucked each one between several layers of clothing, and hauled them halfway across the world in my carry on suitcase.
When a TSA agent tried to lift my little suitcase onto the screening belt, I did it myself. When a flight attendant offered to stow it under the plane, I declined. When another volunteered to place it into an overhead bin, I refused. On every plane, I gently tucked my carry on beneath my seat where I knew it would be safe.
I wheeled my suitcase from Jerez to Madrid, from Madrid to Dallas, from Dallas to Charlotte, and from Charlotte to home. Six thousand, six hundred, and eighteen miles.
But Emily was right. My pretty painted plates arrived safely. Now they hang in my kitchen as a beautiful reminder of my trip to Spain.
“Why would you go to all that trouble?” my husband asked when I described what I’d done. “Were they very expensive?”
“Not really,” I told him, “but I like them. They make me happy. They’re valuable to me, and I think they’re beautiful."
My plates remind me of Spain, but the trouble I went through to get them home reminds me of the way God cares for me. Isaiah 40:11 paints a beautiful word picture to describe how God relates to his children:
“He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.”
He carries them in his bosom. Carefully, like objects of great value. Gently, like precious, fragile heirlooms. Lovingly, like a most treasured keepsake.
“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you,” he promises. “I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you” (Isaiah 46:4).
If you’re feeling devalued today, I pray this simple metaphor will help you realize how much God treasures you. May you feel God’s tender arms beneath you, hear the beat of his loving heart, and rest in the comfort and safety of his embrace. You can rest in the confidence that he won’t let you go until you’re safely home.