Flying Lessons

My dad is a pilot and flight instructor.  

He’s flown everything from a single engine private plane to a fighter jet in all kinds of weather-good and bad.

When I was a little girl, he’d take me with him sometimes while he gave a flight lesson.  If he was teaching instrument flying, the student would wear a hood that restricted his vision to just the plane’s instrument panel.

No external visual cues allowed.

student pilot instrument hood

The test came when the student’s senses told him something different than the instruments were telling him-would he give in to what he thought was true but couldn’t validate OR would he rely on the trusty instruments that had proven faithful?

Some students just could not let go of their feelings and never did gain their instrument flight rating.


Some learned (even when it went against everything they were feeling) to lean on the absolutely reliable instruments to guide them safely to their destination.

These years since Dominic ran ahead to heaven feel like instrument flying.


I’m in the clouds.

The landmarks I’ve used for navigation all my life are obscured and sometimes I can’t even tell if I’m upside down or right side up. I don’t know if I’m going fast enough to stay in the air or if I’m about to stall.  I’m tempted to use my feelings to determine true north and to decide on a course of action.

But I know if I do, I’m likely to crash.

If I ignore the trustworthy and unchangeable truth of God’s Word, I will find myself headed exactly opposite of where I want to go.

If I refuse to listen to good counsel-people I can depend on and who are in a position to see my blind spots-then I cannot correct my path.

When a student decided not to pay attention to the instruments, my dad was right there to take over and get them safely back on the ground.  

But for this flight I’m on my own.  If I decide to trust my untrustworthy feelings, there’s no one to rescue me.  

I have to make a choice.  

I have to learn to acknowledge but not trust the feelings that would send me spiraling downward and reach for the truth that can help me steady my flight.

I have got to plot my course based on absolute, reliable Truth.  

The pilots that learn to fly in heavy clouds often still feel frightened.  They sometimes still feel confused and disoriented.

But they have learned that it’s possible to feel those things and not act on them. 

I am learning that too. 


Author: Melanie

I am a shepherd, wife and mother of four amazing children, three that walk the earth with me and one who lives with Jesus. This is a record of my grief journey and a look into the life I didn't choose. If you are interested in joining a community of bereaved parents leaning on the promises of God in Christ, please like the public Facebook page, "Heartache and Hope: Life After Losing a Child" and join the conversation.

5 thoughts on “Flying Lessons”

  1. my son who was killed in a car accident was a pilot also and i remember when he went through this part of his instruction that he loved it…he said he could just feel what was right and when to act. He loved to fly and achieved his dream when he became a United pilot flying the 757s and 767s. Your posts sustain me….thanks so much

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so very sorry for your pain and your loss. That is an amazing accomplishment to become a commercial pilot! Many want to, but few make it. You are rightly very proud of your son.

      I’m thankful the posts help your heart. That is always, always my prayer-that in sharing someone else knows that they are seen, they are loved and they are not crazy.

      May the Lord overwhelm your heart with His love, grace and mercy. ❤


  2. A wonderful picture of trust. I just read the story of Gideon over taking the Midians with torches, pitchers and then blew trumpets in my devotional. Hardly seem like weapons of war. By they trusted in the Lord and had victory. We to can have that trust. That’s our hope. Hugs.


  3. ah…selah…
    Once again, whenever it is that I see your post, the words straight from your heart pierce mine… and minister a gentle grace – a whisper of love and hope… thank you, Melanie. I am going to re-adjust my ‘instrument hood’ and take another breath… looking for our Lord’s return in those clouds ❤

    Liked by 2 people

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