By, Captain Nancy Adrich

Those of you who know me personally, or who have read my book, “Flying My Dream,” know that I am resolutely and unabashedly Christian. In this article I plan to talk about what I consider to be some of the miracles that helped me along in my career. I believe that the Lord opened doors that I could not, and that He put me in the right place at the right time on many occasions. I thank the Lord for what He has done in my life, and I want to share a part of that with you today.  

I am very thankful that I had strong Christian parents who taught me to trust in God. One of the best things they taught me was to stand out from the crowd. Too many of our young people today are afraid to seem different. Often, we need to stand out and be different in order to be successful. My parents taught me that being different is a good thing, and that lesson has helped me throughout my life. 

When I was a child, I dreamed of flying. Since I knew no one who was a pilot, I have no idea where that dream came from. During World War II, we had an apartment over our garage that was rented out to young men in training at Ellington Air Force Base. I know I loved those guys. They were so exciting to be around, with their uniforms and their wonderful enthusiasm about flying. Perhaps they influenced me, and that brought about my dream, I don’t know. I do know that as far back as I can remember, I wanted to fly.  

As an older child, I would stretch out in the grass and watch the planes as they approached Hobby Airport, in Houston. They would fly right over our house, at about one every 2 minutes. I loved the sound, and tried to imagine what it would be like to be up in the air, looking down at the earth. The idea fascinated me! 

Many years later, at age 37, I was able to take my first flying lesson. When I told people that I wanted to be an airline pilot, they laughed and explained that it was impossible! The airlines only hired young men, with college degrees and thousands of flight hours. I was 37, female, no college degree, and no flight hours. They were probably right, and thought they were doing me a favor in trying to make me face reality. But, I had my dream!  

I worked hard. That is important to note. Dreams do not come true by sitting on the couch wishing, or dreaming. They come true by hard work, and I was willing to do that. I was able to get my Private Pilot’s License with less than 50 hours. I continued working and had my Instrument, Commercial and Instructor Licenses by the time I had 289 hours of flight time. That is not a record by any means, but it is my record, I am happy with it.  

After a few years, it became necessary to find a job to support my flying habit. A student gave me an out of date copy of “Trade A Plane,’ which is an aviation classified ad magazine, to look through, in search of a job. As it turned out, John and Martha King had put an ad for a ground instructor in one issue of ‘Trade A Plane’ and it was that issue that my student handed to me. I  applied for that job. To me, it was nothing short of a miracle that my student picked that particular copy out of his stack to hand to me. After a short interview on the phone, they wanted to meet me, and I was offered ‘The Best Job I Ever Had’ (which is the title of a chapter in my book). Working with John and Martha was a wonderful learning and growing experience.  

Another blessing, or miracle, came after John and Martha had to let me go because of the recession in the early 80s. I had applied for a job at Flight Safety. I was fully qualified for that job, and wanted it badly. I had even prayed that I would get it, but I didn’t. The person who interviewed me said, “no real pilot would ever take instruction from a woman.” That shocked, and surprised me. Actually, I felt sorry for a person who’s self esteem was so fragile he had to put women down. It was several years later that I realized what a great blessing it was, being turned down. If they had hired me, I would have spent my entire career working there, and would have never achieved my dream of flying as captain for a major airline. Some blessings are very well disguised, but are still blessings, and this was one of those.  

While still working for the Kings, a friend went on a trip with me. He worked for United Airlines. He was able to evaluate my skills as a pilot, and my knowledge as an instructor, on that trip. A few months after my being laid off, he called and offered me a job at United, as an instructor. Did I just happen to be in the right place, or did God put me in the right place? I know what I believe. I do not believe in luck, or good fortune. I believe in hard work, and God’s blessings. 

I believe that if you put your trust in the Lord and let Him control your life, He will lead and guide you. I believe that He put that desire to be a pilot in my heart and mind. I believe that if He puts a burning desire in your heart, and you are willing to do the work, you will be successful. God does not fail! But, you have to be willing to follow your heart, and be willing to do the work that will lead to success.  

There are other stories I could tell, but my whole career has been one case after another of God opening doors for me; putting me in the right place; and working miracles for me. I can only offer my thanks to Him for leading me. 

Before retiring, I was able to get ratings on the Boeing 727; 737; 757; 767; and the DC-10. What a wonderful career I have had, because God put a dream in my heart in a little girl’s heart, and as an adult, I was willing to follow His plan for me.

 Led By The Master’s Hand

by Mosie Lister, (1954)

Through the storm, through the night,  I’ll keep holding on;

With His hand holding mine,  Hope is never gone.

When I climb the last mile to heaven’s land,  I’ll be lead by the Master’s hand!

Through the valley of despair thought I may wander,  On the highest mountain top I soon shall stand.

And I’ll never walk alone, for my heart tells me  I’ll be lead by the Master’s hand.

11 Responses to GOD IS MY CAPTAIN

  1. Vicki Willis says:

    How wonderful (Full of Wonder) to know that the Almighty, Most High God knows our longings, dreams that may never be spoken but are fulfilled by His guiding hand. Made possible by the personal experience of His Grace through His Son, Jesus Christ! Amen!! Father, Thank you for hearing my sighs!! I must tell you of one of mine: One Christmas Eve my young daughter asked me what do I want for Christmas! I told her that Christmas was for children and not to worry about me. As I washed my dishes in silence, I thought, What would I want for Christmas? Vanderbilt perfume. Oh no, too expensive! A dozen red roses. No, to expensive again. Turnip Greens! Yes! Just then my husband asked if I wanted anything from the store for they were about to close and he was going out. I asked him for fresh turnip greens! He looked at me curiously because no one else eats them but me. After he left, I thought, Oh no! He won’t know what to get because his people eat the roots and not the tops! Oh well! When he arrived he had a beautiful bundle of turnip greens! How did you find these, I asked. He said the Farmer’s market was closing up and the guy working there asked him what it was that he wanted. When he said turnip greens the worker asked what kind? He said that he didn’t know, they were for his wife. The worker asked him if his wife was a Southerner? And then handed him the bountiful bundle!! I got busy cleaning them and the next thing I knew my husband was handing me a dozen red roses! Yeah!! I quickly got them arranged in a vase. No sooner I finished that, he handed me a small, wrapped package and told me to open it. Vanderbilt perfume! Then I knew in my heart that only God, my father, knew my thoughts regarding these three…how humbled I felt and how near my God is to me!! Praise the Lord!!

  2. Nancy says:

    What a great story. Some people believe in ‘a higher being,’ some believe in ‘intelligent design,’ but, like you, I believe in a personal God who knows me, loves me and helps me every day! What an awesome God we serve! Thanks, Vicki

  3. Kathie Russell Pasadena, Tx. says:

    Roger and I have been traveling and just got home. It was nice to find a new article on your blog. I have heard your testimony personally and I congratulate you for putting it on your blog. People need to hear the wonderful things that our Great God does in the lives of His children. You have truly been blessed to be able to fulfill your dream to fly! God is so good! Seeing what He has done in your life thus far, I look forward to what He still has in store for your future.

    • Nancy says:

      Kathie, hope you had a good trip, and welcome home. With all my travels, the best part was always coming home! Yes, God has certainly blessed me, and continues to do so. Walking with Him and serving Him is what makes life worth living!

  4. Speaking of Blessings, continue to check our front page on a regular basis. Thanks to Captain Nancy and her blessings, God has blessed us all. Thank you Nancy for helping us reach out to 107 countries worldwide! Keep up the great work.
    I just wish every one of our contributing writers were as faithful, consciencious, talented and as consistent as you are. Thank you my friend…
    JR Hafer, Founder, Publisher

    • Nancy says:

      I try!!! That is the best I can do! My next article will be about my domestic layovers. Then I will work on one about my foreign layovers. They are upcoming, so ‘stay tuned’ as they say!!!

  5. Judith Watson says:

    I’ve been reading your articles enthusiaticlally find them quite interesting! Today’s testimony of your faith in the Lord lifts my spirit. People are attracted to Christ when you shine His light on your life. Thank you Nancy and may God continue to bless you.

  6. Nancy says:

    Thanks, Judy. I believe that the reason God blessed me with that career is to give me a testimony and an opening to share what He has done for me. A lot of people believe in a ‘creator, ‘ or a ‘higher being,’ but I believe in a personal savior, Jesus Christ. And, I believe that He is interested in every aspect of our daily lives. It is a joy to serve such a loving Lord!

  7. Doyce Connell says:

    Capt. Nancy, What a Wonderful Testimony that You have. God Truly has opened and closed doors in Your Life. My heart has been Challenged by Your Acheivements. God Called me into
    a Life with World Missions and the Holy Spirit Lead me to meet You because He knew that I
    would be facing many Challenges along the way. You give me Strength and Incouragement.
    Captain Nancy, I was appointed to the State Missions Board this past Friday in the State that
    I reside and I know that I will be coming upon walls that seemingly are impossible but because
    on your book and what you have shared with me, I know to be still and watch the Hand of God
    Move in these circumstances.
    May God Richly Bless You Beyond Measure.

    Doyce Connell

  8. Just thought I’d drop you a line to tell you your jrhaferaviationblog.com really rocks! I have been looking for this sort of information for a long time.. I don’t usually reply to posts but I will in this case. WoW terrific great.

    • Nancy says:

      Thanks, these encouraging notes keep me motivated to write. I love learning more about early women pioneers, and hope their stories, and mine, encourage people to put their trust in our Almighty God, and follow their dreams.

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