Layering it on

Brenda Cannon HenleyBy Brenda Cannon Henley
Folks that live up north in the really cold country know how to dress to survive. Once upon a time, we were traveling to Michigan for a week-long conference and had packed for the weather that our group had anticipated. A hard snowstorm hit the afternoon of our arrival and when the clock went off the first morning we were there, it seemed to be pitch dark in our nice hotel room. I checked the clock and then my phone to verify the time, but the room was still dark. We happened to be in a suite on the main floor and during the night, many inches of snow had fallen and all of the ground floor windows were completely covered up with the drifting snow. No light could enter and even though the snow was very white, it blocked out all natural light from the sun.

As we opened the door to go into the main hallway, we saw signs on every door warning us of the unexpected snow, ice, and bitterly cold winds. The management said they hoped to have the parking lot and walkways cleared within the hour. As I walked back into the room, the phone rang and I answered to hear the pastor’s wife’s voice asking if we were prepared for the sudden turn in the weather. She said more than once to layer and then layer again. What she meant by that was to put on our regular clothing and then add whatever we had, sweaters, vests, coats, scarves, and gloves. And, she offered to drive us to a nearby mall if we needed to purchase warmer clothing.

BCH-Layering it onThe other day while scrolling through Facebook looking for something, I came across a woman in an airport setting. Because my daughter works for the airline and has for many years, I stopped and watched the video. Believe me, I have heard some funny stories that happened as people boarded planes. This one is hilarious. The rather large lady was deeply offended about being charged for her second bag. She was determined she would not pay the additional fee. She stepped out of line, went over to a row of chairs, unpacked the second bag and proceeded to put on everything that was packed on top of her regular clothing. People stopped what they were doing and watched her carefully.

Little matched and she grew larger with each layer. She added a skirt with elastic in the waist, two blouses, one sweater, two scarves, and many other items. She layered on top of layers. When the luggage was finally empty, she very casually reached down, picked the bag up, and placed it on her head. She marched back over to the counter and demanded her boarding pass. The employee had watched what she had done and seemed not to know what to do. She pointed to the open luggage sitting on her head, and asked, “What about that bag?” Without missing a beat, the passenger said, “Oh, you mean my new hat I just bought for this trip?” It was so funny to watch.

As I laughed about this funny story, a not so happy thought dawned on me. How much do we as Christian people layer on in our lives? Perhaps that is why we get so bogged down in the things of this world and do not spend enough time thinking about. meditating, praying, and doing the work of the Lord.

“The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything.” (Deuteronomy 2:7)

People often over pack for vacations, work trips, and all kinds of travel. We stand and look at the mound of clothing, shoes, books, medicines, and whatever else we have laid out, and wonder exactly how we are going to get it all inside and the bag closed. How much of it will we really use or need? We become so overburdened with our stuff that the trip loses its meaning and gets off to a bad start because we cannot be sensible.

The Israelites were told to pack only what they would need for the journey. If we knew today that the dear Lord was leading us into a new experience with Him, what would we want to take? Perhaps we should learn to scale back, do without some things, and travel lighter. If we overpack and claim things we do not really need, the journey becomes burdensome and tiring. The Lord will give us what we need when we need it. We can count on that.

Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788, or


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One Response to “Layering it on”

  1. Jack says:

    Thanks for the good word Brenda!

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