There have been moments in my life where I could feel the presence of peace. Sometimes, I sensed it when worry was suddenly replaced with calm. Sometimes, I feel enveloped in it like a coat. And, other times, it’s like fresh oxygen and I breathe much easier.
Yesterday, I felt it again. I was sitting in my car (as I often do to milk whatever kid-free time I’m returning home from) and I felt calm, then joy. Things have been working out in ways I couldn’t have planned, and I know that it’s God fulfilling His Word in my life.
As I began to bask in God’s presence, I realized that what I was feeling was similar to how I felt when my oldest daughter had a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. And I wondered, how many other women struggle to feel at peace.
I’d like to share with you my story and 4 things I believe prepare me for sweet encounters with peace:
1. Expect God to help you transition.
Sometimes, us women-folk can agonize about a not-so-ideal situation like nobody’s business. We wrap guilt and shame and worry around our necks like a cloak, all while complaining that it’s too hot. The energy we put into fighting what has to happen (e.g. for me, returning back to the workplace) is time we could spend ironing out the details.
My husband and I recently agreed that it would be best for me to go back to work. I didn’t love the idea, but I knew that it was necessary. So, I accepted that we needed additional income and began putting my energy into finding a job I would enjoy, and a daycare I could trust. I believed God would help me transition from 16-months as a stay-at-home-mom to going back to work. And, now that I realize the amount of debt we can eliminate with my salary (and I found a daycare that I love!), I’m ecstatic to return to work.
I couldn’t have predicted that outcome a few weeks ago. But, you don’t have to see the 2nd floor to take the 1st step.
2. Trust God to work it out in your favor.
Determination and persistence are your best friends. When I chose a car seat, I wanted one that I thought was safe (and cute!). My husband wanted one that was safe (and cheap!).
Do you see our dilemma? Did I whine when he flat out vetoed the car seat I had (secretly) fallen in love with? Yes, I did. But, then I said, “Girl, hush all that whining and search the ends of the earth (Amazon & Google) until you find one that you both feel good about.” Did it take more time and effort? Sure. But, now she’s riding in a car seat that’s beautiful, safe and affordable.
Some of your situations will be as trivial as the search for a car seat, and some will be more serious – but the lesson still applies. Ever heard of the persistent widow? (Luke 18:1-8)
When you know that God’s got your back, in every area of your life, why give up after a few empty tries? Keep praying. Keep walking forward.
3. Listen with your heart.
I picked out my daughter’s daycare months ago, so when I was offered a job, I went in just to do a run through, meet her teachers, etc. Quite a few things were not to my liking, but I was running out of time; most places had year-long waiting lists, and I had already told my husband the price, so anything higher was going to cause him to raise a few eyebrows. What am I going to do?
So, I met up with my BFFs, Persistence and Determination, and that day I called 5 daycares and found 2 that had open spots. Of course, the one I loved was the most expensive. Fix it, Jesus! So, I prayed the prayer of my life and called my husband. He told me to keep looking, LOL! The one I loved had another location nearby and something (God) told me to call and check the prices.
Not only did they have an open space, they were incredibly sweet, within walking distance from my new job and $80 cheaper! This isn’t luck, Team. This is called being a part of the royal family. And, royalty always gets all the perks! You just have to know how to listen.
4. Pray before, during, and after.
Staying prayed up will keep you from being stressed and pressed when trouble comes. For almost a decade, I prayed for my children to be cultured. My husband relocated us to Guam when my daughter was 2. And, my baby girl was born there and now we all have Chamorro, Filipino, and Asian aunties, uncles, and cousins all over the world.
My husband and I debated between spending money to come home for the holidays (which was very expensive) or travel the surrounding area for half the price. We wanted to seize the opportunity to travel on the other side of the world, but we also missed our families back in the States. Yes, we agonized over it.
Meanwhile, Guam had a 5K race every weekend, and one morning around midnight I decided I was going to run. I’m not a runner, ok? But, I just felt like I should go. Usually, I don’t stick around to see the winners get their medals or for the raffle drawing at the end, but this time I stayed until the grand prize drawing, which was 2 roundtrip tickets to anywhere United Airlines flew.
Guess what? Yes, I won!
That was the longest ride home ever! My husband couldn’t believe it. And, because I won, we were able to spend 7 days in Hong Kong and visit our families in the States a year later…right as my grandmother was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. We spent almost 2 months with her before she passed away.
What if we had come home sooner and then couldn’t afford to return again when she became ill? What if I hadn’t been forced to resign from a job I loathed, hadn’t trusted God to supply me with not one, but TWO higher paying jobs and didn’t have enough money to vacation in South Carolina for 2 months? What if I ignored the nudge to sign up for a 5K that night?
Prayer changes things.
So, what’s the play call?
“Worry about nothing, pray about everything.”
That worry scripture isn’t just something people say because they don’t want to hear you whine or because they’re just happy-go-lucky people.
There is power in our words and when we’re whining, we’re (usually) speaking the opposite of what we really want. “It’ll never work.” “I won’t get it.”
Those words (seeds) may get you some sympathy points or feed your sorrow, but they don’t produce the results you actually want. We have to take everything to God in prayer, and be ready to go when the Holy Spirit says something crazy like, “I know it’s midnight, but go ahead and sign up for that 5K that starts 5 hours from now.” Say what, Holy Spirit?
But, look how beautifully it all worked out. Prayer isn’t just an emergency hotline. It will set you up to win peace in ways unimaginable. Let’s expect God to be God and we’ll see Him do the unthinkable in our lives.