A Peace That Surpasses All Understanding

It’s now been three and a half weeks since Ray’s heart attack. From finding my husband dead on the floor, to praying while performing chest compressions, to facing a future filled with uncertainty, I have been blessed with “a peace that surpasses all understanding.”

The Mass readings throughout this Advent season have spoken to me in an entirely new and more meaningful way, so it came as no surprise last night when I looked at today’s Mass readings and saw this:

Brothers and sisters: Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, with prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:4-7)

In the past few weeks, so many people have marveled at how “strong” I’ve remained dolphin cruise allthrough all of this. Honestly, when people say this, I feel like a complete and total fraud. I’m not strong. My God is. The only thing I did right was this: When the crap hit the fan, I immediately put the situation into God’s hands.

Seven years ago, when Bear was about to have surgery, I was a nervous wreck. I went to the Blessed Sacrament chapel and prayed the Rosary. When I was finished, I was filled with calm and peace. I knew it would be okay. I didn’t know that Bear was going to be fine and we’d live happily ever after. But, I knew that, no matter what, God was going to take care of him, in His own way, and that He would take care of me and the rest of the family, as well.

In the years since, there have been many, many times when I have been in stressful situations but remained unconcerned. I put it in God’s hands, knowing… God would provide, and God would be glorified.

My husband laying lifeless on my family room floor, while I did chest compressions, surrounded by our five children, definitely raised “stressful situation” to a whole new level. Thank God, my response had become automatic. The words that ran through my head were:

God will provide. God will be glorified.

I can’t explain it, because it really is a peace that surpasses all understanding, and I can’t explain what I myself can’t understand.

But I can tell you this. I’ve known it. And I’ve been incredibly blessed in it. And I pray that everyone reading this post will know it as well.

I don’t think that response would have come so easily without practice. In fact, I know it wouldn’t have. It came with years and years of taking small problems and handing them over to God, and then watching in wonder and awe as He took care of them.

And so I sit, free from anxiety, filled with a peace that surpasses all understanding. Thanks be to God, my husband has had a miraculous recovery already. However, the fact remains that we don’t know what tomorrow holds. Perhaps he will remember that he has five children, and recall their names correctly. Perhaps he won’t. Perhaps he will return to a meaningful life as a husband, father, and provider. Perhaps he won’t.

Regardless, God will provide. For Ray, for me, and for the children. God will be glorified. And God will grant us peace.

9 comments on “A Peace That Surpasses All Understanding
  1. Shame Lear says:

    I need to incorporate this into my own life. If you can see peace through your situation, then I can, too. Thanks for reminding me of that! Love you.

  2. Jeannie says:

    Stephanie, your post today puts everything in perspective – what’s important and what’s not, as well as the beauty of this season of Advent. People may say you are strong and you feel you are not, but the truth is that God’s strength resounds within you and the way you are handling the situation. That is what people ultimately see – God in you, God through you, “God with us” – Emmanuel. A blessed Advent to you, my friend. Be assured of my prayers for both Ray and your family.

  3. Michele says:

    Praising God for His goodness. Thanking Him for His Son who makes life worth living. Marveling at The Holy Spirit who lives in us and allows us to praise Him fully and trust that His ways are higher than ours. The entire family is in my prayers. In this season of Advent, God is truly with us.

  4. Laura Helmke-Long says:

    Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing. Thinking and praying for you all.

  5. Stephanie Hanouw says:

    Stephanie…awesome post today. God IS using your challenges and witnesses of His goodness to make a difference to your readers. He is showing you His peace and showing me His ability to work things together without me getting into a ruffled state over it … the proper outcome and response from me to be …peace. Whatan awesome God. Thank you for taking the time to post.

  6. Mary Worden says:

    Thank you, Stephanie. Your faith and trust in the Father’s love is an inspiration. Thank you for being such a concrete example of how to live as a child of God. ‘If we know how to provide good things for our children, how much more will our Father in Heaven provide for us?’ (Paraphrased…don’t know the exact verse to look it up in the few minutes I have during my lunch hour today.)

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