photo from Ann Voskamp ~ a holy experience
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4: 6-7
Shalom – Hebrew for Peace.
A study of Hebrew words reveals meaning beyond their spoken pronunciation. Each Hebrew word conveys feeling, intent and emotion.
Shalom is more than just simply peace.
It is complete Peace – contentment, completeness, wholeness, well-being and harmony.
The Shalom that can only come from Him who created and put all things into place.
Experiencing this peace – this Shalom – came this past weekend. It was more than just the intimate, serene outdoor wedding setting. Even more than the beautiful sun-filled, blue skies that filled the Austin Hill Country. Yes, it was even more than friends and family that gathered to share in the Joy of the joining of the oldest son, C and his bride as one in marriage.
This Shalom was the Peace that could only come from fervent prayers asking for the Peace of God that goes beyond my mind and heart’s understanding.
During the weeks before the wedding, many nights of sleep were interrupted by a bad dream night after night. Only this wasn’t really a dream, it was like a movie replaying in my mind the deep wounds from venomous words and divisive actions at another such wedding scene eight years ago. There was no Shalom.
Knowing that unlike at the beautiful wedding of daughter K a little more than a year ago, this time the wall of space and people would not be there to protect the Joy my heart desired for this occasion. With each replaying of this late night “movie,” an overwhelming sense of unrest would stir in my heart because I did not want anything to take the Joy away from this wedding day either.
In the dark of those nights, I would call out in my heart to my Abba Father, Yahweh. His Peace was always present with me there in the dark, night after night after night. And peaceful sleep would soon return.
Each morning after, I would wake wondering,
Was this some sort of spiritual attack?
A portent of possible pending drama?
Something designed to take the joy from this time?
Sharing these thoughts with my dear friend L, the weeks and days before the wedding found us praying together. We prayed for Peace that would transcend, that would eclipse, that would go so far beyond what my mind and heart could understand. We prayed for that Complete Peace, His Shalom.
Last Saturday, the big day had finally arrived! The venue was absolutely serene. Despite earlier reports of rain coming in with our first “big” cool front, the weather was beautiful. Skies were blue and the sun was shining through the shadows of the massive oak trees. There was even a herd of Longhorns nonchalantly greeting the guests as we drove through the ranch gates. Was this the peace I had prayed for? No.
As we were walking up the stone walk towards the early arriving family members and a few other guests, I heard a still, small voice say to me . . .
“The Peace you’ve prayed for is here, He goes before you.”
It was in that moment, I understood. That movie that had been playing over and over in my head in the nights before had been a reminder to me that in the dark, in those uncertain times of my life, His Shalom, His Complete Peace has never been absent from me.
Now instead of those anxious thoughts, an overwhelming sense of Peace washed over me – the assurance His Presence walks every step of the way with me. I have that Peace that surpassed all my understanding. The Prince of Peace is guarding my mind and my heart!