Perfectionist tendencies, anyone? I have always liked to have everything “just so”—organized and as perfect as possible. I appreciate the pretty things in life, the beauty in words and creation and song—I’m really not a fan of mess and blood and haphazard! I remember giving birth to my sweet daughter and asking the nurses to “please clean her up and pop a bow in her hair” — it might have been the gas and air talking, but you get the gist. So imagine my anguish when one day our lives catapulted into a cacophony of mess and blood and haphazard…
My husband, daughter and I emigrated from the UK to Canada, fulfilling a wild dream to experience life in another country. It was everything we imagined and more—God opened doors for the paperwork, a job, a home, and a church… my life truly was tied together with a beautiful bow! That same year our little world was rocked considerably when I suffered a miscarriage, but we soon discovered we were pregnant again. Joy was restored.
I had never heard of “placenta previa accreta” but it became evident that I had it, and at 32 weeks I was rushed into my local hospital bleeding. It was Thanksgiving weekend, and my perfect plans were crushed as I was loaded into a tiny “air ambulance” plane and told not to move. I gave my distraught husband a crash-course lesson on how to braid our daughter’s hair in my absence (yeah, it seemed important at the time), waved a tearful, fearful goodbye, and headed into the worst storm Vancouver had experienced in over thirty years. I kid you not.
As my bow unraveled and it was questionable to me whether we would even land the little plane in one piece, let alone get to the special hospital in time or have a hope of saving both the baby and I—a peace filled my soul that I can’t begin to describe. The situation was surreal, I was actually ready to meet my Maker at this point, and I knew many around the globe were lifting me up in prayer at that very moment.
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” Philippians 4:6-7 (The Message)
I knew all about the perfect peace—I’d been a Christian since the age of eleven, and I’d certainly experienced His peace in my life, time and again. But this—this was peace on a whole other level. I was able to let everything go and I knew without a shadow of doubt that I was in the hands of my Heavenly Father. My chaos became calm, my soul was soothed, my mess didn’t matter.
After circling for 30 extra minutes, we landed safely and that hospital bed became my home-away-from-home for the next six weeks. It was certainly no picnic—I was in a strange city without my family and friends in a relatively new country, and there were no guarantees for a safe delivery even if I held out full term. I, with my distain for anything remotely related to blood, had to give blood weekly to my own store, as I would most likely need a transfusion. I missed my husband and four-year-old little princess with a passion, and my orderly, organized, tied-with-a-bow life was nothing I recognized anymore.
But that precious peace I experienced on the plane wasn’t merely for the oh-so-fun ride in the storm. It remained with me, just as Jesus promised. A sense of God’s wholeness even amidst my brokenness. It was heightened during those challenging weeks in hospital for sure, it was as if I were literally floating on a cloud—protected and loved and cherished. And yes, it absolutely settled me down. The bow of peace that He wrapped around me was profound in its perfection.
Eventually, our baby boy was born. The surgery went better than any of us could have imagined, and after four days in an incubator our little miracle gift was smothered with love and kisses. I will never forget that whole experience of God’s peace and providence. It showed me the fragility of life and how I need to trust God implicitly in every single area. Every single day.
Now, twenty-one years later, our “baby” is back in the city of his birth studying at University. And now, twenty-one years later, I can attest to that peace, that sense of God’s wholeness threaded through my life like a ribbon. He continues to lead and to fill and to love.
And rather than me desperately trying to loop the ribbon and make everything appear nice and orderly and pretty—God ties all the bows. Not always in ways I would have predicted or preferred, but with His perfect peace. And resting in the reality of His sovereignty is WAY better than running around with my ribbon…
Here’s to lessons learned, prayers answered, and a Happy 21st birthday next month for our miracle boy!
(This post first appeared in The She Is Project)
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