For forty-three days I lived at Duke University Hospital. It was 2010, and I was a newish bride of only two years.
Being married meant the world to me because I prayed for a husband for a long time. My dream of being a wife and mother didn’t happen in my timing, and I often wondered if it ever would.
Then, as I lived at the hospital, first driving back and forth from our house each day and then eventually moving into the hotel across the street, God began to ask me to give back this husband I had begged Him for.
My new husband was on life support. He was dying. He was waiting on a donor heart for a transplant.
As I looked ahead to the coming months, they seemed like an eternity away. It was August, and I just couldn’t stomach what October might bring.
But even then there was a glimpse. A glimpse of “what if”. What if God performs a miracle? What if God answers my prayer?
So I kept praying, and in the midst of my what if’s I saw a picture of what I hoped would be. A healthy husband. And a baby.
My sister-in-law, brother-in-law, and our friends stood in the chapel on the ninth floor of Duke University hospital, hands clasped, heads bowed, and my sister-in-law prayed and asked God to heal John. And to bring us a baby.
I didn’t know if He would or not. But in faith I prayed anyway.
God still led me to understand that He may need John with Him, and that His will might be to bring John home to be with Him. He wasn’t ready to reveal His plan yet, but He asked me to give John back to Him along with the baby we prayed for too.
And so I surrendered. I opened my hands and gave John up. And the hope I had for a baby one day.
Then there was peace. That crazy, you-have-to-be-in-denial, type of peace. At least that’s what people thought. I saw a bigger picture, and it really didn’t have a whole lot to do with me. I told God that if John’s life accomplished some bigger purpose, whether I understood it or not, then I was ready to let him go.
This past Monday we took a trip to Duke University Hospital for John’s six month checkup. With us we brought our new three-month old baby girl.
As I carried her into that place where I mourned, that place where I sobbed, that place where I held up my hands and surrendered, I imagined God reaching down and placing in my arms the plan He had already scripted.
My prayer had come full circle – full of faith and surrender.
I know that my prayers will not always be answered in the way I ask. I know there will be tragedy and heartache and fear in my life. I know that there will be days that I kick and scream and get angry. I know I will continue to look at injustice and sickness and wonder “Why?”. I know that it won’t be easy.
But I now know the secret to His supernatural peace. If I can get to a place of faith in what I hope for and surrender to God’s ultimate purposes, then I will find His peace.
A prayer comes full circle when you learn a little more about God and growing closer in a relationship with Him.
Have you seen a prayer come full circle? What did the experience teach you about God?