Pursuing a Peaceful Heart

Editor’s Note: Twice a month our UFC mamas gather for a time of encouragement in the calling that God has given them. Today we hear from Joanna Sheppard, who helps lead the time for our Mom’s Gatherings. Since the mamas could not meet this week, we welcome Joanna’s thoughts and encouragements for them and for all of us who walk with Jesus.

Early on Friday the 13th, I awoke to a phone call from my sister. She’d just found out about the school district’s early spring break closure and wanted to make sure I knew. As I started the routine for the day, the realities of this impromptu and extended vacation started to invoke feelings of urgency, panic, and stress.  

In Philippians 4:6-7, Paul urges believers to keep their hearts focused on the One who is in control:

“Do not be anxious (troubled with cares) about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication (to ask humbly and earnestly of) with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (emphasis mine).

Last weekend my husband and I saw the fruit of this promise. We took our worries about COVID-19 and having the kids at home to Wisdom Himself. As we sought Him through prayer, He transformed our hearts and minds with the refreshment of His peace.  

Fighting anxiety in an anxious world is not an effortless process. It takes work and intentionality to pursue the Lord in prayer. Trust and submission are required to practice genuine supplication and a heart of worship leads us in the practice of thanksgiving.

The fight for God’s peace is not a finished process either. My initial worries came flooding back this week with the news of six plus weeks of school closures. But if He was trustworthy last week, He is trustworthy today. No circumstance is ever a surprise to the Creator of all things.  

In the preface of Mark Buchanan’s book Spiritual Rhythm: Being with Jesus Every Season of Your Soul, he writes that in every season, “Jesus is enough. He has been a good companion all the way through. I have no reason to doubt he will be a good companion for all that lies ahead.”

I’m greatly missing our regular times together as we encourage each other as moms. While we wait for things to return to “normal,” let’s embrace the season He’s given us today.  Press into the truths of Philippians 4:6-7.  

Make time to pray (outloud or on paper) your worries, and praise Him for the ways you’ve seen His faithfulness this past week. Start a list of things you’re thankful for and add items as a family throughout the coming weeks. Talk to your kids about how we are told to bring God EVERYTHING. Nothing is too big or too small to bring to Him in prayer. Every day we are given fresh opportunities to have Him shoulder our worries, hear our requests, receive our grateful praise, all the while give us His peace that “surpasses all understanding.”

4 thoughts on “Pursuing a Peaceful Heart

  1. Thank you Joanna! I love the reminder that the fight for God’s peace is not a finished process. And the encouragement to embrace Him in this season now.

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  2. So Good, So True. Thanks Joanna. I especially loved “in every season, Jesus is enough…..” I have certainly found that to be true in this new season of my life:) Praying especially for you young mamas, who are most impacted by this forced “vacation” that wasn’t on your schedules! Counting the blessings will certainly give you a new perspective and turn your eyes to God!

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