Shona Howie

I Choose Peace

Peace isn’t simply the absence of conflict; It is having complete trust in your creator
I choose peace.

Because even though the solution may not come instantly, His peace does.

For those of you who know me, when you think of me, the first word that pops into your head is probably not peaceful, let’s be honest. It’s probably something like outgoing, energetic, loud, clumsy etc.

But as I sit here writing this, preparing for my fourth surgery in just over 3 years, I am filled with peace. You see peace isn’t simply the absence of conflict; it is having complete trust in your Creator that His plans are superior to any doubt in your mind. The Bible mentions peace 429 times, so I think it’s safe to say that God wanted peace, yet when faced with the decision, fear continues to be our initial step.

Be anxious for nothing (Philippians 4:6) for he has given us peace, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” John 14:27.

My last six months have been a total whirlwind, having yet another surgery, being diagnosed with a chronic condition, completing my final semester of university, finding out I missed out on a nursing graduate program, watching all of my friends secure jobs in their dream hospitals, watching my family dynamic change as my dad takes on FIFO, discovering I need another surgery on my shoulder which has forced me to confront the harsh reality that I will need to stop competing at the national level for Volleyball. It has been a lot and I was not completely peaceful in those moments.

I can however promise you that when I gave it over to the Lord I was filled with complete peace, knowing that He does not set me up to fail. As it says in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

So why was I failing, how did I lose out on a graduate program when I had done everything right. Why was this?
Because I’m a control freak. Well, not a control freak, but someone who cannot delegate things. You see, if I know something is important or can be messed up, I will do it myself rather than having to deal with the stress that I could be disappointed by someone else’s effort.

If something means so much to you, why would you even consider giving it to someone else to work on and develop, with the potential of ruining it all?

How could you trust them and be at complete peace when you know their plan is different to yours?

This isn’t the case when we think about God. Why do we put Him on the same level as everyone else, and hold the same expectations of Him? Despite him proving over and over and over again, that He is different, he is the One True Father, His plans for us are perfect.

Why, with this knowledge of His plans for us, do we believe that He does not deserve our biggest worries and most precious goals?

Romans 8:28 tells us “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

I know with my graduate program, on application, I was confused as to how I would make it work with all my surgeries coming up, how it would fit into my time frame, and whether I would even enjoy it, yet I applied because that is what everyone did.

Yet when I didn’t hear back from the hospitals, rather than being at peace with not getting one, I was angry and confused so I fought. This only brought on more hurt and pain when they explained I had missed out on one, simply because I forgot to define one subject in my application.

You think I would have stopped after that…

But I didn’t stop there, I kept pushing, going to different hospitals to see if I could squeeze in, thinking they would change their mind if they just met me in person! Still no luck, and more heartbreak.

I remember one night, feeling completely lost without direction, and I couldn’t bear it anymore, I surrendered all of my fears, my plans, my anxieties to the Lord, I wrote them down, put them in a locked box so I could not take them back, and I returned to the Word to rest. I know that Jesus brought peace through his Gospel, so what did I do, I returned to the Gospel in search of hope and answers, and what did I find, John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

That next week I had surgery and was confined to my house, literally forcing me to stop and rest, and allowing God to move in his wonderful ways. God tells us, that he does not give to us like the world gives, so stop putting God in a box and limiting your expectations of him, dream big, pray big. For me, it took me being locked away, not able to interfere with His plans for me to be able to see miracle upon miracle unfolding, and everything falling purposely into place.

I am happy to report my surgery went well, and even though my diagnosis is not what I wanted, it is something I believe that Christ will heal in due time. I have been contacted about being medically discharged from the Air Force, which as sad as it is, will allow me to hopefully pursue a career in paediatrics down the track. In the meantime, I have been in contact by Royal Perth Hospital about getting a Grad Program once my shoulder is healed.

Had I not been locked away, forced to take rest and have a break, I would have let fear win, had I not chosen peace in the midst of the turmoil, I would have been locked into a lifetime of regret.

Your life too can be the same, you may not need to know His plan for you in the moment, all you may need is the comfort that comes with peace, peace and trust that his plans come beautifully to fruition.

Although I now know that I have some idea into my next steps, I do not know everything, and I also do not need to know everything, I have chosen peace.

Will you choose his peace today?

Shona Howie

Shona Howie

She is all things fun, a joy to be around and loves Jesus! Shona is one of our amazing young adults and we love her!