Sherry Hayes-Peirce ponders how she learned that sometimes we need to surrender our plans in order to follow God's plan.
On the last Sunday of Christmas, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the first reading reminded me of the many times in my life when my plan and God’s plan did not align.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9)
My thoughts traveled to a time when my husband and I lived about four hours away from my family in a town that I hated! His job as a correctional officer in Central California in one of the most dangerous prisons in the country anchored us to this place. Every morning we had a routine of him calling from the parking lot of the prison before he walked through the gates to begin his shift. There were often riots at the facility, and before it would be broadcast on the news he would call to let me know he was fine, but it would require him to work overtime.
He had enough tenure that he was applying for a transfer to a Southern California prison in San Diego County, and we even drove down to take the papers in person. I was so happy and excited that we would be moving back to a familiar environment. We even looked at a couple of communities that we could move to. My mind, body, and soul were secure that my prayers were being answered. We returned home and began packing non-essential things as we waited to hear the official transfer date.
A couple of months later my husband came home and gave me the news: “Well, all transfers have been placed on hold indefinitely.” I felt as though I had been hit in the head with a baseball bat. My heart broke into pieces and my soul was wounded by the revelation. Knowing how disappointed my husband was, I immediately tried to be positive and supportive, so I kept it together until the next morning after we’d had the prayer call.
As soon as I hung up from the call with him, I called the prayer warrior extraordinaire, my Mommy! When I heard her voice, the dam of emotion burst inside me. With tears pouring from my eyes I cried, “Mommy, I am never going to get out this place! I prayed so hard.”
She stopped me mid-sentence and asked, “Did you leave it at the foot of the cross?”
My response: “Huh?”
She began to explain to me that my ways are not God’s ways and my time is not God’s time. When you pray for something you lay that prayer at the foot of the Cross and leave it there. Then she said, “If you are calling me crying about this, you picked it up. Now lay it back at the foot of the Cross and leave it there.”
My mother’s words were like those paddles they apply to restart a heart on a TV show. “CLEAR!” and a single jolt moved my soul from life support to normal sinus rhythm. That day I left it at the foot of the Cross, resolved that only God is in control. If he ordained that I stay in a place that I hated, there must be a reason for it. Only two short years later my husband was injured at work, and we sat in the doctor’s office and listened to her explain that the severity of his injury would preclude him from working as an officer anymore. While he was in total shock and despair, I knew that meant we could go home and he would now be safe.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
I would have never conceived the thought of a injury as being the answer to a prayer, but it was -- and while it took my husband a while to see that God is in control, he does believe now that it was a gift.
Since then there have been other times that Mommy had to remind me to leave something at the foot of the Cross, but whenever I REALLY do, my mind, body and soul are secure in my faith and the outcome.
We are about a month away from Lent: what will you leave at the foot of the Cross this year? Whatever it is, leave it there and don’t pick it up!
Copyright 2021 Sherry Hayes-Peirce
Image: Canva Pro
About the Author
Sherry Hayes-Peirce is a Catholic social media strategist, blogger, conference speaker, podcast guest and contributing author of the Ave Prayer Book for Catholic Mothers. She serves as Digital Engagement Coordinator for American Martyrs Catholic Community in Manhattan Beach, CA, and St. Monica Parish in Mercer Island, WA. Sherry has a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and is grateful to be a digital disciple of Christ.