“Why Shalom?” a new friend asked me last week.
“Are you Jewish?”
For a decade now, this word has been a deeply significant part of our family’s faith journey.
Our daughter ‘Evangeline Shalom’ was named on a bitterly cold January afternoon in the middle of snow flurries, with great intentionality, (and we felt, at the time, a prompting from the Lord.)
The word ‘Shalom‘ means ‘peace’.
Evangeline ‘Evie’ Shalom, our angelic 9 lb. bundle, completed our perfect little family and ushered in a season of 5 children 5 years old and under (gulp!)
Yes please. We could use a little peace in our lives.
And this sweet, passive, easy-going baby was just that – perfect peace. Peace for 10 blissful days.
…..then the storm.
A storm that rocked our world and shook my faith to the core.
At the bedside of our baby, we faced the near certainty that we would never bring her home from the hospital or hold her without tubes and probes and drains and monitors. Chad and I had gut-wrenching conversations preparing for a funeral and making decisions that no parents should ever have to consider. I remember a wave of bitter confusion when the meaning of her name came to mind while I held her bruised, blue, cyanotic hand in the dead of my darkest night.
Why did we name this child “peace”? This child whose little life was anything but peaceful!!
I wrestled with the notion for the next days….weeks…and then months as she took two steps forward, and one step back on a long, grueling road to stable. For the next two years our life centered around more surgeries, sedations, monitors and medications, diagnosis and doctors appointments, blood draws and biopsies, intubations and infections that I can count.
But her name wasn’t a mistake.
…and it wasn’t some cruel cosmic joke.
God taught us through the messiest, most painful, stretching, agonizing, disruptive season of our lives, that peace is not reflective merely of harmonious circumstances. We learned what it meant to be at peace….at peace in the storm! To cling to the only unshakable thing – Him – when our world was unraveling.
To trust His unchangeable qualities when our life was in disorder.
To hold fast to the promises of who He is, when what today brings is only uncertainty and heartache.
Not circumstantial. Not emotional. Peace is not the lack of a storm, but a lifeline in the storm…..a sunbeam of hope and glimpse of eternity when the agony of this world has been too much to bear.
“Shalom” is inscribed above our breakfast nook where I see it 1,000 times a day as I serve our family and clean our messes. Reminding me, over and over, of His peace. In the ugly. In the uncertainty. In fear. In the storm.
He is unchanging, unwavering, unshakable. His character is compassion. His plans are for good. He’s not bound by space and time and circumstances. He is eternal and he sees….he cares….and he redeems all things.
Grateful today for His shalom of peace for every storm and season, past, present and future.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace Igive you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”