Stress + prayer = surprise!

It was Wednesday afternoon, and my stress level was building. On Saturday I was giving two talks at the Women’s’ Forum in the morning and hosting a bridal shower in the afternoon.  As I hurried to make it on time for my haircut appointment, all I could think of was,  “How can I get everything done in two days?” The speeches were ready but needed practice.  Thankfully, my son and daughter-in-law were organizing the food for the shower. Four family members were coming from out of town for the shower. The sheets for their guest rooms were in the washer, but the house was a mess!

I arrived at the Salon five minutes early and went into the restroom to calm down. I prayed to the Lord, admitting that I couldn’t take this stress level anymore and certainly not for two more days. I wasn’t sleeping well, had intermittent indigestion and a headache threatened from the back of my head.


I listed all my concerns—everything I couldn’t handle and then surrendered each one of them into God’s hands. Whatever he wanted for me to do from here on was okay with me. I was tired of trying to control the unmanageable events of my life.

Then I praised him for who he is and all the blessings he showers upon me. As I praised him, my spirit became peaceful. For the next half hour I would visit with Susan, my hairdresser, friend and confidant for 30 years. With a smile on my face, I went down the hall to Susan’s room at the Salon.


I hesitated before I entered her room when I saw another woman in the small space with Susan. The woman was drying her hair and Susan was sitting in the chair! It should have been the reverse. Immediately the woman told me that Susan would not be able to do my hair. She had collapsed, and the woman enlisted the help of a man in the next room to help get Susan off the floor and into the chair.

Susan insisted she was okay, just needed to rest. The woman, Betty, was a client and friend of Susan for 25 years. She had once driven Susan to the hospital for surgery. I asked Susan if she had eaten today. Yes, but six hours earlier. She ate a protein bar and drank some water.

After a half an hour of back and forth, with Susan strongly resisting a trip to the ER, she agreed to let us take her home. Betty drove Susan home in Susan’s car. I met them there and took Betty back to her car.


Two hours after I had arrived at the Salon, I left the parking lot for home.  I knew in my heart that I was exactly where I should be — in the center of God’s will. How did I know that? Because of the many times I have surrendered to the Lord, and he has surprised me with an unexpected circumstance. He gives me peace in my heart like I had all afternoon since my prayer of surrender.

Susan shares the room at the Salon and doesn’t work on Thursdays or Fridays. And I was out of time. The haircut that seemed so important to help me feel confident fell off the schedule.  I trimmed my bangs a little, tucked in the loose ends and gave my two talks for the Women’s Forum. Then I hosted the shower, looking just the way God wanted me to look, knowing I was in his will. That’s all the confidence I needed.

(© 2015 Nancy HC Ward)

Art: Praying Hands-Alan Eno,

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About Nancy Ward

Nancy HC Ward is a journalist, author, and speaker who blogs about Catholicism, her conversion, and Christian community at,
 7 websites and 7 magazines. She loves to share her faith story and help others share theirs through her Sharing Your Faith Stories seminars, also available on DVD. She contributed four chapters to The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion. She facilitates the Dallas/Fort Worth Catholic Writers and a critique group for the Catholic Writers Guild, where she serves as a board member.
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