The Gift of Peace

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What a joy it is for my husband and I to watch our four children explore the wonder of the world around them. Their imaginations spilling out stories complete with drawings to bring it all to life. At other times their ideas are acted out as they take turns being producer/director. The singing that flows through the house from my little ones fills my heart with such joy. I treasure how silly they are. The beauty in their laughter has proved better then medicine for me many times.

Our house is filled noise but it’s also filled with joy and peace that make my husband and I feel so rich. You don’t hear name calling or swearing here. There’s no tension and rarely any strife. Anger does not reign here. Joy does.

I am so thankful that my children live without fear of war or gunfire on their doorstep. This is a peace of mind some children in the world don’t have. I am thankful for the freedoms they enjoy in this country and this town. Praise the Lord they are safe and healthy. There is food everyday for their growing bodies.

Peace is a gift. You cannot buy it (it’s already been purchased for you) but you can receive it. You cannot hold it but you can treasure it. You know when you have it. You can lose it but it can be found again when you set your heart on things above. When you become free of the chains that hold you captive. Peace, true peace, is not something man can have on his own apart from God. Peace brings restoration and freedom. It brings joy and gladness. Peace can come at the strangest times. It brings comfort to the mourning, hope to the lost, wealth to the poor, and security to the abandoned heart. Fear tries to strangle it but peace clothes you so perfectly that fear cannot stay. Peace is all consuming yet gentle. It wraps you with warmth and love. Joy is not far from her.

True peace is found in those whose God is the Lord. Who trust and honor Him. Their lives reflect their choice to honor Him daily. Peace is the fruit of a life lived for the Lord. As you live this way consistently others can taste the sweetness of peace in your life even if they don’t understand where it comes from.

We have had people in our home that didn’t know us well and even after their reason for coming over was done they lingered. They said it is peaceful in our home. Our children were running and playing so we knew it wasn’t quietness they were seeking. Yet there was something else they desired and found here. I could tell they didn’t know where it came from but they would stay a little longer to soak it in.

Peace is not measured by the amount of sound you hear going on around you. Peace flows on the inside and spreads to the outside. Not with volume levels but with calmness of heart, with ease of spirit. The Lord said He would give us peace but not as the world gives it. (John 14:27) Peace here is not a lack of problems in your life but a calmness, a stillness, a rest in your spirit no matter what is happening.

We can see the fruit of our peace being enjoyed by our children as they enjoy the wonder of childhood and the worries of life are far from them. They know little of the trials we adults are facing. They are being rooted and established in their faith and in love while they are young. Then they will know and understand the truth and freedom they have in the Lord and will have God’s peace.

As a child of God you can know the peace Jesus gives. You know God’s word is true and you can trust in it. Your confidence can be secure in the Lord. You can rest with ease even with difficult situations pressing down on you because you know the battle belongs to the Lord. You know “no weapon formed against you will prosper”. (Isaiah 54:17) You know that we wrestle not with flesh and blood but with the rulers, authorities and powers of this world. (Eph. 6:12) You know that no matter what happens God will bring good from all situations. (Rom. 8:28) As you resist being anxious but instead pray about everything the amazing peace of God will be on you, guarding your heart and mind. (Phil. 4:6-7)

I don’t know what you’re going through today but God does. He’s the one that wrote the book and His promises hold true for you, whatever you’re facing. Whether it is financial, relational, physical or a deep sorrow like you’ve never known before. Stand on the promises of God.
All your children will be taught by the LORD and great will be their peace. Isaiah 54:13 (NIV)

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. Proverbs 17:22 (NLT)

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27 (NLT)

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:2 (NIV)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)

Our Christmas Miracles

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This will be my husband and my tenth Christmas together as a married couple. We’ve had our share of financial struggles and most of the time can do little more then get the bills paid and food on the table. Buying Christmas presents wasn’t always possible. Our kids know the drill. We tell them we don’t have much money. We’ll buy them a thing or two but not to expect anything grand. Somehow the Lord always surprises us so our kids can have gifts to open. (I know it’s not about the gifts but it’s the mere fact of being able to give gifts to our children that delights us.) In the recent years Marc’s boss has given him a bonus the last week of Christmas and we would scramble to the store to pick up gifts.

Then came this year… Two weeks before Thanksgiving my husband came home at 9:30 in the morning with a box in his hand. “Hi? What are you doing here?” I asked confused. He told me his boss was closing the front of the store. He no longer needed my husband to work for him. He continued with his story and I could feel the tears wanting to spill out as questions mounted in my heart. On the other side I could hear the Lord whispering for me to trust Him. The tears did flow but even as they did I told the kids we can trust the Lord. We are going to be okay.

Then began the row of miracles that are still unfolding. Marc’s boss gave him extra money that we were able to pay bills for November and most of December. After some phone calls we were able to get help with the other bills. We thought we were sitting pretty good until we checked the account and realized it was all just enough to get the bills paid and put food on the table. I was certainly glad for it but was hoping to buy gifts for Christmas. The next morning I woke up in the wee hours saddened about Christmas. I know…I know it’s not about the gifts but I love to see my child’s eyes light up as they know they know we didn’t forget them. I wrestled that night with my thoughts. I was truly thankful for the Lord’s help yet saddened we couldn’t come through another year for our kids. I know God often comes through but usually it’s at the last minute and this was only the beginning of December. After being up several hours I prayed until I was finally able to go back to sleep.

The next day I was told that some people found out about our situation and were going to buy gifts for the kids. Praise God!!! I was so thankful the Lord let me know early. An answered prayer! A few days later someone came to our door and gave us some money. I was surprised and thankful. Our boys’ birthdays fall right in with the holidays and I’ve always said it’s not fair to them not to get a birthday present just because of where their birthdays fall. With that money I got my boys birthday presents. Praise the Lord! I had NO IDEA how I was going to do that. Ending there would have made the season great. I could feel God’s love pour over us through these people but God wasn’t done yet. The blessings kept coming. Through God’s people we were blessed with more. We have been abundantly supplied for! Wow!!! Yet God had more…

My husband and I had been talking for a few months about him starting his own business working on computers and specializing in helping churches. He’s very good at those things and good with people. We had a feeling a few months ago something was up with his boss. We talked out how his business might look. We forgot about it for a few weeks then out of the blue one morning I asked him if he was still thinking about doing his own business, not knowing he was going to lose his job that day. He said yes but we weren’t thinking it was going to happen yet. I guess the Lord had other plans. My husband got to work with his business plans right away. He couldn’t offically start til the beginning of the year to keep this year’s taxes simple. Yet people began calling and business began. Without even trying the word has been starting to get out. What a blessing!

Also around this time I began having some health issues come up. First I ignored them and tried to put them on the back burner. My husband told me to call the Dr. but I didn’t have insurance and don’t want to be a financial burden to my family. We are still paying on the surgery I had last year. One morning in my quiet time I was praying about something else and I felt a peace that I should call the Dr. and I’d be able to get insurance. That’s just what happened. I went to the Dr. blindly trusting that if the Lord said I’d get help paying for it I would. I just received word that I will be getting help. Praise God!!! Though they still aren’t sure of what all is going on with me, God has given me promises for that too. After all of this why would I even think God would be wrong this time!

In all our Christmas’ together, my husband and I have never seen our tree so full or so P1010245

many people pouring God’s love over us. If you are one of those people who have blessed us… Thank you so much!!! Your caring for our family has spoken volumes to my husband and I and our children. Lessons that hopefully these young hearts will never forget that God loves us and is faithful in all His promises.

I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!

Ephesians 3:17b-21 (NIV)

Holding My Firstborn

I remember my first weeks as a brand new mom were such a mix of emotions. I was so excited to be a mom. I prayed to have this child and now here she was. Precious and perfect. At the same time I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. I was overwhelmed. As the weeks went on I was beginning to understand the routine of changing, feeding and sleeping for a short time before the cycle began again. In the treasured moments that I got to just hold my baby and admire her, I was amazed how helpless we are when we come into the world. We are totally dependent on our parents to take care of us. We have no way of getting food besides crying. We can’t move from one place to another. We can’t even lift our heads.

Even more amazing to me was that Jesus came into the world as an infant just like this. Unable to move, speak or get food. Just like us, He had to rely on His parents to care for Him. How amazing that He came down in such a humble state. He who was there when the world was created. He watched the oceans be born. He saw the planets take their places in the universe. The Son of God left His divine place in heaven to be born as a helpless infant. He could have skipped the yucky baby part and those awkward teenage years and stepped into humanity as a full grown man. Yet He did not do that. He came into the world just as you and I. I am amazed and in awe of such love. I am humbled by the great sacrifice He made in simply stepping into our world. What kind of great love is this that would make such a sacrifice for us?

Another thing I felt as a new mom was an all consuming love for my child. Never had I felt such a complete love. I wondered how it would be if I had more children because I could not imagine loving another child as much as I loved my daughter. Yet with each child I had there was that same great love. It took becoming a parent for me to understand this selfless love the Lord has for us. This amazing love is how He could leave His seat in heaven to enter the world as a helpless infant. The love that helped me endure the tiring schedule of feeding an infant day and night is similar to the love Jesus has for us enabling Him to endure all He had to endure on this earth. From judgment and conflict of the religious people of His day to the brutal beating and death on the cross. He did it all because of His love for you and me.

I remember when it dawned on me that my mother also felt this love for me when I was an infant. She, in response to this love, layed down her plans to care for me. When I realized this I was beside myself with gratitude to her. That gratefulness goes even deeper when I think of the depth of love and sacrifice of Christ for me.

As overflowing as my love is for my children it doesn’t even compare to the love the Lord Almighty has for us. He doesn’t just feel love for us. He doesn’t just show His love to us. He actually is love. He is the embodiment of love. We love because God has shown us how to love. Love comes from God. If I love my children so deeply yet that love is only the tip of the iceberg of His love for me, then how great…how amazing is His love for me. How amazing is His love for you!
Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Philippians 2:6-8 (NLT)

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8 (NLT)

And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is to great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Ephesians 3:18-19 (NLT)