I wish you were here with me, sitting on my front porch and sipping a cup of hot tea. I like my tea with cream and honey, so of course, I’d offer you the same. But no pressure, at my house, you can have your tea any way you want. And if you don’t like tea, no problem. I’d just brew up a pot of coffee. I know we’d feel fancy sipping out of porcelain tea cups and hashing out life’s problems … while watching the animals graze in the pasture.
Right now, the horses are hanging out near the house, chomping on their green afternoon snack, and our border collie, Blackie, is debating over which cow he wants to chase. For now, all seems peaceful in the world – until it’s not.
Eventually, some kind of chaos will break loose. A fence will break, and the cows will get out in the yard and eat down my newly planted Camilla trees (been there.) Or our mule Duke will decide that he no longer likes our horse Sonny … so he’ll try to take him down right before a tornado hits (yep, I watched that one go down too.) And you never know when a mama cow may struggle to have her calf, and the whole family will need to go out in a lightning storm to try to deliver it (that’s happened too many times to count.)
But isn't that how life goes? We're rocking along just fine, sipping on our hot tea and enjoying the warm sunshine, until, out of nowhere, something unexpected slams us in the face and turns everything upside-down.
I know this all too well … because I’ve lived it. One moment, I was driving my daughter home from ballet class. And the next, I was holding her, unconscious and seizing in my arms – begging God not to take her. In an instant, my family’s Pollyanna life as we knew it – derailed. And all the control I once knew – vanished.
In the following months, more seizures overtook her tiny three-year-old body. And with each seizure, my anxious mama-heart grew more desperate. While my head knew God’s steady grip was holding me tight, no matter how hard I tried to latch onto His peace, I could not feel it. I was barely hanging on.
I questioned, “What was I doing wrong?” Wasn’t I a good, Bible-studying Christian girl? I loved God. And even led the women’s ministry at our church. So, what was the matter with me? Why couldn’t I feel the supernatural peace that God promises His children?
Then one day out of exasperation, I cried out, “God, is Your peace real? Because I don’t believe it!” There, in my suffering and my deepest sorrows, God met me, and a gentle voice whispered to my heart, “I’m here. My peace is too. Now, will you let me show you?”
Over the next few years, God took me on an incredible journey deep into scripture, gently pointing out verse after verse on peace, His Shalom peace. Those scriptures poured healing into the shattered pieces of my heart and restored life back into my bone-tired soul.
In those early morning hours alone with God, His Word tenderly taught me that His peace was indeed real and much deeper and more complete than my finite mind could behold.
God not only gives us His peace – God IS also our PEACE.
We can rest knowing, “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.” (Ephesians 2:14)
While we may not always feel peaceful, it doesn’t mean that God’s peace has left us. Because true, biblical peace is so much more than a feeling. Peace is a Person. And for those of us in the Body of Christ, our peace – Jesus – the Prince of Peace – is always with us.
You would think learning how to parent a child with a life-threatening condition would be enough to walk through for a season, but over the past few years, our family has also been through other hard things. So many hard things – sickness, death of loved ones, multiple legal battles, business drama, theft, natural disasters, four miscarriages, COVID, and broken relationships. And sadly, these don’t even cover the whole list. Because that’s life, isn’t it? As soon as one storm passes, another is already brewing on the horizon
But looking back, I can see how God used those heart-breaking situations to strengthen our faith for the other battles to come.
I’m also still learning that I don’t always have to put on a strong face when hard times hit. In fact, “He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
So, when I begin to worry about the future that’s out of my control, Romans 8:28 reminds me, “All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purposes.”
These are the promises I cling to when the days are hard, and I still have so many unanswered questions.
And yet, I know – God is always in our midst. Working out even the messiest parts of our story for good. And mending our shattered pieces back together.
I’m trusting God to show up when life is joyful. And when life is breaking my heart. After these long years of facing battle after battle,
I’m here – somehow still standing (with God’s help!) Even if limping along sometimes (and that’s okay too.)
I want you to know that if God can show up in the dark, murky messes of my life and turn them into something beautiful, He can do the same for you too.
Friend, don’t lose faith. God isn’t finished writing your story – or my story. By His grace, we get to be a part of His story. So, let’s go forth with our arms linked together, always “seeking peace and pursuing it.” Looking with eager expectancy for God to show up, even in the bloody daily battles we fight. Because without doubt, He always there. With His grip holding us tight, we’re going to make it through. And friend, we’re going to be okay.