Today’s message at my church was, “Peace.” It was a message I needed to hear and to be reminded that “I” was created uniquely by God. Try as I may, I will not and cannot become someone else, or even what others may want me to become. This is because at the end the day, the reflection in the mirror is me! During the past year I have sincerely tried to manage my personal time more constructively, starting with internal things like my mind, body and soul. Some changes are subtle while others are much more obvious, I decided to limit my distractions in my home, I sold my 42″ TV because it was consuming too much of my time. I am in no way saying TV is bad and everyone should give it up! I still view lots of TV, mostly news as it relates directly to my job. I merely wanted to de-clutter my personal life. I also challenged myself to read more books with a goal of at least 1 book per month, I am happy to say I have met that goal with 20 books so far in 2013. I also started this blog with the encouragement of friends, what a blessing! I would like to tell you I had a well-defined plan, but I don’t. I can tell you that when I decided look at my life with its conflicts, disappointments, sadness and emptiness and starting seeking God things started looking brighter. Doors, I did not even know existed were suddenly opening. I have found a church to call “home,” a congregation that values individuals not a person’s public prestige and bank accounts, I matter because I am a child of God and I seek to spread and share the love of Jesus Christ with my neighbors, my community and the world. As I have been looking at my life over the past few years compared to where I am now, it could be easy to regret the choices I have made and sulk about them, but I am choosing to thank God for all the things I have experienced because they have molded me into the person I am today. I can say with complete honesty and assurance that I know the feelings of true love, by experiencing the sting and sorrow of losing true love. I can also say that I truly appreciate and understand the love and sacrifice of parents, and this because of losing a parent. No matter my age or my life circumstances, I will always be a child wanting the love and approval of my parents. It really is true that the appreciation of something is not completely known until it is lost. I wrote “Seasons” over a decade ago, some of the words have changed slightly but the true initial meaning is intact, the reasons I wrote have also changed but it continues to hold sweet memories for me.
The rushes of adrenalin, causing the rapid pounding, will the pressure be contained? The theory of spontaneous combustion, results of cause and effect, does the end serve the means? January will always follow December, winter will always precede spring, life starts; the end is the beginning. Action reaps reactions, for every yes, there will be a no or maybe, the skies that hold stars will also have clouds. Renewal can only be gained after the rain, growth is enhanced by the sun, and sounds of nature will deliver peace. Endure the rain! Appreciate the sun! Accept the nature!
I had started this out with the intention of sharing my thoughts about “peace” and I quickly got off topic. What do you think of when you hear the word, “peace?” I think our answers have a lot to do with who we are and where we have in our life. If you served in the military, peace might be the resolution to a conflict or war? If you are a teacher it is a higher state of “quiet time!” Even songs from country to pop have lyrics talking about peace. I have been a Christian all my adult life, accepting Christ as my Savior as a teenager. Peace for me has held different meanings based entirely upon my level of understanding, maturity and circumstances. During the Christmas season I imagine peace in the stillness of Jesus born in a manger, I can feel the crisp night air and the sounds of animals and the breathing of a newborn baby, I can see peace in Mary’s eyes as she counts fingers and toes and touches Jesus’ soft wrinkly skin. And, Joseph standing there was proud and honored to be with Mary and the newborn baby.
I have never experienced war or loss associated with military actions and I am not going to try to explain it either because I could not and would not do it justice. Peace or peaceful resolutions to war and conflicts cause celebrations for all parties as they brave new fronts for change.
Another form of peace I have experienced is the calmness after an intense sporting event, medical emergency, natural disasters, emotional distress, or extreme celebration when everything becomes still and quiet…peace settles in.
Today, I gained insight to a new level of peace that I had never recognized before, peace as a human trait. I have had three distinct people in my life that shared and communicated peace simply by being who they were, godly and blessed by God. People who express peace touch lives in very pronounced ways, I know that I am a stronger woman, a more faithful friend and truer to myself because those three individuals cared for me enough to first always speak truth to me, shared their faith with me and were are focused on me as a person, friend, colleague and companion. The three words…Peace…Acceptance…Growth describe 2013 for me, this is just the beginning!
~Blessings and Peace~
John 14:27 (NIV) “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”