The house—and me—spins: laundry, school lessons, library books, basketball games, bills, phone calls, meals, dishes, women’s Bible Studies, diapers. Too often, I am dizzy: Anyone know how to get off? In the whirl of it all, I crave retreat, sanctuary, monastery.
On the milestone of my thirtieth birthday a few years ago, my sister-in-law presented me with a journal embossed with one simple word: PEACE. I cried. It was all I wanted. Just that one simple, frustratingly elusive word: PEACE. The homeschooling mother of (then) five young children, eight years of age and under, I was desperate, at a breaking point, for some place of serenity. I held the journal in my hands, lip trembling, tears streaming. PEACE. How could I find it? I had to find it.
I went for walks down through the woods, sat by the pond, journalled, prayed. Peace was short-lived, the angst tightening its relentless grip as I walked home: How could I fold art study into our school days? How could I make weekly, even monthly, date times with each of the children? How might I persuade the baby to sleep through the night so I could be a more attentive wife?
I went a way to a cottage for a few days, read Gift from the Sea and soaked in the Psalms. Peace pooled around my toes, wetting me, quenching me…and then ebbed away again, lost at sea, as waves of worries flooded in: How could I balance my own creative, intellectual pursuits, my own spiritual growth, in the midst of the paramount endeavor of discipling these little people for the Lord’s glory?
I had thought somewhere quiet would ensure peace. It didn’t. I was still in my skin. Peace wasn’t a place I could find on a map, or even a place that I could create. Peace wasn’t a place to live in.
I came home to the noise, embraced the kids, and laughed loud and long. Peace wasn’t “out there.” He was here. Peace was a Person I could listen to.
No matter how boisterous and chaotic it gets in here, the Prince of Peace has moved in too, living here in the midst of this rambunctious, exuberant family.
In the rush and the roar of it all, I have to bend my ear to catch it:
“Listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying, for he speaks peace to His faithful people” (Ps. 85:8).
He leans down low and if I choose to listen carefully, over the cry of the baby, the scream of the toddler, the stomp of the disgruntled student, and the beep of the stove timer, I hear His voice, low and soft: Peace… Peace…Peace.
I crawl out of bed, ready to get dressed and head out, not to some rustic respite in the mountains somewhere, but into the fray of family living. For “the Lord of Peace Himself gives [me] His peace at all times, and in every situation” (2 Thess. 3:16).
How to find Peace in the crush of motherhood? Peace may come fleetingly as a reviving, necessary place, but, like a fog burning off in the heat of the day, peace as a place will dissipate. For enduring Peace, look for a Person whispering the word softly to your anxious heart: Peace, peace, peace. Seek a Person, the very Lord of Peace, who is willing to give you his very own abiding, unwavering peace.
Places come and go; tokens and pictures tucked in scrapbooks. Tickets and reservations are expensive, the cost of coffee adds up.
This Person, though? He will never leave you nor forsake you, and is close as breath upon your cheek. Peace is a Person with whom we live, keep company with, commune with.
Hear Him now, above the din? Peace. Peace.
Lord, I find Peace, wherever, whatever, when I live in You. Please, Lord. Today, let Your peace fall softly, come what may.
Originally posted in April but a truth I need to regularly revisit….