The hustle and bustle of the holidays can be overwhelming and exhausting. For a multitude of reasons from over commitment to financial pressures, it is even stressful. “I can’t even get a moment’s peace” is probably a common thought going through many people’s heads, especially if you’re a mom. When we think that, we are thinking of an earthly defined peace; a stillness, calmness, quiet. Eternal peace, however, resides in the heart.
As we move farther into the Advent season, the theme of peace abounds. Eternal peace brought to you by the Prince of Peace. Earthly defined peace is not the solution to difficult circumstances because God’s peace is so much bigger than our circumstances. We can’t doubt God’s peace and depend on our own strength. I think it takes an extremely difficult circumstance for us to realize how inadequate our strength is and then we finally surrender to God. In my blog post, Greatness, I tell about a difficult time that brought me to Jesus and being baptized. My heart was changed during that time. As my Advent Bible Study said, “Eternal peace flows from a heart that has been made new.” I experienced God’s peace during the most difficult of circumstances because I gave him my heart to heal. It is a contentment that is beyond description to someone that hasn’t experienced it.
One of my favorite authors is Shauna Niequist and she recently posted this quote by Vienna Pharaon: “Sometimes the things that will be healing for you will be disruptive to others. Sometimes setting healthy boundaries for yourself will be interpreted as betrayal to others. And sometimes the decisions you make for your life that you understand will be misunderstood by others. Work on getting comfortable in that space.”When I read this quote, I realized how comfortable I am in that space. I am completely at peace and what a wonderful place to be after all the betrayal and hurt and hardship. The strengthening of my faith was disruptive to those in my life that don’t know Jesus. The peace and confidence that I gained from my relationship with Jesus changed my priorities and I was no longer fulfilling expectations like I had done for decades. When I knew that I could no longer trust people I deeply loved, I knew I had to exit the relationship as my boundary to protect my heart from further hurt. Jesus gave me the peace to be able to do that; to make me stronger and allow me to be my best version of myself.
The peace that you find amidst suffering is the kind of peace that will sustain you. It’s not a peace you get from a spa day or something pleasant. It is the peace of a changed heart. That changed heart can still feel hurt, betrayal, anger, and other difficult emotions, but the peace within triumphs! I hold this favorite bible verse of mine close to my heart and I read it every day: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:6-7