My son is only a year old but he already likes to put things in their place. He loves throwing the building blocks back into their plastic bin with a big crash!
When my daughter finds one of her stray hairs she says “Oh! There you go!” while she places it on the top of her head…I don’t have the heart to tell her it won’t stay, but I secretly relish the childlike belief that simply placing it on your head means it’s back to it’s place for good.
In their childlike ways they appreciate organization and order.
Both love hide and seek. They are The. Worst. at hiding- a favorite “hiding spot” of both of them is anywhere… as long as their eyes are closed. (They are young. Give them a break, mama, right? No. Hide for real next time. Try, at least a LITTLE!)
But… they are simply The. Best. at being found. Giggles and smiles and dimples and squeals of “You FOUND me!” (Really guys? You were standing right in front of me. It’s cute though.
These little humans are already craving love, order, peace.
Shalom. Peace, in Hebrew.
Nothing missing, nothing broken. Found. Loved. Safe. Secure.
My Peaceful Bliss: Both delightful children play in the morning sunlight, quietly, happily, while I sip my freshly brewed coffee which I hold in my freshly manicured hand and gaze past the freshly cut flowers on the cut crystal vase on the kitchen table and contemplate beautiful spiritual truths. I have no concerns as the dishes are done, the floor is speck-less, and there is no laundry waiting to be folded. Oh and my face is washed and teeth are brushed. And I am wearing pants.
My Actual Morning: I barely notice the morning sun because my bleary eyes are squinting until the third cup of coffee, mostly because of tiredness but also because I am avoiding looking at the quantity of sticky raisins and oatmeal I will have to clean off the table, floor, and both children’s bodies. When the 3 year old has a 15 minute meltdown, tears rolling down her cheeks, small body shaking with sobs, because I gave her oatmeal for breakfast after she asked for oatmeal for breakfast, I long for peace. I wait for peace while my son mushes the oatmeal in his hair. My morning breath and slightly greasy face provide an underlying discomfort while I can’t wait for their so there will be some time for me to clean myself up and get at least a little closer to what I imagine my home needs to look like to achieve Peaceful Bliss.
When it’s finally naptime, after an almost hour long ordeal trying to get the kids to sleep, I flop on the couch and regroup. Actually I cry and scream into the pillow from frustration at my weak self, my inability to be ever-patient and to be bothered by a messy kitchen and to not be emotionally mature enough to not let my kid’s silly tantrum spark frustration and a similar strong emotional response.
Yes, when the kids are asleep it’s a break, but this peace and quiet isn’t complete peace. It’s just a pause. I want, I need peace that passes understanding. I need the peace that this world cannot give. Or I will Lose. It. Really.
Peace in my mind the world is everything resolved. But in life, everything is rarely resolved. A beautiful friend who has lived through the death of a child said this. She knows the this truth all too well. She says she almost Lost It many times.
Maybe I have Lost It too.
Maybe the It I have lost is Peace.
In my life I see disconnect between what I think peace is, and what peace actually is.
Imagined peace v. genuine peace.
I imagine everyone getting along, my house clean, and all the kids obeying me happily. Oh and drinking my coffee when it is first brewed (HA!). There have only been a few days that this has happened- when my daughter was first born and she slept all the time. Since mid 2013 this idea of peace has yet to occur in my everyday life.
Genuine peace is Shalom. Nothing missing, nothing broken.
How can I have peace when I KNOW there are things missing and broken in my life? I ask myself this question often, and am always led back to one concept- that peace cannot be found externally.
What I want more than a clean house is a family that plays hard and loves hard.
What I want more than a hot cup of coffee is the capacity to be an emotionally present and supportive mom.
I need that internal peace that protects my heart, that says everything I need is here, not missing, and that I am not broken, but whole. That who I am is complete and able to thrive wherever I find myself. That I am not alone in this life, and that the imagined peaceful things I want aren’t actually the things that I truly desire. I frustrate myself looking for that peace when the whole time a true peace quietly stands at my side.
Jesus calls me out of my imagined life and into actual life. I can end the elusive search for the perfect day, the perfect house, the perfect response, because Jesus is the Shalom that can saturate any situation. I can live anchored in peace because Jesus is the center of peace. He shows me that I don’t have to fixate on my impatience or insecurities or messy house because he’s already got that covered. He forgives and restores my heart as it fails and breaks. He is my peace fail-safe, yet so often I forget this truth and return to my quest for seeking peace in circumstances rather than in the gospel, Jesus’s story of continual and persistent restoration of this whole world to peace.
The disciple John wrote that Jesus gives us a peace unlike any other peace, and encourages us to not let our hearts be troubled and to not be afraid. When I lose it- when I lose peace, I have to remind myself (and be reminded by others) where true peace comes from and look for it there.
I can sense myself becoming afraid- just like the disciple Peter in the story of how Jesus calls him to walk on the water in the middle of the storm- I can look at my circumstances and believe in the circumstances ability to give me peace or I can choose to believe that Jesus is able to be my source of peace. What is funny to me are that both are impossible but only one is true.
So today I write, from a messy house with not-purposely-iced-but-accidentally-left-out-cold coffee, to remind myself, and anyone else who needs reminding, to fight for peace-not just the things you think will bring you peace. Circumstances and surroundings will never bring us peace. We have to recognize the storm for what it is but we will sink unless we look for Jesus in the middle of it- He is close by and ready to bring you Shalom, if you only ask. Work, health, friendships, political concerns, relationship issues, laundry issues, anything.
Peace out! 😉
ps- (sorry for saying peace out. It’s so cheesy it’s ridiculous but I can’t help myself)