Peace?? What Peace?

John 14:27 NLT

I am leaving you with a gift, peace of mind and heart, and the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

Peace.  It’s a word we hear very often, especially this time of the year.  Peace be with you. Love and Peace. Prince of Peace. But what does peace mean to you? Have you ever experienced it? If you are like me, this gift from God has been difficult for me to accept.  I seem to always get in the way of His perfect peace.  You see, even as a young child, growing up in a Christian home, I struggled with fear.  For as long as I can remember, I remember knowing God.  You’d think I’d be better at this! But no, years of worry add up and then add my most precious gift…my kids…and then life’s concerns are even more amplified.  Despite my best efforts to combat these feelings via devotionals and God’s word, it got to the point where I would get a little panicky in stores or even driving down the road.  Anxiety was getting the best of me.

My fears and worries were pretty much irrational.  Mostly health related. Sudden heart attack, sudden fainting, sudden accident, sudden gal bladder attack…?? What is with the sudden thing…? I am telling you, irrational!  But then, early this year, I did have a serious health issue.  Thank God, through surgery and prayer, my issue was taken care of.  But in the midst of facing that concern, I was a mess! And then there was the guilt….the guilt of why am I so scared when I am a Christian? I desperately wanted to experience that ‘peace that surpasses all understanding’. I wanted relief from the heavy burden of worry.  So, during my recovery, we did the most logical thing, adopted a puppy!!  I am NOT saying get a dog to experience peace! And maybe don’t make any long term decisions when recovery from surgery 🙂

The Dog Whisperer always says you have to be calm to lead a dog, they know how you really feel. The funny thing is, our daily morning walks became my ‘peace training’ as I tried to learn how to be calm. So as I walked and talked to God, I got better and better at calming my mind and my soul.  One day it hit me, I am not as uptight as I used to be.  Or wow, that would’ve really upset me before. I was more calm, more at peace.  I wasn’t dwelling on those ‘what if’  health or safety worries anymore.  Now don’t get me wrong, this is a daily battle for me and some days are better than others.  But, I noticed I used to worry about things like the kids at school and now, I pray for them and leave it to God.

This Christmas season are you at peace? Uh, I am struggling. I get it.  There are a thousand things to do, lots of family time, money is flying out the window, entertaining, cookies, shopping….ugh.  I have reminded my family, sometimes loudly, the reason for the season! When I really needed to check myself! I have needed to refocus many times this month. But I am determined to keep fighting so I can experience His gift of peace.

Why aren’t you experiencing this gift of Peace? Are you struggling with finances, a health issue? Are you missing a loved that has gone on before you? Are you alone, with no family to spend the holidays with? I know so many of us are experiencing painful situations and it is easy to say, find peace. But we do know a Prince of Peace who offers this gift of ‘peace that surpasses all understanding”. We have to ask. He’ll give it.  You might be like me, and some days you might have to ask for it 100 times! And it might not be instant, it might be a gradual calming feeling.  Who knows, you might be walking your dog and next thing you know…peace.

Father God, thank you for your perfect gift of peace.  Help me not to get in the way of receiving this lovely gift you so freely want to give. No matter what we are going through, help us to remember that you are in control.  There is nothing too big, too hard, too complicated for you to handle.  You are the God of the universe and you love us. Help us to experience your peace this Christmas season. Amen

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