Peace in the Process:  Secrets for Finding Peace

The stresses of life can really get us down and rob us of our peace.  What are the things we worry about?  How about what don't we worry about?  Bills, kids, deadlines, housework, what to have for dinner – things can pile up so high that we're no longer getting a good night's sleep, our dentist tells us we're grinding our teeth, and we snap at our husband's slightest infraction.

Pursuing peace becomes a priority at mid-life, when change comes at the speed of light.  We experience changes in our parents, changes in our rapidly growing children, changes in our relationships, changes in our emotions.  Just the other day I saw a bill-board that read, "Uncertainty is certain.  Fear is optional."  I would alter that a bit:  "Change is inevitable, peace is optional."

The word "peace" makes me think back to summers when I was young.  Catching fireflies, late night trips to Dairy Queen, sitting on the screened-in porch listening to crickets chirp.  Summertime, three-day weekends, and holiday breaks can be cues from the calendar to slow down, plop on a porch swing, and sip a tall glass of lemonade.  Or lounge by the fireplace with a mug of hot chocolate.  School's out, schedules are relaxed, and recreation is the order of the day.

But our need for peace isn't limited to vacation time.  Only be slowing down every day do we make time for one another.  Only by stopping long enough to observe our surroundings can we bring form and meaning to our lives, and make the small adjustments needed to stay on course.  Only by shutting out all distractions and focusing solely on God can we create the time and space for Him to work in our lives.  Our kids need this kind of pause, too.  Regular rest for the spirit is needed for their healthy growth, just like sleep, fresh air, and good food.  And just as our children depend on us for three meals a day, they also need us to prepare peaceful spaces for them in the midst of their hurts, embarrassments, and the business of growing up.

When we create a haven of security and serenity – be it in a quiet room, by means of a simple ritual, or even in the space of a quick moment – we make room for their little spirits to grow.  I do not want Sarah to experience life as a fifty-yard dash from one thing to the next.  I don't want her bombarded with noise, information, and media messages – to be pulled along on a current of activity and stimulation.  I want her to learn the importance of being, and the joy of simply sitting in God's presence.  I want to teach her to live in peace, not to be in constant pursuit of it. 

The apostle Paul put it perfectly when he said, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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).

Now I'm not theologian, but my experience is this:  peace is the one thing that God always seems to give to me when I ask.  Everything can be in chaos, but a few minutes spent humbly confessing and petitioning our Lord never fails to lead to that sense of peace which surpasses all understanding.  Many of my mid-life mom friends agree:  When asked how they find peace, they each stated that regular time with God is the only way to peace.

Growth Spurts

Sarah's last month of preschool raised all sorts of emotions in me.  I was struck by how fast she was growing.  Honestly, never have I seen life pass so quickly and visibly.  I literally saw time move as her curly hair grew and her delicate fingers lengthened – and in myself, as my "smile lines" deepened.