That Perfect Peace
Dena Johnson MartinDena Johnson is a former single mom to three amazing kids: Blake, Cole, and Cassie and wife to her high school friend, Roy. She strives to follow Christ each day and to lead her children to do the same. She delights in taking the every day experiences of life and turning them into biblical lessons for her children. Dena's daily prayer is simple: Lord, my life is yours. Live through me. Love through me. Parent through me. Let me decrease that you might increase. Dena is the founder of Dena Johnson Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people find beauty through the brokenness of this life. Her heart's desire is to use her own pain to point others to the power of God who redeems every hurt, every pain. You can contact Dena at Dena@denajohnson.com. You can also find her blog at Dena Johnson Ministries.
- 2018 Apr 18
Our lives are incredibly chaotic. Even as I sit here writing, I’m surrounded by complete chaos and disorder. We have pulled everything out of two bedrooms in preparation for new flooring to be laid tomorrow. The living room is piled high with beds and dressers and clothes and everything we typically keep in our bedrooms.
It seems to illustrate this season in our lives.
Roy and I were talking last week about wave after wave after wave of trials and troubles that have hit our lives in the last few years. In all reality, it’s been an entire decade of storm warnings…storms that seem relentless.
It all started with the discovery of my ex-husband’s affair…which was about the same time Roy learned his wife wanted out.
I really don’t need to recount them all; those of you who have been with me long enough know the majority of our trials. From adultery and divorce to my grandfather’s death to my ex-husband’s death to my daughter’s diagnosis of epilepsy to where we are today. In just the seven months since our marriage, we’ve continued to face round after round of pain and the unexpected losses.
Today happens to be Roy’s dad’s birthday, the first one he’s not been here to celebrate with us. We went to dinner together and laughed and cried, remembering the who he was and the laughter he brought to our lives.
We will survive. We will thrive. We will rejoice that he has experienced the ultimate healing even as we mourn his presence here on this earth.
Last week as Roy and I talked, I mentioned the stress we carry.
“But I don’t feel it,” he said.
Yes, our lives are beyond stressful, full of pain and loss. The burden we carry as humans is way too much for any individual to bare.
Yet, the burden almost seems light. Sure there’s the emotional pain and grief, the uncertainty of what tomorrow might bring. Will my daughter have another gran mal seizure? Will his daughter overcome the demons haunting her? How will we pay for college next year? Who will we lose next?
The questions swirl through our minds, but His perfect peace is so much greater.
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3
I won’t sit here and tell you we are super-spiritual, always praying, never worrying. Couldn’t be further from the truth. Our lives are so chaotic we don’t know if we are coming or going. There are days it’s all I can do to muster the strength to open my Bible, to even say, “Good morning, Lord.” I’ve found myself too exhausted to do anything spiritual, too worn to even focus my mind for a short amount of time.
God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5b
But we know He is with us. We know His hands are surrounding us, supporting, us. We know He walks beside us, guiding our path. We know He will never leave us nor forsake us. We have a quiet confidence that tells us He will work all things for our good simply because we love Him.
So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 1 Peter 5:6-7
We try to let go, to cast all our cares on Him. Sometimes we find ourselves picking those cares back up again, wanting to bear the burden ourselves…until He gently reminds us it’s so much easier to live this life without the weight on our shoulders. We again surrender, lay those burdens at His feet, asking Him to carry them for us.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
We try to release worry and instead choose to pray, to trust Him, to praise Him through it all. It’s not easy, and it’s a daily decision to be grateful for the many blessings we have. We know when we make the conscious decision to be obedient, God blesses us with His peace guarding our hearts and minds.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8
Thinking the right thoughts is a major task but one that pays huge dividends. Training your mind to think in positive ways doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process, one that requires time and energy and lots of work. You must learn to turn your thoughts positive any time you catch yourself going down a negative path of worry and what ifs.
Can I just say Roy is an expert at this? He is probably the most positive, upbeat person I’ve ever met, so much so that I sometimes have to bring him back to reality. He chooses to look at the positive in everything.
The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. Psalm 29:11
He is our strength. He is our peace. He is the only reason we continue to move forward, to live in peace despite the chaos spiraling in our lives.
Thank you, Lord, for your perfect peace that supports us through the difficult trials this life brings. Thank you that we can cast our cares on you, allow you to carry the burdens that weigh us down. Thank you for giving us the keys to living in peace in this life. Thank you for being our guide in this life, for always walking with us no matter the chaos surrounding us. Thank you.