Finding Peace in the Chaos
- Dena Johnson Martin Dena's Devos
- 2016 12 Jan
My life is a tumultuous, chaotic affair.
There was a day when I was the mother of three precious children, all under the age of five. My days were filled with diapers and feedings. I constantly prowled around, watching for my five year old’s stray Lego before my toddler choked on it. I found myself pulling kids off tables and counter tops as I entered a room. I focused on every minute danger that my infant daughter might find. The days were long, exhausting. I longed for the days when I could take a deep breath.
Today, my house is filled with two teenage boys and a tween daughter. Gone are the days of diapers and feedings and household dangers. Now, my life is a non-stop race run at break-neck speeds. In the midst of working a full-time job and building a ministry, I spend my days chasing kids across the state, supporting them in all of their activities and pursuits. I struggle with balancing the day-to-day chauffeuring of children whose social lives are growing and expanding. From basketball to tumbling to choir to quiz bowl to pig shows. From after school activities to weekend activities to school day activities. From orthodontist appointments to doctor appointments to eye doctor appointments.
This past week has been one for the books. Monday, I needed to get my oldest to a surgical follow up at the doctor’s office. We also had tickets to the OKC Thunder game Monday evening because my daughter and her choir were performing the national anthem. I was trying to make arrangements to deliver game tickets to twelve different people, get my daughter’s song attire to her at school, pick up six kids from six different locations, meet my daughter at the game by 5:00, and still handle my job responsibilities. I had offers from various family members to help, but I was so confused I didn’t even know where to start!
I think I would go back to the days of diapers and midnight feedings any day…
Many days, I find myself crying out to God, begging him to lighten my load. I ask him to make something break, answer one of my many prayers that would somehow allow me more time in my life. I remind him of the many promises he has made that would make my life less complicated, of his faithfulness to fulfill every promise he has made. I remind him how I often feel my kids are being served left-overs…left-overs of my time and my energy and for meals. I remind him of his love and care for me and my kids and how things have to change because I simply cannot keep going at this break-neck speed.
And he simply says, “Rest.”
Rest in my promises. Rest in my word. Rest in my purpose. Rest in my calling on your life. Rest in your faith.
Rest in me.
And that’s where I am in my journey, struggling to learn how to rest in the chaos.
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
Perfect peace. The only peace that keeps us sane in the midst of the chaos. How do we obtain this perfect peace? By keeping our minds steadfast, focused on God, on his word. By trusting in our Father, his plans and his purposes.
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31
Hope. A gift of our Father. A firm belief that things will get better, that we will not only survive but thrive in this season. Placing our confidence in a God who makes all things work for our good. When we have that hope, he promises we will run, we will soar. We will thrive through the chaos.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Come. Don’t stay at a distance. Draw close when we are weary and burdened. Yoke with him, as a smaller, weaker oxen in the same yoke so he can do the work for us. He doesn’t weigh us down with heavy burdens; instead, he carries the load for us.
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. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:6-8
Prayer. Pause and talk to God in the chaos. Don’t worry about how it will all get done, but instead ask God to accomplish those things through us, to give us wisdom to focus on the most important things. Focus our minds on things above, things that are excellent and praiseworthy, noble and true. Be transformed by the renewing of our minds so his peace which transcends all understanding will guard our hearts and minds.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
Be still. Find times of solitude. Let him speak to our weary souls in those moments, reminding us that he is God and he is in control.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:6-10
Cast. Throw. Pitch as long and as far and as hard as I can. Every burden. Every struggle. Every concern of this season. They aren’t mine; they are his. And, this chaotic season will end. When I have stood firm, humbled myself, guarded myself from the enemy, he will one day have me restored, firm and steadfast.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
Grace. Power. They are ours. In our weakness. His strength. His perfection. I gladly boast that I am weak, that I am unable to keep going on my own. It is then I can tap into his strength, into his power.
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment.And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39
Love God. Love yourself. If you aren’t loving and caring for yourself, you won’t be able to extend love to others. Take a break. Step away from the chaos. Give yourself permission to treat yourself, to be nice to yourself. You won’t regret it.
This season of my life will one day come to a close, and I will long for the days of chasing my kids, of having them around me all the time. They will grow up, move out, establish families of their own. My life may be chaotic, but I am confident God can bring peace and rest even in the midst of our frenetic schedules.
Dena Johnson is a busy single mom of three kids who loves God passionately. She delights in taking the everyday events of life, finding God in them, and impressing them on her children as they sit at home or walk along the way (Deuteronomy 6:7). Her greatest desire is to be a channel of God’s comfort and encouragement. You can read more of Dena’s experiences with her Great I AM on her blog Dena's Devos.
Publication date: January 12, 2016