"...Satan wants me to live in the land of anxiousness and make up things to worry about...to spend nights without sleep...to crumble into pieces without peace in my heart...to operate in weakness...to bicker and argue...he wants to distract me from God." (p88)
"I have peace in my life because I have come to rest in my belief in God. I trust that if I seek His will, He will not hide His direction from me. I believe in eternity and that gives me peace for these earthly days. I really believe that God works and reworks all things together for good. He restores what has been broken and heals what has been wounded. I DON'T HAVE PEACE BECAUSE I FIGURED IT ALL OUT. I HAVE PEACE BECAUSE I BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST." (p95)
"...the peace our souls long for was made on the cross and to this day comes only by the poured out presence of the Holy Spirit in us. It's beyond our human grasp and yet we get to enjoy the benefits of this supernatural gift. That's called a blessing. You know God is giving peace beyond understanding when the same old thing that always makes you scream happens, but this time you don't. That is a God-given peace that comes from His presence in your heart." (p95)
Then the author lists some potential characteristics of a woman who has become a peacemaker.
1. She has surrendered her life to God and she is not mad about it. She is learning to trust Him with the outcome, and beyond trust, she anticipates that His plan will be more exciting and better than she could have imagined.
2. She tends the hearts of those she loves. Petty details decline in value. Love matters more.
3. She is beginning to see what counts for eternity and gives her attention accordingly.
4. She is interruptible.
5. She looks into the eyes of neighbors and strangers and the goofy friends of her kids [and husband and boys] and sees the person who wants to be loved and valued and applauded.
6. She understands that life doesn't always turn out right and people don't turn out right and just about everything needs to be covered with forgiveness.
7. She is slow to mumble stupid words of discouragement.
8. She considers when it is appropriate to become angry.
9. She is way past appearances and pretense.
10. She surrounds herself with passionate contentment.
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!. Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 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. Finally, brothers, 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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put into practice, and the God of peace will be with you." -Philippians 4:4-9
I had an opportunity to be interruptible last night. Mike is away for two days on a business trip and I was definitely ready for some quiet after bedtime. Elijah usually takes a long time to settle in and go to sleep, but last night was later than usual. I was on the computer, doing the all important Facebook - ha, ha, when he came down stairs to say that he couldn't get to sleep. My initial and usual reaction is to simply shoo him off to bed with a definitively annoyed voice, and sometimes anger if it isn't the first time he's come downstairs to remind us that he can't get to sleep. BUT, I stopped what I was doing, looked him in the face and saw that he was feeling sad about Daddy not being home and my heart filled with compassion. I felt the same way...I wanted Mike home, too. We headed up stairs and I impulsively told him to come snuggle in my bed with me before I tucked in him. We had one of our sweetest, most meaningful conversations of all time. (The other being our conversation when Elijah asked Jesus into his heart.) We talked about all sorts of things - from the day's activities to favorite school subjects, to building forts, to wishes for snow and sledding, to birthday party plans. Just before getting out of bed I told Elijah that he needed to give me a big squeeze and I shared with him how blessed I am that he is my son and how excited Daddy and I were when he was born. That led to a lengthy conversation about having babies (nothing in depth...whew...) and Elijah asked me pointedly if I ever wished I had a baby girl instead of one of the boys. Wow. I told him that if God never chooses to bless us with a baby girl then I will still be the most blessed mama in all the world because I have three wonderful sons. Elijah concluded that he had better start praying for another baby, specifically a girl. And this morning at breakfast he kept his word..."Dear Jesus, Thank you for my banana bread with chocolate chips, my milk and please give our mama a baby girl in her tummy. Amen." I have to admit that I thought Isaac was a girl, not based on anything other than my imagination, and was shocked that he wasn't. I would love to have a girl. Or another boy. But that isn't God's plan for our family to this point and that's where all this ties back in to what I've written above....waiting for God's timing and anticipating that His plan is better than my imaginings, surrendering control and not blaming God, being passionately content with where I am, being interruptible and focusing on what counts for eternity.
Elijah, in his childlike innocence and faith, ministered to me and blessed me in a very personal way last night. Praise God I was interruptible!