I quite literally live by this promise!
I quite literally live by this promise!
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 (NIV)
Every Sunday, I sit and worship and wait patiently to hear these words “May the peace of the Lord be always with you!”
I know these words by heart and I can say them to myself at any time. But, I like hearing them repeated in the glorious and peaceful Cathedral sanctuary. I am focused, obsessed and desiring to obtain that peace from God.
This is my favorite season of worship as I relive the long, torturous, and dusty road to Calvary. A horrific journey for Jesus who wishes to grant us grace and peace. A journey that is both tragic and triumphant.
This Lenten season I am writing for myself. I am writing for anyone who cares to read. I am writing for God. I am writing.
I hear the trees.
In the mountains, our home is surrounded by the lush green foliage of pines, oaks, maples and elms. As the wind picks up speed, the trees rustle and move as though God has breathed a sigh and all of nature quivers with joy.
There is a special peace that comes when I take the time to sit and wait for nature’s call to my soul. Absent the cacophonus sounds of city life, there is the melodious chorus of birds, crickets, and the subtle flap of a hummingbird’s wings.
For a minute, my soul is calm and refreshed.
For a minute God speaks and calls to me.
I feel the presence of God and know that love surrounds me. It is the same for you. It only requires a willingness to listen.
Be still and know that He is God.
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. Psalm 96:12
This past week has been a hard one for people of faith.
In the one place you expect sanctuary, respite, and acceptance is the Church. This was not so in South Carolina.
Nine precious people were overwhelmed by extremist hatred and paid for it with their lives.
It doesn’t make sense. There are no answers. God did not cause this.
I do know this…
Hate will not win. Darkness is overcome by light. Love never dies and God still sits on His throne.
I look for a brighter and better tomorrow but I won’t forget the sacrifice of so many.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)
My Dad was a Prisoner of War in Nazi Germany. It was an important part of his legacy.
As the pilot of a B-17, he was shot down over Stuttgart and parachuted into a lake where he treaded water until the German military arrived. Any soldier who swam to shore would be beaten or killed by waiting citizens. This was the reality of war.
My Dad did not start talking about his war experience until late in life. I think his sons, grandsons (one of whom is a Naval Commander) and friends wanted to know his story. It was dramatic and cringe-worthy and was difficult for me to comprehend. War is just so horrible.
This was a big part of my Dad’s life; a life lived well with significant highs and lows. The war was a low point for a man who was never defeated in spirit.
However, I really didn’t want to hear about it. I didn’t like to hear about my Father in danger.
I am proud of my Father’s heroism and his military skills of survival. But, I liked the Dad that I knew personally. You see, my Father was one of the most fun-loving and joy-filled people that I ever knew. He had a wicked grin and a lovely sense of humor. He delighted in pranking his children and pulled some funny, funny tricks over his 91 years on this earth. There are so many stories that I can’t begin to share them all. Suffice it to say, there was rarely a dull moment around my home. He was the life of the party and the person we all wanted to be around. He was a magnet for people and they clung to him in love and laughter.
Dad had seen the worst in people including some horrid atrocities that come with being a soldier in combat. He had seen death in so many ways and did not relive those moments often.
Lent is like that for me. I have to force myself to walk through the awful process to get to the resurrection on Easter Sunday. I don’t want to consider the beaten, spit upon, abused, and mocked Jesus. That’s too hard. I don’t want to think of the blood, sweat and tears of Jesus. It is simply too painful to ponder. But sometimes, we have to remember in order to understand and appreciate the never-ending gift given to us through the shed blood of Christ. Sometimes we have to go through the worst to get to the best.
My Dad’s laugh resonates in my heart. My Lord’s sacrifice blesses my soul. The grace of Jesus Christ keeps me safe.
I am grateful. Eternally so…
“A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:32-33
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Oh sweet peace…such an illusive thing in this world.
When Jesus speaks to His disciples, He knows the future and He knows that true peace will not be something found in this world but only through Him. Jesus is the One who sacrificed His life for us ensuring an eternity covered under grace and love. A glory-filled and peaceful future. This verse still speaks to us today. It rings true and is comforting.
Struggle is an integral part of life. Succumbing to despair over struggle is a choice. I don’t know if all encompassing peace will ever be attained in this lifetime; but, I rest my heart, my soul, and my hope on Jesus and I know that peace will come.
It will come…someday.
I love a red church door.
In the more traditional religious denominations, a red church door was considered a symbol of entering into worship, into the presence of God, through the blood of Christ, the sacrificial lamb of God.
The church has historically been a place of refuge from the evils of the world both real and perceived. It remains so today.
I urge you to find your red doors. The church is not perfect but it is a place of peace and a refuge from the highs and lows of life. It is a place to share joy, peace and love. It is a place of reflection.
Most of all, through those red doors you will find God waiting to wrap you in love and spread His never-ending grace upon your weary soul.
My daughter is a bee keeper.
In truth, this is an accidental thing – she did not ask for them to take residence in her golden-rain tree but the Queen and her busy hive have established a home and destroyed the tree in the process. They are what is commonly called feral bees. For some reason, my daughter loves these unwelcome guests.
My daughter, who loves all creatures, has started a personal campaign she calls #savethebees in her quest to find someone to humanely relocate this feral colony from her yard. It is just too dangerous for bees to be around her small children.
These feral bees are active, threatening and highly protective of their home. They would attack if provoked. They can’t be trusted.
For some reason, these bees remind me of the turmoil exploding around the world. We have feral colonies attacking and hurting small babies and innocent people. There is no way to save these evil-doers. Nothing but God can fix this fight that has been going on in the name of religion for way too many years.
I wish we could #savetheworld. I wish people would acknowledge peace and allow people to live without fear.
I wish Jesus would return and set the world to rights.
Years ago when I was expecting my first child, the lamaze instructor was adamant that I find a place in my memory that was peaceful. It was to be somewhere that my mind could wander and calm my soul. It took me about a minute to pinpoint my sweet spot of undiluted happiness.
I was lucky enough to grow up with amazing parents. Not perfect, but wonderfully made and so loving to me.
Our Miami home was located on a beautiful spring-fed lake with gentle winds that cooled our home. The back yard was impressive with a seawall overlooking the lake and shaded by a huge oak tree which served as the host for a large wooden swing.
This swing was my place of peace. Hours and hours spent with my Dad talking about everything and nothing. Quiet and solitude. His dreams for my future and my Dad’s memories of his past. It was absolutely heavenly.
While in a long labor, I kept my mind mentally on that swing. I was in a labor and delivery room but I could hear a soothing voice and a soft breeze. It made a difficult time more bearable.
To this day, I go there. I go back to my swing and I talk to my Dad. He’s not with me anymore but I know he waits and I am comforted.
I know he waits for me with Jesus.
Peace fills my heart and I am calm.
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