Sunday, November 1, 2009

Joy and Peace...or Sorrowful Chaos??

Diving in today with these 2 Fruits of the Spirit....
*I fully admit that I have not posted this for days and days due to the fact that I do not believe I am living out Joy and Peace as much as I should be. I believe what I have written below, but believing it and living it out is SO different. But this is what I strive for...

So, How do I practice Joy and Peace in my parenting??

Something I learned years ago in college was that JOY does not equal HAPPINESS. I may wake up feeling crabby, my circumstances may be challenging. All my children may be screaming, my fridge may be empty, my laundry overflowing, and Daddy may not be home for another 5 hours... but I can still choose to be Joyful.

"The Joy of the Lord is your Strength" Nehemiah 8:10

I am by no means saying put on happy face and grin and bear it. However, I do believe that as moms (especially of young children) we can sometimes dwell on how challenging our life is. And hear me... our life IS challenging! But I want to enjoy it, not just barely survive it!

I believe the key to how we can enjoy and FIND Joy in our days begins with the source of our Joy...and that is in our relationship with Christ. I am convicted that too often I wake up and expect to have a great day without first connected to the Vine.

I desire for my children to experience a Joyful mother, not a woman who begrudgingly gets them up from nap, who grumbles as I fix their snack, and snap at them when I am buckling 3 carseats. I long to be full of Joy as I go about my day with my children.
One application to help us to BE Joyful is to actually practice Rejoicing! Just think about it...There is always something you can rejoice about. Let's take our eyes off ourselves and our circusmtances and put them on God, on all He is doing around us. Think about all He has provided for us, instead of all we still need. If we make a habit of Rejoicing in the Lord, and I think we will find we will become more Joyful!

"Seek Peace and pursue it" Psalm 34:14

Is such a thing possible with 3 children 4 and under? Ask me in 10 years.
But really... I do think that Peace and Joy are related somehow. I find that when I am rushed in the morning, when chaos abounds, it is highly unlikely that I will be full of Joy. But when I am organized, when I have a semblance of structure in place...when peace is present in our is a much better day for all.

The first aspect of peace I think is important to look at is the presence of peace...I believe that preparing an environment of peace is my responsibility as a mom. For me, this means "prepping" our house the night before, taking all the shoes, toys, books, etc back to their respective places...even if I know they will all be out in the living room again by 9:00 the next morning. Am I the perfect preparer of peace? No way.... but I believe that if I put more thought into preparing a presence of peace in our home, I would actually feel more peace in my heart throughout the day.

The second aspect is the peace in my heart. We all know the song
"I've got a peace that passes understandin' down in my heart, where?"

In Philippians 4:7 Paul follows up the verse on not being anxious and taking all our requests to God with the promise that "the peace of God, that transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."

Jesus himself promises "My peace I leave with you; my peace I give you" John 14:27

Well if these are promises, then why is my heart so troubled? Why do I feel like there is NO peace. Isaiah tells us:
"You will keep in perfect peace
him whose mind is steadfast,

because he trusts in you." Isaiah 26:3

And I am the first to admit that I am not very steadfast, and have a hard time in trusting the Lord. No wonder Paul had to remind us over and over to not be anxious, or to let our hearts be troubled. It is so hard to do. But when spiritually my heart is at peace, then my words and actions and relationships will ooze with peace as well.

"A heart at peace gives life to the body" Proverbs 14:30

Many churches (Episcopal, Lutheran, Anglican) have a time in the service to "pass the peace" Our church does a "congregational greeting" but there is really something warming to your soul when everyone says
""The Peace of God be with you"
"And also with you"

I don't know about you, but perhaps we need to Pass the Peace a little more around our house and not just at church.

- Be Joyful
- Rejoice!
- Live in Peace
- Pass The Peace

1 comment:

  1. I really agree with the importance of a presence of peace. A crazy house makes a crazy mommy. It's so easy for me to get overwhelmed and discouraged as I look at my surroundings, but just doing something always makes me feel better. Good post! I bet your children see a whole lot more joy and peace in you than you give yourself credit for.


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