Feb 10, 2012

Peace

This weeks photo theme and verse was on peace.  
James 3:18 "And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace."
The note in my Bible from some sermon gone past, was this:
"Peaceable - aggressive peace.  Pursue it."
I think sometimes peace is most difficult with those you are most comfortable with.  Those that you HAVE to see day after day.  People who literally are all up in your grill and hard to escape.  Perhaps that is somewhat counter intuitive, but I know that that is true for me. I know that this is true for my children as well.  Oh yes, the daily pursuit of peace with those who know you the best and spend the most time with you can be the hardest.  The people I love the most can SERIOUSLY be the MOST annoying.  I am going to to write this blog post in perfect honesty with an open heart.  Having three children has been a tipping point for me.  Two, I had in the bag. I mean I felt like I was a super mom! Three, well, I've felt stretched thin since the day we heard about Tessa's tumor when I was pregnant with her.  Three for me has often times been overwhelming. And it didn't stop after she was born and healthy.  God has been humbling me and teaching me so much by taking me apart and what I thought I could handle brick by brick.  Thankfully, He has also been building me up in a new way with much stronger and flexible stuff than I ever thought I was made of.
 For example, Little Missy is always right up in big brother and sister's business.  I hear screams of "TESSA!"  all day long as she destroys whatever they were playing with and wrecks havoc on their every activity.  Sometimes, I hear them asking me if they can just shut the door on her to escape, but then she wails from outside the bedroom pounding on it until they let her in.  She is relentless in her pestering.  I feel for them, I do.  Because you see, they can all do the same thing to me.  And I'd just like to see me TRY to lock the door for 30 blessed seconds without someone wailing at my bedroom (or bathroom) door.
Sometimes by the end of the day, I am super short
on peace.  My mind is shot, I'm angry with the (perceived) pestering that I have felt all day long, and peace does not reign supreme in the house. I feel the self control that I desire so badly start to slip. Pursuing peace is the last thing on my mind. Sometimes it just survival.  Sometimes I'm just trying to get dinner, the bedtime routine, the chores, the schooling, the errands, and everything else that goes with the day done.  The to-do list is being checked off and I can be curt while my focus is on the list. If I am aggressive, lets just say, it's not an aggression towards wrapping my mind around peace.  It's hard to focus on them, to listen, to acknowledge, to love. Ainsley showed me something this week.  She was aggressive towards loving on her sister who wanted nothing to do with it.  Sometimes love is a force.  You gotta reach out and be purposeful and show someone that you mean it.
Sometimes, I'm just angry and short with the kids and feeling overwhelmed, and it flows out onto my husband and kids.  Sometimes it's hard to just say, "You know what? I'm going to love you right now, and you are going to love me right now, even though we both don't feel like it."  I'm going to choose kind words and a patient attitude even though my emotions are screaming otherwise.
Aggressive peace.  Man, those two words just don't seem to belong together, but the more I reflected on that tiny little note in my Bible, the more I noticed that unless I am being purposeful about peace, it doesn't just happen by itself.  Sometimes, I really have to psych myself up and say some emergency prayers and just say to God, "I need some super peacemaking skills right now!" and be aggressive in making sure that my heart is double checked before I speak rude words in anger and impatience.  That I look my kids in the eye and hear what they are actually saying to me.  Peace is purposeful and an over-the-top action.
The worst feeling in the world is the feeling I get when I hear those rude tones and snappish answers streaming from my mouth as I push my children aside because I am feeling overwhelmed.  I hear my mind mumbling and justifying the tone, "Well, they whined for the millionth time so they asked for it!" But really I know that I could have handled it much better.  I could have used a strong tone which acknowledged them in a respectful way but still kindly and firmly said, no or gave correction.  My kids know the difference and so do I. When I act rude they kind of melt and get crushed but their behavior gets no better.  When I take the time to look them in the eye, speak kindly and firmly and authoritatively, the behavior changes and they are much more peaceful.
This is a growth area for me.  I know that when my margins are pushed and I start feeling overwhelmed that I can start to take it out on my family.  It's a very sad thing to admit.  I can feel my impatience rise, my mind starts ticking off all the things that I have to do or remember and how I keep getting distracted from it, and the volcano inside can start to boil.
One strategy that really helps me stay engaged with a right heart attitude is taking five minutes to regroup throughout the day here and there.  Minutes to just sit and drink my coffee, minutes going outside to look at my garden to see what new bloom is coming up for spring (this week the crocuses), a few seconds sitting in my rocker in the living room looking at some of the inspiring quotes I have put up on the walls and reflecting on these.  Do you know, I feel supremely guilty in taking these moments?  I feel lazy.  Some part of me feels that I am letting somebody down when I do.  I know they are vital to my well being, but I am still fighting with the guilt when I do.  However, if I want to walk side by side with my husband and children in peace, then I need to take a time out from the busyness.  I need to create pockets of peace in my life on a daily basis.  The busier the day, the more vital it is that I take these brief moments, and the harder it is for me to take them guilt free.
I'm learning.
I went to check on the kids before going to bed the other night and I saw this shadow across Tessa's face.  She was sleeping in perfect peace, and it was a picture worthy moment.  It was pitch dark in the room with only light from the door so I had to really crank up the settings on my camera to get it.  Wasn't it worth it though?  What a symbol of peace.  When we walk in the shadow of the Almighty, we can lay our heads down at night in perfect peace.
May you have a peace filled week.

Linked up at Beautifully Rooted

3 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing the Word and this part of your life and the beautiful pictures of your children. A much needed read today.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love this--brought tears to my eyes. You are so inspiring. Your pictures are perfect and I love hearing your heart. The last picture of Tess will sit with me a while.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love you, sweet sister! I miss you and the little littles when I'm here in Salinas, wish we were all closer. Your wise words and kind heart are always inspiring to me!

    ReplyDelete