When You Go Looking for Peace

Today had a lot of good in it, but there was a lot of hard, too. The waking up, knowing that there would be dishes to clean and loads of laundry to wash, and bins of clothes to sort, and a kitchen floor that desperately needed swept. I felt like I was wading through cereal crumbs and dried up mac-n-cheese and broken crayons and lost pieces of art.

When you walk around hearing crunching noises, you hope to goodness that nobody pops in for a surprise visit. You just gotta set your nose to the grindstone and get crackin’, Jackin.

So, I made my mental list of all the need-to-dos and told myself that I should keep trying to teach Gideon to read today, and that I should potty-train Hope, like for real this time, and before I knew it, I was over the stove, scrubbing gunk off the burners, wondering what it meant to have peace in my heart and if God really did exist, after all.

It’s amazing how quick a girl can wear herself out, though she’s only been up a couple hours.

But, as I stood at that stove, I went ahead and talked to God. And I asked Jesus, since He’s the Prince of Peace, and He lives inside of me, how in the world do I tap into His peace when all I see and feel is chaos?

He reminded me that talking to Him was a good start. And thanking Him, right then and there, for the laundry and the dishes and the little kids with all their mess, was quite helpful, too. And then He brought to my mind this:

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, because I’m gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul. My yoke is easy. My burden is light.  (Matthew 11:28-30)

And this:

Cast all your cares on the Lord, because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)

And I was really needing Him to tell me these things. Because I have a pretty easy life, but I can still wear myself out with all these expectations. This self-inflicted guilt that I always have to be producing, and I have to do it right, and I have to reach a standard, and it has to be now.

But, Jesus knows how quickly I can burn myself out on my religion of doing, and so He offers His back to carry my burdens.

He offers me His back. I think about that. His back that was once bent and bloodied, to free me up from the greatest burden a soul can know. The burden of a sinful self. The burden of not measuring up and not getting it right and falling and failing again and again.

And here He is once more, offering me His back to carry the burden of a weary, worn-out, stressed and striving life. I don’t  have to go at this alone, to pick myself up by my boot-straps and muster up some strength and fly by the seat of my pants.

He wants me to live all this life with Him. It’s in keeping company with Jesus, that I learn the unforced rhythms of His grace. I come to Him and recover my life. I look over at Him right there, and I find soul-rest.

Now, the day didn’t go perfectly from there. I ended up yelling really loud at the kids, I never once attempted to teach Gideon to read, and Hopey peed on the couch.

But, there was all this grace. We did a lot of hugging and holding, a little bit of crying, and a fair amount more praying.

And right after I tucked the kids into bed, and in between Hopey getting up three more times, I read these words:

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” (Psalm 23:6)

My favorite blogger unpacked that verse. She wrote about how the Hebrew word for “follow”  means to “pursue, to run after, and to chase.”

So, as I sit on my bed, unpacking the day, I realize that all along as I was working and trying, loving and failing, God was relentlessly running…hard after me. The girl who sometimes wonders if He really does exist.

When I was covered up in discouragement and hunting for His face, He was right there all along, passionately pursuing me.

He tells us to come to Him and He’ll give us rest. So I did. Or maybe it was mostly Him running up to me. Either way, I felt lost but now I’m found. He says that He’s the Prince of Peace.

I believe Him.

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