I dropped my bags on the kitchen floor after an emotionally draining day... a draining week if I’m being honest. My hair as frazzled as my nerves, and my patience short. Very short. Baby had been interrupted during his nap not once but twice, and as he woke up for the third and final time, he was confused and upset. Inconsolable. I handed Restless One to his dad so I could start clearing a pathway in my small, messy kitchen. The screaming and fighting continued. I looked up to see my son, Conrad, kicking and flailing in the strong arms of his dad. My husband, Ethan, gentle and calm, held the “storm”. Conrad was exhausted. Ethan offered comfort. Conrad was frightened and confused. Ethan offered stability. Ethan knew what Conrad wanted… what he needed and so he wiped away his tears, hummed him a tune, held him close and waited. Conrad wanted rest and comfort but he fought the arms that were offering it. Instead of surrendering to the strength of his dad, he flailed and cried and fought. He exhausted himself trying to get what he already had possession of. Oh sweet one. I wanted to look him in the eyes and tell him to lean back, to stop fighting, and to accept the arms that are holding him. If he would only do that, then he would find that he had been in the presence of what he wanted that whole time. Peace.
He had been fighting for what he longed for because he never stopped long enough to realize what was in front of him. Ethan gently rocked him until the calm came. Silence now filling the air and peace filling my lungs like a deep inhale. Jesus whispered in my ear, “that’s you.” My week had been a rollercoaster. Outcomes looked different than I had dreamed. I gave unmet expectations the power to shatter my heart. I was full of fear and sadness. In the midst of that cloud, I questioned God. “Why are you answering this way?” “Why is this situation so slow to change?” “Will you ever answer?” I let fear control me and I wept. In my longing for peace, for understanding, for answers, I flailed against the only One who holds those revelations. In my longing for peace I fought against the arms of the One who spoke stormy waves into stillness. I was that child fighting against the rest that I longed for in the arms of Peace. That was me. And Jesus was in my living room, teaching me through the normal things... illustrating my struggles right in front of me. God is kind, isn’t he? And creative. Boy is He creative.
Peter found himself in the middle of a storm, at the mercy of a wooden vessel being thrown into the walls of angry waves. In His fear, He saw Jesus in the water-- the Prince of Peace standing in the midst of storm. Without thinking, Peter walked out on the waves towards Peace, but he took his eyes off his desired end, and he began to sink-- water splashing his face and filling his mouth... coughing and choking, he called out to Peace, and He came. Jesus came and held him and the waves became still. Peter attempted to reach the calm in the storm on his own. He attempted of his own strength and found himself becoming engulfed by fear and panic. But when he surrendered his own attempts and cried out for help, He came. Jesus brought peace. He is peace. And He is trustworthy.
“”Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” -James 5:11
Do you have that thing you are wrestling with? Do you have that ache that just nags until you feel like you can’t breathe? Are you clinging to that piece of sadness or bitterness? Journeying for peace? Fighting the waves on your own to reach that calm? Stop! Surrender. Put up your arms and give up. Give the fight to the One who is Strong enough. Fall into the arms that are already holding you. Let Him pull you out of drowning waters. Rest in His arms. He will bring Peace. He will bring Himself. We have seen the “end of the Lord” time and time again. His stories end with the glorification of Himself. His stories end with compassion and tender, perfect mercy. Don’t focus on the waves, focus on the One walking on top them.
I’m reminded of that little poem from Sunday school about Jesus coming to your house. I remember the thought bringing my mind alert. Immediately evaluating my choices in housekeeping and entertainment. The thought brought more anxiety than excitement. But here’s the thing! The more I learn about WHO HE IS, the more I see Him everywhere all the time! Especially my home. And that’s where He was yesterday. Right past the grocery bags piled up and the sink overflowing. He is teaching me in the cleaning and the car rides and the coffee dates. He is always teaching if we look. Look for him in the quiet moments, stop in the rush and ask to see what He’s saying. His presence, once a feeling of dread and heaviness, now brings me hope. My doors are swung wide open.
Jesus, come teach me. Show me your love for me through my children. Show me your dedication through my marriage relationship. Open my eyes. May I be ready. Make my life and my home into a classroom. I don’t want to miss a thing.
ARH Staff Writer