This is something I have thought about extensively as I watch what is going on all around me. So what is peace. The Miriam Webster dictionary (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/peace) defines peace as: a state of tranquility or quiet: such as freedom from civil disturbance, or a state of security or order within a community provided for by law or custom. This seems to be something that many people haven’t experienced in a while. I think our community not only is the physical area around us, but extends to all of our friends and families on social media, as well as all others whom we may disagree with.
This morning as my daughter and I drove to Church we talked about how beautiful the world around us is, and there was peace in everything that surrounded us on our drive. It was -17 degrees, and there hasn’t been any wind recently, so the evergreens boughs are white and full of snow. The bare birch tree branches have a build up of snow and hoarfrost. The sun was just coming up over the tops of the tress so they were brilliantly white, with touches of yellow and maybe a little pink from the residue of sunrise. It was beautiful and quiet. Peaceful.
I have anxiety. Peace is something I seek after on a regular basis. I didn’t really know that anxiety was the reason I was so particular about things growing up. I always had to been early because I couldn’t walk into a class or meeting late. I just wouldn’t go. Never wanting to ride with others, who were not immediate family, to activities or events because I felt trapped. Never wanting others to touch anything of mine without asking, and wanting things put back in a particular way. Field trips when I was really young were torture because I didn’t know what was going to happen, if we would make it back on time. What if we got stuck, what if we got lost, etc.
But, when I had kids, I figured out how much I needed peace. I also figured out where real peace comes from. I knew it in my head, but I learned it in my heart. When my kids were young I would stress at night, among other things, that one might die. I would check over and over. But I was also lacking sleep and so tired. I would pray, I still pray, that Heavenly Father would protect them, and help me be ok with whatever He knew was best. I would feel peace. I could fall asleep.
Teenagers create a lot of anxiety. I remember the first basketball trip my oldest daughter went on. I wasn’t able to attend. I tried to call her. She tried to call me. Nothing connected (that’s Alaska). I prayed. Peace came. Heavenly Father helped me remember that she was with people I trusted, people I knew would take care of her. Peace. Many trips in High School I would start to worry. Sometimes the prayer was answered with overwhelming peace, sometimes the Lord would bless me with an added measure of peace, such as a picture from a friend, a quick text on someone else’s phone from her, a social media post or link to the game where I could see her. But always, a calming so deep inside me, that only comes from one source, my Heavenly Father. Peace.
I have had so many experiences through my life to know that Heavenly Father is the author of peace. Through these experiences, and the peace and direction that always comes, the Lord has helped my weakness not be so prominent. He says He will strengthen and help us, and I know that He does. Because of that help, I no longer worry about walking in to meetings late (maybe that’s not the best one!). Field trips with my kids are awesome, even if I don’t know the schedule ahead of time. I let my kids go and do, with a cell phone, and instructions that if I am calling, you better answer, and when they leave, a very heartfelt prayer for their safety and direction when they are in need. I still drive myself when I go places, but if people want to ride along, they are welcome now. I still get anxious, but not to the point of feeling I am having a heart attach any more. I have learned to pray early, and pray often. The Lord will bring peace. Peace in this world will not come from governments, organizations, or anything external. It starts from inside each one of us, and then spreads from us to the world around. I like the verb definition of peace in the Miriam Webster dictionary: to be, become, or keep silent or quiet. Being still, being quiet and allowing the Lord to work in my life has brought me peace. I hope we all can find peace within ourselves and then share that with the world around us.