It has been one of those days.
The kids bicker about toys, who is in who's room, who isn't in who's room, who is eating the first bite first, who is eating the last bite last, who has which markers, and WHO, for goodness sake, is wearing out the black?
The littlest boy breaks down at least seven times over a Playmobil Knight he thinks he can buy today. Not because anyone promised him he could, but because he's saving up. He already has $2 - from the next time Mama offers to buy him a treat. At that coming time, he'll refuse and save the money instead, thus, he's already ahead. He's already figuratively banked $2. When the oldest boy debates his plan and calls it 'impossible', tears flow down soft cheeks. And flow. And flow. And again at the health food store, and again when we eat lunch, and again when I serve him dinner, and again when we bake Cinnamon Buns.
A girl with golden hair sits alone at the back table weeping because she was blamed for something she didn't do.
We don't finish Language Arts because no one is paying attention and I'm the only one left at the table.
I hold my head and blink hard. My eyes squeeze tight. Days like this, I feel the world spinning out of control. I know, it's a little world - but it's my world and it is 14 hours a day, every day. And days like today - I feel the sting of the walls around me. The walls so many Mamas feel.
I whisper it deep down inside: Lord, help me find peace in this moment. Two children crying, one child angry with a brother-scratched face... help me find You here.
I swallow hard and slowly open my eyes to see.
What is it about this time of year? Long November - apparently people call it 'the most depressing month of the year'. Although I can't call our month depressing by any stretch - I feel the longer days pressing in. I feel the weight of the season and with it, the hard times too.
I talk to my best friend over coffee. She smiles sweet but speaks of the pain in her heart. Her son - he may not make it home for Christmas. The lights, the trees, the decorations - they're all stinging reminders that he's not here and he may not make it. My heart aches for her. I can do nothing but pray.
She whispers to me that she's clinging to hope.
That even in the storm, she has peace. God's timing. God's will. Peace that surpasses all understanding. I stare into her dark eyes - God give me faith like this.
I can't help but gaze up and wonder, where is hope? I mean, when children can't make it home to their Mama, and there isn't enough food, and good people get Cancer, and young men die in car crashes, and little girls drown in an icy lake? I lay my head on my bed, with my feet planted on the ground, bent over like a rag doll. I'm not really praying. I'm just there, my mind swirling - whispering, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.
Five days ago, we lit the Hope candle on the Advent wreath and what can we do but cling to hope? On Sunday, we'll light the second candle - peace.
Yes, hope and peace. Isn't this what we all need?
This time of year, and always?
When all falls quiet and the bickering children have finally rested their heads and hearts - this is what keeps me going - I have an Anchor. My Anchor is Christ and He keeps me centered. The Jesus people - we have a Lord and He pulls us back to where we need to be. In the midst of hard days and bad news and unthinkable pain - yes, I can still say, 'it is well'. This is the faith I pray for, and He is the truth and the hope I cling to.
The hope that is found in the Prince of Peace who never passes away, never fails, and who's loving arms have no limit. In the darkest moments, in the confusing times, right in the middle of the out-of-control, trapped days - He is there. He can be found, waiting.
Christ steps in when we are flailing and He calms and He sorts it out and He puts it right.
When we hush long enough to breathe slow, deep breaths - we can always feel Him beside us. Whispering His sweet peace all through and all over whatever situation begs to steal joy and rob us of of His peace.
But to feel someone beside us, we need first to stop long enough to look and feel.
Look and see every moment for what it is - exactly what God gives.
Stop and feel the presence of Holy God - Immanuel, God with us. With us and for us and always right where we need Him.
Christmas is coming and we're celebrating the coming of Christ and yet, why do we forget He is still here? Always here. Right here.
Even if you'd say, '... but I don't know God'. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you. Whisper to God Almighty in your times of need. Call to Him and He will answer. Whisper the name of Jesus, even if it is so faint not a soul but your own can hear you - He still hears.
He is the Giver of Hope and the Almighty Prince of Peace. His Kingdom will never pass away, and He is calling us unto Himself.
Draw close and rest in a hope that fills darkness with bursting light. Reach and grasp onto a Peace that flows over every situation life can whip hard at us. Because the eternal Prince of Peace has already conquered it all. The Prince of Peace wins. Peace wins. Hope wins. It has already been decided. It has already been done. Now, we wait.
We wait and we tell of His glory - of His hope. Of His truth.
What could be more soothing to the spirit in the midst of stress and life's troubles than knowing Peace has already conquered? We choose Christ, and we choose Peace. Peace everlasting.
Take rest, there is an eternal Anchor - we can run to Him and hide under His mighty wings and honestly say, it is well.
I Will Rise
by Christ Tomlin
There's a peace I've come to know
Though my heart and flesh may fail
There's an anchor for my soul
I can say "It is well"
Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead
And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles' wings
Before my God fall on my knees
I will rise
There's a day that's drawing near
When this darkness breaks to light
And the shadows disappear
And my faith shall be my eyes
If you need a whisper of peace and rest this evening:
Much love and praying Christ will find you, every one of you, and shower you with His love and unfathomable peace... this weekend and always.