Peace: Walking Through November

~ week one ~

There are a thousand reasons to lose your peace this time of year.  There is the juxtaposition of serving real need straight through the holidays and feeding/buying/satisfying me.  Go ahead and be honest.  Go ahead and laugh out loud if you need to.  Both laughter and honesty are good for the soul.  The truth is wherever you land on the spectrum of self and other centered, you will be fighting the good fight of peace from now until January 2, 2016.

The reality is most of us will have a two sided list.  One side looks like supplies for shoebox stuffing parties, love bags and food pantries.  The other side is filled with gift lists, holiday menus, decoration ideas and party plans.  Between both lists, we have the capacity to lose our peace and purpose in the midst of so much to deliver.  But, I think, instead, we can choose to breathe in small and simple.

Small living is something that has been working its way into my soul for awhile now.  Small living, in part, means simplicity.  Think of spring cleaning of the mind, body and soul.  Think about organization; mental clarity, like first things first; clear purposes; financial order and internal peace.  These are basic truths.  I have learned to bring these things to the forefront of my life planning and decision making.  I can say things like I have a plan, I (think) I know where I am going.  Simplicity helps me stay on the course I believe God has planned for my life.

The other bend of small living speaks to living and moving and breathing as if every single moment and encounter matter.  This means knowing my poeme – – or the poem that God has put in me to express in this lifetime.  To know the sound, feel, space and touch of my poeme.  To know that poeme can direct and breathe right into your planning and decision making.  I think this is where peace begins.

Peace is something that grows within.  It’s a reservoir to pull from when life kicks, screams and yells in your direction.  It’s also a quality that permeates your daily grind.  It comes from a deep sense of knowing on the inner spaces of your self that you are loved.  You are perfectly and wonderfully designed.  Peace comes from the knowledge that your imperfections have the potential to bring out the miracles in you.  Peace frees you up to believe in dreams, passions and hopes for yourself and others. Peace lets you choose from what is better to best.

Peace is something we have to fight for these days.  Especially as the season calls Game On.  The season is committed to making your list and budget twice its natural size.  Before you unknowingly commit yourself to the madness, draw from God’s peace.  Find your simplicity.  Find your way of living small.  Find your simple path with the full knowledge of God’s desire to do far more than we can hope or imagine.  That way, we will see more of Him in this season than we could ever have hoped or imagined.

By Sasha Katz

Full Indeed

By AbbyA

We are eight children, six adults, many bags of little toys, crafts, snacks and a willingness to do some good.  Twelve empty shoeboxes being filled for delivery to children throughout the world.  We run out of shoeboxes before we run out of little toys and crafts.  Two parents drive to the shoe store up the corner to get more boxes.  Sixteen shoeboxes full.  Full indeed.

I am taking the week off with my kids.  Sitting on couch watching C.S. Lewis’ Prince Caspian.  I get up to get my feverish daughter something to eat.  Cleaning up along the way.  Picking up the media package that reminds me each year to fill shoeboxes, and the tears begin to stream down my cheeks.  I am partly sad because of the world we have delivered to our creator.  Partly sad because of my heart’s cry to do more to change our world.  Partly sad that we are so broken as a people.

I am overwhelmed in the kitchen.  Pouring into my kids this morning.  Attempting to pour into the world with the causes we support and volunteer work we do.  Thinking how both are intentional and sacrificial, but miniscule in comparison to the need.  Overwhelmed by the work to be done for His glory.  As His hands and feet.  He meets me there in the kitchen.  The big and small work together for My good.  Calm your aching heart for I have overcome the world.  Part of me stops there.  For I have overcome the world.  I have never understood this remedy to the human struggle.  We are burdened to do His work and should.  But He has already overcome the world.  He has won the battles of this world and taken my human struggles with Him to the cross where He declared victory for me.  I am full indeed.

The burden I am experiencing falls off my shoulders.  He gives me zeal to continue to pour into my kids.  Zeal to continue to pour into the world.  There is not one lost effort to save or love in His name.  There is not one empty or void act when done for His glory.  Small acts are not welcomed in and of themselves.  They are received in cargo containers to be worked together for His good.

In His hands, small acts are yeasted up to rise like dough – – double and triple their original size.  Small acts become full acts when worked in His hands.  The movie ends and my tears continue to fall for the love of my children.  I look into my older boy’s eyes and tell him No matter what happens in your life, do not be afraid because you have Jesus in your heart.  I pause.  And when you get to the very end of your life, do not be afraid.  Take Christ’s hand and let him lead you into eternity.  He stares back and wraps his sweetie-boy arms around me.  Full indeed.