Isn’t that what we all want and even if we don’t know it, need?
I stumbled across this verse at a time in my life when all I needed was peace, but instead, fear, worry, anger, doubt, shame, blame and suspicion ruled the roost. I lived backed into a perpetual corner of expectations from others and myself.
My mind was always going at a 100 miles a minute. Every situation was analysed and re-analysed. Every word spoken or emailed turned over and over anxiously in my head.
For example, our pastor would send a simple email saying that he’d missed me after the service and just wanted to give through some details for the next week. And it would start: “What did he mean by that? Maybe he is trying to tell me I should have stayed behind in church to help pack up? Why do I always do this? Why didn’t I THINK?! Off course they need help packing up. Next week I am going to stay behind and help. In fact I am going to reply right now and explain why I couldn’t stay this week and that I will definitely be there next week to help before and after the service.”
And next week would come and one of three things would happen:
1. One of us would get sick and I would be unable to go, but would then send emails, texts and stopping short of smoke signals, to make sure they knew that I hadn’t just absconded (“after all, what would the people say!”), or;
2. By about an hour before we had to go to church, my poor family would have had their heads chewed off and spat out, because we are LATE. I would be ranting in the car to two teary-eyed blessings who couldn’t understand where this terrible concept of church I had created met with the sweet Jesus I was trying to tell them about;
3. Or worse even, I would be there, but grumbling about the fact that no one else helps.
I wish it wasn’t true, but it is and I have done each of these 3 at different times and sometimes all together.
I was a slave to looking and seeming perfect. I was a slave to what others thought of me. I was a slave to what I thought others thought of me. I was a mess. And I suppose that I just thought life was always going to be like that. But that is not the message of the Gospel. So God intervened.
At the beginning of 2014, I read this verse and it was as if everything within me shouted: That’s it! I want that! You know that moment when you just know that you can’t go on like that? I kept seeing this verse over and over in different places.There are only about 4 verses that God has ever confirmed and re-confirmed to me like that. “Life-verses” I suppose. I had hurt my little family (and myself) enough and I was in danger of scaring them off church and God forever.
The NKJV says:
Perfect and constant peace.
You will keep him in perfect peace,
whose mind is stayed on You,
because he trusts in You.
A marriage counsellor once told me, that any problem in any relationship, always has to do with a lack of trust. I have tested it in many of my relationships and any problems that arise always boil down to: “I don’t trust that you have my best interests at heart” or “I don’t trust that you love me unconditionally”. Which off course is absurd because we are human and selfish and definitely have our own interests at heart most of the time.
But in this case it meant that the problem in my relationship with God, had to do with trust. I didn’t completely trust that God had my best interests at heart. And that is why I had to try and take control of every situation and scenario, because: “Just suppose God doesn’t come through”.
So, I wept and repented of that and I asked God to help me trust Him. As Joyce Meyer says: I was desperate to become addicted to peace.
It was a long road and it took me repeating this verse over and over maybe 10 times a day every time I caught myself getting on the merry-go-round of thoughts again, before it sank in. “I trust You”, “You keep me in peace”, “Hey, this is not peace, so it’s not of You”, but finally I thought it had become a constant in my life and I could teach others to do the same. (Spoiler alert!!! I was wrong).
One day this week (after I had started writing this post), I had a hard day. It was just one of those days where I was tired and the kids were ill and bickering and I felt ugly and like a bad wife and mother and housewife.
I spewed my tears and self-pity to my sister (who has MANY other more serious things to worry about, by the way) and she just listened and then she sent me the verse with the Protea flower above to comfort me.
I had a little laugh at God’s sense of humour and I calmed down and I realised that I will never “arrive”. God in His love and mercy, mercy, mercy still takes time out from building galaxies and babies in wombs, to remind me (and you):
Trust me and you will find peace.