(I recently reread this article from 2012 and was encouraged in peace, I hope that it encourages you as well)Putting a puzzle together takes not only knowing how to align them, but also having all the right parts. From jigsaws to building blocks our family, especially our son--the growing toddler, enjoys the challenge of fitting all the pieces into their rightful places. We spend countless moments looking at the boxed picture or using our imaginations to finish constructing a building or photo through the connecting of beveled plastic or flat cardboard figures. There are times though, when we come towards the end of our masterpiece and notice that one part is missing. This is the time when we begin to look underfoot, bottom, chair, rug, and or pillow, because leaving our work undone is not an option. Without that one piece of the puzzle in its place our hard work would just not seem worth it. Recently, as this "work in progress" was striving to make sure all the pieces were in place God gave me a lesson in how to complete a PEACEful puzzle.
While cleaning and arranging my house the other day, to create a peaceful environment, I was once again reminded that I may be the arranger, but I am not the Creator. Wanting to encourage my husband, my children, and myself, with a calming atmosphere I found myself running around the house cleaning, setting out candles, and picking up cluttered areas. Exhausted from the race to get this accomplished, an hour later I sat in my rocking chair to spend a few minutes in The Word. As soon as I sat down I began to ask God how come I felt so stressed when I was trying to create peace in my home. In love, He reminded that I should not be trying to create peace, but instead receive it.
"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:27 NKJV)
In my heart I knew that if I would have first started out receiving the peace that He created then I would have had all of the pieces to the PEACE puzzle. Then instead of getting to the end of my work and coming up short on peace I would have begun with all the PEACE that I needed to complete the work.
Peace is more about receiving than simply arranging the pieces
Our homes are made up of many parts, meals, lessons, chores, playthings, activities, and of course personalities, so receiving peace can seem complicated, especially when we try to create it. With schedules flying and people coming in and out we can easily throw peace aside. No matter how hard we try to make everything work, our homes can become a collection of unfulfilled activities simply because we have forgotten the peace in our puzzles. Several years ago, I discovered the importance of peace and have been striving ever since to make it a priority, but in my imperfection, I found myself trying to create peace more than first receiving it.
There are definitely things that we can do to help more easily receive peace in our homes:
- like washing that last dish in the sink leaving a clean space
- having the kids pick up their toys before bedtime
- making some easy prepared meals a day or two in advance for those busy days in the week
- putting some toys and ready made bags in the car for the kids to play with on the go
- having cleaning supplies in each bathroom for quick one minute cleanings during bath times
- Turning off the TV, lighting candles, and putting on praise and worship music while dinner is being prepped
- Planning out the week before it begins on calendars and To Do lists
- Throwing away all trash in vehicles each time they are exited, or at least upon each home arrival