Beyond the Storm: Peace

I am a mere mortal. I have a faulty understanding of how the Divine works. But it hasn't stopped me from trying.

Today is my mother's birthday if she were alive. My Ma--- loving, strong and tender. No one has seen her since that fateful night of November 8. She has disappeared in the storm together with my dear father. And, oh, how I've missed her.

There are times when I wonder what she would say to the things that are happening in my life-- celebratory or otherwise. She had been a bulwark in our home. She was courageous: taking on the journey God has set for her even if it meant giving up many of the things that could have been better in the world's eyes. She had always been excited for all of her children and it didn't matter for her whether we made it in the world because she knew each of us has a special path to take.

It has been hard accepting that she is gone. But God has not left me destitute.

The Sky and the Sea

The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.
Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge.
(Psalm 19:1,2)

A few days ago, my family went on a hunting/fishing trip and made camp for a couple of nights by the seashore. As we witness the sun rise and set at such a breathtaking fashion, we didn't want to go back home even if it meant a nice, warm bath and comfortable beds. The children and I combed every inch of the beach. By afternoon of the first day, the baby was taking her own looooooong walks and I had to use Herculean tactics and effort to get her back to our camp site. The only indication of tiredness she showed were pretty nasty snoring by the time we slept before midnight. The children didn't want the days and the nights to end and mealtimes were fast, unlike at home when they could drag on for hours.

In one of these walks, where I just followed the little toddler and her chubby legs as they pounded the sand to the rhythm of her rendition of "Masha i Medved" theme song, I noticed the sky. Well, most of the time in that outing, my attention was caught by the sea. It was shimmering in the sunlight and heady like wine. I mean, like the pictures I see of wine in a glass, which looks mesmerizing and, I'm pretty sure, intoxicating to anyone who drinks it. The sea was bubbly and noisy by the time it crashes on the shore. I often catch myself staring at it for long periods of time. But this particular moment, the stillness of the sky called me. It was alluring in all its serenity, I couldn't help but catch a breath. And I wondered why I noticed it at that moment and not stare at the sea as I always do. Then, a thought came. It was a picture of perfect peace! 

The heavens with its baby blue, cloudless sky was a picture of calmness even as the sea roars with its waves crashing on each other to shore. That scene told me something: peace is not without trouble brewing or crashing ceaselessly on the soul, but it is what keeps the soul reminded of who he is, despite of trouble brewing or constantly hounding.

I have been asked whether I lose my cool over my children. Many people in Russia can not understand why I have four children and the more they can not understand how one can keep sane even with four children. I can be calm. But there are times when troubles, and I'm not referring to my children, spills over and I just freely give reign to it despite knowing I can do something about it. And that's when calm turns crazy. That's when I forget to reflect heaven's beauty. It's like the sea given free reign and it goes beyond the point where it's supposed to go. Yeah, why do we? By the way, the sea reflects the sky's color.

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. 
Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27)

Peace is...

Peace is knowing we are not our circumstances and we are more than we know. Whatever is happening around us doesn't define us. So what if the madness is around us, and even in us? That doesn't make us less of a human being, one created, loved and died for. Besides, it is best to remember that "...God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7). We are more than what we think we are. The unceasing waves that try to crash our souls may try, but through Christ, we can take control and tell them not to go any farther. Yes, we can keep the serenity of the heavens knowing that despite the big, boisterous sea, it can not touch its greatness. We need to stop staring at the mesmerizing, noisy sea below and learn to fix our sight on something Higher and Greater above it.

Peace is knowing that though our husbands are not infallible and perfect, we can love and accept him in perfect peace with the plan of God for him, for marriage and the home, and  for each of our lives. God is working in him just as He is in us.

Peace is understanding that God has our children in His hands, though we may not understand them fully like He does, and praying for His wisdom as we try to deal with their different personalities and uniqueness. Peace is trusting His plan of redemption in each of their lives and His great love for them that we, ourselves, can only experience from Him.

Peace is letting God move in our lives, providing us with our every need whether through employment or the generosity of others. Being proud, it was hard for me to accept the latter. I would rather give than be given. That's why I felt resentment when I had to depend on others financially. But God has slowly shown me that pride is not part of His personal agenda in my life, and in understanding that, He has blessed me. And I can be gracious to myself and be generous to others as well.

Peace is believing in God's perfect plan. When my husband complained about his "Not good" day prior to our trip, I smiled inside. Even as he shared with me in a long tirade of how the weather is not cooperating with the hunting season, even after all the preparations he has made and waiting for it for many months, I remained buoyant. Not because I wasn't interested, but because I know our best plans can go awry, but God has better things in store. Then my husband proceeded to tell me about the telephone call he got from the Immigration about my PR permit application, which made me concerned but which I know that if it's part of God's plan then He has His way.

Peace is singing even when you don't see spring. Last week, I wanted to write about spring. Dazzling sunshine, the world in full bloom, birds chirping and hopping about. But I couldn't. Instead, there was a snowstorm: whistling wind rattling shutters, snow blanketing the ground (again!), and winter's chill back to bother rheumatoid joints. And yet, I was singing "It's a beautiful day, yeah, yeah, yeah!" I fail to understand why. Maybe this can explain...

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, 
let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6,7)

It was hard accepting that my parents are gone, so are a lot of other things that disturbs my world. But God has given me the gift of peace, which, though try as I might to understand, leaves me clueless. 

Peace comes in knowing Him and His Story. But it's more than that. It's also knowing that He wants me (and you) to be part of that story. The Divine can be mysterious, but in that, It is very clear.

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