JUNE UPDATE

June is upon us. This means a lot of things, but in the world of Mission: Millennials that means we’ve got a new topic of the month. This month just so happens to be all about kindness. Christi and I both love this project, and we are so excited that it’s been going so well. However, we are entering the summer months which for both of us means CAMP! That being said, we are both going to try our hardest to keep up with this, but please be patient with us.

Another update, we are starting a miniseries entitled “Boys of Summer”. This means every guest blogger for the months of June, July, and August will be a boy! So I hope you are looking forward to those posts as well.

Lastly, I just wanted to thank you, our readers. Even if you just join us for individual posts, we love that people are excited about this project just as much as we are.

God’s Blessings,
Sarah (& Christi)

Stormy Seas, Jesus, and Me

Have you ever heard the phrase, “don’t pray for patience unless you actually mean it?” And so you intentionally do not pray for patience as a mere attempt to avoid needing a smidge more patience than normal…

But what about those times you get a healthy dose of needing an abundance of patience, yet never asked to grow in that particular area?! This is where I find myself. In a season of life where patience is not exactly my greatest character quality, but it’s the one being most refined.

You see, I work with kids for a living…need I say more about needing patience? 😉 Some days are incredibly easy and everything runs smoother than planned, everyone is smiling and happy, no major toy-stealing-conflicts to resolve, or time to put play doh away tears, in essence, there are no train wrecks and the day just moves by peacefully. But then there are those other days…when it is one train wreck after another, no one is listening and doing what they want, and I wonder if I accidentally prayed for more patience in my sleep.

Life is very similar. Some seasons move along with few or no bumps on the road, little conflict, fun and terrific memories, laughter that makes your stomach hurt, spontaneous outings, and only minor difficulties.

But then the stormy, hurricane, and tornado weather hits and your life boat is flipped upside down, shredded to pieces, and it seems as though everything has fallen apart and you’re drifting away in an abyss of the stormy seas.

The lightening is bright, thunder loud, waves crashing down, winds whirling around and all you wonder is when the storm is going to pass?!

I find myself in the latter of the two life “scenarios.” Personally, I can’t remember asking God to grow my patience, but I do recall asking Him to continue to mold me more into His likeness, to burn away my impurities and refine my heart, creating beauty from my ashes. I would argue until I am blue in the face that the most growth occurs in the strongest storms. We grow the most in Christ when we are stripped of our idols, when we have sin brought into the light, when the seas of our life are raging wild, and we can’t see the shore line, just the next wave crashing upon us.

It wasn’t until recently I made the correlation of trials to the work of patience God is doing in my heart. You see, like most people, I want problems fixed on my watch and command. I want things on my terms or no terms. Under no circumstance do I want to wait to see answered prayers and have life’s hardest moments turn for the good, yet so often Jesus asks me to wait. Not because He is holding out on me or being a jerk…in fact it’s for the complete opposite reason. It’s because He loves me too much to allow me my own way, or to allow me to stay in stagnant waters.

Growing up, my family and I lived in a waterfront house, simply meaning, there was a river at the end of my front yard. In the summer, we loved playing on the rocks, swimming/canoeing upstream, tubing, etc. I feel like we were in the water quite a bit. And so, naturally, a tubing trip with our cousins was in order. It was a super hot summer day and we dropped in the water maybe two miles up the road from the house. We all assumed it would be maybe a two hour tubing adventure and brought no food or water…since you know, it was NOT going to take all day. Low and behold, we hit stagnant water, shallow water, a herd of cows, and about seven hours, yes you read that right, seven hours later, we arrive back home. In the moment of each of these at times peculiar obstacles, not one of us found humor or enjoyment…but looking back, it’s an adventure I am so thankful for.

Life trials are not usually that humorous and no, I do not normally look back fondly on these stormy seas because it was fun or gave me a good chuckle. But I look back and I see growth, I see Jesus molding my heart to wait on Him, I see my heart changing…not necessarily my circumstances. I look back and Jesus standing on the waters with me, helping me fight each wave, I look back and see Jesus as my anchor, the hand guiding me, the Father protecting me, love and grace surrounding my every moment. It’s these times I am also being taught patience and sole surrender to Jesus. He’s not going to let me drown, but the waters may not part the second I command them to. Jesus is not only teaching me patience and waiting on Him, but He’s also showing me how to let Him fight for me…

Psalm 27:14, Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord

Exodus 14:14, The Lord will fight for you. You have only to be silent

I can wait and be patient in Him, knowing I am being molded and refined. So, yeah, life is crazy hard right now. My patience is running thin, I want the seas to be calm and the hardest days to cease, but I wouldn’t trade this season for the world.

In my season of waiting and needing patience, the Lord is teaching me to have faith in Him, not my circumstances. To rely on His promises, not my understanding.

I know God is with me, I know He is faithful, I know He is working in my life. I know I can trust him, and so I keep walking. One step at a time, one wave at a time, hand in hand fighting life’s battles with God going before and behind me.

Have patience in whatever season of life you’re in. God is still working, wait on Him and cherish the moment He has you walking in, no matter how easy or difficult.

Love you friends. Until next time,

Christi

Complaints and Patience

I’d like to think I’m not the type to complain, but we’ve all done it. I just scrolled back through my twitter feed and realized most of them are of me complaining. “Packing is Tiring”, “There’s no Chick-Fil-A in NY”, or “Starbucks put too much ice in my tea”.

Complaining can be detrimental to one’s patience. Think about it. More often than not our complaints can be solved with a bit of patience. For example, today at camp we had a retreat group. Just as it was my turn to get some food, they ran out of hamburgers. Well, I didn’t want the other option, so I pouted a little. At that moment I overheard the news that one of the chefs was currently grilling more burgers. Now I could have just eaten a hot dog, after all, I was really hungry, but I decided to practice a little patience.

Let me tell you, that burger was so amazingly delicious. I may have had to wait an extra five or ten minutes, but it was so worth it. This tiny taste (pun intended) of patience got me thinking about patience on a larger scale.

There are situations much bigger than my burger one. How much could a little patience help in those?

I know that I have a lot of friends who are struggling with different things, and no, I don’t have all of the answers. But God does. We just need to try and practice a little bit of that patience we’ve been given even through the struggle. God isn’t going to give you any more than you can handle, and sometimes we need to be patient and spend some of that time praying. Things will work out. Just not necessarily in your time frame.

Trust in God’s timing. Be patient, even when you’d rather just complain. It’s not easy, but God’s got you.

Until next time,
Sarah

Love, Faith, Hope

This month’s guest blogger is another girl who worked with both Sarah and myself at camp. Margo has the biggest heart, loves everyone who crosses paths with her, and is one of the easier people to become friends with. Above all, Margo has a deep love for Jesus and it shows through her thoughts and actions. Here is our guest post from Margo on our Patience series! -Christi

Hey guys! My name is Margo and I am 19 years old. I know Christi and Sarah from Camp Sandy Cove. In June 2016 I graduated High School and then moved to Bellingham, Washington, where I lived for four and a half months. After moving back to Delaware on February 21, I took a job working for the directors of Camp Sandy Cove, as the nanny for their two daughters. In the fall, I plan to attend Clarks Summit University to earn my associates degree with a focus on missions and ministry. I don’t know when I officially became a Christian. I’ve fallen out of touch with God several different times, and I can only thank him for his love and forgiveness, and for allowing me to return to his family, time after time. 🙂

Patience is something that I definitely have to work on, especially with being a nanny, so please don’t feel like I know all of this and practice it everyday. I studied and wrote multiple drafts before sending in the final.
So without further ado-
I’ve determined that there are three areas in which our patience should be developed. 

Patience with Others
2. Patience with God
3. Patience with Ourselves

If you notice my title, “Love, Faith, Hope” you’ll understand that patience with others is love, patience with God is faith, and patience with self is hope.
(Quote by Adel Bestavros)

So, here we go!

1. Patience with Others
As a kid, my parents often read me “My ABC Bible Verses,” in which the letter A is “A soft answer turns away wrath.” (Proverbs 15:1)  Don’t ask me what the other 25 letters are, but the letter A always stuck with me.
I currently work as a nanny, and believe me, I don’t know how anyone with children has a grip on life. I am tried everyday to be loving and patient with those kiddos as well as others with whom I interact. In the summer, I work as a camp counselor, as does every other writer in this blog so far. I’m sure that if you asked any one of them, that they would all agree that there have been many trying times in the past.
Campers who whine about putting on longer shorts, horses that refuse to walk (ahem, Shrek!), or even other staff members who aren’t putting out 110%.
As hard as it is, and as cliche as it is, patience is a virtue, and it is important to remember to be loving and patient, even if you’re on your last straw.

2. Patience with God
In Psalm 46 it says, “Be still and know that I am God.” In my life, that verse has somehow been a theme. No matter what stage of life I’m in, God has always reminded me of that verse.
Through high school, and even the year following graduation, I have struggled with anxiety. If you don’t struggle with anxiety, have love for those you know who do. I mean, throughout middle school, I thought that anxiety was just another term for worry. I would say to my friend (who suffered with anxiety) “Don’t worry, just shake it off. It’s really no big deal.” Let me tell you, after suffering through my first anxiety attack, I understood how big of a deal it really was.
Anyway, for the longest time, God through this verse at me, and I didn’t know what to do with it. I have goals and dreams to become a missionary and serve in ministry, and yet, I couldn’t help but impatiently wait for my days of long term ministry to start. Again, although I was seemingly firm in my faith and excited to serve God on a bigger scale, I couldn’t “be still” about the fact that my life consisted solely on church and school.
So – be still, be patient, and know that God sees you and has a plan for your life. Continue to serve God and be patiently waiting to see what he has in store for you.

Alternatively, when events take place that are heartbreaking and saddening, I often question God.
“Why?”
It is the number one question I ask God, and for the most part, he doesn’t answer right away. In Isaiah 55:8-9 it says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
And I am so glad that he has that plan and control over what does and doesn’t happen in my life.
Like it says in Isaiah 40:31, “but they who wait (patiently) for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” 

3.Patience with Ourselves
A few weeks ago, on Good Friday, I was burdened by a very intense feeling of guilt. The thought that Jesus had suffered and died for my sins – it was mindblowing.
And yet, instead of feeling loved and accepted, I felt angry at myself and guilty about the ways I have often rejected God. Instead of embracing his gift of eternal life, I had put it on the back burner, and had gone looking for something better. After finding nothing that would suffice (Hint: there’s nothing out there that will…)
I returned to God, feeling overwhelmed with guilt.
My mind roamed to thinking of the Apostle Paul (aka Saul- originally.) If you don’t know his story, definitely go check it out (Acts 8-9)
How much guilt did Paul feel? And yet, he was patient with himself, knowing that with God all things are possible.
That means a murderer, like Paul, can be changed through Christ.
An addict, to whatever it may be, can be changed through Christ.
A thief, a prostitute, a racist can be changed through Christ.
When you mess up, be patient with yourself, repent, and start working with Christ to move forward.

Until next time,
Margo

Find our guest blogger on the internet:
instagram: @chief_margo
snapchat: @margodaisy

But I Hate to Wait

I feel as though the only appropriate way to start this post is to admit I hate being patient. I hate waiting. I hate not knowing when or how something is going to happen. Patient is not exactly the word I would use to describe myself…nor do I think anyone else would describe me that way. Though, despite my lack of enjoyment in waiting, I find myself in good company as the bible is littered with dozens of people who had to be patient and struggled in the midst of their waiting.

Taking things to a personal level, most times when God asks me to wait, I believe it’s because He just doesn’t care about what I want. Or He’s holding out on me. Or maybe He just didn’t hear me when I prayed asking for *fill in the blank.* And those are exactly the thoughts the devil wants us to believe and begin processing through. As these lies creep in, slowly we begin to drift deeper and deeper into deception and before long, the Voice of Truth is silenced, our sinful heart takes charge, and impatience masks the work Jesus wants to do within our season of waiting.

There is absolutely nothing easy about waiting and being patient, yet all over the bible, I find verse after verse encouraging my heart to continually wait on the Lord…

Psalm 27:14, Wait on the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord

Psalm 37:7, Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him…

Psalm 130:5, I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope.

These are the first few verses that jumped out to me for a few reasons…

Waiting is hard. Jesus knows that. In these three verses, there is a common phrase of ‘wait on the Lord.’ Maybe it’s just me, but I believe we all can identify with the struggle of waiting on Him. The closer the situation is to my heart, the harder I find being patient to be…at times I wish getting my prayers answered would operate like amazon prime, two day shipping guaranteed. Though, more times than not, it is in the seasons of patience that I find I grow closest to the Lord. Anyone else agree?

Jesus knows far better than I do what I need and when I need it. Just as I tell the kiddos I nanny to take a deep breath and have patience, so also is God asking me to do the same thing. I love how the bible teaches us to have a child like faith, children ask a million questions but also seem to get the gist of life far better than most adults. Where is your heavenly Father asking you to wait? In the midst of your waiting, be in communion with Him, talk about how hard it is, the places you’re doubting and struggling. He already knows your heart, but longs to hear you express what you’re thinking and feeling.

Do not dread this season of waiting and patience, instead allow God to continuously minister to your heart.Take this time and allow your relationship with Him to grow deeper and sweeter, remembering that His timing is perfect.

Until next time friends,
Christi

 

 

Patience is a Virtue

My 2nd and 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Hope, always said “Patience is a virtue”. Looking back on it now I’m pretty sure it had something to do with not wanting to answer the constant questions of “So, when is lunch?”. However as a 2nd and 3rd grader, I never really knew what that meant. I sort of assumed it just meant we all needed to learn to wait.

Many years later, when hearing the word ‘Patience’ I still think of this phrase. So, being the scholar that I am… I typed it into Google to see what it really means. Which led me to read, “Meaning: To be able to wait for something without becoming frustrated is a valuable character trait”. It’s pretty literal. Patience, waiting for something. Virtue, a valuable character trait. Guess I didn’t really need Google to figure that out, but typing it in was so much faster than taking the time to think about it. Right?

That’s an example of not exhibiting patience. I’m not the most patient person. I like immediacy. If I have a question, I want to immediately Google it and get an answer. Like today, I went to see a movie with some friends. The entire time I wanted to pull out my phone and find out who was voicing each character. It was eating at me the entire movie. I did end up waiting, but this lack of patience is probably what drives my easily distractedness.

I start out doing one thing, and then I remember, “Oh I was going to send that e-mail” Which turns into, “Wait, you mean Old Navy is having an online sale” which goes back to something else. It’s the immediacy of being able to do so many things at once that drives people, especially myself, away from taking time and being patient.

It’s something I struggle with especially when it comes to prayer. If I’m praying for something, for example the sun to shine, I’d be happy if the clouds rolled away, the rain stopped, and I could feel the heat of the sun beating down on my face. Immediate response. The quickness of things like search engines giving us answers right when we want them, makes it hard to be able to wait through those long silent moments to listen for God’s voice speaking to us. As soon as we are in the midst of the silence, our brains wander. Our attention spans are too short, and our patience meters are on empty.

Still God wants to speak to us. He is speaking to us and we just need to be patient, and listen. We need to have faith that even though we may not get our answer right away, we will get our answer. It may not be immediate, it may not be what we want to hear, but we need to stop, and push away all those distractions and really focus on what’s important. God’s plan for us.

Be patient, He’s got you!
Until next time,
Sarah

‘Yes, Lord’

These two words have redefined my life in more ways I could ever recall. Throughout this month as we have been talking about peace, I have taken time to think about all the moments I have felt surreal peace. Every single situation that came to mind began with the words, “yes, Lord.”

Obedience is tricky. It is not natural, goes against my innate nature, and if I am honest, usually means doing the exact opposite of what I want to do. And something tells me, I am not alone in that feeling. It did not take me long to find story after story in the bible of people who loved the Lord and rebelled because they did not like the path God was asking them to walk.

Let’s look at Jonah…super popular Sunday school story that every church kid knows as the time God commanded a whale to swallow some dude because he did not obey and then was regurgitated three days later. Or if they had not heard the story on a Sunday morning, they definitely watched the veggie tale version. ;]

Jonah was a prophet and he was asked by God to go to Nivevah and warn them about their upcoming destruction. Instead of going where the Lord had commanded him to go, he hopped on a ship and sailed in the complete opposite direction of the Lord, to a place called Tarshish (Jonah 1:1-3). Jonah thought he could run from God, but reality set in when a huge storm came and he was found sleeping in the inner part of the ship when the captain came running down asking him to call to his god for help.

Pausing the story now. I would hate to be Jonah right now because he knew he was in complete and total rebellion and disobeying God and was being asked to call upon the Lord for help. He was being asked to beg God to save their lives.

The shipmates cast lots to see who was at fault for bringing evil upon them, and of course, the lot fell on Jonah. Sin was brought to the light as those on the ship learned Jonah was fleeing the presence of the Lord and he told the men to cast him into the sea. The end of chapter one says God appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah. Three days later the fish spits Jonah out and again God tells him to go take the message to Ninevah and spoiler alert, the city was saved.

Growing up, it was way too easy to point the finger at Jonah and say how stupid he was for ignoring God and thinking he could run off and not be seen or need to confront his disobedience. But I believe if we are all honest, we are no different than Jonah. More times than not, God will ask me to do something and instead of saying, Yes Lord, I will do *fill in the blank,* I say no. And metaphorically speaking, I then am swallowed into the stomach of a fish and have to deal with my decisions.

There is no peace at all in disobeying God. I will be the first to say I have experienced firsthand the peace of saying yes and the torment of running away and I don’t believe I am alone in that category. We receive peace when we walk in obedience because peace is not just a feeling, it is a person. Rarely are we as believers called to do the easy task or walk the smoothest roads. But when we know and have Christ as our lifeline, the more steps we take in obedience, the closer we are to peace himself. When we say no and turn back, we run from the peace freely offered to us.

I don’t know what God is asking you to say ‘yes Lord’ to. But everyday we come to a crossroad, we either obey or disobey. The wonderful news is even when we turn away, God never leaves us and the cross is always welcoming to repentant sinners.

Romans 8:1 says, There is therefore now NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

I wrote about the peace of repentance a couple weeks ago, I suppose this is the prequel of that. This post is getting longer than I planned, but bear with me…

We saw the turmoil brought by the storm when we say no to God, but I want to touch on the peace we find when we say yes. A couple years ago I was asked by God to leave my home church and move an hour away from what was comfortable and the place I grew up for 21 years. I walked into this new church, in a new town, with new people, only knowing a handful of them in a room filled with strangers. I had visited the church before, but never with the full intent of pursuing it as my “home.” Until one Sunday in August. To be exact, August 24, 2014…two and a half days after my grandma passed away from cancer. That particular Sunday, church was kind of the last place I wanted to be, but I knew God was asking me to go and that week there was a prophetic word given to those who were hurting and felt burdened by life. Although I did not acknowledge to anyone I identified with what was shared, it was that moment I knew beyond a shadow of doubt God was calling me to move. And so I did.

In saying yes Lord in this, the amount of blessings that have come are innumerable. Life is not easier because I obeyed God’s calling, but the peace that fell upon me as I was preparing to move is surreal. Obedience is never easy, actually it’s usually the hardest road to walk, but one step after another it suddenly becomes a little easier. One act of obedience leads to another and another and another and before you know it, you’re experiencing a peace like never before…because you are walking toward peace himself.

Say yes Lord today. Start small, but keep walking toward him, even when it is hard. He is not going to turn you away, but instead, He’ll walk each step with you.

Until next time,
Christi

Peace defined by Children

 

As I was typing my first draft of this post I was joined (distracted) by two kids who came knocking on the door of the cabin I currently call home. It was an admittedly welcomed distraction. The first thing I asked them was to define Peace for me. I wasn’t sure what answers I would get from a thirteen-year-old and a six-year-old, but their answers made me smile.

The thirteen-year-old talked about a sense of calmness, sort of like a sigh of relief. I liked this image quite a lot. Thinking of when everything around me starts to go crazy and then once it’s over taking a deep breath. A sense of peace really does wash over you. It makes me think of  Psalms 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” It’s such a simple thought and yet it brings such a sense of peace and calmness knowing that we can simply put our trust in Him, and He will take care of it all.

Now the six-year-old responded with a response that was a bit confusing to me at first. When I asked him what peace meant to him, he said “God’s Love”. I responded, “What?” and he repeated, “God’s Love, sharing God’s Love!”. Now it made more sense to me.   God’s Love is the definition of peace. How do we find peace? Through God’s Love. How is peace even a possible concept for us to feel? Because of God’s never-ending love for us.

I feel blessed knowing that even though I’m a leader, and I teach different things to other people, that I can also be on the other side of the spectrum as a learner. Learning things, and realizing that people have different viewpoints, opinions, and ideas, is one of my favorite things.

Until next time,
– Sarah

GUEST BLOGGER: Finding Peace

Bringing you another introduction to preface an awesome guest blogger post! This month’s guest is Kayla! Kayla worked with Christi and I this past summer at Camp Sandy Cove where she was in charge of all things pool (and then some). I loved every time I had to lifeguard a little bit more because it meant I got to spend time in Kayla’s presence. She’s fantastic and is going to do incredible things. This is her first ever blog post, and I can’t wait for you all to hear what she has to say! -Sarah

Finding Peace

Every morning I am in a rush out the door, I try to find enough time in my day for a decent amount of sleep and time to get everything accomplished on my to do list. I am constantly thinking about upcoming assignments, my work schedule, keeping in touch with my family, and making sure my friends still know I am there for them! I am sure you know that overwhelming feeling that can flood your mind at times and is sometimes difficult to drain. When I find myself in this situation I think to myself, “there is no point worrying about the things I cannot change,” As Philippians 4:6-7 reads, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus,” I ask God to take care of those things and trust in Him that He will. After this thought goes through my mind, that is when I find peace.

Peace:

  • Freedom of war
  • Tranquility
  • Mental calm
  • Harmony

Peace is a universal concept yet everyone may have his or her own way to define it. Even for me it has multiple definitions; peace is a place, a state of mind, security, and stillness. How do you define peace?

Peace is somewhere I can go to get away from my extremely busy life. Most often I find peace in my truck as I am driving to class, work or the gym. I am thankful to have a peaceful place, which I visit multiple times a day. Peace plays through my speakers while the hustle and bustle of my college campus surrounds me. As I sit at the stoplight I watch the students hurrying by trying to cross the street before my light turns green. I hear a lyric break through the static on the K-luv station “be still and know that he is God.” I am reminded of Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” If peace could scream it would scream this verse but instead you must seek peace in order to find it.  So often in life, we are distracted by the hundreds of things going on in our day that we forget to be still.  This verse reminds me of the power God has, letting it be known He is lifted to the highest power on earth and in heaven! Knowing the most powerful force loves me feels like a security blanket. By trusting in the Lord you too can have that comfort that He has a clear path for you, to not worry about the things you can not change but find peace in that your plan is specific for you. Lean on the Lord for guidance and strength and you can find peace within. I want to encourage you to find peace throughout your day, reminding you to talk to thank God, give your worries to Him and seek comfort through Him.

May you find Peace,
Kayla

Find our guest blogger on the internet:
instagram: @k4yyyyl4
snapchat: @kkaylabbrand

Peace of Repentance

When I take a step back and look at this world, my life, the things that surround me, peace is not exactly something I think of or immediately see. The news tells of acts of violence, day to day life brings a variety of trials, doing life with those around me often times does not result in peace but is messy and hard. This got me thinking what exactly I define “peace” as and how in the world am I going to write a couple blog posts about it.

And I didn’t know if that answer would come in time for this post and then I slowly began to find a different understanding of peace. An understanding of what peace is not. If I am honest, learning my understanding of what peace is not had me quite frustrated and I have struggled to put this post into words. This past week I have asked God to show me what His peace is. What it feels like. Where it comes from. How does one attain it. At first, He did not reveal anything and again, I got quite frustrated.

Until one night after photographing a concert for Ginny Owens. The show went a lot later than expected and I already was under the weather and fighting a cold, so the volunteer coordinator let me leave the show early. I was walking out of the venue and in the background heard the words “Jesus thank you for the fire” being sung. This got me thinking…a lot.

I live over an hour away from the venue and had lots of time to think and process. I admitted with a slight chuckle that I do not thank God for the fires in my life because they just are not fun and are often chaotic and overall just hard seasons to walk through. I asked God to humble my heart and what turned into a prayer for a sister of mine, resulted in a prayer from the deepest parts of my heart asking God for help, forgiveness, comfort, guidance, and ultimately to give me His peace. I came to realize repentance was missing in my world, thus my lack of peace was because there were parts of my heart I didn’t want God inside of. I started to put to words what peace is not:

Peace is not the absence of chaos.

Peace is not a life void of trials.

Peace is not always a quieted mind.

Peace does not always come in a stilled soul.

As these understandings of what peace is not started to fall into place, I began to comprehend what peace is to me. Yesterday (Tuesday) I was preparing for community group with my church later that evening, we were having a relatively chill night around a campfire and devoted the night to prayer, looking at the crucifixion of Christ, and reading a couple verses in Philippians. The two verses were the flip side of the peace equation I was trying to solve….check it out…

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me–practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9

Peace is that still small voice inside my heart that whispers the promises of truth in the midst of chaos.

Peace is feeling when my trials seem to overtake me that then gives me the courage to take one more step toward the finish line.

Peace is when my minds won’t stop racing and my heart is overwhelmed, but falling into the arms of Jesus

Peace is when my soul is all stirred up and that faint whisper reminds me to rest and be still.

To me, peace can be found in the quietest places of the forest or the craziest parts of our lives. Peace is that still small voice in my heart that reminds me of what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable in God’s eyes. Peace comes when we are obedient to Christ, when we repent of our sinful ways and turn to the cross, then sprint back into the arms of the Prince of Peace.

Since that car ride home from the concert, no circumstances in my life have changed, but my perception of them has. I am overwhelmed with peace because God has tuned my ears to hear His voice above the noise and chaos in my heart. Wherever you are, find a place to be still and ask the Holy Spirit to incline your ear to His voice, to bring conviction and lead you in repentance, to take you back to Christ. And then rest there. It’s a beautiful place to be.

I hope you find peace this week. Go be with Jesus and ask Him for it

~Christi