Panic Attack

I found myself having a panic attack and decided to write my way through it. Here’s a snapshot of what is going on in my brain during a panic attack..

I’m having a rough day. I had to take my nine year old to the hospital for surgery early this morning to get rods put into her broken arm. My other daughter is sick and I will be heading off to another doctor’s appointment this afternoon to help her. I’ve been fighting a cold for ten days and in this era where Covid fear rages, having a cold is not a small thing. 

Today my mind is stewing on silly things. An online conversation with a blogger that turned into a veiled interrogation of me and my life choices. A scary notion that I am failing in this game called life. An overwhelming feeling of impending doom. 

And suddenly, I stop and realize that I’ve got things flipped upside down in my mind. In my mind, all these crazy things are happening, and as a result, I am responding with anxiety. 

I think the actual truth is I am struggling with anxiety and so everything that happens is being filtered through that anxiety and blown way out of proportion. My life isn’t causing me anxiety and stress. My anxiety is causing my life to feel anxious, stressful. 

Next question, why am I feeling so much anxiety? 

Typical culprits: lack of sleep, social media and the news, having to forego church due to sickness in our house, being physically sick myself.

When you can sit back and analyze things, it helps take off that big load of self-condemnation. Cause when I’m feeling anxiety, I feel like a personal failure. I have failed. I am not at peace. I must be feeling anxious because I’ve done something wrong. Not just that I’ve done something wrong, but that there is something inherently wrong with me. 

So, it’s time to hit the Refresh button. Speak some truth. 

I am Esther, daughter of the King. I have been saved. God no longer looks at my sin, but instead looks at me and sees Jesus’ goodness. My future lies with spending eternity with God. I am loved. God has blessed me with parents and parents-inlaw and a brother and brothers and sisters in law who love me. I have been blessed with a husband who loves me and children who are amazing. I belong to a church body that is there for me, that regularly supports me in all ways. Our world is crazy right now with political upheaval and covid, but God is still on his throne, none of this is a surprise to him. I am not perfect, but when I make mistakes, it’s not the end of the world. I can apologize. I can make restitution. I can go back and try again. 

My life is in God’s hands. 

So, I say Thank you Lord for this beautiful day. Thank you that my daughter made it safely through surgery. Thank you that my other daughter has a doctor she can visit and that medicine is available. Thank you for freedom of speech in that, so far, we are still able to hold opposing opinions with others and live in a diverse world. Thank you that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and that you thought creating me, in all my quirkiness, was a good idea. 

These verses come to mind..

2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

Anyone Else Worried?

Last night I checked my phone one more time and then crashed into bed at 9:30pm. It was a long day. The kids were off from school due to the election, I had several meetings and errands and house cleaning and chauffeuring and cooking and as a backdrop to all of that, the knowledge that it was election day. 

I woke up two times in the night, grabbed my phone, checked the election updates page, then went back to sleep. 

This morning my alarm went off and the normal, “I don’t want to get up.” went through my head. Then I remembered, election. Oh yeah. I grabbed my phone. Checked the updates again. Just as I suspected and had dreaded. Both sides claiming the victory is obviously their’s and no real conclusive results yet. 

And thus begins possibly the longest week of the year as we wait for all the “officials” to do their “official” stuff and give us the “official” answer. 

This is not designed to be a political post. This is an exploration of the question, “So, how does that make you feel?” 

Right now I feel frustrated (I hate delayed gratification, I want to know the results now!) Helpless (I’m not a government official, a poll worker, a lawyer, or anyone with a position to do something to make sure the votes get counted quickly and fairly.) Powerless (I have no control over how people are going to react to the end result and I’m worried about people making bad decisions in their anger.) A little angry (why on earth is our voting system so convoluted??) Lots of doubts and fears (how are we going to move forward as a nation after the results are declared?)

I find myself pacing around in a state of restlessness. I actually got on my elliptical today because I just needed to be moving. I’ve done more cleaning in the last two days. I haven’t been able to focus on my book and have felt distracted. 

I have seen several people give the good advice that we need to just get on with life. That this election doesn’t change anything of real significance and life goes on. Which I agree with in theory. But I haven’t quite convinced my mind and emotions to grab hold of that. 

I would say I am definitely guilty of being Worried. 

Philippians 4:6-7 says:

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.

So, here goes. Lord, I thank you for this nation that we live in. Thank you for the abundance that we enjoy. Thank you for the freedoms that we often take for granted. Thank you for all the good that we as a country have managed to do throughout our history. Please forgive us for all the bad that have also managed to do. Lord, I just ask for your will to be done right now through this election. I ask for your peace.  I ask that we as a country can reconcile our differences and learn to live in unity. And I ask that no matter what the results of the election, our response would be one of peace and joy. Knowing that you are still on your throne and your WILL will be done on earth as it is in heaven. I pray that during this time your church will rise up and be instruments of peace to our fellow citizens. 

I ask all of this in Jesus’ Name.

Amen. 

I’m going to put on some praise music and get on with my day. Hopefully a little less stressed. 

Peace to all of you. 

Need Some Hope

Good morning internet world. It is a foggy damp morning here in my neck of the woods. The kids have been dropped off at school and I’ve got a bit of time before we start our homeschooling day. 

This morning I got up early with my alarm clock. I usually grab my phone and scan through my email and Facebook News Feed, just trying to shock my brain awake. Then, once I’m awake, I move on with vitamins and devotions and any last minute get-the-kids-ready-for-school stuff that I have to do before I wake everyone up. 

This morning, I looked at my email, and then hesitantly clicked on my FaceBook. I glanced at it for a second and then just turned it off. I think I have reached my limit for FaceBook and the news.  When you read through the headlines and just laugh, it’s not a good sign. Let’s see, I think yesterday or the day before, I saw a headline informing me that whales might get the coronavirus. And I should definitely be afraid about this. On the same day there was a headline that essentially said, Hey, that thing that we all presumed was true about Coronavirus has actually been proven True!! By Science! 

I know I’m not the only one who has thought this, but it’s worth stating. If we actually had impartial news stations that did not have a political agenda, we would not be in the mess that we are in. The Left News Stations inform me that if the Republicans don’t win the election, they’re going to instigate a Civil War. The Right News Stations inform me that if the Democrats don’t win the election, the Democrats are going to instigate a Civil War. Does anyone else see the News acting as the ultimate bad guy as they rile everyone up and incite unrest? 

In the meantime, the Christian Prophets have been speaking up, and everything that is being forecast is hardship and trials in the near future. 

No wonder I’ve been struggling with Hopelessness. 

I feel like I’m standing here and I’ve got two alternate universes going on. The first universe is the one I currently live in. Life will continue to go on as usual. I will keep on making the normal plans for holidays, plans for the future, no big changes. 

Then there is the alternate universe, the one I am afraid of. The one where people do not accept the election results. The one where chaos and anarchy rule. The one where my life gets flipped upside down by powers outside of my control. 

Where is Hope? 

There is a book title, “How Should We Then Live?” by Francis Shaeffer. I have not read the book. I have every intention of reading the book. I think I’ve had that intention for a couple years now, it will happen, one day! But, the interesting thing is, the title runs through my head a lot. I have that question often, “How Should We Then Live?” I have that question right now.

When you are facing an unknown future and life seems hard and the future seems hopeless, what do you do? 

I know I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating every day. Jesus, you all. We need Jesus. And not in that syrupy, go to the church once a week and put a fish sticker on your car, way. I’m talking about a dependence on him that goes to your deepest level. A recognition that if Jesus wasn’t there with you, you wouldn’t be able to get out of bed in the morning. A knowledge that your marriage, your closest relationships, would all splinter and disintegrate if you did not have Jesus giving you the wisdom, patience and love that you need. A security knowing that your safety and provision is certain because Jesus is by your side. And the hope that he holds your future in his hands, and all things will bring glory to him. 

So, my only advice is get into His Word. Turn on the praise music. Cling to God’s promises. 

Romans 8: 38-39

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Bedtime Meditations

Senate hearings, upcoming elections, every headline forecasting doom and taking a jab at some political party. Anger. Fear. Anxiety. 

If you are on social media, this is what is consuming us right now. 

And I ponder a future of unrest, riots, uprisings. Pandemic out of control. People out of control. A country that refuses to unite. 

And I feel weary. Unsettled. Anxious. On Edge. 

And everyone else around me seems to be feeling the same way. 

And I sit in my chair, late at night, the kids tucked into their beds, the little ones all asleep. And I take a deep breath, let it out. Take another one. Let it out. 

And I wonder how to find the right balance of getting on with the beauty of living, being prepared for future problems, and finding my peace in Jesus. 

Step one: think about something happy. 

I have a new puppy. It’s really cute. We also just figured out that he is deaf. This is a very unexpected twist in our life plot. My husband has started researching how to train a deaf puppy. What precautions we need to take etc. We have a couple basic hand signals, and I’ve been trying to teach the kids what they are so we can all be on the same page. 

Our Mama cat also gave birth to five new kittens today. This was an “oops” pregancy. I’m trying to get her fixed, but I wasn’t fast enough after her last litter of kittens. We have three orange kittens and two black kittens that will need good homes in about eight weeks. Mama and babies are tucked away in my son’s bedroom where the door stays shut from all other animals and small children. Puppy stays downstairs and outside. Fish stay in their fish tanks. The other three cats do as they wish. I seem to have started a Noah’s Ark. And I’m enjoying it. Fortunately the ferrets moved on with my oldest son. I am being very firm now. NO MORE PETS!!

Here’s a pic of my puppy. 

Step two: prepare. 

As my mind runs through all the different future scenarios that freak me out, I’m trying to make a plan for each one. Write it down. Think it through. Follow the scouts motto: Be Prepared. Even if my plans turn out to be silly or unneeded, it makes me feel better. 

Step three: Pray. 

In the end, I have to keep coming back to the fact that my life is in God’s hands. Our country is in God’s hands. This pandemic is in God’s hands. And so I continue to pray, Your Kingdom Come, Your Will be Done. And I cling to the promise that I am his, and he will never leave me or forsake me. And I pray that through everything that life throws my way, my life will somehow bring glory to God. 

Step four: Be Thankful. 

Thank you Lord for my beautiful children! Thank you Lord for my adorable pets! Thank you Lord for work for my husband! Thank you for safety for our family! Thank you for our amazing church! Thank you for all my friends and family who constantly encourage me! Thank you for your love. 

Amen. 

And good night. 

Peaceful dreams for everyone. 

Just In Case

Tomorrow I am going to get a mammogram. I have a cyst and the doctor said, because of its location, they just always follow up with a mammogram. Just in case. 

Fortunately, I have insurance that covers these things. 

I have been pretty blase about the whole thing. It’s nothing. Routine check up. 

Though I do remember my initial shock when I discovered a lump a while ago. What? This is definitely not supposed to be happening. I had someone who used to be in the medical field check it out. It’s a cyst, she said. Her diagnosis was enough for me. But then it caused problems and I eventually ended up at the doctor last week. 

And now, as I see how the doctor responded, the care she took in my examination, I realize that I should have gone to the doctor sooner. Just in case. 

Then I got on the internet today, that wonderful source of information, googled. Clicked on a list of possible causes. A long list. The very last item: breast cancer. I presume it’s last on the list because it’s the least likely culprit. 

It’s nothing. I’ll have the mammogram. They’ll give me the results and I will move on with my life. It’s just a precaution. 

And I tell myself that I am 99% sure that there is absolutely nothing wrong with me. 

And that 1% sure has a loud voice. 

And I make plans with my husband for him to take over my afternoon chores tomorrow, in case my appointment runs long. 

I don’t tell anyone. 

I don’t ask for prayer. 

Cause it’s nothing. 

Just a precaution. 

And I think about all the women who have been in this exact same position. Going to get a mammogram. Found something suspicious. Just getting a routine checkup. It’s nothing. 

And for a minute my heart beats a little faster. I take a couple deep breaths. 

It’s ok. It’s nothing. Routine checkup. Just in case. 

Depression Anniversary

This morning my Facebook memories popped up and showed me that three years ago, I made my first “public” post about my struggle with depression and our decision to put our children in public school. 

I read through the comments again this morning. (All 78 of them!) And what stood out to me was how much of a need we have for people to honestly share their struggles. Knowing that someone else is struggling makes us feel less isolated, it eases some of our shame. 

Keeping that in mind, I’ve decided to give you all a “Depression Update”. 

One of my big disappointments in life is that I haven’t had a full recovery from my depression. While I haven’t been as low as I was three years ago, I still feel like depression is something that I have to actively keep at bay. And when I am not purposeful about taking care of myself, it creeps back in. 

Things I do to keep depression away:

Take a night off. 

Wednesday nights are MY nights. My husband gets home from work and I take off. I very often end up at Panera where it’s ok to sit with your computer or a book for a long period of time. I have a couple different friends who often meet me there for an evening of chatting and encouragement. Sometimes I go walking in the park alone or with friends. Sometimes I just leave the house, go buy myself some supper somewhere and then sneak back into my house in the back door and hide in my bedroom, feet up, reading a good book. 

The whole point though is that I can do whatever I want without feeling any guilt about leaving my husband home alone with the kids. (He gets his own night off.)

Give myself lots of space. 

I do not keep a perfectly clean house. I do not run a tight ship. I do not have a perfect schedule. I do not have a full, busy schedule. I am very purposeful about keeping my daily routine as free from stress as possible. I have found that the only way I can maintain a 24hrs a day, 7 days a week parent-of-many-children lifestyle, is to keep my day as calm as possible. Lots of wiggle room. Maybe it only takes us two hours to get all our homeschooling work done.  I give myself four hours. That way we can take lots of breaks, follow rabbit trails if we want, have time to deal with phone calls that might come in, or a quick chore that has to get done. I do not do well when I have to follow a tight timeline. Occasionally it can’t be avoided. There are doctor’s appointments, extra curricular activities, school meetings. If I have a day that involves me running full stop all day long, then I make sure that the next day I have nothing extra going on and I move slower. 

Date nights

The other day I told my husband something that I don’t think I had ever put into words before. “You are essential to my happiness.” And it’s true. When Andy walks in the door at night, my shoulders visibly relax. He makes me laugh. He uses his words often to tell me how important I am to him, to tell me how he feels about me. And I am encouraged and I feel loved. We need time together. We need to be able to unplug from parenting for a minute and just be two adults who like spending time together. Now, I know that for parents with young children, getting out on a date can be impossible. We went years not being able to get out. Now, we have teenagers who can babysit and we try to get out once a week for a date. But, sometimes money or schedules keeps us from being able to go out. Then we have bedroom dates. And by that I just mean we get the kids to bed, maybe get a snack, watch a movie together in our room or just sit and talk. The main point though is that we are purposeful about setting aside at least one night a week that is ours. 

Daily Devotions/ Daily exercise

Taking time every day to read the Bible and pray feeds my spiritual self. Taking time every day to get my body moving feeds my physical self. Sometimes I don’t do these things. But, when I do, I feel happier and have more energy. 

Talk to a therapist/friend equivalent

I still have monthly or bimonthly phone visits with my therapist. And I always think, before the call, do I really need this? And then afterwards, I am always glad that I was able to talk to her. It is a great help to have another adult look into your life and help you process challenges and get a perspective that is focused on the good of you and your mental health.

Practice Thankfulness

This one is actually an outpouring of my Christian walk. The Bible tells us repeatedly to give thanks in all things. As God has been teaching this to me over my lifetime, I have not only learned how to lose a bad mood or a bad attitude, but I’ve also learned how to stop and just take pleasure from small things. The way the sun is shining just-so on that tree. The sound of fall leaves crunching under my feet. The smell of woodsmoke. Watching my children practice acts of kindness to each other. Being thankful, noticing the goodness around me, these have gone a long way in helping me to not succumb to depression. 

In the end, all of these things are tools, not cures. I have days when I crawl back into bed in the middle of the day. Or I end up sitting in my chair, doing nothing. But the difference between years ago and now, is that the next day, I can usually get up and keep moving, instead of it dragging on and on and on. 

Maybe I will struggle with depression the rest of my life. But I have hope and peace that God will help me through it, one day at a time, one strategy at a time. 

To Read the News or Not to Read the News

I don’t know about the rest of you, but lately, I’ve been pretty stressed by the state of the world. 

Maybe it’s just me. 

I find myself obsessively scrolling through news sites, scanning headlines. Clicking on the occasional article. Trying to figure out just what on earth is going on. 

And as I’ve done this, my level of stress and fear has risen. Significantly. I find myself restless. I can’t concentrate for very long. I’m struggling with feeling hopeless. I think ahead, start to think through plans for things that we could do in the near future and I stop. Well, maybe we can do that, as long as the country doesn’t self-implode. 

Have you noticed that both sides of the political spectrum have lost all faith that the other side is committed to a safe, fair election? We both think that the other side is going to cheat. And we both think that the other side will not accept losing. We both think that the other side is prepared to fight to have their candidate in place. And the media keeps egging us on. Sowing all kinds of doubts and fears. 

And it occurs to me that my life would be a lot more peaceful if I just avoided the news completely. And it’s tempting. It even sounds spiritual. Think on things that are good. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus. 

But you know, as Christians, we were called to be IN the world, but not OF the world. 

I live here. This is my planet. This is my country, my state, my city. The things that are happening affect my life. It is also a historic time. The decisions and events that are going on are unprecedented. We are watching history unfold before our eyes. I don’t feel like I can simply unplug and ignore everything. 

So then the question becomes, how do you maintain peace in such a time as this? 

I’ve been reading through Revelation the past couple weeks. Reading a chapter and then reading through commentaries to try and get some understanding. And I am reminded of what one of our pastors said about this book: the whole point is that Jesus wins in the end. 

And that is the answer. 

That is how I hold on to peace. 

In the end, all will be made well. Jesus knows what it is going on. He is not surprised. He is not watching the news and scratching his head in bewilderment. Revelation lets us know that there is a plan. None of this is random. We might not understand the timing and all the details, but we do understand that the earth is going to have to go through a time of judgement. And in the end…Jesus wins. 

And when I write that, I feel my shoulders dropping a couple inches. It’s ok. No matter how this life unfolds, the end story for me is eternity with Jesus. And I have his word that in the meantime, before eternity arrives, Jesus has promised to be with me. I am not alone and abandoned. I am walking side by side with my Savior through this craziness. 

And that is peace. 

Happy Anniversary

This weekend my husband and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary. We kept it pretty low-key. Went out to eat one night, and then on The Day we went for an evening paddle in our canoe while my parents watched the kids. 

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My husband patiently held the canoe while I gingerly climbed in. I have yet to master the art of getting in and out of a canoe gracefully. I was sitting up front, he was behind me. He gave me some pointers on holding my paddle. I adjusted accordingly. We pointed out birds that we could see, fish jumping out of the water. There were many times that we were silent for so long that I half-wondered if my husband was still in the canoe. But, I could feel the tug and pull of his paddling as we sliced through the water. At one point in time, I felt him shifting around, getting a drink from the water bottle, and I was the only one paddling. Suddenly the canoe was barely moving, making it obvious to me that my paddling efforts were not really what was making us move. 

 

We went up the lake and found a creek that we explored a bit. The water narrowing, trees over top of us.

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Then the canoe started tipping back and forth and I could hear a scrabble behind me.

Long pause.

I finally asked, What are you doing? 

I’m trying to get rid of a spider.

The canoe stopped tipping. 

Another long pause. 

Then he says, He’s headed your way now. 

WHAT! 

Just how big a spider are we talking about??

 

Fortunately no spider attacked me. 

 

We ended our paddle peacefully. 

 

And I think about marriage. What do I say to my kids as they approach the age of where marriage is something to think about? 

 

I would say, marry someone that you can be silent with. Marry someone who’s willing to pull the weight of the canoe just cause they want to be with you, and they don’t care how bad you are at paddling. Marry someone whose company brings you peace and a feeling of safety and well-being. 

 

As I write this blog and smell the Chili burning on the stove, because I forgot I was cooking. As usual. I would also add, marry someone who will eat your burnt Chili without comment. 

 

Happy Anniversary My Love. 

“The Peace of Wild Things”

I am sitting by the lake, I’ve been watching my kids swim, but they have now moved on to playing prince and princess and are concocting some elaborate make-believe game. I only have the three youngest with me. My husband and five of our kids left at 4am this morning to go hike a mountain. I don’t expect them home till late tonight. My other two daughters are at their grandparent’s house, in town, a short distance away. It has now been twelve days since we left Knoxville on our vacation, and it has taken about ten of those days for me to finally be able to just relax. We still have a couple more days before we head home and I am thoroughly enjoying the wonderful feeling of doing nothing except some light household chores and watching my children swim in the lake. 

 

It’s been a different kind of vacation. State mandates mean that we can’t go shopping or go out and be around a lot of people. We have seen basically just a few family members and had them do our grocery shopping for us. Aside from a day trip to the beach, we have just stayed in our little cabin and enjoyed the lake and the woods. And it has been wonderful. 

 

My restless husband has been able to help his Uncle and Aunt with a remodel project, my teen girls have hung out with their grandparents and the little ones have practiced their swimming. 

 

My brain has had time to process. Relive, rethink, reassess. And finally, it has just quieted down. I’ve read some good books, done “adult” coloring where there is an inspiring scripture and then a ton of elaborate details to color in. Not something I do often, but I find when I am coloring, the analyzing part of my brain shuts off, and I’m just thinking about staying in the lines, and what color should I use next? It has the same effect for me as playing scales on the piano, or re-reading a favorite book. Occasionally, I will stop coloring and just think about the verse. Meditate. 

 

We don’t get to do this every year. More like every two or three years. But I am glad for these times. 

 

As my brain has quieted and I have rested, I find myself getting ideas again. Getting excited about projects. I am even starting to feel excited about homeschooling some of my kids. I am plotting out schedules, and thinking about books to read and papers we will write and discussions we will have. Spelling charts for the second grader. Homemade calendars.

 

And this is the difference between stressed-out me and healthy me. The ability to dream and be excited about the future. 

 

I remember in the flurry of having lots of babies, I went for years without having any dreams. I was too exhausted. Too overwhelmed. The future was too far away. I was just surviving today. This moment. This minute. This second. 

 

The past months have been that for me. Survival. 

 

And it’s good to feel that quieting down. To feel like the ability to dream is coming back. 

I even told my husband that one day, when all the kids are grown, I want to get a giant fluffy dog. Like a St. Bernard. Or something like that. He immediately pointed out that big dogs are expensive. And I pointed back that all the kids will be gone and I will have money to spend on a dog. 🙂 He’s not over-excited about that dream….yet. I’ve got some time to talk him around. 🙂 

 

Here is a poem I found.

 

“The Peace of Wild Things”

Wendell Berry

Listen

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light. For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

 

Today, I am thankful for nature. For God’s creation. For the beauty he created that provides rest to all people, believer or not. It is one of his gifts to humankind. 

 

And I’m thankful for the time he has given me to just rest. 

Peace is a Verb

It has been days since I’ve last written and I almost feel a craving to get back to my keyboard. Our family is on vacation at the moment. Staying in a family-owned, small, rustic cabin on a beautiful lake that has entertained generations of my husband’s family. Tucked away in rural America, far from home, it is a wonderful escape from daily life. I have been weathering the shock to my system that comes from suddenly disconnecting from everyday life. No agenda. No plans. No schedules. The kids have been living in the lake. They have turned into little minnows. My only job is to keep an eye on them, join them occasionally, when the whim hits, and prepare three meals a day. 

 

I’ll tell you what I have been thinking about the last couple days. 

 

Peace is not a place. It’s also not a lack of movement or busyness. It’s also not being in nature. Or having complete freedom in your schedule. 

 

Cause, if it was all those things? I’d be floating on a cloud of peace right now. 

 

Instead, I am finding that I am having to fight for peace just as hard as I was when I was home, surrounded by schedules and appointments and work and busyness. 

 

I am having to take my thoughts captive, train them to go in a better direction. I am having to be purposeful about being thankful and looking for the good all around me. I am having to mentally box up all the things that I can’t fix (world pandemic, crazy politics, the coming school year) and again say, Ok, God, I am leaving these things in your hands, my worry is not going to change or fix any of these problems. I am having to seek out scriptures, to remind myself of the goodness of God and strengthen my faith again. 

 

I am hoping that the fact that I am on vacation will mean that I can actually be more purposeful about seeking peace. I am hoping that simply sitting in nature will eventually help my tense muscles to relax. I am hoping that the change of pace will be a time of bonding for our family and a time to simply have fun together. I am hopeful that by the end of this time, I will be recharged, ready to tackle the coming school year. These are my hopes. But, these things are not going to happen automatically. I am going to have to seek them, chase after them, pursue them. If I don’t, I will just spend this entire time fretting and worrying and stressing. 

 

Peace is a verb. A state of being. Sometimes, it’s a gift that is simply handed to me, but usually, it is a purposeful pursuing. A conscious choice. And in my experience, what I’m pursuing is Jesus. More of him, less of me, that is how I get peace. It is an acknowledgment of his sovereignty, his goodness, his love. A moving of my thoughts so that they line up with what the Bible says about my life. 

 

The good news is that you don’t have to be on vacation to have peace. While I’m going to treat this time off as the lovely treasure that it is, I know that the peace I look for during this time is something I can take home with me. It is always close at hand, whenever I’m willing to seek it. 

 

You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. 

Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV)