I’m not a shoe person. But I like peace.
I recently finished The Armor of God Bible study with some ladies at my church, and as a finale we held a dinner event to wrap up what we had learned. Because it’s hard to say “no” to a dessert buffet.
I was asked to speak on a panel with five other ladies where each of us was assigned one piece of armor to share about (see all six pieces here) and how we had been impacted by the study.
Generally, I overthink things. Can I get an amen? But with this assignment, I couldn’t get the words out fast enough. Peace is something that has taken on a whole new meaning in my life over the last several months. It was easy to share how God has been filling, covering, wrapping, and shielding my heart with his peace.
Here’s what I shared…
“Two things that are essential to living a life of peace are thankfulness and trust in God. I’m going to share a little bit of my recent journey and how the Lord is helping me to live a life of peace.
Our daughter Evelyn was born on December 3, 2015. She suffered severe brain damage during my pregnancy and her little body struggled to keep her alive. After 20 wonderful and awful days, she died in our arms. Losing a child has proven to be even worse than I could have imagined. The agony in my soul is indescribable and the ache is constant. I miss her more than words can express.
In the Armor of God Bible study, Priscilla Shirer says this about peace:
“… true peace is best detected and measured against the backdrop of commotion and confusion – when instability abounds, yet you remain steadfast; when disappointment and confusion are near, yet you’re still capable of walking with Spirit-infused confidence, stability and steadiness.”
While Evelyn was alive, we felt helpless. We were faced with way more questions than answers. There was so much disappointment, so much dread, so much heartache. In the wake of her death, the tears still come freely and often. The sadness is heavy and unpredictable. And yet, even in this pit of grief, God’s peace has given us the ability to keep moving forward. And that’s what the shoes of peace do after all – they enable us to keep walking – not being beaten down by the past or unable to march on for fear of the future.
Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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 minds in Christ Jesus.”
One thing that ushers peace into my life is thanksgiving.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 says, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
It’s not that I’m supposed to be thankful for my circumstances, but rather I’m supposed to be thankful in my circumstances.
I’m not thankful that my daughter died. I’m disappointed and heartbroken. I desperately wish she was still here. I feel her absence all the time.
But I am thankful that Jesus is a compassionate savior who is with me in my suffering. He records my tears and weeps with me.
I’m thankful that through faith in Jesus, I have the hope of eternal life, and I know that I will see my daughter again one day and she won’t be sick anymore.
I’m thankful that God does not waste my suffering, but he brings beauty out of pain.
I’m thankful that this present trial will be like nothing compared to the weight of glory that God will reveal in eternity.
I’m thankful that death is not the end, but that the power of Jesus’ resurrection enables me to live with courage and joy as I wait for heaven.
That’s how I find peace through thanksgiving. It’s not easy. But it is possible.
Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.”
I once heard someone say that on your darkest day, you need to think about everything you know to be true of God, and hold on tightly to it.
I know that God is good.
His love endures forever.
He is sovereign.
He is faithful.
He is the first and the last.
He is merciful.
He is compassionate.
He is just.
He has defeated death and sin forever.
This is how I find peace from trusting in God’s character and his promises.
Maybe you’re in a place where you’re afraid of something bad that could happen in your life and it consumes you with worry and dread and anxiety. Or maybe you’re in despair over something that has happened in your life and it cripples you with hopelessness. These things can steal our peace.
When we choose to put on the shoes of peace, with thankful and trusting hearts, God empowers us to live with courage and joy no matter what our circumstances bring. We can set our hearts on Jesus, the Prince of Peace, who will be with us every step of the way, until one day when he’ll welcome us into our heavenly home where we can be at peace forevermore.”