Monday, October 17, 2016

Peace and Quiet Are Not the Same Thing

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid."

(John 14:27, NLT)

Oh, how I long for quiet. It's about 5:05 am when the shrieking mercilessly begins. Not the kind of shrieking that bursts out of a bad dream, or a soiled diaper, or even a wayward, imaginary spider. It's merely the morning ritual of a child with ADHD and autism who is raring to face the day. He greets each morning with gusto, giggles, inappropriately gleeful remarks, and great big ear-shattering shrieks that are sure to wake every soul in our sparsely populated neighborhood. Upstairs, I hear him, galloping from room to room, ensuring that the other children are all indeed awake. They weren't, but they eagerly join his enthusiasm for morning. He wants to play, and run, and jump, and catch chickens. All I can think of is sleep. The commotion is deafening as it cascades down the stairs and into my room, where I am sinking ever more deeply into the bed linens, desperate for a few more minutes of peaceful, quiet rest. I try to hide beneath the duvet, pretending I am asleep, wishing for quiet so I could steal just a few more moments of much-needed sleep. But the chatter quickly finds me as little legs, still shaky from their  slumber, clamor onto the bed and I begrudgingly succumb to the breakfast requests, the retelling of dreams, and a myriad of sticky wet kisses and painfully tight hugs. Oh, how I long for quiet. 

I'd much rather start the day in quietness. Sipping my coffee, alone with my Bible and prayer journal, getting my heart ready to face the dawning day by spending time with my Savior before the hectic morning begins. Mentally steadying my nerves before the chorus of shrieking meets my weary ears. But at night, by the time I finish the  pile of evening chores, a couple loads of laundry, review upcoming appointments, return emails, and study a bit for Sunday's sermon, it's late and the night is just too short to wake up so painfully early. "You're going to miss this," people tell me. "I hope so," I retort with a smile and a bit more grace than I feel inside. My body longs for quiet, but my soul, it longs for peace. 

There is so much that I can worry about. Unknown futures for my children with their various special needs. What will happen to them when I am old? I could fret more about diagnoses that have been made and others yet to be made, treatments in progress and others yet to be started, doctor appointments that are ever looming on the horizon. Clinician phone calls to hurry through, med checks to schedule and even harder to attend. Therapists to see. Evals to accomplish -- So many evals to be made for so many of my little ones that it makes my head spin trying to keep them all straight. It tears at my heart and it starts to rust away the steeliness of my nerves. I could be anxious about bills, those skyrocketing bills for tests and therapies that the insurances didn't cover, the co-pays that piled up by happenstance, and the incredible grocery bills that are necessarily attached to stubborn feeding issues. Most days, the anxiety seems far more potent than the harsh morning wake up call. 

But it doesn't have to be that way. 

Maybe I can't control the quiet in my early mornings, but I can find peace that surpasses all of my worries. Maybe I can't manage a whole night of sleep, but I can find rest in my Savior's love for me, and especially, His love for each one of my precious, amazing children. Maybe I can't control the bills, or the diagnoses, or the never ending medical decisions. But what I do have is direct access to the Prince of Peace. Jesus is always near, even when I can't find time alone with Him. In Matthew 11, Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30, NLT). Jesus gives us rest from our heavy burdens and peace for our weary souls. And in John, He said, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid." (John 14:27, NLT). 

When the clamor of my day wears me down and the chorus of little voices begins before the coffee perks, and before I am wholly capable of facing my little corner of the world, I relish these famous words of Jesus. Peace doesn't come from an absence of trouble or a lack of life's noise, but from my relationship with the Prince of Peace. And when my world is noisy and busy, my heart can be gently quieted knowing that His Presence is what I need most, even more than a few more moments of that elusively sweet sleep.  

Peace and quiet are not the same thing. Even when I can't have quiet, Jesus gives me peace.

Merciful God, 
Life is so uncertain. It wears on us, burdens us, and the worries of each day press on us as we work to care for our little ones in all their stages of life. We grow tired from the work and we grow tired from the worry. Make us aware of Your constant presence. Help us to cast aside all of our anxiety; please flood us with Your Perfect Peace, Your Rest, and Your unending love so that we can share them with our families. Amen

Amanda Furbeck

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