It’s funny for me to look back on some pictures. Like this one for instance…I was babysitting, which put the number of kids in my house at 7 kids under the age of 7. And I remember running around like a crazy woman…changing diapers, solving toddler fights, then running back to the kitchen , where I accidentally stepped on a piece of Lego, while making a camp-sized portion of mac and cheese. I shrieked in pain and hobbled to the bathroom to get a bandage and as I looked into the bathroom mirror I literally fell down laughing. I looked like some frazzled housewife off of a reality T.V. show called, “The Crazy Bunch.” For some insane reason I thought that I couldn’t hold this humor all to myself, so I took a selfie.
And now I have this memory of one of the many absolutely psychotic days I’ve lived through, which I probably would’ve completely forgotten about had I not chosen to laugh in the chaos.
Wait? Did I call this post “Peace in a house of seven?” Ooops…my mistake, it should be called “Laughing hysterically at the chaos” or “The Day I finally lost my Mind”… because at some point I had to realize that Joy and Peace weren’t just going to happen. Actually just the opposite, I was going to have to make them happen.
And sometimes it meant laughing when I felt like crying. Or when my kids embarrassed me so badly I just wanted to disappear. Or taking a picture of the moment rather than running from it.
Because while we love to share moments like this:
In reality our lives look far more like this:
I really could just keep going here…but for the sake of my readers I’ll refrain…ok maybe just one more:
Bahahaha!!! Good times…
So anyways, where was I going with this?
Oh yeah, after years and years of searching for this peace that I felt we must be somehow missing…I’ve realized that in a family of seven – five children, two (sort of) adults, peace could not be found in behaviour or rules. No amount of order or discipline could achieve peace. All the nap times and the quiet times and the movies in the world could not bring peace.
Peace can only be found in my very own heart when I say, “Ok, ok this is really really crazy right now but I’m actually going to laugh instead of doing whatever it is that I really want to do (yelling, crying, running into a room and humming with a pillow over my head)”
Because the peace that Jesus gives isn’t about circumstances. Otherwise Jesus himself wouldn’t have had peace since his life was full of many LONG days of ministry, disciples that were constantly arguing about who was the best, huge groups of people crowding around him so tightly that he couldn’t even walk through towns… and many other troubles. But he was a man who had abundant peace. In fact he was so overflowing with peace, that he freely gave it to others:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
And if I was claiming to be his follower, it was my RIGHT to claim this peace, because he gave it to me!
But is it really that easy? Honestly, yes…and no. Yes, because it’s YOURS you can have it, all you need to do is seek it. And No because our flesh screams when things aren’t peaceful…we want to fight for more control, for more quiet, for “me” time, for order. Yet peace in my life has been found when I just let go. I say, “God, this is honestly too much for me and I’m giving it to you. I can not carry the weight of my children’s decisions on my shoulders for the rest of my life…they’re in your hands now. I can’t change their hearts when they’re fighting so badly I just want to throw them all in a box and ship them to Timbuktu. I can’t change the way my toddler demands HIS way and it comes with screaming FOR HOURS. But you can, God, and they’re in your hands.”
I’m not saying it’s easy to choose peace…but it’s possible. It’s possible for me to see a damaged floor in our brand new house from my kids dragging furniture around the house and stay calm…because I can see it as an opportunity to show grace. I can laugh when I go out shopping with a big piece of blueberry in my teeth, only to see it afterwards because really, I can either stress about it, or laugh with the rest of the world. And I CAN enjoy the crazy days and laugh about them later. And you can too!
Just remember to take LOTS of pictures, and please share them with me, so I can share in your laughter. And in 45 years when the silence is so loud your ears hurt and “peace and quiet” actually means loneliness; when you’re shaking the dust from those doilies on your coffee table…you’ll look back to those pictures of muddy children in the spring time, smeared makeup and frizzy hair morning snuggles, kids all screaming in the family picture and you’ll smile because those memories will be filled with peace.