November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks: Peace

This year, I am most thankful God's peace.

It feels weird to be thankful for peace. I don't know if I've ever been thankful for it before and maybe it's because I had yet to experience it until now.

I have spent the majority of my life angry at God. I have tried to understand the why's behind my story. I have demanded that God explain Himself and why some of the things in my life happened the way that they did. But, I have never been granted that understanding.

For a long time I've been looking to someone or something to grant me some kind of healing or help. Instead of looking only to God, I've looked elsewhere in order to make sense of my story in hopes that it would somehow magically make me change into this person I've thought that I needed to be. In all my efforts though, I recognized where I was still living independently from God.

Several months ago, some difficult life circumstances brought me to a crossroads. And in the end, I chose a path I had never really walked before. I pushed into my angry feelings towards God, I opened my heart up to Him where it had been closed off, and invited Him into a place where I desperately needed Him.

It might sound simple, but I've just spent more time with Him. I've focused my energies on just being near to Him, talking to Him constantly - bringing Him every heartache in the moment, studying something new just for myself, and taking more time to journal and pray and just be.

In doing this, I've sat with some hard things and have been convicted. I've looked at ugliness in my heart that I didn't know existed. I've been faced with my own pride and place after place where I had made agreements with evil. God has broken down some things that I've held on to for a long time and it's been rough.

At some point, I started praying for peace. And I'm not sure if God gave me peace because I asked for it, or because I was spending more time with Him. Maybe it's something we all have and we don't know it's there because it gets blocked by circumstances or anger. But, either way it happened and I have it.

Something unexplainable has happened inside of me as a result too. I feel as though I am looking through a new set of eyes. I feel new. I am aware of my desperate and beautiful need for God and I am delighting in how I was created to uniquely need Him.

After years and years of anger towards God, I have peace. Living with this peace enables me to live more freely and openly. I feel differently around others because I'm not looking through them out of the lens of my woundedness.

And the greatest part, is that I don't have to ask why anymore. I don't have to ask why because I can see Jesus' face for me in every tragic place in my story that I hadn't seen Him there before. I can stop asking why because I am okay with not needing to know anymore. His peace has gone beyond my understanding. His peace has even surpassed my desire to understand.

My hope as I continue to live and life continues to happen unexpectedly or unpleasantly and it begs the question "why," my hope is that I might remain close to Him and be filled with His peace. I won't have the answers I'm looking for here. But I can have peace.

I am in a new place with God and it feels good. I am enjoying it. I feel renewed and hopeful. I feel soft and alive. I feel excited and ready.

As I give thanks to God today for the many blessings in my life today, His peace transcends them all.

Happy Thanksgiving to you. May you be filled with His peace.

Philippians 4:6-7
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

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