We’d both prayed and asked the Lord and had come up with the same answer: 2014 would be the Year of Peace. This was a great comfort and encouragement to us being that 2013 had been such a difficult year.
We looked bold-faced to the future, ready for whatever came next, ready to really dive into life in Papua New Guinea.
Then I had a panic attack two weeks later.
So much for peace, right?
So then we found ourselves having to reevaluate everything: our calling, the life we’d chosen, how our decisions had affected our children. Did I have the spiritual maturity to make it as a missionary? Was I too weak? Did we really hear God right?
So we sought God, we prayed and He heard us. After a few months, we set off on an early furlough back in the States to take some time to heal, rest, and get counsel.
A month later the counselor looked at us both and said tenderly, “Peace isn’t the absence of conflict. That’s pseudo-peace.”
Peace isn’t the absence of conflict.
In marriage, in ministry, in life.
He and I looked at each other, filled with relief and hope and maybe some regret too over the conversations we should have had, over the honesty that would have helped moved us forward in our marriage, even though it may have been painful.
For so long I’d been thinking, if we could just stop disagreeing about things, then things would be perfect. I finally started to see that that was a lie that I had been believing.
And I got to thinking about all the difficult things that we faced in Papua New Guinea. All the times I’d pleaded with God to change my circumstances, or change my husband, or change my children. All the times when I thought peaceful living meant an easy life.
But, Jesus promised us peace, not days without troubles. He promised to send the Comforter, but he didn’t say that life would always be easy.
When our brother Paul pleaded with Jesus, not once, but three times to take away the troubling thorn, Jesus replied: My grace is sufficient for you.
See, here’s the thing about peace. Peace isn’t about a quiet life without noise and pain and trouble and lots and lots of hard work.
Peace is looking to Jesus in the midst of all that trouble and finding your heart still and reposeful.
I have spent much of my life trying to embody peace because that’s what the name “Erin” means. But, I don’t think I’ve known it as well as I have in this last year.
I know what it is to walk through the darkest valley and be comforted by Him; to dwell in the darkness, yet not fear it.
And I know this for sure: true peace is only found in Jesus.