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Living in Peace

I had such a great post planned. It was all about choosing peace as the overall tone of our home. I had planned to share some personal strategies for how I choose peace in stressful moments, and how we try to cultivate peace in our relationships.

And then today happened.

I wouldn’t classify today as a “terrible day.” On the contrary, there were some pretty sweet moments. But there was also Fussiest 16 Month Old Ever and Mr. Dramatic that took turns crying about how we put pants on and the right way to pour banana bread ingredients into the bowl and the way I was dancing. At least they were sharing.

I’ll be honest. At one point, when Norah threw herself onto the floor because two feet went into one leg of her pajama pants, and Micah was having a meltdown because Grammy walked out of his sight, and then he flailed and his hand spasmed absurdly right to where my boot was stepping, I gave up and turned to my trusty, old friend. Blue’s Clues. Put them straight into a TV coma and then I swept the floors very vigorously.

I felt defeated. That rise of emotions that first seethes over my kids’ lack of self control and then quickly condemns me as a terrible mother. Not only did I ignore my screaming daughter, I crushed my son’s fingers and then shoved them both in front of a Blue puppy that only communicates in Bow-bow-bows to recuperate. It’s also at these moments that I notice every dirty thing in my home – wow, look at those baseboards! Have I EVER had it together enough to wash these curtains?

It wasn’t all in vain, though. Because, as I furiously swept the piles (and I literally mean piles) of dog hair into the dustpan, I realized this moment of defeat doesn’t mean I’m defeated. This moment of chaos doesn’t mean we live without peace. This single moment doesn’t mean anything, actually, except as a part of the wave that is Relationship. No matter how old my children get, we will have moments. But those moments don’t singularly define who we are as a family or how we live as a family. What defines us is how we choose to work through them and if we have overriding attitudes of love, kindness, and respect.

I realized that I can be at peace with these moments because I know that we can work through them together. My heart doesn’t need to be anxious, regardless of how loud my children scream. My emotions, though they may rise, don’t need to prove a point within the moment. My actions don’t have to lose all reason. I can walk away, or breathe deep (anyone else use their labor breathing?), or sweep, or turn on Blue’s Clues and come back to peace, to Christ. When I remember that He is an anchor amid the wave, I don’t have to be the stalwart one. I can ride it, knowing that He will keep me in perfect peace because I trust Him to hold on to me.

In case it seems like I regained my cool in one 20 minute episode of Blue’s Clues, put that notion away from you! I confess to a mini marathon, because some days just call for it. And you know what? I’m at peace with that too.

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