The Gift of Peace

“My peace I give unto you
It’s a peace that the world cannot give
It’s a peace that the world cannot understand
Peace to know, peace to live
My peace I give unto you”

“My Peace” – Marantha Singers

I’ve been thinking about how the peace that surpasses all understanding and guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus is a gift that goes beyond anything I’ve ever been given in this world.

Exactly one year ago, my husband and I liquidated our worldly possessions when we left China. I’ll never forget the feeling of lightness and peace I experienced after the last piece of furniture made its way out the door and the last bag was zipped. We weren’t left with much, but we had peace in our hearts and a guarantee from God that he would never leave us nor forsake us. What more do I really need in life?

I go through phases where I cling too tightly to things and worry about this or that, but the experience of setting out on a new journey, old home behind me and new home in the fog in front of me, with only my husband, children and luggage was liberating. No longer do I fear letting go of things. I know that if every worldly possession I have evaporated into thin air at this very second, I’d be fine! I would be more than fine because I’ve experienced the peace of Jesus and the promise of his presence so deeply that I’m convinced there’s nothing that could separate me from it! NOTHING! Why do I worry? Why do I hold so tightly to my own plans and my own junk?!

There were seasons during our time overseas when I felt like we had made a big-time wrong turn in life. I let myself look at my peers back in Texas and saw their nice houses and affluent careers. I compared my concrete block apartment to their single-family dwellings in fresh-air suburbia and called my lot “no good!” I doubted God’s plan and His goodness. I wondered how I could be so ignorant as to move to China and claim God had called me there.

But God always drew me back to himself after those hard seasons, and he showed me how blessed I am in the heavenly realms. Friends, if we could get even the tiniest glimpse of how great the eternity he’s preparing for us truly is, worry and comparison and grief and strife and jealousy would all fall away, and we’d be left with the glorious gift of peace.

I wish I could somehow capture the profound peace—the complete lack of worry—I felt that day when we descended the stairs of our Chinese apartment building for the last time and drove to the airport, Christian hobos on the loose once more. I need that peace as I’m surrounded by my own junk again (how does stuff accumulate so quickly??) and I’m tempted to cling, once again, to my own plans for satisfaction. If my time in China meant nothing else and happened for no other reason than for the experience of true peace in the midst of a storm, it would be worth it! (and how great to know our time in China meant so much more and happened for so many other reasons!)

I don’t know where you are in your overseas journey…coming or going, or somewhere in between, but I want you to experience the gift of peace in a tangible way that will leave an impression on your heart. If you’re homesick, peace will comfort you. If you’re celebrating with family for the first time in years, peace will cheer you! If you’re just plain stuck in the middle of a hard time, peace will sit with you and assure you of blessings to come.

Would you take a minute and acknowledge the presence of Jesus with you wherever you are right now? Know that he’s there, he’s got your back and he cares for you more than you’ll ever know! That is the true gift God has given to the world! Press on and continue walking the path he’s marked out for you, trusting him every step of the way.

How can you embrace the gift of peace this Christmas? Have you experienced the peace that surpasses all understanding? How has that experienced shaped your present life?

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5 Comments

  1. Taylor December 18, 2017

    Yes, I can feel that gift of peace. I feel it the strongest after I’ve had a melt down. The melt down usually clears out all the fog and worry that’s pent up and when I’m empty, his peace comes in. This season is so hard. But so good at exactly the same time. And M’Lynn, every other day I feel like we made the wrong decision by moving! I think wow I could be doing so much MORE with my time back home. But then usually God shows me I’m exactly where I need to be, that he has marvelous plans for me to prosper and for his name to be known.

    1. M'Lynn December 18, 2017

      Taylor, It blesses me to know you are where you are and you’re able to connect with me here. It’s been hard moving back and feeling like I might not have a place in the global scheme of things, but getting to share at Velvet Ashes and hear from dear sisters like you who are putting everything on the line as you ask God to “lead [you] and guide [you] for the sake of [His] name” is such a privilege! I’m thankful to know you’re experiencing peace as you continue on your journey!

    2. Julie Breuninger December 19, 2017

      Taylor- great to see you here my friend.! The holidays especially the first Christmas away are just plain hard. Your heart aches to be with the familiar and comfortableness of what is past. Praying for God’s peace to fill you today as you pursue Him. Thanks M’lynn for sharing from your heart feelings, the questions and for giving a voice to many of our same questions.

  2. Hannah December 19, 2017

    Thanks for sharing this, M’Lynn. I am facing the prospect of getting rid of all our things and going into a nomadic phase of life in the next year. It is good to hear from someone else that it truly is liberating as I hope it could be… I already know it will have hard aspects. 🙂 Also I truly appreciate how you brought out the Eternity ahead that we have to look forward to. That’s the deepest thing that keeps us going! Thanks for being a voice to shout out that exciting prospect of an awesome eternity!

  3. Shel December 24, 2017

    It is good to be reminded that He has given us His peace that passes all understanding – that keeps our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Feel like my world is falling apart – rejection of friends – of people whom I thought were friends!!! Another one yesterday – without explanation – not sure what is going on, why, do I pursue and find out – do I wait on Him – what do I do? Many tears, many tears, many tears. His peace, so thankful for His promises that are true and sure and forever.

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