July 9, 2021
Getting Through One of "Those Days" When You're Feeling Stretched Thin
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"I am leaving you with a gift - peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid." John 14:27 (NLT)
It had been another one of "those days" in a house with teenage daughters where dramatic reactions seemed to prevail in every conversation.
While my girls sat upstairs dealing with their runaway emotions, I was overwhelmed by my own. The challenges of parenting, on top of juggling the weight of work and life, had begun to wear me down.
Desperately needing some serenity, I quietly retreated to my front porch to be alone with my thoughts and God. I longed for the days when life seemed simpler and less chaotic, when my daughters were little, and the biggest issue of the day used to be whether or not they could have a snack before dinner.
It was then that I noticed something partially sticking out of the pine needles underneath a huge holly bush. Reaching underneath, I pulled out forgotten pieces of the past: two faded, plastic Easter eggs.
Instantly, I saw a mental picture of two blond-headed little girls in pink, frilly Easter dresses, playing in thick, green grass in the front yard. Little fingers wrapped tightly around wicker baskets topped with big, pastel bows as they excitedly hid brightly colored eggs under the holly bushes and pine straw. Bushes that were then 12 inches tall now stood at 12 feet.
As I longed even more for those long-gone days, a lump formed in my throat and tears welled up in my eyes.
My daughters came outside and sat on both sides of me, exchanging perplexed glances with each other, wondering why mom was crying over dirty old plastic eggs. We all burst into laughter and shared a few hugs, which opened my eyes to realize that those Easter eggs were a little reminder from God that peace and joy are still available, even on "those days." Then, today's key verse came to mind like a breath of fresh air:
"I am leaving you with a gift - peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid." (John 14:27)
In John 14:15-31, Jesus shares with His disciples about the Holy Spirit, promising that this Spirit will help them carry on even after Jesus has ascended into heaven. He talks about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within all believers (vv. 16-17) and how the Spirit is what equips us to keep persevering when we are stressed to the max. (vv. 26-27)
Jesus wanted to give comfort and encouragement to His disciples by letting them know His peace would always be within reach. If we are Christ-followers, that promise of peace and comfort is for us today as well.
While still sitting on the front porch steps with my girls, I began to pray and soon felt God's gift of peace warming me on the inside as the bright sun warmed me on the outside. I found myself feeling thankful for the blessing of family, even on the hardest of days, and especially for the blessing of God's peace amid chaos.
In every stage of life, there will be "those days" when we feel stretched thin. Days when peace seems unattainable due to stressful or heartbreaking situations. Days when we feel frustrated, hopeless or emotionally exhausted as we face the seemingly never-ending struggles of life. What a comfort to know that, because of Jesus, we can have true peace even in less-than-peaceful circumstances.
On this particular day when my heart felt heavy, God used two faded Easter eggs as reminders that, despite the daily challenges of being a mom and of the various stressors that seemed to consume my days, peace is always available in Him.
Dear Lord, next time I have one of "those days," please give me a peace that surpasses understanding. Help me to trust You enough to remember that I don't need to let stress and worry steal my joy. Help me to appreciate what is right in front of me, no matter how hard "those days" are. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
OUR FAVORITE THINGS
Tracie's newest book, Stress-Less Living: God-Centered Solutions When You're Stretched Too Thin, releases August 24! Preorder today and receive the "Stress-Less Living Companion Journal" for free! Click here for more information.
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
Philippians 4:7, "Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." (NLT)
What is stealing your peace today and stretching you thin? How might things change if you asked God to replace the anxiety in your heart with His peace and comfort?
Share your thoughts in the comments!
© 2021 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.