As the media frenzied this week to report the major happenings in the world: A royal wedding, tornadoes of record proportion and the killing of America's most wanted individual, a mixed emotion seemed to rain down upon the population as a whole. Life definitely happens while we are making plans, doesn't it?
The night the tornadoes hit our area, as well as so many others, I began closing windows and a mixture of confusion and fear ran through my veins. I was on the phone at the time, and the person asked, "Are you afraid of storms?"
"No," I replied. But this one seemed different. It emitted a fear of sorts and messed with my peace ... later, we all understood why. It was different.
However, in the very center of those tornadoes, we are told there is a "calm spot," a peaceful haven, if you will. Though the winds pick up houses and destroy lives, homes, structures and entire cities at times, right in the middle of them there is a peaceful place. I have heard, as I am sure you have heard, of people and even babies being picked up and abiding in the peaceful eye of the storm until placed down into safety. Sadly, that is not always the case. But my thoughts today as I am thinking of moms during this Mother's Day weekend, is that moms need to find the tranquil spot, even in the midst of the storms that come our way.
So many times the upheavals in our lives bring about a proverbial cloud like the one over the Charlie Brown Peanuts' character, Pig Pen. It hovers overhead. It is a cloud of an oppressive sort lingering in a taunting way threatening our peace and disturbing our joy.
One such cloud is the cloud of "Mom Guilt." Oh yes, if you are a mom and are reading this, you are presently shaking your head to the affirmative.
One way to find tranquillity in your life as a momma is to refuse to listen to the "what ifs" and "what could've been." The "what ifs" can drive you crazy. All moms have things they have said or done that they regret. It's the human plight. Nevertheless, every day is fresh with no mistakes in it. Sometimes apologizes are necessary, but then "build that bridge and get over it." Replace the painful memories of days gone bad with the good memories of when things went right.
As moms, there is hope for the future and joy for the present. If we realign our lives and thoughts in an appropriate way, we will find that life still holds promise. There are several deliberate actions we can take to care for the present as well as the future.
Simplify, simplify and simplify is an excellent way to begin the descent toward peaceful valley. Simplifying your life means getting rid of energy drains. This might mean keeping only those things and activities in your life that you really want to be a part of.
Learning to say no did not come easy for me. However, I have learned in order to have peace and stability in my life, I must say no to some things, in particular activities.
Then, I have come to realize that no matter how much I plan, prepare and diligently work, sometimes events just happen. As a mom, it may be that you are struggling to just put food on the table. You don't care about the status quo; you simply want to make ends meet. I understand, and have been there. At one time in my life, I cleaned houses and did anything and everything I could to make ends meet. I learned very quickly to implement missionary Hudson Taylor's motto: "Learn to move man, through God, by prayer alone." That does not discount good, healthy, hard work, but it can put a new slant on a saying (though not Bible) that God helps those who help themselves. Honestly, I can tell you, the kids and I have seen God provide our every need.
"But my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19
Mommas, do not let the doom and gloom folks discourage you. Limit the time you spend on the news programs that just keep rehashing the same old thing. Web sites also are preying upon innocent people and urging them to prepare for disastrous times. Usually they have products/equipment for sale. This usually increases paranoia, fear and worry. We are wise to prepare and plan for the future in a level headed way, but do not immerse yourself in doomsday if you want peace and tranquillity in you life. We are a resilient people. Our God is the same God that he was in Bible times. We will survive and even thrive under his leadership. If harder times come, we will stick together and learn even more what it means to be a community that cares. We will watch out for each other.
Something that is upon my heart daily is the desire to see moms (and dads, grandparents, and teachers and youth workers for that matter) "enjoy" children. There is something to be said of looking a child or young person in the eyes while they talk and smiling at them allowing them to see that you love them unconditionally and you enjoy them.
Enjoying and enduring are two different things. There is no fool proof guarantee that our children will not break our hearts. However, if you want to become the person your child lest wants to disappoint, then "enjoy" them. I read an article years ago, titled, "Constant Chatter." The writer was a mom who spoke of her little one's "constant chatter" and the nerve racking talking the child did from awakening til sleep. She did her best to enjoy him, however. Though straining to listen, listen she did. Tragedy happened and her precious son died. She wrote admonishing all of us to enjoy the constant chatter of those precious gifts from heaven in our homes and families. A sobering thought and I definitely do not want to promote paranoia, but it is truth. Life is fragile. So many in our own area know this kind of loss and it grieves my heart for them on Mother's Day.
Moms, we do not need a perfect life to find tranquillity and peace. It comes from the father and not from within our circumstances. In my own life, turmoil may continue, but drawing upon the "Prince of Peace" I can find my "happy place" right in the eye of the storm.
An artist was asked to paint a picture of peace. He considered a monastery, a garden and many other places or things that came to his mind illustrating peace. All of the sudden it began to storm and he looked out at the rain coming in torrents, howling wind and blowing leaves and then his eyes rested upon a branch on a tree outside his window. On the branch was a little bird nest. And in that nest was a little mama bird sitting quietly on her eggs. She tucked her head and slept though the storm and he knew he had found his model for peace. This painting became one the artists most famous. It was titled "Peace."
(Kimberly Short Wolfe, MA, is the counselor and chaplain with Cornerstone Christian Counseling Center. Contact Kim at: 304-637-7018 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.)