My husband is on a work trip this week, so I’m flying solo with my girls. It seems like every time he leaves, someone gets deathly ill. And by deathly ill, I mean someone usually ends up throwing up all over me. And that feels like death to me.
This time, I caved, and now both of my girls have been sleeping in the bed with me because I just can’t walk up the stairs one more time to check on them in the middle of the night. This morning, I woke up before them. I laid in bed and listened to their soft breathing and watched their sweet, relaxed faces.
This season of little kids is filled with lots of things. Lots of noises and toys and activities. Lots of refereeing and teaching and talking.
Not many noticeably peaceful moments exist in my normal day-to-day. Sometimes I get to bedtime and I feel like if anyone else needs anything from me, I will throw a tantrum.
This morning, as I watched my kids sleep, I got to take a deep breath. I stayed in bed and read a book. I watched them slowly blink their eyes open. Whisper “hi” to each other. Snuggle. We eased into the day in a way that doesn’t normally happen. It was quiet, cozy and oh-so-sweet.
Eventually, we got out of bed and hit the ground running. But it made me think, How often do I miss these sweet opportunities? How often am I in such a hurry that these peaceful moments get lost in the chaos I create? The chaos I choose?
Moments of peace are tucked into our days. These moments don’t demand our attention. They aren’t flashy or invasive or obvious. And in order to find them, they require our full presence.
I had a friend in college who would greet people with, “Shalom.” He would say bye with, “Shalom.” He would pat you on the head if you were stressing out and say, “Shalom.” He would toast a cafeteria dinner with, “Shalom.” I always thought it was so funny and weird, but I never really gave it much thought. I’d just say, “Shalom to you, too.”
Shalom means complete peace, a feeling of deep contentment, wholeness, and harmony. That rare feeling you get when everything seems right and good. Oh, how I long for these moments, for shalom, to be more of the norm in my little world and also in our great, big, hurting world.
The good news is our God is shalom. He is perfect peace. When Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you…” he says this as a promise. (John 14:27) It’s not just a lofty, good idea. It’s not some puzzle that we have to solve, some secret we have to uncover. As his children, we have full access to the perfect peace that is Jesus. This is part of our inheritance.
He goes on to say, “Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid.” Part of accessing this perfect peace is in our hands. It’s in the moments when we’re tempted to choose fear. It’s in the moments when we look at how our broken world operates. It’s in the moments when we are tempted to just keep doing and keep going and keep pushing through. Shalom is hidden in all of these moments when we, instead, choose to fix our eyes on Jesus.
As we walk closely with Jesus, contentment becomes less and less connected to our circumstances. We can brave the storms without fear, knowing that God is always for us.
We can face the unknown with confidence because there is nowhere we can go that he won’t be. And we can face our sometimes brutally boring day-to-day knowing that Jesus wants to show up for us in the mundane.
These little moments of peace aren’t always mind-blowing, right? I mean, my few moments this morning watching my girls sleep did not negate the crazy-ness that immediately ensued. But I think this moment at least prepared me a little better for the rest of the moments today. It let me start the day with a sense of wholeness, operating out of a deep breath and a present heart.
And these peace-filled moments help us stay centered and focused on the One who is perfect peace. A great conversation with a friend. That first sip of coffee in the morning. A long, hot shower. Sitting down to eat a good meal. Sometimes it simply requires slowing down enough to acknowledge these moments, however brief they are. Sometimes it just requires our attention, our full presence, our showing up and patting ourselves on the back and saying, “Shalom to you, too.”
Emilie lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado with her husband and two daughters. She’s a freelance writer, health & wellness coordinator, and yoga instructor. She loves books, happy hours, and all things outdoors. You can connect with her at emjimenez.com.