My precious mother-in-law, Maman, left this earth to be with the Lord on Valentine’s Day of last year. It was tough times for all of us, but God, in His loving way, used this sad consequence of sin to teach us some valuable lessons about peace, about trust, about God’s power and timing and about His ability to comfort those who are left behind. These will be the focus of the devotionals leading up to Valentine’s Day.
Part 1: The Choice
In the days that followed the unwelcome news that my mother-in-law, Maman, was considered to be imminently palliative, I learned an important lesson: Peace of mind is a choice. It doesn’t matter what we are going through, we have the choice to submit it to God and rest in His peace, or to carry it ourselves.
The previous weekend, the charge nurse at the home where my Maman lived contacted us to say that if we wanted to see jer alive, we would need to make an immediate overseas trip. Quite naturally, we began to grieve, and the entire week was spent trying to figure out how to make this trip a possibility. We would learn on Friday, however, from the same nurse, that in her opinion, Maman had weeks, if not months, to live. Then on Saturday, the nurse who did my mother-in-law’s direct care reported that in her opinion, Maman was not palliative at all!
What an emotional roller coaster!
In and of itself, that would have been enough to disrupt the peace, but add the following to the mix: 1) Work had been significant more stressful than usual due to staff off sick; 2) I had slipped on the ice and sprained my wrist; 3) There were significant problems with another family member requiring hours of time to find solutions, only to learn that this particular family member didn’t want help. Then the same issues resulted in me losing a significant chunk of my weekend; and 4) I was also sick, but with staff already off, I had to push myself to work through it anyway. Thanks to the prayers of my loving husband and family, I was weathering this pretty well…Until Sunday night, that is, when my son said something that rubbed me the wrong way. I knew at the time that I was taking it all wrong; nonetheless, this little thing was quite simply the last straw. I just couldn’t humanly take any more emotional turmoil, and with that thought, I gave away my peace.
God, in His loving kindness, refused to leave me there. Instead, He sent me a timely text from my son, with the strong reminder that God is Jehovah Shalom, God of Peace. Then my son went one step farther: He reminded me that in the Hebrew, these names of God were not just general names, but personal ones. Therefore, it isn’t just “God of Peace”; instead, it becomes “God of my Peace”!
That worked on my spirit for a few minutes, and that’s when the truth occurred to me: Having the peace of God is a choice. I can choose to allow God to be my peace, or I can choose to hold His peace at bay by continually allowing the “things” in life to mushroom in my mind.
Now I know that I am not dealing with serious, personal health concerns, financial difficulties or relationship problems. I also realize I have a great job, a loving, wonderful family to support me and a warm roof over my head. In fact, in the grand scheme of things, my little bag of “problems” might seem pretty small. Nonetheless, whatever it is, small or huge, God’s peace is available to us at all times: “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:7 NIV). The reason we don’t always feel that peace is that we fail to give our burdens to Him: “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7 MOV)
I chose to give my problems to Jesus that day, and I declared that Jehovah Shalom is the God of my peace. You won’t believe the difference it made!
And it’s a good thing; as the news from Europe would again succumb to the whims of reality…Join us on Thursday for “Maman, Adieu!” part 2: How to Avoid a Meltdown.
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
(To access the entire “Maman, Adieu!” mini-series, please click here.)