This morning I did NOT feel peace. In fact-just the opposite. It stared off fine. Woke the kids up for seminary. No one moved. Had a battle of words with the kids. Finally I gave up and went back to bed. I could not sleep. Last night was a great night in many ways. We went to tutor a sweet refugee family from Africa and the experience was awesome. It was the first of many times that we will do this. I went back to my temple shift yesterday and LOVED it and we also had a great missionary discussion here. I had to ask myself this morning after all the amazing things of yesterday, what happened today?
We read scriptures this morning-Mosiah 4 specifically. Then a short discussion ensued with the 14 and 17 y/o telling me that they basically did not need parents, they have this down. Yes, this was after we read the Lord’s commandment to parents to teach their children to love one another, to serve, to love the Lord, to be unified….here we are-having learned so much at scripture study. After that, I was done! They left for school without family prayer-probably one of the few days, if ever, I have let that happen!
So I am alone. I am angry. I am frustrated. I am unsettled. I DO NOT feel peace. I have the thought to listen to a general conference talk. I always listen to the previous conference but this time I turn to April of last year and right there I see President Eyrings talk titled, “My Peace I Leave With You.”
I remember the scripture and the background of this as I see the title. I think of the Savior, knowing that soon He would not be with these men who he loved so much to guide them. He also knew that He could leave them a great gift that would guide them as He had been doing while on the earth, when He was not there any more. This was such a disconcerting and confusing time for them, yet the thing He knew they needed most was PEACE. “Peace I leave with you, MY peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27) In the previous verse, He tells them He will send a comforter. One who will help them “remember” the things he has taught.
As President Eyring says, “[we all] long for peace as we face uncertainty and what seems to be looming challenges.” Whether those challenges be 3 kids in diapers and a nursing baby and no “mom” time, teenagers pushing the limit, the inability to have the family you always dreamed of, the loneliness you feel as a single adult or single parent. Sometimes it is facing the physical or spiritual loss of a loved one, struggling with a chronic physical or mental illness. It may be watching over or caring for a loved one facing a chronic illness.
In ALL of these circumstances, we must find peace. Peace is promised to us as we partake of the Lord’s Sacrament every Sunday. The peace of His Spirit to be with us always.
During these challenging days, weeks and sometimes years, if we can turn to God and learn from these challenges, we will be better off. We will be happier and stronger and better able to face our challenges. Again President Eyring quotes a scripture from Ether 12:27, “If men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all [who] humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”
Does this mean that God can make the weak parent that I am become strong? Does it mean that He can strengthen my family relationships? Does it mean that if I truly turn to Him, He can give me more hope and faith in myself and in my children? Even as Moroni was putting the records in the Book of Mormon together, he said that when he “heard these words,” he “was comforted.”
So we learn that being aware of our weaknesses keeps us humble and allows us to be open to the feelings of the Spirit. Being humble, facing weakness and struggle also has us seeking the Lord so much more than in times of complete peace and strength. I find for myself, that the Gospel of Jesus Christ, itself and living it brings me an underlying sense of peace and comfort, no question. But there are still rough roads to face, challenging days, challenging children, challenging months in marriage and yet, even then, I can feel waves of peace and comfort clearly come into my soul, as I did this morning. The complete knowledge of knowing that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are aware of me, that I may be having a rough day, that they know my name and know my strengths and weaknesses. They know our family and what we need.
I know that when the overwhelming times come, which may even seem daily for a while, that we can absolutely find the peace we seek. It was no accident that I thought in my head to read a conference talk and then immediately be led to this one today. It was no accident that as I was struggling to understand and help a child and went to the temple to seek guidance from the Lord that I came across Isaiah 57:17-19, that clearly said to me, “I am also His Father, his brother, I have suffered fo him and I will heal him.” There is no doubt in my mind that when we seek to find peace, God gives it.
I am grateful for this small reminder this morning that God is aware of me and of you. That he is always there with the answers we need. How grateful I am for that wonderful third member of the Godhead, the Holy Ghost who makes it possible fo us to feel this peace and have these strengthening experiences.