Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Peace Greater than our Understanding.

When my mom, Cheryl, was a little girl, she attended St. John's Lutheran Church in a local town. They also had a Lutheran school at that time.. She was baptized as an infant into the Lutheran denomination, so it was only natural for her to be confirmed as an eighth-grader after two years of instruction in the catechism.
During my mom's early years, she was surrounded by tension in her home. Her father was unfaithful to her mother, but my grandmother's strong love for Christ kept her in the marriage after repeated infidelities by her husband. Eventually, after taking him back eight or nine times, she took steps toward ending the marriage. My mom was the oldest of three children, and in the eighth grade, she felt the storms brewing all around her. It was no secret that my mom's life had not been a dream. She did not understand God's love for her because of her earthly father. She was not a stupid little girl, and unfortunately, even my grandmother, who tried very hard, could not shield her from the harsh realities of this life.

When the marriage was at the point of death, my mom's pastor and confirmation leader called her into his office--it was time for him to pick a verse for her. It was customary for him to pray and seek out a scripture to direct the young person's life; a banner, so to speak.

He said in essence (I wasn't there, you know ;D), "Cheryl, I know that your life feels like a mess right now. I picked this verse out for you because God wants you to know when things are warring around you, they don't have to war within you."

He gave her this verse:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27

That spoke to her so much that for the rest of her life, that verse was etched into her mind and heart. When they struggled with infertility issues for years. When she faced her first cancer diagnosis in 1994. When we opened our store. Every circumstance in her life was a reminder to rest in the peace of Christ.

I don't think just those who are giving talks are feeling anxiety in this season of life.
God has led me to believe that some of you may suffer from an anxiety that you feel cannot be controlled. You worry about everything. You worry about things that you cannot even change.

God is calling your troubled heart to peace this very day. HE KNOWS everything. He is the MASTER of every little detail you stress over. Your ulcers are in VAIN because all He needs is one thing: to be in charge!

Fast forward to 2005. My mom was called to be a Lay Director and was faced with the task of choosing a theme for the team and pilgrims to consider. She kept hearing God whisper John 14:27 to her as she prepared and prayed. When she finally told him she didn't just want to pick that verse because it was "her" Confirmation verse. He gently spoke to her heart (I will never forget when she told me this) that HE ALONE had known all that that verse would come to represent in her life. He also knew when He laid it on her pastor's heart that she, as an eighth-grader, would one day be called to lead SIWE #31A. So He gave her the peace and confirmation she needed that it was to be John 14:27.

Now, I am sitting here at my desk almost in tears because I do miss her so very much. I am not sure why He made me type this out and be vulnerable. But God deserves praise for His unfailing peace, and so I tell you that story not to glorify anyone but OUR JESUS. Now, when I go to the cemetery to put flowers or a pinwheel or just to spend time with Jesus as I am still in the grieving process, that verse is what I see. We had it put on her tombstone because God told me that I would need a reminder of the PEACE that only He can give in really hard times or desperate circumstances. I hope this has clicked and reasonated with you that God wants to give you PEACE. PEACE OF MIND AND PEACE OF HEART.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:6-7
If you need prayer concerning anxiety, please call or email me and I will be happy to pray with you.
I love you all.


I'm sorry if you received this in an email already and you were looking for a new blog. Felt like somebody needed to see this on the blog as well.

Some Housekeeping: if you don't know how to leave a comment, you can feel free to email me (it's listed on the side of the blog).

Thanks, Kristi A., for the sweet email and for keeping up with a fellow Martin Countian. I love you, sister!



Christy said...

Lauren, That was beautiful. Of course you know your mama was the Lay Director on the walk that I made. I had turned it down a couple of times and I think I was put on the one I was meant to be on. That verse has spoken to me several times and I thank God that she chose to use one so personal to her. I loved your Mom and you exhibit the same qualities as she did. You are awesome. Love ya!!

Shannon Crane said...

That was a beautiful blog... thanks for sharing!!

The Jeffers Clan said...

Lauren thank you for a beautiful and wonderful post. You definitely spoke to me!

Nicole said...

Hey Lauren, Was it St. John's in Vincennes? Cause my momwent to school there. She went to St. Peter's for church. That's all! Love you!

The Robinson Family said...

Lauren, I'm crying as I type this. Your mom was like a 2nd mother to me in ways. She was ALWAYS there to pray with me when I needed them the most. She didn't care who was around or what was going on; she would drop everything and PRAY! I felt like I could trust her with my deepest secrets and that she would not judge me! It's hard when you walk around a town that only remembers ONE sin you committed and that's what you're labeled as. Your mom didn't judge me; she praised me for the good things that came of it. I really needed that verse today....I will never forget it! Thank you :)

chaff "4" said...

Lauren Listen to God I think he is giving you part of your talk for September. Thank you for helping me. I have a friend who is in so much turmoil in her marriage. I want to say the right thing to her but when I speak it is me not my heavenly father. Your mom's verse is what I am going to give her. She is right there on the edge of really turning her life over to the Lord. I need to let my words to her be his and you have given me a start. Thank you and God's blessings my sister in Christ.