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I love Jesus. I may see things from a strange perspective that has been formed over 24 years of a very unusual life, we will see. But there are times when I just want to run to Him, throw my arms around His neck and give Him a big kiss on the cheek. He never dances around a subject, He gets right to the meat of it and tells you what you need to hear... even if you don't want to hear it.

I try to listen, Lord, every chance I get. Please never stop trying to tell me even though I am usually to thick and oblivious to hear.

OK, to the meat of this post. :)

It seems incredible how two weeks can hold such highs and lows of the human mind, two such opposing emotions warring for the right to dominate. Do I rejoice or do I mourn? Am I full of praise or full of sorrow?

I am full of rejoicing!
Two weeks ago today, my niece, Kelley Leigh-Ann, was born after a long tumultuous delivery that eventually resulted in a cesarean section. BJ called me before she got to the hospital and I stayed by her side until she, Daddy, and Baby were resting peacefully and I could barely hold my head up straight. I was so proud of B and so joyful for such a beautiful baby! I spent the night getting to know Kelley's dad in a way I hadn't been able to before, and shared several precious moments with the two of them I will never, ever forget.

I am full of sorrow.
Then last Thursday, Jesus called one of His own home to Him... we were just not willing to share. My dear friend, Jessica, won her fight against PNETs cancer after two long years of battling. She went to her ultimate reward, and left us all here to celebrate her life and mourn ours without her. Jessica's father is the man who joined me and Josh in marriage. Her mother helped me with all the planning (and actually did the majority of it herself!) and Jessica was one of the few of my friends there to celebrate with us. I've known her all my life (at least since my life began) and grew up with her, besides. She was beautiful, inside and out, and I can't imagine how beautiful she is worshiping her Savior at His feet. I will truly miss her.

But where does that leave me? Do I celebrate and rejoice in a precious new life or do I weep and lament in the beginning of another? I don't have the answer.

I did, however, hear a wonderful broadcast on Sunday morning. "Peace," the preacher said, "Peace in yourself and peace with God. Most people will say that they have peace with God and themselves, but whenever great tragedies or great wonders happen, they find themselves torn from the inside and learn that their peace was nothing but a veneer over rotting wood."

It stopped me in my tracks. Peace. The knowledge and understanding that God truly controls everything, a comfort and assurance of our place at His feet. Peace. How wonderful it sounds.

I am trying to hear, Lord. Quiet my mind so I can hear your voice!

I sat down over the past couple days to really try and discover if I possessed peace. Do I know for sure that God is watching me, and caring for me? Am I really able to weather a storm of emotions from some elusive inner wellspring of peace and joy or am I just faking it? How do I know when I am actually peaceful?

Jessica's mom, Sharon, sent me, although she doesn't realize she did, to a website called What About Jesus where I found this in the Daily Devotional section:

Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all, the Lord is near. 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 - Philippians 4:4-7

"In our reading for today, the Apostle Paul actually encourages us not just to rejoice but to rejoice always. Crime in the streets ... rejoice? Young people dying in foreign wars ... rejoice? No job ... rejoice? Yes, what we have in Jesus lifts us above all that. All of these things are problems in this sinful world. Jesus lived and died to take us out of this sinful world to be with him in a perfect world forever. But can we rejoice and find peace while we are still here? Again yes, because “the Lord is near." We don't have to scratch and claw our way through life grabbing things as if this is all there is. Jesus is with us, and through him we are blessed with God’s favor and the joy of life with God now and forever.

We don't have to be anxious about anything, either. We know who is in charge of all things, and he has invited us to present our requests to him. We can take our worries and problems to our God in prayer and leave them with him, knowing that he will always answer according to his great love and his eternal will for us. Then, as Paul explains, "The peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." '

Rejoice Always! Again, Rejoice! Present your cares to Jesus and the peace of God will guard your heart and mind!

I am Listening. I think I really am beginning to understand!

Maybe peace is not something that we have or have not.

Maybe peace is not something we can earn or lose.

Maybe, just maybe, peace is a gift waiting for us to reach out and take it for our own.

Am I brave enough to accept it? Are you? Or do I think I can somehow find peace apart from the Peacemaker?

When I search my mind, heart and soul, I am confident when I say to any who read this, "I have peace in my life. I am peaceful, regardless of the sorrow that pierces my heart. I am peaceful when I am rejoicing and I am peaceful when I am shattered. I feel peace with Jesus, my one true love, my God Most High, my shelter, and Savior. I rest in His glory, and I am peaceful in His arms."

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to rend, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war and a time of peace.



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