(Written in December - week before Christmas)
I don’t know about your household, but this household has been anything BUT peaceful over the last couple of weeks! We are “home” in Texas for Christmas and life is moving at a frightening pace here. There has been shopping to do, food to
prepare, cookies and candies to bake, and gingerbread houses to decorate. There have been parties to attend, gifts to wrap, cards to mail, decorations to be hung, and traveling to visit family and friends. I’m exhausted! It seems like the only peace and quiet time available comes between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., and frankly I’m just too tired to do anything during those hours right now.
I found myself sitting in the car yesterday, almost in tears, wishing for peace. Not just the unscheduled time-kind of peace, but the quiet-kind of peace, too. I wished for a place, for an hour or two, with no television and no loud-speaker Christmas music. No radio, no commercial jingles for Christmas gifts, no telephone. I wished for the peace that I see on the faces of the nativity figures in my mom’s nativity scenes. Everyone looks calm. I can imagine the tender sounds of the animals in the stable. It makes me miss my chickens and goats and pig back in Peru, with their sweet barnyard sounds and nudges and soft fur. I miss the donkey that brays in the morning and the sheep that softly call to their lambs. I long to be in the barnyard with the smell of fresh grasses and corn, with an amazing sky full of stars overhead and the magnificent Andes mountains looming all around me, the cold wind swooping down from the glacier and covering our valley with clean, crisp air.
I received an answer during this moment of longing and wishing yesterday. God hears our heart, even when we aren’t intending to pray or lift up our needs or issues – He hears. He gently reminded me that the peace in the nativity scene was laying in the manger… the Prince of Peace. I knew that, but needed to be reminded yet again. God gently said to me, “I know it’s loud. I know it’s busy. I know you are overwhelmed. I know that you long for peace and quiet and the beauty that those should bring to this season. I also know that the demands of culture and tradition aren’t going away. But focus! Keep your
focus. You are My Child and I know your heart. I’m with you, even in the noise and busyness of this time. I’m walking with you. We’re still together. Turn to me at any moment and I’ll be there.”
So I found Peace.
He never left me; I was just so overwhelmed that I couldn’t find
Him. Peace amidst chaos, Peace
amidst noise, Peace that is walking with me through it all, and Peace that
understands and hears my heart and promises to stay - no matter
Who am I? In my USA life, I was a teacher in Texas for 15 years. I was also a professional photographer, a Southern Living / Martha Stewart wannabe, a soccer mom, and a short term mission team coordinator / intern director for missions in Mexico... you name it, I probably tried it!
In 2006, my husband Billy and I became cross-cultural workers (CCWs) with TMS Global. For five years, we served in three rural Quechua Wanca villages in the Andes of Peru. And when I say rural, I mean RURAL - like no potty! We have three incredible children... two adult boys who live in Texas, and the Sarah (14) lives with us in whatever country we are serving. I'm still teaching, still taking photos, still leading teams and mentoring, I just do it all in full-time service now! And I'm working hard at giving Southern Living and Martha Stewart a run for their money! I spent my days in Peru learning to live a Quechua lifestyle in a rustic adobe house - cooking Peruvian foods, sewing with Quechua women, raising my chickens and goats and pigs, and planting my gardens. Now I live my life in small town Spain, serving other cross-cultural workers and immigrant peoples, writing, and trying to figure out what life looks like for a Texas girl serving Christ in Southern Europe. Life in His service is AWESOME! I'm happy to share it with you here... Enjoy!