Tag Archives: Peace

What I Learned this Summer

This has been a summer for the books. And by that, I mean actual books.

Our unexpected summer included one familiar tradition—visiting Randy’s parents in North Dakota in early August. Here, we’re relaxing before bed in their cozy guest quarters.

As in, if I ever write another book, what I’ve been learning these past few months will permeate the pages in ways I can’t even imagine right now.

When the summer began, my mom was living at home with my dad. Now—following a bad accident, a few weeks in the hospital, a couple of surgeries and almost two months of rehab—she lives at a long-term care center about 10 minutes from my house. (See here for a bit more on all that.)

There’s much more to the story, of course, and I have a feeling it will take a long while to process it all. For now, though, here are a few lessons I’ve already gleaned from this season none of us were expecting.


One Way to Change Your Default Worry Setting

It’s 9:31 in the morning. I should be gone already, off to the grocery stores for my weekly shopping trip.

But I’m sitting here, tweaking a blog post I finished yesterday, reading some emails, pondering my latest round of festering about an issue that has plagued me off and on practically my whole adult life.

curvy road

It’s stupid, really, my obsession with this thing. And yet, it continues to frustrate me, annoy me and cause me to worry needlessly.

You might laugh if I told you what it is. In the grand scheme of life, it’s pretty trivial. So maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll just say that there is a direct line from my fretting about this thing to my need for security, my fear of the unknown, my discomfort with loose ends … my lack of trust.

The funny thing is, as much mental and emotional energy as I’ve wasted on this thing over the years, it’s always worked out. It’s really true, the adage that 90 percent of what we fear never happens.

(For the record, I worry a lot less than I used to. God has mercifully broken those chains that used to bind me, chains that I was powerless to break myself. But every so often, the enemy rears its ugly head, usually in this same form.)

You know what gave me peace about the current manifestation of my problem? The truth. I finally heard the truth about the issue from someone, and even though it wasn’t what I wanted to hear, it released me.

It released me to make a decision, to let go of my angst, to move on.

The truth is like that, isn’t it? When we know it—grab hold of it and believe it from the bottom of our gut—it sets us free.

I got the truth—the actual facts about the situation that had been frustrating me—over the phone. But the underlying problem—my tendency to fret about something when I should be trusting—cannot be corrected with a phone call or email.

For that, I have to find a way to change my default setting—my go-to reaction whenever this thing comes up.

I need to start by reminding myself of the truth. Such as …

“My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

And …

“The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8, my favorite verse in the Bible)

Then, the minute this blasted issue (or any other) starts to mess with my mind and emotions, I need to remember to pray. Not just any prayer, but the plea that author Jan Karon (of Mitford fame) calls the “prayer that never fails.”

“Thy will be done.”

She’s right, you know. It works every time.

Lois Flowers

P.S. I’m linking up today with Holley Gerth’s Coffee for Your Heart. Come join us for more encouragement.

Photo credit:Parvinder Singh via photopin cc

3rd-Grade Training Lays Groundwork for Peace

A highlight of the third-grade curriculum at Molly’s school is the “Fire and Life Safety” course taught by firefighters from our local fire department.

For five weeks beginning in September, three firefighters come once a week and teach the kids everything from how to put out a grease fire and the top causes of fire in our city, to how to draw up a home-escape plan and the importance of the words “stop, drop and roll.”

Molly fire 4

Molly is fascinated by fire trucks and machinery of any sort. She thinks ahead and has a contingency plan for everything. In other words, this program was right up her alley.

At the end of the course, the students with the highest grades on their very comprehensive homework assignments are named junior fire chiefs and receive all sorts of special awards. Molly was ever so proud to be one of two students in her class to achieve this designation.

Since then, her fire-safety training has come in handy a time or two, like when I poured some oil in a hot skillet and needed help remembering that putting the lid on and removing the pan from the stove would squelch the flames that sprang up so suddenly. (They clearly did not have an extensive fire-safety program in the schools when I was in third grade.)

I knew she enjoyed interacting with the firefighters, but I never really realized how thorough Molly’s training was or how much it had influenced her until a few weeks ago.

The girls and I were at my parents’ home one evening when my dad fell, hit his head on a wall and eventually became unresponsive. We called 911, and someone made sure Lilly, Molly and their visiting cousins were occupied elsewhere as we waited for help to arrive.

Lilly saw my dad fall and was, understandably, very upset. She holed herself up in the bathroom, where Randy calmed her down over the phone.

When I went to find Molly, she was in an upstairs bedroom, talking quietly with her 12-year-old cousin. She had seen the accident, too, but didn’t appear to be the slightest bit upset or scared. Some of this is due to her personality—she trends toward calm and non-dramatic most of the time. As I discovered later, however, her response went deeper than that.

After the paramedics had been there for awhile and things were looking better all around, my younger sister went back upstairs to see how our daughters were doing. Molly’s assessment was both simple and telling.

“I know what they are doing,” she said.

“I know why they are doing it.

“I am a junior fire chief.”

Well, OK then.

Seriously, what else is there to say?

As I reflect on that day, I am thankful for many things. I’m thankful that my dad is OK. I’m thankful that my sister was in town visiting that weekend, which was why we were even at my parents’ home that night. I’m thankful for my older sister, whose steady demeanor helped us do what we needed to do for my dad. I’m thankful that Randy was able to console Lilly over the phone, and that the paramedics who came to assist us were all very kind and competent.

I’m also thankful for that trio of firefighters who visited Molly’s classroom so faithfully last year, filling her then 8-year-old head with the grown-up knowledge that gave her comfort and confidence during a potentially scary situation.

There were times, that evening, when I wasn’t sure how everything was going to turn out. But in the midst of it all, when I was trying hard not to panic, my little junior fire chief was at peace.

A mom can’t ask for much more than that.

Lois Flowers