Dear C and G,
We lit the second candle on Sunday evening. I read from John 14 and something from the psalms on the idea of peace. It's the most elusive of the Advent words for me, and so I didn't feel ready to write about it until tonight. Until we read Ann Voskamp's words:
"Some days, when you feel brave, you can give yourself a gift and tell someone what has broken your heart. Some days, when you feel brave, it's almost like you can reach through the pieces where your heart feels torn and touch the gentle peace of God. ... 'What someone else meant to for bad, God means to make it good.' No matter what tries to tear you apart, God holds your heart."
(from Unwrapping the Greatest Gift p. 55-56)
My heart has pieces that have been broken in ways that I pray neither of you will ever experience. And yet I am not naive enough to think that someday, somehow, your hearts will not also break. There are words that will shatter you, experiences that will devastate you, and pain that will pierce so deep you will wonder if this faith thing is even real, even worth it. I pray that when those times come, you will know His peace.
For every pain I have ever experienced, God has been right there. I may not have realized it at the time, though most of the time I sensed it at least in a small way. When there has been nowhere else to turn with my grief and shame, my confusion and frustration, my disappointment and disillusionment, He has been my refuge, my peace. He can be your peace.
It will not mean your sadness disappears or that every wrong is righted at that very moment - or even in your lifetime. But it is exactly as Ann described. Your heart is held. Somehow in the tumultuous times in my life, my heart has been cradled by the same hands that formed the world. It really is indescribable, this peace which passes all understanding, but it is real.
"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you." (John 14:27)