7 And the peace of God, A</a>)"> which transcends all understanding, B</a>)"> will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. C</a>)"> And the God of peace D</a>)"> will be with you.
I have been trying to fill my mind when I am conflicted with things that instantly make me think of the qualities and characteristics above to help me find peace and to cope with life’s dealings. I can tell you this exercise is working as I have much more peace in my life. However, I am not thinking of them quickly enough as I am having a very difficult time not responding to Bill especially when he does things to illicit a response out of me so he can use it against me or to get out of a situation, or when he increases his legal threats against me.
Thinking of things that are NOBLE and ADMIRABLE is helping me to reflexively find peace when conflict arises. The Angie of a couple months ago would have shuddered and broken down in pure anxiety over Bill's most recent threats. The Angie of today reels and processes them and then gives them up to God, gradually, living in Peace.
In a conversation with a friend a few weeks ago, we discussed what would easily and quickly be considered PURE. Her immediate response was – YOUR KIDS. This wasn’t an immediate response to me as my children have morphed from those adorable little beings that say the cutest things and make the funniest mistakes to little monsters that seem incapable of speaking a sentence that doesn’t have the word pen!s or something related to bodily functions and creatures that cannot seem to brush their teeth without a cage fighting round just before and just after.
However, I was reminded of their PURE innocence of childhood again in the last weeks in a couple circumstances.
There was some conversation at the dinner table one evening regarding Bill. It was related to erasing his name off something that the kids use regularly. Grant was quiet and looked down. I could tell it bothered him as it does every time Bill’s name comes up in any derogatory manner. I stated that Grant doesn’t like when people say stuff about Bill in our lives. He agreed saying, “I don't. He's still a person.” And I realized how PURE Grant’s love for Bill is. How PURE Grant’s love for people is. I love that about that boy. I also love his ability to forgive, for as upset as he can get about our situation, he still wants to acknowledge Bill in a respectful and dignified manner. It is beautiful and PURE. Grant has also befriended a great kid in his class. This child is considerably smaller than the other 4th grade kids. Like small enough that I thought it was a mistake when he showed up at our house to play. I thought he was in Kindergarten. What was so PURE about this is that Grant had never mentioned to me his friend's size as a characteristic and had never used anything related to small as an adjective to describe this child. However, unfortunately, it is the first adjective that comes to my mind when I think of this friend. I love that Grant has an amazing ability to see right past that into the heart of other people. He doesn't react to Bill's name with a shudder like many of those around me. He reacts with respect of Bill's humanity. He doesn't identify his friend by his size. He sees a fellow 9 year old friend.
It is PURE!
Then a few days later, Gavin had a friend over to play. It was during the remnants of hurricane Isaac. He and the friend made their way outside in the rain and I snapped this shot of them playing.
My first reaction was to be slightly upset as they hadn’t asked for permission and had given no regard to how they were going to be cleaned up or dried off or if Gavin’s friend had clothing options, etc. You know, all those logical and necessary next steps that would need to take place. But that reaction lasted about a second as I realized how PURE their childhood still is that they can play WITHOUT thinking of such consequences.
When do we change from that PURE childhood mindset freely recognizing a chance for some silly fun to a mindset that misses the opportunity to play in the rain just because we don’t wanna deal with wet clothes?
I will enjoy my children while they are still....