The Pursuit of Peace

“And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].” – Philippians 4:7 AMP

It has been another busy week in the sunshine state for the Liesmann’s. Our typical day begins with Kirby’s workout followed by us either jumping in the car and networking or getting on the grind at our computers. (We are putting together some really exciting things for the business.) P.S. I’m 100% loving Florida’s fresh fruit…especially the strawberries!  We also purchased our first painting for our future home, which…the home part we have yet to purchase at this point, but still…YAY!! I mean…it was a big step people and a BIG painting and we got an even BIGGER deal on it. Unfortunately, our smart car rental car wasn’t up to speed on our big vision as we stood in the parking lot comically attempting to fit our BIG painting into our tiny trunk…in all reality the painting is probably bigger than the car itself. Praise God for good friends with a truck that are willing to pick up your masterpiece while dodging determined shoppers and on-the-loose shopping carts to get it to us safely (Thanks Dalton and Lauren – you all are the best!). It will be a statement piece; a painting with a story we’ll enjoy telling.

The reason we liked this painting and were determined to bring it home was not just because we got a rocking deal, but because of how captivating of an image it was of the ocean. The colors were peaceful and the waves have so much symbolism to us with our journey with the Lord. He calls us out upon the waters, where feet may fail, but even if they do, like Peter’s, He is right there to grab our hand and pull us higher. I also like to think of the waves as God’s waves of love. I visited Kirby in Orlando in 2014 and he took me to Coco Beach where we walked this huge boardwalk. Standing out on the end, you get that nervous, excited pit in your stomach standing on the wooden boardwalk on planks that shifts when giant waves break and crash into the front of it rocking you back slightly on your heels. The power in those waves is something so real yet can’t be grasped. It’s so mighty and nearly overwhelming. That’s God’s love. It’s constant and continually washing over us, it’s extravagant and never ending.

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Throughout the week, I have passed by our new painting every day admiring it. Thursday night, I curled up and read the book of Philippians. The book of Philippians is short and one of the most positive books in the Bible written by the Apostle Paul. This may seem like an insignificant fact, but wait…there is more! Paul was in prison when he wrote it, and not prison like we may envision it today. I envision Paul’s prison to be dirty, dark, smelly and musty, wet, with critters running around…absolutely horrid conditions!

I sat there asking God Paul could possibly be so joyful. Truly, I know we have a choice in situations of how we feel, but putting myself in Paul’s situation, I honestly don’t think I would have that same response. How was Paul able to write something so positive, so uplifting, and be so joyful in such a wretched situation? What the Lord revealed to me was that at the root of Paul’s joy was peace. Being in a place of peace allows us to experience true joy. This led me to my next question. What is true peace?  Immediately my mind went to the feeling of plopping down in my beach chair after a long day of work this week not caring that it was missing some boards, closing my eyes and listening to the waves gently rolling in. I thought, Lord…THAT is peace.

image2God gently replied, Sydney anyone can experience peace in that situation. Feeling peace is easy there. My peace goes way beyond that…My peace passes understanding.  What does that mean? Peace that passes understanding. I immediately thought back to Paul in prison or in my own life when things get crazy and messy and I feel pressure and anxiety. It’s beyond our comprehension to think that we could have peace when the circumstances around us don’t feel good, BUT we can!! This is true peace…this is the peace that comes from God. Tapping into this has the potential to transform.

In mulling over all of this, I remembered hearing once about a painting that related to this topic of peace. This particular painting had entered a contest in search of a painting that could best depict peace, and won. It is titled “Peace in the Midst of the Storm” by Jack Dawson.  At first glance, the photo doesn’t resemble peace at all, but rather chaos. Looking closer though, you’ll notice a small bird singing to its Creator under the refuge in the rock. Think about the symbolism for a moment. Wow…just taking time to appreciate this painting and what it means blows me away.

“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4 NKJV

True peace is not just relaxing on the beach with no cares…true peace is the ability to operate in a place of peace through the worst of circumstances. Think of how that could transform how we handle situations. It’s so out of the ordinary to imagine, yet what I want and need. I don’t want to be tossed by the waves and wind. I want to experience such peace that I can sleep in the boat like Jesus did in the middle of a storm (Matthew 8:23-27). So, when we are teetering on the edge in situations, let’s fight for peace (the peace God has already placed within us)…laboring to enter into His rest.

PS. Today Kirby and I are celebrating six months of marriage!!! Whoop Whoop!! It’s been the best six months of my life – God couldn’t have brought me to a better, more fun, more selfless man in the world. I’m one lucky girl 🙂

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