Hearts. Letters. Numbers. Teddy Bears. Turtles. Fun colors. My husband, Eric, is a master pancake artist. But last Saturday he truly outdid himself with aardvark shaped pancakes.
I just happen to have a very special affection for aardvarks. These awesome and unusual creatures bring me great joy.
Friday evening I watched a documentary that featured a pair of aardvarks. That sentence probably reveals a lot about what kind of geek I am, but nonetheless, when my hubby, the Saturday morning brunch specialist, asked me what I wanted, I was quick to ask for aardvark pancakes.
Honestly, I figured he would just laugh off my request and whip up whatever he had a whim for. Maybe pancakes…maybe not.
But, NO, he stepped up to the challenge and delivered! I enjoyed and was delighted by a pair of aardvark shaped pancakes!
I am so grateful for this incredible man, who not only accepts me in all my weirdness and geekyness, but supports and helps craft these crazy ideas that I have in my mind. He brings such joy to my life!
But, it’s not like our lives are all whimsical pancakes and lackadaisical Saturday mornings.
Every relationship has stuff. We’ve had a lot of stuff in the 21+ years that we have been married. Times that we were very distant from each other, moving in separate directions. Times where frustrations fumed between us from the slightest bit of friction. Times when the storms of life just dumped on us until we felt as though we were drowning. Times where we were trying to be everything for one another, or expecting everything from the each other.
It’s not just marriages that go through this stuff. It’s all relationships. People stuff is messy stuff, complicated stuff, confusing stuff, delightful stuff, joyful stuff, and oddly unusual stuff.
Not that long ago we had a word spoken over our marriage. I want to share a small part of that.
“There’s something about the two of you, how you’ve worked things out between the two of you, how you love each other, how you accept one another. There’s a peace that wasn’t there years ago. Peace is not the absence of conflict. Peace has substance. There’s a peace that God has given you through a lot of hard work.”
I’ve been pondering the word substance in the phrase “peace has substance.” Peace that ultimately lies under all the outward manifestations and changes.
21+ years of marriage certainly does bring many changes. Not just changes in circumstances like where we live or where we work or changes in the make-up of our family through births, marriages, and deaths. But there are so many inward changes as well. Who we each are is very different than when we first met.
Changes, times of transition, turmoil in sorting it all out can definitely bring tensions to relationships. That is where the importance of substance comes in. Good roots, a solid foundation, a secured core, all of these provide a structure that can support variations, remodeling, revisions, and a reworking of the outward circumstances in our lives.
It was so richly humbling to have someone say that my husband and I have a peace about our marriage. That certainly wasn’t of our own doing. You can’t find peace in a stack of pancakes, even very unique aardvark shaped pancakes.
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27 (TLB)
Peace that has substance comes from Jesus, is always available through the Holy Spirit, and is a gift of God’s goodness. We can try to build it and conjure it up on our own, but we’re going to come up short or craft something that will break under the pressure of the world.
Peace of mind. Peace of heart. What an incredible gift that will provide that solid core, the enduring foundation, and the stability needed to weather life’s storms, to remodel and revise outward circumstances, and to remain through the turmoil of changes.
Live it Out
Do you have peace right now? Is there substance to your peace? Is it peace of mind and peace of heart? Is your peace enduring through current storms and hardships or is it feeling very fragile at the moment?
There certainly is a great deal of pain prevailing over our lives these days. Losses loom and linger. Expectations are dashed and plans are desecrated. Frustrations are fueled by fear. Uncertainty stalls out even the slightest momentum.
How could we possibly have peace? Not knowing what will come, wondering what-if, asking how long?
“6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. 7 If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus. “ Philippians 4:6-7 (TLB)
Tell God your needs. The big ones and the little ones. Share your hopes with Him. Take your struggles to Him. Don’t hold back. Don’t think that because there are so many others out there with big needs that God doesn’t have time for yours.
God is beyond limitations of time and ability. He is infinite in His compassion and in His love and in His willingness to turn His ear towards you. He listens, not reluctantly, but eagerly with a joy and delight and a focus that understands not only what is being said but how it is being felt in your mind and in your heart.
And when we not only share our burdens, but share our gratitude and give thanks for all that we have been given we can find joy in our prayers. Like Philippians 4:7 says, if we do these things, we can experience God’s peace. A fruit of the Spirit, a peace that passes understanding, a peace of substance for our minds and our hearts.
Pray Through It
Thank You so much for Your love that invites us to come; come as we are, come in all of our changes, come in the midst of our worries & anxieties, come in our brokenness, come in our infirmities, come empty, come hungry, come thirsty, and come openly casting ALL of our cares upon You.
Lord, there is so much pain – individually and collectively – making peace of substance feel so staggeringly scarce. There are so many worldly concoctions and hacks that claim and purport the potential production of peace.
But we have to receive peace from You, Lord, not attempt to produce it ourselves. Those of us who have tried know how futile those efforts are. Lord, help us to come to You with all of our stuff, all of our baggage, all of our hurt, tensions, losses, and disappointments.
Help us to not hold back because we think our stuff is less complicated or less important or of lower priority than other peoples stuff. May we stop comparing and just come to You as we are. While we will never understand Your endlessness and limitlessness, may we experience the benefits of drawing near to You.
Lord, please give each and everyone of my readers, all of us, a substantive peace even in times of trial and suffering. May we gratefully receive peace for our minds and our hearts. Peace that gives us a core, a foundation, a structure to adapt, to grow, to remodel, and to revise the surface level stuff in our lives.
Lord, please also bless my readers with dashes of delights in their days, things they didn’t even realize were possible that make them smile and bring them joy to go with their peace; like a serving of aardvark pancakes.
In the loving, peaceful, substantive name of Jesus, amen.