PEACE is the second topic or theme in A Family Advent: Keeping the Savior in the Season published by Thomas Nelson. Yes – it is hard to be hopeful and finding peace is often even harder. During Week 1 – I was met with a lot of busyness – hectic schedules, lack of sleep and LOTS to do.

This week there is still a lot going on – many things to tackle and things get accomplished but the fact that each day there is a time to take a respite and rapport with the Savior is so magical. PEACE is due and the HOPE for PEACE is also necessary. I pray for peace in the world, in my home, at my job, between friends, co-workers, loved ones and relationships. I know there may never be (any time soon) peace that exists totally attached to the world we live in – but we can live with the Hope that those small pockets, places and moments of peace still exists. With the peace the Lord gives life is so much easier to tackle and learn from. Those moments of respite and peace give us the hope that recharges us to a new outlook to live in a world that needs God’s love. God’s hope. God’s peace. We need to pray for it, feel it and live it so we can show others how it can be done.

I know that each season, day and month will be filled with challenges. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I struggle. I struggle with being anxious and getting depressed. Worrying about money, bills, my parents, my family, my friends, my relationships and a whole host of other things. Not to mention, feelings of self-doubt, overwhelmed, un-purposeful and sadness. I pray to stay afloat each day – I know the Lord hears my silent cries, he knows my thoughts and what I feel. I know that He has a plan in mind – I can rest in that peace that things will work out even if I cannot see it. I pray, I trust and I believe, even though I know I will wake up tomorrow and the next day and the next day feeling afraid, apprehensive, tired, weary and unsure of what is to come – but I know that I won’t have to do it alone.

I LOVE this passage from The Message – Romans 8:28
26-28Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

I pray for peace and hope for you and yours this Advent Season! In His Love and Peace,

~Shari~

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My flowered card box is full...

For years, I have had this card box. It has fancy stationary in it, birthday cards, sympathy cards, note paper, thank you cards and even a few mass cards.  I have always wanted to challenge myself in the ways of writing. I was blessed with the gift of gab so writing a few lines here and there is still a challenge for me. Often times I fail to find the right words in stressful and sorrowful times.  This is one of those times.  

I hear the words echoing …And who knows but that you have come…for such a time as this? Esther 4:14  

I have been called to the challenge of bringing hope and encouragement to those around me? What. In such a  time as this? How? How can I? I am still feeling the effects of this past year without my job, the past summer has come and gone, I miss my beloved Steven dearly, fear has me crippled as my father recovers from open heart surgery and today – as this rainy Sunday begins it is National Day of Encouragement – I must begin the journey back to Scranton with my mother for the funeral services for my Uncle Bob, who recently passed. It is in this dark time that I must be the hope and encouragement to those around me…. for such a time as this.  

Oh boy, I never expected this to be a challenge. As I received and read through the 2011 Hope and Encouragement Card Pack from (In)Courage, I found myself being prepared and made stronger for these events. I still have butterflies in my stomach, I still fail at the right words at the right times, but I still pray for the Father’s guidance. I need it, those around me need it…they need me to double-check myself because I surely do not own the right words to say.  I pray that God will give me the time and the place to share His grace and peace…in such times as this. 

... and filled to the brim, with hope, love, sorrow and peace.

I have already begun to share my thanks and my prayers of hope and encouragement with those closest to me. Even in a time when I feel truly tested and stressed, I know that there is hope and peace. The pain comes and goes, the sorrow shows it’s face, I fall to my knees and weep and the Lord hears my cries. He always picks me up and I know that….  

“…Jesus is closer than we ever realized and we’re loved more than we ever knew.”