Finding Peace: Musings Over a Cup of Coffee
It is so interesting; the things that people say when they do not first consider consequences and, more importantly, how it will be perceived by others. We are always told ‘think before you speak' and that is so very important. A word spoken without forethought can easily reveal much about a person's integrity and character. One can reveal a kind heart and compassionate nature, or they can show the dark, wicked underpinning of their psyche.
Think about the things that you do and say and consider what they reveal about you. Words that are spoken in kindness and love will reveal a kind and loving nature with strength of character and integrity while words spoken with cruelty and spite show something much darker. Words spoken in anger or emotion can be damaging – at times causing permanent damage.
Sometimes taking a little time to think about what you say can mean the difference between revealing love and compassion or a hateful spirit. That time taken before speaking can bring about amazing wisdom and the more compassionate character may emerge.
Sometimes you have Stuff and Sometimes your Stuff has You
We live a simple life. My children are grown and gone, but they have always been non-materialistic. That is just the way they were raised. We are anomalies to some who don’t understand this simple, peaceful way of life. Those people gather their things to them, clinging, their entire identities wrapped up in what they have.
Sometimes you have stuff and sometimes your stuff has you.
My husband and I find joy and contentment in what we have, not in what we supposedly lack. In our eyes, we lack nothing. We have a roof over our heads and food on our table. Spiritually, we are continually growing in God but we have the peace that faith in His provision brings. We have the joy of Jesus Christ who dwells in us.
Our faith is the cornerstone of who we are and my husband and I try to be good, Godly examples to our children and others. We seek to show what it means to live for God. There is a difference between being a Christian and showing you are a Christian. One lives for God every single day, always striving to be more like Him. The other just gives lip service to a title and uses it as a badge of honor. Our trust in God’s promise of provision, His word that says as long as we live for Him we will have what we need, is a vital element in the peace that resides within us.
Putting God First ushers in Peace
We do not need, nor do we desire, new cars or new homes. We do not focus on money; we focus on the things that truly matter: strength of character, love, integrity and loving God with all our heart, all our soul and all our strength. Putting Him first in our lives is what keeps us going. He is faithful. God is so good.
We do not see illness as a burden, but as an opportunity to gain wisdom and knowledge so that we may help others. Often hardship opens a door to lead someone to Jesus. Good things can come from great difficulty when we look through God’s eyes. We do not see the things we have experienced in our life together as hardship, but opportunity. We see it as a path that God has guided us on so that we may emerge wiser, stronger, more compassionate and more appreciative of sacrifice. And draw us closer to Him, always closer to Him.
There is always a Positive, you just have to Look
I always told my children that their words can cause harm and that they should never say something cruel that may hurt someone else. I grew up with an uncle who was a quadriplegic. My father was diagnosed with heart disease and diabetes early in life. My mother has battled depression for most of her life. I watched these courageous people not only work to help themselves and rise above their conditions, but they also reached out and helped others in the process.
My father entered into the political arena to help the people (whether they were actual voters or not - or if they had voted for him or not) in his district. He gained the respect of many local officials as well as senators, representatives and governors. His funeral looked like a political reunion!
My father had touched so many lives without regard to race, economic level or education. He loved everyone and wanted to help them all. I guess that is where my idealism comes from. See, we often only focus on the ‘negative' things that we inherit from our parents: heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, but we rarely consider the positive things. Even if we see a lot of negatives, there is always a positive - you just have to look.
True, I inherited a predisposition to the conditions from which he suffered, but I also inherited his clear, blue sparkling eyes, his quick wit, his infallible sense of humor, his charisma, his charm, his intellect, his compassion, his idealism and his desire to help people. In my book, those qualities far outweigh any physical ailments that may come to me.
There is Peace in the Discovery
I can take medication to improve my physical condition, but there is not a cure for a heart that is as hard as stone. There is no pill for a lack of compassion or for a spirit that is devoid of love and understanding beyond its owner's own small world. While those things can be overcome, it would require complete submission to God. So many people simply do not want to take that step and relinquish that illusion of control over their lives.
I will take these conditions that my parents passed to me gladly is it means that I can glean a better understanding of the trials that others experience. My own trials have enabled me to help others tremendously. I have spoken to groups throughout the Northwest on stress and depression, for it has been with me for most of my life. Finding out I am autistic has not been easy, but it answered many, many questions. It has also explained the stress and depression.
Interestingly, since I received the Holy Ghost and started praying in the Spirit (pray in tongues) daily depression and stress have not been nearly the problem they once were. Sure the devil tries to creep in, but I start praying and praising and he just can’t stay around!
My husband is my support system, something I have never had in a mate before now. In the past, my companions only added to the stress and made my issues worse. My husband is different, though. He brought me to the church and has helped me grow in God. He is my greatest advocate, educating himself in autism so that he could learn how to best help me. He loves me and listens although he may not always completely understand.
Next to Jesus, he is my rock. I can reach out to him at any time, day or night, no matter where he is or what he is doing and he will talk to me, hold me or just listen to me. He gives the best advice and is often the only one standing up for me. He has been so wonderful. He does not even realize that his patience and love has inspired me and helped me be more patient with others whom I encounter and may be dealing with the same issues I do - diagnosed or not.
Love is the Key to Peace in your Life
You do not have to embrace my ideas and beliefs, but you should respect them. I am solid in my faith and beliefs, but I value opinions both for and against them. When we limit our receptiveness to just one way of thought, we limit our personal growth. I may express views that oppose yours and I may offer scripture that supports my views, but there is nothing wrong with that. I live by the Bible and that is my guide for how I conduct my life. You have your way and I have mine.
Love is the key to peace in your life.
By opening a two way, healthy dialogue, we learn about two very different worlds. I come from a highly spiritual, cerebral world that many people do not understand and consider strange. A large part of that is the autism. It just allows me to experience the world in a way that is different from most people. That is OK, I was a ‘geek' in school, in college, among my friends and I will always be a ‘geek.' I am fine with that. I see the world through different eyes, and isn't that what makes the world such a wonderfully diverse place? When we start shunning people who are ‘different,' we limit ourselves and what we can learn about the world around us.
It is all about faith, strength of character and integrity. If you learn nothing else, know this lesson well. We don't have much, but we do have Jesus and He is our comfort during those times when we wonder how the bills will be paid or how we will be fed. We know that our faith in Him, strength of character and integrity will see us through the dark times and shine like the sun guiding us to a brighter horizon. Best of all, that peace that can come only from Jesus radiates outward to show itself to the world. We are kinder, more tolerant and show more compassion to others because of it. Having His peace in your life can be more valuable than any material possession.