Today I feel amazingly privileged to be a mother. To see my children laugh and smile, to feel the soft touch of their hands on my cheeks, to feel their tight hugs and sloppy kisses, to witness their abundant curiosity, to watch them grow, learn how to swim or ride a bicycle, to see their independence, to be the one who comforts them when they cry or are hurting. To hear them say over and over again, “mummy, I want you” and “mummy, I love you forever and always”.
Motherhood is one of the most difficult endeavors I have embarked on. There have been many moments of tears and self-doubt, wondering how I can bear the responsibility of raising and guiding two very unique human beings. Yet, there have been so many moments of joy, happiness, gratitude, amazement, and an overwhelming love in our household that I hold simply as a miracle of life.
To my dear children and to my ever supportive, loving husband, you are precious gifts to me and I am so blessed to have you in my life.
Welcome back to our study on the fruits of the Spirit. Now that we have tackled the fruits of love and joy, let’s move on to the next one…PEACE!
My thoughts on Peace
When I think of peace, the first thing that comes to mind is a state of serenity. I imagine a still place at the center of a whirlwind where nothing is moving, nothing is being disturbed, it is perfectly at rest despite the turmoil going on around it.
Merriam-Webster Definitions of Peace
My favorite definitions are listed below:
a state of tranquility or quiet
freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions
harmony in personal relations
Greek word for Peace
My husband is my go-to person when it comes to finding out the etiology of words because he has a great love of ancient languages such as Greek and Hebrew. When I asked him about the word ‘peace’ last night, he enthusiastically leafed through one of his ancient Greek Lexicons. The ancient Greek word for peace is eiréné(phonetic spelling ‘i-ray-nay’). It alludes to a sense of harmony, concord, security and safety. Peace also has roots in the word eirō, which means “to join, tie together into a whole“. I like this definition because it gives me the sense that when we are at peace, we are whole.
Fun facts about Peace
The ancient Greek word for peace was originally used to depict a state of calm or cessation of fighting during war-time. It is only more recently that peace has been associated with relationships, thoughts, etc.
The Hebrew word for peace “Shalom” was used as a greeting to indicate “peace be with you”. It also connoted a sense of harmony, completeness, prosperity, and welfare.
Favorite verse on Peace
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Final thoughts on Peace
I don’t always find it easy to be at peace with current circumstances. Sometimes it seems there’s no way out and circumstances are hopeless. But I’m hoping to develop an attitude of peace even in those moments. I like the definition of peace regarding freedom from oppressive thoughts. It gives me the idea that even though there is turmoil around us, it is still possible to find a place of peace.
As I write this, I just read a comment from a fellow blogger who is going through a really hard time in her family. My heart feels heavy for her and I would just like to take this moment to share some peace with her. You know who you are. You are a strong woman with a beautiful family and you will make it through this difficult time. Peace be with you.
“Shalom…does not mean merely the absence of strife. It is pregnant with positive, active and energetic meaning and association. It connotes totality, health, wholesomeness, harmony, success, the completeness and richness of living in an integrated social milieu. When people meet or part they wish each other shalom, or they inquire about eachother’s shalom”.-William Chomsky from “Hebrew, the eternal language”
Welcome back to our study on the fruits of the Spirit! We started off looking at love and how this can be applied in daily life. Now we are on to the next fruit: JOY!
Here is my favorite definition from the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
a source or cause of delight: What gives you delight? For me, it’s the people in my life, God, hobbies, science, music, reading, learning, and many more! Remembering those things that give us delight can be a good way to mitigate the difficult moments. Am I feeling discouraged? Call a good friend and spend some time together. Am I feeling depressed? Get out of the house and do something active that I enjoy.
Now I have to admit that initially when I sifted through my Bible, not all the verses I found on joy had me doing cartwheels. Many verses had references to “trials” and “perseverance”. But what about being happy? Inspired by my husband who has studied ancient Greek, I decided to look up the original Greek word for joy which is “chara“. Rather than an expression of mere happiness, it alludes more to a sense of appreciative gladness.
So, it seems that joy is more of an attitude than just a state of being. Being joyful or rejoicing is choosing to give thanks and be grateful even in the face of difficult circumstances. It doesn’t mean we pretend that nothing is wrong or that we do not need support. It means we are choosing to believe that something good will come out of it and that even now in those challenging moments, there is still something to be grateful for. Very much easier said than done of course but I’m hoping to come back and read this whenever I’m having trouble being joyful!
Here are some of my favorite verses on the topic of joy:
“sorrowful yet always rejoicing…having nothing and yet possessing everything” 2 Corinthians 6:10. This was in the context of the hardships Paul was going through as he was being persecuted for his faith. I think this translates well to other situations in life. We may be going through tough times, we may not have much, but yet we are rejoicing. This does not mean that I always have a smile plastered on my face, but internally, I know God is in control of every situation even when it doesn’t feel like it.
“Consider it pure joy…whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work in you so that you may be mature and complete…” James 1:2-4. In the past, this was one of those verses that I tended to scout over and try to ignore because I didn’t like the idea of being “tested”. But I have had great role models in my life who have been amazingly strong through the most adverse situations and they have quoted this verse to me often. It reminds me of the verse on being refined by fire and surely life does refine us.
“I have set the Lord continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will dwell securely” Psalm 16:9. I love the simplicity of this verse. It exudes an assurance of security in Christ and this in itself is a reason to be joyful!
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”. Galations 5:22-23.