Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
I would sit by the pond for hours... Bible open to that section in which I lived for months upon months... the Psalms. The year of living by the pond was one in the midst of great trial and heartache, when I had to remind myself to breath as the emotional and spiritual pain was so intense I questioned my physical survival. The emotional pain so deep I did not think I could live one more day.
The three humans and two kitties were pretty much isolated, not knowing anyone in the area and totally in the dark regarding where we would settle permanently. It was the year I decided not to "do math" and our homeschooling was mostly reading books, walking the shore of Lake Michigan, and visits to museums and the nearest library.
Somehow God had led us to rent this place in the midst of a forest by the pond. At the time I didn't understand this was a Gift from Above. The move there had been a nightmare and the eventual move "back home" would require stepping out in blind faith.
But the year by the pond changed my life... it changed me. Contentment... peace... joy... all feelings I embrace wholeheartedly and all birthed that year of intense personal pain... my very soul in the furnace of affliction... all that which didn't matter being melted away.
I remember hot summer nights as my head lay on the pillow with the open window immediately to my side. The sounds of the forest and those coming from the pond in combination... providing a lullaby for the brokenhearted.
I recall often the thoughts which would run through my mind each night to enable me to sleep... "there is nothing you can do right now to change circumstances"... "close your eyes and rest in Him"... "sleep, listen to the sounds of crickets and night birds and frogs in the pond"... "trust God in all things"... "He has not forgotten you".
There continued a battle for my mind and soul as I found myself drawn to water... the pond... Lake Michigan... one a small home for even tinier life... the other as big as an ocean when viewed sitting by the shore... yet also life giving. I had to let go of fear, bitterness, unforgiveness to make room for Grace and Peace. I had to give up my way for His.
I always think of the lessons learned that year as I watch catastrophe on the TV news. So much in the world is out of our control. Life can be thrown into turmoil in seconds as the wind blows, the flood waters rise, the earth beneath our feet trembles. I think of it when I hear children have been killed in a fire or a family wiped out as a drunk driver took the wrong turn. Life is uncertain at best.
But I cling to the Gift of that year... forged in the fire led up to by years of adversity and feeling much like Frodo at the edge of Mount Doom. I had known Him as Savior and Father since my teen years. I walked the Christian walk and talked the Christian talk... but... I met Him as Comforter and Friend by the pond.
Eventually some of my circumstances improved, moving "back home" and a few years later purchasing our house at the edge of the woods. There are those trials which have never ceased, those He gives the Grace to meet each day... trusting His journey instead of youthful hopes and dreams and desires which had fallen apart.
He knew what would befall humanity in this fallen world as He promised us peace such as the world cannot give. It was not a false promise or given to only a few but for all who would draw close to the Person... the Prince of Peace... even as the earth trembles and the waves roar around us.