Advent Reflections: True Peace

You ….
Our Creator God
The One who weaves together
sound & silence
land & sea
flesh & spirit
Our Father God
The One who is
Provision and
Our All-Knowing, Ever-Present God
The One who sees & hears all things

will keep…
Hold steady
Preserve and give longevity to
Protect from alteration or deterioration

in perfect
Especially suitable
Ideal fit
Complete – lacking nothing essential

Peace …
A state of friendship
At rest
Quietness of spirit
A deep knowing that all will be well
The emotion of faith

those …
Men & Women
Boys & Girls
Children of God

whose minds
thoughts &memories
patterns of thinking
words & actions
feelings & desires

are steadfast,
firm and unwavering
in purpose, loyalty or resolve

because they trust in
Rely on...
Surety of
Live in confident expectation toward

Our Mighty Fortress
A safe place in the midst of life’s storms
Our Bridegroom
The One who sees us as who we are becoming –
and not as who we once were
Our Soon-Returning Victorious King
The One who has overcome
Sin & death
And conquered the enemy
You Are.
God with us
The Prince of Peace
You ARE our Peace

Isaiah 26:3

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You!

Original Writing by Rachel Leonard
for 20Twenty/Evangel Temple Advent Series


On Timing & the Time Warp of Transition

Right now, I should be writing something else... in fact, I should have already written it a month ago... but my heart is so full of emotion at this moment. All I can think about is writing this.

Transition. It is coming. In some ways, it can't come soon enough. But in most ways, it is coming way too soon. The only thing consistent in life is that it changes. As I ponder the many transitions in my near future, I find it ironic that life doesn't just stop and then start again in a new place with new opportunities and new people. No, once all of the decisions necessary for change have been made,,, I enter a time warp... a season called transition. Within this space, I begin saying goodbye a little bit every day until I finally say goodbye for the last time.

Then, I drive away. Car full of all the stuff acquired in one season... tears streaming down my face... singing and praying at the top of my lungs... and I drive. The drive - in and of itself - is a transition. Somehow a car full of memories and the open road in front of me become my escort to the next place.

When I arrive, I begin saying hello. Hello to people, places and dreams that I've been pursuing. The excitement that helped me make the decision to say goodbye returns and gives me the courage to say hello... and hello...and hello....until the new place is no longer new.

Transition is no stranger to me. In fact, part of me relishes the feeling of transition. It is part of my calling.. to sojourn.. to start new things... to prepare soil and plant seeds. But tonight... oh tonight, my heart aches. Truly. It aches deep down inside and I can't seem to get to the bottom of the ache. I love this place. I LOVE THESE PEOPLE. I have deeply loved this season. I have grown. I have been challenged. I have overcome. I have failed. I have begun again. I have found the contentment of staying... and staying ... and staying. I want to stay. And, yet, I know that staying will only be delayed obedience... or prolonged disobedience?

Somehow in the time warp of transition, new things begin. And why shouldn't they? Life goes on. It's a phenomenon that I continually forget about until I am reminded. Just because I move on, does not mean everyone else stays the same. Perhaps, that is the ache I feel in this moment? The ache of letting go... walking away...

I am good at closing doors when I leave. It's easier that way. A closed door does not beckon me to return like an open door does. Yet, this time, it seems that my Father knows best... and He is opening doors as I leave. When I try to close them, His hand gently holds them open - and He whispers... let it be.

I don't like unresolved ... anything. It's like a dissonant chord. I can't stand unresolved feelings... unresolved situations... unresolved relationships... I like the closure. I like the false feeling of bein in control. I'd rather know that something is over... than face the uncertainty of what it could become... or the pain of what may die. But, of course, the lesson of this season has been learning to embrace the mystery of God... to trust Him... to embrace His timing... and to be vulnerable. I hate that word. I hate the angst that it creates in my soul. And yet, somewhere deep inside of me... I long to live free and vulnerable... to embrace life fully... to embrace people fully... without fear. And, thankfully, His Spirit enables me to be vulnerable. Yet, perhaps, this is why I like closed doors. An open door means that I face the possibility of being rejected or forgotten. An open door means someone or something else can close it on me.

So, here I am... staring at this lovely little space I call mine, wet-cheeked, enjoying the lights on my Christmas tree and the stillness of this moment.  And I am making a choice - I will savor this season. I will embrace the time warp that is...transition. I will trust that when I say my final goodbye and my first hello... Immanuel, God with me, will still be with me just like He has always promised. I will trust that the doors He leaves open will be OK. And that the ones He closes will be fine too. I will expect great things and know that in it all... He is good. He is faithful and He is strong.

Bless the Lord, oh my soul, find rest in Him.