GOD’S PEACE COVERS ALL
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace — and be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. (Colossians 3:15-16 )
When my youngest child was a baby, I suffered from postpartum depression and panic attacks. I had been an overachiever and perfectionist, and when I couldn’t nurse and Jordan had colic for six months, I assumed I was a bad mother. Hadn’t I gone to classes and read every parenting book possible? I’d followed all the guidelines about what to put on my registry and how to organize the nursery. I even went to childbirth and breastfeeding classes.
FEELING HOPELESS AND HELPLESS
None of those things prepared me for a baby who wouldn’t sleep and a body that didn’t cooperate. With postpartum hormones raging and my coping mechanisms failing, I felt hopeless and helpless.
I am so thankful my husband was understanding, encouraging me to visit my doctor and begin medication and counseling. Slowly, I began the hard work of unraveling lies I had believed for too long – that I had to be perfect for God to love me, that He didn’t approve of my mothering, and that He couldn’t love me in my desperate state (to name just a few).
GOD’S PEACE THROUGH SCRIPTURE
Medicine helped me climb out of the deep emotional hole I had been stuck in, and counseling gave me the tools to move forward in a healthy way — but the most healing aspect of my journey to peace of mind was eternal, living, and active: Scripture.
At my counselor’s suggestion, I printed out verses on index cards. Then I taped them on my car’s dashboard, above the changing table, and by my kitchen sink. Each time I changed Jordan, drove him around to get him to take a nap, or washed out his bottles, I read a verse and clung to its truth.
Slowly, God’s promises and grace penetrated and replaced the lies I had believed.
During 2020, faced with a pandemic, a dying pet, Jordan moving out of the house, and a devastating job loss, I once again turned to the Scriptures to fight my old nemesis, anxiety. He might have tried to make himself at home again, but I didn’t let him. When I couldn’t find the words to pray or read, even in the Psalms (my go-to book of the Bible when I’m struggling), I listened to worship music and sang along.
GOD’S PEACE, OUR UMPIRE
As I read Colossians 3:15-16 to prepare for this post, I was stunned to find out the Greek in verse 15 literally means let peace be the umpire of your minds. What a great word picture!
I can see an aging, chubby ump – clad in black and white stripes – on the job, as thoughts like “God is disappointed in me right now” swing a bat over home plate. The umpire shakes his head, jerks his right hand over his head, and shouts, “You’re OUTTA HERE!” (And since I have an active imagination, I also see the thought slinking back to the dugout in disappointment. He wanted to get a home run but instead struck out.)
Who is the umpire in your mind? Is it the world, friends, culture, or social media? Who decides what goes in and what stays out? If we’re believers, we have the Holy Spirit to help us in this task.
GOD’S PEACE PASSES UNDERSTANDING
As you ponder Colossians 3:15-16 for yourself, ask God to show you any erroneous thoughts you’ve allowed to take root. Then ask Him to help you replace those lies with His truth. Journal a prayer of confession and gratitude to Him. You might even look up a worship song that speaks to your heart and sing it out loud to Him, praising God who gave His Son (the Word made flesh) to set us free.
Questions For Reflection
1. Who is the umpire in your mind? Is it the world, friends, culture, or social media? Who decides what goes in and what stays out?
2. Which passages of Scripture are your go-to verses when things are difficult? Write them out and place them where you will see them often this week.
3. What are the lies you’ve been believing? Write them down then release them to God in prayer.
Dena loves Jesus, her family, all things literary, coffee, and British television. She’s an author of ten books and many articles, a professional speaker, and a coach who’s been married to her hubby Carey for 25 wonderful years (and a couple they don’t talk about). They have two young adult sons, Jordan and Jackson, and a rescue dog, Sully. Her passion is sharing words of humor and hope with wounded and weary people, and she enjoys singing on the praise team at the church where her husband is the worship pastor. She spends too much time online or in the fast-food drive-through--but she and the Lord are working on it. Connect with her: website, Instagram or Facebook.
Verses to Comfort and Encourage
The most significant thing we can do when we’re lonely, anxious, afraid, or overwhelmed is to turn to the One who knows us and loves us completely – the God of all comfort.