Practicing God's Presence # 13: peace, love, joy

On June 7, 2010, Paul and I's seven year anniversary, we drove down to the beach to celebrate. I was very pregnant with the twins, on moderate bed rest, and waddled like a fat duck. I felt like we needed to get away before the boys came even though they were not due until July 20th. Our side goal was to create a 'spiritual family plan.' An idea of what God wanted our family to look like, what our focus would be, and an action plan for how we would show our boys God's love in the context of family. Little did I know that this would be our last time together alone as a family. Jude and Levi were born six days later!

On our trip we went to the beach Paul purposed at and talked about the characteristics we want in our family. We prayed about what Gods vision was for us. One of the many things we said we wanted for our family to focus on was peace, love, and joy. These canvas', obviously hand painted by me (insert blah), are a simple reminder in our living room. A reminder to be at peace with each other. To create peace whenever there is disdain. To above all love one another, even amongst the hair pulling, whining and tantrums to focus on bringing them up in love. To have joy. To take the moment in, laugh, be silly, or feel Gods fullness of joy.

While rocking Ethan to sleep in the living room tonight I looked at those words and remembered why I painted them, when and the excitement I had while doing it. I was expectant of the future for our family. I practiced God's presence tonight by doing some lectio devina on those fruits of the spirit. Do we have them in our family now? I think we do but also know there is a lot room for improvement. While holding my fat, warm, bald little boy tonight with his eyes closed I felt peaceful. I felt a deep sense of love for him and joy in his presence. He will only be this little for a short time. This is probably the last time I will hold a tiny baby of my own. I want to remember him all curled up on me feeling at peace, loved and with a joy filled heart. Not only do I want to experience these moments but more importantly I want my boys to remember these canvas' fondly as not only art in our home but the heart of what our family felt like. I felt God's love for me in that moment and His love for my little family. Practicing noticing Him in the little moments has made all the difference in my life as a mother, wife, daughter and friend. Thank you Jesus for your ever present presence, ready to fill my heart at any moment- even when I am unaware of you- you are there. May I notice you more often.

"and the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23


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