There is so much more I could write about. There is so much God has been teaching me this month– I am thankful that God’s presence has been so thick over these past few weeks. What He has been teaching me is certainly hard, but with the gentlest pressure He is refining me. I am humbled and thankful, though most of the time crying out in my weakness.
Tonight, however, I just wanted to share a small sliver of goodness He has been showing me. A small but bright sliver nonetheless…
If you know me at all, you know I have recently rediscovered a gem from my 90’s upbringing, and that is the incredibly talented, powerfully inspiring, Rich Mullins. One sunny Sunday this past spring, I came home from church and had the house to myself so I blared his “Songs 2” album while I made lunch. I didn’t really listen to him much all summer, until now when I play a different album every single day. Maybe it’s something about being far away from my homeland, or all the foreign strangeness I encounter here on a daily basis, but when I find that I like something, especially when that something brings comfort and peace, I very quickly become obsessed. Coffee, peanut butter, apples, my phone’s kindle app, Andrew Peterson, Tolkien, and now: Rich Mullins. It’s probably silly, but I think one of the reasons I’ve been listening to RM’s music so constantly is because he has always reminded me of my childhood. Something about his voice and the sound of his music makes me think of when I was young, and for some reason he always makes me think of my dad. We sang “Awesome God” quite often at our church growing up, if I remember correctly. Funny how I sang that song so many times as a young girl, funny how I listened to that one album a few months ago, yet I never knew how much this man’s humble life, reckless faith, and profound lyrics would impact me here in South Korea at this point in my life. The lyrics to his songs have been stirring some deep meaningful truths in my heart, as well as pouring encouragement and peace, peace, so much peace in my soul where if often feels empty.
And challenging- oh, how this man’s life and testimony has been challenging me!
I say all of this to really say one thing. I’m so thankful for the peace of Christ. If I could take the risk of being obnoxious, I would write a full post on each of my favorite RM songs, describing how each one of them has met me where I’m at these days, during this season of life (The Color Green, The Love of God, Hard to Get, We Are Not As Strong As We Think We Are, Hold Me Jesus– I could go on!) …but I won’t. Instead, I just want to express the most simple but profound reality that transcends all that I could glean from all his songs and all these lessons from all these days. It is this: God’s peace.
I’m no good at being a peacemaker. If anything, my job as a teacher has shown me completely that: I am so unorganized, so forgetful, “frazzled” is the word that most often comes to mind when I think of the ins and outs of this thing called teaching and how I do it. And what do you do with peace, anyway? Do you believe it? Am I supposed to seek it? How do I go after something that is supposed to cause me to “be still”?
It is this: that I have felt and known the gift of the Holy Spirit pouring his peace upon me. It’s incredible to see the difference between when I am struggling to work out my salvation on my own, when I am working so hard to have strength from my own efforts, when I am endlessly mapping out my future plans by myself– as opposed to when I stop. be still. and know that He is God. It’s almost tangible, in the sense that when I’m sitting at my desk, 20 minutes before class starts, downing my second cup of coffee (one after the other) and frantically flipping through my syllabus journal to make sure I’m prepared for the day ahead, it hits me:
in the form of a song in my head, “…still His light shines in the dark”
or in the words on my phone’s screen from a friend’s heart, “You can radiate His perfect peace”
or even from something as simple as the steam rising from my cup of coffee.
The peace of Christ.
Andrew and I visited his uncle’s church in Blacksburg, Virginia many times before I moved here. One of the moments I love most about their Anglican tradition is when we turn and greet the people standing around us with a simple, “Peace be with you,” to which we reply, “And also with you.”
Peace to you, friends. May His peace dwell in you richly as you taste and see His goodness. Thank you for praying for me, and please do continue! It’s a gift that breathes life into my soul when I think about the loving friends and family on the other side of the world who are bringing me before the Father. I am praying for so many of you too. Praying that His peace would wash over all of us, tired and heavy and burdened as we may be.
And though I love you, still we’re strangers
Prisoners in these lonely hearts
And though our blindness separates us
Still His light shines in the dark
And His outstretched arms are still strong enough to reach
Behind these prison bars to set us free
So may peace rain down from Heaven
Like little pieces of the sky
Little keepers of the promise
Falling on these souls the drought has dried
In His Blood and in His Body
In this Bread and in this Wine
Peace to you
Peace of Christ to you
Not coincidentally– Happy birthday, Rich. Autumn will always remind me of your life, death, and our hope in the life to come.
“But I look back over the events of my life and see the hands that carried Moses to his grave lifting me out of mine. In remembering I go back to these places where God met me and I meet Him again and I lay my head on His breast, and He shows me the land beyond the Jordan and I suck into my lungs the fragrance of His breath, the power of His presence.”
― Rich Mullins