Peace at Home

Arnold Friberg’s “Peace Be Still”

This past month we have discovered the joys of Roku, one of which is that anything on our computers—pictures, music, home videos, you name it—can now be accessed through our big-screen television. Our 3 kids have begun begging nightly to watch the endless home videos that we have dutifully taken over the years and yet never watched. So the past few Sunday evenings have been spent reliving their glory days in sports and school performances, and most popularly, rewitnessing their everyday cuteness in the baby, toddler, and preschool stages.

As I’ve been watching snatches of what used to be my everyday life with mainly 2 littles (the third child took a while to make his grand entrance into the world), I’ve been struck with how peaceful things were on the whole, mainly because the third child had not yet made his grand entrance into the world. I hate to write that. That third child has so many good qualities and character traits and has brought so much happiness to us. But not much peace, and some days, I crave the peace in my home.

So I’ve started doing a study of “peace” from the Topical Guide in my scriptures this past week. In my study, I’ve been reminded that there are at least 3 different meanings of “peace” in the scriptures: (1) the lack of contention, the presence of order; (2) the peace of God, which is given from God or which is peace with God through Him and through the Spirit; and (3) rest and immortality. I’m interested in all of them, of course, but most pressing to be would be at least achieving #1. Lack of contention. Is that too much to ask?!

Here’s a little of what I’ve learned so far in my study:
God, as the Lord of peace and the one who is our peace, can give us peace (Prov 16:7, Eph 2:14, 2 Thes 3:16). Peace is referred to in the scriptures as a blessing (Ps 29:11). As such, it’s a result of obedience and righteousness on our part (Heb 12:11). In fact, I love the simile the Lord uses in 1 Nephi 20:18 when he says, had we hearkened (if we hearken?) to his commandments, then “had thy peace been as a river.” In Proverbs 16:7, we learn that when a man’s ways please the Lord, “he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.”

So there are things we need to do to be blessed with peace: remember the greatness of God, humble ourselves (pride and haughtiness “disturb” peace—Mos 27:4), pray daily, be steadfast (Mos 4:11-13); follow after things which make for peace (Romans 14:19); go to the temple, where God gives peace (Haggai 2:9); be charitable (D&C 88:125); have the love of God in our hearts (4 Ne 1:15); and try not to get angry and let the “evil one” destroy our peace (2 Ne 4:27).

All of this is a tall order, of course, a lifetime pursuit, so I’m not left with a lot of hope for an immediate change in the atmosphere of my home. In fact, this also seems to be acknowledged in the scriptures: there is a time of war and a time of peace (Ecc 3:8). Is right now, with the particular ages and dispositions of my children, our time of war?! Yet from my study, it does seem like I can make some sort of impact—King Benjamin established peace in his entire kingdom by laboring with all his might and soul (Wof M 1:18). But how? Doing what? I need more details! All I know is that he gathered his people together and taught them. And Melchizedek established peace in his entire land by preaching repentance (Alma 13:18). If the 2 of them can have such success throughout entire kingdoms, I should be able to have some small amount of success within our 2400 square feet . . . right? As much as I admire the fact that in Mark 4:39-40, the Savior could sleep through the tempest, finding and carrying peace in the midst of the turmoil, I want to be able to calm at least some of the tempests in my home!

So give me some hope and some help: What do you do to encourage peace in your home and in your life—peace in any of its meanings?

About Catherine

(Prose Board) has worked as a cherry sorter, file girl, piano teacher, writer, editor, and college professor. She currently works full-time as the art director, events planner, chauffeur, and referee for her four children. She spends a good deal of her time running—be it down the supermarket aisle after an escaped child, around the living room in a heated game of flag football, or on early-morning runs/therapy sessions with her neighborhood friends. She earned her BA and MA in English from BYU and her PhD in English from UMass Amherst.

6 thoughts on “Peace at Home

  1. “Peace is referred to in the scriptures as a blessing (Ps 29:11). As such, it’s a result of obedience and righteousness on our part (Heb 12:11). ”

    Dang it!

    Yes, yes, I totally understand. I have five kids ages ten and under, and four of them are boys. We have our share of contention. I feel like if I were more righteous, organized and less lazy, there would be more peace in my home. Alas, the flesh is weak. I’m not saying you’re lazy or unrighteous mind you, that’s just how I feel about ME. And don’t worry, I really do have a healthy self-image, I’m just choosing to be candid here.

    I feel like, in my home with my family, I find a lot more peace when I prepare. I really find D&C 88:119 to be true for me. This is how it breaks down for me:
    “Organize yourselves, prepare every needful thing”-so you can head contention off at the pass. If I’ve got meals and snacks, diversions, etc. prepared ahead of time, and a clean house where I’m able to separate the children easily if I have to, then there’s a lot more peace.
    “And establish a house…prayer…fasting…faith”-if I manage my schedule so I’m not completely worn out for family prayer/scripture/FHE, there’s more peace.
    “A house of learning”-carve out time for personal prayer/scripture/journal, *I* feel more peaceful. Also, I take this to mean get the homework done right when they get home. That helps a lot.
    “Glory…order…God,”-again, with the clean house, blah. But having a messy house REALLY affects me inside. I’m a totally different person in a clean vs. messy house. I’m the one who acts like a two year old about stuff a lot of the time.
    My main problem is entitlement. I often tell myself I *deserve* to sit and relax, but what I’m really doing is trading some temporary satisfaction for a mess of pottage. I think I do deserve the sit and relax, but I need to control myself enough to postpone the R&R time till the end of the day. Really if I were just more diligent with organization, cleaning, and holding my tongue, I would have more satisfying rest and relaxation at the end of the day and more peace in my home.
    If there is a way to find more peace without me having to do so much work to get it, please let me know. I swear, most days, I just want to scream at the kids, “For the love of Pete, just sit down and SHUT UP!!!” Some days I have done just that, but it’s not super effective and it leaves ME feeling like *I* need to repent-little jerks!-not really, well, maybe sometimes :)

  2. Ugh! My comment seems so preachy! Well, just know this, if you were a fly on the wall of my home you would know that *I* am the one in need of the sermon. (Sigh) This has been really therapeutic for me today, thank you, over and out.

  3. HeidiAnn, I loved your comment!

    Catherine, the only thing I can add is to share what my husband says to the kids when they are fighting, “what kind of family do you want to have?” This question helps them realize they have power to choose their behavior. Since he grew up in a home where there was lots of yelling, he has no tolerance for it.

    We’re certainly not perfect, but this question and follow-up reminders of it help my kids choose better behavior (most of the time). I ask my daughters to be he kind of sister they want to have (Now that I said that I’ll probably have a fight to deal with!)

  4. The lack of contention is not necessarily a sign of peace. Lack of contention can mean that people are afraid to express an opinion or do something new. That is not peace, that is fear.

    I think true peace comes from the knowledge of being loved, respected and honored.

  5. When my children were young, I discovered something that helped me immensely in regards to my children’s contention with one another. I realized I was reacting from the premise that there should be (that darn would “should”) NO fighting. Any fighting was upsetting to me. When I realized that I was working from an impossible standard, that some contention with it’s resultant learning how to work out differences was inevitable and possibly even necessary, I was better able to respond more peacefully to their contention.

    Also, I discovered that while I may not be able to have a peaceful home 100% of the time, I could snatch peaceful moments throughout the day. I didn’t have to go to the temple, do yoga, or retreat to a mountaintop to find peace, although all of those things definitely do bring peace to me. I could have a peaceful moment in prayer or in looking outside or in helping someone. I try to focus on those daily peaceful moments to help fill my peace reservoir, which helps me better cope with the unpeaceful moments of family life. :)

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