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?