Stillness in Mexico and Florida

{I'll probably have a few posts full of long wandering thoughts and stories coming up in the next few weeks. I can never fully put together my thought after a trip to Mexico. But I hope the organized jumble I'm bringing you is a blessing to you in your life.} My body responded to the sunlight streaming through the brightly patterned curtains, waking me, even though I would rather have slept in.

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I almost never get to sleep in on Sunday mornings. But this Sunday, I didn’t have to leave the house until 9:30 am. So I slipped quietly out of bed, attempting to let my roommates, Colleen and Reina, sleep a little more.

I washed my face and applied makeup, moving slowly simply because I could. Before too long, I made it out of the girls wing and into the main dining room of the orphanage, just in time to kiss my husband good morning and goodbye as he and the other men left for the prayer and bible study before church.

Clutching my journal and cell phone, I headed for the coffee pot. I tried to pour out just a dab of creamer from the quickly dwindling supply…fail. The creamer would be gone by the time the next girl came for her morning cup.

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With my cold, dry hands wrapped around the steamy mug, I headed to the patio. Pastor Daniel and Jason had been sitting out there yesterday in the early morning sun. It had looked lovely. And it was.

The air had a definite chill, but the sun cut through the hazy cold just enough to keep me sitting outside. The still was almost tangible.

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The whole trip I’d been anxiously searching for the peace and the still that everyone else kept talking about. I saw the slow all around me, but I couldn’t find it in my own heart. Everything in me had been planning and worrying and thinking and searching for peace in the stillness of the Mexico hills.

But this morning was different. In the pale morning sun, I determined it would be different. So I opened my bible and read and reread the pages. Jeremiah 23 Psalm 23 He is our shepherd. He is our shepherd. He is our shepherd. He is our shepherd.

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I forced my anxious heart to slow enough to question, to wonder, to listen, to breathe in of His goodness. And those few minutes in the early morning sun were not the most peaceful moments of the trip, but they were good. Because those moments reminded me of the importance of fighting hard for peace. And they reminded me, what an incredible grace gift these moments of peace are.

Still, I crossed back into the U.S. two days later and wondered why I hadn't experienced the peace and the still of Mexico the way everyone else had. Until that first night back at home, when I noticed every car driving past on our busy street and the honking and the people and the music and the noise of the air conditioning unit.

I didn't notice the quiet until I didn't have it anymore…and a little part of me wished that South Florida was just a little quieter.

Yesterday morning I took my almost daily walk to Starbucks to spend my husband's lunch break with him. It's a block and a half walk that I relish, espeically when he has those early morning shifts with a lunch break about 8 am. The moment I stepped out in the damp, steamy air, I noticed it…the still. South Florida has still too.

The quiet around me was rare and permeating. I relished it. Somehow, even a string of traffic rushing past couldn't break the calm in my heart. And my heart steadied with the realization, the calm isn't out there...it's in my heart. The world around me might be crazy or noisy, but my heart can be still in the midst of it all. Because He is my peace. And my heart flooded with memories of the peaceful moments of Mexico.

I hadn’t noticed the peaceful moments when I was in them because when I was in them, I wasn’t thinking about being peaceful, I simply was thankful.

Because thankful is always peaceful. Because thankful isn’t striving for peace for myself. It’s turning my attention away from my myself and onto the giver of good gifts around me. Because good gifts don’t bring peace…the Giver of good gifts brings peace.

Be blessed <3