Peace During the Storm
by Drenda Keesee
“One day at a time…”
“Time heals all wounds…”
“Let go and let God…”
When you are going through a difficult season of life, do friends or family members recite sayings like this?
These catchy, feel-good expressions might work well on a T-shirt, but how do we really walk out these principles in our daily lives?
How do we let go of all the worry that we are clutching so tight and give it to God?
How do we truly have peace?
In the early years of our marriage, Gary and I faced a lot of struggles. We were newlyweds, still trying to get comfortable in our roles as husband and wife, and we found ourselves buried by financial stress. Gary suffered from terrible panic attacks; he was constantly worrying about how he was going to provide for our family.
During the same time, my daughter Amy started battling fear and having terrible nightmares. If you’re a parent, I don’t have to tell you what it feels like to see your child suffer.
I knew I had a choice: submit to worry or rise up in faith.
As a young woman, I spent years…
…being a champion worrywart. But I want to tell you something VERY important: No matter what the enemy tells you … you always have a choice to believe it!
I made the choice to be a warrior. I prayed for Amy and Gary constantly during that time. I prayed for God to reveal His plan for our family; I gave Amy Bible verses to help her cast down anxiety. I let her know she had a choice and encouraged her to ask God to unleash His power to help her overcome her circumstances.
Very quickly, she began to experience relief until she was completely healed of her anxiety and nightmares! And Gary experienced complete healing, too, and made it his mission to help other families get out of debt and take control over their lives using Kingdom principles.
I learned a valuable lesson during that time: all it takes is a moment to go from your struggle to your breakthrough!
I know life can be hard, and it’s normal to experience tough seasons, but I want to encourage you to remember that the enemy has no power over you unless you give it to him!
It’s my passion to help you experience the kind of wholeness and peace that ONLY God can give, and that’s why I put together this resource.
I hope these encouraging words and practical tips will help you reject despair, choose joy, and empower you to not settle for anything less than the amazing life God has for you.
Ignore What’s Popular in the Culture
First off, if you’re looking to the culture to tell you how to be happy…
Stop! Caution! Dangerous road ahead!
In the culture, what’s most important is self. Do you know that there is National Selfie Day? The culture is creating new ways to celebrate “self”!
But, as Christians, we know the most important thing is God and finding our God-given purposes so we can help others.
Hebrews 6:10 (NIV) tells us, “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”
After Gary and I made it through that hard time, we realized God wanted to use us to help others get free and experience all God had for them, so don’t let earthly circumstances bring you down! Sometimes, God will work in the storm to reveal His amazing purpose for your life.
Gary and I are living lives we never thought possible because we chose joy and said yes to God’s purpose for our lives!
You will only have true happiness when you are walking out your God-designed destiny.
Find the Calm in the Middle of the Storm
No one knows better than a mother that finding “perfect” moments of quiet calm is about as likely as buying a winning lottery ticket.
Sometimes I feel like the moment I sit down and think I’ve found that little window of calm, someone or something crashes into the picture.
In fact, just as I sat down outside to write today, a loud, obnoxious burst of a lawnmower and weed wacker filled the air.
How am I supposed to write like this?!
I have an important choice here: cross my arms and silently sulk until the invaders are gone, or laugh.
Yes, you read that correctly—laugh!
God is not conspiring against you to interrupt your plans for the day, but the enemy will use ANY opportunity you give him to steal your peace. You need to be able to find peace in any situation.
Real peace DOES NOT depend on perfect circumstances.
For many years, my days were filled with dirty diapers, meal preparation, mounds of laundry—that would rival Kilimanjaro—and scattered books and worksheets I used to homeschool my children.
During those times, if I waited for my circumstances to give me peace … I would still be waiting. Ha!
I loved raising my children and being a big part of their education, but it was hard. During those days, I felt stressed and overwhelmed and—to be honest—like I wasn’t going to succeed.
Pity party for one, please!
Early on, I had so much self-doubt. I was my own biggest critic! Sound familiar?
I once saw a little comic strip that explained self-doubt so well. In the comic, there was a little man carrying a BIG boulder on his back, labeled “self-doubt,” and a large hill in front of him. At the top of the hill, there was a sign that read “goal.” Above the man’s head, there was a little cartoon thought bubble that read, “Maybe it would be easier if I put this down.”
That little comic says it all! That was me! My self-doubt was keeping me from tackling my God-given purpose.
So, how do we get rid of that heavy boulder of self-doubt?
Go to God and submit your thoughts to Him, and His Holy Spirit will give you REAL peace, and His Word will overpower ANY circumstance.
Isaiah 55:8-9 tell us, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (NIV).
If you depend on your situation to give you peace, well, you might spend your life waiting!
Rely on God to infuse His power in your circumstances, and you’ll have victory!
P.S. – The weed wacker is gone and the lawnmower is nothing but a distant buzz. Instead of getting annoyed and going inside, I took a break from writing, sipped my coffee, and waited for the noise to die down.
It might sound silly to congratulate myself, but each time we stop the negative thought train, we have done a fantastic job! It was Joyce Meyer who called the mind a battlefield, and rightly so!
Don’t be shy about patting yourself on the back when you’ve won the battle over your thoughts!
Laughter Makes the Best Memories
When I was a young woman, I struggled with perfectionism. I wanted to be perfect—hair, clothing, shoes, makeup. I didn’t realize at the time that my insecurity was derailing my God-given purpose. My worth was wrapped up in other people’s opinions. If I was perfect, I thought people would accept me, and people would love me.
When you don’t know who you are in Christ, you feel insecure, but when your identity is firm in Christ, you are free to be who you are, who God made you to be.
When you learn who you are, you trade perfectionism for enthusiasm—enthusiasm for relationships, for life, for your God-designed dreams, and most importantly, for joy and laughter!
My favorite memories with my children are the imperfect memories, just us laughing our way through the messy times.
I want to share a little anecdote with you that I think will help you better understand what I mean by trading perfectionism for enthusiasm.
About a year ago, my little granddaughter Ivory was at our house for the afternoon. Well, I just let her lead me into each new adventure, and one adventure she had in mind was playing with ALL grandma’s makeup.
By the time she was done with me, I had dark eyeshadow running down my cheeks like tears. I looked downright scary! But we were having such a great time.
Watch this hilarious video of us, and, please, don’t judge! Ha!
I wanted you to see that video because it just goes to show that the best memories are the messy, impromptu ideas that sometimes don’t go as planned. If I had been worried about what I looked like, or the mess we had to clean up, or fretted about who might drop by the house at that moment—by the way, a police officer dropped by several minutes after I finished cleaning my face because our alarm went off by mistake!—then I never would’ve gone along with it.
Be secure enough to be messy and laugh your way to great memories!
ps…Are you looking for a good church? Be sure and listen on Saturday evening or catch the 3 services on Sunday for Faith Life Church!
Drenda Keesee’s contagious zeal and humorous personal experiences help make her ministry of spiritual, emotional, and relational wholeness one that will bless your life and spark a new fire in your spirit.
A wife of over 30 years and a mother of five children, Drenda has ministered at churches, seminars, and conferences, and through the mediums of television and radio, for more than 20 years.
Her books, The New Vintage Family, Better Than You Think, and She Gets It are available wherever books are sold. In these heartfelt books, Drenda shares her personal journey and the life lessons that have brought her to where she is today, as well as practical answers that all people need to live a joyful life.
Drenda and her husband Gary founded Faith Life Now, a ministry designed to spread the message of freedom in the areas of finances, faith, marriage, and family. Tune in for their weekly messages here. Faith Life Now hosts conferences worldwide and sponsors both Fixing the Money Thing, which Drenda co-hosts with her husband Gary and Drenda.
Through their own life experiences, the Keesee’s have found the principles from God’s Word to be powerful and effective. At one point, Drenda was a young, suicidal feminist with no hope of ever being “good enough” for her own standards of perfection. She never wanted the “inconvenience” of a husband or children, and she was on her own path to success. But the stress of trying to achieve perfection and perform for love left her broken and used. She had success, but it was nothing compared to the pain and loneliness it had also brought.
That’s when God got a hold of her heart. It was there—at her lowest point—that she found the One who accepted and loved her, faults and all. Since that transformation, Drenda has had a passion to reach women who find themselves where she once was.
She married Gary after attending college, and there she found herself in a personal boot camp of sorts. She says, “I cried and told God, ‘I can do anything but be a wife and mother.’” She committed to learning how to do it God’s way. Through the many years of raising their children and struggling to make ends meet, Drenda learned from their mistakes. “I didn’t know how to be a wife and mother, but God saved our marriage, taught us how to parent our children for success, showed us how to have financial success, and then the irony of all ironies, He called us to ministry.” It’s truly because of these life experiences that Drenda can now share so many insightful principles for people who are now going through the same struggles.