Enough!! I couldn’t stand it a moment longer! The circumstances of my life were not changing and I was not coping. So I drove down to the Shop Easy, grabbed a cart and began my search. Though frazzled emotionally, I wanted to appear “together” so wandered for thirty minutes before I cleared my throat and asked for help.
“Business or personal?” The clerk needed clarification.
“Personal.” I tried to sound confident, so I explained. “My neighbor wears peace like a coat. I know she shops here. I just assumed that you sold them.” Admitting your need for personal peace to a complete stranger was humbling, but I was desperate.
“Sorry, ma’am. We only have the kits “Maintaining Peace in Your Workplace” left. Maybe you could adapt it a...” She was called away, leaving me wondering what to do next. I was tired of living the way I had been and after observing all that my friend had faced in the last years with her coat of peace remaining intact, I had decided I needed one of my own.
My thoughts were interrupted.
“I want it!” the child demanded, “and if I can’t have it, I’m not going home with you!” A mother and child were standing to my left.
All movement stopped within a ten-cart radius, conversation suspended while shoppers waited for the mother’s reaction.
As I looked to the woman I was shocked at what I saw!! A coat of peace was perfectly formed to her slight frame! I couldn’t hear the response she gave, but watched the effect of her words on the face of her child. He changed from resistant to compliant and even seemed happy as they left the store.
I knew I needed to talk with this peace-bearer and so followed the pair as they made their way into the parking lot, arriving breathless just as the child was being buckled into the minivan’s back seat.
Taking a deep breath to calm my nerves and feed my lungs, I asked, “Can you tell me where you bought your coat?”
There was a puzzled look on the mother’s face.
“Your coat of peace.” I elaborated. “It’s just like my friend’s. Where did you buy it?”
Time seemed to stand still while she processed my question, and then like the sun moving from behind a cloud, her face filled with brightness, kindness and compassion written deep into her expression.
“You noticed?” she asked softly.
“I’m surprised you could see peace on me in the midst of that struggle back there. Mikey was so grumpy at home. I knew he needed a nap but I felt compelled to come here first. On the drive I was praying for a peace-filled heart so that I would not react in a way that would dishonour Jesus.”
“Yeh. He’s my source of peace. His name is Prince of Peace. He talks a lot about peace in the Bible. He’s the one who said “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV)
Without hesitation I said, “That’s what I want, what I need. Peace in the middle of my troubles.”
She smiled and then told me all she knew about this Prince of Peace. I echoed her words, as she led me in my first prayer, telling Jesus that I believed in Him, that I had messed things up and needed His help in my life.
Later, as I stood by my car in the sunshine, I allowed the fullness of my invitation to soak in. I had just received my own coat of peace and didn’t have to shop for it! I closed my eyes as my heart began a song of thankfulness…
SLAM! I was pulled out of my daydream by the car door and my sixteen-year-old huffing in the seat beside me. I was still wrapped up in my imaginings.
“Can we go already?” her question more a demand. I smiled back with a fresh portion of love. It was like I was wearing a coat, her combative words powerless to penetrate my personal peace.
“What’s up with you?” she snarled as we drove away from the school.
“Just thinking about shopping.” And as we passed by the Shop Easy sign my heart swelled with love for my Prince of Peace.
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