I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s My parting gift to you. Peace.
John 14:27b (The Message)
For the fifth year, my youngest daughter will be dancing in the classic Nutcracker ballet here in our little town of Hickory (located just south of the little town of Bethlehem, North Carolina). Following auditions this fall, she was cast as the Sugar Plum Fairy…at the age of 14.
Sugar Plum Fairy
After she read the casting results, I’d love to say she responded with an ecstatic gasp, did a happy dance with blinding white sparkles in her eyes. But not so. Instead, an army of fear minions inside her limbic brain held the rational, reasoning part of her brain captive. Within a few seconds time, she’d become disintegrated, was no longer whole, no longer at peace.
Alas, a highly anxious, yet still enchantingly beautiful, Sugar Plum Fairy had come to live at my house that day.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6
Yes, I get it, I get it. Prayer – with a thankful heart – is to be my first response in the face of fear or doubt. Or when anxiety starts to mount and my chest begins its drumming. But sometimes I’ve wielded this verse like a weapon, letting its sharp, condemning edge slice through my soul. I don’t believe that was God’s intent, that I should mar the essence of that inspired truth, adopting the crazy notion that it’s somehow wrong to experience anxiety.
Rather, that disturbing absence of peace called anxiety should draw me to God, Who – unlike me – remains whole, always whole.
So when an anxiety storm surges and I feel as though I, too, have been cast as the Sugar Plum Fairy –
He left me peace.
Peace as a person.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. John 14:27a
Circumstances might suggest there are good reasons to be anxious. Like when the Devil hurls trouble throughout the world and tries to swipe peace from it, making a mockery of the classic lyric, “Peace on earth, good-will toward men.” (I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day)
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27b
I’m happy to report that The Sugar Plum Fairy still lives in my house.
Rehearsal with Her Cavalier
She’s all set for a knockout NuTcRaCkEr performance this weekend following nearly four months of rehearsal.
Sweet visions of sugar plums
now dance in her head.
She and her mother are well and whole and have now welcomed the Prince of Peace to come live with them.
Because the show must go on.