By Trishia Van Orden
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27
These last few weeks have been quite an adventure! Every family in the United States and around the world has gone from a normal life out and about to being home 24/7 with children. This sudden upheaval of normalcy has not only changed how we live and work each day, but it has also created large amounts of pent up energy and stress. It is in times like these that we as parents turn to others with the hope of finding some speck of the normalcy that we once knew.
As we all adjust to the new changes in our lives, I want to share some much-needed love, encouragement, and connection. When faced with life’s challenges, it is essential to seek out peace among the chaos. Right now, I am sure that you, like me, are facing more chaos than ever before, and are feeling as if peace is only a hopeful dream far, far away.
The truth is, peace is much closer than you think! Three things that have always been a help and comfort to me as I have faced life’s challenges are music, prayer, and scriptures.
Recently, I’ve found myself turning on wholesome music more and more often as I face the tantrums of a 2 year old and 4 year old, and the sudden, loud outbursts of an unwilling 6 year old who would rather do anything but homework. I find myself praying more and more for understanding, love, and patience as I face the challenges of balancing 100 Zoom meetings, homeschool, work, and everyday life. I have also found that scripture reading time has now gradually replaced long, bedtime stories as I personally find more comfort in reading the scriptures than I do in reading the same That’s Not My Unicorn book for the 100th time.
Music: “If thou art merry, praise the Lord with singing, with music, with dancing.” Doctrine and Covenants 136: 28
Many times throughout the day, I face the challenge of screaming children who do not want to share or get along. It is quite easy to feel overwhelmed and burdened by the constant noise and disorder. During these times, I have found that music– good, wholesome music– helps give me strength, and brings a small sense of peace into my home. Some of the music that I enjoy listening to when I need to wind down includes:
- Classical Music
- Instrumental Music (such as movie scores, the Piano Guys, or other modern instrumental groups)
- Hymns and “Sunday” music (For me, “Sunday” music includes Jenny Philips, Hillary Weeks, Alex Boye, or Gentri)
- Christian Alternative (I like K-Love, Casting Crown, For King and Country, and Matthew West)
One thing that I try to remember when I choose which music to play at home is “What do I want to teach my children about our home? Do I want to teach them to love one another and rely on God, or do I want them to believe that allowing their emotions to control them is better?” President Boyd K. Packer, once shared that “Music can be used to exalt and inspire or to carry messages of degradation and destruction. It is therefore important that as Latter-day Saints we at all times apply the principles of the gospel and seek the guidance of the Spirit in selecting the music with which we surround ourselves” (as cited in Packer, 1973).
Prayer: “Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee.” Job 22:21
Growing up, I was often taught that prayer is a way to connect with God and find peace and comfort in challenging times. With everything going on in today’s world, this simple lesson has become a seed of truth for me. As I go through each day, I try to point out and thank God for the small blessings in my life, such as the stories I share with my children, a folded load of laundry, the sun shining through the windows, or the quietness of naptime. I also pray that I can find peace, comfort, and help as I attempt to teach school lessons to a child with special needs, entertain two toddlers, and get housework done. These small, simple moments of prayer have opened a door into a sense of peace that I had never really noticed before. I can feel the Lord’s love for me and my family as I come to acquaint myself with Him.
Scriptures: “Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me.” Doctrine and Covenants 19:23
This scripture has become a new motto in my new, socially-distant, daily life. I have found that when I am stressed, overwhelmed, hurt, or lonely, turning to the words of God and His prophets brings me peace and a sense of wholeness. I have also found that I can now do things that used to be too difficult to face alone simply because I now choose to listen and act upon the words of God.
Here are some helpful ways that you can incorporate the scriptures into your everyday life:
- Audiobooks and smart devices (Many smart devices have apps that can play the scriptures. I have enjoyed the daily Book of Mormon reading challenge on Amazon Alexa)
- Children Scripture Videos (Based on the Scripture Stories Readers)
- New Testament and Book of Mormon videos
- Children’s Bible or Book of Mormon readers (I like to use these for storytime)
- Reading the scriptures as a family for bedtime (One of my new favorites as it helps my little ones and me to truly relax and be ready for bed)
- Listen to past General Conference Talks online
Some other great ways to help you and your family find a sense of peace and normalcy in this challenging time include:
- Spending time outside in nature
- Serving others remotely (sending greeting cards or letters)
- Playing games with your children
- Singing and dancing around the house.
- Talking with others online, on the phone, or across the yard/street
- Enjoying the simple and pure moments that life has to offer (like a beautiful sunset, the laughter of your kids, the smell of cut grass, the quiet when your children are in bed, etc.)
As hard as life can be sometimes, Heavenly Father has provided ways for us to connect and find peace. It is important to remember that as we find peace and happiness in our everyday lives, we are also helping our children come to terms with the stresses that they too have been facing in recent days.
Trishia Van Orden has a Bachelor’s Degree in Marriage and Family Studies from Brigham Young University-Idaho. She has a love for psychology and hopes to one day open a Family Life Education Center where she lives. She is currently writing for Educate Empower Kids and working as a volunteer in a girl’s youth group program. She is a wife and a mother of three beautiful girls.
Packer, Boyd K. “Inspiring Music-Worthy Thoughts.” Inspiring Music-Worthy Thoughts, Oct. 1973, https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/1973/10/inspiring-music-worthy-thoughts?lang=eng
Peace is Closer than You Think!
“Living the gospel does not mean the storms of life will pass us by, but we will be better prepared to face them with serenity and peace. ‘Search diligently, pray always, and be believing,’ the Lord admonished, ‘and all things shall work together for your good, if ye walk uprightly.'”–Joseph B. Wirthlin
Perfect Book for These Times
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