Three Secrets to Finding the Gift of Peace

If you’re a long-time blog reader, you know that my husband and I sit on our front porch together every morning. We read  Jesus Calling by Sarah Young and a few verses of Scripture. We talk little bit, and then we pray.

Nothing complicated, but oh, so powerful.

One Saturday in February, he had an early meeting, so I porch partied alone. Normally, being on the porch is such a peaceful experience.

But in less than 60 seconds, I broke one of our porch party rules. We aren’t supposed to say anything negative.

I didn’t actually SPEAK any negative words, but I let a few negative thoughts creep in.

A pale gray sky.

No sun this morning. 

Probably going to rain.

Can’t stay out here long.

Better hurry.

I have a ton of work to do. 

I wasn’t dwelling on problems, but I wasn’t porch partying. I wasn’t worshiping. I had a busy day ahead and zipped right past God.

Then Thelma and Ellie joined me.

Thelma hopped up on the banister and twirled a few Easter eggs. She pawed the bird’s nest and chewed on a twig. She knocked out a plastic egg and watched it spin.

Ellie couldn’t wait for her to jump down so they could play.

Then it hit me.

Thelma and Ellie weren’t hurrying to do to the next important thing. 

This was the important thing.

Celebrating the morning together.

Just like when we spend time with God. 

Right then, I started my porch party all over again. 

1. I remembered God’s faithfulness. 

2. I remembered how much He loves me.

3. I thanked Him, and then I thanked Him some more. 

Before I went inside, the most glorious thing happened. The sun came out. 

When I praised God, the Son broke through and peace replaced every speck of gray. (Click to tweet.)

If you have a minute, porch party with me. If you can’t see the video below click here.

Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, Isaiah 26:3. 

Have you discovered that praise brings peace? 

What are you praising Him for today? 

Love,

Julie

Comments

  1. Anna Haney says:

    Oh, Julie. You have no idea how badly I needed this post today. The last week or so has been a struggle.en trying to be upbeat and happy but I’ve felt depression creeping in. Yesterday was a day of tears and hiding at home. I hate that. This morning I have been putting on a big face, hoping that I would be better than I was yesterday. After my shower, I got on Twitter and saw this post. WHAT ARE YOU PRAISING HIM FOR TODAY? Such an honest, gentle reminder. I needed that. And I loved the glimpse of the porch party with you, Clyde, and Ellie.
    Love you, my friend,
    Anna

    • Stephanie says:

      Anna, isn’t it amazing how He always meets us? I understand how you feel and how you want to move on from it. You are not alone. Thinking of you in Washington state.

      • Julie Garmon says:

        How kind, Stephanie–to acknowledge Anna’s feelings. That’s what my blog is all about–people caring about each other. Praying for other. Reaching out and saying, “I understand.”

  2. Anna, I’m hugging you from here…screen door open, cool breeze, heart is wide open.

    Praying for you. You know I’ve been there–the depression thing. Right now, in Jesus’ name, I pray the dark cloud be lifted from your shoulder.

    I think sometimes the turn around begins with praise. Even in the tiniest voice.

    Let’s keep praising Him.

    I love you too. Just made my day to find out this simple post touched your heart.

  3. Beautiful….loved being still with you for a moment.

    • Julie Garmon says:

      Thanks,, Robin. I just had to do it from my heart, and get over my Southern self.f

      Love you.

  4. Stephanie says:

    After watching your video, I realize that I have my own version of the porch party every morning.

    • Julie Garmon says:

      Stephanie!! Tell us more… Where, when, what do you do? We want to hear all about it!

      • Stephanie says:

        My husband gets up early for his hour long drive to work, so for as long as I can remember, I have gotten up with him to get coffee ready (no timer on french press!), and make sure he has breakfast and lunch for the day. He’s REALLY not a morning person, and since he has earned the lion’s share of the income over the years, I feel it’s the least I can do. So, then I grab my own cup of coffee, my Daily Guideposts, Jesus Calling and my journal. I settle into my living room–it rains most of the year here in Seattle, so indoors for me–and take a deep breath. My faith has become more about hearing Him in the Now, and since my brain works best with little bits of information at a time, it’s a good arrangement. I look up the verses given with each entry and then journal some thoughts–related or not related to the readings of the day. It’s my little conversation with God and it really sets the tone for my day. It was so hard to steal these moments when my 5 kids were small, as we homeschooled. Once the smallest one was awake, it was go go go until bed time. So I do not take them for granted and I am better for each one. Even when I feel at the end of my rope, or struggling with depression or anxiety, there is almost always a nugget of truth I can hold onto from these times.

        • Stephanie,

          What a beautiful description of your life and prayer time. Feels like we’re sisters. 🙂 I’d love having more rainy days!

          I could feel the peace from your words across the miles.

          You’re absolutely right about the nugget of truth. We have to keep hanging on to the truth.

          And I love how you said your brain works better with little bits of information at a time. Me too! Makes me feel better about that part of myself just knowing you understand.

          XOXOXOXOXO From sunny Georgia, where I just planted my first strawberries.

  5. sandy Coffey says:

    Love the story. One story that I remember was getting a get well card in the mail. As I stood at the window it was a cloudy gray winter day but as I opened the card the sun all of a sudden came out. I thought ironic, bringing in the sun as I opened a friend’s card. Trying to stay postitive this morning as someone came in our building and took things from the basement. Can’t figure how they got in but we have them or him on camera so making copies now for police and to put on f.b. Thank goodness no one hurt. Sun is trying to come out today.

    • Julie Garmon says:

      Sandy, you and me both. I feel the same way about getting cards in the mail. Read cards. 🙂

      Okay, thanks for sharing what’s going on in your life right now. Saying a prayer of thanksgiving–that no one was hurt. Let the Son shine on you even now, at six o’clock tonight.

      So much love,
      Julie

  6. Denise says:

    Loved porch partying with you again! Even if it was virtual!

    • Julie Garmon says:

      Denise, I was praying for you that day. Prayed today too.

      Xoxoxoxo

  7. Thank you for this whole blogpost Julie. Loved learning about your porch party. I am convicted to not look at my to do list until my sacred prayer time is over. Thank you and thank you Jesus.

    • Julie Garmon says:

      Julie, lately I’ve felt like it was wrong for me to even check my phone before having a quiet time. I’ve left it face-down and ignored messages…which is kinda hard for someone like me, but so worth it!

      I’m right there with you!

  8. Really needed this today, julie. I think I may have cancelled my party earlier today, too, but I am doing a little event planning now. Thank you.

    • Julie Garmon says:

      Event planning. I love it, Bev! Thank you letting me know you “get” it. I’m telling you…I’m lost w/out my porch parties.

      Love you!

  9. I loved this, Julie! Praise does turn things around. And there’s nothing better than experiencing Him amid His creation. Blessings to you!

    • It sure does, Gail. And it’s such a “simple” thing to do. Sometimes I doubt… can’t it really help? But it always does. xo

  10. marci says:

    I can relate to this, Right now, I am in the (good) zone, happy and feeling blessed, but how well I know, how easy it is to get distracted, even just in my head. All the things to do. And those A.N.T.S. Yes, what a good thing to do- When we realize we have let things distract us, .. just start over! I like that. I am always learning lessons from the animals here too. They do live in the moment. Yes, and the gift of peace.
    Right now, I am in grace note mode. And I am letting myself be there. And not thinking of things on my to do list. I was looking forward to this break and seeing your blog today. Such an important message, and good lesson, especially since sometimes when I sit down to have some time with The Lord, all that other stuff will try to creep in. Next time, I will just start over.
    Bless you,
    xoxoxo

    Marci’a

    • Such beautiful words, Marci’a. Your heart always shines through your comments.

      I’m so glad you’re in a “grace note mode” right now. I love that. Maybe we can choose–more often than not–to be in this mode.

      Hope he have a beautiful. So sorry I couldn’t respond yesterday. We didn’t have internet all day. Finally, at 5:30, I went to Starbucks to work, but couldn’t stay long b/c of small group. 🙂

  11. Cathy Mayfield says:

    Thank you, Julie, for all the photos you post to bless us. Because of our daughter’s delight in photography, I know the joy of catching the right light, the right background, the right colors. I praise God for His gift to you!

    Praising, often with music, definitely turns things around. This morning, because of a very early doctor appointment, I did not get my usual quiet, devotional time. When I hopped in the car, the radio started a litany of horrifying local and national news; I turned it off. And sang choruses and hymns on my hour’s drive.

    BTW, here’s a little something to make you smile! I brought our one-year-old grandson home with me for an overnight visit. His mama messaged me just before I brought this up to read. “Please let me know how he is!” This was my reply:

    Completed itinerary:
    **put in car seat properly
    **played and sang a little on ride home (Grandma took the long way so I would get a longer nap…but I decided I didn’t need one, too much to see!)
    **watched Grandma take everything from car and tend to puppy (I cried a little, but it’s fine ’cause it made Grandma fuss over me, which was what I wanted anyway.)
    **had 1/2 grilled cheese sandwich, 1/2 orange, a little soup, and half my cup of water for lunch (I even let Grandma eat hers!)
    **made sure I left plenty on my hands for the puppy, even shared a couple pieces of crust!
    **played with animal magnets and other toys while Grandma answered a phone call (I could see she was trying to get off, so I was “as good as gold” – Grandma’s words!)
    **went for a long walk in my stroller and saw a huge doggie! It was brown and white and was eating grass! Grandma was soooo funny…telling me it wasn’t a doggie, when I could plainly see it was!
    **played with my monkey on the walk back and didn’t throw him out even once! (For some reason, Grandma was surprised about that.)
    **walked around the yard, making sure I gave Grandma enough leaves to make her happy (She has this thing about leaves…)
    **tried to tell Grandma the creek was NOT running too fast for me to play in, but…we just threw sticks in from the bank.
    **sang “If You’re Happy and You Know It” and clapped my hands…to make Grandma happy because the creek was “sparkling in the sunshine”…(oh, brother…what I gotta do for my grandma!)
    **waited in my stroller while Grandma warmed some milk (she always does it like that…I think I like it…)
    **and then she told me it was naptime. I did NOT believe her, so I drank my milk, then called her in my loudest voice to come get me! And she came!! BUT she picked me up, hugged me and laid me back down!!! Mama!!!
    …TBD (I told Grandma that if I HAD to take a nap, she should tell you we’d…yawn…write more…yawwwn…later…Love you, Mama!)

    This little boy sure brings the creativity back that I thought I’d maybe lost a bit after our homeschool days ended. 🙂 What joy! Hmm…joy must jumpstart those creative juices, huh? Sounds like a blog post! Feel free to use it! lol

    • Cathy, this is precious and priceless!!! As mothers of older children, we know how quickly the days fly by.

      Ohhhhh, I just love this!! It’s exactly what I’m learning right now. So, so, so beautiful, my friend. I do believe you’ve arrived!!!!!

      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  12. Julie Gilleand says:

    Hi Julie,

    Distraction is my middle name and probably a very handy tool of the enemy many times. I excel in going off on rabbit trails, whether while talking to someone, writing, thinking, knocking tasks off my to-do list, and worst of all during prayer! I tend to enjoy blaming it on the invention of Microsoft Windows which has made it so easy to do and think about so many thins all at once! Or more validly on the 3 mini-strokes I had in my 20’s that did affect my concentration ability. But it really doesn’t matter about the blame. It’s more about making conscious efforts to focus where you need to for the time that you need to and if that is a challenge, which for me it is, than I need a lot of help and grace from God to meet it. That sounds very neat and tidy except that I also seem to need God’s help in remembering to ask for his help!!! Oh me.

    I don’t have porch parties, but I do have “car parties”. My car is my prayer and meditation closet. I use it for that on my way to work most mornings, but even then sometimes I tend to run down my to-do for the day instead of praying over it. Some days I’ve noticed my thoughts are all over the map and I am running in circles, getting nowhere, and have found the grace to stop and just sing to the Lord, or praise Him, as you have said. Puts all those things in their proper place and brings Jesus front and center where He should be. I wish there would be more times like that than the other (and probably God does too!), but I’m thankful for those few and precious times I find that pearl of great price.

    Blessings on you, Julie G 🙂

    —– Leafy

    • Leafy, Car Parties!!! Yes!!!! I love this idea!!!!!

      How beautiful, and you can always keep good music playing. And there are so many things to see along the way–people to pray for, glorious sights, sunsets, and sometimes you can ride with the windows down.

      I totally agree about Microsoft Windows. :/ Yesterday, I had no internet, which helped me get a lot done on my novel rewrite. Amazing what happens when we shut out all distractions. I’m so grateful you survived your strokes…so very grateful.

      I know your trip is still moving through your heart. I just know it! And all the owls…..

      xo

    • P.S. This morning, I talked to a friend on the phone. She was in another state and mentioned not having a porch (not one she really wanted to spend time on), and I told her I have a friend who porch parties in her car.

      This makes me sooooooooooooooooooo happy–to connect people with ideas for how to worship God. My friends are always teaching me stuff.

      Much love,
      Other Julie

  13. marci Knauss says:

    Great blog Julie, you are an inspiration love you

  14. I’ve been twirling in proposal edits and final touches on the puppy manuscript but I have been praying, praying, praying each and every day. Keeping God in the midst of it all keeps me centered and everything seems to twirl just so much better! LYLM
    P.S. Would you pray for the mss and proposal? Sending it to J tomorrow (my deadline was April 1st).

  15. I love you, Julie. I love your sweet voice. I’ve been struggling so much lately. Your words resonate so sweetly. I struggled to get a blog post written this week. But … a friend said, “God does His biggest works when things seem to not be working out well. I get the feeling He’s up to something ‘more than we can ask or imagine.'” And I love that you and your husband have this time together … how special. xoxo

    • Shelli, I love you too. We Southern girls have to stick together!

      Saying a prayer for you right now–for whatever’s on your heart–that His Spirit would cover you with peace. Sweet calming peace.

      Love,
      Your sister in Georgia.

  16. Nancy Lusignan says:

    I just sat at your porch party and listened to you speak. Love it. I had to chuckle of our similarities. That wooden table with the drawer? Have one just like it on my log home front porch that I was telling you about, when we messaged this morning. Mine is a light green. I painted it myself. Has the drawer in front. Too funny!

    • Can’t believe it, Nancy! Wow—So many similarities!!!!

      Thanks for reading and connecting. And especially for listening to my Southern twang. :/

      Much love,
      Julie

  17. That’s amazing, Julie. God could really be dramatic that way, giving you sunshine when you spend time and worship Him. I’m guilty of getting into the day hurriedly though. Like I want to just start working. This is a beautiful reminder.

  18. Patricia Martin says:

    Yes, Julie! I have found that praise brings peace! How are you? How is Katie? Sending love to you all!xxxooo

    • Hey, Patricia! I’ve been hoping to hear your sweet voice chime in. 🙂 All is well here. Keep praying for Katie–still dealing with infertility but her attitude is amazing. Thomas’s wedding’s coming up soon–May the 19th.

      Much love to you~~~~

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