Inviting Jesus in

Originally Appeared in : 9811-5/24/18

Our son Charlie is graduating high school in a few days and we are in the throes of college decisions. While many high school seniors have likely known for months what their freshman year will look like, we are dealing with a young man who tends to figure things out a little closer to the deadline.


The last few weeks have involved working through a thousand details concerning his plans. He’s been accepted to the school of his choice (the only place he applied) and we are making plans from here. Charlie has earned his own subsection on my To Do list — a completely separate slip of paper with all the things Charlie needs to do (that I need to keep track of).


At one point in the decision making process, as we were moving in a good forward-motion, I was starting to find peace in the midst of it all. Charlie going away to school wasn’t on our radar earlier in the year, and in fact I had assumed he would spend his first year home. And then he got excited about this school and this opportunity and I found myself praying for peace in the midst of it all.


Little by little I would see things that set my heart at ease. The school he plans to attend has a thriving Catholic community, and the priest who ministers to the students is someone I grew up with. Charlie found a summer job that is the kind of full-time manual labor that is good for an 18-year-old young man and will help him financially. He’s done a good job of being proactive in the ways he needs to be.


And just as I was really getting excited about the idea, Charlie and Paul had a conversation that involved the possibility of maybe waiting a year to proceed with all these plans. I found myself frustrated, and a little disappointed. It had taken me so much energy to get excited about all this and just as it felt like everything was coming together, they switched gears on me.


Of course, none of this is about me, but about what will be best for our son. And what I realized in the midst of that moment, the whiplash of having to stay free of my selfish clingings, was that God wants me to have peace in the journey. The peace doesn’t have to stay hidden until we have it all figured out; the peace is there for it all.


But here’s how I’m learning to maintain peace: I recognize that peace is something I go after. I don’t sit back and passively wait for peace to flood my soul. I have to invite it in, and invite Jesus in along with it.


Finding peace and sanity in the midst of the abundant life is an active act of giving back to God all the things that enter my spirit, wanting to rob me of that peace. When I’m thinking about praying and trying to figure out what I need to do and what my son needs to do and what Paul and I need to do — well, things can get pretty stirred up in my spirit. To Do lists are good and necessary but I have to make sure they don’t make me so aware of all there is to do that I lose track of God’s presence in my midst.


God is an ocean of peace, and he offers that peace to all the moving parts of our busy lives. He wants to cover every part of every aspect of all the things. He really does.


I was praying recently about all of these worries and concerns and I had this image of a glass mason jar. Inside the jar were beautiful stones, and while I was looking at that a liquid filled the jar and covered all the different areas of those stones.


Each of us is that mason jar. We are made up of different parts. The stones are the different aspects of who we are, and they are the moving parts of our busy lives. God wants to flood us with his peace and wisdom and joy. We welcome him in and he saturates every part of each of these rocks — the parts of our heart, our personality, and our practical lives.


He’s here for all of it, ready and willing to touch every single part. He brings peace in the process and in the end result. Remember to invite him in.


Rachel Swenson Balducci is a freelance writer and member of Most Holy Trinity Church, Augusta. She can be reached at


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