Peace at Church: Day 17 OBS


Welcome to Day 17 of the Christmas Peace for Busy Moms online Bible study!  Today I have a special interview with my new friend Sarah Behan.  Sarah is a follower of Jesus Christ in the green islands of New Zealand. She is married to Tim, a carpenter, and has two little ones: Josiah {3.5} and Rosalie {2}.

She loves God and growing in her relationship with Him. She loves making her house a home, creating a quiet but rich life for her children, watching TV series and creating memories with her husband, and writing out all the thoughts that run through her head on her blog, The Life of This Mother. Oh, and she loves tea and all things floral.

Q: How have you found peace in your faith journey? Share part of your story with us.

My parents separated on Christmas Day when I was 15-years-old. It absolutely devastated my life and changed the direction of my young heart. Because of the circumstances, I felt deeply betrayed by my father yet also, because of her own pain, deeply hurt by my mother.

For the next four years, I struggled to cope with the revelations, experiences, and the pain I felt. I thought I had been a Christian since a child as my faith had always been so strong, but now God felt so far away. The emotions and hurt were much more real and ruling over me that I willingly followed what I thought I needed to make it all go away.

I had boyfriends, gave myself away, used boys – all in the hope of feeling good about myself, but also protecting myself from being hurt by another man by being “in control” of my body and the relationships. I went from disaster to disaster.

At eighteen, I remember thinking very distinctly that, if I did not change, I would end up on the streets or dead. It sounds rather dramatic now, but at the time, it felt very real. I was sick of myself. I hated who I was.

I knew who God wanted me to be – who He had made me to be – but I couldn’t help myself. I broke down on my knees and begged God to save me because I could not save myself. Though emotional and mental peace were a long time coming, I knew very quickly that I had eternal peace. I read over and over that I was now a new creation, and I held on to this when I doubted that I could change.

The entire chapter of Romans 8 was something I held on to for years, as well as Psalm 40. Both were precious words to me from the Lord as He delivered me from a life of darkness to one of life.

Just under three years after I fully committed my life to Jesus, God brought me a new level peace: I was married to a wonderful man whom God has used to heal me in many ways. My heart is so forever thankful for how kind God is to me even though it hasn’t been any easy journey.

Q: This week we are discussing peace in our surroundings as busy moms. How do you plan to bring peace to your home this Christmas?

Christmas is a big deal for me, but not in a typical way. It’s important not only because of the reason – our precious Saviour – but because it is another sign of God’s grace to me. For many years after my parents’ separation, Christmas was very painful and hard. I would have to travel on Christmas Day several hours to spend it with one parent then to the other. There was never stability and it was always a reminder of that fateful Christmas Day that had ruined my life.

But then, God gave me a new family. I remember sitting under my first little Christmas tree of our married life. It was night, he had gone to bed, and I sat watching the flickering lights. I felt like a child again. I cried with happiness.

Now, as a mother, Christmas is sharing the Good News that saved me with our little children. Because of where I have come from, I am so conscious of what I desire our children never to experience. Relationships are far more important to me than all the hullabaloo. I love decorating the house and setting up the tree. And I love giving gifts {it’s my primary love language!}. But, loving my husband and nurturing my children is how I seek peace in our Christmas. Everything else is secondary.

Q: Please tell us how New Zealanders share peace with one another at Christmas.

In NZ, it’s summer! So for many families, it is Christmas at the beach or camping or having a family get-together at a bach {that’s a holiday home in Kiwi talk!}. We love BBQ’s and salads and pavlovas {meringue cake with lots of cream and strawberries on top}. New Zealanders are fairly relaxed as a whole, so most people take things easy. Even if there is lots to do, we have a “She’ll be ‘right” attitude. As a child, I loved spending the day at the beach and eating yummy food and drinking lots of Appletiser.

Q: How do you experience peace at church?

Belonging to the Anglican Church, there are traditional services we celebrate. We have the Carols Service {where all we sing are Christmas hymns and listen to readings of the birth of Jesus}, a Midnight Service, and then the Christmas Day service. I love the reverent attitude of the Anglican Church and how, for hundreds of years, we have done the same thing each year to celebrate Jesus. It always directs my heart to Him. I feel secure as I am guided through the Word by our minister, and I love seeing my church family on such a joyous day. Christmas Day is the reason we attend church in the first place! Also, celebrating Communion always sets my heart at peace, reminding me of what really matters.

Q: Are you attending any Christmas parties? We would love to hear how you plan to share God’s peace at parties.

On Christmas Day, after church, my family comes to our house to celebrate. We have lunch {typically a roast chicken with salad and other bits and pieces}, dessert, then we open presents. On Boxing Day, we celebrate with my husband’s family {his father and two other brothers are ministers, so they are busy working on Christmas!}. His family is bigger so it’s a big day, with lots of laughter, love and lots of nieces and nephews. Both days are very special to me: one is a form of redemption in bringing my own family together through God’s grace; the other is a special gift from God to me, a family that have God-loving marriages and who have loved me as the youngest in-law. It is very healing and has brought so much peace and joy to my life. God really is good.


Sarah Behan’s Links




Questions for you:

What part of Sarah’s story inspires you?

How do you receive greater peace from Advent or Christmas church services?


Our theme verse for this week:


Find the printable Bedside Reminder Card of this verse here.

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