"As soon as you notice in yourself any irritation, just say firmly, 'Lord have mercy.' With prayer we are purified from every defilement." ~St. Nektary
What a complete prayer! Whether you are rejoicing or in great despair "Lord have mercy" says so much.
My eldest son has some huge challenges with control because much of his life has been out of control. I posted the above quote in several locations in our home to remind us all to seek the Lord's mercy instead of seeking to control others through bullying. At first he stomped around the house saying "Lord have mercy" making sure his words were heard by the offending sibling (or mom). He pointed out that it wasn't working. I suggested perhaps he should say it quietly every time he felt frustrated, not to control anyone, but to find peace himself. The result? He stomped away asking God's mercy for his delusional mom :)
But as the days went on something started to change. Instead of using God's mercy as a weapon, he started to see the fruit of his efforts. Though the behaviors of those around him didn't necessarily change, he began to change. He was giving up his control to Christ and in return Christ blessed him with His peace.
It was a miraculous 3 weeks. His countenance changed and he seemed to actually enjoy life. Then came the challenge we all face...maintenance. We all tend to stay focused and faithful in prayer when life is challenging, but as time goes on and we see the Lord work in our lives and the strain lessens we tend to say "Thanks God, I've got it from here." It seems to go well for a while as we struggle to walk on water in our own power, but like Peter, we find when we take our eyes off of Christ we begin to sink. We find ourselves right back where we started, and sometimes worse off.
My sweet oldest boy has much to learn, much to heal from and SO much to give. And this momma is still in the process of learning this same lesson. So, we take a deep breath and whisper "Lord have mercy" as we continue to learn to trust that He really does know best and that perfect peace does not come from controlling the world and people around us, but by dying to self and becoming a servant to all.
May the peace of Christ be with us all this new year as we learn to walk in His ways :)