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Pondering Our Stories, Grace and Community

Honey, do not let your beautiful mind become a battlefield. Just because someone has shown you their weapons does not mean you have to accept the war. Those who try to break you are expecting you to be in fight mode. Conquer them with your peace.

~ Della Hicks-Wilson

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

~ Roman's 12:8

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

~ Philippians 4:6-7

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.

~ Isaiah 26:3

I think this quote and these verses pretty much speak for themselves. When we learn to live in this peace we can relax and enjoy this adventure called life.

Today I've been thinking a lot again about stories, in particular individual stories. We each have one, and our stories intertwine with the stories in the lives of others. On Sunday afternoons we've been going to a place in Waynesboro called the Prayer Room. It's a simple place, with a big front room filled with small tables and chairs, a couple of big brown couches that suck you in and threaten to never let you go, and a corn hole game along one side. There's a kitchen where volunteers come in each Sunday afternoon and prepare delicious meals - yesterday's meal was grilled hotdogs and hamburgers, green beans, watermelon, pie and cake, with plenty of soda, coffee, water and milk to drink. Then there's a room with big tables and chairs where we gather around to eat and talk. In the midst of all this there is a play room filled with toys and coloring books and supplies. And who comes here? Anyone who wants to. From the young family who just left the morning church service to the lady living up the street who came in for a bit of positive social interaction, to the individual living out of a van, to the veteran struggling to stay grounded and on his feet as he deals with the seemingly never ending effects of PTSD and chemical exposure, to the individual struggling with drug addiction who just needs a place to sit awhile. We're all ages from infant to senior. And we gather and eat and drink coffee, we talk and laugh and cry and pray and act goofy and challenge each other at corn hole. We work together to stock the donation room or gather around as someone or two or three beings out musical instruments and plays music. We listen to each other's stories. We tell our stories. We are community. In the next couple of days I'm planning to share a few of the stories. They are stories that are told proudly, stories of hardship and overcoming and all because of overwhelming grace from our God who loves each of so much, regardless of our situations and how we got into them.

Here at home today our story was one of playing and learning together, of laughter and a few squabbles, of naps and good food and snuggles on the couch. Michael was gone today on youth trip to Duke University in Nkrth Carolina so I was a little extra busy without his help and didn't get many pictures. I did get a few of them playing with the favorite toy of the day - this castle that sparked lots of imaginative play.

And I have to add this excerpt from a book I read recently that has stuck with me.

"But you will lose everything if you do not deal with the past, Mother," said Mina kindly. "The Healer has not taken my grief or shock away, but somehow he has put something inside me that is bigger than that grief, something immense, in the form of an unfathomable ocean of love from him and for him. Maybe you are frightened of love."

pg. 239

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