Peace

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It’s a totally twisted world out there.

It wrings our hearts and our souls until we are spinning into chaos.

She was a girl. Christian by birth, but not by re-birth. Claimed for a faith she didn’t understand in a family who couldn’t explain. You see, in that culture you are what your family is.

Maybe in every culture you are what your family is. We are defined by the earliest things we are taught. Before we can define ourselves we are described based on the people around us. So she was called a Christian because someone she never knew had known Jesus.

She was a part of a persecuted people before she ever had a choice. Twist.

She was abandoned by her mother with no say in the matter. Twist.

She was reclaimed by the same mother when she married a man of the cultural majority’s faith. Twist.

While persecution and terrorism feel far away for most of us, this narrative doesn’t. Family drama, we know that story. Twisted identity, that is our story too.

We are wrung tight with a need for belonging in a twisted world. We are churned into chaos in an effort to get our needs met. We create whatever identity it takes to get our bellies and our hearts filled.

It is no surprise she needed a job. She needed skills. She needed food and a way to help out her family. She needed her belly filled, and stumbled upon the Shama Women’s Center.

She needed her belly filled, but she got her heart filled. She came with an identity twisted into knots with a need for belonging only to hear that she was loved completely already.

There was already a place at the table waiting for her.

We all live in this twisted world. Condemned by our wrung-out choices, driven by our spiraling need to belong. And we just want the spinning chaos to Stop for a Darn Minute so that we can get our head on straight.

We need someone to look us in the eye and remind us that there is already a place at the table waiting for us.

Then, and only then, can the spinning stop; only then can we know the peace that surpasses understanding.

We need to know this: Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so.  

The Shama Women’s Center invited this woman to the table simply to meet a surface need, but when she sat down out of the spin cycle for a moment the need that got met was much deeper.

She still has family drama. She still has a mother to care for and a heart that knows abandonment to deal with. Everything around her is still all twisted up.

It’s all twisted up for us too. We know it.

But that’s why this peace is beyond understanding. Why the world rages and twists around us we can sit down at the table and partake of the Bread of Life.

Your support of Shama Women was a quiet whisper of peace to young woman. It was an invitation to help feed a belly and fill a heart.

Thank you.

Kaylie Hodges is a writer, wife, mother, and a small-town girl with a preacher’s heart and a mission to scatter light. Find her at kayliehodges.com.

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