My Generosity Journey

There are countless examples of generosity in the Bible, and frankly, the opposite. There is nothing sharper than the shock of learning what you’re not supposed to do the hard way. Those lessons we find are valuable and necessary to learn more about Jesus and ourselves. In the process of going over some of those, this story along with some other sentiments bubbled up needing to be told.

With that preface, this isn’t going to be a lovely and touching story about that time when someone was so generous to me that it changed my life forever. I do have those experiences in my adult life. My husband has shockingly lost his job twice in our 16 years together. He is the hardest worker I know, but the world is harsh, and things don’t always go our way. In both of those instances, we have had kind people who reached out and helped our family in ways that I will never forget. I truly saw the love of Jesus through those who helped and I am forever grateful. What I want to share is about my journey in generosity; the real and raw that comes from honest self-reflection.

A little background about me will help you understand my journey. My parents divorced when I was 3, and I am their only child. I lived with my mother for most of my childhood, where I experienced alcoholism and sexual abuse. It wasn’t all bad, I gained two amazing step-brothers who are now great parents and husbands. But, we were poor in more ways than one and struggled a lot growing up. When I look back, I can’t remember one person who stepped out in generosity towards me. I am sure that there were, but I couldn’t see past the pain and hurt in my situation. If their generosity didn’t make all the craziness end, it didn’t enter into my view. I didn’t realize this until much later in life, so I grew up thinking that there were no generous people in the world. In fact, if there were, I would never know them. I became hard to the world, on people, and on myself.

Living with a hard heart worked for me until I became a parent. Having kids changed my point of view. I didn’t want to have a hard heart, especially to my children. I wanted to be sweet and kind and tender. My children deserved to have a mom who was a break in the generational chain of dysfunction. I wanted them to be kind and generous people, but how can I teach them without doing it myself?

Let me tell you, I am wired to be selfish. In some ways, we all are, but with my beginnings and the anger I had about my childhood, I couldn’t be who I wanted to be. In my heart, I wanted to be generous, but I was afraid, not a little afraid, a lot afraid. It makes me vulnerable with my heart, my mind, my time, and my finances. With my previous experiences, I thought for sure I would be taken advantage of.

Where do I start with all of this?

Luke 6:38 NIV “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Counseling! Because I had to get to the source of the issue. I won’t go into great detail about this since we are focusing on generosity, but know that this is often the place to start, and Peace Restored can help! I needed to reanalyze my relationship with Jesus, other people, and myself.

My counselor taught me generosity doesn’t have to come straight from me. Generosity comes from experiencing the generosity of Jesus. His forgiveness, grace, mercy, love, and understanding that provides me with what is necessary for me to be the kind of person I want to be and who my children deserve. If I relied on myself only, for a pool of generosity to draw from, I would come up empty every time. This is one of the many gifts that Jesus has given me! When you feel that unconditional pure love, your desire for others to feel it too becomes a reality. This is the core of generosity.

There are still times that I should have been more generous than I was. I am a work in progress. Being generous with your time and money takes trust. Trust that God is a part of our world and that your gift isn’t in vain. It takes learning to listen to the Holy Spirit and the gentle way he communicates with us. These both are learned habits just as generosity for some of us, is a learned habit.

This is sincere encouragement from myself to you. Examine what you do and where your finances go. Are they different from what you want it to be? Take the first step in changing that by reengaging with Jesus. Work on your relationship with Him and trust Him! Listen to the Holy Spirit’s gentleness in your life, in your head, and through others. There is a special place just for you, where your time and finances can make the biggest difference. And when you fall back from it, don’t beat yourself up, just restart the process. I love you big, and myself big, because Jesus loves us all BIG!

Author

Community and Healing

The unimaginable happened; I became a widow at the age of 42 on June 25, 2011. Kirk left early that morning to get some work caught up at the shop he owned. That day, he died in a workplace accident. Before the day finished, he was gone.
He didn’t answer Emily’s (my daughter) or my call for dinner that evening. Not answering his phone was unusual, so we went to his workplace shop, but we were too late to save him. My husband of 18 years, her dad of nine years, was called Home, to Heaven.
After the funeral services, the events to celebrate life, the well-wishes, people go home. When people start to go back to their own life, that’s when you have to find your new normal. I knew I would need help. I knew my daughter would need help after losing her dad. We both attended counseling through our church. I participated in a grief support group and searched for more resources to help me walk through this profound grief.
Something I utilized as a resource was a Christian Widow’s conference. At the conference, I met some amazing women who joined me on this path, blessing me immensely! Many more amazing people came alongside me to support and encourage; they walked this journey through widowhood with me. God provided these people at a time community was essential. He is so Good, and through community and other resources, He taught me He is with me through every fire, every tear!
During my counseling, we discussed a part of my healing would be to help other widows who had just started their journeys. In the fall of 2016, God gave me an idea to offer “widow bags” to new widows and their children/teenagers. The idea was there, it was a strong desire that I needed to obey, but I had no idea how to make that dream a reality. Through some research, I was pointed to Ann Madison (Executive Director) at Peace Restored. Ann and I met in March of 2017, and we clicked. She loved the idea of the “widow bags.” From that meeting, we planned and met with organizations within the community. Several community organizations loved the idea and helped us make the bag idea into reality. With the “widow bags,” we were able to reach out to new widows and families!
From God laying the “widow bags,” on my heart, to orchestrating Ann and I meeting, to providing help from the community organizations, God did something else! God reminded me of the community He had provided and how vital that was to my healing journey. Ann and I discussed and prayerfully considered what to do with that. Soon after, Peace Restored started a Young Widows Club to provide a built-in community for young widows, a vital part of the healing journey. God grew our group from one person during the late fall of 2017 to over twenty women served through Peace Restored! God has blessed the Young Widows Club in many ways; we still offer those “widows bags” to new widows, we have started annual widows treat, and we can provide continued support for young widows.
Even though this is not a group that we wanted to join, it’s a blessing to find others that share your heartache and loss. Being able to walk beside these wonderful women has blessed me so much. I always say that they bless me more than I could ever bless them. God has richly blessed me, and I give Him all of the glory.
Every day, I pray Gods’ blessings will continue to shine on our women and Peace Restored.

God has truly blessed me.
To Him be all the praise and glory!

A Counselor on Widowhood

“He’s in a better place,”

“Oh honey, everything happens for a reason,”

“God needed another angel,” and last but not least

“Aren’t you over him yet, he’s been gone for a while?”

Most people have the best intentions when using these phrases but these words for the woman, who lost the one she chose to go through life with, often lead to isolation and more despair. Losing a spouse is one of the hardest things we endure in this lifetime. Research reveals that spousal bereavement can open the door to problems such as depression, chronic stress and anxiety, and even a reduced life expectancy if not dealt with in a healthy manner.

We have come to know this devastation as grief. Unfortunately, it leaves widows with difficult and dark emotions that never asked permission to be invited into their lives. Many books have been written on the stages of grief. A popular theory is from Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s Stages of Grieving, where one goes through each step of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Yet these stages were never meant to take the plight of emotions in a well-organized scheduled manner. Emotions from grief are messy and often leave the widower crippled with pain. We become angry at the person leaving us, mad at ourselves as we could have done things differently, or even angry with God because He could have done something to intervene. We bargain, promising to do things differently in return for easing the pain. All the while, sadness, guilt, and even depression creeps in steeling our mere existence.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10

There’s a famous saying in the grief community, “Grief is like a tunnel, to come out of it you must first enter.” Grief requires us to sit with our pain. It asks us to put one foot in front of the other, trusting that this incredible sadness will someday open doors to a new meaning and purpose for this lifetime. Yet so often, we want to hurry the process and numb the pain. Why wouldn’t we? The grief process is laborious, and we have jobs to get back to, children to be healthy for, the list goes on. Yet over time, those feelings accumulate, and if we do not deal with them, they usually have a way of reentering at the most inopportune times.
Significant transformations come in those baby steps, and before you know it, those hundreds of steps bring you to the other side of the tunnel. In the therapeutic world, this is called acceptance. You get to call it what seems most appropriate to you.

But the most important thing to remember is that this is your story and your story matters. Healing comes when we engage in our story. God is coauthoring your epic storyline.

We at Peace Restored would love to hear it!

As we (Peace Restored) continue discussing the topic of widowhood, we want to offer another
a resource to those who may find themselves grieving:
A book titled, “From One Widow to Another” By Miriam Neff.
From one widow to another or from one story to another, we believe this book is filled with practical help and encouragement in the face of profound loss.
Here’s the link if you or a friend could use this: https://amzn.to/2USuSWF

Author

My Journey To Victory


Grief is never singular; it’s always multifaceted. I never fully grasped the depth of this concept until I walked through it myself.

I met my husband about two years into his journey with illness; we got married despite the risks because our love made it all worth it. But the journey itself was life-changing for both of us. I can honestly say that it was the hardest 13 years of my life. I can also honestly say that I would walk through it all again, to learn and experience what I have about my Lord Jesus.

My husband, Steve, spent 15 years fighting to survive and striving for some quality of life, undergoing 21 surgeries in the process, and enduring one complication after another. Countless times, the doctors told him he would not survive. Countless times, God miraculously pulled him through.

After Steve went to Heaven in January of 2013, my grief became complicated by so many emotions.I had prayed for years for God to heal him here on earth, but toward the end, I prayed for God to end his suffering, even if it meant taking him to heaven. I was to the point that I would rather be without him than continue to watch him suffer and deteriorate. But we also had a daughter together…praying for God to take him home meant she would suffer without her daddy.

However, pain changes people. Sickness and meds change people. Steve went through a period of three years, where the meds made him mean and abusive. During that time, I completely shut down emotionally to survive and to keep the household functioning for my daughter. In my heart, I hated him for the pain he was causing my daughter and me, and I hated myself for the way I felt. I just wanted my husband back. So, I prayed for God to either fix him or take him.

Then Steve went through another surgery; the doctor changed his meds and the man I fell in love with gradually came back to me…to an extent. The man that came back to me was a much older version of himself as if he had aged 30 years. My husband went from being a God-loving, kind, passionate young man to a manipulative monster, to a gentle, fragile grandfather. He loved our daughter, but couldn’t remember to brush his teeth, turn off the gas burner on the stove, or stop at the red traffic lights.

So needless to say, after Steve went home to be with the Lord, my grief was all over the place. My overwhelming emptiness and internal deadness accompanied by 2-ton guilt; I asked God to heal him, then take the monster away, bring his youth back, take dementia away, and finally, to rescue him from this world.

I had prayed an emotional rollercoaster of prayers about the father of my precious child who worshipped the ground he walked on. She was living without her father after I had prayed for God to take him. All the while, I wanted him to come back to me, to us. God had the power to heal him but chose not to. God didn’t owe me anything, but I wanted him to give us this one. He didn’t, and yet I was supposed to trust Him with my heart.

In the months after Steve went to heaven, I felt empty. I felt GUILTY. I felt dead inside. I felt grateful that God had ended his suffering and angry at God for not keeping him here. I felt furious at myself for asking God to take Bekah’s daddy away. I felt so overwhelmingly sad. I felt free from the horror of watching him suffer from the danger his dementia would put us in. I felt GUILTY about feeling free.

I also felt scared. How was I supposed to do life without my husband? How was I supposed to raise this beautiful child by myself? How was I supposed to maintain a house and 10 acres without help? How was I supposed to support us financially? How could I ever feel joy again with so much emptiness in my heart? Why did no one understand? Why couldn’t I find one friend who gets it?

In a desperate attempt to survive and heal, I ran to God’s Word; I clung to Him with every breath, just like I did when Steve was at death’s door over and over again.

I had a daily ritual of praying this necessary prayer before the start of every day:

“Lord, this is Your day…You created it, and because all my days were written by You since before I was born, You already know what this day will hold for us. You know everything we need to survive today. So Lord, be King over this day; may Your will be done, no matter what that looks like. Don’t let anything come into our day that is outside Your will.”

This prayer was the one thing that gave me peace. My motto had become, “God’s Got This.”

After Steve passed, I went back to this prayer again. Laying everything in God’s hands had calmed my anxiety and brought me peace before Steve died, and so it would again. I clung to God and surrendered to His authority every day. I knew that as long as I was securely in His hands, and He was in control of my days, Bekah and I would be OK.

And we were OK…and we still are. After 7-1/2 years of widowhood, after losing seven more loved ones in just a few years, after walking through the throws of grief, Bekah and I are still OK. God always has us in the palm of His hand, and He is healing us through His Word and His care, one day at a time.

Not that it’s easy. Satan still tries his best to defeat us, but God is bigger. Satan tries to beat us down by lying to our hearts. He loves to tell me, “You’re never going to find love again; you’re too old and have too much baggage for anyone to want you. You’re never going to be enough all on your own. You’re incomplete, and so is Bekah. She’s going to grow up with tons of holes in her life without her daddy; she’s going to become a statistic. Life has been too much for you; you should give up now.”

Satan does his best to convince us, but he doesn’t get to win. To combat the lies, I went back to what I have always done—clinging to His truth. The promises that tell me that God is my provider, He’s my (and Bekah’s) Father, God is my protector, He is my caretaker, God loves me, He knows me thoroughly, God will work all things for our good, He is my counselor, He is sovereign over my life. God is always good.

The truth of God’s Word wins over the lies of Satan EVERY. TIME. So I wash Satan’s deceptions from the walls of my heart and paint God’s truth over them, as many times per day, as is needed to gain victory over that day.

A victorious life is the accumulation of many victorious days. That is how I survive widowhood. One day, one hour, one moment, one battle at a time. One foot in front of the other, trusting God with everything, letting Him lead.

Pandora’s Box

Domestic violence comes in unique packages, often missed by the naked eye.
I had no idea how rapidly my life was about to change. I had taken a new job at a hospital across town. As a single mom for ten years, I was independent, successful, and content. Shortly after, a colleague suddenly stopped me saying, “Girl, I know the man you’d make a perfect suitor for- he is a doctor.” The colleague’s name? Pandora. Perhaps that should have been my first clue. In Greek mythology, when Prometheus stole fire from heaven, Zeus, the king of the gods, took vengeance by presenting Pandora to Prometheus’ brother Epimetheus. Pandora opened a box, left in her care, containing sickness, death, and countless other evils released into the world.

I initiated, and we met. We had a lot in common, but he was not a Christian, so the relationship came to a halt. He, however, pursued a spiritual interest, asking if he could go to church with me, confessed he was missing something in his life. He honored every one of my boundaries, kept an emotional distance, and began attending church, meeting folks, and within several months, confessed he got “saved.”

We married, and shortly after conceived a son. He no longer wanted me to work, but to live my dream of staying home with the children. Everything seemed like a fairytale. Then it began. Women called the home phone, asking to speak to my husband by his first name. He reassured me these were women who didn’t know he had married. Yet, I thought, they had my landline number. Playboy magazines began to arrive in the mail. He had a subscription and would cancel it. I realized as honest as he said he was, he was hiding habits.

It wasn’t long until conflict broke out between him and my children. He began pitting one person against another. Then, child porn was found on the home computer with his name attached to a PayPal site. He blamed my children, rationalizing he was a man, not a child, that this was their problem. Then, one day out of the blue, he said, “I need to get out of this town; let’s move.” He was now eight years out of his first bankruptcy and filed another.

I began to get sick, my hair was falling out, and we didn’t have insurance. My husband told me I could go to the health store, but not a doctor. He was yelling all the time. I became withdrawn. As the years went by, his conflict with the children grew. I heard him in the garage, yelling at my 14-year-old daughter. She screamed in terror; the door swung open as she raced up the stairs; he was just behind her with a baseball bat, shouting. I ran up those stairs, grabbed that bat, and told him to leave. He would not.

It wouldn’t be long before his anger would spill out on me. As I sought to confront him on his sociopathic behaviors, he responded, well, like a sociopath. He grabbed me by both arms, leaving marks. He shoved me against the wall and, spittle flying, told me he hated me. The night he spent in jail did more to unsettle me than it did him. Therein may be the most insidious thing about domestic violence, that tip of the spear where the mental and the physical come together- fear of violence coupled with a fear that it is the victim’s fault.
I forgave. I trudged on. I stood by this man through more infidelities, more betrayals, more acts of violence, more crimes, more character assassination. I sought help from my church that tossed us both aside as hindrances to the image the church wished to maintain. In the end, he left, and in his trail was all the destruction that had poured forth from Pandora’s Box.
But God.

Depressed Belief


I’m depressed. I say that as a way to help someone understand that depression is hard, it’s debilitating. Depression has made me not want to accept what’s ahead for my life; it’s caused me to halt. I’m unable to do things I did because fear has crippled me. Thankfully, this has started to change, and I’ve started to settle into a new normal. The roots of depression entangle me on more occasions than I care to admit.

Someone close to me became ill in the last few years, and I’ve had to adjust to a new normal of the routine they need and caring for them while still trying to take care of myself. Since this began, I have struggled with purpose, not my intention but Gods’. I have often wondered, what is the point of all this sickness? It seemed as conditions worsened; all I heard were painful stories from others. I started to question the Lord, is your plan perfect? If your plan is perfect, how could this be happening? How can I feel this way? But even in my questioning, I never stopped believing in God; He saved me, and I can’t forget that.

I began to cry out, asking God to lift the sickness and the depression. I pray these things with the understanding that He may not, and that’s scary. Sometimes, I think, maybe I’m praying the wrong thing. I want to pray Gods’ will be done, and at the same time, that prayer is terrifying for my current reality. I know I should trust the Lord, but this depression over me has started to overtake what I feel, everything I think becomes corrupted by this. It makes me question trusting our Sovereign Lord, and that scares me! When I sit and think about these things, I get lost in how I feel. I know how blessed I am, and I feel so guilty for feeling my feelings. When the Lord first saved my life, all I wanted was to be with Him! When the sickness began, my attitude and relationships changed. I desperately wanted normal again. But God has changed my routine, and I’m reluctantly learning to accept that.

I thought it would help me to adjust if I developed a better understanding of His purpose. To do so, I turned to trusted friends and some family. If I’m honest, reaching out to them made me feel as if I were a burden. I repeated the same mantra of caretaker and depression. I irritated myself by discussing it too much or not enough. Every time I shared my struggle, I became reassured that I wasn’t a burden, and I wasn’t sharing too much or not enough; it was what I needed. These people made me feel as if sharing was okay. I needed that reassurance each time to keep going, and I’m thankful for people who don’t write you off when you’re not over your circumstance. These trusted friends gave useful and encouraging advice on caring for that person and walking with Jesus. The advice didn’t lift the depression, but it made everything a little lighter, the burden a little less, and forced me to think about what those encouragers said. I often thought about, how I could serve the ill person in my life more, what is something I could make myself do for a sense of normalcy, and what is something positive I can be doing? Of course, these weren’t end-all solutions; the depression still entangles me.

The depression may still have a hold on me, but God lovingly calls me out on my motives. Are my reasons for serving this person to make myself feel better, or are they indeed with love? He continually reminds me to do these things with trust and love for Him. Sometimes, doing these things with the right motivations is all the energy I have, it’s hard and scary. It’s been hard to adjust to life with depression and becoming a caretaker to someone so close to me. My depression has a root cause so that I can pinpoint the source. Knowing the source doesn’t make it easier. As someone who believes in Jesus, I fight the battle almost daily between depression and clinging to the truths of God. On any given day, either side can win. Sometimes, the depression side wins so often, I feel hopeless, but God always rescues me, no matter how many times I lose in my daily battle.

Healing and Hope; One Day at a Time

“Let’s go around the table and share a childhood memory.”
The person asking this had no idea what incredibly profound panic that question evoked in one of the ladies sitting at the table. I knew because I had felt that panic once myself.
This dear friend sitting across the table from me, processing that question, had started telling me her story. We had sat in her house the week before, and she discussed certain times of the day and certain things people did that triggered her because they reminded her of the things she had experienced as a child. I knew, from the look of terror that instantly filled her eyes, and her demeanor, that had become very stiff and carefully controlled; she had been transported to a dark place by that question. She needed time to think of an answer that would not cause shock. I immediately jumped in with one of my fun childhood stories so that she would have the time it would take for every other person sharing around the table before she had to say anything. Her childhood had NOT been safe or ideal, unlike the other ladies there. She experienced abuse from those who should have been her protectors. How could she say anything to this group who just would not understand or have any idea?

Before she shared her story with me, she had learned to trust me. No one can demand trust; we earn it! She heard some of my story and knew I worked in a home for girls like her for seven years. We can learn to trust others to a certain extent, who demonstrate particular characteristics and approaches. For those who are not familiar with this trauma, picture this, we are dealing with a trauma patient coming in from an accident scene. We must make an initial assessment of the overall damage. We stop the worst bleeding first, set broken bones, then repair other areas. For this trauma, the harm has to be restored with life-giving hope and truth. We must not try to put a bandaid on the gaping wounds.

When addressing this young lady, I needed to consider her needs and not my plan. My agenda easily could have been to fix her, but I needed to gain an understanding of what she needed to start her healing process. I couldn’t come in with pride, speed, and a “quick fix” plan. A wise Proverb(18:13) in the Bible tells us that we would look like fools if we try to answer grief without hearing the story first. I had to understand weakness and healing takes place slowly on God’s schedule for her, not mine!

It does seem like it takes a long time before God gets us to the point of healing sometimes. Something to note is that specific dynamics need to take place with the sufferer and with the one offering comfort. The sufferer needs to process the agony, the questions, and the hard things. From the book in the Bible, Job, we learn what not to say, how not to point to the person, their weaknesses, and even possible sin. We instead learn about the God of love, mercy, and comfort as we teach them to look back to God. We learn a great deal of patience as that person deals with the healing process of grief. We cannot offer quick remedies for deep wounds. We who are strong must bear with those who are weak (right now) instead of rushing the process to ease our burdens.

The ultimate goal of any counsel offered is always to enable you to find full restoration of your hope in God, through Jesus Christ first, and then in others. We often are confused when we suffer (especially this way), and in the initial stages, we are so crushed, we cannot do anything but hang on to God and survive as the mind, emotions, and body seek to heal. Just like you would not expect someone who had open-heart surgery to jump off the operating table and walk out, so healing is a process with this deadly assault on your physical body but also on your mind, will, and emotions. Current medical research has shown that emotional trauma causes the same kinds of damage to the nerves, organs, and other body functions, as does a physical wound. The same brain centers are activated, and the same kinds of healing mechanisms are needed to heal emotional trauma as are used to treat bodily injury. Just like no one would ever tell someone to make a physical scar go away, we will not ask you to “just get over it and get on with life.” Healing must take place on God’s schedule for you.

We want to validate your suffering as the Lord does. Jesus said, “I am a faithful high priest touched with the feeling of human pain.” (Hebrews 4:15) He sees it, and He feels it, and He cares! A counselor or sufferer does not dictate the time table for healing; God dictates it. Our role in both positions is to submit to how God chooses to teach and heal your heart.

Therefore, our goal is to offer a look at God concerning this trauma. As 2 Corinthians 1:3 tells us that He is “the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.” We seek to offer you hope, comfort for your fainting heart, and support for your weakness as we exercise patience, kindness, and gentleness while instilling confidence for the healing that can take place.

This Pandemic!

COVID-19, CoronaVirus, Pandemic.

It is all over, everywhere you go. Whether you’re working from home or marching into a space, you see signs of a pandemic happening!
It’s startling and unsettling.

We see it all over the place, and I strongly feel the need to address this with Peace Restored.

I want to share what Peace Restored is doing to keep our clients, staff, and volunteers safe, which may directly affect some people as well as share some tools to get through this time. Everything seems to change day by day, so follow us on our social media platforms for the latest updates! On that note, Peace Restored is staying open but doing our best to comply with the CDC and governing recommendations. We feel abiding by those regulations as much as we can is a beneficial way to serve our clients.

During COVID-19, Peace Restored has shifted to online one on one counseling options. During COVID-19, Peace Restored has shifted to online counseling formats. We want to serve our clients well during this unprecedented time. All group meetings will be transitioning to an online format. All online forms are compliant with HIPPA laws, so privacy is not an issue in these. Upcoming groups are postponed until further notice!

Our decision has been challenging to make, but we believe them to be necessary. We appreciate everyone’s effort and willingness to keep others safe during this time.

As we transition to this format and have to postpone certain events due to the pandemic, we want to acknowledge that Peace Restored does depend on those fundraising events to keep the doors open. So through this, we want to recognize our beautiful donors who regularly give so we can continue to help hurting women. Peace Restored’s primary focus is to serve hurting women through difficult life experiences via counseling, groups, classes, and events. We offer all of these formats for circumstances such as someone experiencing grief for any loss, sexual abuse/assault survivors, domestic violence survivors, and widows. We love serving these women and know what we do is a necessity for some of them to overcome and find hope in Jesus! During this time, we realize everyone is in crisis mode, so we want to ask if you share in our mission and vision and wish to help us at this time in some way, please consider donating to help us move our mission and vision forward!

“IT’S MANDATORY!”

Along with sharing this, I want to share tips that help with what we may be experiencing during this time.

1. Trust in the Lord over fear.

Trusting in the Lord has been a challenge for me but as a believer in Jesus, I have to stand at the front lines of believing God is in total control. While fearing the unknown, fearing the illness itself, fearing for my family who are more likely to have severe effects from it is tempting, I know fear can be detrimental. Fear is not always a good thing. Fear causes us to become irrational, to hoard supplies, to be greedy with what we have, and so many other negative traits.

This kind of fear is from The Enemy, but the Lord is good, and we can put all our trust in Him. He doesn’t ever change. (Hebrews 13:8) He keeps every promise, and something He promises is, He will take care of us, He will supply every need. (Matthew 6:31-33) My suggestion is not to not do certain things to take care of yourself. He doesn’t promise this will happen with magic; we are to work diligently, so don’t sit back and expect God to supply. Work, but remember, what He provides and God taking care of His people is not dependent on what we do. When we have the hope that comes from knowing Jesus literally died and rose from the dead so that we could be delivered from our sins, we don’t have to fear what’s going. We can trust Him, who took care of the most crucial detail in our lives!

2. Grieving what we’ve lost

We wanted to wrap up our grief topic in March but with things the way are, it seems necessary to address this kind of grief. Seniors, jobs, school closures, and sanity (just kidding); people have lost so much during this time. It is okay to grieve those losses, to acknowledge the loss. It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to wish you had that time to do those things. So, grieve what you’ve lost, and don’t be afraid of that. Let it settle that you had something to lose and that matters. Remember, it is only temporary.

3. Keep Up with your Hygiene

I know, I know. Common sense, right? Maybe but I believe this will help you feel safer. You can only control you, and you can only do what you can do. Something you can be in charge of is your hygiene. It’s terrifying thinking of what other people decide to do or don’t do, but just remember, you can control yourself. At this point, keeping up with hygiene also means following restrictions on going out. Only go out if it’s necessary and don’t dismiss any problematic symptoms right now. Just be careful!

4. Be Still and Enjoy the Rest

It’s tempting to be upset about this time, but let’s take a moment and pause to sit in these moments of serenity. I know it may not be total serenity, but think of how busy we all are most of the time, we’re getting a chance to rest, a mandated chance to rest from busyness. Take the opportunity and be still. Give yourself over to rest. Once you’ve given yourself over to rest and continue doing that while we’re in this situation, ask yourself, what’s something I’ve been wanting to do but haven’t gotten around to doing it? What’s a way I can serve my neighbor? What do others need that I can offer? Take time to check-in, read a book, paint, go for a hike, etc. I just want you to acknowledge that you can take time to rest and don’t feel guilty about it, it’s mandatory!

I know the tips are simple, but whether you’ve never heard them or they refresh your memory, I hope you get to take something useful away from all of these words. Peace Restored aims to be as helpful as possible to others. Without people viewing our site, reading our blogs, donating time and money, sponsoring events, and offering services, Peace Restored wouldn’t be able to operate at all, which includes sharing tips for getting through this pandemic. So, this is a sincere thank you from Peace Restored for every ounce of support we are given!

Grieving Our People and The Gospel.

I never understood what it meant when people say; death changes you. I beg to differ, it puts things in perspective, but for me, it didn’t change who I am. Instead, the death of my grandpa brought out more of who I fundamentally am. It created a strength that only comes from knowing the Lord. My grandpa lost his life over two years ago. I am so thankful for the memories we had that I didn’t even realize we had until he was gone. When my grandpa died, I understood for the first time what it really meant to honor someone’s life AND mourn their death.

Because no matter what, we can acknowledge the common graces in anyone’s life.

I often find myself hurting over my grandpa’s death even after time has passed. Certain parts of my life will remind me of him at any given time. While it’s hard to remember those memories, that pain reminds me of the impact my grandpa had on my life. The impact he had on my life reflects some of the ordinary graces he received. Often I remember what he taught me by the way he lived his life. He was lighthearted, he always thought of his grandkids as a grandpa does, and he taught me how to ride a bike. He taught me how to ride a bike and get back up again when I fell off. My grandpa always made me feel important as a kid, including me in the conversation. These are simple graces that I will always carry with me. To have known someone who impacted my life so much that it shows in the way I live my life now is precious. The example set before me is an example I genuinely hope I can pass on to the people I’m entrusted to care for.

During the time of my grandpa’s death, I remember saying, I didn’t like the Gospel because it brought a painful reality. The Gospel was a hard truth for me…., but it was still true.
I didn’t like the Gospel, and I loved it more during this time.
I loved the Gospel more because it brought comfort & peace that surpassed understanding.
But more so because during something that made The Gospel hard to believe, I couldn’t deny the truth.

There are moments in our lives when what we believe is tested. These are the moments we have to really dig into what Jesus says about our circumstances.
In my grandpa’s death, I turned to Scripture, and I cried out to the Lord, begging for comfort, begging for peace, begging for life.
And I begged that I would trust Him because the grief was quick and relentless, but I knew no matter what, God is still good.

I turned to Ecclesiastes 3,

“To everything, there is a season, 
and a time to every purpose under the heaven; 

A time to be born, a time to die,
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 
A time to get, and a time to lose
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war, and a time of peace.” 
Eccl
esiastes 3:1-8 

The Lord has arranged a time for everything under heaven to occur. As painful as death is, it is a part of life. It’s always going to happen. I don’t think we’ll  ever prepare ourselves for someone we love to leave. It doesn’t matter if it’s expected or sudden; it feels wrong. How can we have to experience such pain?

I can say with confidence how Good God is in this circumstance because I understand  death happens as a result of the fall of man when Adam and Eve first sinned. The Lord does not want it this way; He wants us to live forever with Him, praising Him.

BUT it can’t be this way, yet.

Jesus has to return and make everything new and right before it can. Until then, we live and struggle through the aftermath of the fall.

The Gospel is so incredibly sweet because it explains why we experience pain, why death happens, and why God created us originally. Gospel creates purpose in our lives and explains everything. The Gospel accounts for everything!

An Evening of Beauty

What we’ve referred to as the Gala on social media sites is a dinner banquet for Peace Restored to share with attendees how Peace Restored has impacted the community. The Gala is on October 25th at 6 pm. The exact location is listed on Peace Restored’s website. The Gala’s title, “an evening of beauty” is essential to keep in mind throughout the rest of the year as you will see a common theme with Peace Restored and Beauty! The Gala will be the main point of a live auction that will have been going on online for several weeks prior, dinner, a key speaker, and stories of women that Peace Restored has become a help to in the process of healing. An Evening of Beauty is an incredible night to share the ways this organization served the community throughout the year.

Why Gala?

Peace Restored has been existing to help women through difficult life circumstances since November of 2015. Since Peace Restored opened its doors, we have had many volunteers come in to help us operate. We couldn’t do what we do without the help of volunteers who have a heart for the mission and vision of Peace Restored, walking with women through difficult life circumstances. The original goal was to help women when Peace Restored opened the doors, and we have served over 300 women in nine different Indiana counties! The Gala is a massive piece of allowing Peace Restored to continue to operate well to help so many women in all different counties. To serve the community, we need the support of the city. The Gala gives us a way to allow the community to see some behind the scenes and the heart of Peace Restored.

Keynote Speaker – Who?!

As a part of the night, we have a speaker coming, Gary Varvel, Cartoonist. He has been the editorial cartoonist for Indianapolis star since 1994. He studied visual communication at John Herron School of Art at Indiana University and Purdue University. Since studying and becoming the editorial cartoonist, he received several awards, including the National Cartoonists Society Reuben Award for Best Editorial Cartoonist Division in 2010, The Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for Cartooning in 2011. Varvel was inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame as of 2015. Gary is a man of faith who has a unique way of tying in his faith to the need for healing and hope. A part of his personal story has a tie into what we do at Peace Restored, and he has an openness and ability to share that with us at the Gala.

Stories

During the night, a few women who have been impacted by Peace Restored will be sharing their personal stories. These brave women will share as a way for others to see what Peace Restored is about and as a way to relate to others. We appreciate the women willing to share such personal experiences with an audience. We believe in the importance of our stories. Stories help us become authentic with one another. These women will show you how Peace Restored is a place of authenticity for people to share their hurts and find hope and healing.

The Auction

The bidding began on September 9th and will conclude on October 25th at the Gala. Every part of the money raised will continue being used to provide care for hurting women who have encountered difficult life circumstances. You will still be able to bid at the Gala if you didn’t get a chance to online. If you offer online, you will need to be at the live auction to collect any items you may win!

If you’d like to start your bidding online, head to Peace Restored’s website by clicking here:

We hope you’ll attend the Gala to see what we are all about!

It will be a beautiful night, that represents how we touch lives throughout the year.

We appreciate all of the support given to Peace Restored thus far. We couldn’t continue operating without that support; it is vital!