Peace Within

by Jody Slaughter

quiltAs a little girl I remember being tucked into the big black walnut bed in the front room of my grandmother’s historical home in Kentucky. Because it was winter I asked my mother and grandmother if they could find another quilt to lay on top of me. It felt so good, I asked for another. The heaviness of those quilts and their handmade beauty gave me such a sense of comfort and security. So, I asked my grandmother if I could have just one more. I will never forget her smile and giggle as she shook her head and said, “oh lawsy,” and provided me with one more layer of goodness.

My grandmother and mom illustrated the surrounding of a supportive and loving family who provided for my needs and wants but also gave me boundaries as appropriate. I would have liked for my grandmother to lie down with me as she often did when we visited her, but I knew she and my mom looked forward to their time together after the kids were in bed. Once I was settled, then they took care of themselves. My family has been and is always there for me.

The memory of those comforting quilts symbolizes a place of peace for me. Quilts are intricate, varied, and beautifully patterned. They are also like families, rich with heritage. On that cold night, my family laughed together and then we prayed to our Creator God, the “quilt maker” of our world. Laughter, time together, and prayer are common threads throughout my family experiences. I remember feeling at peace that night because I was being nurtured and cared for in such a comforting way. Peace came in both a physical and emotional way. Lasting peace comes from a place within. I had the presence of family and together we invited the presence of God. Jesus said, “I have said these things to you that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble but take heart, for I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) “Peace I give you, peace I leave with you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27) “Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) Another translation, The Message, says it this way, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn how to live freely and lightly.” Jesus offers peace over and over again. Peace is offered here through a relationship with Jesus: “keep company with me.” It is a relationship based on grace, not keeping rules and regulations. Peace has come in my life through relating to God through prayer and scripture, the loving support of my family and acceptance and care that I experience for myself.

Jody Slaughter is a member of the Lay Ministry Team. 

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