By Deb Crowley of Urbandale, IA, USA
Beloved children of the Restoration, your continuing faith adventure with God has been divinely led, eventful, challenging, and sometimes surprising to you. By the grace of God, you are poised to fulfill God’s ultimate vision for the church. When your willingness to live in sacred community as Christ’s new creation exceeds your natural fear of spiritual and relational transformation, you will become who you are called to be. The rise of Zion the beautiful, the peaceful reign of Christ, awaits your whole-hearted response to the call to make and steadfastly hold to God’s covenant of peace in Jesus Christ. This covenant entails sacramental living that respects and reveals God’s presence and reconciling activity in creation. It requires whole-life stewardship dedicated to expanding the church’s restoring ministries, especially those devoted to asserting the worth of persons, protecting the sacredness of creation, and relieving physical and spiritual suffering. -Doctrine and Covenants 164:9a-c
On a recent trip to Florida, I took a trip down memory lane. My family moved to Zephyrhills when I was about five years old. Dirt poor, we lived in five different houses, three built by our stepdad. Curiosity and the name “Fountain Road” drew me back. It was a short, gravelly, pothole-filled, no-name road all those years ago. My oldest brother painted a sign to identify the half-mile stretch and pounded a post with the sign into the ground at the intersection where the lane met the highway. Eventually the name became official.
Driving down the road, I tried to identify anything that might have been there fifty plus years ago. New homes in a changed landscape now occupied the once-empty acres where we lived.
Memories and long forgotten stories began to bubble up. Sadly, a lot of ugliness happened to us kids over those years. When we share our stories, memories of abuse, hunger, and fear always surface. Interestingly enough, as we siblings remember and rehearse our stories, together we find healing. With healing come positive memories-the orange grove with delicious fruit, a kind neighbor who gave us their only daughter’s lovely hand-me-downs, the trip to a park when grandparents came to visit, the one house that had indoor plumbing!
It is amazing how the seven of us lived together in the same conditions, but our memories are not unanimous. The filters we used to survive and the memories we chose to bank are unique. By sharing our stories, we “fill in the blanks.” Hearing each perspective deepens our understanding of one another. It also deepens our love and respect for each other because all seven of us grew into healthy, productive adults! We traveled the same path. We had the same parents and siblings. We ate the same food, slept under the same roof, went to the same schools. Our perspectives and life choices were influenced by our earlier life, but we are not the same. Praise God!
Such is the Kingdom of God. Same God, same scriptures, same Earth, and sometimes we walk the path together. But we are different. Our stories are different. Our stories matter. Sharing our stories deepens understanding and encourages empathy. Sharing our stories brings healing and hope to dark, hard places. Sharing our stories brings light into the world.
I dwell in your presence.
Prayer of Examen
Spend a few moments recalling your day. Let details, events, and conversations drift through your memory. Offer gratitude for the day and pray to be aware of how God was present. What did you notice or feel that brought meaning? Pay attention to moments when you felt least in harmony with God’s vision for creation. Offer a prayer of confession. Pay attention to moments when you felt most in harmony with God’s vision for creation. Pray to be even more aware of and responsive to God’s presence in the days ahead. Amen.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.