Categories
The Lighter Walk

Beginning with Peace

We get to chose how we live our lives. As peace-givers or hate-makers. Do we strive to bring “Shalom” in our interactions with others? Or are we ready to battle for our own opinions- no matter the hurt they may cause?

The Bible Project defines the “Hebrew word for peace is shalom, and it describes a deep sense of well-being that comes through the presence of completion, reconciliation, and justice.” Three ways in which we can bring a sense of completeness to our relationship, rather than cracks and brokenness. Sometimes it means we must take steps to restore the brokenness.

Peace then requires us to set aside ourselves and to listen to others. It involves a willingness to bridge the divide and create a new wholeness in the relationship. And that is hard…on our own. Jesus came to teach and bring restoration to a broken world. He came first to restore our relationship with God the father, and he left the Holy Spirit to guide us in the restoration of other broken relationships.

I realize I can’t be a peace-maker if I am not feeding my heart and soul with the good words of my faith. I can’t begin to step into a broken world without praying and coming into agreement with the Lord that Shalom matters. I can’t do it without inviting the Holy Spirit to speak to me. I have to be willing to invest in my spiritual growth if I ever want to get to a place of wholeness for myself and in relationships with others.

Categories
Living Loving Serving

The Gift of my Church Community

This has been the summer I fully embraced the community of my church family. The one where I attend services and the one that has connected me with some life-long friends and acquaintances. It has been a summer of gathering together socially and spiritually. Mostly, it has been the best time I have had in years and I am beyond grateful.

Categories
Living Loving Serving Transformation Stories

Hate, Fear, and Faith

Please forgive me if my language is clumsy or inadequate. I am a work in progress and happily take your suggestions on how to improve.

I grew up in a military environment that was pretty well integrated. My best friends as a kid were African American and Jewish. I learned the best parts of their heritage and was shielded from the bias against them. As a teen, two of my best friends were of Asian descent. I never saw any hate directed toward them, or if there was any, they didn’t tell me. I dated people from many backgrounds and races, yet my parents made it clear that these were unacceptable long-term relationships. I was raised in the Roman Catholic faith and because my dad’s best friends were Jewish, we learned to respect their faith. In spite of all that, there were still derogatory terms used by adults around me: the N-word, the f-g word, the S-word (you get the gist) that was perfectly acceptable to them. There was an undertone that as alike as we were, we were still superior in some way because we were white and Catholic/Christian.

These are concepts that are hard for me to reconcile today. How could I grow up with such welcomed diversity and acceptance and yet still a sense that I was “better than” because of my skin color or faith? How could I have been so blind to the prejudice and hate my friends likely experienced on a regular basis? I have had to search my heart and soul to ask when I have, even in some small way, passed on that negative heritage to my daughter. How have I taken the subtle superiority of my parent’s generation and filtered relationships- personal and professional- through that negative lens?

As someone who believes we are ALL created in the image of God, we are all loved by him and we all have value and worth in his eyes; how do I reconcile those derogatory tapes in my past against the backdrop that my own family today includes Asians, African-Americans, LGBTQ+ people whom I dearly love? How do I do a better job of loving and caring for people who are not like me?

I start with asking forgiveness for my naivety and ignorance. I ask the Lord to break the chains to any past behaviors and thought patterns. I start the conversation with friends and family and seek to learn more about walking in their shoes. And I walk more closely with them.

I have to be responsible for taking off my blinders and my disbelief that prejudice and hate exist. I need be more deliberate in standing for my friends and family- asking them how best to do that. It isn’t about what I think they need and want- it is about asking them what I can do and standing with them. That’s how we break our own bias and preconceived notions. I will seek to be more informed and more engaged and more respectful of others.

Lord, forgive me when I have closed my eyes to the inequality toward your people. Forgive me for my own pride and superior attitude. Lord, open my eyes and ears and use me as an instrument of your change. Father, guide our nation to be welcoming and change our hearts to see each other as valuable, regardless of color, culture, religion, or life-style. Start with me father.

Photo: Getty images

Categories
The Lighter Walk Transformation Stories

Making God the Main Thing

My life today is nothing compared to what it was even five years ago, let alone 30 years ago when I began my Christian journey. God planted a seed of change; however, it took almost 20 years to stop living according to my rules and listen to his desires for me.

Categories
Living Loving Serving Transformation Stories

When Change Means Asking Hard Questions

I am one of those people who isn’t afraid to ask the tough question. I love to get people thinking about opposing viewpoints or scenarios. When these are thoughtful civil discussions, we can begin to see that the alternative perspective has merit. We can begin to incorporate those perspectives into our own and realize a change in ourselves.

Categories
Transformation Stories

Change is Possible

I’ve been reading a lot more during this time home alone. Mostly I have been reading about the way God can completely change who we are, if we are willing to open that door. I know he has changed my heart, my thinking, and my desires in many unexpected ways. I know God has forgiven me in ways people never have. I know I have found peace in that forgiveness and a greater willingness to offer that same mercy and grace to others. It all started with God moving in my life when I opened myself to his ways over my ways.

Categories
The Lighter Walk

Where the Light Shines

Do we dare to search?

Do we dare  to seek?

Will we break the bond?

Will they understand?

Does it matter?

Shine the light.

Lead the way.

Follow the path.

Move forward.

Trust.

Where the light shines.

Copyright Maggie Marcum

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Transformation Stories

Life Trees

Dying drying trees

Brown and lifeless

Or

Rebirthing trees,

Waiting for new life?

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Strong foundations

Branching off, crisscrossing,

Intersecting each other

New paths

Giving way to

New life.

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Solid trees, grown upright,

Branches reaching upward

Unity in growth

red tree shendoah

Brown transformed to green

Renewed

Replenished

Beckoning us..

zoo woody path

Foundations rooted

 in

Rich soil

Growing, dying, rebirthing

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All reaching up

All branching out

All rooted in hope

Watered in love

Growing through faith.

Maggie Marcum

Categories
Living in Singleness

Finding the Sweet Spot

A dear friend keeps reminding me of that adage that says people will make time to do what they want to do and will spend money on what is most important to them. It has been eating at me for days because I thought that I was not in sync with what I believe I have been hearing from God.

I love to write. I love writing this blog.

I love encouraging people, espcially people in recovery or searching for healing.

I love my church and the women I have come to know in the wider Christian community.

I love ice hockey and I love writing for our hockey blog, Friends in Cold Places, and I love the Washington Capitals and the hockey community.

And I have struggled trying to balance it all in the course of a day or the week.

I am coming to realize that God opens doors that I don’t expect and I need to keep walking through them even if I don’t understand what is happening. God may send me in a different direction as I walk along the pathway of life

I have a wonderful opportunity to write and I need to find the right balance for my writing passions. God is introducing me to people and community opportunities I never imagined I would be a part of a year ago. God is helping me to find the sweet spot in my life in ways I never expected.

Sometimes we need to remember that God’s vision can be a whole lot bigger than we can imagine. As my life has become busy again, I cut out the one thing I should never have cut out of my schedule–my time with God. And once I realized that and became open to his will, I also found that extra hour because God has woke me up earlier than my alarm. Funny how once I found myself back in a routine of spending time with God everything fell into place.

I encourage you to seek out your passion(s) and to trust the Lord to lead you to open doors and the perfect way to use your time.

You will know that God’s power is very great for us who believe. Ephesians 1:19

 

 

 

Categories
Living Loving Serving Transformation Stories

New Year Wishes

Dear Friends,

I have been away for a while. My life journey has taken me to places I never planned to go and as I start the New Year, I wonder how many of you have found yourself where you never imagined. Maybe you didn’t accomplish everything you thought you would in 2015. Maybe your life circumstances changed and turned your world on its head. Or maybe things went in an unexpected positive direction and you are still amazed by the blessing in your life.