It occurred to me that many of you may be stopping by the blog, reading a few posts, scrolling through my Instagram feed, or even trying out some recipes without really understanding the 'why' behind the name. McBaby's due date is about a month away and I plan on taking a 2 month hiatus from the blog beginning in November, so I thought it would be nice to get this post up before then for two reasons.
First, the word "Shalom" is very meaningful to me and by sharing more about it with you, I am praying it becomes so to you as well. It's most basic interpretation is 'peace', but it truly encompasses so much more than that simple word.
Secondly, I want y'all to feel included. I never want Shalom Sisters to be a place that makes people feel excluded or confused. Hopefully the posts I share help you feel less alone in your own struggles. It's important to me that this space is easy and restful on your souls.
So about SHALOM...
I shared in this post last December about "my words" and how God sends them to me in different seasons of life. Shalom was the word I was attached to during the summer and fall of 2013. It had jumped out at me while working through The Blue Book chapter on Wholeness and it just stuck. I almost had it tattooed on my wrist. It was written everywhere and it traveled through my thoughts constantly. I was in a season of contentment. Not that I had everything I wanted in the least, but that I was content with what God had provided. I was single, living alone in a pretty dingy apartment, not sure where rent money was coming from, or how I was going to make it work to be on Young Life staff one more year, but I was at peace. For the first time post-college, my anxiety had subsided and the panic attacks that night, loneliness, and uncertainty brought on had completely gone away. I specifically remember having a conversation with God as I drove around my little town and telling Him that if this was the life he had for me, I would do it until He called me home, that He could have every piece of me and that I was happy to just be used by Him.
Shalom. He had given me a small glimpse into what we will have one day in His kingdom.
I look back on those months as some of the happiest in my life. I didn't have internet, cable, or much cash in the bank, but I did have the assurance that I was following God's intended path for my life, sunshine, friends, and a peaceful heart. And y'all, it was in the smack dab middle of that season that God sent me Matthew. Just as I had surrendered to His plan and accepted whatever life He had for me, He gave me the greatest gift He ever could apart from Jesus.
If you know me or have visited one of the places I've lived over the past 6 or so years, you know about my note-cards. I picked this helpful habit up from my Mom. I have note-cards taped to our bathroom mirror with quotes on them about maintaining a meaningful marriage. I have a key-ring full of note-cards with verses and quotes on them that sits on my desk now, but used to travel in my purse with me everywhere I went. It was kind of like my Sword of Truth. When the enemy attacked with lies, I just whipped that baby out and told him (and myself) the truth. I have them on my fridge and I leave them on Matthew's desk. Scripture and the words of the men and women who love it are medicine to me, weapons even! Obviously, God created me to love words, reading them and writing them. I have lots of note-cards that talk about Shalom. Here are what some of them say:
At its core shalom is about experiencing the creation intent of God. Shalom is life as God intended it to be—life before sin and brokenness. Shalom is finding our way back into the garden where we were created to enjoy and experience God in His fullness as we 'walk with Him in the cool of the day.' It is what our souls are really and truly longing for—deep communion and connection and intimacy with our God. Jim Branch
Every time Jesus healed, forgave or called someone, we have a demonstration of shalom.
Faith is so much more than words. It is a life of costly love toward God and toward each other. It creates the shalom, the peace and wholeness and health for which we were created and which only God's salvation can bring. John Wood
We share the shalom, that vibrant word of peace and wholeness spoken in the locked room on Resurrection night. Our empty nets are filled from the lake; the fire and food are prepared for us on the beach. Our inner healing moves to a deeper place. Flora Slosson Wuellner
That's why I don't think there's any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what's coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it all in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens. Romans 8:18-21 MSG.
(Those "coming good times" is the full realization of the shalom. The world as God intended it).
The most profound yearning of the human spirit, which we try to fill with all sorts of inadequate substitutes, is the yearning for our completeness in the image of Christ. M Robert Mullholland Jr.
Over the margins of life comes a whisper, a faint call, a premonition of richer living which we know we are passing by. Strained by the very mad pace of our daily outer burdens, we are further strained by an inward uneasiness, because we have hints that there is a way of life vastly richer and deeper than all this hurried existence, a life of unhurried serenity and peace and power [shalom]. Thomas Kelly
We strive for order, coherence, and wholeness in our lives. We want certainty. We long for shalom. Shalom is a peace that not only recalls all the pieces of one's life but sees how the parts fit together in a unified and glorious whole. Shalom involves rest and gratitude; it provides a balance and harmony where all things seem right. Dan Allender
Do you remember a time that you dwelt in the Shalom? I think we get little glimpses of it throughout life. I've felt it at Young Life camp, worshiping with other leaders, or in tender moments with Matthew Darling. It's shown up in times that I should have been in despair, but was filled with inexplicable peace, and in stillness while sitting on my couch, reading through God's Word.
I named the blog Shalom Sisters in hopes that you may find some wholeness, peace, safety, or tranquility here. I pray that God uses me and my experiences to point you towards Him. I don't write or share because I think I've got it all together. I don't have all the answers, but I know the one who does and I know the peace that comes from a life surrendered to Him.
I encourage you to dig deeper into the meaning behind Shalom and to fill your life with more of the things that lead you to it.