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Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Be Still

               In my previous post, I called my training and conference in St. Louis a mountaintop experience. It really was just that for me. I felt bathed in the word and love of God.

               On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, I took the course, Advanced Coaching and Mediation. I passed. 😊 The Ambassadors of Reconciliation Conference started on Thursday evening and continued until lunchtime on Saturday. I have been through coaching and mediation training several times, and I always get pretty anxious over it because there are role plays…where we are evaluated. I have a real problem with that – I just hate being judged and I fear being completely incompetent and failing. I guess, in reconciliation language, I have a “fear of man” problem. I wasn’t the only one for whom that was being emphasized during our week, but I really felt very convicted.

               One of our instructors began the first day with a devotion using Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” When we are coaching someone or mediating a conflict and things are not going the way we hope they would go, “Be still and know that I am God.” When we are beginning a training class and we know that the cases we are going to be working with are complicated and hard and may even touch on some tender areas in our own lives, “Be still and know that I am God.” That really touched me to my very core. And it wasn’t because of just that verse or the teaching of that moment. 

              We had lots of prework to do – two 5 – 6 session Bible studies to work through and a textbook, A Christian Coaching Guidebook by Scott Gress PCC, to read. The Bible study topic that had really connected with me this time through my study was the concept of my identity in Christ. Gress covers that same topic in chapter six of his book. It’s not like I did not already know who I am in Christ, it’s more that I understood the “so what” so much better than ever before. I know that I am a “poor, miserable sinner” in need of God’s grace and forgiveness, and I know that I have those things because my identity is in Christ. Romans 8:1 reminds us, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

               Knowing that and remembering that I am free from judgment and condemnation makes moving forward and finding ways to serve God in my life so much less anxiety-producing. From Gress’s book: “For it is only in Christ that we are free – free from building our self-esteem through our helping and free from having to prove ourselves.” Realizing this in a whole new way helped me move through the training with so much more comfort and a desire to learn, even from my mistakes.
               So, as I get back to the day to day work of life, I really want to hang on to what I have (re)learned. I want to remember that it is always, only about Jesus. My identity is secure in him. I belong to him when I succeed and when I fail, when I am a mess and when I have it all together.
                                                  Be Still. I’m God. You are Mine.

               He is saying that you and to me. We are his beloved children who are no longer condemned, but free to serve him with our lives.

               One of the ways that I want to serve him is to write about reconciliation. I’m going to use this blog for now, since I already have it, but I plan to switch to a WordPress platform if I can figure it out! I plan to post articles that I write – I still have lots to say about what I learned and experienced last month, but I also hope to share articles from experts in the field of reconciliation, mediation, and conflict coaching. I hope that you will join me in this conversation!



I'm Baaaaack!

Well, hello there! It’s been a long time. In fact, the last article I posted on this blog was in July, 2013! I have decided to start blogging again, and I would like to tell you why.

               Many of you know that I have a passion for peacemaking. I believe that it is very important to resolve conflict, particularly in the church or among believers, in a way that is pleasing to God. The Bible actually has a lot to say about how we should deal with conflict in our Christian communities. It’s like he knew that we were going to fight! Figure that, Christians fighting… 

               I discovered the book, The Young Peacemaker by Corlette Sande, at a homeschool convention in the 90's and went on to read Ken Sande’s book, The Peacemaker, and my eyes were opened! I had been going about this conflict thing all wrong. I would like to say that from then on, all my conflicts were reconciled smoothly and I did not initiate or exacerbate conflicts, but…, well more on that later…in other articles most likely. It did, however, change my life and how I view conflict, my role in conflict, and the people with whom I am in conflict. I went on to take some training from Peacemakers Ministries, attend a couple of their conferences, and incorporate the principles I was learning into my life, family, and the various groups I was a part of. I even started and led a peacemaking team at my church.

               There are other groups besides Peacemakers Ministries that teach Biblical peacemaking. Ambassadors of Reconciliation grew out of Peacemakers, and until recently they had a uniquely Lutheran focus. I was blessed to be allowed to attend their basic conflict coaching and mediation training with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod Florida/Georgia District Circuit Visitors in May 2016, in Charlotte, NC, my home town! And later that year, our district president asked if I would serve as a District Reconciler for our district. Again, more of the basic training with some special equipping for dealing with hearings and appeals in the Synod.  This past February, I had the pleasure of helping my church host AoR's conflict coaching and mediation training in Orlando. And finally, in April I was in St. Louis for their advanced coaching and mediation training and conference. I will have lots to say about how those two events have inspired me in subsequent posts, but my main point here is that it made me realize that I need to write about what I am learning and experiencing in the area of reconciliation – a word I plan to use as a substitute for peacemaking.

               So, that’s why I am back! In my next article, I will talk more about the mountaintop experience my week in St. Louis was!