His Family at Peace

by Andrew

When I first started working at the PEACE Program two and a half years ago, a lot of things were different. The program was in a different building, a much smaller and more cramped building. The kids were different, some moved away and others stopped coming. The snacks were different, consisting of unending boxes of old, sometimes-stale fiber one bars. I was different.

I remember being asked to come PEACE because there were not enough male volunteers. The volunteer load at that time was transitioning to Amy B. and Amy A., and there were simply not very many guys willing to go to PEACE and, as I saw it, “watch out for the women”. I thought I was being recruited as a guard to make sure that nothing happened to my sisters. I saw it as my duty to make sure that nothing happened to them. I thought I was going to help take charge of the situation and make sure that order and peace were kept. However, I very quickly found out that God has a funny way of cutting straight to the heart of my motives and notions of who is in charge in order to reveal His heart to me.

You see… I met this 5 year-old kid, who happened to believe that I wasn’t the boss. Can you believe that? I would tell him to do something, like, “Please stop spitting on the window and sit in your seat.” And you know what he would do? He would look at me, smile, maybe laugh, …and then go back to spitting on the window.  Ok. No more mister nice guy. “You need to sit in your seat right now and do your coloring pages.” And out the door he goes. Now, I admit not all my first experiences were like this one. But it was through these experiences that God began to slowly chip away at my hard heart. He began to change the way that I saw myself at PEACE. I was no longer to just be a bouncer (as if anyone can actually imagine me as a bouncer?), a protector, or a volunteer. God was calling me to take on the role of a servant and love kids that I didn’t know and was in some ways afraid to be around. In my fear the voice of the enemy said, “They’re not yours. You don’t have to carry the weight of taking care of them. Just do the bare minimum and feel better about yourself for it.” But in my heart I knew God wanted more. I knew He was saying, “They are all Mine. These are My children. I carry them in My heart. I love them. Will you?”

1 John 3:16 says, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” For the better part of two and half years at the PEACE Program, God has been teaching me how to lay down my life for our wonderful, beautiful, precious kids, my brothers and sisters. He has shown me again and again His heart for His children, His family. And He has opened my eyes and heart to begin to see all of His family as my family. Remember how I thought that I had to go down there and be the bouncer, the protector? Well, I’ve come to the conclusion that God is the greatest protector of His family. Don’t get me wrong. I still watch out very closely for all my brothers and sisters both that serve and that are being served at PEACE, but I do so knowing that God is the best shield, peacemaker, and Father… EVER. He is in control. He is love. And He is at PEACE with His family, which is where I will be for as long as God calls me to be there.

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