Peace. It's something we all crave, so much that the very word promises healing and comfort.
Between the chaos in the nations and the conflict in out families, between the cancer and the car-wrecks and the career changes and the challenges of our own minds, we all need peace to be whole. Ken Gire's new book is like a steady, calm voice speaking into the storm. At Peace in The Storm is full of "good thoughts" about how God meets our need for peace dose by dose. Seriously, this book is excellent.
We all know that God is the Giver of True Peace, what we may have forgotten are the diverse ways he can provide it amidst daily life.
Ken Gire talks about Peace through the fellowship and tenderness of a good friend.
And Peace through deep, open-hearted listening, which is a gift anyone can give.
And Peace through Prayer, and Perspective, and Fellowship in the Body of Christ. These chapters are richly quotable, and are filled with great thoughts from other Christians like Henri Nouwen and Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Catherine Marshall.
And then there are chapters about Peace in unexpected places. Sometimes the source of peace just won't make intellectual sense.
Remember that God enjoys showing up in unexpected places, and feel free to accept it His gifts. Do not discount the peace that can come over you from experiencing a Story, either through music or a movie or a book. Immersing ourselves in someone else's story for a few minutes or an hour reminds us of our place in the Greatest Story of All.
Peace may meet you in music... and it doesn't matter if it's Rich Mullins, blues, oldies, or 70's rock, if it soothes you, then turn it up!
*Cues Sweet Home Alabama.*
You may find peace in watching a new film, or enjoying an old favorite again. One of Ken's friends has watched the 2009 StarTrek film thirteen times. Every time he sees the ending, the collision of life and death, he cries, and every time it meets a need in his heart. I'm that way with Last of the Dogmen and In The Heat of The Night reruns. Ken himself favors A River Runs Through It, for the story, the music, and the beautiful scenery.
Same with books. It doesn't matter if it's a classic or a mystery novel. If reading gives you some space to breathe then it is worth it.
Same also with sleep. There's peace to be found in sleep.
Like Ken Gire suggests, how many of us really are 5 to 6 foot tall cranky toddlers, in need of a pillow and blanket? How much of the insanity of a bad day will melt away in a good sleep?
As Ken says at one point: "Be gentle with yourself."
So you're stressed out and everything has gone wrong. Be kind to yourself. Don't expect perfection in the middle of this. Don't even expect to be balanced. That's ideal, no doubt, but it isn't our usual state. In our confused and hurting world we need all the help we can get.
That's why the best chapter may well be "Peace Through a Balanced Brain." In this chapter, Ken Gire shares some of his own struggles with the "heavy black lead coat" of depression and the shame that comes with adult ADD. I hate the fact that shame was a part of the package. We understand that bones break, arteries weaken, and organs fail. Why would we be surprised or ashamed if our brain gives us trouble? Why should it be considered "weak" to acknowledge that we need a hand, a change, a rest, a dose of medication or vitamins? That attitude really needs to change.
Ken's story of getting help- medicine wise, nutrition wise, and friend and family wise- is a great encouragement to anyone who has battled depression in themselves or in a loved one.
The whole book is full of hope. It reassures: No, you may not have Peace now, but you can experience it again someday. It's not gone from you forever.
Thank you Bethany House for my review copy.
Ken Gire is the author of more than 20 books, including "The Divine Embrace," "Windows of the Soul," "The Work of His Hands," the Moments with the Savior series, and the Reflective Life series. He has also co-authored "The Birthright" with John Sheasby. Two of his books have been awarded a Gold Medallion. A full-time writer and speaker, Ken is the founder of Reflective Living, a nonprofit ministry devoted to helping people learn how to slow down and live more reflective lives so they can experience life more deeply, especially life with God and other people. Ken is a graduate of Texas Christian University and Dallas Theological Seminary. He has four children and three grandchildren and lives near the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in Monument, Colorado.