My one path to peace

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I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a difficult year. The pandemic, quarantine, economic fragility, race issues, riots, looting, police brutality, mask debates and ridiculous political stunts have left us all confused, frustrated and angry.

I often find myself wondering how to deal with my feelings and I wonder how others are managing to cope with it all. I know I cannot be the only one who is afraid for America, my kids, my family, my friends and every other soul on this planet.

Many have turned to the news for their answers. Unfortunately, our news media, during this time, has only stoked the fires of fear and confusion. Many have turned to drugs or alcohol to cope. Still others have slowly sunk into a depression that they might not even realize has taken hold of their minds and spirits. The only source I know of that will bring true peace is prayer and trust in God.

I started attending church nine months before I was born. And when I say attending, I mean every time the doors of that small country church were open, I was there, Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday prayer meeting, revival, youth church and Vacation Bible School. I learned the lessons of the Bible there but also respect, empathy, and at the age of 13, I gave my heart, soul and mind to Jesus Christ. At church we learned how to conduct ourselves as Christians, how to pray, study the Bible, worship and so many other lessons that are invaluable as we navigate through life.

However, none of us are perfect. Life happens and we make mistakes, bad choices, and look for happiness in things that are not capable of giving us that happiness. When I realized that Jesus was the only true answer to coping with life, confusion, worry, depression and all the other problems that come with our human nature, I struggled with a problem I did not expect to struggle with. I felt unworthy of asking God to help me find the peace I so desperately needed. I had strayed, sinned. Wasn’t God just waiting to punish me? I mean after all, I had neglected my relationship with Him for years. I had not really prayed in so long I was afraid I had forgotten how. As I wept tears of regret and sorrow, not even forming words with my mouth but knowing that Jesus did not need to hear me speak words, He only needed to listen to my heart. In those precious moments, a peace settled over me like a blanket. He is my Heavenly Father…I am His child. I immediately thought of my boys. They make mistakes and poor choices sometimes and yes, it grieves my heart. However, I do not love them less. I do not want them to think I am waiting for them to mess up so that I can punish them. When they make poor choices, I know that they are going to suffer the consequences. I know that they chose a path that will be harder because of the poor decision. However, I also want them to know that I am there for them…, No Matter What. I want them to learn from their mistakes. I want them to realize that bad choices often lead to chaos and situations they did not anticipate. But I also want them to know that I am always here with open arms and a loving embrace…just like my Heavenly Father waits for me. He will always love, always forgive, always comfort.

Prayer and my trust in God have brought me peace in the midst of this storm of 2020. I know that He can bring you peace as well. No matter how long it has been since you visited with Him, He is there waiting with open arms. He is there to wrap those arms around you and whisper sweet words of peace, love and comfort. He may not answer each prayer the way we think He should answer. But I do know He will always bring comfort and peace when we call on His name.

Charlette Madden is a Mother of 2, a Louisiana Tech graduate, a Financial Advisor and a Feature Writer for The Gazette. Contact her via email at news@fgazette.com