I am delighted to have Susan Pettrey from Brooklyn Tabernacle join us. Susan is a tremendous force for the Lord. She is used in ways, I know, she can’t even begin to imagine. She has impacted my life through prayer. It is a pure delight to welcome Susan today for Women’s Ministry Monday.
It was another night of going through the normal bedtime routine I have with my 6-year old son, Levi. Something was wrong. It had been for days. He was unusually hyper, unfocused and distant from me. I knew why.
We had recently moved to a new neighborhood, and within the past month, Levi had to adjust to a new home, school, peer group and, even, a new nanny. It was a lot. It would be for any child, but Levi is adopted and, as I’ve learned, adopted children intensely crave security.
I can only imagine what goes on in his little mind as he tries to process the implications of his adoption and life, but it was no mystery that all of the recent changes were creating extreme anxiety in his heart.
As Levi jumped up and down on his bed, I decided that a reprimand was not what was needed at that moment. Levi needed to be ministered to. I asked him what was bothering him only to be given his typical response of “nothing”.
The more I probed the more Levi tried to change the subject until, finally, I said, “Honey, it’s very clear right now that you don’t have peace in your heart.”
With that, Levi got quiet and waited for me to continue telling him what he couldn’t find the words to express himself. I did my best to validate his feelings. Then, I encouraged him with words of hope.
I told him that I knew God had led us to this new home and, so, we could trust He had a plan. It would be for all of our good.
He laid his little head on my chest. I could feel his body slowly begin to relax. It was as though my confidence…or peace about Levi’s life and future was transferring into his own heart.
We prayed together. I kissed him goodnight with an assurance that his anxiety had subsided. I was grateful for that moment and thanked God for it without realizing the deeper truth He was going to teach me.
When I opened my Bible the next day, this is what I read- “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
As I pondered the verse, God showed me my exchange with Levi was just a dim reflection of what He desires to have with me.
So often, when life has been difficult and seemingly out of control, I’ve prayed for more peace. As if the process involved God giving me the power to muster up my own peace in the midst of my troubles. But, now, what Jesus was saying became so alive to me as I remembered my experience the night before.
Just as Levi received my peace as his own,
so Jesus wants to give us HIS peace.
When we were saved, God’s Spirit took residence in us. Our old man was put to death and, now, it is no longer we who live but Christ who lives through us. How often I forget the benefits that come with this great truth. I don’t have to be a better “Susan” anymore. All I need to do is look to my Savior who longs to give me everything He is. Not only does Jesus want to fill me with things like His love, His strength, and His wisdom, but He desires to fill me with HIS very own peace too!
Not a peace that is manufactured by me or dependent on imperfect people or an unstable world. It’s a divine peace rooted in the one, true God who has all authority over heaven and earth.
It’s a supernatural peace that can never be moved or shaken by the circumstances of life. It’s a peace that comes from the One who knows how the story really ends.
Whatever the challenges we might be facing at this moment, Jesus invites us to lay our head on His chest and receive His peace today.
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Susan Pettrey’s Bio
Susan Pettrey is the second daughter of Jim and Carol Cymbala, who pastor the Brooklyn Tabernacle in Brooklyn, NY. Susan grew up witnessing great moves of God and His power to change the most hopeless of lives. As an adult, Susan has been all over the spectrum of ministry at the Brooklyn Tabernacle. She has served as a worship leader and soloist in the choir. She is the director of the women’s ministry, as well as, the BT Drama Company, where she writes and produces full-length plays that are used to minister to the church and evangelize her city. Her greatest priority, however, is her wonderful husband, Brian, and four amazing children, Luke (19), Claire (16) and Levi (6) and Charlotte (1)