The Peacemaker Center

They say there is a reason for everything, and I guess that’s why I was invited to a fundraiser at Waterloo Gardens a year ago.  It was there that I learned that the Peacemaker Center was where I wanted to go when I could not handle what life had in store for me.  This is a testimony to the good work of the Peacemaker Center, and specifically my counselor, Ann Spooner, who helped me see God’s view of me and what He wants for me more clearly than I could have seen it myself.

A few years ago my son and his family severed their relationship with me. This caused me much anguish, despair and stress.  To say that I could not function at times due to these emotions is an understatement.  My medical doctor suggested counseling, along with some medication.  Rather than tranquilize my emotions, soon after the fundraiser I made an appointment with the Peacemaker Center.  It was my hope they could help me understand what God might be wanting to teach me about myself, about my son and his wife and why I needed to bear such heavy emotional burdens.
When I began work with Ann, I did not know whether the circumstances that brought me there would ever improve. In fact, they have not.  But what I’ve gained from the help of my counselor and the Holy Spirit’s guidance is invaluable and gives me hope for the future.  This story has a happy ending, but it’s a little different than you might expect.

Through my work with Ann, I’ve discovered my own part in the mess. I’ve also discovered that God has a plan for me, for my son and his family, and for all of us.  Although God’s plan may not come into my life in a form I can readily recognize, it is there always, just as He is.   This plan includes my learning to be still and listen, to control my critical nature and judgmental ways. This means, as they say, to “let go and let God.”  I’ve learned also to be more patient, since things are all in God’s timing, and only His timing, not mine.

My time with my counselor, Ann has shown me the impact of holding on to resentments and hurts caused by my family. More importantly, I learned that my definition of “family” may well have been part of what was causing me such turmoil. I realize my definition was narrow from God’s perspective. Knowing that I am in God’s family and He is mine, and that no idol should be above him, helps me to handle the pain of the loss of the relationship. My counselor and I worked on what it means to be forgiven and to forgive. Remembering that I have been forgiven much has helped me love more and resent less. Jesus commands each of us to forgive. That means we must offer our forgiveness.  But it also means we should ask forgiveness for things we have done.  Although that was difficult, with my counselor’s help I was able to ask forgiveness from my son and his wife. While we are not fully reconciled, I know that I gave what God would want of me and now it is in His hands and theirs.  God is finally giving me patience to be okay with that.

Although the burden of separation from my son and his family is still heavy on my heart, I am safe and warm in God’s love. Feeling that love helps remind me that there is more to life than its troubles. This journey of self-discovery and spiritual discovery might never have come about had it not been for that invitation to the fundraising dinner, which caused me to think about becoming a client myself.  I value each and every one who worked hard to put this place together, where people can learn so much about themselves and about God in a peaceful, loving, and safe setting.  Thank you all.

Married for 35 Years and On the Brink of Divorce

The Peacemaker Center is making a significant difference in our marriage, especially in our communication with each other.

Just a month ago, we were separated and heading toward a support hearing; and very likely, a divorce. We could not have a peaceful conservation on any topic. The main problem during our 35 years of marriage has been in our communication, especially in the area of deciding what should be included in our budget and managing to it. As a result, debt piled up; and our conversations in dealing with reckless spending ended in anger and isolation. As our relationship degraded, this fueled even more non-funded spending. In an effort to reduce this debt, certain property assets were sold to our married daughter, which caused a relationship divide between her and our married son.

We sought counseling for the first time since being married. I e-mailed you on Sunday afternoon, July 18; and received your return telephone call that evening. That encouraged me, because I felt that you were interested and willing to help us as soon as we could meet.

At our first meeting on July 19, you identified the attitudes and behaviors that were blocking any chance of us agreeing on anything. You helped us to understand why our conversations, especially those regarding our budget, would break down and abruptly end with feelings of anger and resentment. You reminded us how to speak to each other in a manner that respects our opinions; and focus on listening without interrupting. You linked us up with another Peacemaker Center team member, who provided us with a financial strategy that maximized our resources to pay down our debt. The Peacemaking for Families resource that you recommended has helped to motivate us in applying the attitude and behavior changes that you counseled us to work on.

We are encouraged to continue meeting because of the positive impact that your counsel is having in our marriage relationship.

Note from the therapist: This couple continues to do well on their own. They have chosen to be obedient to God and He is blessing their marriage. You may contact them through this web site if you have any questions or they can be of help to you.


I’ve had many adversities in my life - Hodgkin’s Lymphoma not once, but twice in my early 20’s, that sent my world into turmoil. I was told that if I lived past the 5 years, I would never be able to have children. I pushed away everyone that I loved, losing many of them.

I was hit by a car walking across the street. My spleen was removed and what started as a sinus infection landed me in the ICU, where I was dying of septicemia and DIC. In fact, I did die at one point and had a near death experience. The deep calming voice coming out of the brightest whiteness you can imagine told me, “You’re not going to die; it’s not your time”. I felt an immediate sense of peace and could feel my body and mind relax.

I was thrown from a horse and shattered my wrist leading to surgery, rehab and three months out of work. I still have the plate, rod and the 10 screws it took to put me back together.

God has always been there with me. I was blessed with two wonderful children. I survived and persevered, trusting that God knew where I was supposed to go and supposed to be.

In 2011, I was hospitalized with pneumonia, the love of my life died suddenly, I had a Thyroidectomy that turned out to be cancer, a direct result from the radiation treatment I had for the Hodgkin’s, my good friend died suddenly (we met when we were two years old), one of our cats died suddenly, our dog was in the hospital, and I was sick over the Christmas holiday. I was depressed.

I asked God, “WHY”? “WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT FROM ME?” I was looking up, arms outstretched, screaming the words. I couldn’t feel Him anymore; His presence was gone for me. I knew I needed to talk with someone because I was in the deepest, darkest, loneliest pit I had ever been in. I could always feel God and always trusted that He was with me, guiding me, pulling me out of all the other pits. This was different and I was in a crisis. I went sobbing to my friend, Mary, who had been there through it all. She was in pain too, in mourning, and I didn’t want to trouble her with my problems at the time but I needed her and she came through. I knew Mary went to see someone a few years before and I got the name of Judy at Peacemakers from her.

I actually felt better even after that first meeting with Judy. She opened my eyes to something that surprised me. I didn’t connect the pieces of everything, but she did. Mary gave me the first step I needed to take. Judy gave me the second step. I hadn’t grieved for my love, hadn’t let go of the guilt. Once I was able to work through that I was on my way to recovery, on the road back to trusting God and feeling Him again. It wasn’t easy and I work at it every day but I did climb out of that pit. And I know there are two special people out there if I ever need them again.

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