When I think of journeying in Shalom, I think of our move to Redding. Growing up a military kid, I moved around the country and overseas numerous times. Since I’ve been married, we’ve lived in 5 states and moved 9 times. We are the model transient family. Each move has brought challenges and joys, sometimes more the former than the latter. From the moment we decided to move our family of 5 to Redding I’ve simply been at peace. Each time I got close to stressing out, problems had a way of just resolving themselves. I didn’t understand it at first. I’ve stressed out about the little stuff for so long that I almost missed the angst. The first person we met in Redding (outside of coworkers) was Jo Campbell. She instantly made me feel welcome. Ironically, we didn’t even talk about visiting Redding First at that initial meeting. We just talked about our move, our transition and our families. After talking for a few weeks, I felt compelled to ask about her church and to make a point of visiting. That first visit was all it took. My husband and I were just comfortable. An overwhelming peace settled in my spirit. We were physically settling into this new city, several thousand miles away from family, and finding Redding First settled my soul. When I think of Shalom, I recall the feeling of peace that I get knowing that we are living God’s plan. When I didn’t even realize He was working in our lives, He was.

I’ve heard of Shalom before now, after all, I grew up in the Church. But until now I don’t think I knew what it meant to look at it as active rather than passive. All this time I was expecting God to throw peace onto me, kind of like a blanket, at some arbitrary time in the future that only he was aware of. If I kept doing the right thing and going to Church, I would just feel it one day, all the while questioning whether I would know it once I felt it. Now I see Shalom differently. For me, Shalom is not only experiencing God’s peace, but taking the next step of being that peace for others. I don’t always have the right answers, and don’t always do the right things, but living my life in a way that others know without a doubt that I am a child of God is my journey with Shalom. My purpose on earth is not to judge or condemn others, but rather to be an example through which others may discover the peace of Christ. We don’t always know what God has in store for us, or whether we’ll like it. In fact I find that most of the best things God has led me through has begun forebodingly. I also find that oftentimes our own trials are linked to others, either professionally, socially, emotionally or genetically. We don’t have to agree with each other or approve of each other’s life choices in order to be a blessing to someone else. And that’s what I want to do… be a blessing to someone else. I want to exude the Shalom that God has allowed me to experience and be a source of comfort. I simply want to share the peace.

Janelle Galbraith attends the Door with her husband Tom, and she’s the mother Elena, Olivia and Mia. In addition to her love of writing, and training at Sun Oaks Janelle works as an educator in Redding.