I’m writing this in a hot house during August in Texas. (It’s a good thing we Lone Star State gals “glisten” instead of sweat.) Why the perspiration? Well, my air conditioner broke just as our book deadline approached.
When my husband told me the bad news about our favorite appliance, I was not amused. “Lord,” I moaned, “if everything is a test, like Rick Warren says in The Purpose-Driven Life®, I think I’m failing!” (I also added a little prayer and asked that this book sell as well as that one. We’ll see.)
Take my word for it—writing a book about peace is like praying for patience: you don’t want to do it unless you have to! In the year we’ve been working on this compilation, I’ve experienced a difficult pregnancy; a job change; a longer-than expected hospital stay to have the baby (who came six weeks early); problems with both our vehicles; difficulties with hot water heaters, refrigerators, and leaky pipes; and adjustment problems with our firstborn as he adapted to his new little brother.
I thank God that most of the trials were temporary—and that all of them turned out fine. I have so much to be thankful for! Though I’m sometimes stressed, I’m extremely blessed.
So believe me, I am writing as a fellow struggler, not as an expert with all the answers. I definitely need God’s peace to invade my chaotic world on a daily, if not hourly, basis.
And that’s why I asked Laurie to coauthor a book about Groovy Chicks—so we could encourage other women in their journeys through a world spinning out of control. I’ve discovered—mostly by trying (and failing) to find peace in other places—that Jesus is the only way I’ll ever find lasting peace.
“A book on what?” I asked, wondering if I’d understood my writing buddy correctly.
“Peace,” Dena said, her voice soft as though trying not to scare a wild and fragile kitten.
Feeling like Butterfly McQueen in Gone with the Wind, I immediately said, “But I don’t know nuthin’ about peace!”
But before I could take another protesting breath, I felt a breath of a different kind go through me … one of, yes … peace. God was reassuring me that the fact that I felt “peacechallenged” was exactly why we were doing a book on the subject.
It’s funny, but I’ve discovered that I learn about a subject while I write about it. When my thoughts pour out on the page, I find the answers to nagging questions like, “Why can’t I be a size three?” and “Why do I let fear rob me of so many things?” and “Why can’t my yard look like the ones on Curb Appeal?”
And in the writing of this book, I made a tremendous discovery: I’ve had it wrong all these years. I’ve always thought I wasn’t a peaceful person, but I am! Here’s the reason: there is a big difference between contentment and peace. My lack of satisfaction is a contentment issue. Peace is knowing and believing the foundational truth that no matter the circumstance, God is in control of what happens in your life.
Charles Stanley put it this way: “Peace is an inner quality that flows out of a right relationship with God.… It is precisely in the ‘going-through’ stage of any crisis that God’s peace is most clearly manifested to all.” (Finding Peace: God’s Promise of a Life Free from Regret, Anxiety, and Fear, Thomas Nelson, 2003, 22–23.)
And Paul, while in prison, wrote, “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7 ESV). I’d been reading this verse for years, when suddenly I got it—I’m not supposed to understand peace because it surpasses all understanding! That sure takes a load off my mind.
Remember the sixties and seventies, when bell-bottom-clad hippies held up two fingers and said, “Peace, man”? Drugs, free love, and a controversial war made headlines during that tumultuous period. Just take a look around our planet, and you’ll realize things haven’t changed much. The world wanted peace then, and we long for it still. But the only answer to peace has been—and always will be—Jesus Christ.
That’s where the Groovy Chicks, Pepper and Starshine, come in. These two wacky, Jesus-loving hippies are the original Groovy Chicks (they’re also our alter egos, but don’t tell anyone). Starshine and Pepper were born out of our desire to combine speaking, acting, singing, writing, and ministering to women into one Groovalicious package.
The Top 10 Qualities of a Groovy Chick—
10. You love to laugh (especially at yourself!) and see life as a celebration.
9. You know that God cares more about the size of your heart than the size of your jeans.
8. Your wardrobe, accessories, and home decor reflect the real you.
7. You can multitask with the best of them, but you also know the Proverbs 31 woman didn’t do it all in one day.
6. You carve out moments in your busy schedule to spend time with friends and family.
5. You have trouble resisting a bargain, sweet baby, or cute puppy.
4. Your car may be messy, but it’s only because you’re the carpool/soccer/mission trip Volunteer Queen.
3. You appreciate old age, especially if it’s staring you in the face.
2. You’re not a pacifist, but are passionate about life.
And the #1 quality of a Groovy Chick is…
1. You know you are Groovy only because of Christ in you!
Without Jesus, we would be, as Shakespeare said, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” (MacBeth, Act 5, Scene 5). But with Christ in our lives, we can be very Groovy, indeed.
Just listen to what The Message says in Psalm 18:30:
What a God! His road stretches straight and smooth. Every GOD-direction is road-tested. Everyone who runs toward him Makes it.
And who better to take you on the road than two crazy, Godfearing hippies? So pack your bags and hop into our VW bus!
You’ll notice that along with every story, there’s a little bonus or two from Dena (Starshine) or Laurie (Pepper). We hope these sidebars will further encourage you on your road trip to peace.
Pepper’s Pit Stops are road trip guides for the weary or misguided. Or, they might just be really Groovy ideas.
Starshine’s Smile Markers are quotes to inspire you or make you laugh out loud.
Pepper’s Offramps are offbeat road trip exits. Get ready for some really weird stuff, just for the fun of it!
Starshine’s How’s Your InnerState? are thought-provoking questions and journaling prompts. (Do not attempt to do the journaling while driving!)
Lost? Try GPS (God’s Positioning System) are verses on peace straight from the Source—God’s Word.
Well, that’s it. Now fasten your seatbelts, grab some snacks, and join Pepper, Starshine, and a bunch of their Groovy friends on a road trip to peace—peace with God, peace with others, and peace with ourselves.