Snapshots, Steep Trails, and Sofas

Over the holidays, I had the opportunity to look through some old family photos and relive some of our favorite memories. In looking through mounds of pictures, I came across a photo from years ago. It was a snapshot of me with sons, Joshua and Shane, on an old sofa. Sounds like just an average photo for the family album, right? All I can say is that you may want to hold that thought until you’ve heard the rest of the story!

On one of our family dirt bike adventures, we traveled up a quiet trail in a mountainous area. The path was obscure, and much too rocky and steep for passenger vehicles. The further we traveled, the harder it was to escape the feeling that we were ascending to a place “where no man had gone before.”

When we finally arrived, the scenery was beautiful – breathtaking, really. Then, we observed something quite unexpected. Lo and behold, there was an old sofa sitting in that secluded place! How did it get there? We’ll never know, but it defied any notion that we had discovered something new or accomplished a feat no one else had achieved. To commemorate the moment, the boys and I piled on the sofa, clad in our dirt bike gear, while Terri snapped a picture for the photo album. To this day, this is one of our favorite family outings, and a memory I’ll always treasure.

As I reflect on this in the context of our peacemaking journey, I am reminded of the fact that sometimes the path we travel will be difficult. While our challenges are intensely personal, there’s no doubt that others have experienced the same kind of hurts, the same kind of challenges. Yet, somehow others have made it – and sometimes with heavier burdens in tow!

Final thoughts…

I know many of you have experienced deep conflict that has left your relationships in a state of disaster and your hearts in a state of brokenness. You’ve been traveling a difficult road to peace, and you may be worn down and tired. There may not be a sofa waiting for you along the steep trail, but there is an invitation from our compassionate Heavenly Father. He says to you, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,” (Matthew 11:28, NIV). Take a seat at the feet of the Savior, and let Him renew your strength as you continue along The Path of a Peacemaker.

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Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries

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Trusting Through Twists and Turns

Terri and I have lived in three mountain states, and have had the privilege of enjoying nature’s beauty at its very best. The big blue skies, the expansive lakes, the soaring mountains, and the shimmering aspen contrasted against the deep evergreen trees are all part of the breathtaking scenery that has become synonymous with these beautiful places we have called home.

Sometimes as I look up at the mountains, I am reminded of those times in my life that could be called “mountain top experiences.” I recall those moments when I have felt closest to God, or when I have seen His blessings or experienced tremendous victories as a result of the work He has done in my life.

Yet, for anyone who has traveled up the side of a mountain, you know the journey to the top is steep, and the narrow paths are filled with many twists and turns. The same has been true in my life and peacemaking journey. Many times, the trip to the top, while filled with great joy and blessing, has required a lot of effort and posed tremendous challenges, too.

Whether your peacemaking journey has been relatively easy, or has required much more patience and perseverance, the best way to travel it is to let the Savior lead the way: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight,” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Final thoughts…

If you feel that you’ve faithfully walked the path of peace, yet find that your relational issues are still overwhelming, don’t despair. The God who is faithful to meet your needs in every other area of life, knows the road behind you and the twists and turns on the path just ahead. So, trust Him. He’s got this – and He’s got you.

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Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries

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So You’re Lost – What Now?

Through the years, I have experienced times when I’ve done my best to follow the road map to peace, yet found myself somewhere altogether different than my planned destination. In those moments when my efforts to reconcile a relationship have led me to a place other than peace, sometimes my heart has been filled with so much angst and so many questions: Where am I? How did I get here? What now?

 If ever you find yourself lost or disoriented on the path to peace, you have two basic choices – take action or do nothing at all. Sadly, when overcome by frustration or fear of continued failure, sometimes we make the latter choice.

When we find ourselves in this situation, ironically enough, the first step forward often begins with a giant step back. It means starting over at the beginning, taking time to ascend to the Father, reflect on our role in the situation, and trying to connect once more with our brother or sister. The purpose in all of this is to seek God’s heart, evaluate our situation, and strive to understand: What have I missed? What have I learned that I didn’t know before? What new healthy and unhealthy tensions have been uncovered in the peacemaking process?

 Final thoughts…

 At one time or another, most of us have allowed failure, or our fear of failure, to negatively impact our relationships and reconciliation efforts. In some cases, if at first we don’t succeed, we refuse to try again. To be sure, we will all experience some stumbling and missteps in our journey to peace. If we are wise, we won’t let these setbacks deter us from our continued pursuit of peace with God and our fellow man.

If you find yourself lost – or maybe just a little stuck – in your peacemaking journey, I urge you to not let the failures of the past define your future. Instead, follow the footsteps of the One who walked a difficult road to reconcile your heart back to His own.

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Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries

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Enjoying the Journey

In looking back on the past year, I have contemplated some successes and shortcomings I’ve experienced while traveling the path to which God has called me. Some moments have been enjoyable to relive, while others leave me longing for a chance to go back and make a different decision – a better choice. Perhaps you can relate.

As a peacemaker, I’ve encountered my fair share of “bumps in the road.” To be sure, there have been moments when I’ve been tempted to take short cuts or turn back. Yet, whenever I stay the course, I find that beauty and blessing often accompanies me along the path of peace.

In reflecting on my journey, I am reminded of my years as a corporate leader with Harley-Davidson. At one point in time, there were those within the leadership team who thought we needed to produce faster motorcycles to “keep up” with other brands on the market. In the midst of these discussions, a sage old motorcycle rider and business man proclaimed, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” He went on to say, “If getting there were all that mattered we would take the fastest motorcycle and ride the fastest route to get to our destination. But often times, the slower or longer route will provide more beauty, more opportunity for experience, memories, learning, and enjoyment.”

The same is true as we walk along the Path of a Peacemaker. There’s no doubt that The Path will present challenges. Yet, the richest lessons are often learned when we’ll take the time to slow down and savor the journey. While it’s tempting to focus solely on the destination (peace), if we don’t rush we’ll find that we have greater opportunities to experience the growth, fellowship, and wisdom that come from exercising humility, living out our faith, and extending and receiving grace. It is rewarding to reach a place of peace, but let’s not forget to enjoy the journey as together we walk The Path of a Peacemaker.

Final Thoughts…

Before another year slips away, I’d encourage you to take time to reflect on what God has done in your peacemaking pilgrimage. What obstacles have you faced? What lessons have you learned? Whose lives did you touch – and whose lives touched yours? What joys did you experience along the way? I urge you to share your story with a friend, and encourage one another with the blessings you’ve experienced in the peacemaking journey!

As we continue to travel The Path together, perhaps you’d consider helping to bring others along with us.Your donation to Peacemaker Ministries makes this possible. If you are willing, I ask you to prayerfully consider making a financial gift to the ministry as we move ahead in 2016.

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Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries

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