Anxiety, fear, depression, anger, and confusion marked Keri Loughlin’s life for thirty years before she met Jesus. “God’s peace transformed me.” She said. “As I walk with God, I have unlimited peace.” She continued. “The peace of God is a precious treasure to me; it’s what helped me acknowledge and receive Christ’s love.”
Keri is a hospice nurse and Elder at Ventura Missionary Church who has been squeezed by life’s circumstances during the Covid-19 crisis in the same ways many of us have experienced. Financially, she’s unable to see as many patients as before, resulting in a substantial pay cut. Her daughter’s wedding plans were turned upside down. Keri has been stretched emotionally and challenged spiritually with all the changes this time entails. Yet, what’s coming out as Keri is squeezed are: trust in God’s provision, peace, patience, joy, love, and an increased passion for God and His truth. In fact, the wedding vendors even commented on how refreshing it was to work with their family as their responses to each change in the carefully crafted wedding plans were surprisingly flexible and, there’s that word again, peaceful.
So, what's Keri's secret to living a life marked by peace? "I am intentional about staying in step with the Holy Spirit," she said. John 15:5 reads, "I am the Vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing." Keri stays connected with God in three main ways: 1) Prayer, 2) Reading His Word, and 3) Taking every thought captive.
Keri said, "My relationship with God is a dialogue that continues with no end. I enjoy an ongoing conversation with Him throughout the day and even through the night." In addition to prayer, God has given Keri a passion for His Word, the Bible. She said, "As I read it, I am intentional about allowing Him to guide me and point the treasures out for me each day. These treasures that are laid out before me, have changed my life." She goes on to say, "Between prayer and God's Word, I run everything through the Holy Spirit, even down to opening my mouth to give 'my' opinion or ideas on a subject. The peace and self-control I experience from these practices, allow me to hear from Him clearly and respond accordingly." She continued to say, "If I'm not at peace, it's because I'm not walking in step with the Holy Spirit."
Once Keri experienced God’s peace in her life, she held onto it with both hands. She’s learned that to keep her mind peaceful, she must stay alert and take every thought captive as described in 2 Corinthians 10: 3:5, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Keri recognizes when anxiety, fear, depression, anger, and confusion are prowling around her, seeking to devour her and steal her God-given peace. She said, “The enemy (Satan) wants us to believe his lies, so he will fill our minds with ones that produce fear, chaos, confusion and division, but in 1 Corinthians 14:33 we’re told that our God is ‘not a God of disorder but peace.’”
Keri is an example of the transforming love of Jesus. Once ridden with anxiety, Keri is now known as a person filled with peace - God's peace.