This throwback is coming out from the archives. Take a walk down memory lane with me. I’m going to share a story with you about a special woman, pickles, and how it relates to peace that only Jesus brings.
As I think back to my childhood and where I first placed my identity, being a “pickle peacemaker” comes to mind. More often than not, when I think about how I show up for my friends and family, or how I want to be seen by others; “the peacemaker” has always been my first choice.
For context; in elementary school, the guidance counselor’s name was Mrs. PW, short for “The Pickle Woman”.
This woman had a green office covered in pickle puppets, jars of pickles on the shelves, green pickle earrings, a wardrobe full of green outfits, and the best pickle playlist I’ve ever heard. Yes, there was a CD with multiple pickle tracks.
At an early age, Mrs. Dee Price Williams instilled in our spongelike brains the correlation between good citizenship, pickles, and the importance of being a person of peace.
She would do this by way of pickle points towards our class if we were collectively well-behaved. Accumulating enough pickles as there were students in the class would result in a pickle party. The pickle parties consisted of playing with pickle puppets, reading stories, and of course, eating pickles.
Teachers would pick a student whom they recognized for note-worthy citizenship and they would be given the “Pickle Peacemaker” button. If I remember correctly, I received the button a couple of times. An honor, a privilege, and an opportunity to go to a private party in Mrs. PW’s pickle office.
SIGN ME UP.
The “Pickle Peacemakers” would gather from all grades and classes. Mrs. PW would congratulate us, and then challenge us with the charge of continuing to be a peacemaker after the recognition.
It may seem silly, but it stuck.
It was from those early years, that I knew I wanted to be a peacemaker when I grew up.
As I’ve grown deeper in my faith, I’ve learned that being a “peacemaker” is not for the faint of heart. Reading about Jesus, I learned that He was known as the Prince of Peace. An encouraging name for someone who was persecuted from the start.
I didn’t know much about Jesus growing up, other than He was a good man with a good heart. My values and identity seemed to align with His ways even though Jesus and I’s relationship was still miles apart.
I thank God for Mrs. PW’s teaching, pickles, and being named the “Pickle Peacemaker”. For I see it now as one of the seeds Jesus planted, and how Mrs. PW’s influence nurtured those early roots at the start.
The book of Matthew talks of a teaching where Jesus speaks over the people in the Sermon on the Mount. In that teaching, He shares 8 Beatitudes. (Matthew 5:3-10) A series of blessings God promises to those who allow Him to transform their heart.
Matthew 5:9 says, “God blessed those who work for peace, for they will be called children of God.”
Little did I know in my younger years, God was using the “Pickle Peacemaker” button to encourage me along the journey of peace-making. You and I both know that working towards peace is not a sustainable job for just one. It takes collaboration, hard work, and encouragement all along.
I’m not opposed to conflict, though it’s taken years of practice to become comfortable with having challenging conversations that surround it. I’ll go to great lengths, sometimes at my own expense, to find a compromise or make amends.
This scripture stuck out to me for more reasons than one. While studying the Beatitudes, I see the deeper meaning in this particular one. It speaks to my identity in Christ and the identity I associated with even when I was young.
God is at work in all things. (Romans 8:28) God blesses those who work for peace.
The best part about God’s work in you, no matter where you are in your faith or age, is that it has already begun.
My challenge to you is to examine God’s work. The work He already has started in YOU! May you find blessing through His word or the words of others; and may you leave just as encouraged by Mrs. PW.
Pickle peace to you my friends, till next time.
Local Pulse Staff Writer & Holy Moments Columnist, Makenna Curtis