Hello, my name is Kendy Miller, and I am the ACM for Care and Connection for Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. And I am happy to be bringing you a vlog message today. Thank you for taking the time to listen.

The world feels unsettled. There’s a general feeling of a lack of stability. What once was stable is now crumbling. What we could trust 10 years ago, no longer feels trustworthy.

The sense of being constantly disoriented causes the whole world to swell with anxiety. And we know that anxiety, at least prolonged widespread anxiety, doesn’t lend itself to healthy systems, healthy relationships, institutions, families. It’s hard to find a place of stability right now.

I want to share with you a couple of the ways that the world feels unsettling to me currently. And I invite you to reflect on the ways that the world feels unsettling to you at this time. For me, my heart breaks over Ukraine and the suffering happening there. I’m unsettled about the fact that violence is seen as acceptable, especially from people and entities that use the name, Christian. I am desperately angry about the laws being enacted that actively harm our LGBTQIA brothers and sisters and children in this nation. I’m heartbroken that sexual violence continues to damage the hearts and lives of women, children, and men around the world. I lament the lack of inclusion of differently abled people in the workforce, leaving many without a way to make a living or even provide for their basic needs, while the mega rich only get richer.

These things are heavy and they seem to hit me all at once every single day. But, I want to assure you, to promise you that there is a place of stability for each and every one of us, regardless of the horrors, tragedies, heartbreaks and disappointments we face on the regular. The place of stability is the divine spark of God within you. We all have it. For me, it sits in my heart area. This is a place that is holy and divine and untouched by the world. It is pure love and that I can access it every day. I can notice it, rest in it, turn my focus toward it, and weep for the gift of it. It is from this place that we find hope, that we find the strength to be kind to those who are unkind to us.

You are invited to find this place within yourself. Get to know it, if you haven’t felt it in a while. Nurture it. Let it become. It is from this place of knowing deep within that we can love well, outward. Thomas Merton wrote in Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, “At the center of our being is a point of nothingness, which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark, which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes of our lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will. This little point of nothingness and of absolute poverty is the pure glory of God in us. It is like a pure diamond blazing with the invisible light of heaven. It is in everybody. And if we could see it, we would see these billions of points of light coming together in the face and blaze of a sun that would make all the darkness and cruelty of life vanish completely. I have no program for this seeing, it is only given that the gate of heaven is everywhere. May it be so.”

Each month in our staff vlogs, we are highlighting resources for you to check out as inspiration strikes. And this month, I wanted to highlight our abuse prevention resources. In other denominations, these and similar resources are called safe sanctuaries. promise to protect, church protection resources and safe church. All of these resources mandate background checks for church volunteers, offer tools and training to end bullying and sexual abuse in churches, and are required by our insurance boards for risk management. If your church has abuse prevention policies in place, great. If you have talked about it, but haven’t yet written the policies, please reach out to one of the conference staff for next steps. Thank you for taking abuse prevention seriously, as one of the ways you can love one another well.