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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson

10 Years of Shalom

I chose PEACE for my Christmas mantel this year. A glittery splash from the past, chipboard letters that once embellished another home, in another season. It’s our fourth Christmas here at the lake and I knew before pulling boxes out of storage that this would be the perfect year to bring back peace

Ten years since I sat by my Andover fireplace on a Sunday morning, and I told God, “I just don’t think I can do it. I can’t give up my peace.” And that same Sunday He answered me back as clear as bells ringing on an Advent morning. A word and a sermon and a God-breathed vision: 

It’s not peace the way we think of peace. It’s the peace of SHALOM. Wholeness. Completeness. Life made right. Nothing missing, nothing broken.

And I’d known right then I'd have to give up my peace, and choose His shalom instead. 

Ten years. 

Ten years, too, since my dearest friend Barb, now one year deceased, saw the fear in my eyes, not knowing why, but listening certainly to the Spirit’s whisper, uttering her two-word greeting: 

“Sonya, Shalom.” 

How else could she have known?

And so it was, a decade ago, we stepped out of the boat and onto His Peace-Shalom waters, starting our journey to adopting our sons. Felipe and Jimmy.

This past summer the youngest of my shalom boys got himself married. How in the world does one go from being a brand-new son to a married man in less than a decade? Every time I see my Jimmy I wrap arms around his tall lanky self and I look all the way up into those chocolate brown eyes and I hold him tight. “Two skinny brothers.” That’s what God whispered, a decade ago. Two skinny brothers, from all the others. Chosen for us. 

Sometime in those first years of us being family, and all of us trading our temporary peace for Peace Eternal, I heard another definition and I wrote it down: 

May you fulfill everything God has made you to be. This is shalom. 

This was a word from Jeremiah 29:11—For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

That word “prosper” is also the Hebrew SHALOM. Plans to shalom you… Jeremiah 29:11. The exact shalom reference our Jimmy chose to ink forever on the very flesh of his forearm. 

Ten years. No time at all, and yet a lifetime. 

May you fulfill everything God has made you to be… The older of our two shalom sons is a university student back in Colombia, and we watch God’s plans unfolding in Felipe’s life, too. Plans to prosper… 

My very brave husband spent most of November working in the country where this whole story began. Four weeks he trained a Colombian team in the very city where we once stood in unending lines and signed reams of papers and made it all official. One long weekend, Kyle and Felipe traveled together back to Yopal—their childhood town. Father and son stayed in the exact hotel where our family of seven spent those first fear-filled days. Not peace the way we think of peace. And no kidding. 

But the peace of shalom. 

Shalom Sons. 

Someday I hope to write a book about it. Someday when it’s time, I’ll write their story, and I’ll write mine… Ours. Our family story. God’s too. God’s big vision of Shalom. Someday, I hope. 

And in the meantime I will keep on learning what it means in each season to live fully in the vision of this many-layered word. 






Nothing missing, nothing broken.

Life made right. 

May you fulfill everything God has made you to be. This is shalom. 

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Dec 01, 2023

I love this so so much! Shalom

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