A Box Full of Kittens.

It feels as if it has been forever since I’ve written anything.  It’s not that things haven’t been happening, but it’s hard to know how to put into words the subtle reminders I get of God’s grace, and plan for my life.  But, I thought I would try with a story about something that has happened in my life recently.  This something only reiterates for me how important it is to trust in Him, to really give my problems and worries up to Him and let Him work His will in your life.

I have been struggling with a situation in my life that has been looming over me and causing me quite a bit of stress and not stress at the same time, because the solution I ultimately came to was; something that makes me feel bad about myself, probably isn’t good for me to have in my life.  I prayed about this particular situation quite a bit, and in recognition of my goal to let go of misplaced feelings of guilt for 2019, I had basically put it into a box and moved on.

But as I’m sure you are all aware.  You can put something into a box all you want.  That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to stay there.  And of course, my box popped open and I was again faced with the stress and confusion of this particular situation.  I just sat there feeling like I really didn’t know how I was going to handle it.  But each day, since I put that monster in it’s box, I spent time in prayer and reading and meditation.  And guess what? God responded.  My bible readings were about trust, my devotionals were about trust and almost every single quote that came up on my daily bible app was about trust.  Here’s an example…

In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.  Philippians 4:6

or how about this…

For God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control.  2 Timothy 1:7

God heard my prayers, and reassured me with his presence, and his word that I didn’t need to worry.  He had it.  With the confidence that I believe can only come from the faith of knowing that your Father in heaven has your back and only wants what is good for you, I prepared myself to face the contents of my box.  And what did I find when I opened it?

The great big scary monster I anticipated facing, was a sweet little kitten.  I trusted in God, I put my faith in Him, and in His time, in His way, he fought my monster for me, and there was nothing left for me to face but love.

God is good, and if you can find it in yourself to give him your box, you might find that he’s more than capable of turning your monsters into kittens too.  Or chocolate…whatever works for you.

God bless,

Meredith

 

 

The Heart of Man

Last night I watched the most incredible documentary/movie on Netflix.  It was called “The Heart of Man”…the story of the prodigal son.

I don’t know how to describe this movie.  It is so incredibly well shot. The imagery is perfectly balanced and poignant.  While the movie focuses specifically on an addiction, it’s messages about shame, and the darkness we feel when we believe our behavior will   bring God’s judgement upon us, are messages that we all need to hear.

As someone who has been open about my own journey about not living up to expectations and guilt, the idea of letting go of the shame of not being the perfect person you think God wants you to be is liberating and powerful, and although part of my journey this month has been embracing this, I feel as if this movie reiterated that point for me.

I want to share with you with a few quotes that I found especially powerful and the Cory Asbury song from the end of the movie.

“I wonder if one of the greatest truths that I and men like me might hear is that God is with me in my darkness, that God is with me in my shame, and that He’s with me in my addiction, in my pain, in my unsettledness, in my woundedness, that I don’t want anybody else to see.”

” When He calls us a saint, he makes an incredible statement about us, we are no longer defined by being a sinner…and we have a choice.  I can continue on the way I have been going, or I can make a choice, in time, when I say God, this is who you say I am.  I am Your beloved and I am new, and I am good.”

“The way home, every single time, is this.  After my worst failure, after I am convinced this time I have gone too far and destroyed too much, I must believe who God says I am.  I am not defined by my erratic behaviors, but by something so much deeper, infinitely strong, and constant.  I am a new creature.”

 

Held Down By Marriage.

I recently saw an advertisement for a television show that disturbed me greatly for one particular line.  It said something to the effect that marriage was an institution designed to keep women down.  How sad that line mad me feel.  How completely the opposite of that has been my marriage and the marriage of my friends.  So let me simply say this as a response to that.

That line was written by someone who doesn’t really understand women’s rights.  My ability to be true to who, and what I am, is absolutely and completely defined by me. Not by my husband or my marriage.

How blessed am I to have a life-time companion who cheers my successes as if they were his own and gives me the freedom to take risks and make mistakes?

How blessed am I to have a person who will lifts me up when I fall down?

How blessed am I to be married to a person who listens to, and respects and values my opinion more than any other in his life?

YOU define your relationships, and marriage, just like a friendship, is as much about what you put into it as what you get out of it.

Sure, one hundred years ago, in the days before woman had the vote and equal rights, in the days when women were considered property; maybe then marriage was an institution that kept women down, or maybe it was a place where they could be safe and valued.  But in 2019?  Today marriage between two people who love and support one another can be a place for a woman, or a man, to fly.

Personally, I think more people should try it.  And when times get hard…I think more people should stick with it, because it’s only through those times of diversity, through working out your differences that you come to know and love each other even more deeply.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been divorced.  But when you find that person…your person…there is no problem you can’t work through.  No hurt you can’t overcome.

Marriage is a covenant made by two people to love and cherish each other.  If that is keeping me down…then I don’t ever want to be up.

God bless,

Meredith

So Good to Me

I’m stealing the title of a Zack Williams song tonight for my blog because I can’t come up with any better way to saying how I feel.

January has been a month of crossroads and revelations for me personally and, I think, in some ways for our family as well.  This month I have had to make difficult decisions about some of my personal relationships. This month I have struggled with a wavering belief in my own sense of competency.  This month I have been faced with choices of motherhood or career.

But this month, as I promised myself I would, I persevered in my faith.  In times where I felt distant from God, I didn’t lay blame…not on myself, or on God.  In times when I felt low, I focused on my heavenly Father.  I stuck to my daily bible study of praise and  repeating and believing in my heart the idea and mantra, “Praise the Lord, O my soul.”    And, as he promised I would, in his time, I can clearly see God’s work in my life over the last month.

I can honestly say that January is a month in which I’ve had to made difficult decisions, but I have done them with a prayerful heart, filled with thanksgiving for the blessings God has given me.  And today God revealed how he has been working for me, even when I was unaware.  God is so good…so good to me.

If you are reading this blog and thinking to yourself, I know exactly how you feel, Meredith, then I am so thankful that you have come to know our Lord.  But if you are reading this and wishing that you could have this too; this knowledge, this certainty that God is working in your heart, in your life…then tonight is the night I tell you that you absolutely can.  You aren’t joining a cult, you aren’t going to lose who and what you are and you definitely don’t need to be afraid.  Fear is evil’s way of keeping you from knowing God.

If you want to know the certainty that I have experienced this month, then I give you Romans 8:31.  “What then shall we say in response to these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us?”  WHO CAN BE AGAINST US!!!  God is for all of us.  For you and for me.  He is just waiting for you to open the door of your heart and invite him in.

God bless,

Meredith   (Here is the audio track for that Zack Williams song below)

What kind of vessel are you?

The Chosen Vessel

The Master was searching for a vessel to use;
On the shelf there were many – which one would He choose?
Take me, cried the gold one, I’m shiny and bright,
I’m of great value and I do things just right.
My beauty and luster will outshine the rest
And for someone like You, Master, gold would be the best!

The Master passed on with no word at all;
He looked at a silver urn, narrow and tall;
I’ll serve You, dear Master, I’ll pour out Your wine
And I’ll be at Your table whenever You dine,
My lines are so graceful, my carvings so true,
And my silver will always compliment You.

Unheeding the Master passed on to the brass,
It was widemouthed and shallow, and polished like glass.
Here! Here! cried the vessel, I know I will do,
Place me on Your table for all men to view.

Look at me, called the goblet of crystal so clear,
My transparency shows my contents so dear,
Though fragile am I, I will serve You with pride,
And I’m sure I’ll be happy in Your house to abide.

The Master came next to a vessel of wood,
Polished and carved, it solidly stood.
You may use me, dear Master, the wooden bowl said,
But I’d rather You used me for fruit, not for bread!

Then the Master looked down and saw a vessel of clay.
Empty and broken it helplessly lay.
No hope had the vessel that the Master might choose,
To cleanse and make whole, to fill and to use.

Ah! This is the vessel I’ve been hoping to find,
I will mend and use it and make it all Mine.
I need not the vessel with pride of its self;
Nor the one who is narrow to sit on the shelf;
Nor the one who is big-mouthed and shallow and loud;
Nor one who displays his contents so proud;
Not the one who thinks he can do all things just right;
But this plain earthy vessel filled with My power and might.

Then gently He lifted the vessel of clay.
Mended and cleansed it and filled it that day.
Spoke to it kindly. There’s work you must do,
Just pour out to others as I pour into you.

By Beulah V. Cornwall

Renewal!

I don’t very often get an opportunity like I had tonight.  Dave and Isaac have gone to Wainwright, Alberta to visit his sister for the next five days.  I have a lot of plans for the next few days…clean the house (that’s an early one so that it will stay clean for the entire time they are gone), finish a script I am working on (it’s due on the 31st so that was a given) and tonight God surprised me with the following…renew my faith.

I posted this morning that I was going to spend some time meditating and I absolutely did.  What I didn’t expect was God’s response.

Tonight I had an amazing visit with Hayden full of giggles and belly laughs and then I had such a sweet dinner with Everett.  I can’t remember the last time we had dinner together, just the two of us.  My heart was already full when I sat down after dinner to relax with a show.  It’s been a long time since I have watched a faith based show or movie, but tonight I felt drawn to watch “Risen” on Netflix.

There is something special about watching a movie that you can feel God’s hand in.  When you are finished you feel lifted up, renewed in your faith.  We may not be blessed to have the experience of actually walking with Jesus, but for the first time in centuries we are absolutely blessed to be able to experience faith based, cinematic interpretations of the gospel.  And as I sat there, finding myself imaging the experiences of those involved in the discovery of that empty tomb, all I could think was how great is our God.  Our God, who in 2019 provides us with so many ways to experience his gospel.

I can’t praise more highly the movie makers, the song writers, the authors, the producers of amazing internet content.  I can only pray that someday, something I write inspires others the way their work has inspired me.

By the end of my movie tonight I was on my knees, just as I am for every movie that reminds me of the incredible love and sacrifice of my lord and savior, Jesus Christ. Tonight I am singing at the top of my lungs to my favorite songs and lifting my arms in praise to the Lord of this glorious world we live in who loves us more that we can possibly imagine.

Here are movies/shows I have watched that have touched or inspired me:

Risen

The Case for Christ

War Room

The Passion of the Christ (obviously)

I Can Only Imagine

Heaven is for Real

Son of God

Paul, Apostle of Christ

AD Kingdom and Empire

The Shack

The God’s Not Dead series (not every movie is amazing, but the message is so powerful)

If you want a list of songs that I find inspiring (aka what I am listening to tonight) feel free to check out my playlists on Apple Music.

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/playlist/merediths-playlist-11-12-18/pl.u-pMyl1DbIBvrGZ

I hope and pray for everyone to have the life altering experience of the love and joy of knowing Jesus Christ.

God bless,

Meredith

Just do nothing at all.

Do you ever feel as if you aren’t doing enough?  At different times I have felt that in my work, my parenting, my marriage and my relationship with God.  It is natural to have expectations for yourself.  But how do you deal with it when you fall short, how easily do you recognize it?  Isn’t it so much easier to recognize the shortcomings of those around us?

Right now, as I’m trying to understand where God wants me to go in my relationship with him, I feel as if I’m falling short.  I feel as if I should be doing something more;  more praying, reading, writing.  The one thing I always seem to forget to do more of though is to be still, to be silent, to listen.  We live in such a task/results oriented world that it is challenging to believe that you can move forward faster by just sitting still.

This month I have been reading Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.  Today’s reading included the following:  “Your part is to yield to My creative work in you, neither resisting it nor trying to speed it up.  Enjoy the tempo of a God-breathed life by letting Me set the pace.  Hold My hand in childlike trust, and the way before you will open up step by step.”  

In a previous day’s reading she wrote “There is a better way to prepare for whatever you will encounter today; spend quality time with Me. …walk through this day with your focus on me.” 

I feel as if this month has been a month of my heavenly Father telling me to be patient, to slow down and to focus on him, and that by doing that, by directing my heart and my soul and my mind toward Him, I will find I have all the time I need.  Patience was my word for this year and every day God reminds me what that looks like, in a life lived with Him and in Him.

It’s easier said than done though.  Mediation for me is especially hard, clearing out my mind of all of the worries and checklists and things still undone.  It’s something I don’t enough of.  It’s also something I feel called to do often, but ignore…just focusing on and being in God’s presence.  I tell myself hey, I’m praying, reading the bible, devotionals, listening to and singing songs of praise, that should be enough.  But in all of those things I am doing something active.  What I’m not doing is sitting down and taking time to just be.  To listen and hear what God is trying to tell me.

Today I’m going put aside some time to meditate with the phrase,

Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ, (inhale) calm my thoughts that I might hear you (exhale).

God Bless,

Meredith