I Love You More!

I had a conversation this past Sunday with my Sunday school class about the difference between making something and creating something.  Making means you have all the ingredients at your disposal.  You “make” a loaf of bread you don’t create it.  To create means to make something out of nothing.  What I didn’t realize during that conversation was how God would bring that idea back around to me this week.

I said the usual good night to my boys last night, “I love you, Everett”.   He responded, as he sometimes does “I love you more.”

“Not possible”  I replied.  “How do you know?”  he joked with me.

“Because I grew you inside of me” was my response.  And in my heart I felt it…at that moment…the enormity of that statement… Because I heard your heart beat before you did.  Because I felt your tiny fluttered movements before you could hear sound or perceive light.  Because I knew when you slept, and when you were awake even before you took your first breath.

What a glimpse of the glory and magic of creation God has given us with our children, and what a gift he has given to us as women.  Within our bodies, and as couples we are given a gift…the ability to create something from nothing.

And as I think about how intense and enormous my love for my children is, I can’t help but also reflect on the intensity, the enormity, the gloriousness of God’s love for us, his children (something created out of nothing).  As that awareness washed over me last night, I suddenly found a peace.

God is with me. Always.

This journey that I have been on this year is all a part of his plan for me. True, I can’t always see how, but I refuse to believe that it will be anything but beautiful.  I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but do any of us ever really? All we can do is put our trust in our heavenly Father and believe that He has far more control over our outcomes than we ever could. We can take comfort in the many and abundant ways He reaches out to us constantly, to show us how much he loves us.  And I truly believe that children are one of his biggest gifts to us, because they give us a glimpse at what it truly means to love completely and unconditionally.

This isn’t the first time I’ve featured this video on my blog, but I can’t help but feel it’s appropriateness for today.

God bless,

Meredith

Today I am just feeling very moved to share a few passages from my bible reading today.  They spoke to my heart in a profound way about the God’s truth and purpose for us.

The first line that really stood out for me was talking about Jesus,  that all things were created by him and for him….and in him all things hold together.”  Colossians 1:16,17  It’s a really profound statement when you think about it.  All things, that includes you and I.  We weren’t just created by God/Jesus, we were created FOR God/Jesus.  Me!  I was made for Jesus.  It moves me to tears just thinking about it.  It makes me feel special and loved which I think is exactly the purpose.

Think about it this way, why do we have children?  I would attest that it is because we want to share our love, our knowledge, our heritage, because we want to leave a part of ourselves behind.  We have children even knowing that they have the power to break our hearts, to reject us.  We do it because they also have the power to bring us unconditional love and joy.   I can only imagine that those feelings must be a shadow of the reason behind why God chose to create mankind, even knowing that we would turn our backs on him and commit acts of terror and violence against his creation and ourselves.  Why?  Because he had so much love to share that it could only be expressed through the creation of mankind.  He created us FOR him.  For him to love us.

I think another powerful statement is that “in him all things hold together”.  Now I’ve had my share of “I’m going to fall apart” moments over the last year and I’m pretty sure I’m going to continue to have them.  And I guess that’s where this phrase really resonates for me, because during those moments, I have felt God holding me together.  I have found reassurance in the knowledge that God has a plan for my life, and that, even though I can’t see it, he is holding the strands of my life’s tapestry in his hands and weaving them all together, into something beautiful.  And one day I am going to look down at the completed piece and think wow!  this beautiful thing…this is how God saw me.

The final verse that I wanted to share today is Colossians 1:19  For God was pleased to have his fullness dwell in him (Jesus) and through him (Jesus) to reconcile to himself all things…”

God made us through and for Jesus. Then, when we strayed from his plans, when we broke his heart, instead of turning his back on us, he used that very same son, the one he made us through and for to reconcile us. What a powerful message of unconditional love and forgiveness.  As a parent it is definitely something to aspire to.

I know today’s blog wasn’t typical for me, but it’s what I felt moved to share, so perhaps if you are still reading this, it’s a message God wants you to have too.

God bless.

Meredith

 

God Bless the Children.

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:13

Having a relationship with God isn’t always easy.  There are lots of times that I feel as if I’m not strong enough for the things he’s asking me to do, for the challenges I’m facing, and believe me, this year I’ve had my share.  But I have come to learn that God will always be there for us, we just have to choose to let him. And often times those moments that seem the darkest, turn out to be our greatest blessings.

As the parent of a child with significant special needs, and a drive to seriously hurt himself, there are many times when I have looked up and cried out to God, “why”?!  My heart breaks every time I’m not fast enough to stop Hayden from punching himself or when I hear from staff that Hayden has hit his head again.  (There’s a reason he wears a hockey helmet.)  But if I have learned anything these last 18 years, it is that Hayden’s life has purpose and it isn’t always about me.  By choosing to let go of him, by allowing other people into his life to help him, I know that God has used him to change lives and I’m sure he will continue to do so.

I read an article this weekend about how God measures productivity.  Many of us live with the mindset that we need to get as much done as possible in as little time as possible.  I am no exception and especially before my accident, I would often feel guilty if I wasn’t going at full speed. But, the point of this article was that maybe sometimes we need to sit in traffic, to be late, to not get something done.  It isn’t always given to us to know how the actions and events in our lives ripple out to affect other people.  That’s part of trusting in God.

When we are children, it is the responsibility of our parents to guide us and protect us from things that we aren’t cognitively or emotionally aware of.  Don’t you think it’s possible that God does the same thing for us? Maybe he’s protecting us when we are waiting at that red light or we get delayed in the drive-thru. If there is a God out there capable of creating the universe and everything in it from a vast emptiness (and I sincerely believe that there is) then he is more than capable of being able to love and care for each one of us individually.

It isn’t always given to us to know why bad things happen in our lives, but if we trust in our Father (just as we hope our children trust in us) then I know it is possible for him to make everything for our good. And, just as we are there for our children, giving them strength through their hurts and disappointments, there is nothing we can’t do, or get through with Him who gives us strength.

God bless,

Meredith

You Have to Knock.

September has arrived and school is back in session.  For me that means Isaac and I are sitting down to our first full year of home schooling.  He’s in grade six now and I’ve decided this year to assign blocks of time and then anything he doesn’t get done in that block means he has homework, if he gets done early, it’s free time.  So far it seems to be working.  I definitely feel less pressure to get through things quickly.

I think in one of my last blog posts I talked about God lighting up the way like a runway.  As if to confirm that for me, over the last week I have had several experiences in which God placed huge “This is the right decision to make” signs in front of me.

I was sharing these experiences with a loved one and they responded that they had never really received those types of signs.  And then we started talking about whether or not God plays favorites.  I think that the obvious answer to that question is no.  But it’s similar to discussions I’ve had with my priest about whether everyone gets into heaven.  I’ll share his analogy.  In your own home, when a stranger knocks on your door do you invite them in?  Sit down to dinner with them?  Or is that invitation reserved for those who you know intimately and who know you?

I actually believe that God has already invited everyone in for dinner.  And that he keeps a basket of gifts beside the door that he is just waiting to shower us with.  The problem is not that God won’t invite us in, it’s more that we can’t bring ourselves to walk up and knock on the door.  We allow fear and doubt to get in our way.  We listen to others who tell us that God doesn’t exist, instead of listening to the truth in our heart.

And here’s the thing, the more you knock on that door, the more you sit down and spend time with God, have a conversation with him, the more you allow him to give you those gifts that he is keeping for you.  It’s not that God plays favorites, he loves every single one of us exactly the same amount.  Jesus says that he will leave the 99 to find the 1 lost sheep.  But that sheep has to want to be found.  God will get down on his knees for you.  He will sacrifice his only son for you.  He will spend the entirety of your life calling out to you, but you have free will, you have to decide for yourself to answer that invitation.  You have to decide to walk up to that door and knock.  And if you do, the next time a friend shares a story of God’s blessings and gifts in their lives, you’ll have a story to share too.

God bless,

Meredith

Lighting Up the Runway.

There’s been a lot going on in my life lately and today was a classic example.  In fact, there were events in my life today that in other times would have put me into a spiral of self-loathing “I’m not good enough”  and “why do You bother with me, I’m an awful person”.   But I read a sermon earlier this week that spoke about God’s smile and it really stuck with me.   Even though today I felt stressed out and frenetic, I also felt that God was doing everything he could to make my life easier and I was so thankful and so grateful.  I love those days…days when I can actively see God’s hand in my life and appreciate it.  There are certainly days when I don’t feel that way…but I have enough of the days when I do, to carry me through and help me to trust God’s plan for my life.

Today was the day I had set aside to renew the passport of our oldest son, Hayden who is now 18.  The only problem is that he is 18, with the ability of a toddler to make decisions for himself.  I was totally convinced that we would arrive at the passport office only to be sent away to get an identification card or something because now he is applying for an adult passport and he doesn’t have a driver’s license…for obvious reasons.  To my incredible surprise, the passport office was empty (thank you Jesus) and we were expedited.  I can’t speak highly of how patient the passport Canada staff was and well treated Hayden was.  We were in and out with time to spare.  And let me tell you, I absolutely count that as a blessing. From doctor’s appointments to appointments at the barbershop, I felt as if I was chasing my tail today.  But everything worked out as it was meant to, and my family picked me up and loved me even in my stressed out state.  And I knew that it wasn’t just my family that had my back…it was God.

And then this evening I had a conversation with the artist who is working on my current Creator-owned project, about our next project.  It is not possible to manufacture the type of synergy we have.  And just as I believe that our coming together for our current project was divinely inspired, I absolutely believe that our next project will be as well.

I wish that everyone had God in their lives, if only to know that there is someone in their corner who not only loves them unconditionally, but who has their back.  We are talking about the God who raised Lazarus from the dead.  He knows exactly what you need, exactly when you need it and he is a God of joy.  He wants you to be happy.  And I think that bears repeating.  He doesn’t want you to walk around feeling guilty or worrying about sin…He wants you to be happy; to know joy and to know that, just as much, or even more so than you want happiness for the people in your life that you love, He wants the same for you.

What I don’t know is the path true faith will take for you.  For me it was a journey of decades.  It was reading C.S. Lewis and George MacDonald and going to church on a regular basis.  But what I absolutely believe, is that if God is calling your name, you don’t need to find your path to him… he will light up the way like an airplane runway so that you can’t miss landing exactly where he wants you to be.  All you have to do is listen to the air-traffic controller in your heart.

God bless,

Meredith

 

Dogs & Horses & Conventions…OH MY!

Have you ever had a moment or a day in your life in which everything seems to come together almost as if by magic?  I had one of those this week and let me tell you as soon as things started happening, I knew exactly who to thank.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog then you know that about three months ago I had a serious fall while riding my young horse.  It has been a longer road to recovery than I had anticipate, but by the middle of July I was riding our sweet little pony again.  I call him my rehab horse.  A little over a week ago I thought I was ready to get back on my mare.  Boy was I wrong.  As much as I tried, I just could not relax and trust her and let go of my fear.  And because I was afraid, she was afraid.  It was a disaster waiting to happen.

There are some obvious messages here about fear and trust and faith, but I’m what I want to share with you today is different.  My horse needs more miles under saddle and I’m not in a place, mentally or physically to give them to her right now, so I got a recommendation for a fantastic trainer, who lives roughly three hours away.  Late last week the trainer contacted me to let me know that she had a stall free and that I could bring my girl up anytime.

Now these two weeks are probably the busiest weeks of my summer with comic book conventions back to back.  We arrived home from Boston on Monday and we are heading out today for Toronto.  I had someone lined up to take her, but he wasn’t available until Friday and I wasn’t going to send her off to a new place alone.  I basically had one day this week that was open to take her, so I resigned myself to sending her up next week.  I mean, really what’s a few days, right?

We had also planned on picking up our new puppy Sunday night after Fan Expo since she was in the Toronto area.  So then I thought, well maybe I could go up Wednesday this week and pick up the puppy to save us the extra driving after the convention, when we would be exhausted.  At that moment the rational side of my brain kicked in, looked at the mountain of things to be accomplished in two days and dispelled that idea.

This is the moment when God stepped in and took over.  When I arrived at the barn Tuesday morning to see the horses, a casual conversation with the barn owner revealed that there was a horse from our barn going up the next day to Guelph for surgery, and there was space on that trailer.  A few messages later and my horse was booked.  Okay I thought, I’m going to be close, maybe I can pick up puppy too?  If you’ve seen my Facebook feed, you know the answer to that question.

The point is, I didn’t imagine, couldn’t possibly have imagined that all of the logistic Lego pieces could possibly fit together so easily and so perfectly.  God surprised me.  Without my even asking for help or realizing I needed it, He stepped in and solved my problems.  I’m calling it my birthday present.  But think about it.  How many times in your life has God taken a seemingly impossible situation and made everything slide together as if it was always intended to be that way?

Some people call that luck…I call that my heavenly Father reminding me how much he cares.  I am so grateful and blessed that God loved me enough to call my name, to pursue me and to welcome me as his child.  Maybe you haven’t fully decided yet how you feel about God, but I promise you that if you are reading this, he knows exactly how he feels about you…YOU ARE LOVED.

God bless,

Meredith

Here’s a video that perfect echos that sentiment.

 

Getting to the top of the mountain.

Much like this beautiful earth we live on, we each go through seasons in our lives.  This summer for me has been a season of highs and lows.  I’ve been reminded of God’s grace with blessings, and I’ve struggled to see his plan through pain and sorrow.

First let me say, the human body, while miraculous, doesn’t always heal as quickly as we might wish it would.  It’s been a struggle for me at times to bang up against the limitations of what I still can and can’t do.  And there have been days this season when the only thing I have to offer to God is anger. I’ve had days that I’ve spent in bed, wrapped up in feeling sorry for myself, listing off all the perceived hardships I’ve had to deal with in my entire life, questioning how there can possibly be a God in heaven who cares about me.  Maybe you’ve been there too.  Those are the days we are most tempted to turn away from God, to blame him rather than to thank him.  I know because I’ve done that.

But here’s the thing.  In those moments, I was no different than a toddler having a temper-tantrum because they didn’t get a toy that they wanted, or a hormone-fueled teenager telling their parents that they hate them because they can’t go to a party.  As parents it is our responsibility to tell our children “NO”.  We aren’t trying to be mean, we are doing it because we love and care for them.  Because we want the very best life for them.  God wants that for us too.  And even in those moments when I gave in fully, either to anger or despondency, there was a place in my heart that knew the truth.  In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul quotes Jesus as saying “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  I can honestly say that I have never felt more weak and vulnerable in my life than I have these past few months.  And like a child, I don’t always understand the reasons why my Father puts me on the paths he does, but if I can’t trust that He is doing it because He loves me and wants the best life for me…then I have nothing.  And when my anger or despondency has passed, because it always does…I am again reminded of all of the blessings in my life, and how much God loves me. 

It’s okay to give God your feelings, ALL of your feelings, even your doubt and anger.  Because even in yelling at God you are demonstrating faith.  Those he loved most, walked some of the hardest roads imaginable…but their reward was a full and complete awareness of his love and grace.  And having even a small awareness of the overwhelming love and grace of Jesus and my heavenly Father means that a few hardships aren’t too much to live through if it means that in the end I’m closer to HIM.  And thankfully God is patient, so he will walk patiently beside me. even if I complain loudly every step of the way.  His love never fails.  I hope that someday, in this journey of life, I am at a place that I can thank God for my trials and tribulations while I am in the midst of them. But, either way He’s going to take that journey with me, and I’m pretty sure He’s willing to accept whatever it is I can offer at that moment.  And I KNOW I can’t make it without him.

It’s human to focus on the hardships and forget about the blessings.  But as much as I have felt weak and vulnerable in this particular season of my life, I have also felt loved and blessed and cared for.  When I look at the sum of my life, there is so much love and goodness there that God has blessed me with.  I hope and pray that if you are walking through a valley right now that God gives you the strength to look back at the mountain tops you’ve already been on and to look forward to the ones yet to come.  Even if all you have to offer God is a mountain of anger…believe me when I tell you, his grace is enough to get you to the top.

God bless,

Meredith