Patience

I don’t think that I’m the type of person to ever be known for my patience.  I don’t particularly like to sit still, and if I am unhappy with someone in my family it is usually because my patience at that moment (right or wrong) has been exhausted.

So here I am, three weeks into my journey of healing.  I definitely thank God that it took me this long to hit the wall, because that’s what happened on Saturday…I hit the wall, my patience with everything, the pace of my recovery, with my pain, with my limitations was exhausted.  Anyone who has experienced some degree of chronic pain knows what I’m talking about.  I mean sure, if I just sit there I’m fine, but God didn’t make me a sit on the couch person.  He made me a get stuff done person, and everywhere I turn there is stuff that needs to be done!!  But this weekend I spent most of Saturday in bed.  I did nothing but sleep and cry and feel sorry for myself.  Since I’m still healing bone and ligaments, I probably needed the sleep and maybe the cry too.  But hitting the wall is never fun; physically or spiritually.

I’m sure we’ve all been there.  We’ve all had times when we look at our lives and we struggle to see how our suffering can possibly be part of God’s plan.  It’s hardest to lift up our voice in songs of praise in the middle of a storm.  It’s hard to feel his presence in our lives at those moments.

As I was lying in bed on Saturday, feeling sorry for myself, scrolling through Netflix, trying to find something to watch, I came across the movie GREATER.  Full disclosure here, it’s a football movie, but it’s a football movie like The Blind Side is a football movie (and there’s even a cameo in it by Quinton Aaron).  There is a moment in that movie when the quarterback questions the calls and the star reminds him that he (the quarterback) can only see a few meters right in front of him, but the coach can see the entire field.  That is what God is like for us…for me.  Sometimes I don’t understand his calls, but all I can see is what is right in front of me.  I might not learn until later the ripples that when out from my struggles or pain, or I might never learn…but that’s part of what trust is about, what faith is about.

I believe that God used to that movie to remind me to trust in him and his plan, to stop worrying and accept that he always knows what’s best for me.  I think that God reminds us of his love for us everyday, he reminds us to have faith and to trust in him.  Sometimes he does this in ways that are obvious, sometimes he’s more subtle, but the signs are there.  If your heart is bruised or hurting, like mine was this weekend, know that he is there for you, that he loves you and he will give you what you truly need…all you have to do is ask…ask and have faith.

And here’s a song that I hope helps you as much as it helped me this weekend.

God bless,

Meredith

It’s Awkward and Uncomfortable.

Things I can now do fairly well with my left hand…

  • crack an egg (surprisingly not as hard to do as I’d thought, I’ve only broken two yolks – the secret is to just go for it like you have no other option – which right now…I don’t)
  • use scissors – I understand the call for left-handed scissors now
  • brush my teeth
  • flat-iron my hair (no frizzy hair here please)

How many times in our lives are we forced to learn how to do something differently?  Initially most times it feels uncomfortable, weird, not right.  I certainly felt that way the night of my accident after I dragged my butt up the stairs and stood in front of my bathroom sink.  Everything I was doing didn’t just feel wrong, damn it…it hurt!

It’s a natural aspect of human nature…our need to resist change, even when it’s for our own good.  We like to stay in our zone, walk the easy path. That’s why sometimes we need a good shake up, why we need to be forced out of our comfort zones.  I’ve found that sometimes faith can be a little bit like that. You see people praying on TV, or in movies, and they have the perfect words, in the perfect, most natural, most earnest way.  But real life is often nothing like that, it can be ugly and weird.  How many of us felt really awkward and uncomfortable the first time we prayed or went to church after being away for a while?  Heck, there are lots of times I still don’t know what to say, (especially when I’m praying out loud – because I just don’t do it enough…kinda like brushing my teeth with my left hand).

Do you remember the first time you had a conversation with a toddler?  Their speech is often so rambling and garbled you have to constantly ask questions that require a “yes” or “no” answer just to figure out what they are saying.  The good news for me is that God doesn’t have to ask any questions when I reach out to him.  He already knows what’s in my heart…he just needs me to make an attempt.  And his willingness to answer my prayer depends not on any beautiful speech I could make, but on one thing, and one thing alone…faith.

Something I’ve been struggling with, and been been reading about lately, is the type of faith a person has, the type of faith I have.  It’s easy to start thinking that God is there to make your life better, richer, healthier through prayer.  But those things shouldn’t be the purpose, or focus of faith, rather I think they are a by-product of a life focused on God.  I have so many incredible blessings in my life, and I feel grateful for all of them, but what I yearn for more than anything is the feeling, the experience I have when I am filled with the overwhelming love and joy of the Spirit of God.  When tears well up and I am overcome with his love.  It’s what I imagine heaven must be like…experiencing that feeling all the time.

These days people want you to believe that you are going to have to give up something important to believe in God.  And I’m not going to tell you that you won’t.  You might even find your “new” life uncomfortable and scary at times (kinda like putting a 220°F flat-iron to your hair with an uncoordinated left hand).  But like so many things in life, you have to take a big risk to get a big reward.  We make choices of faith every day.  The great news is the more you practice the things that are uncomfortable for you, the better you get at them…like going to church or prayer.

In those times when I am struggling, when I am tired and frustrated and in pain and feeling broken in spirit, and these days, in body; in those moments when I don’t have the energy to find the right words to pray I am reminded that Jesus himself gave us the answer…

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.   Matthew 6:9-13

And remember “Jesus did not give his disciples any instruction about standing, sitting, lying down, walking, running, or driving an automobile while one prays. Jesus did not talk about head coverings, kneeling, the position of one’s hands, or closed eyes. Why? God wants us to pray at all times (1 Thess. 5:17 ) and in every place, under any condition, and in various situations (1 Tim. 2:8).” https://www.neverthirsty.org/bible-studies/

God bless,

Meredith

Falling off a horse…literally!

The past few months have felt increasingly more and more hectic for me.  And as I have felt the responsibilities of home and work pressing in on me I have constantly prayed for God to help.  I felt that I had taken on the tasks He had requested of me and I had faith that He would help me to accomplish them.  I believe that He would give me what I needed.  What I could not have predicted was exactly how He would go about it.

Two weeks ago I had a fairly significant fall off of my horse.  I ended up in the emergency room with a fractured left clavicle and right thumb as well as a significant bruise on my left hip and damage to the ligaments and tendons in my right hip.  I wasn’t capable of supporting my own weight for more than two or three steps.  Now you might be thinking “poor Meredith”.  But all I saw here was a blessing.  Let me explain.

My clavicle fracture was severe enough to require surgery.  So here I am, two weeks after a break, with a left arm that is 80% functional – only because of the way that I broke it.  Since I’m  writing this blog, you can see that off all the things I am not able to do yet, work isn’t one of them.  For a few days it was literally the only thing I could do for myself, and that included getting dressed.

God heard my prayers and he knew that the only way to slow me down, to give me the time I needed, to do what I needed, was to break me.  And he broke me in ways that will heal.  Dave learned how to tie a pony tail.  The boys have been so helpful and friends and family have showered me with love and affection and meals.  My girlfriend even came over and washed my hair.  God gave me a blessing and then he surrounded me with love.

The name of my horse is “By Absolute Faith”.  That is the only way I know now to live my life.  To trust that God loves me, his child and that he will use all things to my benefit.  “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 a hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11. 

I’m walking without a cane now, but it’s slow and still a bit painful. I can tie my own ponytail, wash my hair and dress myself and this weekend I was able to start driving again.  I can do minor household chores, but I still can’t lift anything much heavier than a kettle half-full of water and I get tired more easily.  But this too shall pass and my brain is at 100% which means I can work.  And there are lots of things I don’t have to feel guilty about, like not getting out for a run or working out, or having a perfectly clean house…because I literally can’t do those things yet.  God is good.

So the next time God knocks you off your horse (maybe not literally as in my case) trust that he knows what you need better than you do and that he will work all things for your good.

God bless,

Meredith

The Chosen

I have been waiting for months for this to become available for months now and last night I sat down and watched the first four episodes of THE CHOSEN.  This is  a crowd-funded, Hollywood style TV show about the life of Jesus and the people closest to him.  It’s about seeing the disciples not through the light of sainthood, but as real people and walking with them through the journey they might have taken as they came to know and love Christ.

https://studios.vidangel.com/the-chosen/episode-one

I’m so happy to be able to share this with you and I hope that you love it as much as I do.  We need more shows like this.  Shows that put the light and love of Jesus into the world, and I can’t think of a more perfect time…this Easter season.

God bless,

Meredith

All you have to do is ask.

Today in my readings Paul talks about “…behaving decently, as in the daytime” Romans 13:13.  And I’m not going to say anything new here, but sometimes it bears repeating, it helps to be reminded.  How many of us exhibit behaviours in the privacy of our own homes, behind the closed doors of hotel rooms, or it the darkened anonymity of bars and night clubs, behaviours that we would never want our mothers, our children, our friends to see.  That’s what Paul is talking about. And he’s not just talking about our physical deeds, but our emotional ones as well, the ones we keep secret in our hearts, the jealousies, the coveting, the dissensions and grievances.

I will be the first one to admit that there are things I might say or do in my own house that I would never want other people to see or hear.  Losing my temper, slamming doors, speaking badly of someone.  I do them all.  I forget that someone is always watching.  That my actions never occur in a vacuum.  That’s why Paul’s words are so important.  In this letter to the Romans he is calling on them, on us, to “put aside the deeds of darkness, and put on the armor of light”.  Are you asking yourself how?  Or have you convinced yourself that your behaviours in those times were justified, or that they drove you to it.  That they deserved what they got or that’s just how you were made.

I won’t even tell you that those things aren’t true. But part of what Paul is telling us, part of the message of Jesus, and the reason he died for us and our sins is that we are called to be better.  To rise up against our own sinful nature, “the way we were made” and put aside the deeds of darkness.  If you’re like me, maybe you’ve tried this before, but feel as if you always slip back, you always fall down and maybe you’ve even reached the point of giving up. I can relate.  But today I’d like to tell you that we are supposed to fail, in fact we will fail every single time if we are trying to go it alone.  I have come to learn that the absolute only way I can be a different person is through Christ.  Time and time again the bible calls upon us to surrender ourselves to our Father in heaven.  But we are so stubborn, so determined to have our independence that we refuse, we protest the freedom and light that is offered to us freely.  But that’s okay.  Because our time here on earth is about that journey.  About gaining a gradual understanding of the power of the life and death and love of Jesus Christ and God our Father.

So if there is a darkness in your heart or a heaviness in your spirit, know that you don’t have to shine a light on it yourself, you don’t have to carry the burden, because there is someone greater than you who will happily do it for you.  Someone who wants to do it for you.  All you have to do is ask.

God bless,

Meredith

More of You

On Tuesday I wrote about feeling overwhelmed and weighed down by my every growing list of obligations and responsibilities.  I also wrote about how much I need to lean on God to help me.  He has given me all of these blessings, not to be a burden, but to use these opportunities to lift him up and he will never give me more than I can handle.

I’m not going to say that I’m feeling less anxious, in fact last night I was feeling particularly overwhelmed and it was suggested that this blog was the first thing that needed to go.  I don’t think that’s part of God’s plan, I get a lot out of writing it.  I’m just going to keep praying for strength and stamina and remembering that these “obligations” are actually blessings and opportunities.  That being said, it does mean that today’s post isn’t going to be a long one but I wanted to share this song with you.  It lifted me up yesterday and reminded me of what is important and I hope it does that for you today as well.

God bless,

Meredith

The Weight of the World.

We all have times in our lives when we feel anxiety and stress.  Times when the obligations and worries of the world, and our lives seem to pile up and become overwhelming.  Times when we feel as if we are not strong enough to carry the weight that is on our shoulders.  I’ve been feeling that way recently.  That there is so much to be done, and not enough of me to do it all.  There are people in my life for whom I have a great deal of fear and worry.  In the past, when I’ve had those feelings, I have often struggled to drag myself out from under the mental and emotional pressures I have placed upon myself.  I have felt like a failure.  I have railed against God and the challenges he has laid upon me and those I love.

What makes this time any different?  Trust.  In those times when I begin to feel my burdens pulling me under, I have a lifeline that I can reach out and grab.  Jesus.  Sometimes it’s all I can do to repeat “Jesus help me” over and over again.  Sometimes I  plead for a miracle, but trust that however God chooses to answer my prayer, he loves me and those whom I pray for, and this is all part of his plan.  And I remind myself that my Father in heaven has my back and he will not give me anything I can’t handle, as long as I take His hand and believe that he is with me.

Doing all those things doesn’t mean that the feelings of panic go away forever or completely, but they lessen. My relationship with God has grown to a point that I will not, can not help but turn to him in all times and in all places.   Even in my struggles, I see the blessings and joy his has given me.  He will walk through the valley with me, and when I know I am not strong enough, he is my strength and my shield.  He will carry me when I can not walk the path on my own.

Trust in the Lord, with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5.

The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms…” Deuteronomy 33:27.

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. Psalm 28:7

God bless,

Meredith