THE POWER OF FAITH

Have you ever felt God put a calling in your heart?  Did you follow through on it?

Sometimes it takes a long time for those callings to manifest themselves.  For me, it has taken years.  I have said before that, when I first started writing comics, I felt God put a calling in my heart to adapt The Book of Ruth into comic book form.  It was one of those, “some day you are going to do this” type of things.  I carried that calling in my heart for many years, before I really felt that the time was “now”.

It’s funny how when you starting answering a calling, you have this mind set, or at least I certainly did, that you are doing something for God.  You know when Paul calls us to “resist the temptation to act as if we are righteous, especially by leaning on our good works”… yep!

It’s easy to start making plans and forget who, and what you are doing something for.  But, if you can keep your focus on God, trusting in His plan for you and your calling, the strangest thing begins to happen; or at least for me.  I came to the realization that this thing God had called me to do.  This thing that I was “doing” for God…it was actually something God was doing for me.

Maybe to some of you this is nothing new, but for me this is news!!!  The more I have worked on “The Book of Ruth”, the more I have poured myself into God’s plan; trusting Him, and turning it over to Him…the more I have found myself being blessed by the very thing I was supposed to be doing for God.  We have it all wrong, or I certainly did.  When God puts a calling in our hearts it’s because He has a blessing that He wants to share with us not because there’s something we can do for him.   But the only way that He can do that is if, and when we listen to Him.

I feel grateful and blessed that our God is forgiving, and willing to overlook my arrogance. (What could I possibly do for the God who created the heavens and earth?)  God stuck with me, He showed me the truth, and He brought me to the place where I am now; joyous gratitude.  What calling has God put into your heart today?  What blessing is he trying to share with you?

This song has really been my mantra since launching The Book of Ruth on Kickstarter and so I wanted to share it with you today.

God bless,

Meredith

Careless Words

For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”  Matthew 12:34

Several times this month I have found a passage in my readings that speaks to me and then brings me to a new understanding of some of the readings we repeat each Sunday as a part of our service and where they come from.  This one today hit home particularly for me because this month I found myself lashing out at my family.  Fall is always a difficult time for me as the days grow shorter.  But for some reason, this year I have found myself feeling increasingly overwhelmed.  Even the daily tasks of cooking and cleaning have, at times, felt like mountains to climb.   And those feelings I have nurtured in my heart, feelings of anxiety, sadness, and frustration, have of course flowed out of my heart via my mouth to hurt the ones I love.

This morning as I prayed on this verse and asked for God’s help, I found myself repeating familiar words…“cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy spirit that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy holy Name, through Christ our Lord”.

This verse comes from the Collect for Purity and is a part of our Anglican service every Sunday.    The entire collect goes like this; Almighty God, unto whom all hearts be open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

I can only think that this collect was directly inspired by Jesus’ words in Matthew in recognition of the struggles we all face; to cleanse the thoughts of our hearts, so that it is the good stored inside us that comes out of our mouths, and not the evil.

I will continue to pray that my heart be cleansed so that when I am called to give an account for the words I have spoken, the good far outweighs the evil, in Jesus’ name.  Amen

God bless,

Meredith

Strange Days

It has been the most bizarre, and truly wacky week in the Finch household.  It feels like everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong – but not in a crisis way, more like an “I’m going to get under your skin and slowly drive you nuts” kind of way.  And yet, at the same time, things have crazily been working out for us in those moments too.  Here are a few examples.

Dave drives the truck to lunch with his good friend on Thursday.  When they are leaving he notices that the front plate under the bumper is hanging off of the truck on one side in a “not safe to drive, might fall off half way home” kind of way.  It just so happens that on that day, Dave’s friend brought along his father-in-law who Macgyver’s that thing back on with a special knot and a phone charging cord.

Dave gets home, doesn’t have a key, tries the garage key pad, the battery is dead, all the doors are locked.  He thinks, hey Isaac and his babysitter said they were going for sushi, maybe they are still there…. they were.  And it wasn’t the first thing they did that day.

I dropped my favorite earring down the drain with the water running full blast. I was positive it had been swept away because it was so small and light…opened the trap anyway and there it was.

Everett was extremely late for school, but when we got to the end of our street the normally crazy road we have to make a left hand turn onto was eerily quiet, and that continued the entire trip.

The list doesn’t end here, this week we have killed batteries in cars, had garage door openers not work, broken glasses, chipped plates, dropped food all over the floor – including a head of cauliflower that rolled out of a bag in the middle of the counter and exploded on the floor.  Sure these things happen all the time, but for us they’ve all happened repeatedly over the last six days.  I just keep saying “thank you Lord” every time something, that could have been a bigger inconvenience, becomes something we can laugh about.

This week has been a great reminder for both of us to see the small blessings everywhere in our every day lives.  God is with you through the good times and the bad, even when the bad times aren’t really that bad.  He sees your frustrations, and your struggles ,and he WILL help you; you just have to ask, and then you have to be willing to see him.

God bless,

Meredith

 

It’s Official

I did it!  Okay, I almost did it.  Next Friday is the day and I’ve officially started promoting The Book of Ruth in the social nextwork sphere.  Here’s a special “blog exclusive” sneak peak at some of the artwork and a link to the Kickstarter page.  While the purpose of this blog isn’t really to promote my work, since this project is specifically faith-based I was willing to make an exception.

Ruth_Postcard 02-01.jpg

You are welcome to follow at the link below if you are interested in this special project, and feel free to share with your friends.

https://www.kickstarter.com/pr…/358946764/the-book-of-ruth-1

For blog followers only, here’s the undialogued version of page 1.

RUTH_001(1).jpg

God bless and thank you for reading.

Meredith

What Kind of Person Would I Be?

We all have good days and bad day.  And then sometimes we have days that are complete and total disasters, when we feel completely out of sync with who and what we are.  Yesterday morning was one of those for me.  I could feel the tension as soon as I woke up.  So much to do and not enough time to do it in.  I raced around the house trying to knock things off of my list before settling down with Isaac to begin his school day.  But as I sat there I could still feel the tension in my temples, my clenched jaw.  I was practically vibrating.

Let’s just say that school did not go well and I was less than kind to my sweet, little boy.  Angry word are like toothpaste, you can’t ever take them back.  All you can do is ask for forgiveness.  This morning Isaac and I were talking about our experience yesterday and he reassured me “don’t worry mom, we all have bad days, I forgive you”.  I thanked him and told him how much I appreciated his understanding.  And then, from my sweet little child, came such a brilliant piece of wisdom… “What kind of person would I be if I didn’t forgive you?”  Indeed, Isaac, what kind of a person would you be.  What a special gift he gave me this morning, and with such unconditional love.

And it just reminded me again of the amazing gift we have been given as children of God.  Last night as I lay in bed I felt just awful about my behaviour toward a child that I love and adore.  And though I prayed for forgiveness, I just couldn’t give it to myself.  But Isaac reminded me this morning…to err is human, to forgive divine.  I will always make mistakes no matter how hard I may try to be perfect.  But there is always forgiveness available to me in those times that I fall.  And the biggest lie of all is when we don’t take that forgiveness, offered to us just as Isaac offered it to me this morning, freely, innocently and unconditionally.  When we refuse to forgive ourselves for our mistakes, and failings, and lack of perfection we are turning our backs on the most beautiful gift it is possible to receive.

If my child can offer forgiveness so freely, how much more powerful is the forgiveness offered to us by Christ.  Give Him your cares and your burdens and let Him show you how to forgive yourself, just as He has forgiven you; to love yourself as much as He loves you.

God bless,

Meredith

Aimless

This has been such a strange time for me.  The closer I have gotten to launching the Kickstarter for my newest project the harder it has become for me.  I have felt such a sense of doom and fear sitting on my shoulder.  When I started working on The Book of Ruth I had such a sense of purpose, and there were so many times along the way that I felt God’s presence confirming my decision.

But as November 1st has crept closer I have found myself growing more and more uncertain of the reception a clearly christian comic will have in such a super-hero driven industry.  What if we fail?  Anyone who has worked in a creative industry knows how incredibly difficult it is to put out something for the public that you have poured so much of your heart and soul into.  Once the genie is out of the bottle it can never be put back.  You open yourself up to public rejection and criticism in a way that most people will never experience.  I’ve learned not to pay too much attention to it in my comic book writing, but this is different…this matters.  I found myself going through much of the month of October feeling aimless and unfocused.

I remember the night before I found my artist.  I has such a specific look that I wanted for this book and I went to bed feeling dejected, that I would never find the right person.  That night as I lay in bed I put it all in God’s hands.  I truly believed that if this was a project that God had put on my heart to pursue then He would make sure that I found the right person to share this book with.  I wasn’t wrong.  The next morning the very first portfolio I looked at belonged to Colin Dyer.  As I looked at each page I could feel the excitement building.  He was perfect.  It was only later that I leaned just how “perfectly chosen by God” Colin was.  Like me, Colin has a strong faith in God.  He has been such a support to me in those times when I have doubted God’s commitment to our book.

And then this weekend, in the middle of my fear and doubt, something really special happened.  I went to a comic book convention in Memphis, Tennessee.  And as I handed out my The Book of Ruth postcards I got such a positive response.  People wanted to talk about my book, they were excited about it.  And I started to feel their excitement and to be reminded of the sense of certainty I had when I started this project almost two years ago.

Yesterday I started finalizing the dialogue for the first chapter so that we would have something to put out for our Kickstarter.  And, it seems crazy to say it, but I just suddenly felt so blessed that I had the opportunity to publish this book.  I have spent the month of October trying to give my worries and fears up to God.  And finally something in me clicked.  It doesn’t matter if five people read this book or 500,000 people read it.  God called me to do something.  I did it.  Maybe the entire point of this is for me to learn how to put my faith…I mean really put my faith in him.

I know that there will be times in the future when I will struggle.  That’s not just a part of faith, it’s part of life.  But as long as I keep reaching out and asking for help in those hard times, I know that like today, God will help me to see those struggles as blessings.

God bless,

Meredith

 

Mean Jesus?

“Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”  But Jesus said to him, “follow me and let the dead bury their own dead.”  Matthew 8:21,22

That verse always stands out for me as harsh.  I mean here is a disciple, a follower of Jesus, asking for a little time off to go and bury his father and our loving Messiah tells him no, that he should let the dead bury the dead and ignore his obligations to his family. I wanted to look into this because, on first reading, it makes Jesus seem so callous and uncaring of his follower’s grief.  This seems so out of character for the guy who is going to sacrifice himself for the sake of humanity a few years later.

I started looking into the verse and really trying to understand it in my heart.  What if this follower was afraid of what Jesus was asking him to do? What if his asking for time off was an excuse?  Maybe he wanted the people around him to believe that he was a follower of Jesus because that was the “cool” thing to be in that moment.  But, in his heart, he really wasn’t ready for the commitment following Christ would require.

We’ve all been there.  We’ve said and done things in the moment that we knew in our heart wasn’t a reflection of who we really were or what we really believed.  As humans, we have a deep seated need to be accepted.  It’s fundamental to our survival as a species to be a part of a social unit.

But I think that Jesus is speaking to all of us in this verse.  What are the dead things in our lives that are holding us back?  What do we need to leave behind us in order to really live as a follower of Christ?  Maybe we are like the man in this story, saying and doing all the right things, but not really surrendering ourselves. We always have a good excuse why we can’t go to church, read our bible, pray more.  Believe me, as a mother, my list of excuses is almost inexhaustible.  I have to get groceries, do laundry, clean the house, drive the kids, make the dinner, walk the dog.  But maybe we are being called to be more mindful.  To leave those things that are “dead” in their place. Does an immaculate house really add to my quality of life?…maybe not.  If I have a few free minutes often feel the call of Facebook, it’s easy.  But I find greater peace comes from the time I sit down with a cup of tea and my bible.  I can go an entire day without Facebook and not really miss out on anything.  But if I don’t make that connection with God, I feel it all day.

We need to remember that Jesus knows us even better than we know ourselves.  It does seem that there had to be a good reason for Jesus, the guy who raised Lazarus from the dead, to tell this man to leave his dead to the dead.  It’s even possible that guy didn’t have a relationship with his father or that he had family that was already taking care of things.  I think the point here is that he was making an excuse, and Jesus called him out on it.

We all have them, but let’s make an extra effort this week to be aware of the excuses we are making in our lives that are keeping us from really following Christ? Let’s leave our fears behind and commitment to being people who do what’s right, instead of people who say what’s right.

God bless,

Meredith