The Un-Facebook Version of Me.

It’s so easy to get misdirected and caught up in things that don’t matter.  It’s so easy to turn mole hills into mountains and as a result fail to see what’s on the other side. I’ve had a few things lately that have been causing me some degree of anxiety/stress/worry.  Sometimes it’s easy to turn to God with those problems, sometimes it isn’t.  When I was injured I could absolutely turn to God and pray for strength and patience throughout my recovery.  But what if what I’m worrying about is petty?

Do you sometimes feel restrained in the things you bring before God because maybe they aren’t big enough?  Maybe they aren’t Godly enough or you think that your worries don’t come from a place that would be acceptable to Him?  I have absolutely been feeling that way about one of my worries.  I mean really, it’s a problem of having too much…

So this morning I did my bible reading.  And while Isaac was working on his reading I picked up my phone.  I have to admit to not always noticing the daily message I get from my bible app.  But today, it came up as soon as I picked up my phone and it read… “Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and mind through Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7

Now I read that passage in Philippians a week or so ago as I’m working my way back through Paul’s letters.  And I’m on 1st Timothy at this point.  But there it was, looking at me, compelling me not only to read but to understand the message…to write it in my heart.

BE CAREFUL FOR NOTHING!!!  Think about that…God is telling me, he’s telling you to stop worrying about what you are bringing to him…to stop guarding your heart from him.  He doesn’t want a carefully curated, Facebook perfect version of you.  He already knows exactly who you are, the REAL you.  He knows your heart’s desire and wants, even if you feel ashamed to admit it.  And he tells us what to do with those desires… in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  If you want a better job, a bigger house, a nicer car, to get in better shape, to be better.  Whatever it is, give it to God.  Give him EVERYTHING!!!!

The next verse is where the really important part comes in…and the peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and mind through Christ Jesus”.  This verse doesn’t say that you’ll get everything you ask God for, but it does say that if you give him everything, then he will give you something that surpasses anything you could possibly have desired…peace.  Just sit there for a moment, right now, put your hand on your heart, take a deep breath, close your eyes and feel it…really feel it fill your heart and your mind…the peace of God.

There is no physical possession, no award or accolade that can give you the lasting feeling of peace that comes from knowing God and maybe even more importantly…from being known by Him.

Today God reminded me to let go, to give him everything in prayer and supplication and to be thankful.  Thank you Father for allowing me to be my uncurated, unadultered, mostly broken-down self.  And thank you for never tiring of reminding me just how much You love me, for giving your only son over to a death that he freely accepted…all so that my faith could be enough.

God bless you all, have faith, be brave.

Meredith

Planting A Seed.

For as long as I can remember I have loved to read and write.  Growing up in a very rural setting there weren’t really a lot of visible writing jobs around, although I did entertain the idea of being a journalist (very briefly). Part of me always felt that I would write a book, but that would be a hobby not an actual job.  Teacher…now that was a real job.  (FYI, both my parents are/were teachers)

It took a long time for me to walk the journey that ultimately brought me to a place where I could do something I never actually believed possible, writing for a living.  And I now have the blessed luxury of only writing things that I believe in or feel strongly about.  It’s funny how God can plant a seed in your heart and nurture it slowly until it’s the right time for it to break free and grow.

Not only have I been blessed to work in comics for the last five years, I have had the opportunity to write some of the industry’s most iconic characters, including Wonder Woman, Catwoman, and Conan the Barbarian.  I’ve also had a successful 17 issue run with my own character.  But right at the beginning, when I first started writing comics, God put an idea into my heart for a story and after more than a year of work and prayer and re-writes, that story is about to be completed.

Long before I typed my first word, I knew that I was going to do a graphic novel about The Book of Ruth.  After I had completed the first chapter I put out the call for an artist on Facebook.  I figured if I had to pay an artist, then I would have to keep working on the book.  Both David and I knew the look we wanted for the book, but after the first day’s submissions I wasn’t feeling particularly hopefully.  I went to bed that night and just put it before the Lord.  “Father you put it in my heart to do this book. I ask that you help me to find the right artist for it.”  The next morning I came downstairs, looked at my Facebook and there he was…Colin Dyer…the answer to my prayer.

If God calls you to do something, you have to know that he will always make a way for that to happen, even if you hit some rough spots.  I struggled mightily writing the final chapter of Ruth, making sure that it was true to the intention of the original and wrapping up the extras that I put in.  But I just kept on praying and in the end, I’m pleased with how it turned out.  My next hurdle will be getting this project in front of people.  It’s easy to let fear get in the way at this point and worry.  But I just keep holding on to the knowledge that if God brought me this far, he’s not going to let me down now.  I’ll be launching my Kickstarter on November 1st and I would appreciate any and all prayers for its success.

Here’s a look at the cover of my book.  I’ll post some other sneak peeks and special exclusives here first.

God bless,

MeredithRuth_Postcard 01

 

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

 

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

Drop Everything!

The calling of the disciples.  Have you ever given much thought to exactly what those twelve men were called to do?  I mean sure they got to walk beside Jesus and perform miracles, but they were also called to walk away from everything, EVERYTHING in their lives…we are foolish if we don’t count the cost of what they were asked to give up;  wives and children, homes and security.  Could you imagine yourself doing the same?  Honestly I don’t know if I could.

Of course I could walk away from my house, and most of my possessions, but what about that ring my beloved grandmother gave me?  And don’t even get me started on my kids.  I mean I know I’ll eventually have to give them up, but on my terms, when they are old enough to leave the house and go to college.  Except that’s not really true is it?  I could lose everything tomorrow, today even.  We live our lives with such an illusion of control.  We put our kids in travel sports, Kumon, music, etc. all because we are determined to make them into their best selves… except anyone who’s ever had more than one child knows that you really don’t have much control over how athletic they are, how smart they are, how friendly, kind, caring they are.  Our children are born with their own personalities and while we can sand off some of the sharp edges, and we can love them unconditionally and teach them values and principles, they will ultimately be who and what they are going to be.  No parent of a murderer thinks that they are going to raise a killer.

So when Jesus called on his disciples to give up everything, he wasn’t really asking them to give up anything that was really theirs to begin with.  There are a lot of people, my husband included, who believe that we are successful in life because we work hard.  I don’t discount that.  I absolutely believe that hard work matters. But, I also think it’s important to remember how much of your success was simply because of who you were born to be, because you were born with an aptitude for something, or a gift?  I was born with a love of books and an aptitude for writing.  That was a gift.  How I choose to develop it, or what I choose to do with it is entirely up to me, but in the end, it will always be a gift from God, not something of my own creation.

So the question we have to ask ourselves instead, is what are we willing to give up when Jesus calls us to be disciples?  Websters defines a disciple as one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another: such as a Christianity.   In Luke 9:22-27 Jesus says “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up cross daily and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.  What good is it for a man to gain the whole world and yet lose or forfeit his very self?”  I think that what he is calling on us to do here is give up the illusion of control and trust in him.

How many times have you found in your own life that the more you try to control a situation, the less control you actually have… the more you “lose” control?  When Jesus calls us to give up our families, to deny ourselves and to lose our lives to save them, he is calling on us to surrender our illusions, to trust in him completely. And it is in giving up our illusions that we find the peace and comfort and joy.  Today’s world is determined to convince you that you are in control, with your smart phone you can turn on your car, your lights, your furnace, all from across town.  But do those things really matter, or are they illusions to distract you from the fact that you aren’t really in control of anything important?  You can’t control if you are going to get cancer, or if you will be in a car accident, or even if your children will make it home safely from school today.  I guess if those things aren’t really under my control, then I find it a lot more comfortable knowing that they are under the control of the One who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow;  The Maker of the Heavens and the Earth.

What is Jesus calling you to do today?  To follow him?  To become a disciple? To give up your illusions?  I have personally found great comfort and peace giving up my life and family to Jesus.  I know he can and will do the same for you.  All you have to do is ask.

God bless,

Meredith

Sometimes It’s Hard.

Trust in God.  I know it’s important and I do.  But where is the line between being active in your own life and trusting in God’s plan?  How do I know that I’ve done enough in today’s media driven society where everyone is competing for the consumer dollar to promote my work?

What brings on this line of questioning you ask?  I generally don’t look at monthly comic book sales figures.  I know how much my comic Rose from Image is selling and I don’t find it helpful or productive to compare myself to what everyone else is doing.  That being said, I was curious to see how well my latest project The Light Princess (an adaptation of the George MacDonald classic, published by Cave Pictures Publishing) was doing.  To say that I was crushed when I saw the numbers is not an over exaggeration.  I feel like this comic is so special and inspiring and beautiful and to see such a low number of issue one sold was heartbreaking.  And this is where I started asking the question, did I do enough?

From the very beginning I have felt that my work with Cave Pictures Publishing was divinely driven.  The email that they sent to approach me and introduce me to the company was almost word for word exactly like a prayer I had been praying over and about my work.  And as I write these words I am remembering exactly what I prayed, “that my work be used to bring glory to God and not to myself”.  Pause for a moment of self-reflection here because I think as I write this I have found my answer….

If God guided me toward this project, if God provided the perfect artist for this project, and if all of this came at the perfect time, in the perfect way, then I need to stop worrying and trust that he has a plan for The Light Princess that is beyond me and my understanding.  Furthermore, I am reminded of these words written about George MacDonald. “MacDonald was singularly unconcerned with his own ‘image’ among his fellow men, preoccupied rather with championing his vision of the reality of the world of the spirit. ‘Perhaps the highest moral height which a man can reach,’ he wrote, ‘…is the willingness to be nothing relatively, so that he attain that positive excellence which the original conditions of his being render not merely possible, but imperative. It is nothing to a man to be greater or less than another – to be esteemed or otherwise by the public or private world in which he moves.’  He (MacDonald) determined to leave his reputation and destiny in the hands of his God.”

How can I do anything less?  Thank you Father for reminding me to trust in you and your plan for my life today.

God bless,

Meredith