THE BITTER ROOT.

November was a month that was filled with blessings (although I admit to being a wee bit exhausted at the end of it).  Thanks to the prayers and generosity of many who allowed God to work through them, my Kickstarter for THE BOOK OF RUTH was more than 100% funded when it ended.  Through that entire process I could feel God’s hand, working, reaching out and putting it in front of the people who needed to see it, speaking to their hearts.  And for me it was definitely an exercise in trust, and the power of faith.  There were many times I just had to “step back and let God”.  And there were so many people who lifted me up with words of encouragement and prayers.  God is good.  And I want to say thank you again, to everyone who shared and supported RUTH.

You might be asking yourself if I’m feeling so blessed, why the title of today’s blog post is about bitterness.  Let me explain.  As often as we revel in God’s blessings in our lives, we are just as often tempted by sin.  This past week, within my community of faith, I have been wrestling with a situation.  I found myself being pushed out of a role that I had taken pride in.  A role that I enjoyed and looked forward to doing.  And I wasn’t happy about it.  In fact, I was very hurt.  I don’t know if the people involved even considered my feelings, I would even say that it didn’t cross their minds that I might be upset.  They just did what it was that they wanted to do.

This was a situation in which, while I didn’t feel it was necessary to take a stand and try to get my way, my first instinct was to step back.  To no longer participate in that particular group. As Dave puts it “to take my ball and go home.”  But I also spent time and prayed about it.  I asked God for help, because I wasn’t 100% convinced that my first response was the correct one.  There were other people outside of the situation that needed to be considered.  Maybe stepping away was the right thing, but maybe this wasn’t the right way to do it, or the right emotional mindset to be making that decision in.  And thankfully I had a week in which to make that decision.

It’s very easy to assign reasons and emotions to the actions of others, but it can be much harder to look at our own motivations.  I will say, however that I instantly recognized that pride was a part of the equation from my side.  I took pride in doing this particular job.  But maybe someone else needed to feel that pride more than I did.  I have found so many places in my life to share my faith, am I so greedy as to not be able to share the spotlight?  And stepping out completely also meant stepping away from those who needed someone to advocate for them.

I have continued to bring this situation and specifically my feelings about it before God this week and today this was the passage I read.

“Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see God.  See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”  Hebrews 12:14.

If we, as children of God, seek to live holy lives, lives that emulate the life of Christ, then I have to consider His response to every situation – to this situation.  I know Christ would step aside graciously, and throw His support completely behind this peer.  And I know that is what God wants for me.  I can’t allow bitterness to take root in my heart and cause trouble.  I think this is why pride is such a subtle and dangerous sin.  But if Jesus could scorn the shame of the cross, then I can certainly give up my pride and help someone  have their own chance at ministering to others and being proud.

If there is a place in your life where you have a similar situation, or are finding pride is damaging a relationship, I encourage you to bring it before God and allow his healing power to change your heart just as he changed mine.

God Bless,

Meredith

Going “All In”

It’s been a bit since I’ve blogged.  Mostly this is because I have been focusing a lot of my time, and energy on promoting my newest project, THE BOOK OF RUTH, which launched on Kickstarter November 1st and wraps up November 30.

It’s definitely been an up and down month for me.  It was so easy two years ago when I felt God “calling” me to do this book.  I remember listening to the Matthew West song “All In”.  Strange that it would be so easy to take a risk and been all in at the beginning.  But then I guess at that point I haven’t really risked anything from a financial, or time point of view.  Now that we are so close to the finish line.  Now that I have put so much of myself into this project, I suddenly find myself doubting God’s commitment.

I’ve been reading the book of Matthew this week, specifically chapters 17 & 18.  In Chapter 17: 20 Jesus heals a demon possessed boy that his disciples had failed to heal.  When they ask him why they couldn’t drive out the demon he replies Because you have so little faith.  I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘move from here to there’ and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you.”  I feel as if he’s talking to me. Because there have been times over this past week specifically that I have felt as if my faith was too small.  I keep asking for help and praying to God, but I don’t even know what to pray for. I’m so conflicted.

David and I have been so blessed.  Maybe the point of the blessings is to pay it forward.  To put out this book without counting about the cost. But I’m human, and working in comics you don’t have a pension plan.  And I want this book to be successful. I want people to see it and love it and get behind it.  I want that validation.   (You see why I’m struggling)

And then today I read this verse in Matthew 18:19  “Again, I tell you  that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.  For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”  I was inclined to dismiss this and focus on other parts of that reading focusing on the children, but then it appeared again.  Isaac and I were doing his daily devotions.  We read Acts 10:44-48 and Acts 12:1-10.  This is the conclusion of the story of Peter and Cornelius and the story of the angel of God freeing Peter from prison.  And there is was, at the end of this devotion, the verse of the day – Matthew 18:19.

So today I’m putting it out to you.  The people who read my blog.  I’m not asking for you to pray for a successful Kickstarter.  But I am asking that you pray for this book that God has called me to write.  That he uses it for his plan (whatever that may be)and that he helps me to have faith (even if it’s as small as a mustard seed).  I’m asking that you pray for me to have my “all-in” faith in God’s plan renewed.

Thank you to everyone who reads this and God bless.

Meredith

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

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.

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God bless and thank you for reading.

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

 

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