A Sense of Humour

How many of you have stopped to think that God must have a fantastic sense of humour? I mean look at some of the animals we share the earth with…the platypus?…adorable and hilarious. I just wanted to share a quick story about how God made me laugh yesterday.

As many of you are aware, we moved into a newly built home at the end of February. The site where we built was originally a soy bean field, and so to have a septic system that actually functioned, they ended up trucking in a lot (I mean A LOT) of dirt to get the house elevated. The downside of that is that we still need more fill. About 15 meters off the back of the house is a huge low spot that needs to be filled in. We joke that it’s our pond, because when it rains, you can have upwards of 4 inches of water sitting in it – and in fact, there was that much when we moved in.

Fast forward to yesterday. We have had the front lawn leveled and sprayed with grass seed. Dave was commenting about how the rain was good for the seed, but bad for the hole which had finally stared to dry out. He then stared to complain about priorities and how I should have taken care of the hole first or I needed to just fill in the hole with the remaining top soil we have. We had a bit of a discussion about how all of the experts have said to get actual fill (not to waste our good topsoil) and then I went outside to do a few chores.

About 10 minutes later I noticed a red truck pulling into our driveway. I finished up what I was doing and then headed back to the house. Turns out, that red truck was owned by a gentleman who digs pools in our area and he wondered if we could use some fill? I could not stop laughing. Even Dave just shook his head. God heard Dave’s complaints that morning and then BAM! I’m sure He must have gotten a good chuckle making that happen.

I share this story to encourage you. Invite God in, make Him a part of every aspect in your life. Give thanks for the amazing gifts He’s given you and you’ll be surprised how many little miracles He works in your life every day. Sometimes He’ll even make you laugh – and you know He’ll be laughing right along with you.

Have a blessed day!

Meredith

Sometimes it feels as if there is so much to be afraid of these days; catching Covid or one of the rapidly spreading variants, the increasing price of basic goods while people are losing their businesses and jobs. There are days I’m afraid, days I worrying about my kids, my family, our world. But daily I am reminded that I am not alone; that God holds me in his “right hand of righteousness”.

So many people view the Bible as a dry book filled with people who lived thousands of years ago and whose lives and experiences have no relation to today. At one time I thought that. Reading the Bible was a chore, something I “should” do and not something I looked forward to or needed. But the Bible is not like any other book. It wasn’t designed to be read cover to cover.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 That was part of my reading today. This isn’t a just story, this is a promise – that’s what the Bible is. A story of God’s love for us and his promise to care for us, to strengthen and uphold us, in good times…and in bad.

Maybe you read my blog post about our move and how I prayed for strength to make it through that final day. If you did, then you read about how God answered that prayer. Anytime I feel worried or afraid, I turn to God and he hasn’t let me down yet. While the answers may not always be what I expected, they always end up working out. I also turn to God when things are going well in my life, I give thanks for my beautiful family, my health, the realization of hopes and dreams, or even just a green light when I am in a hurry. It is possible to know God, to have a close and intimate relationship with him. It’s an overwhelming joy, to experience his perfect love.

So do not be afraid, not of anything. Give God ALL of your hopes and fears (even the silly, little ones, that you wouldn’t share with any one else). If it’s important to you, then it’s important to your heavenly Father. You might be surprised how quickly he will either change your heart, or answer your prayer. Then trust. Once you give something to God, you need to let it go and let Him handle the rest.

I wish you all a joy-filled day, free of worry because you gave it to the one who wants to hold you in his righteous right hand.

God bless,

Meredith

Who’s Got Your Back?

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Last week I was experiencing a significant amount of anxiety. I could blame it on the stress of packing and getting ready to move, or the state of the world, or the rising number of Covid infections in our neck of the woods, but none of those things would be true. The simple fact of the matter is that I was afraid. God has been incredibly good to my family and He has poured blessings upon us and between you and me…I just didn’t feel worthy. I was in a place where I just kept waiting for the rug to be pulled out from under me. I was convincing myself that all the good things we have received were really just a prelude to a disaster. I worked myself into a state of terror that we could lose everything. Have you ever been there?

It was on Friday afternoon, driving alone in my car that I realized my fear, my terror was actually a lack of faith manifesting itself. I give God so much credit and glory for the amazing gifts he has given my family, and the farm is a huge one for me. But problems arise when we place those gifts above the one who gave them to us. Getting out of sync with your faith and trust in God is what allows doubt and fear to invade your heart. Yes, the farm is a blessing, but appreciating it needs to be a balance and not an obsession. In the words of the Anglican prayer “All thing come from thee and of thine own have we given thee.

All week I kept reaching out to God, asking him for peace, but it wasn’t until Friday that I realized I hadn’t given him my problems. I’d asked him for help but I clutched my fear to my breast and held on tightly. I will never understand why God has chosen to bless me, I will never feel as if I deserve it, because I will never feel as if I’m good enough, but I think that’s the essence of the faith journey. We live in a world where we are constantly required to prove our worth, that we are good enough. It’s a world that functions in complete opposition to a God for whom you never need to prove your worth, who loves you unconditionally, ALL THE TIME! Not when you donate to charity, not just because you go to church, not because you read your Bible today, but just because you are YOU. We are all God’s children and He wants to get to know each one of us intimately, just as He wants us to get to know Him.

I’m not going to pretend that my fear and stress are gone forever, although they certainly were in that moment of ephiphany. Much like a compass, I need to make sure I am always pointing myself in the right direction, toward God. I am a less than perfect parent, but I will always love my children unconditionally and I will always try to do what is best for them. God is the perfect Father. I just have to keep reminding myself to trust Him, just as I want my children to trust me…I’ve always got their back.

There are times in our lives when we can’t see the beautiful painting that God is making of our lives, times when we experience great loss and pain and suffering that we don’t deserve. Life as a child of God, the blessings and the pain, are never about deserving, they are about bringing us closer to Him. Accepting His love. That’s my goal for this week, that and trusting in His plan for my life. No matter what happens, I can get through it when God has my back.

God bless and have a safe and healthy week.

Meredith

Who’s to Judge?

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I don’t think that I am alone when I say that I can often times be my biggest critic. As a writer it can be hard to learn to let go of a piece of writing and say that it is “good” enough. I’m even more critical of my lack of patience, quick temper, lack of will power. And don’t you find that in those times when we feel the most out of control in our own lives, those are the times we tend to be the most critical of others? As the Covid-19 pandemic follows us into the new year, we judge people for their use or non use of masks, social distancing, willingness to get the vaccine. Sometimes it feels as if our days are filled with nothing but continuous opportunities to pass judgement – on others and ourselves.

Yesterday was not a fabulous day for me. I’m definitely feeling the pressure of packing up our house over the next month for a move and worrying if the new house will be ready. Sometimes I just feel so frustrated by the limitations we are all living under; about not be able to just live my life and get stuff done. I hate it when I feel that way. I hate the way it makes me aware of the darkness in my soul when I give in to my anger and frustration. Remember that whole judgement thing I was talking about…

One of my goals for this year is to get back to reading my Bible daily. I sat down this morning and looked at it – five different sticky notes projecting from the top – unable to decide where to begin. My favorite gospel is that of John. It feels as if it was written by someone who knew Jesus intimately – who loved him and just wanted to share the “good news”. Here’s what I read almost immediately: “I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. John 8:50

But as soon as I read this I though, WAIT! this is a contradiction to something I remembered reading last week. So I went back through my notes and found this: “Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgement to the Son” John 5:22

Jesus said both of these things and it got me to thinking…he’s telling us in John 8 that God is the judge, but he has also told us that God judges no one. Think about that, a judge who has far more right to pass judgement upon us than anyone on this earth, including ourselves… who judges no one.

So many times in the past religion has been used as a weapon to control people, to make them feel shamed into believing. But Jesus is telling us here that God our Father judges no one. I’m not saying that I believe that means you can go ahead and do bad things without recourse. Jesus goes on to say in John 5:30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgement is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.” But the solution to judgement is so simple – it’s just belief. I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned;John 5:24

We need to be kinder to ourselves. God doesn’t need us to be perfect or without flaws or sin, he took care of that when he sent his only son to die for us. He doesn’t want to judge us – he only wants to love us. All we need to do is accept the gift of his love.

I need to be kinder to myself. I’m human, I’m going to have good days and bad days. There are days I’m going to scream at my kids and fight with my husband. There are days when I’m going to be rude to a stranger, not because of anything they have done, but because of where I’m at. I am as far from a perfect person as it is possible to be…thank you God that you don’t need me to be perfect to love me.

I hope and pray that each of us have a day where we are kind to ourselves. That we have a day where we allow God’s love to fill our hearts with peace and joy and wash away the judgement and self-doubt that darkens our souls.

God bless,

Meredith

The House that God built.

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Has there ever been a time in your life when you have needed to make a major life decision? For us it came a about a year and a half ago; first when we decided to purchase a piece of property in the country, and then when we signed a contract with a builder.

I can’t tell you how much I agonized over the decision to build a new house. I couldn’t get rid of the yearning in my heart to move on, but I was so afraid that I was being selfish, and that I was focusing on needs of this world and not of God. I spent a lot of time in prayer, asking God either to take this yearning from my heart, or to help me to know that this was something he wanted for us and it was not just my selfish soul speaking.

Here’s what I have learned from this experience; God is faithful and, like any loving Father, he wants to help us if we’ll let him. I call our house the house that God built because things have worked out so perfectly along the way that I can’t see it as anything else. Our current house sold in just four days! Even our builder has commented on how seamlessly things have rolled along.

I am constantly thanking God for this tremendous blessing that I know I absolutely do not deserve. As we lay out and plot out each additional piece of what will be our new home, each piece fits into place perfectly, like a jig saw puzzle. All I can see is God’s hand, guiding us and our decisions to create a perfect home for us.

I’m not a perfect person. I yell at my kids, I don’t always read my Bible everyday, sometimes I curse and swear…I don’t deserve the blessings God has given me. But I guess that’s the point. This house has been as much of a spiritual journey for me as a physical one. God has used it to show me how much he doesn’t need me to “do” anything for him. All he needs is my faith. All he wants is for me to trust him, to put my life’s journey into his hands and walk with him always. It is such a special, special thing to come to know God in this way, to see him, not as a judge who will condemn, as many would have you believe, but as a loving Father who only wants what’s best for you.

God has tremendous power to transform hearts. Knowing God doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes feel depressed, overwhelmed, lazy, selfish…but God knows me intimately. He knows the darkest, most awful parts of my soul and he loves me anyway. I truly wish there was a way for me to share the overwhelming peace and joy and love that comes from truly knowing God and having him in your life with everyone I meet. I pray that those I love will someday come to experience a life walked with God. I simply couldn’t do it without him.

So, while it truly wasn’t my intention at the beginning of this blog to draw the parallel, but rather to speak to the blessings we’ve been given, I can see as I write this that the house that God built isn’t just the physical one we will be moving into in February, in many ways it’s me. I’m pretty sure his construction work on my soul is going to take more than a eight months though, I can almost guarantee it’s going to take a life time.

God bless you and keep you, into 2021 and beyond.

Meredith

HE IS RISEN! ALLELUIA!

I can’t recall a weekend in recent memory when I have shed more tears or felt more overwhelmed.  This Easter weekend I have watched parking lots fill with people who can’t afford to feed their families.  I have watched western nations burying bodies in mass graves.  In these times of sadness, and untold sorrows, I feel keenly how much miss my church…my church family.

Perhaps your heart, like mine so desperately needs the joy this Easter morning brings with it, the celebration of our risen Lord, the celebration of his victory over death, at a time when it feels as if we are surrounded by it.

To steal a phrase from our beloved Archdeacon Matthewman at Church of the Ascension, “the shadow of Christ is over all of us today, even those who don’t know it yet”.  I pray that, much like his disciples did that Easter Sunday morning 2,000 years ago, we are all able to fully experience the wonder, and the joy and the miracle of His resurrection.  Christ is risen, Alleluia!!

God bless,

Meredith

 

 

BECOMING SIN

I’ve spent the last couple of days reading the gospels leading up to Maundy Thursday, reading about that final night Jesus spent with his disciples.  It’s painful to read about the struggle the Son of God went through on that final night.  We all have free will, it is up to us to choose how we behave in any given situation (even if sometimes, like children, we blame our behavior another person).  But sometimes we forget that Jesus had a choice to make too.  On that final night, in the garden of Gethsemane he prayed and pleaded with his Heavenly Father “that if possible the hour might pass from him, ‘Abba, Father’, he said, ‘everything is possible for your.  Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.’  Mark 14:36

Jesus was the incarnation of God, the embodiment of our Heavenly Father in human form, and he had very real, very human feelings.  I can imagine on that night the pain he was feeling in his heart knowing that he was going to have to leave his beloved friends.  The fear and trepidation he must have felt knowing the cruelty, and suffering that was to come both on the cross, and before.  But I think sometimes we forget the biggest burden that he would carry for us.  “He became sin, who knew no sin.” 2 Corinthians 5:21.  And even still, despite all the prophecies, despite everything leading up to this moment, He had to choose.

There have been many times that I have tried to get my head around what was so special about the death of Jesus that we continue to honor and worship him thousands of years later.  He certainly wasn’t the first person or last person to die cruelly for his or her beliefs.  So then why?  Why did an entire religion rise up around this man?  Why was his death special?  I’ve only recently come to understand that a large part of it isn’t just the resurrection story.  There’s something more here…Because he BECAME sin.  Jesus was the Son of God, part of the Trinity.  He was part of the brightest, more pure, most loving force in the universe and he gave all of that up for us, and went down into the heart of darkness.  The weight of my own guilt can be crushing sometimes. But Jesus, all at once, He became every dark deed everyone of us has done, or will ever do.  He became murder, corruption, filth, greed, lust, lies…He allowed everything that was pure and beautiful about himself to be stripped away for our sake.  He allowed himself to be separated from his Heavenly Father and given over to evil for our sake.  I wonder if when Jesus was praying in the garden if it wasn’t the cross he was asking to be saved from, but the suffering, the agony of not feeling, of being in the presence, the peace, the love of God?

So as we walk these final few days toward the joy of Easter morning, I want to keep my mind on the gift that was given to each and every one of us upon that cross.  Freedom.  No more is our path to God blocked, but the blood of the lamb has paved the way for each and every one of us to experience the peace, the love, the presence of the One, True and Ever Living God.  Praise be to God.

In Jesus’ name,

Meredith

BECAUSE OF YOUR GREAT MERCY.

The last few months I have been at times enjoying, and at other times slogging, my way through the prophets of the Old Testament.  Today’s reading hit home with something I have been thinking about, and hearing a lot about over the last few weeks; Prayer.  Some people pray out loud, and they are really good at it.  I’m more of a pray in my head and heart kinda girl. I find I’m more able to really express what I’m feeling and thinking that way.  My prayers are often as varied as my moods.  They range from petitions about my family, or work to pleas for help, and relief from feelings of unworthiness, or sadness.

Some people, maybe you are one of them, might question the point of prayer.  I would say that, in the grand scheme of things, I can’t, off the top of my head, think of a prayer that I have prayed that God hasn’t answered.  Sometimes those answers come almost immediately, sometimes they take weeks, months and even, in some cases, years.  I’ve had people challenge me about this.  How do I know that God is answering my prayer, and it’s not just a coincidence?  When you pray a prayer, and months later you get an email that almost word for word responds to that prayer…I’d have to say that comes from God.

But, having an active prayer life doesn’t mean that you always get what you want.  Early on in my prayer life I went to God with demands, and ultimatums;  “If you want me to believe in you”…kinds of things.  But as my relationship with my heavenly Father has grown, as I see His hand in my life more clearly, and on a daily basis; I am more easily able to give up my need for control.  To trust that God has a plan for me, and to pray that he puts desires in my heart that are in line with his purpose for my life.

We have all been given a precious gift in the midst of the covid-19 crisis…time.  This is not just time we can use to reconnect with our families, but also time we can use to reconnect with our God, to spend time in his presence, to make Him a part of our daily lives.

And this brings me to the verse in the ninth chapter of Daniel that resonated with me this morning.

“We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.”

I will never be “good enough” to deserve to have God answer my prayer.  My answered prayers are because God is merciful, and He loves me… and He calls me His child.

This week is holy week; the week during which the Son of God, Jesus walked toward his ultimate purpose, death on a cross for all of us.  Prayer was an intricate part of Jesus’ life and if you have read, or read the gospels you will see that he often went off on his own to pray.  If prayer is something new to you and you are unsure of how to start then I offer you the prayer that Jesus gave his disciples when they asked him how to pray.

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.

FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM, THE POWER AND THE GLORY

FOREVER AND EVER.

AMEN.

Everything you ever need to say to God is found in this prayer.

God bless,

Meredith

 

I ASK YOU…

As you may know, David and I are blessed to have the luxury of working from home, even prior to this covid-19 crisis.  We have however taken this opportunity, much like many of you, to spend more time together as a family.  One of the things we have started doing is more family movie nights with Isaac.  Thus far we have watched, Frozen II, Spies, A Dog’s Purpose and last night we watched Heaven Is For Real (on Netflix right now).

One of the things I love most about this movie is watching the very real, and painful crisis of faith the father (a pastor) goes through as he wrestles with the miraculous possibility that his son visited heaven during a life and death struggle with a ruptured appendix.  His journey is something that I think we can all relate to.  “Do we really believe in God when we are confronted with a truth or reality that makes us uncomfortable?”

I’ve had several discussions with a good friend about their biggest obstacle to being a believer; that people will think that they are dumb, or ignorant for believing in God.  We live in a world that has convinced us that it is okay to believe in a higher power.  But, if you ever dare to suggest that there is a very real God that wants an intimate relationship with his creation…and people look at you like you’re a few cards short of a deck.  That was in fact a sentiment expressed in the movie “The Bible says ‘believe his children’.  What my child’s telling me (that heaven is real) will get me laughed out of town.”

The fear of being considered a fool for believing in God was something I struggled with myself early on in my faith journey, (if you look back I posted an earlier blog about it).  But I want you to know that God isn’t a myth! He loves each and every one of us.  During these troubled times, where it seems as if every day we are confronted with increasingly frightening statistics, I ask you to consider stepping outside your comfort zone.  I ask you to consider the idea that there is indeed a Sovereign Lord in control of this universe.  I ask you to stop being afraid of what people might think of you, or your intelligence and consider allowing Him to be a part of your life.  God walks with me and beside me every single day of my life.  When I turn to Him in times of turmoil and conflict He always answers me.  He ALWAYS answers me.  I ask you to consider that even through you might not be ready for a relationship with Him right now, He’ll be ready and waiting whenever you are.

God bless and keep each and everyone of you.  And let us all pray for those on the front lines of this crisis, doctors, nurses, essential store employees who risk their lives everyday so that we can buy groceries and necessary supplies.  We are all in this together, and together we are all held in God’s hand.

Meredith

 

 

I TURN TO YOU.

“Don’t you know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?”  1Corinthians 2:16

It feels surreal, everything that we are doing as a global population to fight covid-19.  I’m sure if you are waking up this Monday morning not going into work you might feel differently.  Because both David and I work from home, and we have been  homeschooling Isaac for more than a year, this Monday feels like any other.  I wake up, walk the dog, and then Isaac and I sit down to do our school work.  There’s still no teenager walking around  (even though he isn’t at school, he won’t appear until sometime after mid-day).

But, the reality of our new lives with Covid-19 doesn’t take that long to worm it’s way back into the spotlight of even my life.  I have only to open a newspaper, Facebook, turn on the TV.  I think what scares me most is the unknown.  How long will we live apart from our loved ones?  How long will we be laid off from our jobs?  Will we have jobs to go back to?  How will the world be different?

I have been trying to fill my days so that I don’t have to engage these fears.  Cleaning closest, painting bedrooms.  But in those moments of stillness, as I lie in bed at night I can feel the fear creeping into my heart.  Who will I lose before this is over? If I get covid-19 will I make it?  Maybe you’ve experienced some, or even all, of these same thoughts.  The only solution I have is to turn to God. Every time I feel my chest tighten, or my stress and anxiety start to rise I turn to my Heavenly Father.

In Matthew 6:25-27 Jesus tells his followers Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body… look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?  Who among you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” 

and in Matthew 6:33-34 he reminds us But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.” 

And in 1 Corinthians 2:9 Paul reminds us that “No eye has seen, nor ear has heard, nor mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”

I’m just going to keep holding on to these messages of hope and trust that my Father in heaven is bigger than anything I could fear here on earth.

Here’s a song that I hope will help lift you up today if you are feeling scared or blue.

God bless,

Meredith