Who’s Your God?

February has been an interesting month for me.  All through January I was feeling a bit confused because I hadn’t really felt God calling me to write my blog and I didn’t understand why.  I felt as if I was doing something wrong, or maybe I was letting him down.  Then at the end of the month the reason became crystal clear.  We made the decision to pull our youngest out of the public school system and take on the job of home schooling him.

I feel as if I should tell you that it was a difficult decision. It wasn’t. For the last seven years (he was in grade 5 this year) I have told every teacher that he is our square peg and school is his round hole.  Each September I sit down and try to provide the teacher with strategies to help him succeed and ask that she/he keep the lines of communication open so that I can do my part at home.  This year I hit the wall.  His teacher told me that it was pointless for him to study for tests because he wouldn’t remember any of it anyway a couple of days later.  WHAT??!!!  I mean that’s basically how I got through first year  university.  But what a defeatest attitude from the woman who is responsible for my child?!  That was the moment I knew that we were done.

So for the past two and a half weeks I have been working with Isaac every morning.  We’ve gone backwards a few steps to make sure he really has his basics (especially in math), but we can also go forwards as fast as he is capable of.  And let me tell you…the difference I have noticed in him has been nothing short of miraculous. My child who couldn’t sit still or be quiet for five minutes sits at my counter, head down, getting his work done.  Sure he talks every once in a while, but the difference from day one to now is remarkable.  At his riding lesson last Thursday he spent the entire time focused and paying attention.  If you didn’t know better you’d think I’d put him on medication.

So why am I writing this?  Because I am so grateful to God for calling me to take a step back from one thing in preparation for the next big change in our lives.  We’ve hired a nanny to spend afternoons with him so I can get some work done, and we have fun Friday’s where we learn science and do art.

But the thing I want to really call attention to is how God provides and has provided for me.  Prior to taking on home schooling anyone of my friends would tell you that I was a busy woman.  I would have told you the same thing and no way did I have hours of free time each morning. But when you trust in God, he provides you with everything you need.  It took almost no time to get into a routine that gave me time to work with Isaac, time to write my stories, and time for me to exercise, ride, spend time with Dave, with friends.  God is so amazing and so good to me, and I want to give him all the praise and glory in this because I know without him this would not be possible.  I would not feel so calm and relaxed.  I simply could not do it.

When you listen to what God is calling you to do; when you open yourself up to Him…He will always show you the way.  He is so good and He has great plans for you.  I know that he has great plans for Isaac and that this was the next step that he needed us to take to make sure he reaches his true potential.

Where in your life is God calling you?  Maybe it’s a financial decision, a career change, or a deeper relationship with the God.  Are you listening?  Do you trust in him to provide?

I want to share these words with you from my bible reading today.  “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”  Proverbs 16:3

The other part of my reading that really spoke to my heart today was this.  “You are my God, and I will give you thanks, you are my God and I will exalt you.”  Psalm 118:28

Are you missing out on letting God act in your life with power and love?  Are you missing out on a chance to exalt Him?  Claim Him as your God and let Him do more than you can ask or imagine in your own life.

I’ll leave you today with a Zach Williams song that shares some of these same words.  YOU’RE MY GOD!!!

God Bless,

Meredith

A Box Full of Kittens.

It feels as if it has been forever since I’ve written anything.  It’s not that things haven’t been happening, but it’s hard to know how to put into words the subtle reminders I get of God’s grace, and plan for my life.  But, I thought I would try with a story about something that has happened in my life recently.  This something only reiterates for me how important it is to trust in Him, to really give my problems and worries up to Him and let Him work His will in your life.

I have been struggling with a situation in my life that has been looming over me and causing me quite a bit of stress and not stress at the same time, because the solution I ultimately came to was; something that makes me feel bad about myself, probably isn’t good for me to have in my life.  I prayed about this particular situation quite a bit, and in recognition of my goal to let go of misplaced feelings of guilt for 2019, I had basically put it into a box and moved on.

But as I’m sure you are all aware.  You can put something into a box all you want.  That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to stay there.  And of course, my box popped open and I was again faced with the stress and confusion of this particular situation.  I just sat there feeling like I really didn’t know how I was going to handle it.  But each day, since I put that monster in it’s box, I spent time in prayer and reading and meditation.  And guess what? God responded.  My bible readings were about trust, my devotionals were about trust and almost every single quote that came up on my daily bible app was about trust.  Here’s an example…

In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.  Philippians 4:6

or how about this…

For God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control.  2 Timothy 1:7

God heard my prayers, and reassured me with his presence, and his word that I didn’t need to worry.  He had it.  With the confidence that I believe can only come from the faith of knowing that your Father in heaven has your back and only wants what is good for you, I prepared myself to face the contents of my box.  And what did I find when I opened it?

The great big scary monster I anticipated facing, was a sweet little kitten.  I trusted in God, I put my faith in Him, and in His time, in His way, he fought my monster for me, and there was nothing left for me to face but love.

God is good, and if you can find it in yourself to give him your box, you might find that he’s more than capable of turning your monsters into kittens too.  Or chocolate…whatever works for you.

God bless,

Meredith

 

 

So Good to Me

I’m stealing the title of a Zack Williams song tonight for my blog because I can’t come up with any better way to saying how I feel.

January has been a month of crossroads and revelations for me personally and, I think, in some ways for our family as well.  This month I have had to make difficult decisions about some of my personal relationships. This month I have struggled with a wavering belief in my own sense of competency.  This month I have been faced with choices of motherhood or career.

But this month, as I promised myself I would, I persevered in my faith.  In times where I felt distant from God, I didn’t lay blame…not on myself, or on God.  In times when I felt low, I focused on my heavenly Father.  I stuck to my daily bible study of praise and  repeating and believing in my heart the idea and mantra, “Praise the Lord, O my soul.”    And, as he promised I would, in his time, I can clearly see God’s work in my life over the last month.

I can honestly say that January is a month in which I’ve had to made difficult decisions, but I have done them with a prayerful heart, filled with thanksgiving for the blessings God has given me.  And today God revealed how he has been working for me, even when I was unaware.  God is so good…so good to me.

If you are reading this blog and thinking to yourself, I know exactly how you feel, Meredith, then I am so thankful that you have come to know our Lord.  But if you are reading this and wishing that you could have this too; this knowledge, this certainty that God is working in your heart, in your life…then tonight is the night I tell you that you absolutely can.  You aren’t joining a cult, you aren’t going to lose who and what you are and you definitely don’t need to be afraid.  Fear is evil’s way of keeping you from knowing God.

If you want to know the certainty that I have experienced this month, then I give you Romans 8:31.  “What then shall we say in response to these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us?”  WHO CAN BE AGAINST US!!!  God is for all of us.  For you and for me.  He is just waiting for you to open the door of your heart and invite him in.

God bless,

Meredith   (Here is the audio track for that Zack Williams song below)

Does God want you to be happy?

Do you ever notice that God has a bit of a bad rap in some circles.  So many people think of God and religion in the same way.  They believe that a life lived for God must be restrictive and boring.  Or even worse, the only things they’ve ever heard about God are full of fire and brimstone, and presented as a way to scare them into believing.  “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is a hand!”

My first experience with God was very similar to that.  I wanted to be a Christian because I didn’t want to go to hell.  But can anything that comes of fear be good or lasting?  Is that really the message Jesus preached?

If you’ve been reading this blog, then you know I always bring everything back to my own experience as a parent.  Would I rather my children behaved well because we share a mutual love and appreciation for each other, or because they are afraid of my punishments and reprisals?

It makes me sad when I see God’s message distorted to scare people (because I absolutely believe it is a distortion).  The people who really know God, the ones who carry the message Christ preached in their heart, they know that our God is a God of love.  They know that Christ came to save the world, not condemn it.

So that brings me back to my question.   Does God want you to be happy?

“And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.  This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. ”  1 John 1:4-5

The gospels and letters of John are perhaps the most full of love in the entire bible.  John, the disciple whom Jesus loved best.  Maybe because John most understood, or was closest to Jesus’ heart.  So yes, I absolutely believe that, like any good parent, God wants us, his children, to be happy.  I can’t claim that I don’t have darkness in me.  Sometimes I yell at my children out of anger or frustration.  But God is the perfect parent.  Everything he does is to make us the people he created us to be.  Everything he does is to bring us closer to him.

Now that being said, I’m not saying that God is a completely permissive parent.  Like any good parent, he gave us a set of rules to live by.  He loves us enough to give us boundaries and  rules, designed to keep us safe and happy.  Don’t you do the same for your children…out of love?

And when your child disobeys how to you respond?  Do you correct them?  Do you discipline them?  Why?  I’m guessing for exactly the same reason you gave them rules in the first place, because you love them, and you want to keep them safe, and to help them lead a happy and successful life.

So doesn’t it make sense then that our Father in heaven, who has no darkness in him, does everything for our own good?

I think that the closer we draw to God, the more we follow his rules for life, the more he rewards us in big and small ways, by glimpses of his love.  And when we keep our spirits focused on him, and not the distractions of this world, we come closer to finding the peace and happiness that God wants for us.  A peace that passes all understanding.  A joy beyond anything that we could ask or imagine.

So when you hear people tell you that they don’t want a God who punishes people, you can tell them that isn’t the God you believe in.  Tell them that your God is a kind and loving Father and that everything he does comes from a love that always wants to draw you closer.  A love in which there is no darkness, only light.

So what exactly are God’s rules for us?

  1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
  2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
  3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
  4. Remember the sabbath
  5. Honor they father and mother
  6. Thou shalt not kill
  7. Thou shalt not commit adultery
  8. Thou shalt not steal
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness
  10. Thou shalt not covet anything that is thy neighbors.

Now I don’t know about you, but when I read these all I see are rules about respect.  Respect for the God who created us and loves us, and respect for each other.  These are a set of rules designed to make our lives better, given to us by a kind and loving Father.

I’m guessing that not many of the people reading this blog are going to have too much trouble following rules 6-8 on a daily basis.  But what about taking the Lord’s name in vain?  Honoring your parents? Coveting? Keeping the sabbath?

The more we make God’s rules a part of our lives, the more in communion we are with Him, and the happier we become.  God wants all of his children to live in joy.  But we need to do our part to make that happen.

So this week I challenge you to pick one rule and try to make it a habit, part of your daily routine.  If you find yourself feeling envious, think about all of the gifts God has given you.  If you find yourself taking the Lord’s name in vain, correct yourself and say sorry.  Try prioritizing church for a month.  You’ll be surprised at the joy you’ll find in following God’s rules.  And, yes GOD ABSOLUTELY WANTS YOU TO BE HAPPY!

GOD BLESS

Meredith

 

 

 

 

Obsession!

What do you think of when you hear the word, obsession?  It positively screams of something dark and insidious.  A fault or failure of character.  A character flaw that allows something negative to take over or dominate your life to the exclusion of all else.

We speak of kids and their obsession with social media, video games, screens time.  We talk about obsessions with fashion, food, fitness.  It seems like everyone these days is blaming something on their OCD.

Well today I want to confession my obsession to you.  Because I am obsessed…obsessed with God.

It’s like He sits there, in the front of my brain.  I can practically point to the place, it’s right between, and slightly above my eyes…right in the middle of my forehead.  Or sometimes when I’m in church it’s like I can feel his hand pressing down on my bowed head.  Letting me know he is with me.

God fills my thoughts.  When I’m happy, songs of praise either dance through my brain, or burst uncontrollably from my lips.  I’m constantly thinking about Him, thanking Him, wanting to learn more about Him.  Understand Him.  In my free time I think about this blog or my other writing projects, and how I can give back to Him who has given me so much.  How I can use my meager talent to thank Him for the fullness of my heart; the moments of overwhelming, soul-filling joy.  The feeling of knowing and understanding what He is trying to tell me – those moments that bring me to my knees, tears streaming down my cheeks because I feel so full.  So fully loved.  So full of Him.

But this obsession is unlike anything I understood obsession to be.  It is all consuming, but instead of guilt and darkness, I feel only light.  My obsession doesn’t take me away from my family and my responsibilities, it only makes me able to be more;  more engaged, more patient, more gentle, more kind.  It only makes me love them more.

My obsession makes me want to take everyone I meet by the shoulders and shake them.  I need to make them understand how amazing it feels to be loved, to live in the light of God’s love.  There is no video game, or movie or social media post that can give you the sense of wholeness you get from communing with God.

This is an obsession that redefines the word.  There is no negative here.  There is only a sense of rightness, of peace, of what was always intended.

I know God loves me.  I feel God’s love and it is an oxymoron; all consuming and liberating at the same time.  In everything you give up to Him, you feel more full, more fulfilled, more satisfied.

This must be a glimpse of what it feels like to live always in His glory.  When you come close to experiencing, even a glimpse of his presence, you can’t help but fall to your knees in praise.  Now I understand the title of C.S. Lewis’ autobiography “Surprised by Joy”.

God Bless,

Meredith

My ugly jealousy.

I debated about writing this blog because, like most people, I hate exposing that dark underbelly that we all have.  But I also feel that if I am going to be honest about my faith journey and how God works in my life, then sometimes you have to do things that make you feel uncomfortable.

We’ve all had them, feelings of jealousy.  I know for myself, Those feelings almost always stem from my own feelings of inadequacy.  I never envy people having or doing things that I am confident in about myself, but areas where I am insecure, especially in my work, are very common places for negative feelings to arise.

I had occasion to experience those feelings this past weekend.  I could feel the ugliness and that little voice in my head, questioning myself and putting down another person because I needed to reassure myself that I was good enough. I felt it… but I also recognized it as nothing that was going to take me anywhere good. I think that is part of walking close to God, he lets you know almost immediately that you are on the wrong path and gives you the opportunity to right yourself.

Not only did God give me the opportunity to right myself that day, he then reassured me in my scripture readings.  Now I know the other day I talked about being accused of confirmation bias.  But when I write the verse I read today, you decide for yourself.  Because I could have read it the day before, and I would have if I had stuck to my scheduled reading plan, but I didn’t…  I read this verse on the very day I needed to read this verse.  I simply can’t believe that is anything other than GOD present and active in my life.

“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.  For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:”  Romans 12:3-4

I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure God took the time today to remind me that we each have different skills and that he will call us each to be our best for him and not to worry about what anyone else is doing.  There are several more verses that follow this one that reiterate that.

This is why I love our Lord.  He absolutely took time to listen to how I was feeling and he gave me an answer and a direction, just like any parent would for their own child. The moment I read that verse I got down on my knees, tears streaming down my face, and thanked God for his love.  For taking the time to show me how much he cares about me and for reminding me of the path he wants me to walk. That feeling of being held by God, of being known by God is so wonderfully, powerfully overwhelming.

If you don’t think that you can have this type of relationship with our Father in heaven I would wholeheartedly tell you that you are wrong.  Not only can you have this kind of relationship, but this is the relationship God wants to have with you.  All you need to do is reach out.  If you haven’t already accepted Jesus as the son of God, and asked him to be a part of your life, then do it now.  If you are a believer, make an effort to get to know the God you believe in, reach out in prayer and open yourself to a life of freedom and love and blessing.

God Bless

Meredith

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