SOMETHING BIGGER.

I had a conversation a few days ago with a colleague about what was happening to comics right now, and where the industry might be when things eventually return to normal.  This individual had a very deep fear that their career was over, a feeling that I’m sure is being felt across much of the comic book industry.  Ours isn’t the only industry worried about what will be left after this crisis.  I tried to reassure this person that they had nothing to worry about, but the simple truth is none of us know when this will end, or how it will ultimately affect us.  I can tell you that this conversation opened a door to us having a very long conversation about God.  And as we talked, I kept praying for God to give me the right words, for God to use me to open the heart of this individual to His truth.

Now, more than ever we need to trust in our Heavenly Father.  It’s so easy to be ruled by our fear right now; fear of losing your job, your status within an industry, your way of life.  But, and this is something many people find difficult to accept, ALL of that is a gift from God.  “No.” you say “I work my butt off, not God, me.”  But the truth is, none of us get to write our genetic code, or pick and choose what gifts or talents we are going to be born with.  And yes, you may be an amazing artist, musician, writer, teacher, lawyer…and I don’t discount that you have worked hard to get where you are in your industry, but what you may not have seen are the many, many doors God opened for you along the way.  And, it is in times like these, that we see just how little control we really have over our own lives. Don’t let your pride (because that’s what your need to be independent from God is) prevent you from seeing and accepting all the gifts that God is offering you.  Don’t let your pride prevent you from accepting the ultimate gift…God’s love, and His hand and care over your life.

I believe that God expects us to work hard.  I also believe that he wants, and gives us every opportunity to use His gifts to their fullest.  But ultimately, I have found that only when these things go hand in hand with thanking God, and trusting in God, am I able to accept the blessings of peace, and joy, and the ability to use my gifts to their fullest potential.  I have been reading the prophet Ezekiel this week and there is one phrase that keeps getting repeated over and over again.  “They will know that I am the Lord…the Sovereign Lord.”  I think I copied it down four times in one chapter alone.  God is SOVEREIGN.  God is THE LORD.  And He’s got this.

Today I continue to give thanks for my blessings, and as this virus continues to spread through the world, I pray for each of you, that God watches over you and keeps you and your families in health and safety.  I pray for our doctors and nurses, and those who are working in groceries stores, and other essential services so that, even while we are social distancing,  we can live our lives.

Give thanks for your blessings today, and trust that God has a plan for each and every one of us.  Trust that even if a door closes as a result of this virus, you just never know what bigger, and better thing your Heavenly Father has in store.

God bless,

Meredith

BE JOYFUL IN HOPE.

In these rapidly changing, and challenging times I’m sure we’ve all had them; days when we give into our fear, and despondency.  Yesterday, we learned that our industry is coming to a standstill, like so many others.  It’s hard to imagine what the world will look like when this global emergency comes to an end.  Yesterday was not my finest day.  I felt anxious and tense; and I ran into one disaster after another – including dinner.  Sigh.  So, last night as I lay in bed I reached out to God, just as I quoted from Lamentations yesterday; I cried out to him from the pit, and I fell asleep confident that he heard my cry.

This morning I was reading Roman 12 & 13.  And I’m going to share a few verses with you that helped me.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”  Romans 12:13.  These were words I needed to hear.  This was the verse I meditated on this morning.

And as provinces and states are shutting down and declaring states of emergency, I felt this verse to be helpful.

“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.  The authorities that exist have been established by God.”  Romans 13:1

I know I personally have railed against the increasingly stringent measure that are being put into place to keep us all safe.  But reading this verse reminds me that I should instead be praying for “the authorities…God’s servants who gave their time to governing.” Romans 13:6

With everything that is happening it is so easy to lose sight of where I need to keep my focus.  I want to go through today, and these next few weeks, and perhaps months, holding fast to this mantra;  “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

God is good, and I KNOW that he will use this situation to his glory.

If you have a prayer request, please feel free to reach out and I would be happy to pray for you.

God bless, stay safe and don’t forget to check out today’s reading from John.

Meredith

THE ROAD BACK – PART ONE

Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t been blogging as much recently.  I think it’s fair to say that I went through a period of time during which I very seriously questioned what I was doing as a writer.  I write these next words to share my experience and I genuinely ask that you not respond by telling me how you feel about me as a writer (good or bad).  I’m sharing this story because I believe that part of the appeal of this blog is that I share my faith journey, through it’s ups and downs, openly and honestly.

For the past six years I have been pursing a writing career in comics.  I am not naturally a person to put myself forward, believing that the quality, or lack there of, determines the demand for your work.  I think that it is fair to say that my career in comics has been moderately successful. I’ve written Wonder Woman, Conan, my own comics.  But throughout this experience, while I strongly believe my work has an emotional appeal, I have never really been the type of writer that companies clamor for.  That’s okay.  But what I began to feel recently, was that perhaps writing comics wasn’t a road God intended me to walk forever.  But if I wasn’t writing comics, what was I?

I’ve struggled with my decision to walk away, to retire from writing comics, even as I’ve told myself that the time, and energy I had previously devoted to it was now being directed toward homeschooling our youngest.  But, I loved writing THE BOOK OF RUTH.  I mean I really, REALLY loved writing it.  I loved it so much I initially thought I would do another one right afterward…initially.  But after the Kickstarter was over, and I looked at the overall financial cost of putting out my own comic, there began to be a part of me that felt as if God had let me down. Hadn’t I put myself out there? Hadn’t I written material that was faith based?  Promoted it? Found a publisher for it?  Absolutely I raised an amazing amount from Kickstarter and Indigogo (and I feel so blessed, and so much gratitude to my backers), but I had still funded a significant portion of that book from my own pocket?  I simply couldn’t afford to keep writing comics like that.  I was ready and willing to serve, to put his word out there.  Couldn’t He help me out a little? At least help me to break even, so I could do another one?

Anyone who’s ridden on that roller coaster knows that feeling like God has let you down is the upside. The questioning and worry about letting him down is the long drop to the bottom.

I spent several months going through the motions, reading my bible, saying my prayers half-heartedly.  Even listening to music didn’t lift my heart like it used to.  I was walking through a spiritual valley.  So how did I get out?  And where am I now?

Some of you may have read my post last week about realizing I needed to open my hand to accept the gift God was offering me.  Even then I still was only beginning to get to the place I needed to be, to the place God needed me to be.  This past weekend I felt as if I was spinning at 100 miles an hour, so frustrated, and pent up, and lost. And, I felt with all my lashing out, and anger at my loved ones, and those around me that I must be a huge disappointment to God.  How far had I fallen from the woman who had danced through hallways with songs of praise in her heart months earlier?

Church for us, as for many people, was cancelled on Sunday.  I raced through my bible reading that morning hating myself, and the way I was feeling to such an extent that I just wanted to loose myself in the internet.  But as I opened my browser to check my Pinterest, I found myself typing something entirely different.  You’ll get lots of blogs and posts if you type in disappointing God.  I fully believe that posts I found were absolutely the ones I needed to read to put me back on the right path.  I also believe that you have to be in a place where you are “open” – last week’s post – to receive what you are going to read or hear.

Tomorrow I’ll share with you the new insight God gave into my feelings of self-doubt, and why I’m back blogging again.

Have an amazing day knowing that you are a child of God and He will care for you, just as you would care for, and watch over your own children.

God bless.

Meredith

 

 

 

THE CRY OF YOUR HEART.

Ever since Christmas I have been struggling with a general sense of fatigue and lethargy.  Maybe it’s S.A.D.  Maybe it’s feeling overwhelmed with my life.  Whatever the reason I felt burnt out. I have struggled with the simplest daily tasks of life; preparing meals, doing laundry…and with other tasks that have been important to me; reading my bible and prayer.  I have offered up half-hearted prayers over the past month.  Sometimes all I have been able to say is the Lord’s Prayer with my child before he goes to bed.  I have begun to question the core of my faith.  I have felt as if I can never be good enough, never worthy enough of God.  I have gone through SO many days recently when I have truly felt as if my faith was being tested. And I have cried out to God that right now, in this moment, I am the one…and he needs to leave the 99 for me.  I have prayed with an apology in my heart; “I’m sorry Lord, but I need a sign.  I am in an emotional valley and I need to feel you, to know that you are here with me.  I am counting on your promises.  I am holding fast to them, even in my questioning.

Even in my doubting, in the depths of my heart, I couldn’t help myself, there was a small party of me that believed… that God would hear me, that He would help me.”

Today he overwhelmed me with his response.

Today I got a text message from a friend out of the blue and he shared a song with me.  Today I drove past a field filled with 1,000 white swans.  Today my son shared a movie that lifted and inspired me.  Today God surrounded me with love.  Today God blessed me.  Today I was reminded that I am exactly who I am supposed to be and that “Jesus paid it all”…just for me.

God will never fail me.

I’m not going to pretend that I will wake up tomorrow and feel amazing. This valley I am walking through won’t suddenly disappear overnight.  But I am so grateful to be reminded that I am not walking alone.

God bless each of you and if you are struggling, just keep praying, even if you can’t find the words, God knows the secret cry of your heart.

Meredith

What are you giving?

Most days, as part of our school day, Isaac and I do a bible study or devotional.  Recently we read Genesis 4:1-7.  It’s the story of Cain and Abel.  In the scripture it reads “Cain brought some of his harvest and gave it as an offering to the Lord.  Abel too, brought an offering: the first-born lamb of one of his sheep.”

Prior to reading this scripture I had been struggling, reaching out to God, but feeling as if I was being held at an arms length.  But, as I read it with Isaac, one word stood out as if it was written in neon letters…”some”.  Cain brought “some” of his harvest and gave it to the Lord.  And if you know the story, then you know that his offering was found to be lacking.  It was lacking to such an extent that the Lord refused to accept it.

How many times have I come before the Lord with “some” of me.  How many times have I read my bible, gone to church, or prayed as a part of my routine, and not from my heart.  God was giving me a message – loud and clear.  He doesn’t want my half-hearted measures – he wants ALL of me!  My feelings of distance and being kept at arms length suddenly made so much sense.

Absolutely I believe that God wants a relationship with all of us.  But I also feel as if at some point in the development of that relationship he calls us to step up.  We can’t hold anything back from God.  He wants us to acknowledge that everything we have comes from him.  That’s what Abel did.  That is the reason that his offering was acceptable and Cain’s wasn’t.  Abel said “look at this beautiful, first-born lamb.  If not for God, I would not have this blessing.  I will, I must give it to him.”  In contrast, Cain said “I worked hard for all of this food, I gave the sweat off  my brow, the ache in my back.  I’ll give something of what I have earned to God because I should.

How many times in my own life can I see Abel?  How many more times do I see Cain? God wants to fill our lives with blessings.  It is part of the reason Jesus taught us to pray “give us this day our daily bread.”  But we also need to surrender our pride, our insistence on self-reliance and acknowledge that truly “all things come of thee, and of thine own, have we given thee.”

The world of 2020 wants you to believe that you are responsible for you.  But I want you to pause for a moment and consider the idea that a worldly view, puts you in Cain’s position.  You’ve heard the quote, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift––that is why it is called the present.”  Each day is indeed a gift – from our Lord and when we come to him…when I come to him, I want to come to him like Abel…appreciating his blessings and giving him my very best.

This week Isaac and I have tried to keep the idea of giving God our best as our focus, and I think that it has brought each of us into a closer communion with him.  Are you giving God the best you have to offer?

God bless!

Meredith

 

 

 

IT’S JUST SOOOO HARD!

Why is it that almost the second you decide to try to do better, temptation comes to show you just how weak you really are?  I think that probably applies to most things that tempt us, chocolate cake when you are on a diet, a new pair of shoes when you are watching your spending.  How are we supposed to win?!

Today for my bible study I was reading Ecclesiastes and James.  Both chapters specifically addressed my biggest failing as a Christian…my tongue.  James 3 is even appropriately titled Taming the Tongue. 

“…but no man can tame the tongue.  It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”  James 3:8.

“With  our tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who have been made in God’s likeness.”  James 3:9

“Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.” James 3:10

Guilty, guilty, guilty.  I have often wondered why, when we were created by God to praise and love him, it is so darn hard to live up to his standards?  I think it must be a big reason why so many people have fallen away from “religion”.  Once you get past the whole feel good “Jesus comes to save the world and forgive our sins part” there’s an expectation, a call to live a better life, to set a higher standard for your behaviour.  And just like you felt guilt when you did something wrong as a child, you feel badly, guilty about not living up to being the person you know God is calling you to be.  It’s easier to just walk away, especially in those early days.

Last night as I was driving Isaac back from his riding lesson I heard a song on the radio (see below), and it really drove home something that I think we all need to remember.  It’s good to be alive.  God gave us life to enjoy it.  A relationship with God is about feeling better, not worse.  Feeling not good enough, living with guilt… that is a lie told by the enemy, and one I’ve fallen victim too far too often.  When we feel as if we aren’t living up to God’s standards we should be turning toward him, not away.

I’ve been pretty honest here about how my own faith has ebbed and flowed over the years.  It’s even possible that I might stray away again, like a lost sheep.  But I feel grateful that, for right now, I am so tied to my Lord.  The more I have thrown myself at him whole-heartedly, the more I have felt his presence in my life on a daily basis.  And that’s why it is so darn frustrating to recognize at times that I am just as awful a sinner as I ever was, and that ole tongue is the major source of my failing.  But I also take comfort from the words of Ecclesiastes 7, verse 20 that I read this morning…”There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.”  and verse 18 “the man who fears God will avoid all extremes.” 

I am a sinner.  I will always be a sinner.  Just like my own children, as a child of God I will continue to make mistakes, to fall down.  And just as I would pick up my own children, wipe their tears and forgive them for any of their failings or mistakes, so too does God forgive me.  All I have to do is ask.  And truth be told, we are probably never fair to ourselves.  I believe that the Spirit lives in me, and is changing me into the person God calls me to be.  Some days he just chips off smaller pieces of this piece of clay than others.  God knows all things.  He knows when I’m having a bad day, when I’m stressed out, when I’m feeling out of control.  He also knows the days when I’ve got it all together.  I think he expects more from us in those times that we are more capable (just as we would with our own children).  Maybe some days, instead of chipping of pieces of this piece of clay, he just holds me in his hands and pours his love out onto me.

I pray for all those people who are struggling with their faith and with those feelings of not being good enough. God sent his only son into the world so that, while we might feel those things, we wouldn’t have to live with the burden of guilt for our failures.  I pray that instead of turning away from God in those times, we instead turn ourselves more fully toward him.

God bless,

Meredith