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

Shhhh! It’s A Secret!

How many times in your life has someone leaned over to you and whispered a secret in your ear?  How many times have you turned around and told someone else, even though you promised you wouldn’t?  For some of us keeping secrets is easy.  It’s what we do; for others…it’s like climbing Mount Everest. I would definitely put myself in the later category.  My mother used to complain because every time I did something wrong I would feel compelled to tell her.  I’m what you call a “sharer”.  But there are other people who hold their secrets close, they guard them as if they are a precious treasure.  If you live with someone like that, it can be a challenge.  As someone who probably over-shares, it sometimes feels as if a person keeping a secret from me is using it as a form of power.  “I know something you don’t know.”  But I can hardly fault them for not telling me if they know I’m for sure going to tell someone else.

The thing about secrets is that there is a time, and a place…my kids know that if they tell either parent something, even in secret, that parent will eventually share it with the other parent.  Why?  Because David and I don’t have secrets from each other.  And even for a known sharer like myself, there are some secrets that you just know, once told in confidence, are never yours to share.

God tells us to keep secrets too.  I’ve been reading The Sermon on the Mount this week. In in we are called to love our enemies, and give to the needy, and to pray, and fast.  But he calls us to do many of these things “in secret”.  Soooooo hard!!!  If I do something nice, I want to run home and tell Dave, to show him, to show someone what a good person I am.  Kind of sums up the world we live in right now doesn’t it?  We want other people to know that we are good, and kind, and righteous.  We want everyone to know that we will vote for the right party, give to the right charity, believe in the “right” things.  We seek acceptance from our friends, our neighbours, our co-workers.  We look for it from social media in the form of re-tweets and Facebook “likes”.  We are all guilty of it to some degree.  Yes, even those who don’t have social media.  But the problem with our drive to get those likes, is that we will never get enough.

Every single one of us has a hole inside of us yearning to be loved and liked that can only be filled in way.  Social media will tell you that to be happy you need to love yourself, to put yourself first.  But I would argue that even you can’t love yourself enough to fill that void.  The only thing big enough to fill up the void within us is God.  And the reason is, because that void was created to be filled by Him.  Some people try to fill up that space with things, others with food, or money, or people.  But if you have a place in your heart that you are struggling to fill, the only “like” you need is from a friend named Jesus.

I think that’s part of the reason why Jesus tells us to pray in secret, to give to the needy in secret, to fast in secret… because only then does it become something we are doing to live like him, to deepen our relationship with him, and with our heavenly Father, and not something we are doing to be validated by other people.  When we are truly doing something for the right reason, we don’t need to broadcast it, because our Father in heaven already knows. You feel it in your heart, that He is the only one you need to look to for validation.

This is something I’m going to continue to struggle with, but it’s also something I work on.  I try to set myself a goal to not overshare.  Maybe it’s okay that I share with Dave.  Knowing I did, or didn’t do something good won’t really change his opinion of me.  Much like my Father in heaven, he loves me unconditionally.

God bless,

Meredith

A Vow of Silence.

I have always been a bit of a chatterbox.  When I was a child I know I wore my parents out with my constant questions.  And I think it is fair to say that I loved the sound of my own voice.  As an adult that tendency toward speaking often has definitely been moderated, but I will always been someone who loves to chat with people. I’m fairly certain it’s hardwired into my DNA.  Even my times of communion with God, my prayers are more about me speaking.  I couldn’t even begin to understand how monks and people could take a vow of silence.  (Not that such a vow is common these days)

But my readings today got me thinking about the power of words and the importance of being still and listening.  And I thought that it is probably those monks who are most like me, who take those vows.  So that God can not only speak to them in the silence, but show them just how important words are.

We spend our words freely these days.  We value the quick wit, the witty come back, the burn.  But what if everyone in the world took a moment and paused before they spoke.  One of my friends has an expression which I have stolen and use often with my own children, “words are like toothpaste, once you squeeze them out of the tube, you can’t put them back”.  Good advice and definitely worth remembering.  What if we all decided that we would use our words to build people up instead of tearing them down. What if instead of responding in the heat of anger, we responded in the warm of love?

I have certainly been guilty of the above at various times in my life.  As a general rule, I try to make disagreements about communicating my feelings and listening to the other persons, but that doesn’t always happen, and I can easily call to mind one right now.

Sarah Young writes in Jesus Calling  “Pause before responding to people or situations, giving My Spirit space to act through you.  Hasty words and actions leave no room for Me; this is atheistic living.  I want to inhabit all your moments — gracing your thoughts, words and behaviors.”  I want that too.  That is the point of this journey I’m on, to become closer to God, to trust in Him, and to live the life He calls me to live.  To trust in Him, and not on my own understanding.  But when we speak without thought, we aren’t really communicating with those around us, we are simply reacting.  And we definitely aren’t trusting in God in those moments.

Certainly in our lives there are people to whom we are more inclined to stop and listen; people we respect or love, maybe it’s your boss, your parent, your best friend.  But there are also those people who we are quick to speak over; maybe its our siblings, children, strangers.  I know that if I am going to hold myself to a higher standard, if I am truly listening to the Spirit of God inside me, then I need to give everyone the same respect; the same freedom to express themselves, and to be heard.  Maybe we should all take a vow of silence today.  To see and not be seen, to listen and not speak, to stop and be still.  We might be surprised at the new ways God is able to be active within us.

God bless,

Meredith