I was truly terrified!

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Fear is a word I have become intimately knowledgeable of this year. I’m talking, overwhelming, stomach churning, can’t breath, real fear. We’re talking a rocked me to my core, and made me question life decisions kind of fear, I would even say I was terrified. But guess what?! It was the type of fear that isn’t based on actual reality, but on a series of “what ifs”; a fear of the unknown, and I was caught completely off guard when it happened.

There is still so much going on in our world to cause us to be fearful, anxious, stressed. My personal strategy has been just to focus on my small little niche of the world and shut out everything else: I can’t change it anyway. But, sometimes the world breaks through and forces itself upon you; the threat of more lockdowns, tracking apps, arguments to vaccinate or not, doctors threatening to deny care to people. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined how divisive our world would feel. That’s the point of fear – to makes you like the world is against you, to make you feel isolated and alone.

There is a song by Zach Williams called “Fear is a Liar”. How much do we need that song now? How much do we need to be told that our fears are lies?

This summer, in the midst of a chaotic world, God has shone his light into my life on a daily basis; reminding me that He is with me, walking beside me, holding my hand. Let me give you an example. Last week, after almost a year of waiting, our hay field and horse pastures were finally planted. We have had gorgeous sunny days since then and three nights of rain. I can only call this a miracle and a blessing from God. I literally couldn’t have asked for better weather to germinate our seed. Again and again this summer God has made a way for us and our dream.

Over and over again the Bible tells us not to worry. Philippians 4:5-7The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ.” This verse isn’t saying God will give you what you ask for, but it does say that reaching out to Him in your anxiety will bring you peace; a peace that transcends all understanding.

When I hold God close, when I turn to Him in my fears and anxiety, when I don’t have enough strength, I feel that peace. God’s got this.

That fear I spoke about earlier…it came over me while I was riding my horse. That fear wanted to deny me something that brings me incredible joy, peace and love. I only know of one way to deal with fear like that; give it up to God. I’ve spent the last two weeks doing that scary thing over and over again. Lots of times I pray as we go galloping off into the wild with no fences or arena walls to “keep me safe” and you know what…”I’m actually having fun!” What fears in your life can you give up to God? What fears can you abandon to find joy?

Even when it feels like the world is out of control, Psalm 46:10 says “Be still, and know that I am God;” Make the choices you have to make, embrace the things that scare you, and trust that God will, can, and is working all things for your good. And here’s that Zach Williams song. I’m totally going to cry my way through it.

May God bless you and keep you!

Meredith

Me and My Big Mouth

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Let me start by saying that life in the country; life on our farm; is amazing. There is not one person in my family who hasn’t blossomed in this environment; in the freedom of the space. But building a farm from scratch does not come without its share of worries and stressors; the biggest of which for me has been financial. There have been many times over the past few months when I have felt my share of anxiety over how quickly our bank account can diminish. I know we’ve planned for this, but it’s still a scary thing to see it happen.

But, as a person of faith, I can’t tell you the number of signs and ways that God continually reminds me that He loves me and is watching over us. From the ease of Everett getting his new job five minutes from our house, to the recent purchase of a harrow for my riding arena. Time and time again God is there, watching out for us, protecting us, reminding us that He is near.

For all that, I have still felt anxious and overwhelmed. I don’t know how you deal with your anxiety, but mine tends to result in me lashing out at the people closest to me – my sweet and caring family. I know I’m doing it, I hate that I’m doing it, but I can’t seem to help myself and so it’s something I continue to bring before God.

Yesterday this was one of my verses – “Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret – it only leads to evil.” Psalm 37:8. DING, DING, DING! My fretting has absolutely resulted in anger and wrath and harmful behaviour. Okay Lord, point taken. And today this was my verse – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your heats and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

That verse doesn’t mean God is going to give me whatever I pray for, but it does mean that if I give him my worries and my fears and my anxiety he will give me peace. A peace that will guard my heart and my mind and by extension – my mouth. God will give me peace that I can share with my family instead of my fretful wrath.

How many times in your own life have you carried a burden of stress needlessly? I know the truth of these verses because I have lived them in my own life many times over. But still, my patient and loving Father, reminds me when I need to hear it, reminds me to give Him my cares. Today my prayers are about giving up my worries, and embracing the journey that I am taking, knowing that I am watched over, and loved, and protected every single step of the way.

God bless,

Meredith

Count your blessings, not your problems.

Who is it for?

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Yesterday was an absolutely gorgeous day; the sun was shining, there was warmth in the air and the kids were ripping around the fields on the gator. Seeing our kids embracing the outdoors, getting a thrill from something other than a video game was a major factor in our decision to move out of the suburbs. Through out the process of our move I have truly felt God’s hand over us. But, even before we started building I worried if we were making the right decision, if this was simply something I wanted, or if the need to move I was feeling came from God. I did a lot of praying about it and ultimately, there was such a strong feeling in my heart that this was going to be a blessing for us, that we kept moving forward.

Moving to the country has not been without its share of challenges. We are currently living in the middle of a dirt island. When the ground is dry, which thankfully it has been for the past few weeks, the dogs track in a constant steam of dirt and dust. When the ground is wet…let’s just say that washing the floors has become a way of life. The beauty of that is that I’m not alone. One of the many blessings of this new house is that our teenager is now much more a part of the life of the family. In our old home his room was above the garage and he was very isolated. Now he’s a few steps from the living room. I love that I can just pop my head in and chat without having to walk a mile. I also love that it’s made him more connected. He’s surprised me a few time by taking the onus to wash or vacuum the floors.

The new house has been a huge blessing for our youngest too, especially now that we have the gator. He’s excited for his chickens and there is so much out here for him to explore and do. Whether it’s in the mornings when I watch the sun rise, or the evenings when I watch it set; walking in the fields with the dogs, or sitting on the back porch with my family enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon; through it all I am reminded of how great God is and how very, very grateful I am for his blessings. It’s hard sometimes to know if the desires of your heart are from this world or from God. But my experience has been that if you keep praying about it, God will show you what he wants for you in your life – and he isn’t always subtle.

Have a wonderful day and God bless you.

Meredith

Put Another Log on the Fire.

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“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

I needed this exact Bible verse today. There is so much going on in the world, so much “noise” and, while I do my very best to tune it out, sometimes it pushes its way into my life. Fear, uncertainty, doubt, mistrust, it can be so hard to let go of the world, and worrying about the future, especially that of my children.

Even though I know in my heart that God is with me, at all times and in all ways, it helps to be reminded of that. Reading the Bible for me is like putting another log on the fire of my faith. It keeps it burning, it reminds me of God’s promises. That He is with me. There has never been a time when I have turned to him seeking his peace in a time of anxiety that he has not provided. God has filled my life with blessings and constant reminders of his presence, but even still I need to be reassured. I need verses like the one above.

It’s so easy to allow ourselves to get caught up in the noise of the world. In those moments, there is nothing we need more than to know that God is singing over us. That we can turn to him and find peace. If you are struggling today, I hope and pray that this verse for you is a log on the fire of your faith.

God bless,

Meredith

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

What’s The Point?

For a little while now I’ve been struggling a bit with the idea of heaven.  Specifically, what is the point of Jesus coming again if we all go to heaven and live with God when we die?  I mean isn’t heaven…well…heaven?  I’ve kind of put that thought at the back of my mind and figured I’d get around to it eventually.  I was reading Paul’s second letter to Timothy this morning and verse 9 said “this grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”  And I got to wondering about Jesus, what really did he teach?

So I decided to go back to Matthew, chapter 4, and then I started wondering what the “gospel” or “good news” Jesus came down to earth to share with us really was?  I wanted to really understand it.  So far I’ve gotten the idea that he preached the gospel/good news that the kingdom of heaven, or the kingdom of God was at hand.  He called his listeners to repent and believe.  At this point he wasn’t saying anything about grace.  So then what does it mean when he says the kingdom of God is at hand.  Looking at the world we live in, it doesn’t really feel as if God’s kingdom has been established on earth to me.

I believe that Jesus lived and died and rose again.  I believe that he said he is the way, the truth and the life.  I read one site that said you can only get to the kingdom of heaven through grace.  But I feel as if I need to really understand this to take the next step in my spiritual growth.  Maybe when I really understand this I’ll also have an answer to my question about heaven, and Jesus coming again. I’ll keep you updated as I go.

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

An Object in Motion.

I think on some level we are all inherently lazy.  Some of us just have an easier time pushing through that inertia.  We all run on Newton’s first law.  An object or person at rest, stays at rest. An object/person in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.  Have you ever heard that expression, if you want something done, give it to the busiest person in the room?

This past week I’ve been reading Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians.  There is so much good stuff in those short letters that speak to this, to respecting those who work hard and warning those who are idle.  Here are a few of my favorite verses and why.

“Respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you.”  1 Thessalonians 5:12.  I love the reminder in this verse to respect people who work hard, and for us to take criticism.  I think we all have a much harder time these days listening to the opinions of others, especially when they dare to tell us that our actions might not be okay.  We forget that we learn from failure as much or more than from success.  And maybe some days we need to be told to get moving, or to work harder.  I know I certainly do.

“Live in peace with each other…warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.  Make sure nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.”  1 Thessalonias 5:14-15.  Be patient!!  Words that I sometimes struggle to live by and it is through my lack of patience that I sometimes find myself in conflict rather than peace, or I forget to encourage or help others.  But I always find those times when I can step back, and try to understand why someone is reacting a certain way are the times I feel the closest to God.

And then in 2 Thessalonians 3, Paul says “in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you to keep away from one who is idle… for even when we were with you, we gave you this rule:  “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” …”And never tire of doing what is right.”  

I know that I’m always much happier and more relaxed the busier I am.  There is nothing more guaranteed to make me feel drained and exhausted than spending a day on the couch.  And people who don’t do anything want you to do nothing with them.  It makes them feel better for not accomplishing anything.  Now I’m not saying that there isn’t a time for rest.  Even God took the seventh day off, but you can be sure, he worked hard the other sixth.   And it’s when you work hard that you can rest on that 7th day, look around and say “it is very good”.

“…be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ.” 

“Do not put out the Spirit’s fire, test everything, hold on to the good, avoid every kind of evil.”

The one who calls you is faithful…”

What a recipe for the life we are called to live as children of God.  So often God is portrayed as self-righteously looking down from on high and judging us.  But this letter from Paul so beautifully sums up the life that God wants for us.  To be joyful always, to work hard and be respectful and peaceful and to be kind to each other.  Instead of turning away from God, we should be turning back to him.  We should be stoking the Spirit’s fire instead of putting it out, we should pray continually…thank God for that parking spot, that break in traffic, that green light.  Newton’s law applies to your faith as much as your physical activity, so keep moving, and keep praying.  Be an object in motion.

God bless,

Meredith

 

Seek and Ye Shall Find.

I would have said that I’m not a person who asks for help easily, except that Hayden broke me of that pride 18 years ago, and just in case I was getting cocky, God reminded me earlier this year that it is okay to let your husband tie a lop-sided ponytail in your hair, because it is done with love.

Yet here I am, in a situation where I am about to ask thousands of people for help…to support something that I believe in.  Maybe it shouldn’t be, but it feels like a tough ask.  The logical part of my brain says that a Kickstarter is a really great way to generate buzz and interest in a project that might otherwise slide under the radar.  But sitting down and having to answer questions about my project goal, that’s a tough one.  And I think the hardest part of it is that in my heart, I would do this for nothing.  I wrote this book because I felt called to do it.  Even now, writing this, I don’t want to sound like a martyr.  I have found such love and such joy from my faith. And that’s really what the Book of Ruth is about…it’s a story of one woman’s unfailing faith.

I keep praying for guidance about how to approach this project.  Today I received support from a very respected and valued peer.  God is using other’s, he’s using you, my blog readers to lift me up and encourage me…and as I write this, I feel as He is also finally giving me the answer to my question.

God is so good.  Always.  Trust Him with your questions and believe that He will give you the answer, even if it’s not always what you might expect, just as He did for me tonight.

God bless you!

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