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

 

God Bless the Children.

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:13

Having a relationship with God isn’t always easy.  There are lots of times that I feel as if I’m not strong enough for the things he’s asking me to do, for the challenges I’m facing, and believe me, this year I’ve had my share.  But I have come to learn that God will always be there for us, we just have to choose to let him. And often times those moments that seem the darkest, turn out to be our greatest blessings.

As the parent of a child with significant special needs, and a drive to seriously hurt himself, there are many times when I have looked up and cried out to God, “why”?!  My heart breaks every time I’m not fast enough to stop Hayden from punching himself or when I hear from staff that Hayden has hit his head again.  (There’s a reason he wears a hockey helmet.)  But if I have learned anything these last 18 years, it is that Hayden’s life has purpose and it isn’t always about me.  By choosing to let go of him, by allowing other people into his life to help him, I know that God has used him to change lives and I’m sure he will continue to do so.

I read an article this weekend about how God measures productivity.  Many of us live with the mindset that we need to get as much done as possible in as little time as possible.  I am no exception and especially before my accident, I would often feel guilty if I wasn’t going at full speed. But, the point of this article was that maybe sometimes we need to sit in traffic, to be late, to not get something done.  It isn’t always given to us to know how the actions and events in our lives ripple out to affect other people.  That’s part of trusting in God.

When we are children, it is the responsibility of our parents to guide us and protect us from things that we aren’t cognitively or emotionally aware of.  Don’t you think it’s possible that God does the same thing for us? Maybe he’s protecting us when we are waiting at that red light or we get delayed in the drive-thru. If there is a God out there capable of creating the universe and everything in it from a vast emptiness (and I sincerely believe that there is) then he is more than capable of being able to love and care for each one of us individually.

It isn’t always given to us to know why bad things happen in our lives, but if we trust in our Father (just as we hope our children trust in us) then I know it is possible for him to make everything for our good. And, just as we are there for our children, giving them strength through their hurts and disappointments, there is nothing we can’t do, or get through with Him who gives us strength.

God bless,

Meredith

You Have to Knock.

September has arrived and school is back in session.  For me that means Isaac and I are sitting down to our first full year of home schooling.  He’s in grade six now and I’ve decided this year to assign blocks of time and then anything he doesn’t get done in that block means he has homework, if he gets done early, it’s free time.  So far it seems to be working.  I definitely feel less pressure to get through things quickly.

I think in one of my last blog posts I talked about God lighting up the way like a runway.  As if to confirm that for me, over the last week I have had several experiences in which God placed huge “This is the right decision to make” signs in front of me.

I was sharing these experiences with a loved one and they responded that they had never really received those types of signs.  And then we started talking about whether or not God plays favorites.  I think that the obvious answer to that question is no.  But it’s similar to discussions I’ve had with my priest about whether everyone gets into heaven.  I’ll share his analogy.  In your own home, when a stranger knocks on your door do you invite them in?  Sit down to dinner with them?  Or is that invitation reserved for those who you know intimately and who know you?

I actually believe that God has already invited everyone in for dinner.  And that he keeps a basket of gifts beside the door that he is just waiting to shower us with.  The problem is not that God won’t invite us in, it’s more that we can’t bring ourselves to walk up and knock on the door.  We allow fear and doubt to get in our way.  We listen to others who tell us that God doesn’t exist, instead of listening to the truth in our heart.

And here’s the thing, the more you knock on that door, the more you sit down and spend time with God, have a conversation with him, the more you allow him to give you those gifts that he is keeping for you.  It’s not that God plays favorites, he loves every single one of us exactly the same amount.  Jesus says that he will leave the 99 to find the 1 lost sheep.  But that sheep has to want to be found.  God will get down on his knees for you.  He will sacrifice his only son for you.  He will spend the entirety of your life calling out to you, but you have free will, you have to decide for yourself to answer that invitation.  You have to decide to walk up to that door and knock.  And if you do, the next time a friend shares a story of God’s blessings and gifts in their lives, you’ll have a story to share too.

God bless,

Meredith