Mortifying Sin? What the heck does that mean?

This weekend I started reading Sin and Temptation by John Owen.  The book open with the subject of mortifying your sins.  If you don’t know what it means to mortify something don’t feel bad, I had to look it up too.  It means to put something to death.  So this book on Sin and Temptation was opening with the idea of putting your indwelling sins to death.

God is taking me on a journey through his scholars, C.S. Lewis, George MacDonald and now John Owen.  In each of these men I have felt in my heart the truth and honesty of their reflections on God.  Owen writes that “Sin aim always at the utmost; every time it rises up to tempt or entice, might it have its own course, it would go out to the utmost sin in that kind.  Every unclean thought or glance would be adultery if it could; every covetous desire would be oppression, every thought of unbelief would be atheism, might it grow to its head.”   WOW!

How many times have we justified a tiny sin in our own lives only to find that it grows, slower ever larger,  like a cancer in our hearts?  To continue with Owen, “it is modest, as it were, in its first motions and proposals, but having once got footing in the heart by them, it constantly makes good its ground, and presses on to some farther degrees in the same kind.  This new acting and pressing forward makes the soul take little notice of what an entrance to a falling off from God is already made….”

Robert Deffinbaugh wrote that Satan approached Eve in the garden of Eden as a friend.  He spoke to her in such a way as to convince her that he was someone who cared about her and wanted what was best for her.  How often has sin come into our own lives in that way, convincing us that this is what is best for us, and we listen to that voice, instead of trusting that only God, in his infinite wisdom and love, has our best interests in mind.

I love, and at the same time, am terrified of the idea of asking God to shine his light into the deepest and darkest parts of my soul.  But at the same time, I feel as if that is what God is calling me to do, as I walk this faith journey with him.  John Owen calls upon the believer to mortify their sins daily.  When I think about what he is calling us to do, it goes beyond confession.  Confessing your sins and knowing that you are forgiven seems like the first step, and that’s where I was for a long time.  But I think what John Owen is writing about, is that there is almost an acceptance of our sinful nature when all we are willing to do is confess.  Growth in our spiritual life is about rooting out the sin, “pruning the branches that don’t bare fruit” so to speak.  And the more I think about it, the more I have to acknowledge that this is a daily task.  Opportunities for sin to gain ground happen every day.

The other thing that John Owen emphatically writes about here is that it is simply not possible for us to mortify our sins ourselves.  We can only do it with the help of the Spirit.  I’m looking forward to reading more about that.

I don’t want to be one of those people who stands on the side of the road, holding a sign.  My purpose in writing this blog isn’t to try to convince you to be or to do something that God isn’t calling you to be or do in your heart already.  This blog is about my own journey in faith and my thoughts about things the books and scriptures I read.  And I say this because when people start talking about sin, its easy to tune them out.  We want to read about God’s love, but when we really start getting down into the nuts and bolts of our sinful nature, many of us aren’t willing or ready to have an honest discussion.  There are parts of the bible and God’s word that I’m not ready for yet, and that’s okay.  We all have to take our own journey, but I’m so grateful and thankful to all of you for being a part of mine.

God bless,

Meredith

I don’t like you.

“Is it a Sin to not like someone?”  That was the question I typed into Google this morning.  We all have them, people in our lives who rub us the wrong way, or with whom we simply have a personality conflict.  And it was something I was struggling with myself.  What I read coincided with what I already knew in my heart, that these types of situations in our lives are both a blessing and a curse.  They are an opportunity for temptation, and sin to take root in our hearts.  But they are also a means for us to overcome that, and allow God’s love to work in our hearts.

In Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus said Love the Lord thy God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  The second is like unto it; Love your neighbor as yourself.  I think most of us understand that loving your neighbor means treating people kindly, respectfully, the way you would want to be treated. Every interaction we have in our lives is a means for us to demonstrate, and share the love of Christ with the world around us; at the grocery store, the bank, the Tim Horton’s drive thru.

I also think we can apply this same logic and reasoning to people to have a more significant role in our lives.  You aren’t required to have an intimate or close relationship with someone you don’t like, but you do need to treat them respectfully, kindly, gently.  It’s easy when you don’t like someone to speak badly of them, to want to convince others to share your feelings because, we feel justified in our feelings if we aren’t alone in them.  But part of loving you neighbor is not doing that.  It’s about working to recognize the good qualities in that person, and the positive ways that they impact people in their own lives.  And it’s about praying, asking God to help you see that person in a new way; the way He sees them.  Maybe we aren’t called by God to like everyone, but we are absolutely called by God to love everyone.

This Lenten season I can feel God calling on me to examine the ways in which I allow sin to take root in my own heart.  I can feel him calling on me to examine the ways in which my interactions and relationships with others are, and are not, reflective of how he wants me to live.  I can feel temptation tapping me on the shoulder in my relationships.  And I know that it is simply not possible for me to defeat it alone.  I can only cling to God, pray that he guides my heart and my words, shows me where I can be better, and strengthens me in the face of temptation.  Lent is a time for us to examine ourselves, our behaviors, and our hearts.  I thank God for his patience with me, that in the face of all my stumbling and groping around, he continues to love me, and that he fills me with his unfailing love, so that I can pour that out in my own interactions.

It’s easy to forget that the point of life is this journey; this process of coming to know God.  It’s about two steps forward and one step back.  And the people in our lives, our daily interactions are so often the cause of both.  That’s why a life of faith is such a difficult road to walk.  But, if we listen to Jesus, and love our Father with all of our heart, and soul, and mind, then he will help us with everything else, including loving our neighbor.

God bless,

Meredith

 

Afraid of too many blessing?

Last night as I was getting ready for bed I had this moment in which I just felt completely the entirety of God’s blessings in my life.  And then I paused, and felt a moment of fear, because I couldn’t imagine that this could continue.  I have lived so many years waiting for the next shoe to drop, and it always does eventually.

But that fear was a trick.  Yes, we will all experience the pain of loss and rejection and defeat throughout our lives, but we have a choice.  We get to choose if we are going to live our lives grateful for each blessing of each day, buoyed up by God’s enormous love for us.  Or we can chose to walk a darker road; one on which we see demons and shadows lurking around every corner. A road of fear.

It seemed completely appropriate that this morning I would read this devotion by Sarah Young in Jesus Calling“Sometimes the relationship I offer you seems too good to be true.” Why yes, that’s exactly how I was feeling last night, Lord.  “I pour My very life into you, and all you have to do is receive Me.  In a world characterized by working and taking, the offer to rest and receive seems too easy.  There is a close connection between receiving and believing; a you trust Me more and more, you are able to receive Me and My blessings abundantly.  Be still and know that I am God.”

There was my answer.  The more I trust in God, the more I am able to receive His blessings abundantly.  And I do.  I trust in God’s plan for my life in a way now that was impossible for me in the past.  As I have worked on developing my relationship with my Heavenly Father, I have come to a new and deeper understanding of Him and His role in my life. And I am finally able to trust, and understand that, in those times when I walk through the valley of darkness, He will be there with me.  Truly, only He has the power to make even the darkness a blessing.

Can you feel God pouring his blessings into you life today or is your fear preventing you from believing and receiving?  If death had no power over Christ, who gave His life for us, how much more will He do for you, His beloved child? You just have to let Him.

You can never hear this song too many times.  “Fear is a liar”.

God bless,

Meredith

The Older Son

This morning my Lenten reading was Luke 15:11-32, The Prodigal Son.  I understand that the point of the story is that God celebrates when a child who was once lost is found.  I totally get that.  But, not even a small part of me sides with the older son every single time I read this story.  It’s probably because I empathize with him.  I’ve always been that child; the one who does what is asked, who works hard and does what is expected. Those who are in the “know” will tell you that Jesus told this story about the Pharisees (the older son), and contrasted them with his followers, the lost and broken (the younger son).  But when I read this I get something different from it.  It speaks to me, and my own life differently.

I think sometimes what gets missed here is the cry of the older son when he says “You never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.”  The father’s response is “you are always with me and everything I have is yours.”  How much of this exchange reflects our own lives and relationships.  We take for granted those people and things that come easily to us.  The son in this story is crying out to his father to be acknowledged, to be appreciated, to experience the outward show of love that is being demonstrated toward his younger brother upon his return.

By the same token the father is almost shocked that his son doesn’t know how much he loves and values him.  He assumed that his actions, and his daily living were all demonstrations of the deep, and abiding love he had for this elder child.  Both men failed to communicate their feelings, and as a result a disagreement, or rift occurred in their relationship.

How often in our own lives, in our own relationships, in our marriages do we play the role of the father and assume that our loved ones know how we feel about them? How often are we the elder son, harboring resentment because we are unwilling to actually communicate our feelings of neglect or abdonment to our loved ones.  I think that this is a powerful story about the love of a father for his children, but also a powerful one about the importance of open and honest communication.  If you love someone, it should be okay for you to tell them how you are feeling.  Perhaps if the elder son had spoken up earlier, he wouldn’t have felt resentful of the time ,and attention his prodigal brother was receiving. Perhaps he would have been as joyful as his father upon the return of one who “was lost and is now found”. And by the same token, we need to be aware of those who uphold, and support us, and appreciate them.

I’m often guilty of that very thing.  Our middle son Everett is quit simply the easiest child ever.  Sure we have our squabbles, and disagreements but, I have never worried for him.  He succeeds at everything he puts himself to, he’s charming and charismatic, and he is fully, and completely capable in life.  Our eldest has special needs, our youngest, God bless him is joyfully innocent and carefree.  I worry about them, I probably give them more time and attention, not simply because they demand it, but because I want to make sure they succeed.  Perhaps you have a situation like this in your house?

I feel blessed that God gives me reminders to spend special time with Everett.  To tell him how much I love him, how proud I am of him, and how amazing I think he is.  I never want my children to feel less important than one another.  I don’t want be the parent who looks at a child with surprise one day and says “of course I love you, you are always with me and everything I have is yours”.

I think the story of the prodigal son is absolutely a story about a parent’s love for their children; a story about God’s love for the lost, and the found.  But, I also think it is a reminder to cherish, and appreciate those closest to us; be it a spouse, a parent, a sibling or a child. Make it a point today to tell someone, you maybe don’t say it to enough, how much you love and appreciate them.

God bless,

Meredith

Flat On My Face.

Do you sometimes struggles with ways to express your contrition before God?  I didn’t grow up in the Catholic church which has an established system of confession and absolution.  I was brought up in the United Church which has a very staid, conservative, and moderate faith.  As an adult I converted to the Anglican or Episcopalian church because I found that the service gave me the sense of peace and sense of communion with God that I had been missing.  I love everything about Anglicanism; the kneelers, the weekly communion, the confessions and Glorias.  Being in my church, and participating in that service, brings me a feeling of being in the presence of God in a way that I didn’t find in other services.  The great thing about faith is that there are enough different styles of worship to suit everyone.

But as much as there are a variety of different ways to worship God, I think that there is really only one way to come before him as a sinner.  With a penitent heart.  I talked earlier this year about how forgiving myself can sometimes be harder than coming to God for forgiveness.  I also think that it’s can often be at those time that we are riding high in God’s grace that we fall hardest, that we feel most ashamed.  We understand how completely we have separated ourselves, from who, and what God calls us to be, by our actions.

I have had an amazing week with God.  I called Saturday my day of little blessings.  I could see God’s hand in my life everywhere I looked.  I guess it seems appropriate that Sunday would be a day I would fall flat on my face.  A day in which I would lash out and react with anger instead of love.  I woke up this morning knowing that I had done the wrong thing, feeling the weight of it in my heart, and needing a way to become right with God.  I thank him that the first thing he did was to take the anger, and resentment out of my heart, and replace it with an understanding that it doesn’t matter if the world at large would consider my actions justified, if I was in the right.  What matters is how I responded, and I didn’t respond with love.  I needed to atone to that other person for that.  I needed to apologize and ask God’s forgiveness for that.

The amazing thing about God is that he already knows what I’m going to need and he provides me with the solution.  I didn’t do my bible reading yesterday.  It literally didn’t even cross my mind to do it.  Because God knew that I would need yesterday’s reading today.  Psalm 51.  This morning I read that Psalm, and then I wrote it out, and then I prayed the verses I have highlighted here as a meditation.  God spoke to my heart, and because I came to him with an open and penitent heart, he not only gave me forgiveness, he also gave me the means to forgive myself.  I guess sometimes you have to fall flat on your face in order to learn to let God to pick you up.  It hurts my heart to know how kind and loving our Lord is toward us, even when we don’t deserve it.  He really is the ultimate Father.  I don’t know what my future has in store, but I know that if God already has the answer before I even ask the question, if he’s always going to be there to pick me up when I fall down, then He’s who I want to have walking beside me every step of the way.

God bless,

Meredith

For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba. (NIV Study Bible)

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
    and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
    sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
    you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
    and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
    you who are God my Savior,
    and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
    you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is[b] a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart
    you, God, will not despise.

18 May it please you to prosper Zion,
    to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
    in burnt offerings offered whole;
    then bulls will be offered on your altar.

The Perfect Weakness.

How is your Lenten journey going?  Today is day four and I’m feeling pretty good.  I feel different this year, like I have a new resolve.  I truly feel strengthened knowing that I can’t do this on my own and that I’m absolutely going to be relying on God to help get me through my times of weakness.  It’s a strange feeling, acknowledging weakness and actually feeling stronger for doing so.  I’m usually the person who has it all together, or at least that’s the impression I give.  (If I’m wrong, please don’t tell me.)  Paul writes about this same moment of clarity in 2 Corinthians 12:9  ‘But he said to me “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power my rest on me.’

While I may be feeling strong about my Lenten journey, there are other areas in my life where I am tamping down a growing sense of chaos and panic.  I have so many things to do and I’m starting to feel overwhelmed.  I have three projects I’m working on from a writing perspective and because I am now homeschooling Isaac in the morning I have had to shift my days around and work at night.  I’m sure that this will get easier as the days get longer, but it is definitely a challenge to sit down at 7 or 8:00 and shift my brain into creative mode.  That’s not to mention the housecleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, meal making and carpooling, and errand running I’m starting to letting slip. I’m trying to be more efficient with my time, I was at the grocery store this week at 8:15, after I dropped the big boys off at school.  But, I’m a creature of habit and I’m struggling to fit everything in right now.  I know that God has called me to be active in all of these areas and that I just have to keep reminding myself that if I trust in him, he will provide.

My devotional today reminded me of that very thing.  Sarah Young writes in Jesus Calling  “The world around you seems to spin faster and faster…yet there is a cushion of calm at the center of your life where you live in union with Me.  Return to this soothing center as often as you can, for this is where you are energized; filled with my Love, Joy and Peace.”  I have definitely felt God’s hand on my heart this week.  That overwhelming love and joy that brings you to tears.  I think it was His way of preparing me for this understanding today.  His way of letting me know that He is here for me and if I trust in Him, He will not let me fall.  If I am feeling strengthened in my Lenten journey knowing that he will help me through my times of weakness, then I need to believe that giving him these feelings, these weaknesses, will result in the same.  God doesn’t want us to turn to him with parts of ourselves, he wants all of us. His love is enough to take anything and everything we can give him.  I’m going to give him my chaos today, and trust that he can handle it.

Are there areas in your life that are feeling chaotic or are spinning out of control that God is calling you to share with Him?

This song by Danny Gokey just kept speaking to my heart this week every time I heard it.

God bless,

Meredith

The Conflict of a Spiritual Life.

Today my Lenten reading was Galatians 5:16-26.  For any of you not immediately familiar with that passage (and don’t worry, I wouldn’t have been either) it is a letter from the apostle Paul to the people of Galatia addressing what it means to “Live by the Spirit”.

I’m sure that there are many people who go straight to this passage when they tell you what a good Christian does and does not do.  Paul’s list includes sexual immorality, drunkeness, and witchraft, but it also includes jealousy, discord, selfish ambition, fits of rage and envy.  I can maybe claim to steer clear of the first three, but I would be lying to you, and to myself, if I didn’t admit to feeling jealousy, anger and envy at times.  So then the question I had to ask myself and I can imagine many other ask is “How can I possibly be a good Christian?”  Paul says that these behaviors are the result of our sinful nature, and that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.  If that’s the case I might as well give up now.  How can I possibly live up to such a standard?

Likewise when reading the fruits of the Spirit, they include patience, goodness and self-control…all things I know that I struggle with.  So where does that leave me?

I think that there are many people out there who read passages like this in the bible and feel defeated.  Perhaps you are one of them.  I know that, upon first reading this, before I looked deeper into it, I certainly was.  So then what is Paul trying to tell us, or what is the meaning behind this reading?

Robert L Deffinbaugh writes that God is gracious, and unlike a bureaucrat, He deals with you on the basis of your heart.  He’s not as wrapped up in the details of your life as much as He is concerned about your attitude toward Him and your desire for Him.  Deffinbaugh says that the results of the spiritual life are more evident than the reasons. The Spirit evident by his fruits, rather than by His actual visible presence, and “walking in the Spirit” is simply dependence upon God.

I love that interpretation because it allows for, and acknowledges our human weaknesses.  I talked yesterday about Lenten aspirations and I think that is what Paul is doing here…he’s giving the Galatians, and us a set of standards to aspire to.  And those standards are based upon that greatest of Christ’s teaches…”love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:31).  When we love someone, we don’t envy their successes, we celebrate them.  When we love someone we want to lift them up, to see them do and be better and it has no reflection on where we are ourselves.

I think that a life by the Spirit can only happen when we “abide in Christ”.  When we fully give ourselves, and our lives, up to God. When we come to know, and understand Him we find peace, and joy, and happiness, knowing that he judges us by our heart, and and our intentions.  He knows that we will fail.  He knows we will sin.  That is why He  provided us with His son, Jesus Christ; the perfect sacrifice and atonement for those sins.  So instead of reading Galatians and feeling like a failure, see this as something to aspire to.  Something that can only be achieved by trusting in, and walking with God.  Aspire to make God a part of your daily walk and you may find yourself surprised to find how easy and attainable a life lived by the Spirit really is.

God bless.

Meredith

My Lenten Journey – Pleasing God

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday and our priest’s brief message for the Lenten season was about aspirations.  As you go about your own Lenten journey what are your aspirations for your faith and relationship with God?  I know one of my own aspirations is to finally succeed in self-denial over this period of 40 days.  Every year I say that I am going to give up something and every year I am faced with trials and stressors that test me.  Sadly, I can always find a reason to justify indulging myself.

I am determined that this year is going to be different because I have a new plan.  I am not going to rely on the power of my will.  I have clearly proven year after year that will-power alone will not be enough to get me through this journey.  What I need to do, is use this period of time to really and truly turn to God when I am struggling.  I need to find a mantra, or a small prayer, that I can say when I am feeling weak, or being tempted and allow God’s strength, not my own, to get me through this season.

But I want to aspire to something as well.  I’m not sure yet, but perhaps it will be that God is calling me to be more active here on this blog.  I’ve already missed posting on Ash Wednesday, but then I thought about my reading today.  It was from Romans 8:1-17.  In this reading Paul is talking about “God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering”  and it goes on to talk about those of us who “live according to the Spirit”  versus those “who live according to the sinful nature”.  But there was one line in this reading that really stood out for me, and made me think that missing one day might be okay.  I am almost always acutely aware of my own sinful, prideful, selfish and impatient nature.  I try, but I fail hard, and often.  But despite my shortcomings God continues to make his presence known to me in my life.  Why?

This passage really summed it up for me.  “Those controlled by the sinful nature cannnot please God.” (Romans 8:8)  So then if God is present and active in my life, and makes me feel that he is pleased with me, I must be doing something right even though I continue to sin.  I think that there are two key reasons why, and I could be wrong, I’m not a priest but I can share the truths I feel God has shared with me.  The first reason is I try.  I know I’m going to fail, God knows I’m going to fail, but I keep on trying.  I keep asking for forgiveness, picking myself up and trying again (note: something to keep in mind for Lent), but even people who don’t believe in God try, so what is the reason I arrogantly presume to have pleased God?

Paul says in this letter to the Romans “And so He condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully men in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature, but according to the Spirit.”  (Romans: 8:4) “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.”  (Romans 8:9)  So what does that mean for me?  It means that because I have invited the Spirit of God into my life, because I have chosen to make God part of my life, part of my daily life, because I turn to him in times of blessing and pain he is pleased with me.  It doesn’t matter how many times I fall flat on my face.  I have recognized him as my loving parent, and like any parent, he is pleased to be a part of my life.

God is our Father.  He wants to be a part of our lives, just as much as we want to be a part of the lives of our own children, or as much as our parents want to be a part of our lives.  Maybe your aspiration for your Lenten journey this year is just to touch base with your heaven Father on a daily basis.  Thank him, cry to him, laugh with him.  A relationship with God is like a relationship with anyone else, you have to actually talk to Him.  And once you start talking, you might be surprised at how often He answers you back.

God bless,

Meredith

Befriending your problems.

I read this today as part of my devotions and it just felt to true that I felt compelled to share it.

“Every problem can teach you something, transforming you little by little into the masterpiece I created you to be.  The very same problem can be a stumbling block over which you fall if you react with distrust and defiance.  The choice is up to you, and you will have to choose many times each day whether to trust Me or defy Me.    The best way to befriend your problems is to thank Me for them.  This simple act opens up your mind to the possibility of benefits flowing from your difficulties.  You can even give persistent problems nicknames, helping you to approach them with familiarity rather than dread.  The next step is to introduce them to Me, enabling Me to embrace them in My loving Presence.”  — Sarah Young, Jesus Calling

I wrote yesterday about my sorrow over the death of our beloved family pet.  But as my day progressed I became more and more convinced our journey that day with Bailey was perfectly scripted by God.  I used to say all the time that I just wanted to come downstairs one morning and find that she had drifted off in the night.  I wanted it to be easy.  But if that had happened, Everett wouldn’t have had the time to lie on the floor with her and tell her that he loved her.  Isaac wouldn’t have been able to cuddle her one last time, and she would have died alone, instead of being held in the arms of the people she loved and who loved her.  She was fine Sunday morning as we headed off to church.  When we got home, she had three seizures, each 2.5 hours apart.  It wasn’t a difficult decision to make.  She was old, she was tired and finally her body was failing her…it was time.  Yes, I spent yesterday feeling sad, but also so incredibly loved and blessed by God.  He gave us a perfect end with a perfect dog.

Thanking God for my problems or sorrows is not something that comes easily or naturally to me.  I often struggle with feelings of sorrow or depression.  It’s hard to thank God for feeling low  a day after you’ve felt amazing.  As recently as four months ago I have railed at him for it.  Asked him what I was doing wrong, accused him of not being the loving Father he claims to be.  It doesn’t matter that every month I know I’m going to have a few days like that, I hate it.  I hate feeling that way when I know that there is an alternative, and how great that alternative feels.

But over time, and with prayer, I feel God working on me, and today’s reading is another reflection of that.  God has shown me over and over again in my life how much he cares about me.  That he is always working for me, and he absolutely answers my prayers.  This past few months when I had a difficult day, I cried out to God.  I spent time in prayerful meditation.  The name of Jesus has power and some days that was all I could bring myself to say, over and over again.  Jesus.

I can feel God working in me; changing me and my perspective on events in my life.  I love that today he reminded me that it is always about choices.  That I need to continue to choose him in those difficult times.  I also love the idea of giving my persistent problem a nickname (although I might have to ask the kids for help with that one).  I love the idea of naming it and then every time it visits, just handing it over to Jesus.  As written by Sarah Young  “I will not necessarily remove your problems, but My wisdom is sufficient to bring good out of every one.”

God has done this for me so many times in my life, how can I fail to trust him?  Do you have a problem that needs a nickname? One that God is calling on you to give up to his embrace?

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