Making Your Own Luck.

Last night David and I were having a discussion about luck.  I was telling him how grateful I felt that a friend’s life was saved from what could have been a devastating and potentially fatal condition, and his response was that she was lucky.

Yesterday I wrote about giving up control of your life to Jesus, and I think that this idea of getting lucky is, in many ways, part of that.  Personally, I no longer believe in luck.  If I get a green light, that is a blessing from God; an amazing parking spot? Thank you, Jesus.  Why is it so much easier for us to believe that good things happen by random chance than it is to believe that something good happened because we have a Father in heaven who loves us and wants what’s best for us?

I think that part of the reason is something many struggle with, because good things happen to bad people, and bad things happen to good people.  And it’s hard to understand how a loving Father could give a good mother cancer, or see a father killed in a car accident.  And bad things don’t just happen to good people, they happen to Christians and non-believers alike, they happen to innocent children.

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have all the answers here and this was something that David and I discussed, and I’m sure we’ll have more discussions about.  But here’s what I know from my own life experience.  When my oldest son was born I was filled with so many hopes and joys and expectations for who and what he would become.  Never once could I have imagined the road God put me on with him.  We have been through multiple diagnoses, traumatic brain injuries, self-abuse, staff abuse, and so many tears.  For many, many years I couldn’t understand why God gave me a son with so many challenges. At times I thought it was a punishment, at others I simply turned my back on God.  What I couldn’t see, while I was down in the trenches, when I was walking through the valley, was God’s bigger plan.  I didn’t see how Hayden’s brain injury would result in his eventual transition to a community home where he would be given incredible support.  I didn’t see how this would result in our family actually becoming a family again, instead of a single parent household while the other parent managed and cared exclusively for Hayden.  I didn’t see how this would give me the chance to simply be Hayden’s mother again instead of constantly focusing on therapies and treatments and then being too exhausted for anything more.  God has a plan for each and every one of us and I believe that the more we thank Him for our blessings, the more we reach out and try to have a relationship with Him…the more we find ourselves able to trust in Him and his plan for us.

I have no idea the ripple effect my son Hayden has in the lives of those he meets, and interacts with on a daily basis at school, in the community, in his own home.  There are still many days when all I can do is give him to God, trust in God and his plan for Hayden, for our family, for me.   I do know that I no longer believe anything in my life is a result of chance.  If I choose to believe in a God who was capable of creating the heavens and the earth, who can bring the dead to life, how can I not believe in a creator who is capable of watching over me in my daily life.

And I guess that brings us back to where we started. In the end it always comes down to the same thing; the reason there is good and bad in this world…choice or free-will.  You can choose to believe that the good things that happen to you are good luck, and the bad things similarly, or you can choose to believe that the good things that happen to you are blessings from a loving Father and the bad things?  Challenges, opportunities for growth, doors opening to new chapters you couldn’t imagine were possible.  Sometimes to climb a mountain you have to walk through a valley.  Maybe the meaning of life is as simple as choice, and if it is, I know God wants you to choose Him.

God bless,

Meredith

Does God want you to be happy?

Do you ever notice that God has a bit of a bad rap in some circles.  So many people think of God and religion in the same way.  They believe that a life lived for God must be restrictive and boring.  Or even worse, the only things they’ve ever heard about God are full of fire and brimstone, and presented as a way to scare them into believing.  “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is a hand!”

My first experience with God was very similar to that.  I wanted to be a Christian because I didn’t want to go to hell.  But can anything that comes of fear be good or lasting?  Is that really the message Jesus preached?

If you’ve been reading this blog, then you know I always bring everything back to my own experience as a parent.  Would I rather my children behaved well because we share a mutual love and appreciation for each other, or because they are afraid of my punishments and reprisals?

It makes me sad when I see God’s message distorted to scare people (because I absolutely believe it is a distortion).  The people who really know God, the ones who carry the message Christ preached in their heart, they know that our God is a God of love.  They know that Christ came to save the world, not condemn it.

So that brings me back to my question.   Does God want you to be happy?

“And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.  This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. ”  1 John 1:4-5

The gospels and letters of John are perhaps the most full of love in the entire bible.  John, the disciple whom Jesus loved best.  Maybe because John most understood, or was closest to Jesus’ heart.  So yes, I absolutely believe that, like any good parent, God wants us, his children, to be happy.  I can’t claim that I don’t have darkness in me.  Sometimes I yell at my children out of anger or frustration.  But God is the perfect parent.  Everything he does is to make us the people he created us to be.  Everything he does is to bring us closer to him.

Now that being said, I’m not saying that God is a completely permissive parent.  Like any good parent, he gave us a set of rules to live by.  He loves us enough to give us boundaries and  rules, designed to keep us safe and happy.  Don’t you do the same for your children…out of love?

And when your child disobeys how to you respond?  Do you correct them?  Do you discipline them?  Why?  I’m guessing for exactly the same reason you gave them rules in the first place, because you love them, and you want to keep them safe, and to help them lead a happy and successful life.

So doesn’t it make sense then that our Father in heaven, who has no darkness in him, does everything for our own good?

I think that the closer we draw to God, the more we follow his rules for life, the more he rewards us in big and small ways, by glimpses of his love.  And when we keep our spirits focused on him, and not the distractions of this world, we come closer to finding the peace and happiness that God wants for us.  A peace that passes all understanding.  A joy beyond anything that we could ask or imagine.

So when you hear people tell you that they don’t want a God who punishes people, you can tell them that isn’t the God you believe in.  Tell them that your God is a kind and loving Father and that everything he does comes from a love that always wants to draw you closer.  A love in which there is no darkness, only light.

So what exactly are God’s rules for us?

  1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
  2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
  3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
  4. Remember the sabbath
  5. Honor they father and mother
  6. Thou shalt not kill
  7. Thou shalt not commit adultery
  8. Thou shalt not steal
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness
  10. Thou shalt not covet anything that is thy neighbors.

Now I don’t know about you, but when I read these all I see are rules about respect.  Respect for the God who created us and loves us, and respect for each other.  These are a set of rules designed to make our lives better, given to us by a kind and loving Father.

I’m guessing that not many of the people reading this blog are going to have too much trouble following rules 6-8 on a daily basis.  But what about taking the Lord’s name in vain?  Honoring your parents? Coveting? Keeping the sabbath?

The more we make God’s rules a part of our lives, the more in communion we are with Him, and the happier we become.  God wants all of his children to live in joy.  But we need to do our part to make that happen.

So this week I challenge you to pick one rule and try to make it a habit, part of your daily routine.  If you find yourself feeling envious, think about all of the gifts God has given you.  If you find yourself taking the Lord’s name in vain, correct yourself and say sorry.  Try prioritizing church for a month.  You’ll be surprised at the joy you’ll find in following God’s rules.  And, yes GOD ABSOLUTELY WANTS YOU TO BE HAPPY!

GOD BLESS

Meredith

 

 

 

 

Freedom

I titled this post Freedom because that is what my faith in God and Jesus has given me.  Freedom.  Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am absolutely a type A personality.  My life is all about time-management and schedules.  Getting the kids out the door, to school, to their activities.  I like to be prepared and preferably well in advance.  I try to reduce the stress  that I find comes from doing things last minute. And in doing this I delude myself into believing that I am in complete control of my life.  Until I’m not.

We’ve all heard the phrase, the only thing we can really control is how we treat the people we encounter in our lives.  But I would challenge that statement, because while we might not be able to control much in our lives, we can absolutely control who we put in charge.  Chance?  or God?   I don’t know if I have the right words to describe how much more peaceful my life has been since I just let go and acknowledged that.  And in that acknowledging, gave up my illusion of control to the one who created everything.

I’ve had lots of discussions with people about this concept.  It’s like they think that by me saying I’ve put God in control I’ve stopped having agency in my life.  I would say that the exact opposite is true.  I’m not afraid anymore.  I’m not worried about getting my next writing job or solving a problem that is outside of my control.  They say that “God helps those, who help themselves”.  And I absolutely believe that.  I still continue to work very hard to be the best writer I can be.  I still continue to work on, and pitch stories that I believe in, but what I don’t do, is worry about it any more.  I’m not afraid of my story not being picked up, or not getting a job, because I’ve put that in God’s hands.  I do my part and then I sit back and let him to his.  That’s what I’m talking about when I say giving control of my life to my Father in heaven has made me free.

I turn everything over to God.  When David lost his wallet in Orlando, I prayed about it and then I called the hotel and when we found it, I absolutely gave thanks.  When I needed to move a large item and the trailer that I had lined up ended up falling through, I worked hard to find another one, but I also gave it up to God and while I did my best, I didn’t worry.  I knew in my heart that my Father would take care of me.

I guess that’s the point of today’s blog.  We absolutely have a Father in heaven and I’m sure this feels like a bit of a reoccurring theme for my blogs, but I don’t think that we can be reminded often enough that God loves us and wants to be an active part of our lives if we will only let him.  When you start giving God control, you will be surprised at all the little ways, everyday of your life, you can find him taking care of you.

God Bless,

Meredith

 

 

 

 

 

Truth

I wasn’t sure what to write about today and then I glanced at my phone and saw the following verse on it from one of my bible apps.  “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”  John 8:32.  I think that goes along with what I’ve been reading and talking about this week, so let’s talk some truth.

The truth is that I don’t know if everyone who reads my blog believes in God.  If you do, great!  If you don’t, thank you for taking the time to read, with what I hope is an open mind, and if you are wondering, I pray that God uses something I write to speak to your heart.

Truth is that our faith, and the public expression of it, makes a lot of people uncomfortable. Truth is that a lot of people would like to convince you that Jesus Christ wasn’t real, he isn’t the son of God and you believe in a grand delusion.  Truth is that what you see as signs of God working in your life, often times other people will call confirmation bias.

But here’s more truth.

1. Historians, both atheists and theists alike, virtually unanimously agree that Jesus was a person of history.  There are far too many sources, outside of the gospels that speak to his life, his existence and mission 2000 years ago. So yes, that person who we believe in, he actually walked this earth, and gave us a set of ethical standards that have been unmatched by anyone after or before him.  So if you don’t believe in God yet, know that you can absolutely believe that a man named Jesus of Nazareth really did live here on earth, and it has been historically proven.

2.  Jesus absolutely was crucified by Roman.  Again, this is a fact that is virtually undisputed based on a significant number of historical documents, again,  separate from the gospels, written by historians and writers unsympathetic to the Christian cause.  And despite what some people will try to tell you, he didn’t just swoon, he died.  Again, his death by crucifixion is perhaps the most certain claim about Jesus in all of history.  Which means that absolutely a man named Jesus Christ gave his life “claiming to be the son of God” as atonement for our sins.  I think the only thing that really remains to be proven is, is the claim that he is the son of God.

3. And if the crucifixion has been recorded historically, then you can also be sure that the empty tomb was a big freaking deal three days after Jesus died.  Rest assured that if the body of Jesus could have been produced by the Romans and Jewish Pharisees, if would have been.  Let’s also consider the fact that the empty tomb was discovered by women.  In Jesus’ day, the word or testimony of a woman was considered highly unreliable and often dismissed.  If you were going to come up with a lie as monumental as the risen Lord, I think you’d want to find the most credible people you could to back you up.  Not to mention the hundreds of eye witness accounts of Jesus appearing after his burial.

Now I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure that if I under went the type of pain and suffering endured by the real man, Jesus of Nazareth, even if I didn’t die, I would not be strolling around three days later looking so gloriously beautiful that people, at first, wouldn’t be able to believe it’s really me.  (Remember when your parents used to get dressed up for a night out or a party and your mom completely transformed herself into a new person.  I think it must have been a little like that.)  So you know what that tells me?  If Jesus said he would rise again and he did (Truth) then the other things he said about himself, you know, all that stuff about him being the Son of God, that must be true too.  Haven’t you found that to be true in your personal experiences with people? Aren’t there are some people you can count on to be truthful and honest, and others you know to habitually embellish or distort facts?

It’s hard these days, 2000 years after the life and death of Jesus.  There are people all around us trying to convince us to think about ourselves and live for the moment, to leave the past in the past.  But if you are reading this, I highly doubt that that kind of living really makes you feel free.  And if today is the day that you need confirmation that what you believe in is true (because we all have those days) then I hope I have given you something to help you today.

If you are a skeptic, I challenge you to really look into the “truth” of Jesus’ life and ministry.  If you’ve come this far, I think that God is calling for you to come farther and be one of his “chosen”.  I think that he wants you to know the truth, so that the truth can set you free. 

The bible says seek and ye shall find, ask and ye shall receive.  I highly recommend the book Man, Myth, Messiah by Rice Broocks.

As always, God bless

Meredith