Five Minute Friday | {mess}

If ever the term “mess” fit me…today was that day.

From the early morning “words” with the cattleman at the breakfast table.

To the tears welling up as I tried to answer small talk with the cashier at the “Pig.”

To the tantrums I threw in response to my child’s. That’s plural. It happened more than once.

Yep, I was a mess today. And every day in a lot of ways.

One big heaping pile of perfectly imperfect mess in need of Perfect help.

And after time on my knees scrubbing the toilet and scrubbing out my soul, God eased the mess a bit.

I felt some relief knowing He knew. He saw it all happen. He knew my heart all along. But He wanted me to tell Him.

I needed me to tell Him. To plead for help just like David did. And know He would answer. Just like He did for David and has done so often for me.

There is solace in this mess of life only through His love and grace to cover it.

No other way. Not even one.

I know there are a lot of people living in darkness today. That can’t see the light. I went there today. And it scared me.

No matter how messy life gets, there is One bigger and One brighter than the mess. Always. Perfectly.

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He’s in it with us and he’s ready to see us out. In His time. His will. His way. Until we get it.

Until we get that this life ain’t about us after all. And no matter what mess we find ourself in and no matter what caused it, we have Hope.

Hope in the One who put Himself in the biggest mess the world could offer only to save us from our own. Daily. From one glorious mess to another.

Your perfectly imperfect mess tonight,
Meredith

Linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker and the gang for Five Minute Friday and tonight’s prompt was {mess}…if you couldn’t already guess. 😉

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Five Minute Friday. | {friend}

My husband says if you have one good horse, one good friend, one good woman and one good dog in life, you have been blessed.

Even in his crass way of speaking at times, I think he isn’t all together wrong.

Sometimes in my life it has felt like I didn’t have “one good friend.” I’ve had seasons of loss and being lost. And then they came. Friends.

Looking back I can see God’s hand so clearly when and where He put people in my life to help lead me out of the darkness and back to Him. Or to Him in the very. first. place.

I saw friendship modeled well in my mother’s life. She had a group of girlfriends that named themselves “The Beach Bunnies.” Funny name, funny group. They had regular GNO’s (that’s “Girls Night Out” for any guys reading this…) and they took an annual trip to the beach. And what happened at the beach…stayed at the beach. (Although the photos did give some of it away…)

I’ve always looked at that group of friends my mom had and envied those relationships in a way. Not so much anymore. 

God has been putting friends in my life from the very beginning and I see that now.

A special friend through high school who helped me get through some tough times and even today if we were together, we would be as comfortable talking as we were 20 years ago.

Friends in college that walked with me through school and guys and losing my mother.

Friends given to me during my years of corporate sales that I still keep up with, because it was the real deal.

A real-life-every-day-in-the-trenches friend that on a good day I get to work out with and everyday we work out life and I wouldn’t trade her for the world.

And a new set of online community friends. Some I may never meet. Some I look forward to meeting this fall at She Speaks and Allume. It’s been a treasure to connect with others traveling the same path of motherhood and answering the call to write and speak for His glory. Several of these new friends will be sharing their stories this weekend as we all come together for meet-ups all over the country. That’s exciting stuff. And it’s free. And going on now. Join the fun here!

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And then there is the One friend we all have in common if we choose to accept the friendship. The only Friend that will always be there in His perfect, loving, understanding way.

These lyrics keep playing over in my head, “What a friend we have in Jesus. All our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer.”

That’s true isn’t it? He is the only one who will never let us down. Who knows our hurts and can actually do something about them.

Women need women. No doubt there. And thank God He puts women in our lives to speak life into us in a way even our best-friend-husbands can’t always do.

We all need Jesus. And in Him we see the example of the perfect friend. The one who gave His life for us all, when we deserved it the least.

That’s a friend worth clinging to, loving on and sharing with our other friends. After all, a real friend wouldn’t keep Him to themselves, would they…?

Your friend in Him,
Meredith

Linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker and so many other lovelies for today’s Five Minute Friday prompt of {friend.} Head over to her site to read many more wonderful insights from this awesome group of writing friends. 😉

The {glue} that holds us all together.

It was raining that afternoon. The hardest I could remember ever driving through. And in a matter of an hour the rain would be an exact mirror to my tear streaked face and washed out insides as I met my new reality.

She was fifty years old and six months retired. She was my mother. And she was the glue that held our family together.

She wasn’t supposed to die in her sleep from a massive heart attack. Alone. My dad out of town. Me either upstairs getting ready for work or in the kitchen drinking the coffee she got up to make me or on my way to work or already at work. Either way, she was alone. And we were now alone. And our family glue was gone.

But in the midst of those days that stripped our souls bare after her death, there was another glue that worked His way into our family unit and took hold. Fast. Strong. Steady. Jesus.

I imagine the same torrential rain fell from the sky as the world came unglued those moments He hung lifeless on those splintered pieces of wood fashioned in a cross pointing to the heavens.

Those who had just murdered Him now realizing maybe, just maybe, He was the Messiah after all as they watched their sacred temple literally torn in two. The thunder. The lightening. The fury as all hell was poured out in blood and water from his broken and beat body.

Hell he endured for me and for you. The glue that holds the world together. And me. And you.

Jesus. The only glue that can hold us together when our world comes unglued. And it has and it does and it will. Until we are whole with Him in glory.

I weep to think how many sins of my own He suffered for that dark day. I weep to think how they were all washed away when He conquered death and held fast to His promises as He always does. Always did. Always will.

My hope stands fast in the One who holds me fast. My Cornerstone. My solid rock. My redeemer. My rescuer. My glue.

In Remembrance of Him,
Meredith

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**Linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker and a slew of other talented writers for Five Minute Friday on this special Friday of Holy Week. Tonights prompt was {glue}.

 

Five Minute Friday | {paint}

It’s that time again. Five minutes to just write. Linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker and her fab following of Five Minute Friday writers to hash out five minutes of words on a given prompt without hesitation or much editing. Just real. raw. words. Tonight’s prompt is {paint}.

START

There seems to be a theme in my mind and world and dreams lately…a theme woven around these thoughts of dreamers and artists.

To consider the word {paint} fits right in, in an odd little way.

I’ve never painted anything worth talking about. My kitchen wall five times in one week because I never liked the color…still don’t, but how many coats can an old wall of pine paneling truly stand? It’s peeling from children’s nerf gun attacks now, anyway.

I’ve always considered painting a skill set I just didn’t get and really didn’t want. Sure, it would be nice to be able to paint pretty pictures, but I’ve never picked up that kind of brush and I’m too old to start.

Then I consider this: I do paint. I paint daily. With words penned and thought and voiced. I paint daily.

I paint the story of my life. In all it’s mundane and monotonous tones on days that end in “y.”

I paint the story of my children’s lives. In it’s rainbow of  wet kisses and tight hugs and never-ending “I love you’s.”

I paint the story of my Savior. In it’s black and white and not so many shades of gray. There is no gray with God. He is the I am.

And as my brush paints fast and hard and deep and wide the canvas of my life, I see that today I paint. I’ve been painting all these years.

 

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And in the end if the finished work is worthy of anything at all, it will leave a trace of the One who painted my existence.

What is today a perfectly imperfect masterpiece will be perfected in His time. When the Master Painter bids me home and finishes the work He started.

What a beautiful thought. This muddled, befuddled, gloriously ordinary work of art will be made perfect by the brush of God.

The painter of crystal blue skies and fiery red sunsets will put the final strokes on my life’s canvas.

With that thought, I’ll strive to paint with more purpose and definition and love than before. Now that I know I’m a painter after all.

In His Hands,
Meredith

STOP

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Woman to Woman: When bearing with one another is just barely.

Some things are easy to do together as women. Eating. Chatting. Shopping. Put all three together and we have the perfect day. Well, most women, anyway. We can all agree on at least two of those, though, can’t we?

Some things aren’t so easy to do together as women. Agreeing on where to eat. Cutting each other off trying to chat. And telling her she really shouldn’t buy that dress in that color…or that size. Unless you are for REAL friends, then maybe you can pull that off without angst. Maybe.

In thinking about the next part of Colossians 3:12-14 we have been unpacking for several weeks now (details here)…we come to the thought of “bearing with one another.”

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness,humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another…” (Colossians 3:12-13)

Sounds really good. But how do we do that? What does that look like? What does that mean…?

To be exact, the word bear as defined by Merriam-Webster’s means “something that is difficult to do or deal with.”

My nose is a little wrinkled at that. And then I laugh a little, too. Yep. That can be me. Most days. If not every. day.

So how do we as women learn to “bear” with one another?

The way I see it, there is only one way. In love. Through Jesus.

Sounds simple enough. So why is it so hard?

Why is it hard to bear with our sisters through the good times and the bad? We are fairly good at being there for one another when the rudder falls off and the ship starts sailing out to sea.

But what about bearing with one another on the good days? 

Why is it hard to be happy for our sister when her life is going good and ours is not. so. much?

I’m speaking to me. Why can’t I just be plain happy about this woman’s writing accomplishments and not envy her in the least? Why can’t I look at this other photographer’s site and not wish my photos were as good as hers and I could explain myself on my “Me” page so eloquently?

It all goes back to comparison, doesn’t it? Ugly. Old. Comparison.

We’ve all got warts. Yours may be bigger than mine or yours may be smaller. But a wart is still a wart. (I don’t have any pictures of warts and if I did, I wouldn’t submit you to them.)

When we can learn to bear with another, warts and all, then ladies, we will be getting somewhere.

When we can give each other flowers daily through grace we will arrive. We may not get flowers from our man every day, but why can’t we shower each other with some grace flowers of our own?

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I know it can be done. I’ve seen some amazing acts of grace and Jesus pouring out of women in several communities lately. Like this new-to-me community at (in)courage where they just chose nine over-the-top talented women to join their writing crew.

And oh-my-soul I was brave (or dumb) enough to submit an application…just because. Because I’m a dreamer like that these days. And they were gracious enough to not only send me an email but a beautiful note (like the kind you get in the mail…yeah they still have those and here are some beautiful ones I may just buy myself) full of grace saying they prayed over 475 entries and could only choose nine and that didn’t include me…yet. Well, I included the “yet,”…because I’m a dreamer. 😉

And Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday crew and twitter parties are full of other blogging women giving grace and loving on others. There’s cake and chocolate and coffee every Thursday night. It’s the only place to be. Unless you fall asleep rocking your three-year old, which also happens to me a lot of Thursday nights.

And then there’s the Compel community where so many writers are coming together and encouraging one another…bearing with one another…even when it’s kind of hard because in our gut we wish we had what she had. Her words. Her website. Her number of followers. Oh, yeah, that’s a big one for me lately. How on earth do you get over 1000 followers?! Le’ sigh…

All of this to say…it’s not always easy to bear with our sisters. But it’s always right. And always the better way.

It’s the way of Christ. Bearing one another’s burdens. And bearing one another’s joy, too, I believe.

To bear with your sister is to be like Christ. And that’s worth the bearing, even if somedays it’s just barely. There’s grace for that.

And the more we learn to bear our sisters burdens and joys, the closer we get and more apt we are to be able to tell her she really needs to try on a different dress. Amen?

Thankful you are bearing with me,
Meredith

LINK UP HERE:

 

On Wednesday’s we have started a tradition of speaking “Woman to Woman.” Find us on twitter or Facebook with #w2w. I’ve asked other sisters to join in the discussion by adding their own links below or by adding their thoughts in the comments. If you have a blog and would like to link your post, please link directly to your permalink (ie. https://4hisgloryblog.com/2014/04/02/woman-to-woman-patiently-impatient/) and not your homepage URL (ie. http://4hisgloryblog.com) by clicking on the little blue frog below. You can go back to the beginning to see the foundation for this community here. We would be humbled beyond belief to have you join in. The more voices speaking to one another, the more chance we will be heard and the more opportunity for healing and growing as sisters. And to spur one another on in love, we ask that you visit the person linked before you and comment to encourage. Our words matter. In giving and receiving, they matter. You matter. More than you know. We matter. xoxo- Meredith

NEXT WEEK we will hash out forgiveness and putting on LOVE…which binds everything together. Come back and join us, won’t you?

 

Five Minute Friday | {writer}

Linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker and the gang for another Five Minute Friday to just write. Unedited, unscripted. Real. Raw. Words.

Today’s prompt is {writer}. Ok, I’ll take that. 😉

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START

As a girl, I always wanted to be a singer. One halloween I was Tina Turner. The hair and all. No. Joke. I cannot lie, I’m a soul sister through and through.

For those of you that don’t know me, this was a far fetched dream. This girl does love to sing. Loud and proud. But it’s better suited for showers and trucks with windows rolled down and in the midst of other loud voices along with our church praise team.

This recent dream of being a writer has seemed just as far fetched. My soul has felt this stirring of words needing a place to land for quite some time. Taking the next step is always the hardest part for me. I’m a professional dreamer. Not a professional doer.

So when I finally took the plunge and started this blog after church almost three months ago I didn’t even know what it meant. Other than I was going to explode or implode or otherwise be a big mess if I didn’t get out what was welling up in me.

So I wrote. And I’ve kept writing. And as long as God gives me the words and a desire and a way, I will continue to write.

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I may never be considered by anyone else to be a “writer,” and I’m ok with that. Well, actually, I’m not ok. I would love to write a book one day and then maybe officially be considered a “writer.” Until then, I’ll blog. And maybe finally take the leap of faith to submit an article or devotional or something somewhere. The next big unknown hurdle to jump over. Breathe.

And I thank you for keeping this dream alive. Thank you for reading and relating to these words that spill up and out and fall from my fingertips to this keyboard that has become my long lost friend. My Mac and I have a love-hate relationship. Like my bangs.

Thanks for listening again to a fairly short post about my new love and new dream to be a {writer}. Can’t wait to see where God leads…

Graciously,
Meredith

STOP

(Yep, that was probably a few minutes more than five again today. I had to help a little girl go potty and cook her a yellow egg.)

DON’T MISS THESE WORDS…Lisa-Jo has a new book. And it’s for anyone who has a mom or is a mom or may be a mom one day…”Surprised by Motherhood” is taking the world by storm. Amazon wasn’t prepared. They sold out on Day 1. Yep, I don’t lie when I say something is good. Here’s my full review and information on where to order is here. And the link to the movie trailer for the book is here. Enjoy! Oh, and get tissues. For the book and the trailer. And a pen and a hi-liter. And you’re welcome. 😉

Lisa-Jo Baker

Five Minute Friday | {Mighty}

Here we are again…another Five Minute Friday with Lisa-Jo Baker and the gang. She prompts, we write. Five minutes (give or take…give a little for me usually), real, raw words. Short. Sweet. Hopefully. 😉 Enjoy!

{mighty}

Big word, mighty is. Well, not a really big word, but it means big. Right?

Powerful. Strong. Brave. Willing. Mighty.

Well tonight I don’t feel very powerful. strong. brave. willing. or mighty.

Sometimes we have minutes, days, weeks, years that suck the life right out of us and leave us anything but mighty. Much less than mighty.

And then the thought of the Mighty One comes to mind.

The One who gave me this life. To live free.

He never meant it to be about me. My wants. My needs. My desires. My might.

He gave me this life to be about Him. His will. His love. His ways. His Might.

Jesus died in humility so that in three days His Might would be revealed and never questioned again.

When He died and rose again, His Might took over for my failings. As a person. As a parent. As a wife. As a friend.

In His Might, I can prevail. Not because I am. Because He is. The Great I Am.

No matter what gives you the thought you are un-mighty today, there is One whose Might can fill that void.

It’s not up to us to be what He wants to be for us. What He’s already proved He can do in us. If we let Him.

We have a mighty call alright. To stop the fight and give into His Might. 

Your Mighty Mess,
Meredith

And if you have a mother, know a mother or “am” a mother…don’t miss Lisa-Jo’s book “Surprised by Motherhood.” I’ll never be the same for reading it. And I’ll recommend it to every woman I know. Mother or not. Get it here now. Go. Now. You’ll be sending me chocolate because you love it that much. (Vanilla Lindt preferred. Thanks!)

Five Minute Friday | {Joy}

Five minutes. Unfiltered. Unedited. Real. Raw. Words. Joining up with the awesomely awesome mama/blogger/author/friend Lisa-Jo Baker and many more awesomely awesome bloggers for Five Minute Friday.

Today’s prompt is “Joy.”

START

When I hear the word “joy” I think immediately of that song I sung as a child in Sunday School. Sitting at that miniature table on those little wooden seats with names of the older church kids carved in them. Surrounded by those white cinder block walls and felt board and posters holding my little white bible engraved with my name in silver.

That song about “Joy, Joy, Joy…down in my heart, down in my heart, down in my heart…to stay.”

Where did that joy come from? Where did it go?

All those years singing about it and learning about it and never really finding it. Not real joy.

Sure there were good days. Lots of good days. A great childhood. Loving family. In those little wooden seats every time the door opened…singing about joy. But where was it?

It was where it always has been. In my heart. I just had to find it. I had to seek the One who put it there and give Him the opportunity to let it flow.

I was thirty years old before I ever really did that. Gave my heart to Him so He could let the joy come in. And go out.

I still find it hard to find the joy some days. Today. In the midst of should have beens and used to be’s and would have if’s…the joy can get lost.

But it’s still there. If we seek Him, He promises we will find Him. And where He is there is Joy.

And if He’s in us and we are IN HIM, we have joy.

We choose Jesus. We choose Joy.

That’s simple enough for this simple girl to get. When I don’t have joy it’s because I haven’t chosen it.

It’s in me. I just have to fight for it more some days than others.

Choose Jesus. Choose Joy.

Graciously,
Meredith

STOP (well…that may have been a few minutes more than 5…I won’t lie. :\ )

Thank you for choosing to stop by today. I would be truly joyful if you would take a moment to say “Hi” in the comments!
Blessings,
Meredith

 

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Five Minute Friday | {Crowd}

Linking up with the fabulous Lisa-Jo Baker and the “crowd” again this week for Five Minute Friday. Five minutes of pure, unadulterated, no-edit, get-it-out-there, real and raw writing. There is a pre-party every Thursday night at #fmfparty that is a blast…if you can stay awake. Which I never seem to be able to do. Enjoy. 😉

This week’s prompt is “CROWD”…Here we go.

BEGIN

Have you ever been that face in the crowd? The one that isn’t sure of it’s own existence, much less what it means in the midst of so many other faces?

I have. Been there. Recently.

I would have said I was secure. Secure enough in  my own identity for it to not matter what the crowd said or thought or didn’t say or think. I’m a tough girl. I’m good in my own skin. Until the other night.

Really, this is ridiculous. I like people. I’m not an introvert. Really. Although there does seem to be much more freedom flowing from these fingertips, than from my timid soul when put in a crowd. Yeah, so my kids caught on to that, too.

They hovered close. Clinging to legs. Not letting go for fear the crowd might swallow them up.

It didn’t. Didn’t swallow them…or me. In fact, we found some new friends after we settled in for the night.

That’s what happens with fear, isn’t it?

Once we overcome fear, fear doesn’t overcome us. 

There’s a message in there, somewhere. I don’t have time to unpack it today. Maybe another. I did talk about fear and grace here, though.

That’s five minutes and this is hard to not want to go back and revise and edit and make longer and stronger.

That’s the fear in me. If I put this out there without the edit and extra words I may miss some “likes” and “shares” and comments. That’s ok, though. I’m sticking with the crowd this time.

Graciously In Him,
Meredith

STOP

An aside…I’m so glad that no matter what crowd I’m in, no matter how small I feel at times, there is only One who determines my true worth. As a Daughter of the King, I’m considered Beloved and complete…in Him. In Christ Alone. 

Five Minute Friday | {choose}

So, it’s Friday. And I’m excited to start a new tradition of following an awesome lady’s lead to write on a prompt she gives for five minutes flat. No fluff. No stuff. Just write and it doesn’t have to be just right. Love that.

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Find Lisa-Jo Baker’s awesome blog here and join the #fmfparty, too.

Here we go…today’s prompt is {CHOOSE}

Choose. There is a lot wrapped up in those six letters.

We choose something everyday. We choose someone.

Based on what? Based on what’s important to us. We choose what’s important to us.

From our socks, to our shoes, to our breakfast, to our radio station, to the words we leave in our children’s ear as we send them out the door, to the failed “I love you” we meant to tell our spouse before he left, to the alarm clock that told us to get up, but we hit snooze. Because we chose to.

Our days are full of “choosing.” Right. Wrong. Good. Bad. Choices.

And in the end, we have but one choice. Life. Death. Heaven. Hell.

Yeah, she had to get around to that didn’t she? Yeah, I guess I did.

It’s the one choice that matters. Out of all of the other choices, Jesus is the only choice that matters.

We choose Him, all else falls into place. We make better choices all together. But that choice has to be made first. And last.

He chose me. Thank God, He chose me.

Unloveable, yelling mama, screaming wife, undeserving daughter, out-of-touch sister, fallible friend. Yet, He still chose me.

Unbelievable. But believable. True story.

Living to choose Him daily. Living to choose the Grace-Giver. And so glad He chose to give it to me. To us all. For the taking.

Free. Radical. Life-changing. Grace. Our choice.

Who and what are you choosing today?

Graciously,
Meredith