The truth about trust.

There was a time when I really couldn’t be trusted. I couldn’t be trusted with my own heart, let alone anyone else’s. And today I read this verse and stop to consider how far I’ve come. Or not.

The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
Proverbs 31:11

I’m not perfect now and I wasn’t perfect then. But I can be trusted now (more) and I can’t say that about “then.”

Then. When I was struggling to find myself in all the wrong ways, in all the wrong places.

Then. When I thought I knew who I was and would have told you I was trustworthy. And I was, to an extent. But not to the greatest extent.

Until you have trusted your heart to the only One who can be trusted, you can never be trusted.

Harsh? Maybe. True? I think so.

Jesus is the only person who ever displayed trust fully to us, and only in Him do we have the ability to be trustworthy.

And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.
Psalm 9:10

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As a wife and a mother and a sister-in-Christ…I am called to be trustworthy and to allow others to gain from my trust.

We’ve all been bit by someone who didn’t keep something to themselves we were trusting them with. And after we’ve been hurt we find it hard to trust again.

There is freedom in a friend you can trust. And there is freedom for them in being able to trust you.

My marriage is built on trust today, if nothing else. I live in a home and reside in a marriage as the only spouse that trusts God.

But I’m trusting God to change that. In His time. In His will. In His way. I have to or I’d lose hope altogether.

Maybe you are in a similar situation as me and maybe you aren’t. Either way, your husband, your children and your friends need your trust.

In a relationship of trust, we gain freedom to just be. Without fear of judgement or failure or condemnation.

Our ability to be trusted is our banner of love to those who trust us. 

We are human and in that we will never be completely trustworthy. God tells us to put our trust in Him, not man.

Even in that, we should strive to be trustworthy. Seeking to be like the image of Trust we have as a mirror to see ourselves in. But only in Him is that even possible.

If you haven’t trusted your heart to Him, would you give up the fight and trust today? Life is too short and life is too long to go another day without knowing the freedom of real Trust in a true Savior.

Freedom our sin-soaked, un-trustworhty, completely unworthy selves.

If you feel God calling you to Him…don’t ignore. If you’d like help praying, here’s a start and I’d love to help along if you need me. The best gift you can ever give yourself is trusting your soul with the One who created you in the first place.

That’s truth you can trust today.

Trusting Him,
Meredith

4hisgloryblog.com

 

See below for more information about Wednesday’s on the blog. For the next six weeks, we will open the floor for posts on any verse or combination of verses from Proverbs 31:12-31. Let’s see what God speaks to you and in turn speaks to us all through these well-known verses in a new light. Thank you so much in advance for linking-up Woman 2 Woman! 

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. If you would also be so kind as to link back to this page in some form or fashion, I would greatly appreciate it. 😀

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

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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}.

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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

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Surprised by Motherhood. {Yeah, me too.}

I have a new soul-sister-soul-mama friend I’ve never met. Sounds odd, I suppose. She has put into words what I’ve felt in so many ways on so many days as both a motherless mother and a new mama. Her book “Surprised by Motherhood” is speaking to me. From the inside out. In a oh-so-good kind of way that has me wanting the pages to go on and on. And that says a lot for me.

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As much as I like to read, I find very little time and motivation to do so. Don’t get me wrong, I have a stack of books a mile high. Toppling over bedside my reading-praying-God-chair in the living room…spilling over next to my bed and onto my bed and onto my head some nights, books that were started and never finished. Not so with this book. I devoured it. And it left me hungry for more. That’s some good eats right there.

Lisa-Jo Baker is more than likable, she’s relatable in a way that feels as if she’s reading and writing your own story, not just hers. As a daughter. As a mother. Even if your life story is completely different than hers, it is also completely the same.

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The words on these pages have breathed life into my desperate soul as a mother learning to be a mother after leaving the corporate world. I knew how to be a working mom, but learning to be an ever-present mom has been challenging. Lisa-Jo’s way of describing her own experiences as a mother through several life-transitions have been comforting for this mama in transition. And we can all say amen to another sister sharing our struggles. Eh? That’s what Lisa-Jo would say. I believe it must be a saying from her native, South Africa, and I like it. I believe our northern friends do that in Canada, too…eh? I digress.

SurprisedByMotherhood_Pin_07_OptThere are too many hi-lited words and paragraphs and even pages to mention. I really just wanted to hi-lite the entire book, but though that may be a bit redundant. And over zealous. But if it made any of the words sink in enough that I would go back and let them give me life again when I was ready to turn in my resignation letter as full-time mom, then it may be worth it. There’s your warning…buy this book along with a pack of hi-liters. They will both be your new best friends, along with Lisa-Jo.

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I’ve always tried to keep it real here in my piece of blog land. I love the transparency I find on the other side of this computer screen and may clam up if you talk to me about my blog in real life. Maybe because it’s the realest real me and it’s a lot easier to unleash the real me here than there in front of you, face-to-face. Either way, there were a couple of chapters in this book that dug into my core. Like as a knife digs into that jar of peanut butter and comes out sweeter than when it entered. It’s still sharp, but sweet and spreadable.

I came away realizing I have my own anger issues to deal with. As Lisa-Jo said, ”Sometimes you don’t realize you have a temper until you have kids.” Ahem, yeah, that may be an understatement for me some days. And this, “There is no rage like the exhausted rage of motherhood.” Ouch. But misery is certainly better with company, so it was like a breath of fresh air to know I am not alone on those exhausted days when I lose my temper. And I lose it more than once. And then Lisa-Jo tells about becoming determined to mother deliberately and she began to write a new story about her son in her heart and in his life and God graced her and him with a peace and relationship she couldn’t have imagined in those early days. The words from that chapter of her book and life gave me a renewed hope as I fight for these children God gave me and am learning to mother intentionally. It’s a battle for their souls and  mine. A war against impatience and endless bottom wiping. A fight against a hunger for your alone time and their hunger for you. And it’s a fight worth fighting and letting God help you win together.

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If it’s not obvious, I’m a fan of both Lisa-Jo and these pages that I’m so glad she was brave enough to write. She says we are all brave as mothers. She is correct, isn’t she? This woman that grew up in South Africa and swore off motherhood after her mother died is now speaking to mother’s hearts all over the world about the glory and guts involved in being a mother. It’s not all good, but it’s not all bad, either. Eh? Yeah, I’ve been surprised by motherhood in a lot of ways, too. And the best is yet to come, I’m sure.

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You can get your own copy of this pretty little book right here or in your favorite bookstore this week. I promise it will be worth giving up a cup or two of coffee this week if that’s what it takes to get it in your hands. The aroma will be stronger and last longer than that cup of coffee and will awaken your soul in the most beautiful way. Enjoy your reading! Come back and let me know what you think and make sure to leave a review of your own on Amazon. It’s time to take make our voice known. The brave ones.

Graciously,
Meredith

 

 

 

Wringing out what we pour in.

This mama saw her moment of reprieve and she took it. All 120 seconds of it.

I sat down in my back yard on that one patch of new green grass that was dry enough not to soak through my already dirty britches and just soaked it in. I looked at my muddy two-sizes too big muck boots stuck out there like the boats my feet are and thought how great it was to just sit after all that digging and bending over. And how glad I was to see the sun. So much wet, so much snow, so much cold. And now to see and feel the sun again.

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The sun. I hadn’t seen it in so long I almost forgot what it looked like. What it felt like. How warm and sweet that big ball of light felt on my tired face and closed eyes.

I was having a moment. A quiet, sun-soaked moment. And I wasn’t alone.

I  felt His presence. I even whispered for Him to come. I knew it wouldn’t last long, but I knew it was special.

As the suns rays warmed my face, I sensed His Spirit speak to my soul. That bright light that I couldn’t open my eyes to see was like my God. So bright I could never look on Him and live, and in the same instance His light is what keeps me alive.

It was as if He was saying, “Soak me up, Meredith.”

Soak Him up.

I need to spend time soaking Him up if I ever hope to wring Him out.

I can only wring out what I’ve soaked up in the first place. That dirty dish rag I keep meaning to change and finally do when it actually starts to stink or feel slimy, is full of what it’s been soaking up. This week that’s been plates of mashed potatoes, gravy and old peas my three-year old says she “wants when she wants them” and when she doesn’t come back for them an hour later they get washed off with that rag. That rag that’s been soaking up all of the junk in my sink.

That’s my soul. Soaking up whatever I put in it. And that’s what gets rung out.

Junk in means junk out. Grace in means grace out.

In those short moments soaking up the sun I realized I needed to be soaking up more of the Son.

It was over as quick as it started. I heard a plea for mama…where did I go? They just needed to know where I was. There is that need, to just know where their mama is. That sense of security a child needs to feel secure in their own skin. Even in the place they call home and feel most comfortable. Always needing their mama or daddy’s presence to feel secure.

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I’m the same way. I need to know my Father is with me, too. And today He reminded me.

He’s with me. Even if I don’t see Him or always feel Him. He’s here.

The Son is always shining, even if I don’t see Him.

I need to soak Him up whenever I can, so I’ll have Him to pour out on these littles. And their father. And all others I come in contact with.

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God grant me the ability to soak up more of You than what this world is throwing down.

And let me remember You are always there for me to take in even when I don’t see you or feel you.

With arms open for your daughter. There’s graceful arms open for this muddy daughter’s muddy soul today.

And there are arms open for the muddy soul reading this. We could all stand to soak up a little Son today, couldn’t we?

Graciously,
Meredith

Saturday Sundries.

It’s Saturday. Whoop-Whoop, it’s Saturday! I slept in with my baby girl beside me. Woke up to her caressing my face with her tiny fingers…and then telling me my breath smelled like a stink bug.

Wait…what?! Ok, thanks.

This day has proceeded to involve french toast and spaghetti. Both of which I ate. Because my daughter didn’t.

I thought my husband was doing me a favor taking my son with him to feed cows. Until he comes back because he got too cold and proceeds to go directly to his sister and steal her play horse. Not cool. Timeout ensues for him.

Then they go upstairs to play…and end up screaming. Kicking and screaming. And I end up kicking and screaming.

Did I mention I slept in? First day I can remember in five years I slept until 8:15am and guess what that means? It means I didn’t get up at 5:30 or 6am and do my devotion. It means I missed my time in the Word with my Father this morning. And guess what that means? My day has been a mess. I am a mess. A Grace-covered mess, but a mess none-the-less.

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I’m not saying every day is perfect when I have my quiet time, but there is definitely a difference.

It doesn’t mean I won’t have a crying fit in the schoolhouse or that I won’t find myself blowing my mule-lips, but it means that I will have something, some Word in my soul, to get me through the fits. Theres and mine.

No time in the Word for me, means no Word in me.

God’s Word is my soul food. And my soul needs feeding.

Instead today I fed it french toast and spaghetti.

Well, I’m sitting down now and forgoing the dirt clods from cattleman’s boots on the floor, the Mt. Everest of clothes needing washed, the ashes spilling out from the wood stove and the dried egg on the stove.

Those things can wait. My soul cannot. It needs some real nourishment today.

And I better hurry. The kids just made popcorn for lunch. And put salt AND pepper on it. A lot.

Take heart sweet sister. There is GRACE for us today. I’m clinging to it. Hope you will, too.

Graciously,
Meredith

The mule is blowing her lips.

My husband is full of one-liners. Spend more than a few minutes with him and you are sure to hear one. There is one I hear pointed towards me quite often and this time I said it before he could…”Yes, the mule is blowing her lips.”

And she was. That was me. The mule. Blowing her lips.

I was frustrated. Nothing really new for me, but my kitchen endeavors can bring it out in full force. This night was no exception. I have tried several times to make bread, but not often because I always end up failing. Miserably. Why I thought this time would be any different is beyond me.  I came across a recipe for the “Best Texas Roadhouse Rolls” and decided an hour before supper I could do this. I’m a woman. I should be able to make bread. Shouldn’t I?

I just happened to have a packet of “dry active yeast” (whatever that is) and I had one tbsp of butter even though it called for two, but surely that wouldn’t be a big deal. Butter and sugar had been on the grocery list, but on the way home from town the kids BOTH fell asleep, so I didn’t dare spoil a nap to stop by the grocery store for butter and sugar. It’s not like those are staples in my house or anything. I only make a gallon of sweet tea a day and cook everything in butter…with butter on top. And butter inside if it will fit. I’m southern. Don’t judge me.

I digress.  Back to the rolls. I will try to get on with the point, once I figure out what it really is.

It all started well. The yeasty-watery concoction started to “bubble” as it said it should. I warmed the milk and pat of butter on the stove to 115° using my dairy thermometer. I felt sure Martha Stewart would be proud of that little maneuver. Or Paula Deen or whoever is the latest and greatest tv chef star. I don’t have cable or satellite, so if they aren’t on PBS or Ion Life…I don’t know ‘em. I digress again.

I’m having a hard time focusing. Now we are probably getting to the point.

I’m sure the recipe I was reading was perfectly fine for anyone who has made rolls or bread or anything with yeast before. What else do you make with yeast? But I was not sure if I was supposed to “mix” and “stir” ingredients by hand or with my Kitchen Aid, which doesn’t get nearly as much use as it would like. Or my husband would like. So I used it.

The first 2 minutes of “fast mixing” were perfect. It’s when I went to “stir” the extra two cups of flour (Better for Bread flour, mind you…the expensive stuff…that’s probably 2 years old, but it’s been in the refrigerator, so that’s ok, right?) into the mix that things got a little “sticky.” I assumed to “stir” the ingredients I should use the “hook” attachment. I think that’s what it’s called. Anyway, I proceeded to do that at which time the flour exploded out of the bowl all over the counter and cabinet doors and me and down that black hole between my stove and counter, which is where that flour will stay for quite a while, I’m sure. And what was left in the bowl was a sticky, boogery mess. I think I just made up the word boogery, but it is the best word to describe it. The stuff looked and felt like a big bowl of boogers. My son agreed. And then I wondered why he didn’t want to try one after they were cooked…bless his heart.

The aftermath.

The aftermath.

Note the abyss between the stove and counter…that flour will rot there.

Note the abyss between the stove and counter…that flour will rot there.

At this point, I tried hard not to say a bad word. I don’t think I did. But I wouldn’t bet my life on it. What’s in the well does come up in the bucket, and I’m pretty sure my well was a little dirty at this point. I was this far in it and had wasted four cups of expensive (all be it old) flour, so I was going to see these little boogers through to the end. Pardon the very sad pun.

I finished up with the instructions as best I could and ended up with some sad looking rolls. The dough did rise, much to my amazement. The rolls did bake and sort of resembled rolls. Sort of. And they sort of tasted like rolls. Sort of. My kind husband said they “weren’t that bad, but seemed to be missing something.” Well, that was the understatement of the year. But what? What were they missing? I followed the directions as best I could. I only skimped a little on the butter and my flour was only a couple of years old and I’m not sure if I was supposed to use the mixer or not and really didn’t know how to roll the dough out, but other than that, I followed the recipe to a “T.”

Boogers rising.

Boogers rising.

And in the middle of my mishap, my kindergartener decided to continue his reading practice.  A small booklet on the kitchen table caught his eye and he asked, “Mom, is the title of this book, “God. Will. Use. This. For. Good.”? Yes, son, that’s the title of that book. And yes, son, He probably will.

God will teach me something from this “Merdie Mishap” tonight. He will teach me that a recipe is not just a list of ingredients for you to pick and choose what you want to use and how much and how you want to use them. If you don’t know what you are doing, you follow a recipe to teach you. Maybe one day you can tweak the recipe to make it better and give it your own flavor. But when you are a hopeless fool, as I,  and have no idea what you are doing, YOU FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS.

How often do I do that with God? Take just what I want from the Bible and apply it just how I want just when I want and just as I want? More often than I would like to admit.

God gave us His Word so we would know his thoughts. His ways.

Psalm 119:105 
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

His instructions are for our good and His good pleasure.

Proverbs 4:13
Keep hold of instruction; do not let go;

    guard her, for she is your life.

Since the beginning of time nobody has been able to get this right. I wonder if Eve or Sarah or Rachel ever blew their lips like a mule? I endeavor to believe they did. And that makes me smile a little. Surely I’m in some like company…can I get an Amen?

God knew we were not going to get it. He knew we were not going to listen. And He knew that in our sins and struggles we would HAVE to come looking to Him for help or we would never find it. In the pit, the only place to look is up. Been there. Done that.

I’m thankful that I did accept His answer to my plea for help. And that He still answers me every time I call. And I can trust that He always will.

I will probably give up on bread making. For now anyway. They make really good rolls in the freezer section that take very little time and as my son pointed out, taste much better than my homemade version.

That being said, I will not be giving up on following God’s plan of instruction for my life. Being in His word daily, I’m finding wonderful insight and truths that I’ve never taken the time to see before. I can’t imagine how getting through the entire Bible will affect my daily walk. It can only be GOOD. And surely I will mess up. Again. Tomorrow. But, He will always be there to get me back on track.

God will always get me back on track, just like my husband does when teaching our children how to ride a horse.

Sometimes he has to take the reins and show them what to do.

Then they can take the reins themselves and mirror their father’s instruction.

The Bible is God’s mirror for us into His very soul. As His children, we should know it.

To know the Bible is to know God. To know God is to the know the Bible.

To know God is to have True Life. 

Moments of blowing our mule lips will come and go. (That doesn’t sound right, but it is what it is.)

God will always be our guide, waiting for us to ask for the Lead and waiting for him to Answer.

Sometimes the biggest lessons learned come in the waiting. And then the biggest rewards come after the wait.

To any other mule lip blowers…take heart. You are not alone. Maybe we could have a contest sometime? And then again, maybe not. 😉

Graciously,

Meredith

I knew I would be able to use this photo one day. Little man is not a mule, but he’s not little either.

I knew I would be able to use this photo one day. Little man is not a mule, but he’s not little either.

All she had.

The smell of burnt mulling spices woke me.  The first time it happened, I sat bolt upright in bed and sniffed all over the house until I found the culprit. We heat these four log walls and six log rooms of our home with a wood stove.  It’s the driest form of heat imaginable, but it’s heat and it’s warm and I am thankful for it.  I put a pot of water on the stove to put humidity back into the air and like to scent it with spices.  But when the water evaporates it leaves charred spices to wake me up in the middle of the night. Never the middle of the day.  Always the middle of the night.

As I drug my sleep walking self to re-fill the pot, I  felt the pull of my writing chair. And my computer. And my dimly lit living room in the quiet and the still. And the warmth this night before snowmageddon visits our little spot of the earth.

The talk of a foot of snow is paralyzing me before it even gets here. And at the reminder before bed from my farmer man that a power outage will be certain instead of even probable, my childlike excitement left. Like the water evaporated from the stove pot, my anticipation for this snow I’ve been longing to see left my soul.

I can do without a lot…but power is not my first or even last choice. No power and two children and four cold dogs that will want to be inside all together with no Tom and Jerry or news or water is not my idea of fun.

“Did you buy more kerosene for the oil lamps?” No, I didn’t think about that from the last time we needed them. I don’t think about things until they happen. And it is needed. Right then. Not a forethought but an afterhought and then a “should have” thought. That’s how my over-crowded and scattered brain tends to work. In reaction mode, not preparation mode. That would be too normal and sane and wise for me.

I’m giving all I have and some days it isn’t even a drop in the bucket of what they need. What I need. What He needs from me. But it’s all I have. Or is it? Am I really giving all I have? Can I say I gave all I had?

There was a woman once who gave the least of anyone, but gave more than everyone. And Jesus credited it to her as Righteousness. Holiness. She gave all. she. had. And in the worlds eyes it was NOTHING. USELESS. But in the eyes of the One she gave it to, it was worth more than all of the others gifts put together.

And there was another woman that did this unabashedly crazy thing one time long ago. She had a jar of the most expensive oil and she poured it all out. To the last drop.  She poured it out in front of everyone, over the head of her Master and they called her crazy. And he called her “wonderfully significant” and promised that her story would be told for generations to come. Forever etched in the Word for all who ever read it and tell it to read and be told.

Who in their right mind would waste their most expensive treasure in such a way? I’ll tell you who.

A woman fully immersed in her own depravity and fully covered by Grace and she knew it. And she knew the One that covered her and would soon be covered with the blood that made that Grace possible was for a moment covered with all she had to offer. The best she had to offer. 

He doesn’t want part of us, he wants all of us. He doesn’t need a piece of us, He needs all of us.

Your all and my all are different. They may look very different to the world, but God knows. He sees. He is the Provider, after all. He knows what we have to give and He knows the heart by which we give through.

I can’t give anything I don’t own. I can’t give money I don’t have. Time I won’t make. Treasure I don’t possess. I get that. We can only give from what we have. And it’s different for everyone.

He knows when we are holding back and He knows why. He knows the worry and the fear. And He covers us with Grace regardless. But oh how He must delight when He sees one give. her. all. How the angels must dance and sing when a daughter is giving her all to her King and blessing Him through it.

And what I have to give is in direct proportion to what is in me.  You can’t get water from a pot on a stove that has all evaporated. We must take in if we will have anything left to take out. We have to fill up to pour out.

And when we give it all we have He is always faithful and just to fill us back up if we come back to Him for more. Yes, I know that. I’ve lived it. Living it now.

When we give all we have to Him, people notice. They judge. They mock.

Fear drives contempt.

They recognize a difference and the prey on it. They may even desire to give themselves, but they don’t know how. They can’t give what they don’t have.

As a mom in the trenches of dirty diapers and toddler bottoms needing  wiping. every. single. hour. Dishes overflowing and no energy to wash them, let alone dry and put them away. Clothes mildewing in wash you forgot about yesterday and three more loads needing to wash today. Dried up marshmallows, gummy wrappers and hidden puddles of sticky Icee on your floors. Yes, that’s my reality. ever. single. day.

What do I have to give? It’s not much some days. It’s not expensive oil. It’s not even always monetary. It’s my heart. My trust. Mine and your dependence on our Life source to give us the strength to make it one more day. One more hour. One more second.  In the trenches.

And the sweet reward is peace. In the midst of the battle, even in the trench, there is peace.

Jesus just wants me. You. Us. Our devotion. Our attention, when He can get it. Our love.

And in return we find the strength to wipe another bottom. Play another round of tea time with our little girl. Read the same book in the same day for the 30th time with the same amount of inflection as the first to our little boy. Wash that next load of clothes. Make another lunch for our man. Come up with yet another hamburger meal for our family’s supper. Advise your friend on matters you don’t feel qualified, but so glad she does and that she comes to you for help.

The woman who laid her soul on the temple table not knowing where tomorrow’s grocery money would come from. The woman who poured her most precious possession all over her Master and felt no shame or regret. Because it was all she had and in this Man was all. she. had.
Lord, that we would have the same love for You. That we would give you all we have out of a heart that could not think of doing anything less. Even when all we have is little. Little is much when it comes to giving God all we have. And we may never know what our little is doing this side of Heaven. But God knows and is able to do so much more than we could ever imagine.
Take heart. God knows and sees and loves your heart of sacrifice. He wants all we have and he will give us what we need to keep giving it all we have. For Him. For our families. For one another. I’m with you Sister and so is He.
Graciously,
Meredith

Of fear and grace.

What is it about the word “fear” that makes me slightly squeamish? Not the kind of fear where I’m scared of the dark or the boogie man in the closet or even worse, under my bed. But fear in a bigger, broader sense. Adult-sized fear. The word has taken on new meanings for me as I’ve aged and it’s been mulling around in my over-crowded brain the past few days.

This past week has been beautiful. Getting intentional about my time with Jesus in the morning before the day breaks…and literally keeping my day from breaking. One week of routine, determined bible study has already had significant impact on my life.

God has shown up in BIG ways.  God-sized ways.

There have been answers to prayer that could only come from Him.

Like what?

Like an angel from out of the blue mailing me a check  from her non-profit ministry to pay my conference tuition and hotel expenses to explore these “writing skills” further because she feels I have a gift she wants me to use and grow for God’s glory.  Yeah, that was BIG. I cried for hours (days…) over that one. Crying now.

And then there was this little idea of seeing if anyone would maybe like to join me in reading through the Bible in a year. And now we have an on-line group of 11 women intricately woven together by God to start this journey together. Yeah, that happened this week. More happy tears.

And then there was finding this sister in Christ that will be exploring a new ministry opportunity with me and finding out we have a lot more in common than we could ever have known. And maybe God put us together for that reason more than the ministry. Remains to be seen. Yeah, that happened this week, too. Joyful sobs at this point.

I don’t remember a week in my life with so many praises in so little time. Really, this has been a BIG week for me. For God in me.

So where is this fear that I started to talk about? What does fear have to do with any of this? The question is more so what does fear NOT have to do with any of this.

I’m just naturally a fearful person. I worry. I fret. I fear. I fear I may fail. Because I have.

I fear I may not have what it takes to live up to what people “think” I am or have or could be. Because I’ve let people down before. I’ve let myself down before.  I’ve let God down before. A lot. Even this week. Even today. Even in the last hour.

I fear things like my kids will not be normal or godly or social or smart. Because I am responsible for them and I really don’t know what I’m doing at all when it comes to this motherhood gig. I fear I’ll mess them up forever. Maybe I already have.

And then reading this week in Mark Chapter 11, this idea of fear rang loud to me in other ways. I scribbled these notes  after reading…

FEAR: Scribes hated Jesus out of fear.

Fear drives us to sin.

Fear blinds to the truth.

Fear keeps God’s will from being fulfilled.

Fear kept the scribes from knowing and believing who Jesus was. The one they had spent their whole life waiting for was right before their eyes…and they rejected Him out of fear.

Fear distorts the truth.

Fear brings out the ugly in people. In ME.

There it is. The ugly truth about fear. All wrapped up in one little chapter of God’s word.  And no matter how much good God does in our lives, how many prayers He answers, how many BLESSINGS he bestows, we are still prone to fear. It’s just our nature. Well, I can only speak for self.  Fear is in my nature. If it’s not in yours, then give God a little extra praise today. And if it is, give God a little more credit.

That’s on my list of things to do. Give God more credit. He deserves it. I believe He would even appreciate it.

Fear intimidates, immobilizes and paralyzes.

Grace assures, encourages and releases.

If you are living in Grace today, claim it. I plan to.

Well, I’ll try harder. And of course I’ll be covered in grace when I fail. And I will. But that’s not my focus.

I will focus on what God has done. Focus on what God has proven He can do and will do. And rest on the promise He will continue to do. Remembering, “All things work to good for those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28.

That life verse of mine again. It just speaks to me. Often. Let it speak to you.

And be free of the fear. Give God the credit that is His. Claim the Grace that is yours. And live in it.

Graciously,

Meredith

The carousel life.

My kids favorite ride at the fair is the carousel. Round and round, up and down. Constantly spinning…and going nowhere.

I can’t help but think lately my life is a lot like that carousel.  Round and round I go. And never getting anywhere.

Pretty from a distance. All sparkly, shiny and perfect. But upon closer inspection, you find the dents, scratches and realize that pretty little pony is actually a hard, lifeless piece of plastic with lots of grimy germs from dirty little hands holding on for dear life.

Yes, I feel like that pony on the carousel some days. Hanging on for dear life. Always spinning and really getting nowhere.

Pretty on the outside (some days) and others…not so much. And if you actually got close enough you would see the dents and scratches. If you were one of the “fortunate” few I ever let get that close. That’s not what I want you to see, though. I don’t want you to know that I struggle.  I fail. I fall. I have lots of dents and scratches. And I can be pretty hard sometimes.

Hard to love. Hard to befriend. Hard on you. Hard on myself.

Coffee only has two ingredients, as I was reminded the other morning. So why would it be so hard for me to remember to include the water when making coffee the night before? Shouldn’t be, I said. Shouldn’t be.

Round and round and going nowhere.

My mind is a fog.  I hear screaming children. My phone keeps beeping. My computer constantly calls me to “check-in.” Where are all of my husbands clothes? I know I just washed, but somehow there are seven dirty shirts. Did I miss a day this week? Did I miss the entire week? Where was I?

Hard on myself. I should be better at this than I am. I should have this “all together” now. I am a strong woman. No roaring here. Just a few racking sobs.

Then my pity party reaches it peak. I deserve better than this. I work hard and nobody appreciates it. I cook (supper…and if you’re lucky you get an egg in the morning). I clean (occasionally). I wash your clothes (when I remember).

I  love you. I really, really love you. I want to be more for you. For our family. For my friends. For myself.

Then I realize, that’s the problem. I’m so busy just being busy, I’m not living. Not really living. Not for Who I’m supposed to be living for. I get caught up in all the distractions and forget what I’m really here for.

My life is not my own. It will keep going round and round and going nowhere.
If I let it.

One day I have to get off the carousel. I have to say that the ride is over.

I have to grow up. And start living for the One who gave me Life.

So today I want to make a commitment to get off the ride.

I know who I am. Jesus knows who I am. I can rest in the assurance I was made by a Creator that put me together just exactly how He wanted me to be.

And so can you.

“…I am fearfully and wonderfully made… ” Psalm 139:14

What a relief, I am fearfully and wonderfully made. What does that mean? It means my Creator put time and energy and thought into my existence. My being. My God-breathed life. He made me to live. For Him. Through Him. Not to spend my existence going round and round, getting nowhere, doing a million things and at the same time doing nothing.

We may be tempted to get back on the ride. It looks so pretty, doesn’t it? It beckons to us just like that carousel at the fair calls my children. But it’s not a ride that takes us anywhere.

Take your dented, scratched, perfectly imperfect self and get off the ride.
I say to myself. Get off the ride.

All the business of life just keeps us from going where we really need to go.

And doing what we really need to be doing.

Seeing what we really need to be seeing.

Feeling what we really need to be feeling.

I want to be here for my family. REALLY be here. Not just my body, but my mind and my soul.

I want to SEE all there is to see that needs to be seen.
My hurting friend, my lonely child, my neglected husband.

I want to FEEL what I need to feel. Not the numbness that comes with being “out of touch.”

I offer a prayer for me and for you if you ever find yourself where I have…

Father God,

Help me to BE present. In the here and now. To experience what YOU have prepared for me to be a part of. I know you are working around me. All times. All ways. And at this very moment you have something for me to do. Lord, don’t let me be too busy that I miss it. That I miss out on the small moments that make up the whole. That I would look back one day and say I missed it. I was there, but I wasn’t’ there. I want to be HERE NOW. I want to FEEL NOW. I want to SEE NOW. With your hands, your eyes, your heart. Father, for lack of a better way to ask, I just ask you to HELP me. Help me SEE. FEEL. BE. I ask for GRACE to live for today, not in yesterday or for tomorrow, but FOR TODAY. One moment at a time. For the ones you GAVE me. The little arrows in my quiver you gave just. to. me. Created in your image. Help me lead them to their Father, that one day they would truly be YOUR children. That’s my call. That’s my job. Dear God, don’t let me ever forget that. To never get too busy to remember that.

Your daughter asks forgiveness for living so hurriedly. For missing what has been right in front of me. For getting so caught up in self, I forgot who self was.

In Jesus Name I Pray,
AMEN