It would have been her birthday.

Today we would have celebrated not only Mother’s Day, but your birthday. It’s one of those years where they actually fall on the same day.

But instead we celebrate this day without you. And you celebrate for the first time in heaven with your own mother.

And I don’t know how that works, because I’m not there, but I can only imagine you are near one another and rejoicing together. Glorifying your Father together today. 

In as much sadness as we have in your absence, we have as much joy in the remembering.

The way you were the life of the party and always enjoyed one and always made them special for all our special days.

The way you laughed and smiled and hugged so big and loud and contagiously. I guess I have you to thank for my own obnoxious laugh.

The way you held our family together and loved deep and wide and strong and steady. And sometimes the love got abused by me and I wish I could tell you I’m sorry, but these words will have to do for now.

The way you held your friends close and never took time for granted with them and showed us that they matter. Friendships matter and they are important in this life. In the life of a woman.

The way you loved the work you poured yourself into. Shining like a light and now they present an award in your honor every year aptly named the Sue Mills Lighthouse Award. That sums it up, doesn’t it?

It’s a bittersweet day to think we would be celebrating your sixty-third year here and instead it’s almost thirteen without you.

But it’s still a day to celebrate you in your absence. The mother you were who helped shape the mother I am and the father my brother is now.

Oh, how you loved us. Oh, how you shaped us. Oh, how we wish we had told you more how we appreciated you.

It’s a day to remember and rejoice in the other mothers God has put in our path to continue the work you began.

God promised to finish the good work he began in us. And I see your work continuing to be fulfilled through our step-mother and others placed in our path just so. Just perfectly so.

He is really the most gracious God. I see that now more than ever. In all the ways I failed as a daughter and now as a mother, He covers me with his grace. Just as He did you when you failed. Until you were made perfect in His site.

Oh to be in His site! I just can’t imagine what that is like for you every. single. day. In His site.

And one day soon we will be in site again. Perfectly whole. Perfectly perfect. Together again.

And until then I’ll keep writing these words as they come, until they don’t. Believing you’d be proud as you always were. So proud of your children, even when we really didn’t deserve it. But that’s what mom’s do, isn’t it?

They believe in their children even if nobody else does. And a good mom, a great mom will lead her child to Christ. And you did. And for that I am the most grateful.

The best gift you ever gave me and your son was to introduce us to Jesus. He is all that matters in this world. And I get it now. I get it. Even if I didn’t get it while you were still here. I get it now.

Thank you for loving us to Him and for the prayers you prayed that you sowed in tears. I get that now, too. As a mother, I get that.

Until we meet again…always in my heart,
Meredith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the silence.

I can’t help but think today what that day was like. The silence that the world experienced in the aftermath of His crucifixion and the deafening of the earth and temple splitting in response.

I wonder if the silence on this day wasn’t even more deafening that what happened the previous afternoon.

I imagine people stunned in silence. Wondering to themselves what had just happened. What had they done? Was this man really the Messiah after all? If not, what just happened? I mean, what. just. happened.

If He was who He said He was, why didn’t He save himself? Why didn’t He save them? 

They were expecting a king. A king like they knew a king to be. A ruler of men, not a ruler of hearts.

And on this day, the silence must have been audible.

And then again, I imagine there was intense weeping. Weeping among those who knew…or thought they knew…who Jesus was.

They had followed his every step. Hung on his every word. Seen every miracle He had performed. Believed in their hearts He was the Son of God.

Then why? Why did He die? And what next…?

And what about the women who loved Him so? His mother, Mary Magdalene and the other women…no doubt busying themselves to prepare his body the next morning in the way they were accustomed to do. Did they move in shocked silence or racking sobs throughout this day…or both?

How often have I been in the middle of a shock or tragedy or just plain fit of my own will…waiting in the silence for God to move. For God to just. do. something. And I try to keep busy, because busy dulls the anxiety of waiting. And I may stop and have a good ugly cry, because God made me emotional and sometimes I just need to get it out.

Sometimes in the middle…in the waiting…in the silence…is when God speaks the loudest.

In the Silence

 

Be still and know that I am God,” He says.

I can imagine Jesus lifeless body was crying the same silent words that Saturday. “Be still and know that I am God! I may appear dead, but you will see, you will SEE tomorrow that I. am. not!”

He is saying the same thing to me and to you today.

Be still, my child, and know that I am God. I am not dead. I am alive and therefore you can be alive with me. You don’t have to go through this life as a dead person. Dead inside. Full of everything but Me. I am the Life-Giver. Without Me you will always and only be empty, even when you are full. Nothing the world offers you will ever satisfy you or fill you the way I can. I created you with a hole only I can fill. In the silence of your soul, you know I exist. You choose whether you acknowledge me or not, but you know I exist. I made you to know. My handiwork is everywhere and I gave you senses to know it…if you have enough sense to accept it. A fool says there is no God. In the silence, you choose. Me or the world. But the choice is yours. I will not make you. I love you enough to let you decide. And in the middle of the silence, the grief storm you find yourself in, remember joy comes in the morning. The darkest hour is just before dawn and I am not only in the darkness with you, I will deliver you into the light, in My time and My will and My way.

Is it presumptuous of me to speak for God? Maybe so. But I stand on the Word of God because He gave it to me to stand on. And He gave it to you to stand on. Even in the silence. Even when the silence is deafening. He stands. Risen.

For His Glory,
Meredith

 

 

Woman to Woman: The better fit.

There’s a question burning in me today sparked from an ember coming from the mouth of Jesus. Just this He says, “Yet I do not seek my own glory…” (John 8:50 ESV). And these words burn my soul with the question, “Meredith…whose glory are you seeking?”

Whose glory am I seeking today? Yesterday? I mean really. Whose glory?

I could be pious as the pillars of the Jewish society were that condemned their Savior as demon possessed, not seeing Him for who He was because they were engulfed in the very one they accused Him of being.

I could say that I only and always seek to glorify God. That’s what I want to hear from my own mouth. That’s what I want to do. That’s who I want to be. Like Jesus.

But I’m not. And I don’t. More often than not…I only seek to glorify myself. I’m selfish like that. I’m not the epitome of humility. Though I truly want to be. I want to be more than I am today. And maybe that’s a good first step?

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility…” (Col. 3:12)

There it is. That word. Humility.

I’m supposed to clothe myself with humility. The beautiful crown jewel of humility worn on a beloved daughter.

It’s a pretty picture in my mind. But it’s an ugly reality in my heart.

Miriam-Webster’s defines humility as “: the quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people : the quality or state of being humble.”

So, yeah. There is that then. Can you feel my mouth drawing up twisted and eyebrows raised? That’s what I’m doing right now. Kind of like my sweet nephew…when he senses somethings not. quite. right.

danville-va-portrait-photographer_0001

That’s not me. That’s not even in me. I have no ability to be that person. To think more of you than of me.

That sounds so vain. Because it is. I am.

It’s not in me to do or be more for you than I do or think of myself. I don’t think it’s in you either. And woman to woman today…it’s not in us, is it?

How often do we as women actually put our sisters dreams, desires and goals ahead of our own?
How often do we as women give up what we want to help a sister get what she wants?
How often do we as women lift up a sister in praise instead of tearing her down with word or thought or deed?

How often?

Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2, NLT)

So…is there any hope for us? Any hope for me? 

Yes there is. We are told to put on this freeing adornment of humility.

And if we are clothed in humility, then there will be no room for pride.

And if there is no room for pride, then ladies, we are on the right track.

It’s time to take off the choking necklace of pride and instead adorn ourselves with beautiful humility.

Got that? Pride chokes. Humility frees.

humility

Humility frees from the weight of having to do better than her. Be better than her. Look prettier than her. Have more well behaved kids than her. Have a better job than her. Have a more godly husband than her. Have a better car/house/wardrobe…than her. And the choking, prideful list goes on and on and on.

Imagine how beautiful we would all be wearing the God-given gem of humility instead of pride, greed, selfishness, dissension and contempt.

I am saying today we can CHOOSE to put on humility and wear it with dignity.  With strength. With grace.

We choose not to daily, so why can’t we instead choose to?

It’s a mind change. A habit change. A heart change.

It’s not natural to be humble. But I say…no, Jesus says, it is possible. And necessary. And right.

Baby steps. We crawl before we walk. We walk before we run. (Well most do…I know a couple of exceptions. 😉 )

Either way, we have to start somewhere. Some day. Might as well be this day.

Woman to woman…will you try on this jewel of humility with me today? It may just be the perfect fit once we yield ourselves to it.

And I dare to believe the more we wear it, the better it will fit.

Graciously,
Meredith

It’s “Woman to Woman” Wednesday. Working on unity of the sisterhood here on Wednesdays one perfectly imperfect word at a time. If you would like to share your thoughts on todays post or add your own comments about how we can grow in humility as a sisterhood, we welcome your words below. Feel free to leave comments or add a link to your own blog post.  Please visit the link before you and offer some “love” on their post. We all need some love, right? Please hash it out with us using #w2w when you share on twitter/fb/IG. 😀 You can view last week’s post here.

Weekend Reflections: Be Still.

As I sit here and reflect on my week…in the Word…in what God has been speaking to my heart about…I go back to that familiar scripture…“Be still, and know that I am God.”

As if He is saying to my very flesh this morning…

Be still, Meredith. I’m still in control of this world and your world. I have things for you to do…but you must Be Still before I can show them to you. Before you are ready to be used by Me.

Be still in my presence long enough to not just listen…but truly hear.

Be still enough to search me…and let me search you.

Be still and let your heart be open to what I have to say and then Be Still enough to go and do.

In the still, you will find me.

In the still, I will show you Who I am and who you are…and what you can be in me.

Be still and know that I am God. Your God. And I know the wonderful plans I have for you, but you do not. Not yet, because you haven’t been still enough for me to reveal them to you…yet.

Be still and all of these things shall come to pass. In my time. In my will. In my way.

So for now…Be still…and see the beauty in the everyday. The every. day. that I give you.

Be still…and see the beauty in the ashes of your life. Ashes I am making new. And giving life to again.

Be still and see the beauty in the ordinary all around you. What is ordinary to you is extraordinary to me.

Be still and see Me. Everywhere. I am everywhere…you just have to open your eyes and your ears to see.

Be still…and know that I am God. As Christ, I am all, and in all.

Be still today, soul. Be still in me. And let me be still in you.

Praying we will all take some time to be still today. Before a Mighty God that knows us and loves us and has so much to show us. If we will be still enough to let Him.

Graciously,
Meredith

The simplest love.

I don’t have anything planned to write even as I begin to type, but I feel like I need to, so here I am. My child that is usually up by 6:15am is still asleep and I’m going to take advantage of this extra God-given quiet time.

It’s Valentine’s Day. I’ve never really cared much about Valentine’s Day. My dad always made it special…with flowers for my mother and I and maybe some candy. It’s not really observed at my house now and I’m fine with that. Though I do believe I will do something special with the kids today…but we are going to change focus. Shift thinking. Put our thoughts of love towards the only One who makes love possible.  Who gives us the ability to love and has shown us love in the most extreme way. We are going to love on and in and through Jesus today.

We are going to make Valentine’s …in Jesus name.

We are going to make cookies… in Jesus name.

We are going to play in the snow…in Jesus name.

We are going to talk about the greatest gift of love ever poured out on humanity…in Jesus name.

I’m feeling better about Valentine’s day already. This will be a day to truly and wholly talk about the greatest love story ever known. And the awesome revelation is that it includes ME and YOU and ALL OF US. Yes, that is worth sharing. And that is worth living IN today.

If you know Jesus…love on Him today and live through the LOVE he has placed in you. If you don’t feel it or can’t find it…trust me, it’s there. Seek Him and you will find Him.

Sometimes love isn’t a feeling at all, it’s a choice.

CHOOSE to live in LOVE today with the One who loves you completely.

If you don’t know Jesus…I pray you will feel His love today…through a kind gesture of another one who does know Him…through a glimpse of His father’s beauty all around you…through a desire to fill that void in your soul that you don’t know how to fill.

He was born for YOU. He lived and died for YOU. He loves YOU. Even if no one else around you does, Jesus loves you. Sounds trite to some. But it’s God’s honest, simple truth…He loves YOU. He desires to be the lover of your soul.

And in giving everything we have to the One who loves us completely we find a love like we have never known. The great Promise Keeper does not disappoint his Beloved.

If you don’t know how or what to do to find Him…pray. If you’ve never prayed and don’t think you know how, I’ll pray for you and with you now…

Dear God,

I come before you a confessed sinner. I am not perfect. I mess up…a lot. I know that I have a void in my life that I have tried to fill with lots of things and even people, but it’s not getting me anywhere. The void is still there. I believe in my heart that you sent your Son, Jesus, to die for my sins and I believe three days later, He rose from the grave and is in Heaven with you now. I want to be there with you one day. I know that is not possible without faith in Him. The One you gave for ME. So, I pray now, In Jesus Name, that He would come into my heart and my life and fill me with HIS one and only love.

Amen.

Can it be that simple? Yes, it can. Yes, it is. God’s one and only true Word says so.

Romans 10:9 (ESV)

 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Go IN love today…the greatest love ever known. The most complex love.  The simplest love.

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

Prayer for Today.

Dear Father,

This morning I give you praise. Praise for your all-knowing, ever-present existence. In  you and you alone was everything I know to be true and everything I will never understand, created. You spoke and it was. You speak and it is.

I give you thanks for your unending mercies that our mine every morning…if I choose to live in them.  For immeasurable grace I don’t deserve, but you supply anyway. Gratitude for all that I have because you have provided. You alone. Not I. But you.

I ask forgiveness for my pride that daily asserts itself and tempts me to forget Whose I am. To Whom I owe my life. My everything. I truly do need you every hour, as the song implies. I need you every second of every day, as I often forget. Father, forgive me.

Today I want to intentionally remember You. Remember Who created me. Remember Who died for me. Remember that you have placed people, little people, in my life for training and equipping for your purposes. I pray that through your Word and Holy Spirit I will be able to make a step in the right direction. Just today. I need your help. Today.

In the Blessed name of Jesus I offer this prayer,
Amen

Lamentations 3:22 (ESV)

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;[a]
his mercies never come to an end;