For anyone letting the past define them today.

I had given up on being a mother.

Not for the same reasons so many do.

There was no infertility.
There was no obstinate choice.
There was nothing inherently wrong, but I had resigned to the fact that I never would be.

And I didn’t dwell on it, because there was no use.

I had made choices in my life that left me barren and broken.

A broken marriage.
Broken families.
A broken self.
A barren soul.

And I found myself in a relationship I didn’t want to end, but I wasn’t sure how I could stay. It was wrong.

I turned to wine and “good times” to numb the pain inside from all the pain I had caused.

And a week after a gluttonous Christmas party, sitting alone but now not alone, my life shifted focus. Forever.

Those three sticks with baby blue lines were telling me I would be a mother. And it would turn out it was a baby boy.

Ready or not. Right or wrong. And of course it was right, because God doesn’t make mistakes and of course, I wasn’t ready, because I do.

I shook in fear.
And I cried.
Tears of unbelief.
And tears of joy.

And in the nine months between the delivery of the news and the delivery of my son, his father and I got married. Together we started a new life as the new life inside me formed.

And in those nine months God awakened my soul to my need for a Savior and I found Him through His son and my own.

I was brought up in church and I was baptized at the age of twelve, but when I was baptized again at the age of twenty-nine and eight months pregnant, I was truly washed and free. Oh. So. Free.

For so long I had lived letting my past define me. Now I was ready to live letting my God define me.

Then grace. 

Grace covered what I had been trying to cover so I could finally let it go. And in the aftermath, God began to work good through all the pain and hurt and sin that had once defined me. Because that’s what He does for those who love him.

He works it all out for good. ALL of it. 

As my doctor delivered my crying, helpless new life into my arms, my Savior delivered my crying, helpless self into His.

My life now had purpose.
My life now had direction.
My life was now whole.

A tiny human that was half me was in my arms and even though I did not have a clue what to do with him, I knew we would be okay.

Even in the fear of the unknown, I knew that there was now Hope.

I was a mother.

I was a mother and I was going to be okay.
We were going to be okay.

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I had often wondered how my mother would have responded to the sinful choices I had made and had even uttered the words in my soul, and maybe even out loud, that I was glad she wasn’t here to see me make them.

Now I took those words back.

Oh, how I wished she was here to meet her grandson.
How I wished she was here to tell me what in the world to do with him.
How I wished she was here to tell me that everything I was feeling and experiencing was normal and that she had been the exact. same. way.

But she wasn’t here.

She wasn’t here for my son’s birth and she wasn’t here for my daughter’s birth three years later.

And I didn’t know at the age of twenty-two that I needed to ask her the things that I so wish I could ask her now.

Things that my dad doesn’t remember or know because he’s my dad. And only a mother can relate to a mother.

I say none of this to belittle any woman’s agony of not being able to have children for whatever reason and wanting them so desperately. I cannot relate to that agony because I have not been there. But I can and I do grieve with you. For the void of a life that you so desperately want to bear.

And I have no words of empathy, because I have not walked your same path. But I do believe that God is sovereign and that in His time and His will and His way He is making all things new. Even your broken heart.

I can only truly relate to the motherless mother. Because that is who I am.

And thirteen years later it hurts as much as it did the day I became a motherless daughter.

The day I sat alone in a crowd, hunched over rocking back and forth on my sofa repeating, “Not my mom. Not my mom. Not my mom.”

But it was my mom. And there will always be unanswered questions. Until we are in Glory together and then they won’t matter anymore.

Mothers…today you matter. Whether you feel like it or not. You matter.

Your life matters to your children and your husband and your families. Your life matters to your Father. He made you to matter.

You matter. For His Glory. You matter.

And if I could just take you right now and hug you the way my grandmother would wrap me with her whole sweet southern being, I would whisper that in your ear.

Listen to me…You matter…

And whatever that thing is in your past that is telling you that don’t matter and you can’t move forward and you can’t be loved and you can’t be forgiven…that is just. plain. wrong.

I’m living proof. And it’s a good place to be. On the other side of forgiveness.

I am now defined by my identity in Christ, not my identity in the world.

There is a beautiful difference there. The difference grace makes.

For His Glory,
Meredith

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,
for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28

 

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

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}.

 

Hope in the Weeds.

At the risk of sounding cliche, I’m going to sound cliche. Spending some good soul-searching-dirt-under-fingernail time this past week on an unseasonably warm day led to a few analogies I have to share. Analogies about weeds. Weeds in my plant bed and weeds in the bed of my soul.

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My soul that sprouts weeds so easily. All it takes is one lie to get them started. Just like the garden of Eden. One lie deemed truth turned the world upside down. Forever changed the course of history. For one man and one woman who had the perfect life. Believed the perfect lie. And the rest was history.

How is my own soul like that? In too many ways to count.

I let the Enemy tell me one lie. To paraphrase my pastor, “Even a half-truth is a whole lie.” Satan’s really good at that. Telling me a half-truth to get me doubting and then get me acting on it.

Believing less than the whole I really know to be true. Forgetting who I am in Christ and believing who the world says I am. Or should be. Or could be.

Then this one lie becomes like a weed in my heart. And it doesn’t need water to grow. In fact, it likes drought.

The drier the better. A dry soul is a breeding ground for the lies of the Enemy to spread like wildfire.

A soul parched from lack of Truth is sure to catch fire from the Enemy’s lies.

Those chickweeds of lies work on killing this chick. One by one by one. They multiply to death.

As I dug out the weeds in the plant bed, it became obvious the only way to get them all was to extract them by hand. They seemed to multiply as I pulled. It was tedious. It was dirty. My back hurt. My knees hurt. But in the end, it was soul satisfying. That clean bed was ready for day lilies and daffodils to make their entrance. The weeds are gone. For now.

When we finished, there was tangible proof we had accomplished something.

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That’s actually a chocolate smile…not dirt. Well, maybe some dirt mixed with chocolate.

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When we kill the lies Satan puts in our hearts, we have accomplished the work of God.

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I pulled and piled. The kids carted those spindly green threats away in their little dump truck. Teamwork at its best. And I explained to my little souls that those weeds were like sin. When we let one sin, one bad decision, one wrong choice creep into our life, we are making room for another one to follow. And another.

And then the best part. I told them that all of that work we did to remove those weeds was done in the blink of an eye by God when we seek forgiveness. Our sins are removed immediately and permanently when we repent and accept Jesus’ gift of salvation. His gift of Life. His gift of Truth. His gift of Hope.

We will have to fight to keep the weeds from coming back in that plant bed. Some pre-emergent will help prepare the soil to kill them before they sprout. Like the preparation of our own souls with the watering of the Word.

Without Truth our souls aren’t prepared to kill sin before it sprouts.

With Truth we have Hope in the weeds.

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Yes, it takes some work on our part. To keep weeds out of our plant beds and sin out of our heart. But the rewards are always greater than the cost.

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An immortal King who knew no bounds, came to earth confined to flesh and an earthly king’s dominion. He endured sorrow, denial, hatred and torture for doing no wrong. Jesus poured out blood through sweat and His pierced side so that I would never have to. He died in my stead. For my sins that He knew none. He paid the fine for my sin-debt.

My reward in Him is worth any cost I pay while I’m on this earth. 

There will be weeds in my yard. There will be sin in my heart. I will fight them until my fight here is over.

But I will fight harder to keep them away knowing the cost paid for their final removal. And then this…

 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Rev. 21:14 ESV)

That’s a day worth waiting for. Worth fighting for. Worth living for.

Here’s to that day, friend. And until that day, may we fight the weeds of sin and lie that seek to kill us with the power of the only One that can destroy them. There is Hope in the weeds.

In Christ Alone,
Meredith

Crying in the Schoolhouse. | Part 2 of Putting Doubt to Death.

I broke down this morning. Not the ugly cry, but tears none-the-less. On that blue carpet, standing next to that podium with the February calendar full of hearts and numbers and report card dates, outside my son’s Kindergarten class, talking to his teacher.

Sometimes the tears just come. I can’t stop them and I don’t even know where or why they show up.

Well, maybe I do. They come from doubt. My own doubt as a mother and a wife and a daughter to the One and only King of Kings.

I’m supposed to be able to do this. I’m supposed to be a good wife and a good mother and a good daughter.

But a lot of days I’m not. I don’t have a clue what I’m doing. I doubt my abilities. I doubt my inabilites. I just doubt.

I fear I’m going to mess something or someone up. Maybe I already have. I am. Today.

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This morning when my son wanted me to see something outside and I didn’t get there fast enough and then he slammed the door and went in the corner and wouldn’t speak to me. Sulled up like a turtle tucked in its shell. Hiding. Not speaking to me.

And I got mad. And I grabbed his arms and asked him “What is wrong with you? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? SPEAK TO ME!” Nothing. I got nothing.

Then we went to school and he was fine. And I was not. So I cried right there in the door and I’m crying now.

His teacher was encouraging. She told me I was going to be ok. He was going to be ok. It was phase and there would be 25 more. I had to stand my ground and not be disrespected. True. I’m going to try something different next time. And there will be a next time. There will probably even be another morning of tears in the schoolhouse hall. There has been before. There will be again.

And next year as I try to maneuver this homeschool thing and I’m doubting myself and others are doubting me, I will cry some more.

But I’m doing the best. I. can. with what I know I’ve been called to do. That’s one thing I don’t doubt. Won’t let myself doubt.

I’ll dig in deeper to the Word and suck every bit of doubt-destroying TRUTH I can out of that Good book.

I’ll pray until my knees hurt and then pray some more.

I’ll seek encouragement from those who will give it to me and try my best to stay away from those that won’t.

That’s all I know to do. That’s all this simple-minded, weak in spirit, needy soul can do.

In chewing the fat of doubt this week, I’ve come to realize just how much doubt I’ve been shoveling recently and how many dump truck loads I’ve deposited throughout my life. How I would love to have that back. And in my drive right now. We are a muddy mess on this farm.

In many ways, we are a muddy mess. 

I used to doubt my abilities as a speaker when I had to get in front of a hundred people and talk about the innards of a horse or a cow and how they digested food. The more appropriate and professional description would be “equine or bovine nutrition”…but I was talking about the innards of the animal.

I was fine talking, but the fear, the doubt would settle at the end when it was time for questions. What a dread that would bring.

I’m perfectly fine telling you what I need to tell you based on a presentation I have put together and practiced (usually not enough, but enough to get by…always just getting by.)

But get to the end of my talk and open the floor to questions…unscripted questions to which I don’t have an answer key … and you have entered my area of complete doubt. And the sweat would flow. Literally. Not pretty.

If you need to ask me something, send me an email or at least leave plenty of information about what you are wanting in a voicemail. I want to be prepared with the correct answer.

I do not want to be left to walk the plank and take the plunge into the shark infested waters because I said the wrong thing, or worse yet, had no answer.

I’ve always admitted I don’t know a lot about anything, just a little about a lot. And I’ve always been better at getting my thoughts out via pen, than through these flapping jaws, as my friend says.

The words would from time to time get all jumbled up in front of a crowd. I’d forget words I’ve known since kindergarten and then college level words would come to mind, but I wasn’t sure I was using them in the right context. It was a dilemma for a girl like me.

I would doubt I could make it through the meeting without doing something dumb like falling or tripping…up the stairs (been known to happen.)

Doubt I could eat supper before my talk and not go into a major burp fest in the middle of my talk  (been known to happen.)

Doubt my projector would work and I’d be forced to talk for 30 minutes without my slides (been known to happen.)

So, in many instances, maybe we are tempted to doubt so much because we’ve let ourselves down before. Or others have let us down. Been known to happen. To. us. all.

That’s the crazy thing about doubt. We tend to think we are the “only ones.” We see ourselves as an island. And sometimes we are. But most of the time, we are just one fish in a great big pond with lots of other fish swimming in circles. Fighting the same battles. The same doubts.

Doubt is really suffocating, is it not?

Under the weight of unbelief, we can’t see, hear or feel truth.

A life filled with doubt, is a life void of truth.

We are blind to what is right in front of our eyes. We are deaf to what is in ear shot. We are numb to what is fully within reach.

Sometimes it’s easier to live in doubt than to strive to understand and grasp truth. 

It’s easier to say “I can’t.” “You can’t.” “He can’t.”

That’s such a cop out. Yes, I said that’s a cop out. I’ve said all of those before, too. And if I haven’t said them in a given situation, I’ve thought them.

Another of my farmer man’s one-liners is “Can’t never could.”

That’s simple enough. Even this dumb, doubting blonde can understand that one.

If I don’t think I can and I never try…I never will.

If I don’t believe my God can do what I need Him to do or what He says He will and can do…why should He? If it happens, He’s not going to get the glory for it anyway. I’ll just say that was coincidence or luck.

I don’t believe in coincidence or luck. I believe in God. You can’t honestly believe in both. Luck and God don’t gee and haw. There’s a mule term for you from a professional mule lip blower.

They don’t go together.

In Him is all things.

In Him is my security. My worth. Isn’t that what this is really all about? Realizing our WORTH?

I think so. And I’m going to hash that out a bit next time.

For now, if you find yourself in anything I’ve said today about doubt, remember we are all in this together.

I doubt I’m alone. And I KNOW you are not alone.

Take heart. Take a deep breath. Or ten. They always say take ten deep breaths, don’t “they?”  Who are “they” anyway? Though, it does to seem help, some. 😉

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Trust in the One who gives LIFE and the only ONE who can take your doubt away.

And MORE than that…He can turn our doubt into double blessings. By trusting Jesus with our doubts and remembering who we are IN HIM, we can live fully. right. where. we. are.

His GRACE will always be JUST ENOUGH to cover our own insecurities and our doubts and temptations.

If we can just learn to TRUST. And put some doubt to death.

Trusting the Truth leaves no room for Doubt.

Go in Grace today. Cry a river if you need to. No judging here. Just a tissue and a shoulder. 😉

Graciously,
Meredith

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Putting Doubt to Death. | Part 1

Max Lucado said if there was one thing he could go back and tell himself when he first started his writing and preaching career it would be “to prepare for self-doubt.”

Listening to this well-versed, highly successful author and lead pastor of 30+ years admit that he continues to deal with doubt was an eye-opener. A game-changer. A needed shot of reality.

Really? That’s the one thing you would tell yourself. Interesting. I don’t struggle with that. Not so much.

Wait. Yes, I do. This was a WORD for me and maybe it will be a WORD for you.

This one little five letter word that I believe we do not give enough thought. Enough respect for the weight it holds.

Wrapped tightly in a shroud of insecurity and unbelief and even arrogance. That word doubt.

We all doubt something.
Doubt someone.
Doubt everyone.
Doubt everything.

We doubt ourselves.
We doubt our spouse.
We doubt our children.
We doubt our neighbor.

We doubt God.

He may not be considered God to everyone, but we ALL doubt Him at some point.

Doubt His existence.
Doubt His ability.
Doubt His love.

And then there is that one lie that led to that one word. Doubt.

In the garden Adam and Eve chose doubt…over God. Evil over Good. And God loved them and loves us enough to allow us the ability to choose.

They chose to believe the lie that maybe they were missing something.

Maybe they actually could be like God…forgetting they already were

Oh, how we so easily fall into the same trap and follow in the same ill-gotten footsteps of these two who had the perfect life.

And because of doubt…gave it all up. For death. And as soon as the choice had been made, they regretted it. Wished they could take it back. Take back the doubt that now filled their once pure and innocent and full-of-Life hearts.

Now nothing. No peace. No joy. No afternoon strolls with their Creator in perfect harmony. All because they doubted their existence and chose what was “a delight to the eyes” and what would “seem to make one wise.”

Isn’t that the way it always is? The grass is always greener. Yep, been there and done that. Like a mirage of sorts…the closer you get, the better it looks until you actually take that step and in an instant you wish you never had.

Wished you had followed your gut that told you it was too good to be true.

Wished you could take back that initial doubt and go another way. The other way. Any way but where you find yourself now. In this dead place.

No green in sight. Where did it go? It was just here.

We never have just enough to be satisfied and so when the temptation is laid bare, we can’t help ourselves.

We. must. try. it. We must doubt our own reality. Our own existence.

I guess it really is in our nature to doubt. In our flesh, Adam and Eve born, nature.

But that doesn’t make it right or good or healthy. It just makes us real. Real human.

So, that’s where doubt starts. As a seed. Not even necessarily planted deep…it doesn’t need much water to grow. Just a touch. Just an inclination. Just a hint of sunlight to spur it on.

Likes those first weeds of spring in my plant bed, that doubt is. Doesn’t take anything much to get them growing, but once they start, it takes all of heaven and hell to get them killed. And there are always a few left that I miss and they grow more. I can never get rid of all those weeds. Try as I might, I can never kill them all.

And I may never be able to kill all the doubt in my life. Not until I’m perfectly perfect and right now I’m perfectly imperfect.

So I’ll keep hashing this doubt thing out. And I hope you’ll hash it out with me some more. It needs to be put to death. As much as we possibly can. Only when we start to kill the seeds before they sprout, will we ever start to live fully.

Graciously,
Meredith

All He sees is snow.

It was coming. Like a freight train that couldn’t be stopped. I saw the first few flakes start to fall outside the window and panic set in. So much I just realized I needed to do. That I wanted to do before the inevitable power outage would come. My husband said it would and as he likes to say “If I tell you the moon’s made out of cheese, get your crackers.” That is cowboy-ese for “Trust Me. I know what I’m talking about.”

So I started scrambling. Like a mama hen gathering her chicks…fast and furious.  It was coming. I kept looking out the window and it was falling faster and coming down sideways. Hurried. Sideways. Like me.

I started checking things off. I’m a list maker, a note taker. I take great delight in writing things down on paper or in my head…and then checking them off. One by one. House vacuumed. Floors mopped. Furniture dusted. Oil lamps retrieved and dusted off and wicks trimmed and oil poured.  Matches ready. Bacon frying, potatoes cut and ready to make soup.

So much to do and now it’s done. I’m done. Settling in now. Ready for whatever is coming. And it just keeps coming.

The snow is not done. It keeps coming down and piling up.  Like my list of things to do. I had just settled in.  I was done. Then I  remember the clothes in the dryer needed folding. And I was going to get a shower in case we have no hot water tomorrow. And I need to mix some cornbread to go with the soup. I thought I was done. But it just keeps coming.

Isn’t that just. like. life.  Just when we think we are caught up or living on the mountain we remember another errand needs to be run, report needs to be done, horse needs to be fed. And I was all ready to settle in for the long winters night.

And in the midst of the busy, the screaming kids and beeping oven, the snow just keeps coming down and draws me to it. So out I go to take it in. A few quiet moments on my porch and with my camera to take it in.

Such a paradox this white stuff is. Fast and furious it falls. Soft and quiet it lays. It silences the rest of the world while settling in a soft whisper on everything it touches. And in a matter of moments, everywhere I look is covered. White. Pure and quiet and white. Clean and fresh and new.

Inside is chaos and lists and needy people. Outside is peace and pure and quiet.

Perhaps this is a mirror of our redeemed selves in Christ.

What He sees on the outside. Washed white as snow. Clean. Pure. Being made new.

What we feel on the inside. Never satisfied, always striving to do and be more. For Him. For ourselves. Our job. Our family. And the harder we try, the further we find ourself from where we want to be.

When in reality, He only sees the snow.

He accepts our filthy rags and covers them with unending, never failing, undeserved Grace.

And it keeps coming. Grace upon Grace upon Grace. It falls from the sky like manna from Heaven. And we only have to pick it up and take it in.

Maybe one day we will get it. We will start to see the snow and leave the rest behind. Maybe we will start to live and breathe what He already sees in us. Start to see ourselves for what we are IN Him.

And He has made us new and washed us white as snow.

No more sin stain. The scarlet letter on my chest has been erased. I forget that.

I don’t have to live so rushed, because the most important things in my life aren’t things. They are flesh and faith.

And my own flesh and faith are weak, but in my weakness He is strong. And in His strength, maybe, just maybe I will start to see the snow, too.

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

You. Are. Beloved. Yes, You.

There is a stirring in my soul. On my heart and in my soul.

This word “Beloved.”

It jumped off the page of my Bible as I continued on my trek to read through this God-breathed print in a year.  Pressing on to see what Light is revealed today.

Paul was quoting from the book of Hosea in Romans when he said, “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’” Romans 9:25

I had to read it again. And then underline it. And then circle “her” and “beloved.”  The Holman Christian Standard Bible says it this way, “…and she who is Unloved, Beloved.”

I’ve never noticed this verse in this way before. The wonderful mystery of reading the same book of the Bible I have ready several times and heard preached exhaustively and studied in depth on different occasions. Every time we read God’s word, He is faithful to speak to us exactly where we are and exactly how He means for us to understand it and apply it right then.

I tell my children what needs to be done as it needs to be done. Just as my Father tells me what I need when I need it. He loves me like that. He loves me that much. He makes it simple. Good thing, simple as my mind is, I require simple. In small doses.

This is a simply beautiful verse to me. A verse that makes me feel warm and complete and full and loved. Like being wrapped up tight in my Granny’s embrace as a child. Warm and complete and full and loved. All in one happy, safe place.

Knowing my God, the Creator of all of the universe…Creator of all I can see, feel and know and all that I can’tthat same God chose me. Loves me. Calls me “beloved.” In His eyes, as His child, I am Beloved. And so are you, dear one.  So are you.

Do you get it?   Do you see it?

It doesn’t matter who they say you are or what they have called you your entire life. It doesn’t matter that your earthly father never told you he loved you. It doesn’t matter that your husband doesn’t praise you as you think he ought. It doesn’t matter that your children never call or write or say “Thank you, Mom”…”I love you, Mom”…”I appreciate you, Mom.”

It doesn’t matter. You think it does, but it doesn’t.

The only Being that has any matter in our existence calls His people, His child, His daughter…Beloved.

To the outcast deemed by the world to be unworthy, He sees as worthy.

To the unloveable and unlovely in the shadows of the crowd, He beckons out into the Light and MAKES you lovely, clothed in LOVE.

We may see nothing worth loving in us. And maybe to the rest of the world, there isn’t anything to love. Maybe you have messed up one too many times for those around you to forgive or forget or release you from the prison of regret and shame. Maybe you have done nothing to deserve the lack of love you’ve never known from the people who are “supposed” to love you. Maybe you are loved by others, but don’t know how to love yourself.

I get it. I’ve been there. Broken. Alone. Feeling nothing but unlovely, unloved and un-deserving.

But, child, I’m telling you today, You. Are. Loved. You are called BELOVED by the only One who matters. The only One who knows you for who you really are. He made you. For more than what you are today. For more than what I am today. We are Beloved!

Let that sink in. Deep into the marrow of your soul where all of the hurt and betrayal and shame and disgust have steeped for so long. Let the fact that you are truly BELOVED sink in there. And take root. And grow. And start to become who you really are IN your Father. Take this TRUTH and LET IT MARINATE IN YOUR SOUL. Soul…you are BELOVED.

Be still…sister, brother, friend. Be still and KNOW that You are loved. By the KING of KINGS and LORD of LORDS. Your Heavenly Father loves you, if nobody else does.  I love you for reading this and starting to believe that maybe it could be true. You are loved. You are beloved.

Yes, you are.

 

Old paths.

I’ve been reminded this weekend of some things. As much as I’d like to think that there are areas of my life that I have “moved on” from, there are still wounds that haven’t healed. Still old paths I find myself realizing I wish had never been trod, but knowing without those paths, I wouldn’t be on the road I’m on today. All it takes is a song on the radio or a face in a gas station to conjure old memories, and take me back to a time and place I thought I had “settled.” I was over that. Or at least I thought I was.

To see a face from my past, run back to my car, hide until they are gone and then go in the store is not a sure sign that “all is well.”  Agree?  I’m sure I’m the only one who has ever done such a thing. It was an eye-opener for me, though. And it got under my skin.  To the place I don’t like to go. The place I have worked very hard to bury. Deep.

What is it about those painful past roads in life that we want so badly to forget and move on and never look back, but inevitably we are forced to?

Perhaps it is so we DON’T forget.

Not saying living in the past is the answer. Surely, it’s not. But a good shot of remembering where we came from and how far we have come is not so bad either.

Paul says in Romans 6:20-23,

“For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regards to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

That’s a healthy dose of scripture for me today. A great reminder for me this morning.

Yes, I’ve sinned. Yes, I was a slave to my sin for a long, long time. Yes, I cannot deny that path or the choices I made. I was very fruitful in my sin and I was on the road to death. I was on the road to death.

BUT, I have now been SET FREE and am a slave to sin no longer.
I am a slave of God and my fruit is now life giving.
Life sanctifying…being made new.
Set apart for a higher calling. For LIFE. Not just a full life here, but life everlasting.

I think God allows us to be reminded of where we’ve been so we remember how far we’ve come.

And if you haven’t made the choice for Life, it’s not to late.

It’s never too late until it’s too late.

If you are reading this, it’s not too late. If God is calling you, it’s not too late.

God is the great path changer.  Where He leads is always better than where we think we want to go. Take it from a woman who knows. She’s followed the road to the greener grass only to find it wasn’t green at all.

The road from the old path to the new path isn’t always easy. It’s isn’t always smooth. It certainly isn’t the same path that everyone else is on. But it’s the RIGHT path. The peaceful path. The life-giving path. The ONLY path worth taking.

And it’s as much your choice as it was mine. Never be deceived, we choose our path. We may not choose what road blocks we will face on the path, but we choose which path we take. And there is only One path that comes with a constant companion to get you over and through the road blocks.

Rest in that today, friend. Old paths remind. Don’t stay on them. Learn. Grow. Then choose the path that leads to Life and GO.

Graciously,
Meredith