Five Minute Friday | {choose}

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

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

Here we go…today’s prompt is {CHOOSE}

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

We choose something everyday. We choose someone.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He chose me. Thank God, He chose me.

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

Unbelievable. But believable. True story.

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

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

Who and what are you choosing today?

Graciously,
Meredith

Worth the Wait.

I sat in that scratchy blue seat at the airport with a mindful of hopes and dreams as deep and wide as the blue sky and snow covered tarmac that stretched out before me. I had interviewed well…I thought. Really seemed to connect with my interviewers…I thought. Had a chance…I thought. One of three people to be flown to Kansas City to interview, I knew my chances were at least better than one in a million. One in three to be exact. Surely God was lining all of this up in my favor…I thought.

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I prayed diligently before flying out for the interview. I enlisted other prayer warriors in my life to pray diligently. I did not want this job, if God didn’t want me to have it…I thought. My specific prayer was that I would not get a job offer if God didn’t want me in the position. This was my fool proof attempt at not having to make the decision myself. Never sure of my own abilities to make a decision. It was the simplest way I could see my way out of this. Or my way into this.

A lot hung in the balance. We had one child, not sure if we wanted another. This job would be much more pay and I could already see the addition to the house I had been dreaming of. If not a new house altogether. That stack of dog-eared Log Home Living magazines were going to come in handy after all…I thought. This job would also mean much more time on the road and away from my family. But my husband was ready for the call…I thought.

Well, God did answer my prayer. Just as I had asked Him to. I didn’t get a job offer. He did exactly what I had asked him to do. Not give me a choice. He made the decision for me. This was what I wanted.

But it was not what I wanted. I wanted the job offer.

Even though I said I was “fine” with it…I wanted the job. I wanted the money. I wanted the prestige. I wanted the job. But I didn’t get it.

And because I didn’t get that job, I stayed in my previous job. And a year later I got an unexpected bonus, when nobody was getting bonuses. And God gave me repeated opportunities through that job to connect with people and share His Gospel. People I would have never had the opportunity to meet had I taken that other job.

The other job would have also brought many temptations that I would have had to stand up against. I see that now. I see a lot now that at the time I didn’t see through the veil of “want.”

And because I didn’t get that job, a year later our family expanded with the birth of our baby girl. Which undoubtedly wouldn’t have happened if I had gotten the offer…and accepted the other job. And I would have. Because in my gut I wanted it that bad.

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And to look back now and realize I would have traded her life for a job that would have taken me further from my family, and from my God…makes me weep. Weep for who I was then. And who I am now. And how blessed I am that God made that decision for me.

I could name many other instances in my life that didn’t happen the way I wanted them to, but looking back, I see God’s hand in them. And I’m beyond grateful for His provision and protection, despite my wants and perceived needs at the time.

Some things in life are truly worth the wait. Worth the heartache. Worth the gut-wrenching-soul-twisting-knot-producing wait.

In the end, God knows. He knows what we need. He knows when we need it. He sees the big picture. We do not. We can not.

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He saw me five years ago sitting in front of my computer and typing these words today.

He knew I was not ready to tell a story that I didn’t fully understand.

He used my tenure in my last job to prepare me for this day. All those quiet hours and tear-filled talks with one another rolling down the highway alone together. There were so many sweet moments in the cab of that Ford truck that I wouldn’t take back for anything.

And now I get to be a mom. And a truth-teller through my lens and my pen.

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And I’m in awe of my Mighty God that’s allowed it all to come to pass. And in awe of what He is making me into today. And tomorrow. And how ever many days I have left.

And to Him I give it all. My life. My family. My heart.

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He’s the only One worth giving it to. I see that now. I feel that now. I know that now.

And I have a long way to go…such a long way to go. But I’m on my way.

What awaits me at the end of this journey is going to be worth the wait.

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Worth the blood, sweat and tears it takes to get there. Worth the doubts and frustrations and fears along the way.

Worth the uncertainty. Worth the lows. Worth the highs. Worth the mountaintops and the valleys.

Worth the fights and struggles…with myself. Worth the fights and struggles…with God.

I’ll wrestle more. With my decisions, with my faith, with my existence. But in the end, my God will win. He always does.

I’ll continue to work out my salvation with fear and trembling, but I’ll be working it out.

If we belong to Him, there is no way He will not win. His ways will always supersede our ways. His will will always trump our will.

In the end…His end…will be worth the wait.

Isaiah 40:31

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Graciously waiting,
Meredith

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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

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

A Song for Sunday | 10,000 Reasons

There is a song that has been speaking to me a lot lately. I had heard it before, but over the past 6 months my soul has fallen in love with it.  We sung it together live at Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s talk in Lynchburg last fall and a few weeks ago our church Praise Team led us in it. It sums up my walk right now so well. You can hear a preview here, but let the words speak to you. I bought the cd a few weeks ago and now my children and I blast it at least a few times a day. I think it sounds even better in my three-year old’s voice. 😉 In camping out for a while on the song writer, Matt Redman’s website, I realized he also has written several books and has devotions available for download that go with some of his songs, including this one. Awesome! Check it all out here. Be blessed and be a blessing today. We have many more than 10,000 reasons IN Christ Jesus. 🙂

10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)
by Matt Redman

[Chorus]
Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name
The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes[Chorus]
Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy nameYou’re rich in love, and You’re slow to anger
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find

[Chorus]
Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore

[Chorus x2]
Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

Jesus, I’ll worship Your holy name
Lord, I’ll worship Your holy name

Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name
Jesus, I’ll worship Your holy name
I’ll worship Your holy name

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