When ordinary is its own kind of brave. {Guest Post and a Giveaway}

It’s an exciting day on this little blog of mine…and a day to remind you that you are brave and glorious even in your ordinary and that you matter. My theme this week for every woman, wife and mother is YOU MATTER. So for the next few minutes be our guest and pull up a sofa, chair or toilet seat (if it’s the only quiet place you can find), grab a cup of coffee or tea or chocolate with milk (that’s what my girl calls it and I happen to like it) and let Lisa-Jo’s words settle in your soul today. You’ll be so glad you did…then check out the end for a special giveaway. 😉

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Most of my days look the same as the day before.

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And I wonder what to write about because, really, there’s nothing new.

The alarm goes off at 7:20 and I go into Micah’s room to rub his back and try to bring him awake on the right side of the bed. Jackson gropes for his glasses and walks through to use to the bathroom, never ever heeding my shrieks to, for goodness sakes close the door!

Zoe wakes up bright and chipper and her hair all standing haywire on end, straight up from her head.

Breakfast is bagels and cream cheese or toast or cereal or sometimes fried eggs and bacon if we have enough time.

And I have practiced, months and months of practice, of keeping my voice calm despite what my blood pressure is doing as the clock ticks toward the inevitable arrival of the school bus and the boys still don’t have their shoes and socks on.

But it’s ordinary. So very ordinary.

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I have meetings and deadlines and I write blog posts if I’ve got one that climbs up out of my head and demands to be written down.

I wear make up even when I’m working from home because it helps me feel awake; present in my life. I sit at the kitchen table in the pool of sunlight that streams in through the huge windows and I’m grateful for these small moment of ordinary glory.

But 8 hours tick by like that. Zoe goes to preschool every other morning and I’m left with my house and the dishes I don’t feel like unloading from the dishwasher and so many moments are simply the choice to keep showing up.

Meeting the kids as they get off the bus, figuring out snacks and math homework and new ways to trick Jackson into finding his reading assignments interesting.

The world spins by so slowly outside our windows.

I wonder what I got done and I stay up too late because I don’t feel like doing it all over again tomorrow.

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I wish for weekends away with just Peter.

I wish for movie nights out.

I wish for quiet conversations that don’t require kid-inserted subtitles.

That’s just the truth of it. That this season is very very slow and ordinary and I have to remind myself that this is what brave looks like for me. For us.

It doesn’t involve platforms or pulpits or speaking tours or social justice or passports.

It’s counting how many mornings this week I’ve held onto my temper and chosen to love my six-year-old toward a day of meaning for him. It’s showing up today and today and again today.

Because every day is building a lifetime of what they will remember about their mother and right now and here it’s OK to have late afternoons of lying under the grey blanket and simply stroking the hair of a boy who has outgrown his baby-skin by far. And still I pet his hair because he loves it. And me too.

And this? This is beautiful too. This is significant and necessary and real and I am loved not by the size of what I do but by the God who watches me do it. Today and today and again later today.

He makes all the things I do beautiful.

The ordinary glorious beautiful things.

{To see the video reminder of why all mothers are braver than they know, click here}.

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This guest post comes with love from Lisa-Jo Baker to our community in celebration of Mother’s Day. If you haven’t already – treat yourself, your mom, your sister, your BFF or your grandma to a copy of her new book, Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected About Being a Mom.

No matter what stage you’re in when it comes to motherhood, we promise it will encourage. And remind you that you are braver than you think.

Now for the FUN STUFF…enter a comment below for a chance to WIN a copy of Lisa-Jo’s life-changing-meet-you-in-the-middle-of-your-glorious-ordinary-book, Surprised by Motherhood, courtesy of me, winner to be announced on Mother’s Day. And also be in the drawing for one of three signed book plates compliments of Lisa-Jo! Get. Out. Of. Town. How generous is that?! I’m beyond humbled at her generosity and support for all of us weary mothers, whether you are a mother of biological children or not…so many of us are mothers in so many ways and all of us share the same bond.

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This is delightful book plate that Lisa-Jo will sign and mail to three lucky winners. 😀

Give her some love back and tell every mother you know about this book, after you get your own copy and one for the most important women in your life. And a copy for every baby shower in your future. And a copy for a weary mom you don’t know in the grocery store line. This book is that good. And you need it in your hands. We all do.

Blessings to you and stay tuned for a busy week here on the blog and a post later this week telling you more of my own story…Lisa-Jo has helped me find my own brave and I’m excited to share with you.

xoxo,
Meredith

 

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Five Minute Friday | {mess}

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No other way. Not even one.

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

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

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

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

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

Your perfectly imperfect mess tonight,
Meredith

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

Five Minute Friday

Letters to my Littles | {april}

I posted this blog yesterday on my other site and thought I would share it with my writing blog readers, as well…it’s more words than photos and it’s my heart this month about my children. Enjoy!

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March…in like a lion, out like a lamb. April showers, bring May flowers.

Nursery rhymes we used to sing. Memories faint, but oh, so sweet.

Wesley, you now read to me and I wonder how and when you moved from toddler to boy to almost Kindergarten grad.

And Austin, you will all-too-soon move from daddy’s girl on his toes to daddy’s girl down the aisle.

I’m not rushing you both. You are rushing me. Time goes too fast and I forget.

Forget the smell of baby.
Forget the swell of pride as your first steps teeter-totter across the room.
Forget the way you pronounced your first vowels or lack there of and how it always made me smile. Still does even trying to remember.

And this month, this April of this year, I’ve been thinking a lot about the past. How fast it’s gone and how much faster it gets.

We said goodbye to your Great-Granny Austin and you both took it in stride, while I cried. She meant more to me than you because I had her longer. Much longer.

The memories I have with her and Granddaddy in that old house on the river shore are mine alone. Together we are making new ones there even though the house is gone. And that is good. Very, very good.

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I’m reminded this month how important family is and has always been to me and I pray will always be to you.

We have something not everyone has. We have each other.

You will learn that is not everyone’s truth. And not a blessing to be dismissed, but held tightly to.

Austin, you continue to be the life of this party we are raising on this farm. This month your two favorite words are “ticklish-y” and “trap.” Meaning you like to have your “trap” (aka armpit) rubbed because it feels so “ticklish-y.” Yes, that’s worth remembering.

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Wesley, you continue to amaze me with your wisdom beyond your young years. You have also taking a liking to video games about indians and hunting and racing and mama’s having to put limits on the iPad…which you are usually good to obey.

You both continue to play well together, as tonight when you were screaming through the house. Until someone gets hurt, then the screams take on a different tone…and so do mine. Being the perfectly imperfect mother that I am.

And Austin, you are becoming a master of avoiding bedtime. Oh, you get in the bed after we read.

But then you want your back rubbed (and possibly your “trap”),
and then you want more chocolate milk (yes, I give you chocolate milk, don’t judge me),
and then you need to use the bathroom,
and then you want your sheet put on you,
and then you want your sheet taken off of you,
and then you want to change into your other gown,
and then you want to take the gown off and put on your other pajamas,
and then you want your fan on,
and then you want your fan off,
and then you want your little plastic dollar store lantern to put in the bed with you,
and then you need me to take it away.

These are not exaggerations. They happen every. single. night. I’m as tired writing them as I get doing them.

And Wesley, you tolerate so well, as I go back and forth from his room upstairs to get you situated downstairs.

And I lose my patience. And you love me still.

And then you give me super-duper tight hugs and big kisses with your little hands cupping my face. And I melt.

And then get you your third cup of chocolate milk. And I wait for you to drink it and then we say good night. For good.

Until you wake up at 3am and come get in bed with me and your father. Yes, that’s our nightly ritual. And I want you to know it because maybe you’ll have a child just like you and it will be a great reminder.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and evidently you are a lot like me…says your Pop, my Dad.

I continue to be amazed how much your two little souls have enveloped my own. My life-breath. My babies.

I am still in awe I get to be your mother and God trusted me with you. I don’t take that for granted, or at least I try not to.

We are still working our way into the new skin of stay-at-home-mom, but it’s starting to fit better than before.

Together we will sort it all out and work it all in. I look forward to a summer with you both full of creek time and horse play.

Love always and forever,
Mama

**I’m doing this project as part of a blog circle of mothers wanting to document this year in prose and photo for their children. It would so wonderful if you would please take a moment to visit wonderful Kristin as she writes to her children this month…many thanks. 😉

 

For all the in-betweens

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Some days it seems I’m in-between more than anywhere.
In-between here and in-between there.

In-between who I was and who I want to be.
In-between where I’ve been and where I now see.

In-between dreams that have died and those just born.
In-between drop-offs, pick-ups and mess-ups galore.

In-between bedtimes that take too long and mornings that come too soon,
In-between the starry sky and bright side of the moon.

In-between great losses and bountiful gains.
In-between parched dryness and soul-quenching rain.

In-between should-have, could-have and would-haves if known.
In-between all the ways that show me I’ve grown.

In-between the girl of my youth and the woman she thought she’d be.
In-between the dreams of her past and ever present reality.

In the in-between is where I find myself these days.
And I’m starting to realize that is ok.

It’s ok to be where God’s put me to grow.
If that’s stuck in-between, then I’ll wait for the “go.”

Truth be known: life’s all one big in-between,
In-between the beginning, the end and eternity.

If the in-between’s are all we have, there really is no doubt,
We must make the most of all of them before our time runs out.

“What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.”- Solomon, (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sounds simple enough. So why is it so hard?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thankful you are bearing with me,
Meredith

LINK UP HERE:

 

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

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

 

Five Minute Friday | {Mighty}

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

{mighty}

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

Powerful. Strong. Brave. Willing. Mighty.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your Mighty Mess,
Meredith

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

Home like collards and Granny.

The knot in my gut is twisting tighter as her breath draws shallow. I just spoke to her on the phone and could only muster an “I love you, Granny” when there were a million other words that wanted to come out, but couldn’t find there way past the knot. So I come to this keypad that has become my solace when the words won’t come out of my mouth and need to just come from my soul. The cursor blinks expectantly for words of hope and encouragement and I don’t have them today. Only a knot. And memories.

The smell of collards cooking makes some people wince, but to me it smells like home. Just like the embrace of that round white-haired woman cooking them. Like home. In that kitchen with the metal cabinets and washer and dryer and small table all fit neat on the end of that big white farm house that leaned a little downhill on the edge of a potato field in flat eastern North Carolina.

Granddaddy was a potato farmer and his Naomi knew how to cook those round white spuds perfectly mixed in with that greasy pot liquor. That’s not some kind of alcoholic drink, it’s what the juice from cooked collards is referred to in eastern NC where this woman who hugged like home lived and raised three girls and took her care of farmer husband.

Between Granny’s collards and homemade biscuits with a side of her insatiable and all-too-often embarrassing jokes, stomachs and souls would be filled. Filled with goodness that comes from hard work and a simple life and not taking yourself too seriously, the world does enough of that for you.

Summers were spent at our slice of the only heaven we knew along the Pamlico River. My brother and cousins and I would stay weeks with our Grandparents and there would be plenty of jokes and swimming and collards. Granny would pile us in the Pontiac and we’d travel the 30 miles to the Moose Lodge to play Bingo alongside her with her 20 cards taped together and three bags of ink dobbers. There were lucky charms and cigarette smoke and pepsi’s enough to float a boat and make some grandchildren feel like they had been to town in the grandest way.

There were nap time rituals that involved her rendition of “Michael Finnagan” that my children now request over and over until I’m out of breath and blue in the face. There was the snore game where she would pretend to snore ten times and on number ten we better be asleep, or at least pretend like it.

Those were the days. Memories too many to name with a woman too loved to put in words.

Last August I piled the kids and myself in my ford for the ten hour trek to Florida where Granny now lives between her two daughters homes. We shared a week of the same jokes I’ve heard for thirty-five years and they were as funny as the first time they tickled my ears. Granny was turning ninety and there would be too many new memories to miss if we didn’t attempt the trip. So we went. And we shared a week that I wouldn’t trade for a plate full of Granny’s collards and potatoes.

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If one has ever exemplified a life lived in joy, this woman has. She didn’t have it easy. Her soul and her body has known it’s share of loss. From losing a breast to cancer and other parts I can’t even name to so many surgeries I can’t begin to count, her body knows loss. From losing a husband after almost fifty years of tending to him daily with lunch at eleven thirty and supper at five o’clock and losing a daughter that mothered me after having her for a short fifty years, her soul knows loss.

She is a survivor and I think a part of me thought that meant she would live…longer. Ninety years is a long time. A good long time. But is it ever long enough for those left behind? The writing appears to be on the wall as much as on this screen, but I know God will take her when He’s ready and not a minute sooner.

This may mean we get to celebrate ninety-one years with her here. And it may mean we celebrate here without her.

The sweetest part of her story is that she knows her Savior…and He knows her. She is at peace with her life and though she would rather stay to see her grands another day, she is at peace if she doesn’t. She knows where she’s going and I’m sure my mama will be happy to see her mama again. In perfect form. And even more than that, she is most likely closer than us to spending the rest of her life praising the Lord. Literally praising the Lord.

So when we do lay her body to rest under the pines next to that small brick Methodist church where she poured her heart and children into, we will do it rejoicing in the promise her soul will not be at rest, but resurrected and rejoicing, along side her Savior.

I find peace in that. My knot is starting to loosen as her breath may remain shallow…but ever closer to being swept up in Glory and the sweet release.

She told me tonight in her sweet, weak voice that she loved me more than I loved her…in tears I disagreed. But then again, who is going to tell this ninety year old woman what is right and what is wrong. She’s closer to Heaven than me and if she wants to think she loves me more, I’ll let her.

It’s not about loving more or less anyway, it’s just about knowing this kind of love. Between a girl and her Granny. I’ve had two sent from God and He’s close to bringing the second one Home. Leaving a void in this motherless mother that’s soon to be grandmother-less, too.

I’ve had more than some ever get. More of a mother for twenty-one years, more of two grandmothers in thirty-five and more love all together than some know in a lifetime. I’m not complaining. I’m just grieving. And rejoicing at the same time. And yes, that is possible.

Graciously,
Meredith

 

Five Minute Friday | {Joy}

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

Today’s prompt is “Joy.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We choose Jesus. We choose Joy.

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

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

Choose Jesus. Choose Joy.

Graciously,
Meredith

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

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

 

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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

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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