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

 

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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

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

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