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?

 

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Woman to Woman: Patiently impatient.

Sometimes even when we have been on the receiving end of  a gift, we don’t realize it. We don’t see it for what it was and is and for how it should change us.

That’s how I feel about this weeks topic of patience in our  continuing woman to woman discussion. The next word in Paul’s instructions to the Colossians…

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience… (Colossians 3:12)

This one is a lot easier said than done for this soul. It may be a virtue, but it’s not one I know well enough of to speak of personally.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t seen it in action. I’ve seen the best displays of a woman’s patience throughout my life.

A grandmother whose husband drowned when her three children were all under 5 and never remarried or even thought about it. Patient to endure the cross of raising her children fatherless and working to see them fed, clothed and sent through school. Patient with grandchildren (at least this one…) who didn’t behave in public for her parents, but (nearly) always minded her Granny Grace.

Perhaps there is a correlation in seeing patience displayed and returning it?

I seem to have forgotten what that patience looked like as a child. I seem to need a reminder lately. And my children give me plenty of opportunity to practice this virtue I can’t. quite. grasp.

I’ve heard several people say recently to be careful what you ask of God, He may just give you plenty of opportunities to work on it.

I thought about that sitting through my Granny Austin’s funeral yesterday. I was getting ready to speak and my children were starting to “try” me. Trying this mamas patience in a sweaty-wrestless-small-country-funeral kind of way.

One was asleep on my left side, head hanging, drooling, out-of-this-world asleep. To get up would mean laying him down in the pew and risking him waking in a daze and wanting mama. The other child was on the right side wanting to leave the pew to get gum from her Gran (again) and then not wanting me to leave or for her brother to touch her as I laid him down so I could get up.

I could fill it rising in me hot and heavy. Impatience. That’s the word I know most about. The opposite of patience. We are very good friends these days.

Brother ended up staying asleep and sister ended up sitting somewhat quietly with Pop and then her aunt while this mama got to reflect on another patient woman who lived ninety years and never showed the least bit of dishonor or impatience to a soul.

Why has it skipped me? This ability to deal with adversity and children and husbands with patience instead of it’s ugly opposite.

I was thinking nobody will be able to say at my funeral, “She never said an unkind word about another. Her life exuded patience and kindness and humility.” Nope. Not me. And that makes me sad. But it also makes me real. Because I know I’m not alone. Even if I feel like it at times.

And just today my aunt brought me this cross-stitched photo she rescued from my Granny’s dilapidated farmhouse at the end of that potato field that we have gone through a million times and somehow missed this one piece of framed love.  These words that my mother made for her mother and the first word stitched was “patient,” I feel like I’m being told something today. After I’d started to write this post and wasn’t feeling quite sure it was meaning anything. It is meaning something now.

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I’ve been given a gift I’m starting to see for the first time. And now I’m holding a piece of these women in my hands, a bit moldy like me, but also stitched together with love, like me.

I’m glad to have examples of women that exuded these qualities I yearn to be. To learn. To live.

I’m reminded that the want to is as important as the journey and that’s as important as the getting there. 

So, I want to be a more patient wife. mother. daughter. friend. And I’m on a journey to get there. Not perfected until He’s finished with me. And He’s not finished with me yet. Maybe that is the best reminder of all.

He’s not finished with any of us until He’s finished. And until that day, we are in the process of getting there.

A heart desire to change, to be more like Him and to gain these qualities we are instructed to “put on” sometimes takes more guts than glory. I’m ok with that. You should be too.

We are in this together, sister. Perfectly imperfect. Patiently impatient. That is hopeful, yes?

One patient step at at time. And not forgetting this,

But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (Romans 8:25)

We have a lot to look forward to one day. Could be one day very soon. No matter how long the wait is, the glorious reward will be worth the wait.

Patience is not without Hope.

And as I said over Granny’s closed casket, our Hope has a name. His name is Jesus. And He’s completely worth the wait. 

Graciously,
Meredith

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

An InLinkz Link-up

Woman to Woman: The better fit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

There it is. That word. Humility.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How often?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Got that? Pride chokes. Humility frees.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Graciously,
Meredith

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

Woman to Woman: Killing with Kindness.

We’ve all heard the saying and as a woman, we’ve all tried it before.
Killing with kindness.

That’s the way, right? The way to get back at someone that has been less than kind to you. It’s not wrong to be extra kind to someone that needs to see what kindness is really all about. Right?

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. (Col. 3:12, MSG)

Well, that’s a dress that may not fit so well right now, a little too tight perhaps, so we are unpacking a little at a time. Today we will look at kindness. What does real kindness look like between women? It’s become so foreign a concept we tend to forget.

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Paul says in Romans 12:9 (MSG) to “love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it.”

What? I can’t fake it? I can’t kill her with kindness since she has been so unkind to me?

Brother Paul says no. And that means God says…No.

Paul also says here to “love from the center of who you are.” That goes a little deep does it not? The center of who I am is not always a pretty site. It’s not always full of love and kindness.

What’s in the well comes up in the bucket.

And my well can get muddy if not all together dry at times. 

My muddy soul can produce some dirty thoughts, words and deeds. To sow kindness means I’ve got to have some kindness in me to pull from. That means I’ve got some work to do. God’s got a work to do in me.

I’m not saying I’m a mean person. All the time. Or that we as women are mean. All the time. But if we are honest, REALLY honest, we will see some room for improvement in the kindness category.

Who are we kidding? Women can be the meanest creatures known to man. We don’t even have to verbalize it. It’s in the way we look. I mean stare. “I can’t believe she wore that to church? Does she own a mirror? What kind of mama did she have to let her think that was appropriate attire for Wal-Mart, much less church?” (insert gasp…and a smile, we always put on a smile when we think things like this. Or is that just me?)

Kindness isn’t just a lesson our teenage daughters need. Though they can be bad. Really bad. I know, I was one.

I was not the most popular girl. I didn’t have the name-brand clothes. I never had the “right” hair. I couldn’t keep up with what was the popular music or tv show…that week. They changed too much. And I knew what it felt like to be looked at “that way” that said I know you are different, but I won’t be mean to your face. Or maybe I will.

I’ve also been on the other side. I was never deliberately mean to another girl, but I was trying to find my place in the world, too, and if it meant not talking to you or avoiding you because you were a little different, I probably did. Ok, I did. I know I did it at times.

Back to what I said…kindness isn’t just something our teenage daughters need.
It’s something we as women need.

Who do they learn to be so mean from, anyway? Think about that a moment.
Who do they learn from?

Then there’s this. The fact that you don’t know what that other soul is bearing today. What enormous cross are they lugging up a one-way hill?

You don’t know that she wakes up to a man every morning that is living in darkness and that darkness is constantly groping for her own soul.

You don’t know that she has a parent that has become more needy than her own children.

You don’t know that she has a prodigal that has left home or left their faith or worse yet never had the faith she thought they had and she has no idea when or if they will ever return to her or to the God that she has tried her entire life to lead them to.

So yeah, there’s that. In the bitterness of our soul, we don’t see the other soul for what they’re facing.

So we say an unkind word.  We think an unkind thought. We do an unkind deed. And none of those can be taken back.

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A word spoken is a word eternal.

A thought etched in our mind is a thought eternal.

A deed done is a deed eternal.

A word penned is a word eternal.

A word expressed is a word eternal. Period.

It takes as much effort to say a kind word, do a kind deed, think a kind thought, as it does to do, think, or share one unkind.

Oh, that we as people, we as sisters, would start sharing more kindness than hate.

It’s not in our flesh, but it’s in our ability through the One who can and will clothe us with kindness if we let Him.

It’s time. For kindness to overcome hate and envy and greed and just. plain. meanness.

It’s time to be more. Our girls are watching and learning. Let’s do this. It’s time to be kind.

Graciously,
Meredith

It’s “Woman to Woman” Wednesday. Working on unity of the sisterhood here on Wednesdays one perfectly imperfect word at a time. If you would like to share your thoughts on todays post or add your own comments about how we can grow kindness as a sisterhood, we welcome your words below! Feel free to leave comments or add a link to your own blog post. Much thanks! (Excuse the little blue frog…though he is kind of cute, I would rather not have him on here, but can’t seem to make him go away. :O) Please has it out with us using #w2w when you share. 😀 You can view last week’s W2W here.

Woman to Woman: Put it on.

We began talking last week “Woman to Woman.” We talked about several truths as I see them and some of you had great feedback as to what your own truths looked like.

I feel led to start discussions between women, from a woman, to grow women.

In the end, we are the ones who “get” each other, right? The men in our lives can love us, provide for us, protect us and be an amazing part of our lives…but I’ve yet to have one man in my life that really “gets” being a woman. He’s not. I am.

We have a lot we could and should be teaching one another. A lot we should be doing to build one another up. To grow in community as moms/wives/friends. And as Christian women, we have a call to serve one another in love. To serve our families in love.

My hearts cry is that we as women would start growing together and going together. Growing upwards and going forward.

Our lives are not about me, you, us or them. It’s all about Him. Everything we do and say is meant to glorify the One who gave us eyes to see, lips to speak, hands to mend, feet to go…and hearts to love.

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

Let’s start there. We are to put on compassionate hearts.

In the morning I put on my makeup because it’s not already applied. I don’t have tattooed eyeliner…that scares me immensely, but would be very awesome to never have to apply in my lifetime again. And mascara…that takes way too long.

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I put on my clothes…because that’s the thing to do. And you thank me for that. And somebody please help me with this closet. Please.

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I put on my watch…so I will not be late. Well, that’s the idea anyway.

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I put on a false sense of security…because I wouldn’t want you to think I was insecure. Not me.

I put on a smile…even when I may be frowning inside. That’s the polite thing to do. Especially when you ask me how I’m doing. “Fine.” With a smile. Do you really want to know how I’m doing, anyway?

We all put on something everyday. Because it’s not already on us or in us, so we have to put. it. on. 

These words from Paul are telling me that I, as God’s beloved, also have to put on some things to be what I’ve been called and chosen to be. There is a lot to unpack in the reality that we are chosen and beloved, alone. I talked about that in You. Are. Beloved. Yes, You.

An important first step in the process of identifying with other beloveds is realizing you are beloved.

We are instructed to put on a compassionate heart. That implies I don’t already possess one. Ouch. That hurts.

Who wants to think they don’t possess a compassionate heart? I love people. And babies. And animals. I have compassion.

Sorry. No, I really don’t. Not without God giving it to me. Not the kind of compassion He wants me to have. For Him.

Compassion for Him. For His Son. For His people. Now we are getting somewhere.

When I let Christ’s compassion wash over me, I will in turn have compassion to give back to the Giver. And from the overflow of what’s been given me, I will extend a compassionate heart to my sisters. And husband. And children. And all the “less than” that I now “overlook.”

Without a compassionate heart there is no hope for love. Without love there is no hope.

Love is the tie that binds.

Everything else I want to address and talk about with you Woman to Woman stems from having a compassionate heart.

A heart overflowing with love from the Father, for the Father and all the Father’s children. Including our own children. Our own husbands. Our own family. Our sisters. And all those “less than” that we’ve been overlooking for so long. Out of fear. Or disgrace. Or whatever.

Will you go with me towards putting on a compassionate heart? It may take some getting used to. But there is grace for that. God always equips the called. And as His children, we’ve been called to put on a compassionate heart.

As the season of Lent approaches, many people decide to “give up” something to observe what Jesus gave up for us. It’s hard to think we could give up anything that would compare to what he gave up. Perhaps a good start would be what my friend Michele-Lyn Ault suggests, less of me and more of Him. And perhaps a good place to start there would be letting go of the parts of my heart that don’t allow compassion in.

For lent I will strive to let go of my…
jealous heart.
disappointed heart.
ashamed heart.
comparing heart.
self-righteous heart.
unforgiving heart.
slanderous heart.

And I will strive to grasp a compassionate heart.

Compassion drove Jesus to the cross.
Compassion drove Jesus from the grave.
Compassion changed the world.
And it still can. It can change mine. It can change yours.

Graciously,

Meredith

If you would like to share your own thoughts about todays post or write your own post in response, please link post or add your thoughts in comments.

I’m also linking this up to Jennifer Dukes Lee and an awesome group who are giving up their own “Love Idols” this lent.

Link your own Woman to Woman post below…I’ll be so gracious for it!

Woman to Woman: The Truth Is…

Talking to women today. Woman to Woman. 

This will be our platform for Wednesdays here.

Learning to disciple one another to Truth in Christ.

This is heavy on my heart. There are things you and I need to be working on. In our hearts. To influence our homes. Our marriages. Our children. Our relationships.

Woman to Woman. We are going to flesh it out together. I would love for you to join me.

If you’re a writer…and if you’re a woman with a heart, then you’re a writer…I would be honored to hear your thoughts.

Wednesdays will be our time around the table sipping a cup of coffee together (or tea or juice…whatever makes you happy). We will hash out our thoughts, fears, doubts, and above all, we will ENCOURAGE.

That’s my hearts cry for this place in the blog world to be…a home of encouragement for women. To grow together. Laugh together. Cry together. All for HIS glory. 

I’m starting this journey with a list of “truths” as I see them.

You may agree. You may disagree. Let’s discuss in love and share what your truths are as they may differ.

May we find real Truth together and learn to love in it and grow from it.

The common thread is LOVE. Sounds trite. But it’s not. It’s just that simple.

Love has to be our motivation and will be the only thing that binds us together.
We have the greatest example to follow in Jesus. Let Him Lead.

Will you join me? Woman to Woman? Create a blog post with your own truths and post the link or leave your thoughts in the comment section below. Use #w2w to tweet truths worth sharing. Can’t wait to see where your truths lie and how close I bet some of us already are…

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

The truth is…
We don’t need more self-esteem…We need more God esteem.

The truth is…
The woman in the mirror is not who God sees, He sees who is behind the mask.

The truth is…
We were not created as lions to roar… We were created as daughters to love and be loved.

The truth is…
We spend way too much time talking about one another, than talking about how to help one another.

The truth is…
We say a lot more with our actions and our gaze, than we ever do with our mouth.

The truth is…
We put our hopes and dreams in a man, instead of the only Man that can ever fulfill them.

The truth is…
We constantly compare ourselves to one another, rather than the One whose image we were created to reflect.

The truth is…
We want desperately to be accepted by everyone around us, and don’t realize we are already accepted by the only One who matters.

The truth is…
We have a hard time forgiving ourselves for past sins, and forget they’ve already been forgiven.

The truth is…
We put on a front to make people think we are happy and life is great…and we. are. not. and it. is. not.

The truth is…
We don’t know how to love fully, because we’ve never let ourselves be fully loved by the only One who loves completely.

The truth is…
The less time we spend getting to know Jesus, the less we care about Him.

The truth is…
The more time we spend in the Word, the more time we will want to spend in the Word.

The truth is…
We say we don’t have time to do a lot of things, but we have time to do everything. we. want.

The truth is…
Your truths may look very different than mine, but we are still women.

Created by the same God. Created to love Him and one another.

The truth is…
The truth hurts, but it is still the TRUTH. In truth and truth alone, will we ever be free to love and be loved completely.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
(John 14:6)

What are your truths?

Graciously seeking Him,
Meredith