The Price of Religious Freedom

The American Church is sick. If you have grown up in it, or have never gone on missions trips to third world countries, you may not realize it. But the moment reality hits us of what some of our brothers and sisters risk every time they gather for church—though they can’t call it that—in a neighbor’s home, we realize how comfortable we have become. Whenever the devastation and absolute poverty confronts us, whether from pictures from Haiti, stories from Guatemala, or skeletal children singing praises from Sudan, we see their absolute joy and hope in the Lord. And we realize that by comparison, we are empty. These precious people are putting their lives in danger to hear more of the Gospel. Or they have nothing of consequence – considering themselves blessed if there is any sort of roof over their head—and yet their smiles are radiant. Their eyes sparkle with the truth of Jesus Christ. They, who seemingly have nothing, have found everythingThey, who risk any status or comfort that the world offers, have found the one worth losing it all, even their lives.light shining

Nik Ripken, an impassioned author (his book The Insanity of God messed me up forever) and missionary, shared with me the thoughts of many of our persecuted brothers and sisters in Asia. They see the “golden” life we live here—free to speak, free to worship, free to praise, free to lift up His name in any way we choose—and they wonder why God doesn’t love them as much as He loves us here in America. I felt a visceral jab in my chest. They don’t understand. What they are seeing here is a mirage. They are the blessed church of Smyrna referred to in the book of Revelation. As times in America have grown increasingly filled with tension, dispute and battle lines over doctrinal and theological stances, it seems like we are church of Thyatira—a church that is shaped by the culture, instead of the shaper of the culture.

We care more about our own comfort than we do about peoples’ souls.

We care more about our SUVs than we do about making Jesus known.

We speak up about politics, about abortion, about same sex marriage – all the time taking sides and forgetting that is LOVE that is supposed to frame everything that we say, everything that we do.

Or, we say nothing.

We watch both sides fueling the fires and don’t speak. We forget that love has words. Love has a voice.

We are either thoughtless and brazen, turning people away with our closed-mindedness, or we are meek and timid, so afraid to offend anyone that we impact no one.

We have let the culture of or our nation silence us, rather than being the influencers it desperately needs. In a season where tolerance is the mandate, none can be found for people who follow God’s teachings. We have allowed our God to be maligned by zealots and bigots like a well-known church in Kansas. We have allowed people who probably don’t even know the real Jesus inform an entire generation about Him. When will we speak up and set the record straight?

My God is in the business of saving lives, not condemning them. He is depicted as an angry judge, handing out death sentences with a sinister smile. The truth is that God is a loving father with tears in His eyes, begging for His children to hear His voice as He calls to them in the midst of crisis and confusion. He is the peace that we seek, and the rest we desperately need.

Several years ago I watched a video of Penn Jillette, or the famed Penn and Teller duo.  He recalled an encounter with a Christian man who shared the Gospel with him. The man knew Penn was an atheist, but felt compelled to share his faith in Jesus Christ anyway.

Penn was so impacted by this man, and realized something that all Christ followers need to learn. If we say we truly believe that Jesus is the ONLY way to heaven, then if we are truly loving our neighbors, and then we would be telling everyone. When we pass up the opportunity to share the message of hope and truth, it is more than just a missed opportunity. It is an act of hate.

We are to be led by the Spirit. We need to invite Him into the busyness of our agenda, and quiet our minds and hearts to hear Him. I need to be listening and acting on the urge to comfort the cashier at the Kroger near my house. I need to be brave and remember that being a fool for my Savior is nothing like the lashes He took for my sins

We can’t miss the opportunity of the freedoms that we have. Maybe the very reason we have these freedoms, through granted by a rapidly changing government, is to not just speak the good news, not just preach to all who have hears, but cry out in desperation for the lost.

We need to repent for our country, and the way we have turned away from the Lord.

We need to stop being afraid to speak the truth.

The American church should not be the Country Club it is today. Jesus came for all people. All races, all income brackets, all lifestyles. He came and he died for us all.  It’s time to change the perception of who Jesus is. It’s time for us to tell the truth. We have to take advantage of the freedoms we have and strive to make Him known throughout the world! Go big – use social media! Go small – start with one person at a time. But tell your story. Let your words be life, and light, and always love.

When Obedience is Worship

The wheels are turning. My mind is jumbled with dreams and ideas and things that have been pushed aside or buried or dormant for a long time. There is so much to say, and perhaps now, at the tender age of 37, I am growing wise enough to actually say them. No, it isn’t wisdom so much as obedience and bravery.

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When we were children, obedience didn’t feel brave. It felt resentful, stifling and misunderstood. As young adults, obedience represented everything we were trying to push back against in our quest to define our fragile independence. As grown men and women, obedience becomes a dirty word. Marriage vows no long speak of loving, honoring and obeying the husband. We are desperate to be seen as equals — not subservient, and certainly not  submissive.

But when it isn’t another human being that we are striving to obey, but the God of the Universe, the scenario changes. All of a sudden, routine tasks that simply aren’t on our daily plan have the potential to become holy moments. Because in obedience to God, miracles can happen.

If I were to to follow every act of obedience back as far as I could go, I can easily see how differently my life would have turned out had I done anything differently. We could still be in Maine, comfortable, with friends and family nearby, and living in our own sheltered world. We could have told God “No — we don’t want the hassle and work of a church plant.” We could have turned away from the Lord after we lost a baby to an ectopic pregnancy heartbreak in 2009. I could have walked away from my then fiance, deciding that his history and all that he carried with him was simply too much. He might never have moved to Maine from California in the first place. When my best friend at the time invited me to church with her in 1999, I could have ignored the way my heart leapt inside my chest and turned down the invitation. . .

If any one of those scenarios had played out differently, I have no idea who I would be today.

Tonight, I am in awe of the journey. I can see Ebenezer stones all throughout my past, at those pivotal moments that seemed so impossible at the time. I can see altars at the times of rejoicing, and celebration. Through all of it, I see God’s loving guidance so beautifully weaving stories together.

For example — the woman I admired on the worship team at the church I attended in college stepping down to pursue her own music, and I took her place on the team. We reunited three weeks ago when I began my new job at a Christian school in Tennessee — which is another God story all by itself.

We do not need to worry about our clothes, or what we will eat. My God in heaven is making all things new, and He is providing every single thing that we need. May we not grow discontent in longing for the next new thing. All around me are the blessings of a God that is crazy about me. He is wooing me with His grace, and I cannot let go.

I have tasted the freedom of His will, and vow from this moment forward to walk in it as best I can, trusting in His presence, His guidance, and His peace. Are you with me?

What my life says about my faith

Luke 12:27choir book
Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

Lamentations 3:22-24
Because of the LORD’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness! I say: The LORD is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in Him.

 

If our lives are the measuring stick by which our faith is judged, if you look at the big stuff, it would appear that I have this faith thing down to a science.

  • Packing up our whole life and moving to Nashville to pursue a dream that could ONLY have come from God
  • Leaving behind everything and everyone that was comfortable
  • Making connections in a new city, having gigs semi-frequently, sharing the music He has given
  • Surviving in the confidence that He will take care of us, every step of the way, even when there was too much month at the end of the money (to quote my pastor)

If you look at all of those things, then you would imagine that I would let nothing stop me from making progress on the dreams and goals.

My faith looks really great from a distance, or in bullet points.

When I dig a little deeper, and move in a little bit closer, I see the wasted moments (because of facebook). I see the opportunities that I missed (becaue of fear). I see the continual strain and worry that has kept me from the joy that I know is available to me.

Here is the beginning of the story. When we set out on our adventure, I left behind a wonderful job as a middle and high school band director, in a small community in the state that has always been my home. We were comfortable. We couldn’t live extravagantly, but we always had enough food for groceries, and gas and the necessities. When I was not able to find a teaching job, only a teaching assistant position, we learned what it truly meant to live from paycheck to paycheck.  Doctors appointments had to wait until after payday so we could afford the copay. Because the copays depleted our already stretched too thin budget, we then had to eat ramen and other cheap staples. And prayed fervently that the gas in our tanks would last through the 45 minute each way commute for the rest of the week.

We needed the generosity of our church family, of my friends at school, and other people that didn’t realize how much they were helping us. We were relying completely on God, though it wasn’t always as cheerful a process as I wish it had been. And to be honest, it was exhausting.

I was near tears frequently, and my joy in the Lord was put in tidy little boxes labeled Wednesday evening small group, and Sunday morning church.

Fast forward to now. My husband and I are both in new jobs. Mine is teaching music to middle and high school students at a Christian school near us, where because of the wonderful and caring administration being lenient about my job description, our boys can attend and get an amazing education. I am near tears frequently again, but this time it is because of His goodness and His mercy, and the extravagant love that He has shown us.

Although our working environments have changed drastically, our financially picture still remains uncomfortable. But I can more easily see His provision and more readily believe that He will in fact take care of us. But it is still a journey. And every step, every decision is a choice to remain faithful and constant in my belief of His attributes, and the promises He has given to me.

I don’t want my faith to be a mirage– something that fades away and disappears under scrutiny, or close observation.

I want my life to radiate the peace of my redemption, and the joy of my salvation. I am resolving to trust Him, even in the difficult, because He has proven Himself faithful. Over and over again. And if I have to live dependent on His grace and goodness for all the days of my life — then thanks be to God, the giver of all good gifts, and the provider of exactly what I need.

As one of my favorite hymns states: “All I have needed thy hand hath provided, great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.”

When Bravery Feels Like Being Lost . . .

I have been consistent for a little while now. Dedicating time each day to the craft of writing, or playing my guitar. Consistently in the Word, and praying intentionally, with focus, purpose and boldness.

Just when I start to really let the dream/reality sink in, to believe that those visions of performing on the stage at Ryman auditorium, or sharing performances with artists who are ridiculously inspiring and shall remain nameless, may actually have a chance at becoming my “Someday,” at that very point is when the doubts roll in and hover like black clouds.

Yesterday morning, I could not get out of my own way. Lies of all shapes and sizes crowded out all of the promises that God has already fulfilled, all of the miracles that He did on our behalf less than a year ago. They were gone. Fear, desolation and a complete doubting of my calling left me crying tears of helplessness and hopelessness.

Sometimes we just feel lost — even when nothing about our path, direction or vision has changed.

 

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In times like these, community is a life-line. I quickly typed out a post explaining the funk, the fear and asking for prayer. My friends, fellow battle wagers, poured out prayers of truth, hope and life over me. They helped cut through the clouds and let His love shine through.

Sometimes going it alone doesn’t work.
Sometimes the truth — though it is ALWAYS true — doesn’t pierce the heart until it is spoken over you by friend.
Sometimes we just can’t escape the darkness without a little help.

When you pray, dear ones, ask God to show you who in your life might need a little encouragement. Ask Him to give you opportunities to be His arms of love, His voice of comfort, His whispers of grace.  And then don’t be afraid to ask for prayers for yourself when you are feeling stuck, or lost.

How can I pray for you? What dreams or situations can I petition the Father for on your behalf?We are in this together, my friends.

 

BIG DREAM, but stuck in a holding pattern of fear/doubt/indecision?

When we have big dreams, given by a great big God, we need to practice living BOLDLY, expecting Him to act.  But even when you know exactly what the next steps are, what to do to get the momentum needed, sometimes it feels as though your feet are shod in cement shoes in quicksand.  It is no fun to feel stuck.

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How do we break out of this holding pattern of fear, doubt and indecision?

Call/text/email/carrier pigeon a friend, coach or accountability partner.

Dreams without support rarely become reality. Amazing things happen every day. When those amazing things are shared with friends, fans, followers, the amazing is multiplied. When dreams and goals are shared, the excitement builds. When you have people who know your dream, you have a built in group of support to tap into when difficulties, setbacks, or stuck times happen.

Reach out to your group, your tribe, and let them help you get back on track! Make a list of “next steps” that you are intending to take, and then ask them to keep you accountable.

Write down every reason you are not qualified for your dream— and then after each reason, write BUT GOD.

For example:

I don’t know anyone in the music industry, and have no idea when, where, or how to find the women to create my dream ensemble. But God brought me here, knows my purpose for being here, and He will guide my steps.

I can’t seem to get motivated to take charge of my health. I know what I should do, but am having a terrible time actually putting those shoulds into action. But God knows me completely, and will help me when I truly seek Him.

See what I mean? I feel better already! 🙂

Make a list. Start checking things off.

When I am stuck, sometimes everything becomes overwhelming. Not just things related to my dream — but keeping the dishes clean, laundry done, etc.  Stuck in one area usually leads to being stuck in many areas.

Make a list, and cross things off. I add everything to the list — home tasks, work tasks, and tasks related to my dream. The list is huge (or it can be broken into sections if you need your tasks grouped), but there are things that you can accomplish right away — in the next ten minutes.

It may seem small, but the sense of accomplishment in completing small tasks can lead to continued success and motivation.

 

Don’t despise your small beginning.

Remember this:

“Never despise small beginnings, and don’t belittle your own accomplishments. Remember them and use them as inspiration as you go on to the next thing. When you venture outside your comfort zone, wherever the starting point may be, it’s kind of a big deal.”  Chris Guillebeau

There are countless adages and sayings that are overused and have become cliches – but they are all true. Anything that is worth doing is worth the hard work. Your dream is worth the fight. Your comfort zone is not where progress happens. Your couch, although comfortable, does not care whether you reach your goals. (That last one may not be a cliche — that just may be a Meredith original.)

Friends — we all start somewhere. It wouldn’t be much of a dream if it didn’t require some scary, bold faith! Let’s support each other as we tackle our next steps in making our dreams become reality! I would love to hear some of your “but God” statements — share them in the comments!

 

 

2014 – A Year in Review

2014 has been pretty wild. Let’s recap it, month by month.  (Important backstory information. I was born and raised in Maine, and started writing songs as preparing for our weekly worship gatherings for our little chuch plant, two years ago. I kept writing, filling up my notebook with songs, with nowhere to perform them — and then in the summer of 2013, the Lord revealed that He was calling us to relocate to Nashville– the Christian Music Capital of the WORLD. Also important — in December of 2013 I answered the call of Jon Acuff to make the next year count for something and was put into a group of amazing, like minded people that are all trying to make their goals and dreams reality. It’s called the 30 Days of Hustle.)

In January, my goal was to prepare my resume, letters of recommendation, and obtain my teaching certificate for Tennessee.  Check, check and check.

In February, my goal was to write 8 songs. I wrote 7 — one them is still a favorite: The Language Barrier, inspired by the amazing work that The Seed Company does in Bible Translation.

In March, it was time to apply for jobs! I was a band director back in Maine, and was looking for positions as a music teacher or band director, or as an Instruction Technology Specialist. I was checking 20 websites daily for job openings. (Middle Tennessee doesn’t take advantage of the services that put all openings in one place. UGH.)  I learned a lot, become skilled in adjusting cover letters to suit the position, and tweaking resumes as well.

In April, I had interviews, and we took our first trip to Nashville! We were able to attend a small group meeting of our future church home, as well as go to a Sunday Service! As we were driving around, in the “buckle of the Bible Belt” we saw churches everywhere. We were so grateful that careful research, and the beauty of listening to sermons online, that we had already decided where we needed to be! We secured an apartment that we loved in a suburb to the North of the city.

In May, I had a job lined up — working in a gorgeous computer lab at a wonderful elementary school in Franklin, TN.  Which is significantly south of the city. So I started researching my commute. My substantial commute.  May also was a time of tremendous conflicting emotions. Excitement because our moving date was getting closer and closer, and extreme sadness at leaving my students behind. I had my final concert with my high school band and my last Memorial Day Parades.

my last BRHS concert

 

 

June held more tears as I said good-bye to my Seniors, and ALL of my students. I was leaving behind the legacy that I had created in my 13 years teaching in that small, oceanside community. Farewell parties at school, at church, and goodbyes to family, neighbors and friends.  We loaded up a HUGE Penske truck with everything we owned, and even had it trailing our second vehicle. Our good friend Rob helped my husband on the 1,256 mile (over two days, thank you very much) drive, while my sister came along with my two sons and me.  On the very last day of June, we arrived and unloaded our lives into our apartment north of Nashville.

July was all of the summer that we had, since school starts at the beginning of August here! What a shock!  My husband landed a good job on our first full day here. The rest of the month we were learning how to be a family with my husbands new schedule — overnights. We learned how to be quiet during the days, and got to know our branch library pretty well!

We began school in August — with the miraculous happening, and both boys able to attend my school with me! Jonathan, our 4 year old, was accepted as a peer model in the special education preschool classroom — which is amazing, since even though the school right next door to us had a preK classroom, the waiting list was 3 times longer than the capacity! This naive Maine girl had a LOT to learn getting used to the way cities run things!

September brought the first Labor Day that I have ever truly and completely enjoyed — because I had already been at work for a month, rather than having to say good bye to summer on that same holiday!

October started amazingly! I had my very first gig in Nashville!!  Here is an audio of my song “Doubtless Faith,” which I wrote with my dear friend Lindsay, performed at the Pavilion Coffee House.

 

After that, though the month was a blur of sickness after sickness. The boys and I traded off the school cold, while avoiding the stomach bug that was going around at school. My husband got both of those, AND the flu and missed an entire week of work. But — I am so thankful for my Jamberry  business, which I had started in October.  Even though we didn’t have the income from my husband’s job from that week, God provided through amazing friends and Jamberry to make sure we had food on the table and gas money.

November was great! We had a full week off at Thanksgiving, which was divine, and every day that passed was getting us closer to when my parents were coming to visit us!! On Thanksgiving Eve we were invited to celebrate with friends of ours from church. Their large family gathering made us feel right at home! On the actual Turkey day we found an Asian restaurant that had a wonderful buffet open. It was fantastic! (I’m not one for traditional fare. Unless we are at festivals or county fairs.)

December dawned with a count-down — just 11 days before my parents (Mimi and Grampie to their wildly excited (read: impatient) grandchildren) arrived from Maine! Unfortunately, their arrival coincided with Stephen’s diagnosis of strep throat, and Jonathan’s symptoms starting. Their visit involved snuggles and staying close to home. It was a beautiful visit, even if we didn’t get nearly anything we had hoped accomplished. Oh well. 🙂 The sickness didn’t end quickly. We spend one long night at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital with Jonathan, trying to figure out what he had, when the antibiotic wasn’t working on his symptoms, and the strep test came back negative. Since then, the boys are on a cycle of one being almost better and the other one coming down with other symptoms. Christmas had both boys under the weather, and now on New Years Eve, they are on the upswing (again) and Randy and I  are the ones battling symptoms. I have taken four packages of Emergen-C today, and am diffusing all of the health inspiring oils that I can (from my brand new Young Living Oils that I was blessed beyond belief to acquire.)

2015 has great things in store right away — I am headed to a Christian Songwriters Retreat near Knoxville on January 9th!  Christa Wells, whom I greatly admire and can’t wait to meet, and her co-writer Nicole Witt are putting the event on for just 14 women to come, learn and soak up the experience. I am so very, very excited!  Even better — the woman I am traveling to Knoxville with is in the 30 Days of Hustle with me!! (Remember from the backstory at the beginning of the post?)  We discovered this fact yesterday! Maybe this is where my long held dream of creating a Christian version of the amazing group The Wailin’ Jennys (look them up!!) will become a reality?? Who knows!

All I know is that this amazing year has taught me so many things, and I cannot wait to see what is next!

 

Wishing you all an amazing 2015!!

— Meredith

From Authenticity to Boldness — a 4 year Journey, One Word at a Time

Authentic (2011): I had been compartmentalizing myself on the internet — with a running and weight loss blog and then a faith based blog. I was tired of feeling like I was splitting myself in two, and being shallow versions of myself in both places.  I created a brand new blog, which merged the two of them together into a brand new site. It was called My Journey to Authenticity.

The next year, it was Cultivate (2012). I had to make the most important relationship in my life my priority. I delved into Bible studies and prayer times and embraced the fact that I am already beloved,  but that I needed to cultivate my relationship with God.

By the end of that year, the Lord had started a new thing. He had started giving me songs to sing. They kept coming, and I kept writing. My focus for the next year became Rejoice (2013).  I wrote blog posts, and songs, and learned how to find my voice. During that summer, the Lord dropped the biggest, craziest bomb in our lives, revealing that He was calling us to move to Nashville!

Last year, preparations already in place and being made for our move at the end of June, my word was (quite necessarily) Believe (2014).  Believe served me very well. It got us here, in Nashville. It helped me have the confidence to start calling myself a songwriter. It gave me the boldness and courage to reach out to songwriters that I respect and admire. It gave me the courage and strength to believe, despite the fact that there are more talented people here in this metropolis than there were residents of my home city . . . and that hopeful musicians are a dime a dozen . . . to believe that God has a plan to use me, and that He brought us here for a reason. He connected me with wonderful friends who support, encourage and nudge me out of the comfort zones that I created here after leaving all of my other ones behind.

It has become increasingly obvious that fear has become a real issue for me. It paralyzes me. Fear is what is keeping me from doing the work that will make me ready for when He reveals His plan. In order to fight these fears– these feelings of inadequacy that sabotage me — I need to be BOLD.

bold

I need to boldly believe the promises that He has given me. I need to boldly approach the throne of grace. I need to boldly do the work that is required — and rejoice every minute! I need  to pray boldly for His help and strength to accomplish to good works that He has set before me to do. I need to boldly believe that I am His workmanship, His work of art. 

I need to remember that at no time am I ever alone.

And the best part of all of this, is that when I am able to be bold in conquering myself, I will be free to boldly proclaim His love to everyone — through my songs, my writings, and anything else that I do!

That is my mission this year, dear friends. Are you with me?  What is your word? Let me know, and leave a link to your blog in the comments, because I would LOVE to make you a graphic with your word!

 

 

Fear: The Invitation We Shouldn’t Accept

Let’s be honest.

Let ME be honest.

I have a list of things that I SHOULD be doing that I KNOW will help me achieve my goals.

  1. Practice my guitar daily
  2. Vocal exercise research (and then practicing whatever ones I find that I think will be useful)
  3. Writing exercises from the lyric writing book I have been reading.
  4. Consistently staying in the WORD to keep my priorities and inspiration in check.

But I’m not. I start out strong and make it a couple of days… and then life gets in the way.

I have a list of things that I SHOULD be doing that I KNOW will help me be the healthy person that I want to be.

  1. Eat smaller portions.
  2. Drink lots and lots of water.
  3. Get INTENTIONAL exercise
  4. Get enough sleep at night.

But I’m not. Drinking water is like breathing– so I usually do okay with that one, but lately, not so much.

I know exactly why I am not doing them. And while it presents itself as laziness, a lack of motivation or passion for the end result, the truth is, it’s FEAR.

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And I hate that.
Because I know that in HIM there is no fear.  And I know that at the root of it all is the fear that I will not be good enough. BUT HELLO — if I never try, then I will never improve, and of course I won’t be good enough.

Here’s one more thing. If God has given me this assignment — to come to Nashville, and write music, and share the joy of His love to people, and I am too afraid to do anything, and I don’t practice and prepare so that the when the opportunity presents itself — then He would be perfectly just and right to choose someone else to achieve His purposes.

God doesn’t NEED ME to accomplish His will. He is inviting me.

Every time I choose to sleep a few more minutes instead of spending time in His word, or in His presence, I RSVP’ing a “no thanks … I’m washing my hair that night.”

Every time I keep scrolling through facebook instead of getting out my guitar, or working on those object writing pieces, I am RSVP’ing a “no thanks, it’s just such a busy time right now. Maybe later?”

It has to stop.

The Lord of the Universe is inviting me on this wild adventure. But I have to be brave enough, and bold enough to do the work necessary along the way.  The thing that I always forget is that HE IS STILL WITH ME during the journey. He isn’t just waiting out of sight along the road. He is with me when I get up in the morning to get into the Word and His presence. He is with me when I am practicing my guitar and trying for the seventeenth time to make the barred chord transitions ring and sound smooth.  He is with me through the whole journey.

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Friends — what is God inviting you to do?  Let’s be brave and bold and answer “YES!” to His call!

Tell me about your journey. Let me pray for you and cheer you on!

Trusting and Faith in the Waiting

Abraham is widely respected as being the “father of the faith.” And why not? God told him to go, and he went. God promised that HE would father a great nation, and he believed that it would be so — even though he and Sarah were already middle aged (or downright OLD).

(For the sake of clarity, I will refer to them as Abraham and Sarah, rather than changing their names back and forth.  #JustSoWe’reClear)

Repeatedly in Genesis chapters 12 – 20 God is reaffirming his call on Abraham. When Abraham questions, God calmly reminds him of the promise, and that it would indeed come to pass. And Abraham had a long time to wrestle with the waiting.

Are you in a period of waiting? We are! We have moved to this new land, far from our families. We are trusting that when it is time to move and start doing the work  he brought us here for, that He will let us know.  It’s been just over 5 months. Abraham waited decades for the promised Isaac to arrive. (Five months doesn’t seem all that long when put into perspective.)

But let’s talk about faith. And trust. As I was reading about our friend Abraham, I was just in awe of his absolute faith and trust in God.  He packed up his entire life and went out into a complete unknown!! His faith that God would accomplish what He had promised was strong and sure.

Until they approached a new country, and he was not familiar with the King. All of a sudden, God must have seemed far away. Because instead of clinging to the same faith that allowed him to leave his home for the wilderness, he fell apart! Fearing for his life, he asked Sarah to pretend to be his sister rather than his wife. (Later we see that he wasn’t “technically” lying.)

As I read that part of the story, I stopped cold. It hit me forcefully that I do the same thing. We had the faith to leave our families and comfort zones behind. We packed everything up to follow God and this crazy songwriting/ministry dream. But at the first sign of hardship, trouble, financial stress, or discomfort — I flew into a panic. There were tears — many of them — as I wondered where my youngest would go to school, since the naive country girl didn’t realize that having a waiting list 3 times as long as the one pre-K class available is a normal thing. When we finally found a school with an opening, we cried and wrung our hands wondering how on earth my husband would get both children to different parts of the city on time.  We solved that issue by having my oldest son come to school with me. But — when my hours were different than I had originally been told, all of a sudden our “kid drop-off” plan wasn’t going to work!  And all the while, God must have been just waiting for me to remember that He loves my children even more than I do, and that He ALWAYS has their best in mind.

After a couple of days the situation resolved itself in the exact way that I hoped for, but didn’t think was possible. But — I had to wait in order for all of the puzzle pieces to fall into place. I had to start my new job, become friends with a woman who has become like a sister to me, and through that friendship, I learned that the special education preschool program at my school accepted “peer model” students.  I talked with the teacher,  and my principal.  My principal talk with the district coordinators. Jonathan was accepted into the preschool program at my school. Both of my boys attend the same school as me — which is what my heart desperately wanted, but didn’t believe was possible!

The saying “God’s provision is never early, but is always ON TIME” is so true, and we have seen it proven over and over agin . . . usually followed by a few days of panic. We are learning, though, to trust first, pray second (and third and continuously), and then just relax. While we are relaxing we are continuing on in the last things He gave us to do. Serving in our church. Working diligently at our jobs.

Waiting is hard. I take immense comfort in knowing that God doesn’t mind reminding us of the promises He has spoken.

And that even if we freak out in the middle and pretend that we aren’t married, like Abraham did — or freak out and act like our children are going to be abandoned in a big city, like I did — God still has our backs. Thank goodness. 🙂

What transition are you in right now?  How can I pray for you in your time of waiting?

-Meredith