We Can No Longer Be Silent.

Isaiah 42:20
(“)You see and recognize what is right but refuse to act on it.
You hear with your ears but don’t really listen.”

Every time I read this verse, it pierces my heart. Although contextually it is a message to Israel from God, Truth is still true in 2016. As Christian believers, we see injustice happening all over the world. Far away, and in our backyards. We see and recognize that someone must do something, but we miss the opportunity. We refuse to act on it.

In a culture of “Go BIG or GO HOME!” it is easy to believe that one person cannot make a difference — that our small actions would do any good — so we do nothing. We shake our heads and say, “That’s not right.” We even discuss it in small groups and talk about what should be done. But then we move on, deciding that we are not significant enough to start the conversation. Or – we are not brave enough to take a stand.

Image Credit: Greg Lilly

Image Credit: Greg Lilly

In a culture that views Facebook as an opportunity to verbally attack anyone with an opposing viewpoint, it makes sense that people who truly desire to see change are hesitant to use their own voice to start the conversation. As one who avoids controversy and conflict at ALL costs, I will admit to being silent when I should have used my voice. I have been quietly observing, studying and learning that this country that I adore has allowed people to trample on the truth of true freedom.

Freedom of speech means that I have a right to share my opinion — that it can be different from yours, and that as human beings, we can agree to disagree, and still coexist in harmony.
Instead, through the relative safety of social media, freedom of speech has turned into hate and vitriol spewed towards anyone who disagrees with you.

It’s a deterrent.
Words hurt.
(But so did the crucifixion.)

It is time for us to no longer be silent. It is time for us to hear Him calling for His people to act, and to listen. It is time for us to act on the good that we know to do. It is time we start the conversations.

  • Apologize to friends who experience blatant and subtle racism — let them know you see what they experience. Ask them about their experiences.
  • Interject with the voice of love and reason when friends (in person or on Facebook) start railing about things that neglect or violate other people groups civil rights.
  • Pray, pray, pray.
  • Search for and join groups designed to bridge the gap between cultures. (Contact me for suggestions!)
  • Read articles, blog posts, anything you can find that can help you understand.
  • Watch Selma. (And have tissues nearby.)

 

Believe that your voice is important. One comment or action may not change the world, but it might change a heart — and heart change is the only true solution to this issue. We need to act like we believe that all people are created in God’s image, and start speaking the truth in love. We can no longer remain silent — we know what is right and must act on it.

 

 

 

Taking the Blinders Off: A White Girl’s Introduction to Racism

Today I am beyond humbled and blessed that an article I wrote on a subject I am very emotional about was published on Bedlam Magazine today. Getting to know the beautiful cultures represented in our church has taught me so much. When I think about the differences that my children will experience, because they are white, compared to the preparation that my friend and her husband give to their sons, who are similar ages, my heart breaks.

I want people to understand that we are the same — we all feel, and hurt, and want the best for our children. Yet we are NOT the same — and in understand, embracing and LEARNING about those difference, in that beautiful space, healing can begin.

I would be honored if you would visit Bedlam Magazine and read my article, and start your own conversation.

God Bless,

Meredith

When BOLD means EXPECTING God to act

mountain and lighthouseLet’s think about our dreams — the things that we secretly (or not-so-secretly) aspire to be; the lives we hope to impact for His glory. Whether we dream of being a business person that is successful enough to be wildly generous, or if we dream of having a speaking ministry that helps to equip people to embrace His truth, and His presence more fully. Maybe we just dream of being able to fully invest in our children and family, homeschooling and raising up a generation on its knees.

When our dreams are aligned with God’s will, and God’s purpose for our lives, HE WILL ACT.

I am guilty of shrinking into the background and timidly offering up my prayers to Him. But this dream that I have to write and perform music that will inspire, heal, uplift and encourage others came from Him!  He is the one that gave me the dream. He planted the seeds in my childhood, slowly letting it grow, until I was ready to respond with bold faith to what He was calling me to do.

We claimed His promise many times last year as we prepared to move to Nashville. We would save, scrimping and pinching to build up the funds needed, only to have to empty the savings for needed car repairs or dental work for our son.  It happened so often that we were frequently proclaiming “Lord — YOU are calling us to make this CRAZY move. YOU have to provide the means for us to get there.”

And He did.

After we moved here, and I was waiting for the pay from my new job to kick in (more than a month after I had started), we lifted our situation up to Him, in confidence that He had brought us here for a reason, and that He had placed us in our jobs for specific purposes. He took care of us — and taught us many lessons about what we really need in this life.

The two most important things that I have learned since we moved here are:

God absolutely, positively provides for His children. He sees our needs, and meets every. single. one. If He hasn’t provided it, I don’t need it! 

and

Since we have no extra means to promote myself as an artist, or get studio time, or even hire babysitters and pay for parking at open mic nights, anything that happens on that front has to come from God. And it has. He has allowed amazing things to happen — from accidental co-writing sessions to an amazing retreat in the mountains. God says Yes.

God says Yes when He arranges those “coincidental” meetings that change everything, affirming our call to encourage, to speak life in to the hearts of the weary, and hurting.

God says Yes when He gives you the job, with the income, and then shows you the ways you can bless your neighbors, your church, and be a part of God’s vision in not just your own life, but in theirs as well.

God says Yes when He puts a thirst and desire to be with your children, and then provides the means for you to homeschool them.

So don’t shrink back, afraid to ask Him to bless, grow and build the dream that HE gave you.  Ask Him to grow your influence — one life, one group, one church, one city, one state at a time. Ask Him to give you the words to encourage, to inspire, and uplift.

And then, after you have asked, stand back — because BOLD FAITH expects God to move. BOLD FAITH sees the problem, the need, the hurt — the mountain — and tells it to move.

Matthew 17:20
“I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”

Are you ready to start believing God BOLDLY, believing that He not only will act, but that He will do things that seem impossible? What can I join you in prayer for? What promises are you  proclaiming?

 

Promises —

There is so much on my heart as I try to process everything that I have learned over this migratory adventure that God has provided for us.

After years have passed, we can see the reasons for things that we thought would achieve a completely different purpose. For example — when my husband got the call to plant a church in Boothbay Harbor, where I taught for thirteen years, we had visions of changing hearts and lives for Christ in the community that I loved so dearly.  But — though we toiled and served and worked and prayed (oh, how we prayed), the church plant never outgrew the confines of our living room.

But — I wrote a heartfelt song that became my anthem for a time. Listen to What it All Comes Down To on my SoundCloud account. And as time passed, the church dissolved, and we continued to pray, all the pieces came together in July of 2013 when we felt the Lord leading us to Nashville. It was a crazy and exciting time as we used the next year as a long goodbye —  to students, my huge family, friends and everything we love behind us in the rearview mirror as we pulled away in a HUGE yellow moving truck.

file1251301756766

And guess what — another song came out of it. 🙂  It was my first co-writing experience, too –which was such a joy! Listen to Doubtless Faith on my Soundcloud.

We have felt His constant guidance and love through this journey — we have so many GOD stories. Of provision, of schools working out for my children, of things that seemed like a door shutting leading the way to something BETTER happening. . . We know without a doubt that we are here for a reason, and that we can trust His promises. We can cling to them, and we can rest in them.

What promises are you clinging to in this season? How can I pray for you?

Love,

Meredith

 

When the FEAR turns to DANCING — and other lessons from the cave

We arrived in Nashville on June 30th, 2014. We left behind everything that we knew and loved on June 29th.

 

Nashville Skyline

Every comfort zone that I had in Maine has been stripped away — with the exception of my husband, children, and guitar.  Our friends and family are now 1,256 miles away. My status as the band director that helped shape young lives for the past 13 years is gone.  The safety of the income that I received from the job that I adored — definitely, woefully gone.

But instead of complaining about the circumstances (though I will admit to doing my fair share of whining before He got hold of me), I now remember the words of my Pastor that he shared with us recently about the present situation of the church plant with which we have become involved. “It’s like we’re in a cave, and God is keeping us here, because He doesn’t want anyone to see what He is doing.”  He reminded us about the many times that God would reveal to David part of his future calling, and then spend years in the cave, preparing for the calling.

Those words were the Holy perspective that I needed during this exhausting, exhilarating time.

It is exhausting to be literally counting pennies, and wondering if the gas in the car is going to make it to payday and still allow me and the boys to get to school, 45 minutes each way, every day. It is exhausting to wonder if the groceries are going to last.  It is embarrassing to now qualify for reduced price lunches for the boys, and be so completely grateful that we do  qualify, because it means I only need to worry about feeding myself during the school days.

It is frustrating to want things and to have to go without. (It is humiliating to know how many idols I have been hearing drop from their pedestals.)

I hear the line from Great is Thy Faithfulness, “all I have needed Thy hand hath provided,” and realize that since You haven’t provided any of those things that I long for, that I don’t need them.  Because God has provided for us, mysteriously, miraculously, and amazingly- – – over and over again. Some day, I will tell you the story of the blessings that came without a single word of asking on our part, to help us get here.

But I am here to tell you that it does not take long for the child of God to forget what He has done. A recent song that I wrote with a beautiful friend of mine has a verse that rings in my heart, again and again.

“You say be still and know that I am God
Why would I bring you here to leave you now?
Rest my child and remember everything I’ve done–
You were never meant to carry this on your own. . .”

In my more selfish moments I have had emotional temper tantrums at God, wondering how I am supposed to move forward with this songwriting thing — what HE BROUGHT ME HERE FOR — if we have literally nothing extra after the bills are paid.

When my pastor spoke the words about our church being in the cave, I felt the Lord speaking peace and love into my heart.  Right now, my little family and I are in the cave. He is preparing us for something. In this time, I must be faithful to cultivate the skills, the words and the music that He has given me, until such time as He moves.  In creating this situation for us, He is giving us a real understanding of what it means to trust Him. He has also ensured that I will not be able to try to push ahead of His timing with the singing/songwriting. In my attempts to not let fear win, I could easily see myself rushing into something that I am not ready for. God is protecting me — isn’t that just like Him?

So as exhausting as this season is, it is also exhilarating — because the God that made the heavens and the earth, and the birds of the sky and the fish of the sea, is carefully providing and taking care of us. We have no doubt that His purposes, and His plans will prevail — and we will not stop seeking His face, His glory, and His presence!

Release — {Five Minute Friday}

In order to fully live in God’s will, I have to be willing to let go of what I love to receive what He intends for me. And I love being the band director to these amazing students.

 

my last BRHS concert

 

We are moving to Nashville, TN in 9 days. I have less than a week here in my beloved seaside town before I pack up my boys and stay with my parents for a few days before the big move. I have had to say goodbye to students, colleagues and friends. I have had to pack up a band room, and file back music that I have neglected during a 13 year career.

We have several knowns for the next chapter– a church, an apartment, and a job for me. But there are countless unknowns that we have to be willing to create space for — to release what we have now for the things to come.

I am releasing my identity as a band director, and trusting in my identity as a Daughter of the King.

I am releasing fears and insecurities, and trusting the dream. Believing that He is bringing us 1,256 miles away from all that is comfortable for a reason. And that obedience doesn’t require understanding. It requires faith.

And right now– I can do that. I can walk by faith. I can take the steps forward that I can see, and I can release control, and let Him lead.

What are you releasing today?

{Today I am linking up with Lisa Jo for 5 minute Friday. Come play along!}