Today, Meredith speaks to us about the theme she specifically takes notes on as she reads through Scripture, how God honored her faith as she stepped out of her comfort zone, and how God has called her to write a book. Please let us know once it is out, Meredith!
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: Second Corinthians 12:9-10: “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore, I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: God is teaching me that weakness is okay – good, even, when surrendered to Him. Instead of running away from my struggles or clinging to my well-laid plans, I’m learning to follow Jesus out of my comfort zone. It’s an adventure to watch God “make up the difference,” to fill me with His strength and do through me what only God could do.
Profession: Full-time mom to three inquisitive, full-of-life kids, whom my husband and I homeschool; writer and blogger
A one sentence bio of yourself: I enjoy finding Jesus in the everyday and am learning to rest in the love, grace, and nearness of God.
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? My parents taught me about Jesus from day one. I placed my faith in Him as a small child, but my most life-changing encounter with Him came after I’d been saved for 30 years. My “good-girl life” had crumbled around me, and I found myself questioning everything I had once believed. It was there, in my most broken, nothing-to-offer-God state, that I experienced the God of grace. He showed up in dazzling kindness, drawing me to Himself and mending the broken places in my life. He taught me that His favor upon me has nothing to do with my performance, and everything to do with Christ’s work on my behalf. I’m learning to rest in Him, to focus on relating to Him every moment of every day. The more I know Him and experience His astounding love for me, the more I love Him in return.
“He showed up in dazzling kindness, drawing me to Himself and mending the broken places in my life.”
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? God has called me to write a book. I’ve never done this before and the topic on which I’m writing (soul rest for weary women) is one that I’m currently learning myself. My need for wisdom keeps driving me back to God’s Word and His presence. I’m learning to trust that God will equip me for everything to which He calls me. Again, doing life with Jesus is quite the adventure!
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?):
I’m currently reading The Discipline of Grace, by Jerry Bridges. I often struggle to understand the balance between personal spiritual discipline and complete reliance upon God’s grace. This book does a phenomenal job showing how the two go hand-in-hand.
The second book I’m reading is The Cozy Minimalist Home, by Myquillyn Smith (The Nester). I’m learning lots about decluttering stuff we don’t need so we can enjoy the things we do need and love.
And because I’m always reading more than one or two books at a time…I’m also reading The Journey of a Strong-Willed Child. It’s incredibly helpful in learning how to parent according to the individual needs of my unique kids.
Top three essentials: Cell phone, wallet, glasses.
How did God speak to you recently? At the beginning of 2018, God called me to join a team from our church in teaching at a church leadership conference in SE Asia. I prepared for months ahead of time but got sick for the entire month leading up to the trip. The day before we were to leave, I was still fighting an asthma attack and bronchitis. It made no sense to go, and I seriously contemplated staying home. But as my husband and I prayed about this, we both sensed Jesus calling me to go and to trust that He would take care of me.
I believe God is able to heal, though I also know He sometimes chooses not to, for reasons I often don’t understand. I asked Him to restore my health, because I knew it would be impossible for me to teach if I could barely breathe.
I packed every medication I might possibly need, and boarded the plane bound for Bangkok, Thailand. More than 24 hours later, when we arrived in country, I realized I was nearly back to full health. I needed an inhaler on occasion but was fully able to function and teach for the two and a half days of the conference.
Through this experience, God taught me that faith often calls us out of our comfort zone, where we have no choice but to trust the One who walks there with us. While the outcome is rarely be known ahead of time, God’s character never changes. He is more reliable than the rising sun.
“He is more reliable than the rising sun.”
Hobby: Writing, exploring new local coffee shops.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong:
Prioritize regular time with Jesus and respond to what He teaches me.
Do life with other Christians who are also seeking to grow in Him.
Always continue learning – keep good books handy, learn from other believers (especially those who’ve walked with Jesus longer than I have), etc.
Favorite person in Scripture? David – he was so real. My heart often echoes his prayers in the Psalms. I love that no matter how David messed up, God had his heart and He continually drew David back.
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? When people see my life and hear my story, I hope the relentless love of God comes to the forefront in dazzling splendor. I pray they sense the still, small voice of God whispering His delight over them and graciously drawing them closer to His heart.
Favorite season? Fall. I love feeling a crisp autumn breeze, seeing the trees ablaze with color, drinking apple cider, wearing jeans and sweaters, taking hay rides around a farm…
Favorite holiday? Christmas. It has such power to bring people together – from those in the community with whom we celebrate, to family we rarely see without the excuse of the holidays. I love putting up Christmas decorations, hearing songs in public places about the Christ Child, and exchanging gifts with people I love.
A dream you have? I dream of publishing this book into which I’m currently pouring blood, sweat, and tears. *grin*
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: We sing to the kids each night before bed – usually a hymn or praise song that reinforces truths we are cultivating in their hearts. I also love our Saturday morning waffle tradition.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? Hmmm. That’s a tough one. I guess I’ll ask God about the passages of Scripture which can be interpreted in a variety of different ways. I often wonder at the reality that Jesus-loving, Bible-studying believers can dig into the same passages and come up with such different answers.
My best guess on this one is that He wants us to rely on His Spirit, both in interpreting His Word and in living graciously and respectfully with one another.
Thing you want to raise awareness about: The simplicity of devotion to Christ (2 Cor 11:3). Sometimes, we make Christianity so complicated. I long to see God’s people come back to the basics of a moment-by-moment relationship with Jesus as the central point of our lives. More than our service or our programs or our methods, Jesus wants our hearts. If this is our focus, a lot of other things will fall into place.
“Sometimes, we make Christianity so complicated.”
What do you usually do before 9 a.m.? First, coffee. That’s pretty crucial. While sipping on that, I usually start the day with Jesus. Sometimes I use my physical Bible (Key Word Study Bible – my fave!). Most of the time, I use a variety of apps.
I love the “Reading Plan” app – a read-through-the-Bible plan that lets me go at my own pace and check off chapters as I read them. If I take a break to study something else, I can come back later and pick up right where I left off. This is so much more doable for me than a dated plan. I also love that I can pick what type of plan I want to use. I’m currently doing the “Thematic Plan.” (Side note, as I read through the Bible, I take notes in a journal on anything I learn about who God is or how He defines me as His daughter.)
I also love the Blue Letter Bible app for in-depth study. I’m a bit of a word nerd, so I think all the available tools are awesome. I can search a specific verse, compare translations, dig into word meanings in the original languages, etc.
After my time with Jesus, I usually spend time writing while my hubby starts our kids’ homeschool day. We swap off around 9:30 and I put on my mommy/teacher hat for the rest of the day.
What is on your nightstand? A “Best Mom Ever” plaque hand-drawn by my kids, The Journey of a Strong-willed Child, a lamp, a stone coaster, and a framed Bible verse. (Yes, I need to minimalize!)
Define Christianity in a sentence: Christianity is a moment-by-moment relationship with God lived out through faith, based not on our performance, but on Jesus’ work on our behalf – forgiving our sins, making us right with God, and changing us from the inside out.
For more Meredith:
FB and Twitter: Dazzled By The Son
Until next time, keep witnessing!