[Reflection] Walking Tall

Today marks the end of a season of waiting. For a year, I’ve been allowed to trust The Lord more than I’ve ever experienced before. Notice that I’ve been allowed to trust The Lord. I could say I was forced to trust God during a year’s worth of interesting circumstances, but that makes it sound like God doesn’t give us the option to follow and trust in His divine plan. We have two options in every situation: to follow, or not to follow. I could have easily wiped my hands of God when the going got tough, but pressure creates diamonds. This year has been a refining processes. I’m still flawed, but I walk taller and with more pep in my step knowing that God is worthy of unwavering trust.

If you asked me on December 15, 2012 how the next year would unfold, I would have responded with internships leading to full time positions, a cozy apartment in Austin draped with excessive decorations, and a comfortable salary. Today, I woke up on a pullout couch, am starting a new job in an unfamiliar place (which I’m ecstatic about!) and will be moving into an apartment with minimal furnishings soon. My cup overflows in ways I was not expecting, and I couldn’t be more thrilled that the The Lords plans trumped my own.

The heart of man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9

My heart wanted comfort, The Lord wanted my trust. I haven’t seen my bed in a year. I’ve lived in a condo, the spare bedroom of a family’s home, and a photography studio. I’ve interned at a university and minor league baseball team. I’ve worked for a non-profit, wedding planner, and photographer. I’ve spent a week in a third world country. I’ve made life-long friends. I’ve laughed. I’ve cried. I’ve prayed. And The Lord has been trustworthy through it all. I’ve often sang “You are faithful,” and now my heart believes it. When I replay the events of this last year, I see God’s fingerprints in every frame. I’m thankful for every unexpected turn, every closed door and every moment I’ve had the option to stay in the boat or walk in faith across unchartered waters.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

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[Heart Fuel] Blooming

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 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. -John 15:8

Wherever you’re planted, be always blooming. Bear fruit by making disciples.

myTunes Monday

Do you have a song you’ll never skip while shuffling through your music library? This week’s myTunes Monday features “Something Beautiful” from NEEDTOBREATHE‘s album, The Outsiders. No matter what mood I’m in, this song is just what I need to hear and I will never shuffle past it. NEEDTOBREATHE is hands down one of my favorite bands. Their music strikes a chord in my soul, they put on an phenomenal live show and their harmony is unmatched. If they’re new to you, I highly recommend checking out some of their other songs. Before you download every song they’ve ever written, sit back, relax and enjoy one of the songs that put them on the map.

In your ocean, I’m ankle deep
I feel the waves crashin’ on my feet
It’s like I know where I need to be
But I can’t figure out, yeah I can’t figure out

Just how much air I will need to breathe
When your tide rushes over me
There’s only one way to figure out
Will you let me drown, will you let me drown?

Hey now, this is my desire
Consume me like a fire, ’cause I just want something beautiful
To touch me, I know that I’m in reach
‘Cause I am down on my knees.
I’m waiting for something beautiful
Oh, something beautiful

And the water is rising quick
And for years I was scared of it
We can’t be sure when it will subside
So I won’t leave your side, no I can’t leave your side.

Hey now, this is my desire
Consume me like a fire, ’cause I just want something beautiful
To touch me, I know that I’m in reach
‘Cause I am down on my knees.
I’m waiting for something beautiful
Oh, something beautiful

In a daydream, I couldn’t live like this.
I wouldn’t stop until I found something beautiful.
When I wake up, I know I will have
No, I still won’t have what I need.
Something Beautiful

Hey now this is my desire
Consume me like a fire, ’cause I just want something beautiful
To touch me, I know that I’m in reach
Cause I am down on my knees
I’m waiting for something beautiful
Oh, something beautiful

October 7th

I’ve dreaded October 7th for a while because it symbolizes the end of a chapter and a leap into the unknown. I’ve had a full-time seasonal job to occupy my days for the last eight months. A job with people I adore. A job that was joyful. A job that was fun.

October 7th marks the end of eight months of consistency. I’m not a huge planner, but knowing where I’ll be from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday is something that gives me comfort. I’m surrounded by amazing people who encourage and support me in times of need, and fortunately I’ll be working part-time for an incredible woman of the Lord for the next few weeks. Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord who provides. I have income for another month as I continue job seeking and interviewing. PRAISE THE LORD!

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:19

But what’s next? That’s the unknown that sends chills down my spine because honestly, I have no idea. For the first time in my life, my next days don’t have a specific plan. I know what my passions are, and I know I am blessed with intelligence and useful skills. I have so much joy to offer, and I’m searching for the place where my passions and career ambitions intersect. Am I called to stay in marketing? Am I called to ministry? Am I called to write? Am I called to missions? Am I called to stay in Austin? These are just a few of the thoughts that launch me into a whirlwind of confusion over where I’m headed next. After the confusion sets in, I start questioning who God has created me to be and the purpose of my life. In these moments, I hear the sweetest Voice whisper in my ear that He brings peace, not confusion. The Voice reminds me that He has me in the palm of His hand, and He has plans for my future that were ordained before time. I find myself stepping out in blind faith, trusting that I’m not walking off of a cliff, but rather into a life lived for the Voice’s glory. The Voice overwhelms me with peace. The Voice brings me joy. The Voice gives me purpose.

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Here’s what I do know about tomorrow: it’s never guaranteed, Jesus is the same and my purpose to glorify Him remains. So cheers to what tomorrow brings, and the vulnerability of walking by faith, not by sight. It’s amazing to me that when we are most vulnerable, we are the most secure.

[Heart Fuel] Live A Great Story

Austin’s Town Lake holds a special place in my heart. The combination of nature and athleticism is something that always puts me in tune with the Spirit and I never leave the trail with a lack of inspiration. At the completion of my latest run, I stumbled on this reminder to live a great story and, as usual, it spurred my thoughts.

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Living a great story starts and ends with Jesus Christ. Your great life story begins when Jesus becomes the reason why you live it, and it ends when you join the heavenly voices in Hallelujah praises. The in-between is an opportunity to live out the purposes God has appointed in your life by walking in obedience.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast… – Ephesians 2:8-9

This is the start of your great story.

…For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2:10

This is the journey of your great story.

“Hallelujah!
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure” -Revelation 19:6-8

This is the final destination of your great story.

Live it.

myTunes Monday

My first encounter with The Reliques was at a concert featuring Jimmy Needham, Trip Lee and Andy Cherry. They played an acoustic rendition of NEEDTOBREATHE’s “Washed by the Water” that was absolutely incredible. If you’ve ever heard of NEEDTOBREATHE, you understand why their name is in all caps…they’re that awesome! I actually enjoyed The Reliques’ performance more than the original, which is testament to the duo’s talent. This week’s myTunes Monday features “The Love of God” off of the band’s latest EP, To Feel And Be Loved. Be blessed!

Lovely.

I had a lovely dinner with an even lovelier friend last night, and naturally things we talked about sparked a few thoughts. As we parted ways, she voiced to me that she loved the enthusiasm I have for happenings in her life. I don’t share this to toot my own horn, but rather to make a point. As much as I appreciated her kind words, she noticed that characteristic in me because it isn’t found in all friendships. I don’t like that.

A friend should get excited about the things that ignite their friend’s passions, whether those passions are photography, design, sports, fashion or missions. When we see someone we love across the table beaming about something that brings God glory, we should encourage them to pursue those things in a full-out sprint. After all, I think that’s what friends are for.

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Not only am I blessed to call this precious woman my friend, but thanks to Jesus I get to call her sister. If you’re in Christ, she’s your sister too! How cool is that?! And it gets even cooler. She leaves for Haiti TODAY and you can play a part in the adventure that’s unfolding! Would you join me in covering Katie and her crew in prayer?

[Heart Fuel] Identity

Yep, I’m a “pinner” and every once in a while I scroll across something that stops me in my tracks and gets me thinking. I like to refer to it as “Heart Fuel.” Be encouraged!

92d0892e95a125b91331a1a480d6bf3aI am a perfectly imperfect child of the cross. My beauty comes from the righteous robes of Christ. Through Jesus, I am empowered by the Holy Spirit and armed with the life-giving message of the Gospel to boldly live and love for a purpose greater than I could ever imagine. 

Your identity in Christ is BEAUTIFUL. Never, ever apologize for who you are or what you believe in. You are thought about, handcrafted and known by the Creator of the Universe. That is an INCREDIBLE identity. Embrace it!

myTunes Monday

Ben. Rector. Soul, talent and bow ties. Need I say more? Enjoy “Follow You” from Ben’s newest album, The Walking In Between.

Go on, lay your troubles down
Set your feet on solid ground
Peace deep as I have found
I wanna follow you

Come on, all you weak and weary
Come round now if you can hear me
Poor, sick, and God-fearing
I wanna follow you
I said I wanna follow you

Leave all your trouble
Leave all your sorrow
Set down your burden
Come on and follow

Come on, heavy laden
Don’t wait for tomorrow
Come on, my brother
Come on and follow

Go on, leave your worries, too
Not a bit of good they do
There’s a word that’s coming through
Go on, leave your worry, too

So I call your name in the middle of the night
I wanna know can you hear my cries?
June heat and moonlight
I wanna follow you
I said I wanna follow you

Leave all your trouble
Leave all your sorrow
Set down your burden
Come on and follow

Come on, heavy laden
Don’t wait for tomorrow
Come on, my brother
Come on and follow

Set your burdens down
Set your burdens down
Set your burdens down

Leave all of your trouble
Leave all of your sorrows
Set your burdens
Come on and follow

Come on, heavy laden
Don’t wait for tomorrow
Come on, my brother
Come on and follow

Come on, my brother
Come on and follow

Leave all of your trouble
Leave all of your sorrows
Set down your burdens
Come on and follow

Come on, heavy laden
Don’t wait for tomorrow
Come on, my brother
Come on and follow

Come on, my brother
Come on and follow

We All Need Backup

They say: “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone…”

I’m 99.9% sure you’ve heard this phrase countless times after a breakup. Today I’m going to spin this overused quote a different way and apply it to community within the Church body.

In the past couple months community was hard to engage in. During college I found a church home that embraced me and all my strange quirks (obnoxiously loud and uncontrollable laughs being the frontrunner). They’ve loved me during life’s valleys, watched me grow in my faith, cheered me on in volleyball and so much more. After entering the “real world” suddenly making it to church on Sundays became impossible due to circumstances outside of my control. Accountability was out the window, worship seemed to lack luster and honestly I felt alone, vulnerable and left out for the wolves. When I entered back into community, I was immediately embraced and the relationships that were hard to maintain during my absence picked up right where they left off.

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I say: “You don’t know how important community is until it’s gone…”

There’s a difference between knowing and realizing something’s importance. I’ve known what scripture says about the importance of community, but thanks to a community-less season of life I now realize its importance. There’s a reason Jesus tells us He’s present when two or more are gathered in His name (Matthew 18:20) and Solomon, in all of his wisdom, wanted us to know that one person can be overpowered, two can defend themselves and a cord of three strands is not easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12). Jesus prayed for the unity of believers (John 17:20-21) and Paul refers to believers as the body of Christ for a reason (1 Corinthians 12:12-14). We can’t do it alone. Satan wants us isolated so he can fill us with lies and make us turn from Truth. Jesus claimed the final victory, but there’s still a battle for hearts raging everyday and we all need backup!

If you are struggling and aren’t an active part of the body of believers, get involved…RIGHT NOW! Send a text, shoot an email, make a call. Do something! You weren’t created to enter battle alone.

Much love,

Meredith