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Jesus, Trials, Uncategorized

Scraps of Paper

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December 24th, 2012 I crawled into Houston after a red eye with my then seven-year-old son. I was completely disoriented after closing on our house in Oregon weeks before. Exhausted, I stared out the window of my husbands car in a daze. The sun felt wonderful after leaving the cool Pacific Northwest. Pick up trucks were a plenty and the Christmas decorations were over the top, which I loved. These were my first impressions on our drive to the hotel. I was tired but hopeful that this move was a good decision.

Week six of being stuck in a hotel, in a city where we knew absolutely no one, I was being brought to my knees. Everything took longer than it should’ve. My car was being shipped and took an extra week. I was trapped with two kids and our cat, and no car, since Tom had to work. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. We should’ve stayed in the hotel for about a month, and then moved into our house. Hahahaha!  It’s funny for me to think about now, but quite painful then. We were stepping out to the unknown, trusting that this was God’s plan.

When our loan fell apart for the home we made an offer on in November, I fell apart. That was the final straw. Tom and I were so sad. The home that we fell in love with was what kept us going as we waited. We thought we at least had a place to live taken care of in all of the unknowns. When that was taken away we were at a loss. Do we start all over looking for a new home? That would mean weeks more in a hotel. Possibly months. This sounded awful.

“Lord, where are you?”

“Why did you move us here?”

“Is anybody looking out for us?”

God was looking out for us. We knew it, we just didn’t feel it.

My Bible was packed away in storage so I would look up scriptures online. The scraps of paper are how I survived those weeks. I didn’t have real paper to write on, just whatever scraps were sitting around the hotel room. I scrawled out verses that encouraged me and reminded me of who God is. My youngest son even drew an adorable picture on one of the papers.

Sometimes we only have scraps to hold onto. It’s not pretty, but it gets us through. The amazing thing during those weeks of unknowns was that I had some of the most incredible moments with the Lord. That’s how trials work. When you’ve got nothing left but Jesus, He does remarkable things. I remember one night I couldn’t sleep and I told the Lord I’m just going to pack up my car and my kids tomorrow and drive back to Oregon. Back to what was familiar. The next day He brought some relief in my desperation.

Thankfully, God showed up in a huge way for us and fixed the loan on the house within a couple of days of it falling apart. We ended up staying in the hotel eight or nine weeks. There are worse things to deal with. Way worse. For me, it was a test of my faith as we were in the dark. I reached out and found Jesus standing there, ready to comfort and encourage me. My prayer times were in the tiny, gross bathroom during those weeks. Again, not pretty, but effective.

I keep those little scraps of paper on a memo board in my closet, which also doubles as my prayer closet. They remind me of God’s faithfulness. He has carried us through every trial and will continue to carry us. My memory can be short of God’s goodness to me. So, the trials come and flush out my doubts and weaknesses. And He shows up. And He does wonderful things. Things planned long ago. The trials will come until we go home to be with Jesus forever. Until that time, He promises to be with us always.

“And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b, HCSB)

 

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your faithfulness, even when we are not faithful. You are good and perfect. I lift up all of those who are in the dark right now. The trial is painful as they wait for you to show up. Comfort them, carry them, encourage them. Remind them that you are still in control and you have a beautiful plan for them.

In Jesus mighty name,

Amen

Guest Post

Guest Post: Taste and See

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Please welcome my dear friend Missy to the blog. She graciously agreed to share some of her story with us, and I know you will be blessed. Missy writes from her heart and heartache. She’s been through a lot, but she’s still standing. The reason Missy stands is because her feet are on The Rock.

Missy and I go way back. Like all the way back to college. We met at our tiny Christian college in Southern California a few years ago. It’s more than a few years, but in my mind we are still eighteen years old. I can’t recall the exact moment we met, I just know we were instant friends. When our dorm rooms were next to each other with connecting patios, the doors were usually left open so we could go back and forth freely.

We went off to Florida for the summer with our amazing friend Wendy. We were camp counselors and it was all Missy’s idea. Turned out to be a great idea and a fantastic summer with lifelong memories. It was a priority to be at each others weddings, all three of us, in spite of living thousands of miles apart. It’s that type of friendship. The kind you cherish. The kind you get once in a lifetime.

Missy has a contagious faith and a contagious laugh too. If you spent a few minutes with her you’d love her instantly. So my heart was broken when I got the news that she lost her beloved son Justin. He was twenty; a few months shy of turning twenty-one. There are no words to comfort a friend when the pain is unimaginable. I continue to pray for her and watch in awe as she walks out her faith while grieving. She’s a true inspiration.

It is my honor to have Missy contribute to my little corner of the world. Give her some love and leave a comment.

 

Taste and See

by Missy Linkletter

It was Sunday evening on July 9, 2017; Justin asked me if we could sit down and talk, just the two of us.

Plain and simple, Justin wanted a motorcycle, and I was 100% against it. We’d been having a friendly but serious debate for several months on the matter. He’d gone as far as obtaining his motorcycle license, and as far as I knew, he was on the hunt for the perfect ride. Regardless of my opinion, he was 20 years old, and it was his decision.

We sat down together in our front living room, he took a deep breath and looking into my eyes, he said, “Mama, you know how you are worried about my well-being if I drive a motorcycle? Well, in the same way, I am worried about you and your health.”

My eyes immediately filled with tears as he continued. “I am willing to forgo buying a motorcycle if you are willing to get healthy. I will get up extra early and go to the gym with you, I will cheer you on…” I looked into his bright green eyes, now with tears streaming down my cheeks and choked out, “Yes, I agree!”.

I told him I was proud of him and thanked him for saying hard things to me, his mama. The next morning, I hit the ground running and embarked on a new healthy lifestyle.

Unbeknownst to me, it would be the last Sunday we’d have with Justin on this side of eternity. The following Saturday, only six days later, we lost our dear boy.

Today, as I write, it’s been 112 Sunday’s since that pivotal conversation. The aftershock of losing him still ripples through our family daily. At times, I have felt as though I were eating the dust of the ground, the ache runs deep.

Through it all, I am awestruck and filled to the brim by the tender care of the Lord. I have considered what life would be like for me today had He not prompted Justin to have such a conversation with me. I am reasonably sure I would have indulged in the immediate comfort which food once provided me. Today, I am learning to sit in the ache and wait for the Lord’s healing balm.

Lasting change does not happen overnight; old patterns and habits don’t simply disappear. For me, it’s one minute at a time, once choice at a time, and a constant reminder of the grace upon grace which God provides.

King David wrote, “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.” Psalm 34:8 I have tasted of His goodness in my deepest heartache. I have known no greater joy than being understood by the Lord my God. He is the perfect refuge for my broken heart.

Dear Christian, I don’t know what trial you are facing today, but I am confident of this, God is for you. He longs to be gracious toward you; therefore, he will rise up to show you compassion. (Isaiah 30:18). He will not leave you alone in your trial; draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.

Do not lose heart, dear one. Since God is for us, who can be against us?

 

Check out Missy’s blog.

https://missylinkletter.com/

 

 

Image by Felix Wolf from Pixabay

 

Joey Flynn's Extraordinary Tale, Uncategorized

Kid’s Stuff Podcast Interviewed Me!

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So I wrote this kid’s book, Joey Flynn’s Extraordinary Tale. I don’t share it often. Honestly, I don’t like promoting myself. I’m just not comfortable with it. As an author you need to promote your work. I’ve been stretched in this area. There’s a link on my blog home page to my book, and I pretty much leave it at that. I know, that’s not great promotion. That’s awful promotion. I would much rather sit down and talk with you in person and tell you exactly why I wrote this story.

I got the chance to do just that when Kid’s Stuff Podcast reached out to me asking to do an interview. What an exciting opportunity for a little unknown author like me. I jumped at the chance. This is my first interview ever for my book. Kid’s Stuff is an award-winning, kid friendly podcast run by Gale and his thirteen-year-old son Owen. These guys are so kind and easy to talk to.

Owen read my book before the interview, and I am pleased to announce that he loved it! This is a huge stamp of approval that I humbly accept as a gift. I love getting feedback, but especially from kids. I wrote this book for kids first, so their opinions mean everything to me. Owen had some great questions for me specifically related to the story. It was fun to answer those.

Owen also asked me the meaning behind John 15:5, that I write on signed copies. Great question, but this didn’t make the final edit which is fine, since there wasn’t room for everything. I love that verse because it reminds me what I can accomplish without Christ, nothing. I can do nothing apart from the vine, Jesus. At least nothing that really matters. He is the vine and I am just a branch. When God asked me to write this book I needed to rely on Him to complete this huge task. That’s why I add that verse to signed copies.

Our recording lasted over an hour, but Gale had to edit it down to thirty minutes since that is the maximum allowed for their podcast. He did an excellent job editing all that and squeezing in the pertinent book and author information. Owen and Gale are kind, lovely people. And bonus, they are Christ Followers too. Pretty cool for us to have that in common. Please check out their podcast. They have all sorts of fun, educational topics that of course, are kid friendly.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I hope you will be able to listen to my interview where you can hear why I wrote this book and the message God gave me for kids. Thank you for your support!

Love you all,

Meghan

 

http://kidsstuff.libsyn.com/interview-with-childrens-book-author-meghan-white

Family, Food, Uncategorized

I Scream, You Scream

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We all scream for ice cream! It’s still officially summer and still quite hot in most of the U.S. You need ice cream. I need ice cream. We all need ice cream, except for the lactose intolerant. But hey, there are really great alternatives now so all can partake. There’s something about an ice cream sandwich that brings joy. You’ve got cookies and ice cream together. That’s a win-win. I have so many memories involving ice cream.

Certain foods can be such an important part of our childhood. I can still hear the ice cream truck music. We’d quickly empty our piggy banks and run to that truck. Another ice cream memory is my birthday party at Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor. When the Zoo Party was brought out with singing and music, the restaurant paused for a moment to take notice. Exciting childhood memories all involving ice cream.

It’s good to be a kid now and then. For some fun, make these scrumptious, super duper easy ice cream sandwiches.

To get more of my ice cream memories and the directions for the sandwiches, click on the link below.

https://www.mustardseedsentinel.com/post/meghan-s-corner-ice-scream-you-scream

 

Love you all,

Meghan

Faith, Jesus, Uncategorized

The Mustard Seed

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He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Matthew 17:20

One of the tiniest seeds grows a very large plant. Mustard bushes at maturity, can reach heights of six to twenty feet with a twenty foot spread. That’s pretty big considering its small beginning. When Jesus tells his disciples to have faith as small as a mustard seed, he was responding to their question. The disciples asked Jesus why they couldn’t drive out a demon from a boy. (Matthew 17:19) His answer was their lack of faith.

Seeds grow when they are planted and watered. Our faith too grows when we plant it in the firm foundation of God. Jesus tells us that even small mustard seed sized faith will cause Him to move on our behalf. The mountain is just the metaphor for whatever obstacle we are facing. Many times it can feel like an insurmountable mountain. It looks impossible. This is where our faith comes in. Do we believe that Jesus is who He says he is? Do we believe He truly can do absolutely anything?

Our faith will be refined our entire lives. Jesus tells us to start with a tiny amount of faith in Him, and what He can do to help us. He can do anything. Nothing will be impossible with Jesus.

I’m sharing a story that beautifully illustrates having mustard seed faith. I have kept this article for many years after tearing it out of a magazine. It’s edges are frayed and the paper has yellowed. About once a year I read it to remind myself what a little bit of faith can accomplish. Enjoy this wonderful story of one woman’s faith.

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

The Mustard Seed By Patricia Anand

My husband and I had enjoyed raising our family in the San Fernando Valley in California. Yet as retirement neared, we felt we wanted to live in a quieter, cooler area. We began house hunting farther north along the coast.

     During the years that I had been thinking about our retirement home, a set of mental “specs” had evolved. We needed a two-story house (for cardiovascular exercise), a den/bedroom downstairs (to use as an office) and a kitchen area that gave me something interesting to look at. We wanted no yard work (after all, we had mowed a lawn for years).  Oh, yes, a crystal chandelier in the dining room, a fireplace and a water view would be nice.

     As I began praying for our dream home, the Bible I had in my hands fell open to Matthew 17:20: “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘move hence to yonder place,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.” I thought, Yes, Lord, that’s right. All I need to do is have faith. On impulse, I went out and bought a pair of pillowcases for our future bedroom, some pot holders for the kitchen, and a crystal lamp finial for the living room.

     I shouldn’t have been surprised when one day our real estate agent led us to a house on a marina that exceeded my expectations. It had main channel water views from the kitchen, living room and master bedroom. Instead of a backyard, there was a large redwood deck! All the rooms were exactly as I had prayed for! The kitchen counters were 37 inches high-a loving Heavenly Father had even provided a comfortable working height for a tall woman.

     We went happily into escrow. Then a period of testing began. We had planned to sell a piece of property and use that as a part of the down payment, but it stubbornly refused to sell. We tried everything.

     One day, in desperation, we talked to the vice president of a small local bank near us. As we explained our problem, the man began to smile. He had relatives in the town where we wanted to move, and he went jogging on weekends over the bridge near our dream house. He knew exactly  where it was and what it was worth. He told us to pick up our “swing loan” check the next day based on our signatures alone. We floated home.

     We have been happily retired for some years now. I often think of the day when the realtor first showed us our dream house. For there, beside the front door, a previous owner had written in the cement: THE MUSTARD SEED.

 

*This Article is from Family Circle 4/3/01 written by Patricia Anand.

Faith, Family, Uncategorized

Wisdom from Grandma

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For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.

1 Timothy 6:7

 

Grandma kept everything. I found these in her kitchen cabinet when we packed up her house in California. At the time I thought they were neat because of the old advertising. Over the years I’ve realized something a little deeper, more significant about these old containers. It’s a lesson I learned from Grandma. She didn’t know she was teaching me, but she did. Elva was her name and she’s my husband’s sweet grandma from Arkansas.

Elva lived in the rural south during the Depression. Nothing was wasted or taken for granted. She used to tell us that as a little girl if it snowed in Arkansas they would make ice cream from the snow. My husband and I would laugh. It sounded silly to us. But now I get it. When you have very little, you use what you’ve got. Today if I bought some ice cream I didn’t like I would throw it out. That would have never happened during those Depression years. It would have been eaten up with joy.

I have had those spices in a large jar on my kitchen counter for years. I was cleaning it out the other day after an ant problem. Grandma came to my mind once again. She wouldn’t throw away something as precious as cooking spices. It got me thinking about contentment. Am I content with my stuff? Do I want more, and more? Do I need more?

This is the era of disposable electronics, and disposable everything. Get the newest phone, we need it. Get the newest car, we need it. Consume it, get bored with it, and get the latest version of said item. Buy, buy, buy, and buy some more stuff. The lines have been blurred of needs and wants. What does the Bible say about contentment?

“But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” (1 Timothy 6:8, NIV)

Paul wrote these words that God gave him. Is food, shelter, and clothing enough for contentment? I think yes. At least I want to think yes. I wrestle with this concept. Is stuff bad? Well, no. We need to eat, and clothing for our bodies, and a roof over our heads. Beyond that, what do we really need? Not much. But what we want, that’s a whole different story. Wants aren’t bad. Stuff isn’t bad. Where does contentment lie in all that for the Christ Follower?

Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:9-10, NIV)

The verses about contentment and not holding on to our worldly possessions lead to a warning about loving money. We are given a very real warning about the desire to get rich. Some wandered from the faith, pursuing money instead of Christ. This is still happening today. More money, more stuff. Less contentment. The stuff becomes the pursuit. Jesus is taken out of the picture entirely. That’s a big problem for many reasons. One being, all that money and stuff doesn’t go to eternity with us. Eternity. Forever. Not a single thing we have here on earth leaves with us. (1 Timothy 6:7)

Wait a minute. Then why are we so caught up in buying the latest fill in the blank? We don’t take it with us. We use our stuff for the brief time we are here on this side of eternity. Should we be accumulating as much stuff as possible? The whole “you only live once” and “Hey, I’m not taking it with me anyway. I’m going to buy as much as I want, when I want, and enjoy it all now.” Buy the latest and greatest? No. That’s a dangerous path. We already have the warning about that.

What if we were content right now, today, with what we’ve got? Some of us have lots of nice, shiny, new things. Some of us have old, worn out things. We’ve got things we need and things we want. Many of us pray about these decisions. We can thank God for all He has given us and entrusted us with. We can also ask Him to meet our needs.

My pastor used to say, “There are two things we take to heaven. Our character and our relationships.” Words to live by.

We are not to live miserly and hoard our stuff. We are to be generous.

11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. (2 Corinthians 9:11, NIV)

16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. (Hebrews 13:16, NIV)

17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? (1 John 3:17, NIV)

What did I learn from Grandma? Be content with what you’ve got. It’s just stuff. We came into this world with nothing and we leave with nothing. Be generous. Be grateful. Don’t pursue money and wealth. Pursue Jesus. Only He brings true contentment.

Love you all,

Meghan

Faith, Family, Jesus, Uncategorized

NOT Perfect!

FE186EB1-15EB-435D-8E31-DE4B49AC82C8I live in a house full of men. I love these dudes with every ounce of me. I love how they view life, and love, and problems, and people, and God. I learn so much from them. My husband and sons give me fresh perspective on situations. I am so grateful for these wonderful men in my life. But, there are days when I ask myself, “Is this a frat house?”

Several weeks ago I was making dinner. I opened the oven and was about to put our dinner inside. To my shock there was old, burned up pizza waiting for me. I couldn’t help but laugh. Frat house living at times. OK, it’s not quite that bad. It did make me think of how perfect this burned pizza was not. Perfect. It doesn’t exist on this side of eternity.

We strive for perfection don’t we? We pursue something that we can’t even attain. Our social media pictures are perfect, or as close as we can achieve. Those selfies. We take about 100 to get the right ‘spontaneous’ one. We want to give a good impression. No one wants to see my messy house, or bad hair day with no make-up, or my burnt pizza. I’m right there with you trying to take the pretty picture.

There’s some danger in that perfect pic though. It’s not possible. We were made by a perfect God and He put imperfections in us. We all have issues and brokenness. The world is broken because of sin. We are holding so tightly to this world, but it’s passing away. Heaven is awaiting for those who have accepted the free gift of Jesus’ salvation. Heaven is perfect. Jesus is perfect, holy, blameless.

Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. (Hebrews 7:26, NIV)

I really want to hold loosely what I’ve got in this world. My husband, my children, money, house, car, and pretty much everything in between. They aren’t mine anyway and I’m leaving this temporary place. God blessed me, but I need to daily give my people and stuff back to the Lord. “They are yours Father. Help me to take excellent care of my family, and use the stuff you’ve given me to glorify you. I give it all back to you. Please forgive me when I hold on too tight and I don’t trust you.”

Jesus is perfect and we are not. So today I give Him my mess, and burnt pizza, and my frat house, and all my broken pieces. He opens His hand and says to me and you, “Give it all to me. I’ll make it beautiful.”

and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor. (Isaiah 61:3, NIV)

It is incredible what God can do with all our imperfections. He will make beauty from our ashes. We just need to let go of them, and give them to Him. Give it all to Him.

My son, give me your heart
    and let your eyes delight in my ways, (Proverbs 23:26, NIV)

As we post our perfect pictures let us remember our perfect savior. He became sin on the cross for us. He was without sin. Perfect. Let us cling to a perfect, beautiful savior. Jesus. And the really good news is Jesus does not require perfection from us. He just wants us. Our hearts surrendered to Him. Imperfections, issues, and all. He’ll take care of fixing what is broken.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God,who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galations 2:20, NIV)

 

Love you all,

Meghan