Faith, God, Uncategorized

Do It Afraid

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The room was filled with seemingly perfect looking young moms.

They have it all together.

They are the perfect Christian moms and wives. 

You don’t belong here.

I walked up to the check in table where I was met by a smiling face. After sticking my name tag on my shirt, I took a deep breath, and walked into the unknown.

That internal dialogue went on for many weeks. I can recall walking into that Mom’s Bible Study and hearing the same words each time, You don’t belong here. Yet, I walked in, afraid. In spite of my feelings, in spite of my fear, I kept coming. I was afraid of rejection. A group of women is intimidating. For an introvert, a large unknown group of any type is panic inducing.

Why did I do it? Because the potential reward was greater than the risk. Because God was calling me to it. I needed a mom-community. I needed friendship, discipleship, mom-help.

And guess what? Doing it afraid paid off big time. It was the best group of Christian women I had the privilege to be a part of, as a young mom. It was run like a small church service with weekly worship, teaching, Bible study, small group time, and prayer. There was intimacy, accountability, and a whole lot of fun. We became like family to each other.

When God is leading you somewhere that makes you uncomfortable, trust Him. God is a good, faithful, loving God. He is going to ask you to step out of your comfort zone. It will stretch you and stretch your faith. But, there are rewards and blessings waiting on the other side of the fear. If I never came back after that first visit to the Bible study I would have lost out on so much that God wanted me to experience.

We gotta do it afraid, with God’s help.

This does not mean we stay afraid all of the time. It just means we don’t let our feelings dictate our decisions. God knows we will be afraid sometimes. For some of us, it’s a constant state of fear. He knows. The Bible talks about fear hundreds of times. It’s how we respond to our fear that matters.

There is not a single fear we have to face alone if we’ve got Jesus.

So we can say with confidence,

The Lord is my helperand I will not be afraidWhat can people do to me?

Hebrews 13:6 (NET)

Another big fear I had to confront was writing a book. I was terrified. I avoided writing for years because of my fear. God called me to write, and I ran. I didn’t know how to write, let alone a children’s book, and I was definitely not a good enough Christian. Come on Lord, you know there are better people out there to do this. He was unrelenting in his pursuit of me to write for Him. I could not live with myself if I didn’t do it.

I faced my fear of completing the huge task of writing a book one step at a time, one day at a time. And yeah, it freaked me out most of the time. Honestly, writing still scares me. It’s vulnerable, especially blogging. I have gotten stronger, thicker skinned. I have learned that God will give you exactly what you need. We have to step out first though.

God-sized things require God to accomplish them. We can’t just pull ourselves up by the boot straps and do it alone. Sure, you can do quite a bit that way, and many people do. When we rely fully on God to carry us, way bigger things can be accomplished. It’s quite freeing. It’s not all on me. I just step out with God, and He’ll keep guiding me and leading me. Step by step. Not running ahead of God, and not taking God out of the equation entirely. Just He and I together. That’s my awesome God. He loves us that much!

What have you been afraid to do that God is calling you to do?

Write it down. Pray about it. Step out. Even if it’s one teeny, tiny baby step. You are not alone. God is with you every step of the way. It’s O.K. if you feel afraid, do it anyway. Do it afraid. God is 100% with you and for you. Remember, the Lord is your helper!

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

Father God,

Thank you that you are always with us and we don’t have to be afraid. Please give an extra dose of courage to the person who needs to step out and do the thing you’ve asked of them. Bring comfort, peace, and confirmation of your will for them. You are a loving God who cares about every detail of our lives. Help us to trust you more, and follow where you lead.

In Jesus name,

Amen

 

 

Why Did I Write A Children’s Book?  by Meghan E. White

It Only Looks Scary by Meghan E. White

 

My interview with Kids Stuff Podcast.

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

 

Photo credit enriquelopezgarre fromPixabay

 

Faith, U.S. Military, Uncategorized

Thank You Veterans!

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My grandpa, Michael T. Whitney, served in the U.S. Navy during WWI. He was just a kid, like so many of that time. Enlisting at 16, he lied about his age, also a fairly common practice of young men in those days. Grandpa was the son of Irish immigrant parents, one of nine children. Maybe the Navy was his chance for adventure. I can only speculate since he died before I was born. I do know that he was on a troop ship, which brought troops to Europe. Grandpa worked in the engine room. That must have been grueling work. There was plenty of danger for him in the Navy during the Great War as German U-Boats sunk many U.S. ships.

All three of my grandpa’s sons, including my dad, served in the U.S. Military. Uncle Tom was in the Army during WWII. He was part of The Battle of the Bulge. Uncle Tom was injured in battle, getting hit with shrapnel on his arm. I remember Uncle Tom’s scar tissue on his arm. I don’t recall if it was his right or left arm, but I do know he couldn’t straighten his arm out. The few times I was around Uncle Tom as a child, I always looked at his arm. It was slightly bent up with a large amount of scar tissue at the elbow.

Uncle Mackie served in the Marines during Korea. My dad, Lee, served in the Marines during Vietnam. My cousin Tommy, Uncle Tom’s son, was in the Army during Vietnam and did two tours. My brother Michael served in the Navy during The Gulf War.

My husband Tom is an Air Force Veteran. My brother-in-law Steve is also an Air Force Veteran. My husband’s Great Uncle James served in the Army during Vietnam. There are records of U.S. military service on Tom’s side of the family dating all the way back through the Revolutionary War.

I just named the few Veterans that I can recall off the top of my head, there are many others throughout my family. I love Veterans, so much so that I married one. I love our current active military. U.S. soldiers have a special place in my heart, and they always will. As you can see, it’s in our DNA to serve, though I have never had a desire to serve, I am so grateful to all who have. Especially my family members.

When my oldest son Dylan was in Cub Scouts they would place American flags at the Veteran’s cemetery in Portland, Oregon for Memorial Day. This was my absolute favorite thing they did when he was a Scout. Each Scout swept off the grave marker, placed an American flag, and saluted. Some of the graves were fresh, as this was in the middle of The War in Afghanistan. Some of the graves were from WWI. It didn’t matter though, they all are worthy of respect and admiration.

A very tiny percentage of Americans serve in our military. It’s a big deal if you have served, you are among a small group. So today Veterans, I honor you.

Thank you Veterans! I am grateful for your service to America.

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13

 

 

Marriage, Uncategorized

24 Years

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This picture is from actual film, from an actual camera. Not a phone, and not a digital camera. Unfortunately, I had to take a picture digitally of this black and white photo, which doesn’t do it justice. I don’t even know if a wedding photographer would use film today. The point is, times have changed, but we are still in love. We may not look quite as shiny and new as that day, but we love each other more, and deeper than in 1995.

Twenty-four years ago, on September 30th, we made this covenant. I know, it sounds like a big scary word. It kind of is. I don’t think I would have even used that word then. But I get it now. It just took a whole lot of years, and God teaching me through my husband, what marriage really is. Last year I wrote about God’s definition of marriage and how it symbolizes Christ and the Church. You can read it here Marriage Is A Blessing

A few things I’ve learned about marriage:

“You complete me” is ridiculous. Thanks Jerry Maguire for putting that false mantra out there. It is not my husband’s job to be my everything. Tom does not complete me. Jesus fills me up, completes me, and is my everything. No person is designed to make another person whole. If I expect Tom to take care of all my needs, all the time, we will both be miserable since it’s not humanly possible. Younger me thought that on some level. That was foolish me.

God uses our spouse to grow us up in our faith, if we let Him. The fastest way to have your flaws revealed is to get married. It all comes out when you are married whether you like it or not. It’s what you do with it, when all the issues and weaknesses come out. Be honest when the ugly is sitting in front of you. We’ve all got some ugly stuff that needs dealt with.

It’s not my job to “fix” my husband. This is that age old stereotype of the wife wants to change her husband and the husband doesn’t want his wife to change. In our early years I made this mistake. I thought it was my job to be Tom’s fixer. Hahahaha! I am not the Holy Spirit. I can change me and that’s it.

Put your spouses needs above your own. We come into the world selfish and we bring that same selfishness into our marriages. Me, me, me. It’s all about me. I’ve got needs and my husband better fulfill those. What I have learned is to put Tom first even when I’m tired, even when I’m needy. God says:

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,” (Philippians 2:3, NIV)

“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:10, NIV)

God created marriage and it is so good. God ideas are the best. He made marriage and He knew exactly what He was doing. Anything God makes is excellent. Better than any idea I could come up with.

 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24, NASB)

Keep God at the center of your marriage. The only way to have a healthy thriving marriage is Jesus. We cannot do it alone, just the two of us. It takes three for success. Again, God’s design, not mine. God’s ways work. I can’t explain it, but I have experienced it in my marriage.

The couple that prays together stays together. You don’t need some lengthy super spiritual prayers with all the right words. Pray together. Simple honest prayers. That’s it. Tom and I pray every night before bed. Our prayers aren’t fancy, just real.

A lot has happened in our twenty-four years of wedded bliss. There have been moments of sheer joy, like the birth of both of our sons. There have been years of exhaustion, like when Tom went back to school. He was working at night, and going to school during the day. That five year period was us just surviving. Not a lot of time for romance and gazing into each others eyes. Those would have been blood shot eyes anyway. But God, in His goodness and grace, carried us through.

I am not a marriage expert. I am good at making mistakes, and sharing what I’ve learned along the way. Marriage is an incredible blessing. God gave Tom and I to each other. We take our marriage serious, and work hard to guard it, and let Jesus grow us in the process.

Happy anniversary to my wonderful husband Tom. You are the best person I know. It’s been the most incredible twenty-four years of my life. I love you always.

And…..I love all of you!

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, Uncategorized

A Treasure in the Trash Pile

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“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17, NIV)

On a typical Sunday morning, I sat in church and grabbed my purse digging through the cavernous interior for a pen. As I was placing my purse back on the floor, I noticed the broken zipper, worn spots on the exterior, and a few small tears. I said in my head, “Lord, this looks really bad. I need a new purse.” And that was it. I didn’t give it another thought.  

Two days later my boys had just arrived home after one of their many outings. Dylan let me know they found some stuff at the neighbors curbside “free” pile. This house had been vacant for years and the owner was there cleaning things out, and left a sign to take the free items. If you know my boys they don’t pass up opportunities like that. They grabbed some random potential treasures and came home.

Dylan said he wanted to show me a purse he found. I thought it would be disgusting, and would need thrown out. He hands me this large, black, nice looking handbag. Still skeptical, I tell him to bring it inside to get a better look. We start to look it over and see a designer name on it, and notice it looked brand new. I still doubted this handbag was an actual treasure and say, “It must be a fake.” But no, after a serious examination from both myself and Dylan, and some online research, we realized that the fancy black handbag was indeed a genuine designer, made in Italy creation.

After a few minutes, I was reminded of my tiny little comment to the Lord just two days before. “Lord, this looks really bad. I need a new purse.” It wasn’t even a prayer. Just me sharing a moment with God. He always hears and is full of surprises. I know it’s just a purse. And I know there are bigger, more important prayers. I have so many seemingly big prayers that I am still waiting for answers on. But in this unexpected moment the Lord said, “This is from me. I hear every one of your prayers. I have answers for those burdens you’ve got. Trust me. Keep praying. Keep asking. Enjoy this blessing.”

I would never spend this kind of money on myself, especially for a handbag that costs hundreds of dollars. That’s just not me. So it took me a while to accept this gift. At first I didn’t know what to do with it. I used it a few times then put it in my closet. About a month ago I decided to sell it, even though I knew God wanted me to keep it. I thought, “I don’t need it and could use the cash.” I put the handbag on one of those designer consignment sites and it sat there for about a week. Message received. I took it off the site and have accepted this gift from the Lord.

The other day I used my fancy lady handbag to meet a friend for lunch. On the drive there the handbag was on the passenger seat. The lord spoke to me, “Why do you have a hard time accepting gifts from me?” I felt so convicted. I’m supposed to enjoy this surprise blessing, but instead I’m telling God, “I don’t need it nor do I deserve it.” How many times have I done this with God? With practical blessings, material blessings, spiritual blessings. I have rejected His perfect gifts for me, thinking, “I don’t deserve this.”

Grace is unfair, and my awesome God is all about giving me and you what we don’t deserve. I will never be good enough or worthy on my own for His perfect gifts. But the gifts won’t stop. God is not a person. He’s not human. I’m looking for fairness, and worthiness. He’s looking out for you and me, no matter what. He will pursue us and our hearts until the end. Not because we are worthy, but because of Jesus, who is so worthy!

What gift from God have you rejected?

Do you accept His love?

Do you accept His forgiveness?

Have you accepted His free gift of salvation?

Maybe you’ve thought that you are not worthy for such extravagance. Guess what? You’re right. We are not worthy, but God is. Accept these beautiful gifts from Him! He loves you with an everlasting love!

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
    I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3, NIV)

Love you all,
Meghan

 

 

Faith, Family, Food, Uncategorized

It’s Only a Pound

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I am very happy to share with you my latest article on Mustard Seed Sentinel. I love to bake, and this pound cake is easy and delicious. I came across this fantastic recipe several years ago in Southern LivingInstead of a bundt pan, I prefer loaf pans. I use three regular size pans, and freeze at least two of them. They thaw quickly, and it’s nice to have a dessert on hand.

This new column has been so much fun for me. Baking and cooking are a passion of mine. Pound cake came to mind right away for June. It made me think of summer when topped with fresh berries and homemade whipped cream. Give this simple, yummy dessert a try. You’ll get a lot of smiles from this one. Make your life sweeter with some cake now and then.

Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your support.

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

 

https://www.mustardseedsentinel.com/post/meghan-s-corner-it-s-only-a-pound

 

Bible, Faith, Jesus, Uncategorized

What’s Your Nickname?

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Meghan Magoo was my dad’s chosen nickname for me. It eventually morphed into Magoochi. Strange. I know. That’s how nicknames are. Whatever the particular name is, it’s meaning is something special to the giver, and the receiver. The message that’s being sent is you are special. Upon hearing my nickname from my dad, I knew it was a sign of affection.

We’ve got nicknames for our children, spouses, and pets. We love them, so the standard name just won’t do. An adorable name must do the job of saying, “I love you.” Bubbies, Bubba, Boo Boo, Dilly, Dilly Jo, Joshy, Joshaboo are just a few of the names my husband and I have given our sons over the years. These cutesy names say, “you are adored.”

Jesus was known to give out a few nicknames as well. He changed Simon’s name to Peter, which in the Greek means rock or boulder. Peter is The Rock. That is a super cool name. You can’t get a much better nickname than that. To be clear, Jesus Christ is the Rock, and Peter was used by God as a small pebble atop that foundation.

16 “Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:16-18, ESV)

Jesus saw more than just Simon the fishermen. He called him Peter because He was calling him to something different. Peter was the first leader of  the early church, and he didn’t get there overnight. It took a lot of mistakes and maturing in his faith along the way for old Pete. He thought he knew better than Jesus and rebuked Him (Mark 8:32). He loses faith (Matthew 14:30). And, Peter denied even knowing Jesus (Luke 22:61-62). But Jesus calls him to greatness before Peter was even ready. Jesus knew Peter’s potential and He sees our potential too. He’s calling each of us to something greater than ourselves.

The Son’s of Thunder were brothers James and John.

“and to James the son of Zebedee,
and to his brother John,
He gave the name “Boanerges”
(that is, “Sons of Thunder”);” (Mark 3:17 HCSB)

Once again, Jesus is calling them into what they will become. These two had a lot to learn as well, before they were up for the challenge of leadership. James and John’s mother asks Jesus to have her sons sit on his right and left in His kingdom (Matthew 20:20-21). The brothers also asked Jesus if they should call fire down from heaven to destroy a Samaritan village (Luke 9:54). Not exactly signs of maturity.

Peter, James, and John were the only disciples to experience the transfiguration of Jesus (Matthew 17:1-9). With all of their mistakes and shortcomings Jesus still calls them to greatness for His kingdom. It gives me hope. I can be used by God in spite of myself and so can you.

There are other instances of name changes in the Bible.

Abram becomes Abraham. (Genesis 17:5)

Jacob becomes Israel. (Genesis 32:28)

Saul becomes Paul. (Acts 13:9)

These name changes signify a change in their calling, and identity. Abram, Jacob, and Saul each were given a new mission. They had encounters with God that changed them.

Have you had an encounter with God that changed you? Are there old habits or old ways of thinking that need to go? Do you have a nickname that’s negative? Maybe a parent gave you an awful nickname, or a sibling, or teacher, or fill in the blank. It was long ago, but that name comes in your head, and you believe it.

If you know Jesus as Lord and Savior, then you are a son or a daughter.

“I will be a Father to you,
and you will be sons and daughters to Me,
says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:18, HCSB)

Sons and daughters of God are chosen, forgiven, set apart, free, accepted, loved, protected, blessed, and highly favored. Sons and daughters have a new identity in Christ, no matter what nickname has been given to us negatively. God loves you and is fiercely committed to you. He’s calling you and I to something greater than ourselves. Let’s answer that call as His children.

“See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.” (Isaiah 49:16a, NLT)

 

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

Photo credit: BRRT from Pixabay