Bible, Faith, God, Jesus, Trials, Uncategorized

The Storm

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August 24, 2017 we were dropping our oldest son off at college, about 5 and half hours north of our home. I was eating breakfast at the hotel and the news was on. I saw weather maps, and the words “hurricane” and “Houston” got my attention. Wait a minute, that’s where I live. “This is real?” I thought to myself. Everything quickly changed from focusing on getting Dylan settled in his dorm, to focusing on buying water and supplies to survive the impending storm, before we left his little college town. I hated saying goodbye to my son but knew he was in God’s hands. We had to get back home and prepare for a historic hurricane. My first ever. There were large lit up signs along the freeway, “Avoid the Texas Gulf Coast”. Unavoidable for us. We live in the Gulf Coast Region. We were headed straight for the storm.

The storms we face in life can be unexpected or we can see them coming from miles away. It doesn’t seem to matter how much warning we get before life’s storms, they still can cause so much pain as the winds and rains beat down on us. When will it end? How much damage will we experience? Why God? Have you forgot about us? Do you hear our cries for help?

     “That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

    He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

     He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

      They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

(Mark 4:35-41, NIV)

The disciples and I have more in common than I would have thought; Fear and doubt at times. I am surprised that the disciples, who had already at this point witnessed many miracles by Jesus, were so terrified. He healed many sick, diseased, and demon-possessed people, (Matthew 4:23-24). A leper was healed by Jesus, (Matthew 8:1-4), and he healed the Centurion’s servant, (Matthew 8:5-13).  A paralytic man was healed by Jesus, (Luke 5:17-26), a widow’s son was brought back to life by Jesus, (Luke 7:11-17). The disciples were with Jesus when he was performing all these miracles. They must have had amnesia when the storm hit their boat.

A squall comes down on the lake and it’s frighting for these guys. The waves are coming up over the boat and they may have thought, “This is it. We are all going to die.” Things were looking pretty bad. The boat is filling with water and about to sink, or so they thought.

Jesus was not afraid. He is never afraid. He was sound asleep on a cushion, in the stern of the ship. That’s not the picture of a worried, stressed out person. He knows who is in control and He knows there is no need to fear the storm.

The disciples aren’t too happy that Jesus is sleeping through the storm. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” (Mark 4:38). They are in full blown panic mode and assume that Jesus doesn’t care what happens to them.

“He got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm,” (Mark 4:39). Only Jesus can do this. Only Jesus can calm wind, waves, and raging seas with His words. He is God. Infinite in power.

“He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:40). Jesus knows our hearts. He knew they were doubting what He could do even after seeing so many miracles before they ever got on that boat. He still loved them. Just like He still loves us when we have doubts. He patiently teaches us and shows us who He is and what He can do.

Ultimately the disciples are so scared at what just happened they don’t know what to think. “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:41). I can relate to them. I have times where I forget what God has done in my life and the storm is raging. “Don’t you care Lord?” I have asked. But my God always, always is faithful. He always shows up, always makes a way. He either stops the storm or He gives me peace in the storm.

As Christ followers we belong fully to Jesus. That means He promises to take care of us and all of our needs. “So we say with confidence, The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6).  Storms will rage and sometimes we will have losses, and sometimes He will calm our storms. There is a bigger purpose in our storms. He wants us to grow in our faith, just like the disciples. And the only way we grow is through struggle. We need Jesus to get through the storms in life.

When I look at the satellite image of Hurricane Harvey it’s menacing. It appears to want to swallow up all of Texas. When we focus on the size of our storm and how much damage can possibly take place we will stay afraid. If we focus on Jesus and that He is bigger than the biggest hurricane, our faith grows and the storm gets smaller.

We can’t control the storms but we can control how we respond to them. Who is Lord of your life? If it’s Jesus then give it all to Him. Write down every time God has taken care of you in the hard times or when He has stopped the storm completely. When the rains and the wind are coming down remember His faithfulness.

 

 

Dear Lord,

Thank you for your faithfulness. You are perfect and your power is unlimited. You’re love for us is overwhelming. I lift up all those who are in the middle of storms. Remind them that they are not forgotten by you. Give them peace and calm their storms, and may their faith grow. Comfort them, protect them, and provide for their every need.

In Jesus mighty name,

Amen

 

 

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

Faith, God, Jesus, Joey Flynn's Extraordinary Tale, Obedience, Uncategorized

Why Did I Write A Children’s Book?

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That’s an excellent question. I’ve asked myself the same question a few times since my book was published in April. In honor of my first book signing tomorrow, I thought I would answer this. The reason I wrote a kid’s book is very simple; God. I never wanted to be a writer. I never dreamed about it. Writing was nowhere on my radar.

It all began with a character my husband created many years ago. We were newlyweds, and Tom showed me his drawing of this character, and shared his dream of creating a children’s picture book. I thought it was a really cool idea and encouraged him to make it happen. I was excited for him to pursue his dream and happy to help. My role, or so I thought, was being the good, supportive wife. I was clueless that God had other plans.

Tom and I would talk about his book, and character, and dream of “someday” as life was happening. Our first house was a fixer upper, so that took lots of our time and energy, yet we still dreamed of “the story”. Then our first baby arrived, and eventually Tom went back to school. Life and all of it’s pressures, and responsibilities, took priority over any frivolous dreaming. I just couldn’t shake it though. This idea of some story coming to fruition never left my head. Tom’s character  needed to come alive, but how?

One day, while praying about Tom’s book idea, God said, “Just write the story.” I thought there is no way that was God talking to me. That was one of the craziest things I’d heard. I decided to forget it and move on. Well, the next day, I was praying again and heard, “Just write the story.” Now things were getting really weird. “Just write the story,” was repeated to me many times, over several days. I didn’t know what to do with those words. I wasn’t even sure they were God’s words to me. I decided to file those words away and I didn’t tell anyone. That was just crazy talk. It couldn’t have been God. Why would He want me of all people, to write? Nope. It didn’t happen. Move on, and so I did.

God has a funny way of getting our attention when He has called us to do something for Him. I thought I could disregard any bizarre notions of writing a book for children. I mean, come on, that was Tom’s dream, not mine. The notion never went away. When I woke up, it was there. When I went about my day, it was there. I could not get rid of this constant nagging feeling that I indeed was supposed to write this story. Every time I would try to ignore what I was supposed to do, God would speak to me through a circumstance or even my children to remind me to write this story. He even gave me a couple of dreams/visions that shook me to my core, in a good way. His message to me consistently was, “write the story.”

This all probably sounds pretty strange, and I would agree with you. I did not understand why God would tell someone like me to write. It made no sense. This wasn’t my dream. Why not ask me to do something I was good at, or at least enjoyed. Please don’t have me write. And not fiction. After years of me questioning God, I was convinced I had to accomplish this task. I knew I could not live with myself if I never even attempted to do what He was so clearly calling me to.  I wanted to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Summer 2010, my writing journey began. I’ve homeschooled for years, and knew summer break was going to be the only way any writing was going to take place. The thought of typing everything out on a computer sounded dreadful, so I grabbed a spiral notebook and sat on the living room couch. I said, “What do I write? I don’t even know where to start.” He gently told me, “Just write.” I put pen to paper and words started coming out. It was the beginning of a story. I was so excited. I could not believe there was something there. Right away I saw that this little story was not meant to be an illustrated children’s book. It was going to be a middle grade novel. And here’s another crazy thing that happened; I was having these amazing spiritual highs like I’ve never had before. It was the most exciting thing I’d ever done. I was doing the thing God asked of me, and I needed Him to accomplish it. I felt so close to God as I wrote. He was doing it all through me.

Of course there was opposition. When you pursue God’s dream for you the attacks come. The enemy would do everything in his power to stop me from writing. Sometimes, his tactics worked. But, he lost. God’s plan for me has prevailed. It has been one of the hardest things I’ve done. I’m not a natural writer, and children’s fiction has been a huge challenge for me. And my story is a Christian story, so that has it’s challenges as well.

My writing journey has been long. It took over seven years, writing mostly during the summer, to complete my little book. I was juggling many other things, like most people. Writing is hard! I had to fully rely on God to give me every character, every word, everything! He did! God is faithful! Only God would take a nobody like me, and write a book for kid’s with His message. He gets all the glory.

There are lots of other pieces that God took care of along the way. Like editing, publishing, and all the other details in the journey of a completed book. Every time I would come to a place of not knowing how to get to the next step, He took care of it. Like blessing me with a beautiful cover by a very talented artist, and friend, Nick. I could go on and on, but I’ll save some of that for another time.

I still don’t know where this is all going, but I don’t care anymore. I am running after God’s plan for me instead of running from it. Every day, there’s a new opportunity to promote my book, or step out in some way, and I’m taking those steps. Sometimes, I feel pretty foolish. Especially when I put myself out there with little to no results. I think, “God, why did you have me do this? I don’t get it.” My Heavenly Father reminds me of His plan and tells me to trust Him. If I fall flat on my face, it’s OK. He’ll pick me up. And I’ll keep running my race.

What hard thing is God asking you to do? Have you been running from Him, like I did for years? Stop running from Him. Go for what He is asking you to do. It will be hard. You will be uncomfortable and you will have to rely on Him to accomplish it. There are rewards waiting for you unlike anything you’ve experienced. I’m not talking material things. I’m talking spiritual. Those are the ones that last.

Maybe you are already pursuing His calling for you and are discouraged. Keep going! We’ve got Kingdom work to accomplish! We are to spur one another on. Maybe you don’t know what God wants you to do. Ask Him. He will reveal it to you. The God dreams are from Him. It’s not the stuff you and I think up. The things He calls us to require Him to achieve them.

God is asking for your willingness and obedience. You don’t have to have it all figured it out. He will equip you and do marvelous things through you, if you let Him.

May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20-21, NIV)

Lord,

Thank you for who you are. Perfect. Holy God. You are sure. Reliable. Constant. The Rock. Thank you that we get the joy of being involved in your work. I lift up all those who know what you have called them to, but they’ve been avoiding it, like I did. Give them courage to pursue the God sized dreams you gave them. For those who don’t know what to do reveal your plan to them. And for those who are discouraged in their call, bring encouragement, strength, and a new perspective to keep going.

In Jesus name,

Amen

 

Love you all,

Meghan

God, Trials, Uncategorized

God Never Sleeps

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I couldn’t sleep. After tossing and turning for a while, I got up. It didn’t seem fair to wake my husband and include him in my insomnia. I went down the hall to the guest room and looked out the window. The moon was bright and beautiful. I grabbed my phone and headed outside to take a picture of one of my favorite things. It was calm. Peaceful. My anxious heart was soothed.

The moon always makes me smile. It reminds me of God’s purpose in everything and His awesome power. The moon helps set the tides in the oceans. True to God’s style, it’s beautiful, and bonus, is a light for the night sky. That’s pretty awesome. When I look at the moon it reminds me that God is still in control, even when I think He has forgotten me.

God never sleeps. When I was wide awake with an overactive, over thinking, trying to figure everything out mind, God was working. He doesn’t sleep because, well, He’s God. He met me in my worry. Through the still night and the illuminated moon God whispered, “I love you. I have a plan. Trust me.”

God is always at work in your life and in mine. Sometimes, we can’t see the progress. Sometimes, it’s night, and we are wide awake with worry. It can be so quiet that we assume He’s not doing anything. That is a lie. Sometimes, He is doing His most important work on our behalf, at night. Isaiah 64:4 “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him” (NIV). 

Do you feel like it’s been continually night for a very long time? Are you waiting for the sun to rise on your circumstance or in your heart? Take courage. God is working out something fantastic for you in your night time. There are wonderful things occurring at night. Rest. Restoration. Growth. Healing. Miracles. There is beauty at night. The moon. The stars. Quietness. As you wait in your night time, remember that God never sleeps and is at work for you.

During the night talk to Him. Psalm 42:8b “at night his song is with me- a prayer to the God of my life” (NIV). The night can be a great time to have an honest conversation with your Heavenly Father. There are no distractions. Just your thoughts. Use those night time moments to give it all to Him.  Even if fear or stress is keeping you awake, God is still there waiting for you. He can give you peace. He wastes nothing. Not even a sleepless night.

Psalm 8:3-4 “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor” (NIV).

God set the moon and stars in place. He loves you and me, and cares for us! We are so important to God that He crowned us with glory and honor. If He keeps the moon in place than He can handle whatever is concerning you today. Whether it’s a sleepless night, or you are in a season of perpetual night, waiting on the Lord. Be encouraged. The morning is coming! Hold on tight to Jesus. He’s already holding on to you.

Love you all,

Meghan

Bible, Faith, God, Jesus, Trials

Broken

broken butterfly

I feel like this butterfly today. A little bit broken. Of course God gave me the gift of finding this beauty in my garden right when I needed it most. He tends to do that. He’s just that good. I wasn’t feeling particularly faith-filled this morning. Actually, I was feeling pretty lousy and just plain worn out. I told God, “I can’t do it anymore. I’m done. Fully cooked.” I brought Him my exhaustion, anger, fear, and doubt. He listened. He still loves me when I feel broken.

This beautiful butterfly with torn wings still did exactly what it was designed to do. It stopped to drink nectar and pick up pollen along the way to help pollinate lots of flowers. The brokenness didn’t stop it’s mission. This butterfly that God made still has purpose, torn wings and all. He can use my brokenness too. God shines through our broken pieces.

Life is hard. I wish it were always puppies, kittens, and rainbows. It’s not. I wouldn’t grow if life were perfect. I wouldn’t rely on God. I wouldn’t cry out to Him. I wouldn’t trust Him. I wouldn’t need Him. The truth is I need my savior, Jesus. I need Him every moment of every day. This world is imperfect and is not my home. I’m just passing through and along the way learning how to be more like Jesus. I’m not always the best student, but God is a patient teacher.

Brokenness is a requirement for spiritual growth. God will allow us to come to the end of ourselves. He wants all of us, not just bits and pieces. He knows us like no person on earth. He is our creator and knows exactly what we need to get to the place where we need to be. It’s going to involve pain. I know that’s not happy-go-lucky theology. It’s truth.

James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything”(NIV).

Yep, our faith must be tested. God’s been teaching me perseverance lately and I’m not thrilled about it, but I know it’s necessary if I’m going to be any good for the Kingdom. He wants me mature and complete. God doesn’t hurt me or cause me pain. He does allow circumstances to draw me to Him. Ultimately, that’s what He wants. Me. All of me. And if struggle accomplishes that, so be it.

Here’s the really good news about being broken. God shows up there! He is so faithful. Every time I come to the end of myself and think I can’t take it anymore, God meets me there. And it’s a wonderful thing to feel that love He has for me. To be encouraged by my sweet, precious Jesus. Doesn’t mean all my problems just poof, go away. Something bigger happens. He comforts me. Sings over me. Loves me. Holds me. Now that’s exciting, life changing kind of stuff. So, I’ll take broken, even if I hate it, if it brings me closer to my Father. Because I wouldn’t be as close to Him if I didn’t go through trial.

My feelings of brokenness do not change who God is. He does not change (Malachi 3:6). Jesus does not change (Hebrews 13:8).  If I am feeling down or discouraged that doesn’t change God, the Rock (Psalm 18:31), or how He feels about me. It also doesn’t change His plans for me. What God starts, He finishes.

Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (NIV).

One thing you can be sure of is that God is working out something beautiful for you and through you, in spite of your brokenness and because of it. He is working for your good and my good. That’s unbelievably excellent news!

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (NIV).

Stay with me for a minute. That verse gets used A LOT. We know means it’s a sure thing. Not “I think” or “maybe”. We know means it’s solid because we are relying on God to handle it. We know God is at work on our behalf. Woo hoo!! That’s good, good news. God can do things through brokenness that no one else can. He’s God and I am not.

If you are broken right now my heart goes out to you. It’s a very difficult place to be, especially if you’ve been broken for a very long time. Please be encouraged that God has not forgotten you. He has a perfect, beautiful plan for you, and yes, it involves brokenness. But, it does not mean you will have to remain there. You are loved! You are not forgotten, and your Heavenly Father is waiting with open arms to embrace you. Cry out to Him. Tell Him all your hurts. He can take it.

 

Dear Lord,

I lift up all the broken people who are reading this. You know every pain, heartache, and disappointment. Let them bring each one to you and lay them at your feet. Bring healing, comfort, and hope. You are The Rock and there is no one like you, who can take our pain and do something beautiful. We give it all to you!

In Jesus name,

Amen

 

Love you all,

Meghan

 

Joey Flynn's Extraordinary Tale, Uncategorized

Free Christian Children’s Kindle Book 10/4 – 10/5

 

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I am giving away the Kindle version of my book, Joey Flynn’s Extraordinary Tale. The promotion starts Thursday, October 4th and runs through Friday, October 5th, ending at midnight. I was not planning on doing this right now, but God had other plans. So, I’m just going with it, and trusting what He wants to do.

Please consider leaving me a review. They mean everything on Amazon, and are a huge help to a little independent author like me. Thank you very much for your support! Enjoy!

Meghan