Monday, May 7, 2012


Certain topics seem to frequently tumble around in my brain.  Friendship is one of those topics.  Particularly, my friendships, both past and present.  Some friendships have been wonderful from day 1, some started out as a beautiful thing but have ended in disaster.  Some are formed out of common circumstances, like co-workers, class/dorm-mates, etc.  Some of those friendships last beyond the common experience, while others fade away once circumstances and proximity to each other change.  Other friendships are God-ordained.  You know, those people you meet that you just "click" with and feel like you've been friends forever, and to whom you feel comfortable telling the most personal details of your soul.  Circumstance friends are typically easy to find, and I'm sure most of us could rattle off a list of current friends in that category.  But the other kind, the more valuable kind, are much harder to come by.  And, in my opinion, just as hard to keep.  Most of my thoughts on friendships come from lamenting over the treasured friendships I have not been able to keep.  And most recently, I've tried to take an honest look at myself and figure out why this is.  I'd like to blame it all on the other party, but since we've established in previous posts that I am prone to fits of selfishness and pride, I certainly have to accept my responsibility in relationships' demise.  I'd like to proclaim what a wonderful friend I am: I try hard not to gossip, I do what I can when a friend needs help, I'm funny and honest-to-a-fault.  But then I also have to list all my short-comings: (We'll skip selfishness and pride, since I already mentioned those!) I am not so quick to encourage or uplift someone just for the fun of it; I have a tendency to hide my true feelings on personal matters for fear of rejection or broken confidence; I hide in my shell and stew when I've been offended instead of being honest; I prefer to be friends with people who think exactly like I do on all matters of importance, etc., etc.  So probably I have more to do with those lost friendships than I care to admit. 
And then.  I started thinking about Jesus, and comforting myself with the fact that He is a friend who will never fail, will never leave, will never disappoint.  Which is itself a very comforting fact!
 But  THEN.  I had to look at the kind of friend I am to Christ.  And here's where it gets even uglier.  Jesus is always there for me, whenever I need him or want him.  I can't say the same for myself.  I put so many other things in front of him throughout the day, maybe giving him a few minutes of time at the end of the day when I'm about to fall asleep, or when disaster strikes and I'm frantic.  I'm so quick to ask for things from him, (in fact, most of my prayer time is often just that) but I have to remind myself to thank and praise him for what he's already done.  I could go on, but you get the picture.  I think the bottom line is this: when I learn to be a better friend to Jesus, the best friend ever, I think I'll learn to be a better friend to those he has seen fit to put in my life. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Silly Selfish Me

It's funny how we can convince ourselves that we should do/say something, thinking God has told us to do so.  But really, it's just our own selfish ambitions and vain conceit driving us.  I did that yesterday.  I was so sure that God needed my help, my words, my opinion so accomplish what I wanted.  Never did I consider that what I wanted, and selfishly prayed for, might not be what HE wanted.  And so I said some foolish things, upset someone I care deeply about, and learned a valuable lesson.  It's not any earth-shattering lesson, but one I had lost sight of: God doesn't work on our time, or in the way we want/expect.  But that doesn't mean he's not at work; it doesn't mean he isn't answering our prayers, the ones that line up with HIS will.  Which leads me to another basic principle: we can pray for good things, but those things might not be in God' plan.  So we're not going to get our way.  And that's ok.  Because God knows better than we do, and his plan is best.  I just have to learn to let go of my selfish desires and be content with God's perfect plan.  You would think that perfection would be the preferred plan, but I have to tell you, I'd still like for God to make things go the way I want.  I think we all would, if we were honest.  But I am thankful that God isn't manipulated by my selfishness, that he doesn't cave simply because I whine and complain.  He is always faithful, always constant, always consistent.  Which is more than I can say for myself!
And after yesterday's fiasco, I believe it's time for the chocolate fast to be over.  It has fulfilled it's original purpose, but I had foolishly morphed it into something selfish (are we sensing a pattern here??), again trying to manipulate God into doing what I wanted, while paying no attention to what he was already doing, answering the unselfish part of my prayer.    This isn't exactly the way I had envisioned it ending, but maybe I should spend a little less time envisioning my plans succeeding, and spend some more time getting my plans in line with God's plan. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Ides of March

This morning Aedan exclaimed, "Today's March first!"  To which I did not to respond how I really wanted, which was "I hate this day."  But I really do hate this day, and all day continued to remind myself that "This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it."  Otherwise I could have enjoyed a nice long pity party, which would not have benefitted anyone.  But you might be wondering what's so bad about March first.  Well, you see, nine years ago today my dad suddenly died of a massive heart attack, forever changing my life.  (Last year I wrote a tribute to him on this very blog; you can read it in the archives if you want.)  So now you know why I, along with Shakespeare say, "Beware the Ides of March."  But this blog is not going to be a melancholy or depressing blog, because, you see, I have a new favorite song!  You can check it out right here, if you haven't heard it yet.  While the story behind the song is about a little girl who runs to God when she finds out her parents are divorcing, I can totally relate.  See, when faced with a tragedy or super difficult situation, you always have two choices: run TO God, or run FROM God.  At that time in my life, I ran straight to God.  At that time my current favorite song was Holy by Nichole Nordeman.  I remember coming home from the hospital and sitting in my room and blasting that song.  "Somehow all that matters now is, you are holy, holy."  I knew that I knew that God was still God, and he would get me through.  I'm not going to try and tell you it was easy, because it wasn't.  It was indescribably hard.  But I drowned myself in God's Word, literally saying verses to myself over and over for hours just to get through the day.  But get through I did.  And I honestly don't know how anyone can survive a crisis without the solid Rock supporting them. 
Fast forward a year and a half.  Jason and I made the crazy move to Michigan, which turned out to be only a slight second to the death of my dad on the Terrible Life Experience list.  Remember when I said we always have two choices in bad/hard situations?  I couldn't even begin to explain why, after the way God totally brought me through such an awful ordeal, I would respond in any other way than I had before.  But I did.  I was so angry and hurt, and I made the dreadful decision to run from God, instead of to him.  No favorite songs of praise, no verses of strength of comfort running through my head.  Just so much rage that I thought my head would literally shoot off of my body at times.  Oh, and the anxiety attacks, those were fun.  Still, in my stubbornness, I blamed God and refused to trust him.  So much like the Israelites, who saw God's wonders in Egypt, but so quickly gave up hope in the desert.  It took me a loooonnngg time to come to terms with what had happened, and to decide to trust God again.  But trust him I do.  Because all that time, when I wanted to completely and utterly give up on him, he never gave up on me.  He was always with me, is with me still, and will always be.  His love is unfailing, unending.  And it is for you to, no matter what you've done, what you're doing, or what you're facing in your life.  God.  Is.  There.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Kindle Cover

No, I am not turning this into a craft blog, but I worked super hard on this homemade kindle cover and I wanted to put it on pinterest, and the only way I can figure to do that is to put it on here.  Sorry I don't have any before or in progress pictures.  But basically I took an old hard cover book (that ended up being slightly too thin to close flat-ly), cut out the pages and binding, reinforced the spine with electrical tape, and covered the whole thing in cute brown polka-dot fabric, using a hot glue gun.  Then I glued on the ribbon and buttons just to make it cuter.  On the inside I glued on fleecy fabic to protect it from scratches, and I used thin elastic to keep it in place.  This project took me the better part of yesterday, and I had to get a little creative with something to keep it closed when not in use.  On the back I glue two buttons stacked together, and on the front Jason punched a hole with a nail, through which he put another piece of blue ribbon that I wrap around the button in back and tie.  It's not perfect, but it works!



In case you are wondering, on my kindle I am currently reading The Hands of My Father, The Works of Charles Finney, and a scrapbooking book.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


I have children.  And I have a dog.  Therefore I am often giving out orders, such as "Eat your breakfast (or lunch, or dinner, whatever the case may be)!" "Put your shoes on." "Brush your teeth." "GET IN THE HOUSE NOW!!!" (Tthat one is typically toward the dog.)  And while we don't expect perfection from our children, we do expect obedience.  I know that kids tend to forget themselves sometimes in the heat of the moment, and do foolish things.  But when I give a clear command, I expect obedience, right now, without complaining or arguing.  I know, most of you parents are probably thinking, 'Yeah, right, Merissa!'  And you're right!  More often than not, I get whining or arguing or just plain ignored.  But we're working on that!  But sometimes, particularly at the end of the day when the dog is outside in the snow barking at some unseen intruder five houses away and refusing to come inside even though I am yelling at him and snapping and clapping like a complete moron that I can't help but think (ok, yell) "Why doesn't anyone ever listen to me???!!!"  (And then I decide to leave said dog outside in the snow until I'm ready to answer his banging on the door.)  At the same time I'm struck with the thought "God could say the same thing to me.  To us."  I know how unbelievably frustrated I can get when no one is paying any attention to what I've just told them to do (for the 10th time!), or when someone does the exact opposite of what I've just asked of them.  So how must the Lord feel when I do exactly the same thing?  God tells me to spend more time in the Word.  I don't.  He tells me I need to have some self-control.  I don't.  He tells me to get up early and pray.  I set my alarm.  When it goes off I turn it off and reset it for a more reasonable time, which actually means 5 minutes before I have to drag Aedan out of bed. And I'm sure you could fill in your own "God tells me to... but I don't."  While God doesn't demand perfection from us, he does demand obedience.  Right now, without complaining or arguing.  Man, I hate when my words come back to bite me!

Friday, December 9, 2011


"God does his most stunning work where things seem hopeless." - Jim Cymbala, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire

First of all, if you've not read this book, let me strongly encourage you to do so.  With that being said...

The word "hopeless" is so depressing.  Just the word itself conjures thoughts of slumped shoulders, downcast faces, and heavy hearts.  Hopeless. defines hopeless as:
1. providing no hope; beyond optimism or hope; desperate
2. without hope; despairing
3. impossible to accomplish, solve, resolve, etc.
4. not able to learn or act, perform, or work as desired; inadequate for the purpose
A few situations currently occurring in my life (in an indirect way) have left me fighting a feeling of hopelessness.  The things that I want to happen seem impossible; no, are impossible.  They won't just go away, or work themselves out nicely like a TV show.  Money won't just appear, relationships won't suddenly mend, sick bodies won't inexplicably become healthy.  Unless... we pray.  Unless I pray.  When God gets involved, NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE.  And if nothing is impossible, then there is always HOPE. 
It's easy to say that we always have hope in God when there's no need for hope.  When everything is bright and sunny, calm and peaceful, hope is easy.  But when nasty words like cancer, divorce, and empty check book appear, hope takes work.  It requires some effort to hold onto hope when all seems hopeless.  After all, what if I hope, and am disappointed in the long run?  I know you've thought this too!  But if I say I believe in God and in his Word, then I have to believe it all. the. time.  I can't allow those "what-if's" to whisper in my mind.  I can't afford to entertain ideas that are contrary to God's perfect Word.  After all, "faith is being sure of what we hope for."  Certainty leaves no room for doubt.  So today, in the face of some hopeless (from a human perspective) situations, I choose hope.  I choose to believe in my faithful God.  He will never fail.  His Word will never fail.  Trust it.  Count on it.  No alternatives, no Plan B.  Just pray, then pray some more, and see God come through. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Jesus is Better than Chocolate!!!

I would like to explain, but let's just say that if God asks you to do something, even if you really don't want to, do it anyway.  God is worth any sacrifice, even though it isn't really a sacrifice at all.  We just think that going without, when we are so used to having or doing exactly what we want, equals sacrifice.  But the truth is, most of us really have no idea what true sacrifice is.  And while I'm thankful that we live in a country where we don't experience much lack, sometimes I wonder if that's really so good for us spiritually...