Giving God Your Wish List Life {A Guest Post}

life unstuck intro

Today I’m thrilled to welcome my dear friend Meredith back to the blog. I met Meredith via an online writing class and was instantly drawn to her welcoming spirit and authentic words. I had the pleasure of meeting her on person at the She Speaks conference in 2014, and hope to connect again in the near future. One of the things I love about this woman of God is her willingness to lay it all out there- the messiness and the truth- for the sake of drawing others to his Truth.

Meet Meredith-2

Meredith is a perfectly imperfect Daughter of the King, wife to her cattle man and “Mama” to two Littles ages 4 and 7. She spends her days chasing kids and cows on their farm and she shares an authentic glimpse into her heart and life online through her Lens and her Pen. She can also be found encouraging women to THE WAY at For a few tears, laughs and raw inspiration, follow her on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Giving God Your Wish List Life

Mama always said I would wish my life away. Seemed like every day I was wishing for something I didn’t have and something someone else did. Seems like I still find myself in the same pattern – except the wishes I have today are more soul-deep than superficial.

I wish I had skin as tough as my head is often perceived to be.

I wish I was more of a “stand-up” girl, than forever feeling like a “pushed-down” girl.

I wish I could run as free as a river in what I know is mine in Christ, instead of constantly facing the dam of regret that gets me stuck – again and again.

I knew a lot in my head that has a hard time making a home in my heart.

Maybe you’ve been there?

Maybe you are the one who sees only the good in people and then when the bad in people comes out and hits you from behind, you don’t have the strength to pull yourself back up to give love and trust another chance.

Maybe you are a “people-pleasing-good-girl” that has found her way into bad decisions and maybe they happened yesterday or maybe they happened twenty years ago, but the scab stays bloody fresh, because you can’t get past the shame.

Here’s the thing. God can handle our wish-list-life. All of it. The wishing we were not who He made us. The wishing we could just live in the Image He did make us in.

God can handle every bit of it and that’s exactly what He wants to do – take our wish-list life and replace it with His-list of forgiveness, grace, love and truth.

When we give Him our doubts, pain, shame, regret, fear, frustration and failings, He becomes the bridge over the dam keeping us from living in the freedom-flow only He can give.


He didn’t come for us to live stuck, but to live full and abundant in His truth.

The enemy has one goal- that we would stay mired in the lies he feeds us. The only sure-fire defense against a lie is Truth. The only sure way to distinguish darkness in our lives is to let Christ shine His light in the places we would rather cover and hide, realizing nothing is hidden from Him in the first place.

This living unstuck is a process. There’s no quick fix for a life-time of habits and failings that have gotten us stuck in the first place. But God can handle that, too. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He’s not asking for us to come perfect, He’s just asking us to come.


*Linking up with Kelly Balarie to encourage and be encouraged. Come join us.

*This post is part of the #Write31Days challenge. You can find all posts for this series here.

Through the Eyes of a Child: Leave It Behind Series

leave it behind series

Friends, I cannot thank you enough for joining us over the past couple of weeks for this series. It has been a true blessing to read stories of lives being changed in ways which could only be in and through the mighty God we serve. I will be closing out this series with my story of leaving behind my endless pile of excuses not to pursue my dream to write and trading them for the promises of God. I traded what I could see for the unknown, and I’ve never once looked back in regret.

Through the Eyes of a Child

“I’m going to be a pilot when I grow up,” my six-year-old said confidently.

He flew his Lego airplane high over his head and made his best jet engine noise. My husband and I looked at each other and smiled. It was the first time our son had stated his choice for a future vocation without being prompted.

As I watched him play with his younger brother, I saw how the declaration fit his personality. And he owned it. There was no question or hesitancy in his voice.

He made the statement, and that was it.

I prayed for his future and longed for him to keep his resolve. Even though I knew his interests might change, I wanted him to keep this certainty that he could achieve whatever he set his mind to, through God’s power and strength in him.

So often, we reach the age of adulthood and decide to settle. For many years, I did too and no, I’m not talking about settling down from the partying or the clubs, buying a home or starting a family.

I settled for going through the motions of life. I lived with a constant longing for the next vacation or the next break and I forgot to look at what was missing from my life right there in the everyday.

I believe God creates each one of us with a passion and a purpose, but often we bury it under a sea of self-doubt, excuses and procrastination.

There is a reason why Jesus tells us to have the faith of a child.

Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 18:3 NIV

In the eyes of a child, imagination is the limit. They don’t see the same obstacles we do as adults. As we grow older, we often bury any inkling of creativity under a pile of fear and self-defeat.

A couple of years ago, I decided life was too short not to chase after the dream God placed in my heart. I left behind my endless list of excuses and stepped forward in faith.

Although the road hasn’t always been easy, I wouldn’t trade it with the aimless wandering and empty soul I once had. I can’t always see the progress and the results I yearn for, but I know God is working. And his work is always good.

trading the seen

When we trade hope in the seen for the unseen, God trades our ashes for a crown.

He molds me and continues to transform me into someone who is willing to follow Him into the unknown, even when it’s uncomfortable. Some of the sharp edges are being chafed down to reveal new facets, made to reflect his glory.

He’s revealing new pieces of his plan to me each day, and often I’m impatient in the waiting and the slow process of the reveal. But I know his will for me is far greater than anything I could conceive on my own.

Each day, I’m learning. I’m growing. I look back on this adventure, see how far he’s brought me, and I can’t help but lift my hands in praise.

Photo 1 credit (text added): kendoman26 / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo 2 credit (texted added): Stuck in Customs / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

*Linking up with Suzie Eller’s #LiveFreeThursday. Come join us and be inspired.

When the Pursuit of Your Dream Becomes Selfish

his plans

“I went to the conference thinking there was a big pie and I had to get a piece. Then I realized God just makes a bigger pie.”

The author’s words struck me with clarity and I realized I had the same misconception about an invisible pie. When did I start making his work about me?

I felt convicted and relieved at the same time. How liberating to know my God was not limited by my own perception.

There is freedom in knowing I serve One who is not merely counting book contracts and numbers in attendance, but has a plan far higher than I can comprehend. Instead of thinking about myself, I want his plans to be carried out in all their fullness.

When we embrace God’s plans instead of our own, He is able to use us in ways we never dreamed possible.

I realized in the previous months, my dream had become about me. And when my dreams become about my needs, envy consumes my heart. I compare what others have to what I am lacking. Insecurities run high, and I doubt my ability to fulfill what God has for me.

I forget that it’s through my weakness that He makes me strong. I forget his power working in me is what will take me to new places. I become an insecure girl with nothing to give, and am unable to love people the way he desires.

Just one succinct statement about God making a bigger pie made me realize I had it all wrong. I thought about what it truly means to love and read one of the most frequently quoted chapters in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13.

How often had I read this chapter and simply skimmed over the words, because I knew them so well? But the person who reads the words and does not do what they say cannot claim to love God.

This is what love does not look like:

It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

How often have I done these very things? How often do I claim to love Jesus, but harbor envy and grudges in my heart?

I don’t want to be a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal who is merely chasing after some invisible pie in the sky. I want to be a woman who reflects Jesus with my heart, soul and mind.

Instead of being one person in a crowd of hundreds trying to fulfill my own dream, my desire is to be part of a mosaic of people, each working to do more together than we could ever do on our own.

So today, instead of comparing myself to you, I join hands with you. I put my own selfish ambition aside because we are far better together than we are apart.

God’s kingdom is too important for me keep eyes focused only on my work.

His vision is far more reaching.

It is far more glorious.


*Linking up with Kelly Balarie & Friends and Holley Gerth to encourage and be encouraged. Come join us.

When You Feel Like an Imposter


“Sometimes I feel like we’re just the wannabes. Like there’s this higher level of writers who have published books.”

I nod my head in agreement as I listen to my friend on the other end of the line. My eyes are wet with understanding.

Every day I put the pen to paper or hands to keyboard I fight this battle. What do I have to say? Hasn’t it been said before by someone more qualified than me?

If I listen to the voices of defeat telling me none of it matters, I will stop before I even begin. My list of qualifications will keep me from fulfilling my calling. So often, I talk to others who struggle with the same feelings of self-doubt.

If I were a real speaker or writer or musician, I would get paid.

If I were a real artist, I would have a gallery displaying my work.

If I were a real actor, I would have a more impressive portfolio.

Our lists steal the joy of doing our life’s work and tell us if we were the real deal, we would be better or more credentialed. We forget that some of the greatest achievements come from small beginnings.

We forget that our greatest qualifier is God, who takes our small offerings and turns them into something magnificent. When we are obedient, he equips us in ways we never envisioned.

Sometimes a simple step of faith can turn the unqualified into the empowered.

Do you need evidence? I did. And a few nights ago, He provided it. I had the opportunity to witness an act of bravery that I almost missed. A courageous woman threw doubt aside and simply did what needed to be done.

I took my six-year-old to see a live performance of Mary Poppins, our first play together as mom and son. We savored the singing, dancing and choreography, all which went off without a hitch.

The surprise came the next day when we arrived at church, and a friend we’d seen there asked how we enjoyed our evening. As I gushed about how impressed I was, he revealed a secret. The star role of Mary Poppins was played by a replacement. She wasn’t even in the original line-up of actors.

My mouth gaped as I recalled the stellar production and confidence of the main act. I was amazed.

The original cast member broke her ankle midway through the schedule of showings and was unable to perform. But can you imagine what would have happened if the replacement had said “no?”

I’m sure she felt unqualified. She was not an actor, but a choreographer. The play required her to sing and display abilities which were likely out of her realm of expertise.

Yet, she put aside her uncertainties and doubts and said, “Yes.” And the result was phenomenal.

The outcome was an audience full of people who didn’t know her from the original cast member, who gave a standing ovation when she floated onto the stage.

If we see ourselves as wannabes, our audience will too. But if we claim our call as bona fide, others will follow suit.

Will there be naysayers? Yes, always. But would you rather let a few negative people keep you from achieving your dreams, or go after it with everything that you have?

If you’re hiding behind a list of qualifications you think you need to claim what’s yours today, it’s time to step into the light. God did not call us to hide in the darkness until we attain credentials.

When we step out in faith, he takes our hand.

When we step out of the shadows into his radiance, I can promise you that others will take notice.

And what they say may surprise you.


*Linking up with Kelly Balarie & Friends and Jennifer Dukes Lee to encourage and be encouraged. Come join us.

Chase That Dream

dreams 2

For a long time, I thought being a mom meant I wasn’t allowed to pursue other dreams and aspirations. It felt selfish and irresponsible to spend time and money on myself.

And who has time to chase after an occupation that doesn’t pay the bills, when the kids are still little and the laundry never stops? Logic and practicality weighed against what seemed flighty and far out of my reach.

But this gnawing sense of wanting more, desiring something bigger than myself kept pressing against me from the inside. I’m not talking about the desire for a bigger house or nicer car. I’m talking about the eternal.

Our God-given dreams are not about selfishness, but about about seeking the One who placed our purpose within us. 

He created each of us with a plan and purpose for our lives. A desire to leave a legacy to those who live beyond us. This yearning comes in all shapes and sizes and no two are completely alike. One mom’s dream may be raising godly children who follow Jesus and another sister’s may be to become a missionary overseas in an area devastated by poverty.

Both are equally important. And both, when carried out, glorify the Creator who inspires dreams beyond our wildest imagination.

If God created each of us with a plan and a purpose, why would we ever settle for anything less? I will spend my entire life seeking exactly what His desire for me is.

A year ago, I decided to take my dream to write off the back burner and give it some heat. And I’ve become a better wife, mother and friend because of it. I’ve stepped further outside my comfort zone than I ever have, and I’ve seen God move in ways I never envisioned.

Sometimes, my steps seem small. But a small step, whether it be submitting a freelance article or a guest blog post is still movement forward. And we serve a God who honors the small:

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord  rejoices to see the work begin.” Zechariah 4:10

Perhaps you’re longing for something more. Maybe God has given you a passion for helping foster children or counseling or music or speaking. Whatever it is, can I just encourage you to go after it? Even if it’s just for a hour each week, the reward will be great.

There is never a perfect time because our lives are always filled with busy schedules and endless demands. So just go for it.

When you place it in the Lord’s hands, He will guide you every step of the way.



Five Minute Friday: Writer

It’s Friday again (or in my case, Saturday) where hundreds of brave writers gather each week over Lisa-Jo Baker’s blog write for five minutes flat on one word. No hyper-editting. No backtracking. Just real, unscripted writing. Won’t you join us?

Today’s word:  Writer




Being a writer is a dream that started when I was a little girl.  When I was twelve years old, I used to write poems in church, on weeknights while my Dad was watching the news, while laying on my bed when I was supposed to be doing homework.

I remember using the static from the television to hold one of my poems to the TV, blocking the screen and keeping my Dad from watching an episode of 60 Minutes.  He was not enthused.

This dream of mine lay latent for many years.  After graduating college, I got a job in real world.  So they call it.  I sat in a cubicle answering angry phone calls from customers wanting to know why their claim didn’t get paid.

I had no inspiration to write.

I had little inspiration to do anything.

After becoming a mom I decided to leave the cubicle life behind.  I gave up the irate calls for an irate baby screaming for his milk, cooing when he was fed and rested, and keeping me up more hours than I knew there were in a day.

Little by little, the inspiration began trickling into my heart again.

So I write.  In between naps, after bedtime, whenever I can find a moment.

And I wouldn’t trade it.

I write because like all of the other mothers out there who rock and feed and kiss their babies, pouring out their love until their tank is far past empty, I have a story to tell.  We all do, whether we’re moms or customer service reps, teachers or students.

Sometimes it just takes a new perspective to see that the story, whether we saw it or not, was there all along.


Five Minute Friday



When You Face Rejection

As I perused the publisher’s rejection letter, I felt like I was in middle school gym class all over again, waiting for one of the team captains to call my name. The words “unable to place” and “good luck” stood out in crisp contrast to the white of the page. Although this wasn’t the first time, nor would it be the last, I felt the need to crawl back into bed even though it was 3:30 in the afternoon.

One of my first writing teachers had prepared me for this. He once told me he’d considered using all of the rejection letters he’d received over the years as wallpaper for his office. His writing space. A twisted sort of motivation to keeping trying, and to submit only his best work.

As much as we try to prepare ourselves for rejection, it always stings. We make ourselves vulnerable, wrapping the essence of ourselves in words and then bravely put them on display for the entire world to see. And sometimes the world simply doesn’t have the have the same connection with the words that we do.

We call out to God in prayer, asking him to bless our pursuits while telling ourselves that we really do desire his will and his timing, but when we receive the dreaded answer that we must wait, we hang our heads in despair. We don’t like it. We tap our feet with restless uncertainty, trying our best to tame the fire that burns within us. Wondering how we can possibly handle another decline, another “no.” But when He finally answers, we realize that his plan far exceeded anything our wildest dreams could’ve set in motion.

Our culture fervently screams “now is best,” but God calls us to yield and rest.


“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.'” Jeremiah 29:11

When Doubt Rears Its Shadow

photo courtesy of

What if self doubt didn’t have the final say? I wondered as my fingers hovered over the mouse board, dancing with the idea of attending my first writer’s conference. My husband and usual sounding board was away on a business trip, so I sat there for ten minutes having an inner monologue. Finally, I took the leap.

I clicked the register button. Phew! It’s done. Feelings of excitement mixed with nervousness washed over me, and I rode on the high of that combination until the following weekend.

Immediately after opening my eyes and springing forward into Daylight Savings, the uncertainty seeped in. Did I honestly say that I want to meet with a publisher? I’ve never written a book proposal before. I have no list of accolades to add to a query or to present at this meeting. I don’t have 20k + Twitter followers. Who am I to think these people would choose me out of the hundreds looking for a book deal?

At that moment, I felt like Gideon could have been my brother. God had given me confirmation before. I was brainstorming ideas for a book, had a “light bulb” moment, and prayed asking for validation of the road He wanted me to take. He provided. And here I was asking for further proof. Another push.

My devotion that afternoon led me to these verses from Job 42. “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.” As the tears welled in my eyes, I thanked God yet again for his mercy. His patience with me, even when my faith is as tiny as a mustard seed.

I know my future meeting with a publisher may end with a rejection letter. And quite possibly another may follow. But I also know this: I would rather try and fail than spend my life wondering what could have been possible if I went for it. If I went after that dream.

God placed it deep within my heart so many years ago. It’s been molded and etched and pressed upon until I finally realized.

It’s all for Him.

Doing "A New Thing" When You’re Proud and Scared

I want to share a little secret with you, my readers. My friends who I receive so much encouragement from day in and day out. I’ve stated before that one of the main reasons I waited so long to start a blog was fear. And this is painfully true. But it was also pride. You see, I had this notion in my head that blogging was a cliche thing for an aspiring writer to do. That it cheapened it somehow. Because let’s face it. Anyone can start a blog. In much the same way photography has become a saturated market, you don’t have to have a degree in Journalism or be a college professor or have any list of credentials behind your name to have a website on the big, endless world of social media. It seemed the predictable, stereotypical next step after becoming a stay-at-home mom. And those of you who know me know I loathe stereotypes.

Another deterrent was that I knew if I started a blog, it would not be a typical mom or family blog. Although I love reading friends’ posts sharing their kids latest antics and funny stories, I knew that if I wrote something for the internet it would be deeply personal, vulnerable and real. Because I think women have a deep seeded desire, both in mothering and day to day life, to know they are not alone. I wanted it to be a ministry of sorts. And as I stated before, that terrified me.

After resisting what I sensed was God’s urging for several months, he spoke to me through a friend who I’d shared some of my writing with. Her advice? Start a blog.

You know what I’ve discovered? God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. I am no better than anyone else, but He chose to love me. His plans are bigger than my own. Far exceeding anything I could hope or imagine. And when I bare myself, when I lay out my heart and words for everyone to see, whether it be with scrutiny or judgement or gentleness and kindness, He gives me grace. He opens my eyes to places I never knew existed.

Although this blog is still a baby, in the eight short months since I put my tiny stamp on the internet I’ve become aware of an entire community I never knew existed. They have loved me without ever having met me or seen me and put aside all sense of entitlement for the sake of support and motivation. Because that’s what encouragement does. It abandons all sense of worthiness or self pride for the sake of another living, breathing, God-created soul.

Through this site, my writing has gone places I may never go. I am amazed. It has skipped over continents, time zones and seasons and given an uplifting start to someone else’s day. And that, dear readers, is my desire. To shine a little light into someone else’s world, whatever they may be going through at that particular time in their life.

In the blogging world, I know I’ve barely touched the tip of the iceberg. There is so much to learn and so little time at this point in my life to absorb it. But I know that if I entrust it to God’s hands, my writing will continue to take me places I’ve never dreamed possible.

Writing is meant to be shared. Your story is meant to be shared. Never underestimate the power of it.

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19

Clearing the Clutter

Replenish me with your living water, O God.

I love the ambiance of the Christmas tree and the quiet glow of the decorations that surround the house during December, but honestly, I also love the way the house feels after I take it all down.  Uncluttered.  Returned to it’s normal state. More spacious. Our tree was so dried out from the weeks it tried to survive until Christmas that I practically needed body armor to remove the decorations from it’s prickly branches. To me, taking the tree down is symbolic of the New Year: A fresh start, new beginnings, a clean slate.

Although the holidays were filled with amazing memories, lots of extra calories, and trips to see loved ones we don’t have the opportunity to visit often enough, they also left me feeling a little drained. When asked by a friend what my husband got me for Christmas, I realized how well he knows me. A 90 minute massage. When I first saw the gift card in my stocking I wondered, “Will I even be able to move after that long?” But maybe not being able to move wouldn’t be such a bad thing. I am cashing it in. And soon.

I wrapped up the end of 2013 by completing a Proverbs 31 Ministries online Bible study of A Confident Heart by Renee Swope. During the one of the last chapters of the book, she has her readers complete a personality test, with the goal being to learn more about the person God created you to be and embrace the personality traits He’s given you. I’d taken the same test when I was in high school, and I learned that while I have grown spiritually, become more confident, and less introverted, my personality is the same. I am a Phleg-Mel. You can read more about this personality here. In a nutshell, my personality type strives for peace and perfection, which are often at odds with each other.

With these character traits, the holidays can often be a stressful time.  I want to make it to every holiday party so as not to disappoint everyone. I want to find the perfect gifts but stay within our budget. And at the end of it all, I just want to lie down and hibernate for the rest of winter.

One of the important truths I learned from that last Bible study of the year is that “not all good things are God’s things.” (Renee Swope) While meeting the expectations of everyone who enters my life may feel necessary and important, not only is it impossible, but it’s likely not in line with what God wants for my life. My goal? To walk in the Spirit. To respond to His still small voice and pursue the calling God has for my life. Often, that means saying “no” to people I care about so I can focus and doing what God’s wants me to do, and doing it well.

Often, I feel as though I’m being pulled in a hundred different directions, and that still voice fades into the distance, drowned out by the noise of the demands of little mouths, the running of the dryer, and the endless annoying dinging of my phone. These responsibilities are important, but my goal, what I strive for, is to always put God first. As I was reminded by a recent devotion, it’s ok to tell me five year old that I need a few minutes to read God’s word. And how awesome is that for my child to see me making time for Him?

God, as I immerse myself in your Word, I know that I will hear your voice more clearly. You have stated that if I seek your Kingdom first, all these things will be added to me. Things I worry about but should place at the foot of the cross. I pray 2014 will bring me even closer to you. Amen.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34