Posted by: meranieann | September 4, 2011

Why a Martha?

Having a Type A personality is both a blessing and a curse. When something needs to be done, I’m your girl. Huge projects give me life and breath. I have this constant need to have a project, to be doing something. Jesus does not approve. UGH.

Luke 10 lays it out so clearly that Jesus wants us to just sit at his feet when He shows himself – to lay everything else aside and just rest in His presence, His wisdom, His conversation. Some of us (Martha and me) just are not capable of that.

Does Jesus ever tell us that we will get closer to Him, that we can understand Him better by working? Um. No. He specifically says that He wants us to “Come…and I will give you rest.” He wants us to “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me…and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” He says “Be still and know that I am God.” He spoke to Elijah in a small whisper, not the ever moving and powerful whirlwind. David claims “In repentance and rest is Your salvation; in quietness and trust is Your strength.”

There are times where I get so anxious and get something on my mind that has to be done that I cannot even sleep; it even haunts my dreams. What does God say to that? “ It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives sleep to his beloved.

He calls and says, “Abide in me.” That’s all He wants – as a lover, a friend, a mentor – our undivided attention. He wants us to abide. What does that word mean, you ask? Thanks to Google, I have a better understanding. Here are the highlights!

1. Abide – to remain, continue, to stay. This definition is very much Mary’s heart. She is just with Him. In His presence. She stayed there, unmoved by Martha’s pleas and guilt trip.

2. Abide – to have one’s abode with, residence.  What a beautiful idea of what our lives should be like – simply living with God all the time. He’s the One you come home to, have dinner with, spend all of your free time with. The person you most enjoy seeing after a hard day of work, etc etc.

3.  Abide – to wait for. This was an interesting idea about abiding for me. I’d never thought of it like this before. Jesus asks us to wait with him. SO many times, He wants us to learn patience and wants us to be in situations where He was the only person that could have come through. When we (I) give up on trusting Him to take care of something, that’s when we  should be looking toward Him the most. He asks us to wait for Him to move, to wait to see His hands. He’s already working, we just can’t see it yet. Later in Mary’s life, her brother Lazarus died. Jesus appears to have shown up four days too late to work a miracle. Martha and Mary both exclaim that Jesus could have done something if He’d only been on time…but Jesus was on time. He knew what miracle needed to happen. They already had faith that He could heal; now, they needed to be pushed to something more, something harder to believe in. So He made them wait for Him.

4. Abide – to accept without opposition or question. Honestly, I don’t even know that I can do this one at all. I question everything, even my own decisions , backwards and forwards, inside-out and upside-down.  I have to look at every angle and every option before I can settle on a decision. Trusting God blindly and completely is something that is extremely difficult for me. But Corrie Ten Boom, a great hero of the faith, said “When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer. ” I’m definitely still learning to trust the engineer. PS I’m slightly afraid of the dark, so that doesn’t help.

I am so jealous of the Mary-types in the world. I often wonder why God decided that I should be the person I am,  but I know God is capable of changing my personality disorder, as I’ve decided to call it. He will continue to work in my life to make me exactly what I need to be; I just need to let Him be in control.

This verse seems like the perfect ending to this post. “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” There are so many parts of my life that I have been struggling through for years now, and it appears things can/will never change, but I won’t faint. God is rest. God is holding my heart and knows right where I am, even in my struggles. Even though Mary was at his feet worshiping, He still called out to Martha. He wanted her there. I know He wants me.

Posted by: meranieann | June 18, 2011

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Posted by: meranieann | June 17, 2011

Lunch Break

Lunch is to the work day as Wednesday is to the work week. I go to lunch at noon every single day. 4 hours before; 4 hours after. It’s a perfect set-up.

My favorite part is that I get to eat with my fiance almost every day. It’s just so relaxing to get to spend an hour of my day with my fiance, reflecting and relaxing. A lot of times I get to vent about the morning, and then he helps me prepare for the coming afternoon.

Recently, we have been driving back to my apartment and eating in the peace and quiet of my apartment – avoiding the lunch rushes in all of the area restaurants. Today though, we went to a lovely little Chinese place.

Anyone who knows me realizes that I am not the biggest fan of Chinese food, but Addison loves sushi. He was so excited 🙂 For me, (even though the food is bleh) it was refreshing to just be together and be able to talk for a while. Time felt like it slowed down and gave us a few extra moments today just to be around each other.

These times together are precious to me. I know that we might not have this in the future, but I love it so much. It’s such a blessing to be able to be guaranteed that one hour break with him no matter how crazy and hectic the rest of the day may be.

Posted by: meranieann | June 8, 2011

Obedience vs. Sacrifice: Dead Sheep Don’t Bleat

When I was a teenager, my Dad preached this crazy sermon with the title “Dead Sheep Don’t Bleat.” I’m not super knowledgeable about the stories in the Old Testament, but this one was very interesting. 1 Samuel 15:4 is the crux of the story of Saul and his rejection as King of Israel. At this point, King Saul is supposed to have killed all of their enemies, the Amalekites, as well as all of their herds and treasures. When Samuel the prophet shows up, it’s mostly finished, but Saul had decided to save some of the animals and the King of Amalekites. He claimed that the spoils he kept were to be a sacrifice to God. The issue is that it wasn’t what God wanted. God wanted the entire nation destroyed because they were a vile people that were constantly afflicting the God’s chosen people. He didn’t want them as a sacrifice. He wanted them gone.

When Samuel reached the battle, he still heard animals crying. He asked about the noise since everything was supposed to have been destroyed. Then he made a profound statement: “To obey is better than sacrifice.”

At what point do we have pride enough to decide that God’s commands are not enough. To decide that we can manipulate his direction if it seems like it fits with our ideas. This is very frustrating for me because I see my brothers and sisters in Christ doing it all the time.

Now to the real struggle, what happens when obedience includes sacrifice? Sometimes obedience is more difficult that simple sacrifice. In my life, obedience seems to keep including sacrifice. The closer I get to God, the more I strive to follow Him, the greater the gap between me and the people I love the most in the world. The bigger stands I take in what I know, the bigger the wall that is built between me and them.

Following God sucks sometimes. Simply put. In my life, it’s causing separation and heartache. I try to keep my eyes on Him and Him alone because He truly is the only one that can be my all. At the same time though, following Him doesn’t make dealing with the losses any easier.

Posted by: meranieann | May 20, 2011

Reflection on the end of the world

May 21, 2011.

The end of the world according to some.

It will probably end up being a completely normal day for everyone.

But what if it’s true?

Christians, this note is for me and for you. Take a second and think about where you are right now, May 20, 2011 – the day before the end of the world. Are you where you want to be?

Obviously, most of us would say no and then start listing the tons of things we would change, things we would still want to do, people we would want to talk to.

My question is, why not do it anyway? Get up right now and do something you would do if the end of the world was tomorrow.

Personally, I do not want to meet my Maker tomorrow. I’m not terrified of judgment, because I know that I am forgiven and one of His children. But the thought of meeting Him brings so many things into perspective for me. It shows my failures, my shortcomings, and reflects on everything that I should have been doing that I’ve neglected.

But, at the same time, the idea of finally meeting Him! To finally see the Truth behind the person that loved me enough to die for me. To see all of my misconceptions about Him finally disproved and to just bask in Him and who He really is. It gives me the tingles just thinking about it.

I want to say that I will start living my life every day like He’s coming back tomorrow, but I probably won’t. It’s sad that it takes Google and the internet world to get me motivated in my life, but I’m thankful that God has given me this time to reflect on it. You should try it.

I think the end of the world will be beautiful, filled by Creation's reverent sigh when the Creator comes back.

Posted by: meranieann | February 26, 2011

Honesty. Vulnerability. Ugh.

So, I’ve decided to post so that people can “help” me with my newest goal.

As most of you probably know, I’m a people-pleaser. If I can do anything to make someone in a situation happier, I’ll probably do it. In an argument, I’m always the one that sees both sides and tries to help the argument cease, etc etc. In and of itself, this trait isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s often helpful and provides a drive for me to do my best.  I never realized what it could lead to.

I have become so consumed with making sure everyone is happy or with making sure I don’t offend people, I’ve stopped living for myself. All of the decisions I make are tainted by the opinions of those around me. Often, I am frozen in fear of upsetting someone by my decisions that I can’t go through with them. I cannot even bring myself to do what I know God is leading me to do because I know that it will upset members of my family.

For example, voice lessons. I honestly don’t feel like I’m that great of a soloist, but I know that I’m not a bad singer. But, I catch myself after a performance, asking EVERYONE how it went. I disguise it in a question such as “Anything I need to improve on? What did you think?” but I’m really looking for reassurance. My value never has anything to do with my opinion of how it went or how prepared I felt I was. It hangs  on other people’s opinion. Today, I debuted part of my piece that I’ve been arranging for my acapella group. I realized afterwards that I didn’t care how I felt it went; I only cared what my director said and what the singers thought. I barely even listened to what it sounded like to me.

I despise being a disappointment to anyone.

Honestly, if you were to tell me that you don’t like the way I do something, I would try to change it. It’s bad.

I didn’t realize until a couple of weeks ago that I’ve let this happen. It’s come to rule my life. It’s bondage. Just ask my fiancé. It makes him completely crazy. I never really saw it as a big deal, but he did. This very second, I am struggling with announcing a decision I’ve made. The thought of upsetting some very important people in my life has me terrified to the point that I convinced myself that I was wrong in my decision. I’m praying that God will give me strength to go through with it, but I’ve already seen some of the repercussions from me even hinting at it. My mind starts racing telling me that I’m going to lose people if I make this decision. That they’ll never forgive me. They will think I’m being unwise and not following the Truth.  Doubt has destroyed any excitement that I have about my decision, now. I’ve spent the last week trying to figure out how to break it to people without harming them – all the while, letting them harm me. *sigh* It’s frustrating.

I don’t know how to defeat this. Really I don’t. I know that my worth comes from Christ, that He is the only one I answer to or need to worry about. That is SO much easier said than done. I am surrounding myself with Scripture, desperate for peace and guidance.

Also, I’m finally reading a book that my small group leader, Meg, gave me. It’s so weird to hear someone else talk about what I’ve been thinking. In The Search for Significance, it’s addressing many of the issues I’m dealing with. I just wish I had started it sooner so that I could already have fixed this problem. UGH

Posted by: meranieann | February 12, 2011

The Seven Dwarfs

I’m sitting in my room listening to Snow White meet the Seven Dwarfs for the first time. (My sister is watching the movie in the hallway) It made me curious as to why the Disney writers decided to name the characters according to their most pronounced personal characteristic. Imagine if we were all named according to OUR characteristics, whether good or bad.

I can’t help but wonder what mine would be. How about you? What do you think yours would be?

Posted by: meranieann | January 19, 2011

Hope. It’s closer than you think.

Psalm 42 has brought me through many dark times of sadness, loneliness and pain. It has probably rescued me from despair more times than anything else I have ever read. Here are some thoughts on this beautiful passage:

As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? “

After a long day in the hot sun, I want nothing more than to drink a huge glass of water. Now imagine being in a desert for days, under the steaming unforgiving rays of the bright sun with no water for miles.

You never know when you might get to drink again.

Your mouth is parched and you are desperate….

But it’s no longer just for a drink, but because if you don’t get a drop of water, you will die.

That’s what the Psalmist is describing here. His soul is panting after God, needing a drink of the cool water to parch his dying thirst. But has he heard from God? No…he’s still wandering trying to find God. He is lost. Hopeless. Everyone around him is mocking him; they don’t understand his thirst. They can’t understand his desire.

A few verses later though, he says: Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.” He has found God. His soul is still distressed, but he has found the oasis. He can see the water. HOPE IN GOD.

Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.”

Now for the beautiful reunion. He can hear the water rushing. He can hear the waterspouts beginning to run. Suddenly all the waves of water are around him, they are running over him. Can’t you just see the joy on his face? He is no longer hopeless and dying of thirst. He has found water!!

That’s how it feels after days of drought in my life. Once I realize that I’m dry and dying. I’ve lost all hope and feel like the entire world is against me, I remind myself that God isn’t far away. I ask my soul why it is cast down, why is my soul sad? HOPE IN GOD! HOPE IN GOD! That’s how I always know that I have a bright future…the oasis of wonderful water of God’s goodness is not very far away. I just have to keep going!

God makes a simple promise in this chapter: the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.”

In the daytime, He will show me his love.His kindness.

In the nighttime, He will give me a song of comfort.

My prayers go unto the God of LIFE, not death and destruction. He won’t leave me to die of thirst in the desert.

Hope. Always hope, beloved.

 

 

Posted by: meranieann | January 17, 2011

Happy Anniversary

Today, my fiance and I celebrate two years together as an official couple. It’s been a crazy ride, but I wouldn’t trade him for anyone.

Most people don’t understand our relationship or how it works. Most days, I don’t either. Isn’t that weird? We just fit…everything is easy and fun :-) I love it…and him!

I’d like to tell you a little bit about the night that we became “official.” Back in the day, we had money to spend. So we went out just like we did every single night. That night we saw the brand new movie Seven Pounds starring the one and only Will Smith. If you haven’t seen that movie, you need to as soon as possible. We both cried at the end. It was a very emotionally draining movie, but SO good.

So we finished our late movie, probably got something to eat, and then we went back to Lindenwood’s campus. We sat in his car for a couple of hours just talking. We couldn’t be around each other enough. It was FREEZING that night…simply because it was the middle of January. I had to be up early for class (like normal) but decided to stay out late with this guy again. Anyway, by the end of the night, we were officially together and neither of us have looked back since.

I knew before we even started dating that I was going to marry Addison. He really does complete me. I know it sounds cliche but he always knows what to say, what to do, and how to make me smile on my worst days. I really do hope that every girl can find a guy as perfect as he is. Granted he’s not perfect, but he was made for me.

Our birthdays are one day apart, so I always joke that God made him and then realized that the world needed someone to protect them from him and that’s why I’m here! It could be the other way around. Who knows. All I know is that he is caring and considerate, a bit loud, and loves me like crazy. He makes me happy…and not just outwardly happy. He makes my heart happy. My heart still sings when I see him after a long time apart. I never want to do anything without him.  I seriously would die without him. I’ve often tried to think about what my life would be like if he hadn’t shown up when he did, and I can’t imagine where I would be. The best part is that I don’t care. It couldn’t be better than I have right now with him.

I have a wonderful man who loves God, loves me, and likes to plan weddings together :-) Could there be a better dream come true? Really?!

He makes me happy



Posted by: meranieann | December 27, 2010

Here’s the scoop

There isn’t really anything crazy or exciting going on in my life right now. I’m basically on cruise control until the spring semester starts at Lindenwood.

Now, if I have any followers that were keeping up with my November writing craze, you undoubtedly noticed that I didn’t finish my goal. Alas, life got complicated and I had to vacate my blogging home. I have returned and – hopefully – things will remain calm for a while. Calm. I don’t know if I can correctly use that word to describe any part of my life. Nothing about being Meredith Tharp is calm. There is always somewhere to go, someone to see, something to do…and my fiance is heartily agreeing with this and muttering about how much he hates it.

I have been doing a lot of self-examination over the last week or so, but I don’t feel like I’ve gotten anywhere. I have been able to identify some things about myself, but I can’t decide whether I want to change them or keep them. Understanding more about myself is definitely making me more secure in my decisions and my goals.

I couldn’t be doing any of this soul-searching without the support of my sister and fiance. They are both so wonderful and let me bounce crazy things off them. Life wouldn’t be the same if they weren’t around. *happyness*

Yes, I know I spelled happiness wrong. It was to make a point.

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