Monday afternoon I grabbed my computer along with one of the piles in the office and set down at the kitchen table to start paying bills. This is usually a task tackled in the office, but that place looked too scary. Piles and piles of papers had accumulated over the last three weeks, and I only had the focus for one at a time. We use Excel to record our transactions in our check register and we use our Discover card for nearly every purchase we make. So when it comes to balancing, I have two statements to balance, our Discover statement and then our bank statement. Dave would greatly disapprove of this process, but it’s worked for us for about twelve years now. We use our Discover card as many others use their bank debit card (so we don’t have one of those). Every single charge goes into our check register, so when the statement comes in, the money is there and we have accrued some nice cash back rewards for items we needed to buy anyway. The only downside, is again, we have two statements to balance, but utilizing Excel, we can easily filter those Discover transactions and typically complete the process proficiently.
I grabbed my green highlighter and started marking off line-by-line the items recorded. It quickly takes me back to recent memories. The joy stirs around inside my heart as I recall them. There was the charge from the theater when we went as a family to see Disney’s Inside Out on our anniversary. There was the charge from the department store when Brooklyn and I went on a little shopping spree. Then my mind and my heart had the joy to revisit several places, like Dave’s Diner, Plimouth Plantation, Martha’s Vineyard Gourmet Café, Fenway Park and The Duck Tour, oh and how could I fail to mention, Dunkin’ Donuts, as our good friends refer to as “Dunkies”.
It was more than touristy destinations. Those transactions indicated where we went and what we saw. Those places represent a trip that the Lord took us on to change us and grow us in who He wants us to be and what He has called us to do.
This can’t be chalked up to coincidence. How insignificant it seemed to Brandon and me at times that we felt we needed to change our domain name. And honestly, I searched my heart before the Lord repeatedly if it was a spirit of pride fueling our efforts to acquire it. I mean, you can see why, it’s my name. I was concerned for the possibility of being self-absorbed.
Then there was that roadblock. Yes, heathermeadows.com was available, but after four months of offers to purchase, the owner thought he was dealing with a real estate group and threw out a whopping $10k price tag. With my own soul searching, and then this news, it just seemed that the Lord was directing us away from it. Still yet, our spirit felt otherwise. He has called us to share our story. So share it. And share it we did. Doing the very basic task He called us to do, resulted in heathermeadows.com not being bought, but being given, and not only a domain given, but an opportunity given, to travel 1600 miles away to do what God has purposed us to do, share our story.
Brandon and I pressed in, seeking the Lord for what He specifically wanted us to share in our time in Massachusetts. We knew He had orchestrated this opportunity. Our desire was to be used by Him to not only share our story, but to speak into hearts a message He knew each one needed.
Every moment there was like Christmas morning; many gifts slowly unwrapped, revealing His love, goodness and the excitement of His plans.
Brooklyn and I had a delightful Saturday morning with the women of the East Freetown Congregational Christian Church. We sat around the table and enjoyed good food, loving interactions, and the sweet presence of the Lord as we got into His Word for a devotional and prayer. The women were personable, relational, transparent, humble, and had the hearts of a servant. Did we all really just meet? It didn’t seem like it. I was among friends, sisters in this family of God.
Never did we feel like visitors. We were welcomed in and met with the sweetest hospitality. We had the opportunity to participate in Joel and Lori’s traditional Saturday afternoon lunch with their best friends from high school, John and Kevin. The evening held another treat, getting to feed horses, (and a cute donkey who is in love with his neighbor pen mare), grill out eating some more amazing food, and fellowship with fellow followers of Jesus all hosted by Brad and Christine, who make you feel like you’re one of the family. Really. I mean one of the family. Christine wanted me to let her do my laundry, and let me tell you, she was serious. She also had Brooklyn over a few days later and coordinated a trial ride for her through a State Forest.
We were received in such warmth and such love. We were shown much generosity, rarely able to pay for our own meals.
Here we came to give. We were asking the Lord to pour us out to others. You’ve read how much we received, but that was just in the first two days. There’s more.
God graciously anointed the message. His Word was delivered with passion, conviction, and love for His people. There was an assurance that we were used as He desired. But I’ve learned something. When we walk in obedience to Him, we’re always going to be getting more. I was prepared to minister to the hearts of His people. I didn’t anticipate how greatly they would minister to mine. I went ready to serve, ready to be used, ready to give, but I got far more than I gave.
There was the mother of the young boy who was born with a congenital heart defect. It touched my heart the memories she shared with me, and the chance to meet her now healthy little boy who stood beside her. Then there was the missionary who shared her heartbeat and passion for Japan with me. A blessing to hear the reports of how God has provided for her to minister.
A special song was beautifully delivered specifically in ministry to us. A young couple visited with me after service, sharing their desperate journey to find a kidney. We had prayer and shortly after I received a message from Chuck, “We know God has plans for us. We plan on sharing with the church on Sunday.” An ultrasound photo said it all.
There was also a visitor, who came up to Brandon after service and explained that he was late for his church, and decided to pull in for service. He didn’t have time to speak to me, but wanted Brandon to know how the message spoke to him. With his hospital bracelet still on his wrist, he explained to Brandon that his baby was in the NICU and how timely the words were that he came to receive.
Call it a reason to retreat
I got some dreams that are bigger than me
I might be outmatched, outsized, the underdog in the fight of my life
It is so crazy to believe
That you gave me the stars put them out of my reach
Called me to waters a little to deep
Oh, I’ve never been so aware of my need
You keep making me see
It’s way beyond me
Anything that I got the strength to do
In over my head keeps me countin’ on You
I’m leaving the sweet spot, sure shot
Tradin’ it all for the plans You got
It is so crazy to believe
You take me to the place where I know I need You
Straight to the depths that I can’t handle on my own
And the Lord I know, I know I need You
So take me to Your great…
Take me to Your great unknown.
~Beyond Me- Toby Mac Publishing: © 2014 Achtober Songs
The Meadows went to Massachusetts and God did some pretty awesome things in us while we were there. To be honest, we got gut punched the minute we departed. In the process of catching our breath, we know there is great opposition for us to have more experiences like the one in Massachusetts.
It’s way beyond me. I’m definitely the underdog. I’m certainly aware of my need. And I know that whatever I can’t handle on my own, He can. And I’m brave enough and determined enough to pursue whatever that is. I want Him to take it all.
In freedom we live
As one we cry out
You carried the cross
You died and rose again
My God, I’ll only ever give my all
~Hillsong United- Take It All
But each day the Lord pours His unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing His songs, praying to God who gives me life. Psalm 42:8 NLT
Charles is registered with the Mass General Transplant Team (617) 643 7193
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