GUEST POST: How God Sees Our Big Mistakes

GUEST POST: How God Sees Our Big Mistakes

Ever judged someone?  Or been judged by another?  Or cast judgment on yourself?  Have you ever determined the outcome of a mistake?  This post from our guest, Jayne Patton, will bring encouragement, hope and inspiration to your heart, sharing what God sees, even in our mistakes.

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Guest Post: Murder Couldn't Kill God's Love

*a special post from special guest Teresa Nichols* February is known as the month of love so I wanted to share our story about God’s love.

God tells us over and over the importance of love, that no matter what we do for others, or in the name of God, if we do it without love in our hearts then it is nothing, He even gives a complete description of what Love is in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.


Then He tells us His greatest commandment is to love Him, then to love one another.

Yet sometimes things happen that we don’t understand in this life and we want to shake our finger at God and say, “How can You say You love us?

I can’t, in any way, say I understand the ways of God. Why some live and some do not. But I can tell you I believe what John 10:10 tells us, that the enemy is the one who steals, kills and destroys. God tries to teach us how important it is to love one another, but no matter how much we feel we love others, it is nothing close to the magnitude of God’s love for each and every one of us.

I know this first hand—by the way God has shown His love for me through our tragedy. God began showing me His love through miracles and blessings that He poured out on our family as we regained our strength to stand again.


On March 28th of 2011 we made a move to Tulsa, Oklahoma from our small hometown in Iowa with our youngest son Ethan who was twenty, and his friend Casey, twenty-one at the time. Our little town had been quickly loosing businesses and unemployment was very high. My husband Scott left his job of thirty-two years so we could all have a new start in life. Our twenty-six-year-old daughter Leanne was already in Tulsa finishing her second year at Rhema Bible College.  We had prayed and asked God about making this move and He answered in a way that left no room for any doubt that we were to move.  This would be just one of the ways God showed us His love. 

Life was good. Within a month we all had jobs and were having a wonderful time. Along with jobs we had found the best places to play Frisbee golf, some favorite eating places, and a church home. We had all pretty much settled into our routines.

A short time later Ethan met an eighteen-year-old young woman named Carissa. We were all sure she would one day be his wife.


Their days consisted of Ethan working and Carissa’s studies in Music Composition at ORU. Their evenings and weekends were filled with exploration throughout the town’s parks. 

On September 18th 2011, six short months after moving to Tulsa, Ethan and Carissa went for a jog at Hicks Park. As the sun was setting, they were surrounded by two men with a gun. They were robbed and forced to their knees.   Then, they were both shot in the head.

Nothing could have prepared us. Our world stopped and we felt as if our hearts would stop too. There was even a time I wished mine would because with every beat came unimaginable pain. Nothing could stop it. The loss of a child is unbearable in its own, but to lose them in such a violent-senseless way made it so much worse. Even though we knew they were with God the very moment they left this world, it still couldn’t stop our pain.

Ethan had always known God and was baptized as a young boy. But as this beautiful woman of God came into his life he had grown to be a Man of God. They had built their relationship around God first, praying together before they had even spent time together face-to-face. They both had such a trust and love in God. Even when I would try to warn him to be careful he would look me in the eyes and say, “I have God what do I have to be afraid of?

At first there was just the heartache and sadness but then came the “WHYS” and there were so very many.

As my mind darted from one thought to another in sort of a random-scrambled way trying to make some sense of things, it seemed every thought was attached to a WHY.  Those whys were quickly followed by condemnation, guilt, and “IF ONLYS.

IF ONLY, we would have not gone to a movie that night. IF ONLY they hadn’t gone to that park. IF ONLY we hadn’t moved to Tulsa.

And it was the same for Scott.

It was the question about moving to Tulsa that God opened my eyes to first. One day as this why came to me again God reminded me, “Teresa, you prayed- I gave you a clear answer. Do you doubt Me now? How can you condemn yourself when the answer was so clear that you were to go?” With that I began to realize that Satan was using all the whys to pull us down, to try and fill us with guilt. But with that one truth I also realized God had already made sure we could not have guilt for that, He had covered us.

I knew I had to take authority over Satan and hold tight to God's truth. For me the scripture Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.”

When Satan would try to push the whys into my thoughts I would tell him to be gone in the name of Jesus Christ. I also knew I needed to stop asking why all together and just let it go. Once I stopped asking “why,” God slowly started giving me answers. They did not come all at once but steadily, as my heart needed them.

One day I was having an exceptionally emotional day, I longed to hold my baby boy and nothing seemed to help me get past that longing. I finally decided to go have lunch with Scott. Although we tried, comforting each other was really impossible. It just does not work when both you and your spouse are hurting so bad. Yes we knew we needed to be together, but you cannot pull someone out of the ditch that you are stuck in too. You can only hold them tight when they need it. But God will slowly ease you out, giving you time to heal before pulling you up a little farther. This kind of deep loss does not disappear. It has to go through stages.

On this day I really needed my husband to hold me, even if it was just for a few minutes. But as I left from lunch to drive back home I could feel the longing coming back strong.

I decided I did not want to go home to sit in the house alone so I stopped at a clothing store and decided to just look around a bit. I found a shirt I wanted to try on so I went into the dressing room to see if it would fit. When I came out of the room to look in the big mirror a woman came out of the adjacent dressing room with the same exact shirt on. We laughed a bit, then wound up in conversation, and I eventually shared about Ethan.

I could see the sadness in her eyes but there was something else too. As we walked out the door to the parking lot she asked if she could share something with me. She told me she was a prayer warrior and that she was getting ready to go next door to get a coffee, but God asked her to go try on some clothes. She tried at first to say she really didn't need anything but she could feel Him telling her to go. She told me that she had been praying for me and our family since she saw the story on the news.


That obedient prayer warrior gave me confirmation that God was there with me. He knew I needed that particular encounter with this stranger to help give me strength to get through that rough day. What an amazing and wonderful God we have! 


This was not the only time God made sure I knew He was with me. There were many different ways and so many blessings as we went through the weeks. But it took me awhile to realize the biggest blessing He gave me.  It was not something that I noticed right away but it became clearer to me as we went through counseling. Through our counselor I learned that no two people ever go through the healing process at the same pace. I had to let Scott heal for himself and not try to push him to where I was or vice-versa. 

This is where I first realized I had no anger. Scott, Carissa's parents, and many other people around me were very angry. I understood why they were angry but I couldn't understand why I was NOT angry.

You see I, like many of you mothers out there, I am like a mother bear. You might come around and see me playing gently with my cubs, but the moment anyone threatens my kids in any way I become a furious fighting animal with claws out and teeth bared to protect them. It doesn't matter how big or mean you may be, I would take you on in a second just to keep them safe. But I felt NO anger. Believe me I searched for it, but it was not there. Even at the preliminary hearing where I looked at the two murderers in the face for the first time there was not any anger.


You see I do not do anger well. It takes a bit of pushing to get me angry but when I do it is not good in any way. Then it is almost always followed but a tremendous let down, followed by tears and sadness. I know God knew I couldn't handle anger so He took it from me.What a loving God! Because of this, forgiveness came easy for me and forgiveness must come in order to heal completely

This is just a small peek into of some of the ways God covered me throughout our time of loss. Even though my heart will always miss my baby boy my spirit leaps when I think of how God loves me. I wanted to share this with you so that you can see the love God has for each of us. He is always there reaching out to us. However, He is a polite and patient God. He will not push Himself upon us. We must invite Him in.

I ask you as we go through this month of love remember what God asks—love one another. There is no greater love than the love of our God.

A Little Thought From Heather: The enemy has netted so many people out of their tragedies-- they blame God and turn away instead of seeking Him for hope and healing. Teresa and Scott’s journey is an example of how hope and healing can unfold for those who choose to turn to God. A story that illustrates how much more powerful His love is than even the most unimaginable heartache. I am honored for Teresa’s willingness to share with us. I pray her words continue to strengthen our confidence and security in His mighty love.   Happy Valentine’s Day ❤ Heather

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Facing People Problems During The Happy Holidays

Holidays are hard. Well. They can be. It’s not always “holly and jolly.” Our troubles are not always “miles away.” Sometimes they’re sitting right next to us at the dinner table. But so often a smile is slapped on, and “making-it-through” becomes the method of operation, because “it’s the holidays” and “that’s what families do.” But are we cheating ourselves by taking that approach?

My cousin and I spent Thanksgiving together this year. It was really enjoyable. More importantly, it was authentic. May not sound like much. We spent Thanksgiving together last year too. And it was awkward. Why? Well, only for the reason that we hadn’t spoke for a period of time. Like five years!

Yes! Five years! “Whatever on earth for” you may ask. Well, that could cover a whole other blog post, or possibly even an entire book chapter. For purposes of this post, the details don’t matter, but for us personally, the lessons are in the details so just because I’m not sharing the nitty-gritty doesn’t mean my cousin and I never confronted it or dealt with it.

We have gained much from the ordeal.

For starters, we know that it’s a point on the enemy’s scoreboard. Or more like five points, for all the years we lost. However, we pray what we’ve gained gives us bigger boxing gloves to win the next round.

Next round?

“Heather, are you saying you anticipate problems?” Yep. I sure am.

Not being prepared was the most effective component in ripping our relationship. See, when Brandon and I were young-married, our small group leader would tell us, “The enemy wants your marriage. John 10:10 says ‘the enemy has come to steal, kill and destroy’ and that includes your marriage.” This simple understanding made us aware of those things positioned to divide us.

Are you with me? You know, those issues that are camouflaged in marriages—everyone has their own. The bigger picture we frequently had to remind ourselves of was the enemy wanted to destroy our marriage.

The Word says in James 1:17 that everything good is a gift from God. Our relationships are good! Whether they are marriage relationships, family relationships, church-family relationships, or friend relationships. They’re all a gift! And stupid Satan doesn’t want anything good in our life. Simply put, relationships are a gift from God—expect the enemy to target them.

This isn’t meant to scare us. This is meant to prepare us. Cue up the Lion King song, Be Prepared!!!!   Not having a game plan to handle problems is more than naïve, it is foolish and relationally irresponsible. And remember, I’m writing from a place of walking this painful path, not a pointed-finger place.

The Word says in Proverbs 4:23 to guard our hearts above everything. This may be a bit of a stretch, but where do we hold those relationships we hold dear? In our HEARTS! So we must, we must, we must guard our relationships.

As we’re guarding, understanding the enemy’s intent to tear our ties of love, security and belonging, remember he is not a conqueror, he’s a coward. I Peter 5:8 says he prowls around like (picture a phony pretender) a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. The loser is searching out for weakness and cracks of opportunities. Seal your bond with others, guard and protect your special gift from God.

So what if there’s already a problem? What if there’s hurt and pain? Here’s a nugget of encouragement, trials can make our relationships stronger. But wait. Before we exhale that sigh of relief, there’s a contingency. Trials CAN make our relationships stronger, IF we let them.

Think of your relationships like your faith. I Peter 1:7 tells us, “trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”

Doesn’t that give us a different perspective about problems with the people we love?! Zechariah 13:9a says, “I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure. I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold.”  This gives us a different view of trials in our relationships. Those issues, those disagreements and hurts are fire. And we certainly feel it as such. But that fire purifies, removing impurities. The fire reveals something of great value.

So we shouldn’t resist it. When we choose to live with the elephant in the room or consistently return to our broom-and-rug avoidance we are choosing to live with fake-imitation-jewelry relationships instead of enjoying the high-quality-genuine-authentic-pure relationship.

This is where my admiration grew for my cousin. Honestly, I had idolized her my entire life. She’s seven years older than me and she was everything I ever wanted to be. But we realized that while our bond was shared, our personalities were not. If you had to place us in categories—I am fight; she is flight.

In Lysa Terkeurst’s book, Unglued, she writes, “true peacekeeping is about properly processing the emotions before they get stuffed and rot into something horribly toxic” (page 92).

Our relationship had indeed rotted. And it grieved me. Seriously. Like a death. I didn’t think we’d speak again.

But you know how that story ends. I already told you we spent the last two Thanksgivings together. Talk about a spoiler alert. Goodness. I should aim to uncover some surprises in these posts.

God used those in-between years. He grew both of us. I let go (something a fighter and girl of control is never known to do) and Krista enlisted to fight.

It took, like I shared, five years, but she drove to my house, knocked on my door, sat on my couch and took the brave steps through the fire of refining our relationship. It wasn’t mended in a day. Remember, I had released it. I needed peace and happiness and grieving our loss was too painful, so I had let go, of the relationship, thus letting go of her. I couldn’t fight for both of us. But I did forgive. I forgave long before her drive up my driveway. However, forgiveness and restoration are not the same. Forgiveness depends solely on the individual; restoration depends on both. Restoration has less to do with forgiveness and everything to do with trust. And the flight personality girl who made a decision against herself to fight, persistently determined to build a new relationship cultivated a place of trust. We both became a little bit more of what we needed through those painful places of our relationship.

Holidays can be hard.

If you’re in a good place with those you love, be on guard, be prepared, have a plan to protect and defend.

If you’re in a hard place, don’t be afraid of the fire. Have courage to walk through it. Let the problems produce something genuine and authentic.

If you’re in the in-between place, have forgiveness and pray. Although you may not be able to speak, the Lord can and will and does.

Happy Holidays— much love…. ❤️

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My Voice

It is a regular occurrence for me to sit down and write to a faithful group of people who follow my blog.  These people know my heart and my intentions.  They allow me the privilege to share my life and my take away lessons from the experiences I encounter. I encountered an individual who jumped to conclusions and made a hasty judgment on me.  This person used his authority as a means of intimidation; not receiving any of the words I spoke in attempt to bring clarity to the situation.  In an industry driven by customers and cognizant of customer service, a polite manner was furthest from the approach.  Bold words were spoken and a crass tone used by this employee.

I was Completely Misjudged that day.  As I do, I sat down to share my life with my readers.  So often people are misjudged or mistreated and yet have no voice.  Now that I have used my voice, it seems that maybe I should not have shared the name in which I was so boldly instructed to get right.

While some were quite displeased with me sharing my experience, others were glad for the attention brought to the matter, as they had experienced very similar encounters in that same store.  My sharing my experience provided a level of accountability.  My Pastor use to say, integrity is how you act when no one is watching.  How differently would the interactions have been had it been known that the experience would be written about and shared?

I am so grateful that those who truly know Heather Meadows knew my heart and read my words.  That is why when I was at work, taking care of sick babies today, my manager called me in her office to confirm just that.  Despite a phone call to our human resources department, in an attempt to attack my job, my human resources department read my blog, contacted my manager and found there to be no negative reflection on my hospital through what I shared.  My manager reaffirmed that I hold the values of my organization and provide excellent, compassionate care and service to my babies and their families.  It matters how we treat people, at all times.

Even though there has been the generous support of my family, my friends, my faithful blog followers and my place of employment to leave it all as I said it, I have edited the post because this blog is about me offering encouragement through my life experiences.  Monday was a huge life experience for me, as I’d never been perceived as a shoplifter.  It wasn’t about revenge; there was no name-calling or slams, it was about my incredibly unpleasant experience and my desire for this man to know that’s not who I was, since he wouldn’t receive those words of explanation from my own mouth.

I’ve learned that I will never take an item that I own, that is my property, that I have proof of ownership without first checking it with customer service.  It’s something I’ve done countless times before and never thought a thing of it, but will from now on be mindful to do.

But I still ask, what has this assistant store manager learned?

I would never speak to one of my baby’s families in such a way and I would hasten the opportunity to apologize if it were offered to me.

For that reason, Assistant Store Manager’s Family, I apologize that my words hurt you.  I believe professionalism and excellence is our own responsibility when we are at our place of employment.  Maybe this situation will help yours to improve that.  Out of consideration for you, I have removed his name from the post and deleted all the comments since many of them included his name

Proverbs 18:21

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Pursuing His plan, His love and His character despite the unpleasant bumps in the road.

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So Sorry

A broken record may accurately describe parents in the process of training kids, especially in the area of manners.  “Say, ‘Thank you.’”  “Say, ‘Please.’”  “Show kindness.”  “Be gracious.”  “Give forgiveness.”  For The Meadows, this is the most challenging inside our home.  It appears that it’s easier to be considerate of those outside our home, but more of a challenge inside the walls of our own house. We have a routine that when one of the kids wrongs the other, they must apologize, and the offended must forgive.  Confessing, “I’m sorry,” and hearing, “It’s alright,” is not considered a resolution here at the homestead.  Many long talks have been birthed from an offense.  Explanations are given.  Insight is provided.  In the end, the goal is to express, “I’m sorry for…..,”  and a heartfelt, “I forgive you,” in response.

It’s a difficult concept to teach forgiveness; mostly because our nature is to hold on to offenses.  Why?  Because we are human, and we were born sinners, meaning we were born selfish.  Holding onto an offense in a way, provides the justice we believe should be given.  In the end, it hurts us far more than the person who caused the offense in the first place.  Matthew 6:14-15 says, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

The point is; justice is not ours to provide.  We don’t have to pick up the phone informing others of the wrongdoing.  We don’t have to rally supporters to validate our offense.  We don’t have to give a cold shoulder or a bitter spirit.  Romans 12 gives us instruction in handling these situations that are all so common to man.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

We forgive because we have been forgiven for far greater things than could ever be done to us.  We forgive so we know we did all that was possible for us to do.  We forgive knowing that justice is the Lord’s to provide; He will vindicate; not us.  We forgive to pursue and protect a pure heart, to guard against bitterness, to not be overcome by evil.

When confronted with an offense, whether it’s at work, in the marriage, in the family, whether it’s petty or significant, whether resolution is attained or unfortunate deterioration; forgive.  Our forgiveness isn’t dependent on the outcome; it’s dependent on our obedience.  God is in control; we don’t have to be.  Let Him fight the battles.  As far as it depends on us, live at peace, show love, be forgiving.

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Worth Fighting For

There is a chore that comes along when the weather turns nice. It seems to require more time than we ever want to give, but it’s almost classified as mindless activity. And that’s why I don’t mind it too terribly much. It’s mowing. My husband and I have a routine when it comes to the yard. I mow; he weed eats. I kind of enjoy the time to sit on the John Deere. Several years ago we sold our boat so we could purchase a commercial zero-turn mower. This was a wise investment considering we mow nearly three acres. And even though we never seem to have enough time, I like “having to mow.” It’s something that has to be done, and the time I spend sitting there allows for a roundabout bit of peace, in light of the rumbling sound of the mower.

The thoughts that came to mind yesterday were centered on my marriage. As anyone knows, if you start a home improvement project, there’s likely to be a fight. Well we started a few; several months ago. We added on a closet, remodeled our bathroom, and put in a pool including an outdoor kitchen area. Those are huge blessings that we keep thanking God for, and at the same time, in our flesh and humanity, we found ourselves arguing over the details.

Now, I have two friends who have told me they never fight with their husbands, and I truly believe them. Brandon and I strive to be good examples, inspiring to our children and those around us, but we fight. Not on a daily basis, that would be incredibly exhausting and heart breaking, but we have disagreements and arguments that we face, confront and resolve. Some times are easier and quicker than other times, but nevertheless, we resolve it.

I don’t want to be a disappointment to my readers, but I want to be real with each of you. I wouldn’t want anyone to hold me on a pedestal and assume that my life is perfect, that my attitude never needs adjusting and my lips never say things I regret. I’m human, and so is the man I’m married to, and there are times we really irritate each other.

My heart becomes so heavy because I wonder how many people have blow-ups with their spouse and they think they have a bad marriage, when in all reality they have a very normal marriage. Two people who spoke into my husband and me, profoundly, were our small group leaders. Larry and Joan Lichlyter led our marriage and family class the first ten years of our marriage and they shared absolute truths that are the rock we stand on when we become clouded with the pettiness that tends to creep into relationships.

One truth is found in John 10:10 (NIV),“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” It is essential to remember that satan is our enemy and not our spouse; and it is satan’s desire to destroy our marriage. A scripture that comes to mind is John 16:33 (NLT), “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” Anything that brings glory to God is going to come under the attack of the enemy. Know that in this world, our marriages are going to face tribulation, but Jesus has overcome the world, and therefore, our marriages have too.

My husband is my greatest blessing. I can’t imagine living a day without him, but rest assured, there are days I’ve thought I couldn’t live with him either! The most effective tool we have when we’re mad, hot headed, angry and full of steam is to humble ourselves, hold hands and pray together. There is absolutely nothing that defuses a situation faster than prayer, and doing it together works miracles right there!

I pray that opening up this, not-so-sunny side of life encourages some hearts to love beyond measure and guard the gift God gave you at the altar of marriage.

Be blessed and enjoy making up--- however you deem fit!

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