If you asked me to tell you who my dearest, closest friends were, Meredith would be near the top of the list. I've known her for less than a year, but her sweet spirit, radiant joy and pure heart drew me to her and we have since become so close.
This girl is without a doubt one of the sweetest, most compassionate people I have ever met. Every time I see her, she asks me how I'm doing within seconds, with a look in her that shows me she truly cares about how my heart is and wants to hear all about my life and how the Lord is at work. Her eyes and whole face just light up when she's happy (which is pretty much always) and when she's worshipping and when she's talking about her Savior-- she emanates His light and love in a way that makes you just want to be close to her.
Back in the fall, Meredith and I spent hours talking on a picnic table outside of Lamplighter (one of my favorite Richmond coffeeshops), and I remember just loving getting to hear her story and see more of her heart. The way she talks about things makes it so evident that her faith and trust is wholeheartedly in the Lord, and even though it isn't always easy, it's so clear that she loves and adores her Creator and has put her life in His hands.
We watched (and talked for hours about) Parenthood together (RIP...), have adventured through the woods around RVA together, been part of the women's weekly gathering at church together, spent crazy amounts of time talking about our lives and Jesus and boys and art and creativity together, gone to art/poetry shows and brunch and sushi together, and so much more. This girl is just a gem. She loves SO well and is full of endless encouragement.
If you remember Anna from the very first Story Seeker, Meredith is her roommate. What a combo, right?! They're the best. They both have been the biggest encouragers of my heart and this crazy story-swapping idea I came up with last summer, and Meredith has reminded me how special this whole thing is through her excitement about it all.
I'm so excited to share Meredith's story with you.
I am Meredith. 23. Living in Richmond, VA. Went to William and Mary, which will always have a piece of my heart. Working as an Assistant Teacher at the Richmond Montessori School. I like to listen to music outside, craft, watch Gilmore Girls, and journal.
My story is simply to truly convey the fact that you are not alone. As I was sitting with what to write about after Rachel asked me, it was so difficult for me to narrow it down to one story, one theme. How should I approach it? And then, something awesome happened. God directed me to the exact verse to inspire this post. I think the reason behind Rachel reaching out when she did is so God could so poignantly instruct me that it was finally time to write out the story of how he helped me out of the darkness in my life. He was calling me to share with someone, anyone, the miracle he has given me. Of course I have shared this story with my friends and family, but I believe sometimes it’s those little moments with strangers, those random words you come across that move you to the core and make all the difference. So if I am a stranger to you, my only hope is that I could make one, just one person, feel not alone in their struggle (whatever that may be). And to share with you the ultimate healing that Jesus Christ has given my life. I made it out because of him.
The verse I so randomly yet perfectly turned the page to reads, “…God’s very own- all this so that you may show to others how God called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were less than nothing; now you are God’s very own. Once you knew very little of God’s kindness; now your very lives have been changed by it” (1 Peter: 2:9-10). So here is my effort to do just that…
“Trust in him alone.” For me, it got to the point where there was literally nothing left to do but to surrender to him as king and say ok there is no way I can figure this out alone. It hurt too much. My story is one of trust. One of slowing down, being comfortable with uncertainty, and surrendering every single thing to the Lord.
The summer after college was dark for me. I felt isolated without my community and just flat out confused about what to do next. Nothing really felt full or right. Also, I found out I had diagnosed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Pretty soon I couldn’t distinguish from irrational horrifying fear and reality, which made day to day life so difficult. I was living and breathing fear in everything I did. I became so crippled by this disorder that I couldn’t see where the Lord was at all in my struggling. I was depressed and a shriveled-up version of myself that I couldn’t recognize. That’s when God stepped in.
Experiences and seasons of darkness often seem extremely foggy and distant from the Lord. However, what I truly needed to grasp was that even though we have veiled eyes in this pain, God does not. He sees everything as it really is, after all, he designed it to be that way. Through my story, I can honestly say that each one of our veils is never too thick for his mighty vision.
It sincerely blows my mind what lengths God will go to just to get even the tiniest amount of our attention. Isn’t it crazy that it takes such a grand gesture for him to get our attention when he has been calling us from the beginning? Looking back through everything, I can see that he never once let go of my hand and that he CHOSE me to go through this struggle with him. He loves me enough to give me the circumstance in which there was nothing left to do but simply surrender. He showed me a crossroad: either continue to coast through life in this empty fear, or choose to say I trust you and that be IT. The funny thing is I really did think I had been trusting the Lord this whole time; but he knew the truth. I think for me, he had to move me to my breaking point in order to be ready to receive and notice his work without blurred vision.
The fact that he wants to know us SO deeply and desperately wants to seek us out is something I will always stand in awe of. This is exactly what he did for me. He scooped me up, gave me a break, and forced me to restart everything, to rebuild all the pieces together in a new way. The beautiful thing about this is that the new way was all the more life-giving. I took a pause, a break, a career change. I woke up slow each morning and enjoyed the exquisite peace of uncertainty. I thought everything exploding would leave me feeling directionless, a failure, self conscious, and alone. Not at all. This uncertainty about the next step just gave me so, so much clarity on my life and what is important and not. He truly transformed me from the inside out, gave me a new perspective on life, grounded my identity in who he had created me to be, and filled my days with light instead of darkness. Then he planted my feet gently on the ground and told me to rest, trust, and let him plan the rest. I felt so at peace for the first time in so long, knowing that this confusion was in fact my path and right where I was meant to be in order to surrender. When you literally have no idea what your next step will be…sounds like a pretty good time to surrender your heart and your burdens to Jesus. I was finally free. Knowing that no detail of my day was a threat because he had already planned my day before I woke up.
I didn’t want to think that this season of darkness was put there for a reason, especially when I was in the depths of it. However, when I dug deeper behind that reason, I realized that this season was a gift in disguise.
He placed that season in my life so I could be witness to his miraculous ways and catch just a tiny glimpse of how much he truly loves us and fights for us when we cannot. The whole time, he never stops fighting. Even when it seems he has given up. I truly believe he has taught me all this to share with everyone, anyone, the healing that can come through Christ.
What have I learned from my story?
The peace that comes from uncertainty is so beautiful because it truly requires you to be yourself and start fresh. So please don’t ever think you are inadequate in an uncertain, tumultuous season.
He has taught me that nothing, nothing, nothing can separate us from his love because he lives within us and knows everything before it even happens. So as someone who is constantly living in fear of what might happen in 20 different scenarios, you can see the gravity of what this means to me.
It won’t be easy every day, but the foundation of trust makes it so much less scary.
If I can muster up JUST enough life in me to believe this, then I set myself up to fully tune my inner compass towards the one who will remove me from all my pain.
Each one of us is SO incredibly special to him, and he wants to bring each of us closer to him through our life experiences. No matter how the strife dresses itself: confusion, loss, depression, emptiness, it is there for us to overcome, not to hold us back from life. For me, this story was a necessary curveball in order to really face my need and lack of accepting his work in my life. He uses every single life situation to communicate his intentions. I know my life will be constantly turning, changing, evolving, growing, and I believe he resides in those moments most of all. However, I can now say with total confidence, when a turn or a shift in my life happens, I am excited for the work and growing Jesus will be doing within me.
He has amazing plans for how you will leave your mark on this world and how you will change lives, even when you’re feeling helpless.
So if you are out there in similar season of life, let me be your friend, your supporter. He has shown me such friendship through Christ in my struggle. He has shown me that there are people who WANT to care for you…who are waiting just to be there to care for you. Let yourself be. Let yourself take a break and SEE what promises can come from that, all the while knowing that he even had this break in mind for you. You are never truly alone.
You can find all past Story Seeker posts here. Interested in sharing your story? Let's talk!