2012: A Review

by Meredith Day

The new year has become an important time for me.

Even though I am a perpetual student, and my years normally begin in August-- the January new year somehow continues to be extremely monumental for me. However, before I look forward into the approaching newness, it's important to take a look back and see where I've been this year...

In January, I started my last semester at Belmont and began a writing internship at Cross Point Church. I met a ton of great writers, got to build my portfolio, and played a lot of cornhole.

In February, I began the grad school search by visiting my top three choices: Princeton, Union, and Yale. It was a great trip with my mom, and I was wide-eyed at all of the possibility before me.

This past March, I road-tripped to Texas for Spring break with 3 of my closest friends! We ate crawfish, shot a hog, and ran ourselves ragged all over east Texas.

April was probably my biggest month this year. I celebrated my 22nd birthday, chose the school of my dreams at a "reveal party", helped the talented Matt Wright record a worship album, and ran my first half-marathon!

May was a big month too! I graduated from Belmont on May 5th and my closest friends took a trip to the beach to celebrate. We basked in the sun all day, ate great seafood at night, and remembered all that God had done for us.

In June, I went on the first half of a summer tour with Student Life as an actress!

At the beginning of July, we finished up the tour and I headed back to Nashville to spend a few last days with my people. During July, I flew in DJ's plane for the first time, performed in front of 8,000 students, and paid homage to the Coca Cola factory in Atlanta. It was a good month.

On the first day of August, I said goodbye to Tennessee. It was terrible.

But just a few days later, I drove 27 hours across the country with my parents to move to my new home: Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

In September, two of my best friends got engaged! While I was ecstatic for them, I remembered how far away Connecticut is.

October was full of reading books and fall leaves.

November came in quickly with the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. As northerners picked up the pieces, I saw true community. However, right after the hurricane, we got our first big snow and I was reminded of grace. This southern girl was in heaven with all of the snow! My best friend Kelsey came up for a visit, and she gave me the energy I needed to finish off the semester.

In December, I survived through my first round of final exams, took a quick trip to New York, and celebrated Christmas at home in Texas with my family.

2012 has certainly not been the easiest year of my life. I've had countless moments of fear and heartbreak. But, if I have learned anything from 2012, it is that life is about saying yes to the opportunities placed in front of you. Bob Goff talks a lot about this in his book, "Love Does." (If you haven't read this book, PLEASE do yourself a favor and pick up a copy)

I've learned (once again) that God's will doesn't look like 2 doors-- one with a million dollars behind it and a guy wanting to kill you behind the other. It is not as if we can pick the wrong door once and be out of God's plan forever. Instead, the deepest desires of our hearts--the longings that are most intertwined with the truest part of who we are-- are waiting in expectation to be fulfilled by the Creator God. And God opens up a hundred doors, raises windows, and plows through walls to give us the chance to just. say. yes.

Friends, don't be mistaken. If 2012 has taught me anything it is that saying yes--continually saying yes-- is not easy. We have to mutter it, if even quietly, every morning when the sun hits our eyes. Nothing about it is easy. But it is worth it.

So so worth it.

The Storm

by Meredith Day

Foreword: I wrote this post a week or so ago and did not post it. I was discontent with the ending... even though the ending is truth most days. However, I added upon it late last week. The line indicates the continuation.

Rain pounds on the tired window panes, gusts of wind race past the side of our ancient house and I feel my bed shake, tree limbs snap like wishbones and fall effortlessly to the deserted street. This was my reality a couple weeks ago when the hurricane hit.

We were in the midst of the storm... But I think I am still in the midst of my own storm...

I've seen it through the physical damage of hurricane Sandy. I've seen the devastating effects on those who are still without electricity, without homes, without hope.

I've seen it in the lives of close friends that I deeply care about. In the crossroads between life paths, in the heartbreak of illness, in the disappointment of crushed dreams.

I've seen it in my own life. In the busyness of the routine, in the continual letting go of the life I once knew, in the questioning of my abilities during this hectic part of the semester.  

The truth is that I'm in the middle of a storm. So what do we do when we find ourselves here? What can we hold on to when hope seems so far fetched?

"As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, 'Let's cross to the other side of the lake.' So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind. But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him, shouting, 'Teacher, don't you care that we're going to drown?' When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, 'Silence! Be still!' Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, 'Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?" -Mark 4.35-40

I'm not a God-expert. I don't know why Jesus was sleeping in the middle of this storm. I don't know why Jesus let the disciples panic before he finally got up and did something about it. I don't know why the storm had to rage on when Jesus had the ability to make the whole. thing. stop.

The only thing I do know is that Jesus was in the boat with them.

He may have been sleeping, he may have been silent, but he was with them. in the boat. The God of the universe was present as a fleshly being-- lying there on those cold, wet, slacks of wood.

I don't know why the storm rages on. I don't know why some days the incessant beating of the rain just. won't. stop. 

But I do know that Jesus is in the boat with us.

And I think that's the hope when there is none.


And then sometimes God physically reminds us that God is in the storm with us.

Because last week the storm turned into something new...

Into a blanket of white.

From pounding globs of wet to wistful and light reminders of grace.

I have to believe that Jesus is in the storm with me. and with you.

And that is all the hope we need.

The Holiness of Ordinary Things

by Meredith Day

They should make you get a passport to cross the Mason-Dixon Line.

But seriously.

Lucky for me, I already have a passport. But I suppose its requirement might have given me some kind of clue as to how different of a place I was entering when I left those kind, Tennessee hills.

And on top of that-- this whole divinity school thing... it is its own world entirely. The halls chatter with words of ethical, theological, and diocese-ical language that lots of normal human beings would squirm at the thought of. And yet here, in this place, it is our normal.

I've learned a lot in these last few months. I've learned about ways of thinking, ways of knowing, ways of being...that have my opened my heart and mind to a whole new world. A world in which I feel honored to participate.

I've also learned a lot about church. The loquacious halls of Yale have certainly spoken a lot of it. What it is, how it looks, what is included, what is excluded, what about it matters. And we certainly participate. Chapel five days a week, Eucharist on Wednesday nights, Sunday mornings, prayer groups... on and on. But as much as I like talking about the church and doing church within these walls... you know what I really love?

I love the other kind of church.

The kind of church that happens in ordinary things. with ordinary people. in ordinary places.

...in conversations with new friends over hazelnut coffee at brunch,

...In a quiet walk home through misty fog at dusk,

...In the way the light shines through the kitchen window while eating a fresh orange.

...In the words, "in the end, we're gonna win this."

This is the kind of church that I know best. Encounters with the divine through the ordinary. The kind of holiness that I can touch. And hug.

Dear God, may I never forget it.

What ordinary things do you find holy?

The Last Beholder: A book giveaway!

by Meredith Day

Faithful Blog Readers:

Let me begin with an apology for my lack of posts and the overall negligence of my blog for the last couple of weeks. Apparently this grad-school-at-Yale-thing is a lot of work! Who knew...

But, today is post of redemption because I have some very exciting news!

Today is the release of a dear friend's book entitled The Last Beholder. Two very talented women wrote this book and have released it under their pen names, M.E. Wyatt and B. Wynn.

AND in honor of the release of their book today, they have given me A FREE COPY TO GIVE AWAY!

How amazing is their book art?

Here is a synopsis of the book:

It all started the day Gus murdered the ficus.

Which also happened to be the day Wallis watched her hair turn to gold.

After an unspoken and even more unlikely alliance forms the day their parents marry, Wallis and Gus soon discover that there’s a reason for every feeling of un-belonging they’ve ever known. It doesn’t take long for the adventure of a lifetime to begin right under their feet — teaching them to look beyond what they are able to see into what they are able to know. And maybe even remember.

This is a story about true things that sit just a layer behind what our eyes can see.

This is a story about how two misfit kids learned their own value — not just in the ordinary world around them, but in the extraordinary world of the way things truly are.

Journey with Wallis and Gus to lands far beyond, which, it turns out, are hiding just beyond the cracks of this world.

Sounds amazing, right?! Right.

So all you have to do to win is leave a comment below and I will pick a winner next Wednesday, October 17th! Make sure to also leave your email address so I can get in touch with you if you win!

Seriously, y'all. I am so excited about this book. If you don't win, you can still grab a copy from their website or a Kindle edition for (GET THIS) 99 cents. If that is not a deal, I don't know what is.

So get to commenting, friends! I'll announce the winner next week.

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

When you can't stop reading a poem.

by Meredith Day

There's this poem.

And I can't stop reading it.

The curves of it. The way the words tumble around in my mind. And the images that invade.

You guys remember Thomas? The doubting one? Yeah, me too.

The one who kind of reminds me of myself.

Have you ever just needed to put your hand in Jesus' side? I have.

I think back to the first time I ever saw a visual image of Thomas. It was a few days after we rang in the new year of 2009. I was in Rome, Italy at the Vatican Museum, and I was in a season of exhaustion and questioning. I didn't know what I was doing, but I kept praying. "Jesus, show yourself. I need to see you." The painting I saw looked a lot like this...

Caravaggio's, "The Incredulity of Saint Thomas"

So the poem. The one I'm referring to is written by Denise Levertov. It is a long poem, so I will just give you a snippit, but I encourage you to find it and read the whole of it. It's called St. Thomas Didymus. Here is the ending...

"But when my hand, led by His Hand's firm clasp, entered the unhealed womb,

My fingers encountering rib-bone and pulsing heat,

what I felt was not scalding pain, shame for my obstinate need, but light.

Light streaming into me, over me, filling the room as if I had lived in a cold cave,

and now coming forth for the first time, the knot that bound me unraveling,

I witnessed all things quicken to color, to form, my question not answered,

but given its part in a vast unfolding design lit by a rising sun."

I think it is okay to tell Him we need to feel Him. 

There are some days, and weeks, and months, and years, that the only prayer we may be able to muster is, "Jesus, I believe. Help my unbelief." And He does help.

With compassion in His eyes and grace in His heart he takes our apprehensive hand and places it in His side. Saying, "Here, dear one. This is real. Unclench the knot inside that's tightening you and let in the light."

In a world swirling with speculation, that's something I can hold on to. 

That is something I can believe in.

That poem, y'all. It's something special.