Meadow Rue Merrill

My Work

Meadow Rue Merrill is an award-winning writer, contributing magazine editor and mom of six including Ruth, who was adopted from Uganda. Meadow doesn’t wear a clerical collar. She didn’t graduate from seminary, but she believes that God is intimately involved in her everyday life, an experience she shares in her weekly newspaper column, “Faith Notes.” Please subscribe to connect!

Redeeming Ruth

Ruth was 16-months old when she arrived in Maine from an orphanage in Uganda. She couldn’t sit up, roll over or lift her head. In seven years Ruth never spoke a word, yet her life spoke volumes about the importance of family, the meaning of faith, and the power of love. “Redeeming Ruth” is her story.

Faith Notes

Life is often rough, mine included. Some days seem designed to crush your hopes and dreams. Faith Notes are brief, Scripture-inspired meditations that are meant to encourage. Each Monday I offer a new reflection based on what God is doing in my everyday life. You can also find Faith Notes on Fridays in The Times Record. Or subscribe to have it delivered to your in-box.



Wisdom that Defies Discouragement

When one of my children was recently discouraged, a well-loved poem came to mind, “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you…” That was as far as I could quote. I ended up looking up the remainder of Rudyard Kipling’s celebrated poem “If” on my computer and printing a copy for my child to read. At a difficult point in my own youth, I discovered the solace of poetry and craved the beauty and comfort it provided. Yet, reading this 19th century verse again three decades later, I was amazed to find its message just as relevant today. Imagine! A man who was born in Bombay in 1865, educated in Colonial England, crisscrossed the globe by steamboats and trains, and relied on the telegraph to communicate wrote words so wise they transcend space and time. I find the same wisdom in the Bible—written on tablets and scrolls, hand copied by scribes, preserved (at times) in clay pots, and now easily uploadable on my computer screen with the click of a button. What relevance could words written 3,500 years ago possibly say about life today? Based on my gleanings over several decades of reading, this is what I’ve discovered: That God created all life, gave men and women mutual authority over the earth to preserve and to protect it and to have a relationship with him (Genesis 1) That because people defied God, sin entered the world, all people became sinners, and a barrier arose between people and between people and God (Isaiah 59:1-2) That life is both heartbreakingly hard and... read more

The Power of Encouragement

When I was 18, having just completed my first year of college, I found myself without a place to live. My mom, the head of my single-parent household, had rented out our home to go back to school herself. Wendy, a woman in our church, generously invited me to move in with her family—an offer I eagerly accepted. That summer sparked a relationship that has matured into a quarter-century of friendship—25 years of phone calls and cards and encouragement and tears. When my family was weighing whether to adopt a disabled child from Uganda, it was Wendy who said, “Of course you are!” when others cautioned against it. When my husband, Dana, was laid off for the second time in three years, it was Wendy and her husband, Bill, who sent me home with a ham every time I came to visit. And when my mom was diagnosed with cancer, Wendy always had tea and muffins waiting when I drove past her house to see my mom. Often women, with our busy schedules, undervalue the impact of our lives on others. Men too. In the frenzy of family and work and errands and volunteering and taking care of our homes, it’s easy to miss the lasting influence of our words and actions. Or as one dear friend who was struggling to understand her purpose recently confessed, “I want to know that I’m here for something more than to pour cereal every morning and breathe for the rest of the day.” Knowing what an inspiration this woman has been to me, I put my hands on her shoulders and said,... read more

Bearing God’s image to refugees

“Mornings at about 6 am, I’d seem him on the track of the local YMCA – a small steam engine of a man in a navy sweat suit, sneakers plodding past as I walked a warm-up lap. Back bent, shoulders stooped, gray hair receding, he’d chug steadily past. Bath is a small city, small enough that many of the same people who grew up here and graduated from Morse High School are still around, teaching kindergarteners how to kick a soccer ball behind the Rec. Department, slapping tickets on cars parked too long in front of Reny’s, scanning groceries at Shaw’s. It is small enough to run into people you recognize, such as early-morning exercisers. “Morse right?” another walker called out as the runner jogged past. “What’d you play?” “Wrestling ’58 and ’59,” he called over his shoulder without slowing. “Football ’58 through ’61.” I imagined this man, decades earlier, as a husky teenager running laps around a football field while his coach called directions from the sidelines. How proud his coach would be, I thought, so many years later, to see this man still running. Scripture repeatedly likens the Christian life to a running a race – a race in which everyone who runs well receives the prize. To win, we must keep our eyes on Jesus, who the author of Hebrews calls, “the author and perfecter of our faith.” In other words, he’s our coach, and he’s given us clear directions: to live generously, to love liberally, and to serve sacrificially as we follow him. Two-thousand years after those words were written, it’s impossible to check the... read more

Trusting God When Life Hurts, Act VII: Looking Forward

So how do we trust a God like this? A God who allows the most loyal of his servants to lie in a nursing home incapacitated by cancer? A God who snatches a beloved child in her sleep? A God who watches as families are battered by divorce and layoffs and loss? Is God testing our affections? Toying with our faith? Watching with aloof indifference? To grasp life’s troubles, we must first glance back before looking forward. According to scripture, the cause of every hurt and heartache is that the first man and woman turned away from—rather than trusting in—God. As a result, they – and every person born after them – experience sin and death. The “Good News” is that God didn’t abandon us to our suffering. Instead, he entered into it with us, not unlike a young woman I know whose cousin was killed on the battlefield in the Middle East. As a result, she enlisted in the military, trained as an EMT, and is training to parachute out of an airplane and plummet through the atmosphere to save injured soldiers on the ground. That’s what God had in mind when he sent Jesus to Earth’s dark battlefield to rescue us. Only, when we are injured, we often blame him for our pain rather than thanking him for our ultimate rescue. To trust God when life is hard, we must separate the world’s wounds from God’s plan to secure our salvation. In his wryly named book, “Thoughts that fell from a Taco Shell, One Guy’s Attempt to Impress God,” Waterville, Maine, youth pastor Matt Ouellette tells of owning a cat that... read more

Finding Faith When Life Hurts

It is my honor to host “Soul Spa” author Sharla Fritz for the Faith Notes 2015 Summer Blog Tour as she shares her own story of trusting God when life hurts. I pray that Sharla’s words will bless you as they have me: The year started with ominous news. A few days into 2015 our family doctor called with the results of my husband’s recent CT scan. “Sorry to say—” His voice broke. “It looks like lymphoma.” So began a journey we never wanted. After the initial phone call there were biopsies and PET scans. My husband, John, had appointments with cancer specialists and oncology nurses. We learned the jargon of sickness that no one really wants to know. The first day of chemotherapy, John sat in the infusion chair for seven hours having two powerful medicines pumped into the port near his right shoulder. The first medicine had to be administered slowly – for five hours it slowly dripped into his veins. When the oncology nurse came with the second bag, she wore a Hazmat-style suit of goggles, gown, and gloves. And this is what they are putting inside my husband? I thought. A few days later the side-effects kicked in. Since the chemo destroyed all fast-growing cells, even the cells lining John’s mouth and throat were affected. His extremely sore throat meant that he could barely talk. He was desperately tired but couldn’t sleep. A throbbing ache parked in his head and wouldn’t leave. Cancer hurts. We all have seasons when life hurts. What do you do? During our crisis I read the biblical account of a woman who suffered... read more

Coincidence? No, the Lord

In this second summer guest post on “Trusting God When Life Hurts,” Midcoast Maine author Dikkon Eberhart shares about being a church deacon and struggling to comfort a church member experiencing life’s trials. In his words, may you be blessed: “But if he asks you how, you can tell him that I told you, it’s the Lord.” “He thinks it’s coincidence.” “A coincidence is an event during which God remains anonymous.” The accident—the coincidence—had occurred a week before. Her skeptical husband had skied a black-diamond trail too aggressively, in late afternoon, on wet snow that was freezing back into ice. In itself, the accident was minor—a snapped tibia. After the accident, however, her husband was unable to take a full breath. The doctor examined his lungs. Tests revealed a genetic condition called Alpha One. His lung capacity was diminishing in a way that could not be stopped—slowed, yes; stopped, no. The couple had three children—two daughters with a son in between—twelve, nine, and seven. At our church, congregants were assigned to particular deacons; I was theirs. I didn’t know what to do. That was my burden as a deacon. My biblical call as a deacon was to serve, but I didn’t know what to do. “You and I,” she said, “we know that the accident was no mere coincidence. But for him, he must have it a coincidence. Otherwise, he would need to contemplate the Lord’s intentionality.” “Which includes his Alpha One.” “Yes,” she agreed, and her eyes filled with tears. “Your life has caromed off in a direction neither of you anticipated.” “Yes.” “You can tell him I said the same thing happened... read more