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: Words that Encourage

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.



What basketball taught me about encouragement

With two children playing basketball, our family of seven is in the thick of junior varsity and varsity seasonal playoffs. Not only does this mean lots of driving, late night dinners and cash for concessions, it also means lots of excitement, high hopes, and sometimes dashed expectations. While my husband, Dana, loves the sport and was a high school standout, my own basketball days were bleak. I enjoyed the competition and comradery of playing but never once made a basket in competition. Mostly I cheered on my teammates from the bench. This week, while watching the Chop Point girls play a tightly matched game, parents and fans from both teams filled the bleachers, stomping and shouting encouraging words to their kids. But among the fifty or so spectators, one mom stood out. “Make them fight for it!” she called over the shouts of the other parents, standing with a large, hand-lettered sign as the Chop Point girls played defense. “Come on! You can do it!” she shouted as they dribbled the ball up the court in an effort to score. For most of the night, this mom was on her feet, encouraging, clapping and calling out instructions over the escalating tumult of the game. What an inspiring example, I thought, of the power of praise. Imagine if, instead of telling our young people all that they are doing wrong or tallying the shots they’ve missed when the score of life is against them, we stood tall and shouted words of encouragement? What if they knew we were on their side? Often in my own life when the score has... read more

When you need to ask for help

A little more than a week ago, we moved from our roomy New Englander in the small shipbuilding city of Bath to a snug fixer-upper in the woods. “Do you need help?” a friend asked the previous day at church. “Oh, no,” I confidently replied. “It should only take an hour or two to load up the last U-Haul. Then we should be on our way.” After all, we’d already emptied the house of almost everything except mattresses, kitchen items, a couch, table, clothes, and a “few” things in the basement. How long could it take? Our nearly disastrous experience staining the pine floors should have been a warning. A one-week job turned into more than two as my husband, Dana, doggedly worked to grind off the too-dark, too-orange second-floor stain and re-stain it a tranquil russet. Unfortunately, this used all the remaining time we’d reserved to stain the living room. So at 4 o’clock on the morning of our big move, I crawled out of bed and drove north to smear four coats of Polyurethane on the downstairs floor while Dana prepared to load the 20-foot U-Haul. The timing would have been perfect, except what we thought would take a single trip, took two. So, late that afternoon, while I unpacked kitchen items and moved mountains of boxes, Dana, and our two oldest boys drove wearily back to Bath to redeem our remaining furniture. Around 9 p.m. they finished loading the truck only to discover that the battery had died. After a series of desperate phone calls in the below-freezing dark, a former neighbor, Sarah, arrived to give it... read more

Saying goodbye well

The snow that had tumbled down overnight was fresh and light, just enough to transform the back woods into a magical winter forest. Pure white wonder. The afternoon sun glinted through the cathedral of pines that towered atop the ridge above our little house on High Street. “Who wants to go for a snowy woods walk?” I called through the house, knowing that it might be our last chance before moving. Only my youngest sons – ages 5 and 2 – were home, along with our oldest, 18-year-old Judah, who is on school break during his freshmen year of college. Small feet came running down the hall, followed by the creak of Judah’s door. “I don’t know,” he said. “Come on.” I remembered the first time I took him on the back trails in winter. He was not yet 2 and insisted on trudging through the waist-high drifts rather than being pulled on a sled. He and our other children – ages 16 and 12, who were at school – and I had spent so many hours enjoying these woods, I wanted to say goodbye together. Whether facing a move, a change in employment, a shifting relationship, or bidding a final farewell to a loved one, it is important to say goodbye well. That is because the words we speak and the ways we commemorate life’s passages have the power to convey a blessing. A common sacrament in Bible times, bestowing a benediction was a powerful ritual, such as Isaac’s death-bed blessing of his younger son Jacob. “Haven’t you saved even one blessing for me?” his older brother Esau... read more

Buffing out bad choices

Everything was going perfectly with our house renovations, just in time for our big move this weekend. Finally! After a month of working double time, my husband, Dana, and our older boys had nearly finished laying down 1,200-square-feet of pine floors. I’d finished cleaning the mouse droppings from the cupboards, sweeping cobwebs from the windows, and painting rooms. We were on the downhill stretch of sorting, tossing, and packing up our home in Bath. And our energy, money, and patience were quickly coming to an end. As many of life’s difficulties do, what came next began with a small decision that went against an inner inkling. My arms and neck were so sore from painting and my big, pillowy bed was so comfortable, that early one morning when Dana leaned over me to say, “I’m going to the hardware store to pick out the stain for the floor, do you want to come with me?” I pulled the covers tighter and said, “No. Whatever you get will look fine.” A few days later I showed up at our new house to discover that the upstairs floors were as orange as Ronald McDonald’s hair – fueled by butane. Normally, I’m a “close-enough-let’s-make-the-best-of-it” kind of girl. But there was no making the best of this. This was a catastrophe. Thanks to my momentary decision to forgo what I knew was right – climbing out of bed to pick out a stain color with my husband – Dana now had to refinish the entire upstairs just one week before we were to move in. This would have been somewhat correctible, except pine... read more

Preparing for more than just moving

I haven’t seen much of my husband lately. It’s a side-effect of Dana’s day job and his having grown up in Maine, working alongside his father, who ran a campground. By age 10, Dana and his two older brothers began learning how to drive a tractor, split wood, shock a well, wire electricity, run plumbing and build whatever was needed. I used to joke that I’d married the plumber, the electrician and the handyman. Lately, Dana has been filling the role of all three as he swings by our new fixer-upper after work to nail, sand, stain and finish our pine floors. The rest of us – in between painting and picking up second-hand deals from Craigslist – are hanging out at our current home in Bath until the new house is ready. Part of me would love to be all moved in – particularly as the temperature plummets and my hibernation instinct kicks in! The other part is grateful for the extra time to pack and prepare. But, most of all, I miss my husband, who now arrives home after I’ve gone to bed. I’m not alone in feeling his absence. “When is Daddy coming back?” my 5-year-old son asked the other evening. “Late,” I said. “He’s getting our new house ready.” In this peculiar, between place, I find myself mulling over Christ’s words to his followers. In preparing them for his death and resurrection – and, eventually, their own – he said, “In my Father’s house are many dwelling places… I go to prepare a place for you,” John 14:2. He then promised that one day he would return... read more

Making room for solitude

“Sometimes in life,” I told my 12-year-old daughter, Lydia, as we packed to move after 18 years in the same house, “You have to tear out your roots and shake up your life to keep moving forward or you will become too comfortable.” As the curtain closes on 2015, I find myself in a place of precipitous change. Perhaps that is why, sitting with my husband, Dana, in a darkened Brunswick movie theater to watch the latest Star Wars film, I cried at seeing at how much the celebrated icons from my childhood had aged. I cried as much for myself and for them as I did at remembering the excitement of seeing the original movies with my mom, who died last year. Life moves forward whether we want it to or not. In the trial and the change, we must keep moving forward too if we want to experience all the good that God hopes to do in and through our lives. What that means to each of us is as different as the individual plans God has for us. For me, it means leaving behind the busy neighborhood I love to seek a place of quiet – well, as quiet as can be with five kids. Quiet and solitude have very little place in modern life, so I am embracing a bit of voluntary seclusion to spend more time in Bible reading, prayer, and writing. As a sophomore at Gordon College in the ‘90s, I participated on a two-week wilderness hike where we spent two nights in isolation, camping unaccompanied in the middle of a thousand-acre wilderness... read more