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.



Is God Really Listening?

I was 16 years old, working the evening shift at a clothing outlet in Kittery, Maine’s southern shopping mecca, to earn Christmas money after school. Since I didn’t drive, my mom was supposed to pick me up at 8:30 p.m. when the store closed and we’d finished tidying up. Only, on this night, by the time all the other employees had left and the manager was locking up, my mom wasn’t there. In Maine in November, anything after 5 p.m. might as well be midnight. That’s how dark it was as I stepped onto the freezing sidewalk, wondering what to do. “Would you like me to wait?” The manager jingled her keys, looking concerned. “I’m fine.” I tried not to sound as worried as I felt. I was embarrassed and didn’t want to inconvenience her. Surely Mom would be here soon. Alone in the dark, I scanned the nearly-vacant parking lot, praying to see the familiar lights of our little blue car. Nothing in life draws me closer to God than an awareness of my own need, be it physical, spiritual, or emotional. I suppose that is one reason he allows us to experience difficult situations, so we’ll know our own need of him. All the other stores along the strip had closed, but across the parking lot a fast food restaurant still had its lights on. After ten minutes, so cold I was shivering, I walked to the restaurant and took a seat. The staff behind the counter didn’t seem to mind that I didn’t have money to buy anything as they cleaned grills and swept floors. Fearfully,... read more

Walking in Paths of Grace

Once a world explorer, in my younger days I eagerly spent a year living in Australia, a semester studying in Israel, and three days perusing the English countryside on an extended layover as I caught trains and begged lodging to visit legendary literary haunts. I even spent a month traversing East Africa—solo—on a whirlwind journey to adopt our daughter, Ruth. Yet somehow, in the last decade, I found it hard to summit the hill behind our house and hike the miles of scenic trails that weave through untold acres of abutting woodland. This is partly due to my reluctance to walk alone, partly due to sorrow-induced fear, and partly due to forgetting just how extraordinary a thing it is to walk beneath lofty pines and alongside still streams and bogs, listening to the silence and the soft fall of feet on a forest trail. So, this week when a friend, Kez, stopped by after work to take two of my children walking in the woods behind our house, I excitedly laced on my hiking boots, grabbed a baby backpack, and cinched my toddler inside. Up the hill we went, west into the woods. As the sun set and dusk settled, I was nervous about the encroaching night and of the hunter, outfitted in an orange vest, standing on a ridge as it was the first day of deer hunting season. But I was soon enthralled with the beauty of God’s creation and the happy chatter of my children as my 5-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter plodded beside us. When my older children were little, we came to these woods... read more

What is Your Value?

Do you know how valuable you are? As a self-employed writer with a certifiably type-A personality, I often equate my work with my worth. It’s easy to slip from wondering whether my work has value to wondering whether I have value. It’s a common struggle. Maybe for you it is something different – comparing yourself physically to others or measuring your personal worth by your net worth, number of friends, or life accomplishments. To put an end to such demoralized thinking, let me share an important lesson. Last week I took my 12-year-old daughter, Lydia, to Goodwill to pick up a few items for school. Searching through the dresses, I found a black eyelet sheath with tags. Tags!!! In second-hand clothing culture, this is like scoring a triple home run with the bases loaded and your eyes closed. A silky thread attached to the cardstock said, “Burberry. Made in London.” So, I bought it. For about five bucks. Having never been one to follow fashion – other than being the grateful beneficiary of second-hand deals from LL Bean – I didn’t know anything about Burberry. But on the short drive home, Lydia and I had fun guessing how much the dress was worth and imitating the designer’s name in our best cockney accents. “Burrrr-berrrrrry,” we intoned, dropping our voices to a sultry drawl. The label said, “Do Not Wash,” which I frugally interpreted to mean “Wash By Hand.” So I snipped the tag and dunked the dress in the bathroom sink before hanging it in the mudroom to dry. Then, Lydia and I sat down at the computer to... read more

The Only Prayer You’ll Ever Need

Author Anne Lamott famously wrote about the only three prayers you’ll ever need: help, thanks, and wow. I love these. But, the other day at dinner my recently-turned 2-year-old reminded me of one I find even more significant.

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Facing the Fear of the Dark

What do you do when all around life looks dark – not just because the days are growing shorter but because your hopes are? This time last year I was driving four hours each way between my mother’s house in Connecticut and my house in Maine, my 18-month-old son buckled in back while a dear friend and my mother-in-law helped my husband care for our four older children. By nature, I find I am afraid of the dark, a now-grown child still jumping at shadows – not the ones that linger at night in the corner of my room, but the ones that linger in the corners of my mind. And when you are caring for children and an ill parent, life can feel downright gloomy. Yet despite the overwhelmingly bleak diagnosis of stage IV liver cancer, my mom remained brave, fun and full of light. In fact, those last months of her life – driving to doctor’s appointments, cozying up to watch Masterpiece Theatre, just being together – are among the most precious memories of her that I have. Leaving my precious mom to return to my family after a few days or a week – depending on how long I had to visit – was excruciating. I can only imagine what it was like for my mom. Yet, she clung to her independence as firmly as she clung to her faith. She also continued looking forward – always forward – to what she was planning next, whether it was moving garden stones or moving back overseas to continue her work as a linguist and Bible translator. My... read more

The Power of Persevering Prayer

Do you believe in prayer? Six years ago, overwhelmed by the responsibilities of raising four children – one with special needs – I threw out a desperate prayer to God for help. That very week, a neighbor I barely knew marched down the street with her husband carrying two enormous boxes of home-cooked meals. “I thought you needed a break,” Joan said. Ever since, Joan has brought meals, picked up kids from the bus, watched our children so my husband, Dana, and I could go out, celebrated birthdays and grieved with us through our losses – including the recent loss of my mother. When we met, my own mom was busy travelling, often overseas. In fact, the exact words of my prayer all those years earlier were, “I need a grandparent!” Imagine my astonishment upon learning that Joan and my mother shared the same birthday! That is how specifically God answers prayer. No, God does not always answer so immediately, but the knowledge that he does answer provokes me to wonder how my life – or the lives of those Iove – might be different if I spent more time in prayer. Flipping through a Christian magazine this week, I came upon a book review of a new release titled, “Five Minutes with Jesus.” Five minutes! I thought. What happened to the ‘Sweet Hour of Prayer’ we often sang about in church growing up? Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer! That calls me from a world of care, And bids me at my Father’s throne Make all my wants and wishes known. In seasons of distress and... read more