Meadow Rue Merrill dreamed of the perfect family: two boys and a girl. Then she and her husband would adopt. Together they prayed, “Lord, if you have another child for us, you will have to bring that child to us.” Miraculously, he did. Only that child wasn’t anything like they’d imagined. Born in Uganda and abandoned at birth, Ruth had severe disabilities. Would they adopt her? That was the question God seemed to be asking. The answer would stretch their faith, test their endurance, and bring them more joy than they’d ever imagined. It would also break their hearts and open them to other abandoned children and people with disabilities.
Meadow Rue Merrill is an award-winning journalist with two decades of published writing experience. She began reporting for The Times Record, a daily newspaper in Brunswick, Maine, and spent the following eight years corresponding for The Boston Globe. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, Family Circle and other regional and national publications. Most recently she has written for Harvard University. Merrill has regular columns with The Portland Press Herald, Maine’s largest newspaper, and Down East magazine, where she is a contributing editor. Her memoir, “Redeeming Ruth: Everything Life Takes, Love Restores” releases in May 2017.
When 16-month-old Ruth arrived in Maine from an orphanage in Uganda, she couldn’t sit up, roll over, or speak, but her life spoke volumes about the importance of family, the meaning of faith, and the power of love.
Faith Notes: Words that Encourage
Life is often rough, mine included. Some days seem designed to crush your hopes and dreams. For inspiration and understanding, I turn to the same words that have guided generations, the Scriptures. Are you weary? Searching for encouragement? Me too! Faith Notes are weekly, Scripture-based meditations drawn from my everyday life and shared in the hope that they will strengthen your faith and brighten your day. Subscribe below.
Young and new in love, I unpacked the English stoneware dishes that my mother had helped me pick out at Jordan Marsh years before in anticipation of this day – the day when I would furnish my own home. She didn’t call it a hope chest. Not wanting me to put all my hope on getting married, she called it a “home chest,” for the day I would furnish my own household, married or not.
Yet there I was, newly married, as flush with love as the petite cranberry flowers printed on the cream colored dishes that I carefully set in the cupboard of the tiny apartment that my husband, Dana, and I had rented on the third floor of an old Victorian, halfway up the coast of Maine. Setting up our first home was among the happiest times in my life. Shopping for our own groceries. Learning to cook. Coming home to each other and sharing dinner each and every night on those delicate floral dishes.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be led by the Spirit. As I slowly read my way through Scripture, I’m alarmed at the similarities between how I often live my life — trying to figure out how to get through each day as best as I can – and the ancient Israelites who struggled and strived to please God but inevitably wandered into trouble. They’re not the only ones who veered off course.read more
Among the antiques I inherited from my mother was an Early American candle stand – or so I thought. I remembered it from my grandparent’s home on the coast of Maine. My grandparents were both avid collectors. After they passed away, the dark wooden stand with three short legs and a narrow trunk that held two candles went to my mother. When I was growing up, it stood in the corner of our dining room but never gave any light. That’s because, as far as I can remember, it displayed two wood candles made for decoration. When the stand became mine, I decided to sell it.read more
When my 18-year-old son recently had his wisdom teeth removed, I joked that this was his rite of passage. “Some people fast on mountains or get covered in fire ants,” I said, recalling documentaries I’ve seen about how other cultures initiate adolescents into the world of adults. “We take out wisdom teeth.” For most in our contemporary, Western culture, there is no rite of passage between youth and young adulthood. Getting a driver’s license might count, or going to college. But what if parents intentionally set out to create a series of challenges and experiences to not only mark but prepare young people for this significant passage? That’s what author Beth Bruno did with her 12-year-old daughter, Ella, a journey she chronicles in her new memoir, A Voice Becoming, a Yearlong Mother-Daughter journey into Passionate, Purposed Living (Faith Words, 2018).read more
January did not start easy. First came cleaning up after Christmas. Then came the bitter cold. On top of that, my husband, Dana, has been struggling to move a 4-ton, 24-foot shed. Two years ago, when we bought our house, it was sitting in the dirt beside the driveway, sunken in mud. Battered by rain and wind, it had slipped off its insufficient concrete supports. Tearing the shed down and rebuilding would have been easier. But wanting to save money and materials, we hired an excavator to pull the shed into the middle of our driveway and dig out a foundation, which my husband poured in November. So far, it has been a five-month process. Week after week, as I’ve watched Dana struggle to jack up the shed and secure it with sturdy beams, one song has run through my head.read more
Living in Maine, we know that storms will come. Some of us fly south for the winter, hoping to avoid them. But as last year’s devastating hurricane season demonstrated, no place is exempt from the potentially destructive forces of nature. When forecasters predicted a foot of snow and blizzard conditions along the coast of Maine earlier this month, I hauled my largest canning kettle out of the basement and filled it with water. I made sure we had enough fuel to keep a glowing fire in the woodstove. And I stocked up on groceries.read more