In Search of Treasure

In Search of Treasure

by Meredith Mills


Don’t you love a good treasure hunt?

My tween daughter wanted a detective party for her birthday last year, so my husband planned the treasure hunt to end all birthday party treasure hunts. It was incredible.

mystery-1773200_1280The clues were crazy hard, but the girls embraced the challenge and finally deciphered them all by working together.

One final clue led to the birthday cake, which Hubby also made. (If I’d been in charge of the cake, we’d have picked one up from Costco.) The treasure, a bag of chocolate coins, was hidden inside the cake. (He’d baked a hollow spot into the cake and hidden the coins inside before frosting it.)

The girls had a blast searching for hidden treasure.

I’ve been on my own treasure hunt for the last few years.

During a particularly dark season of life (Confessions of a Good Girl), I realized many of my beliefs about God were flawed. Though I loved Him deeply, my life was driven by duty and ruled by fear. I desperately needed the rest to which Jesus invites us (Matthew 11:28-30).

Using a journal and my Bible (ok, actually I use my Bible app), I began recording everything God reveals about Himself in the passages I read during my daily Bible time. I’ve been doing this for about three years now, making notes about His actions and reactions, His promises and the names by which He describes Himself.

What I’ve learned has thrilled my soul and deepened my love for Him. Jesus is unlike any treasure earth can offer.

Here’s a verse I read recently:

“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe” (Proverbs 18:10).

A person’s names reveal various attributes of that person.

For example, when I say that my name is Meredith, you learn very little about me. But if I tell you that I’m also called Wife and Mom, Daughter and Sister, writer, reader, singer and traveler, coffee-drinker and chocolate-lover…you know a bit more about me.

So it is with our God.

Many people call their objects of worship god. What sets our God apart? His names help us answer that question.

He is the Most High, the Creator, the Lover of our soul, the Good Shepherd, the Father of the fatherless and Husband to the widow…

His various names minister to us in different ways as we walk through life. By faith, we can cling to God’s specific names and find security.

This looks different from one day to the next and from one season to another. Here are some examples of what it looks like in my life:

  • My husband is self-employed. Traditionally, summer is the slowest time of the year for us. One summer, work was scarce and money was tight. But bills were still due, so I ran to our Provider with a very specific request. The next day, He came through, miraculously meeting our needs.
  • Several years ago, I experienced a miscarriage. As I walked through that painful time, I relied on God to be my Healer. He brought both physical and emotional restoration.
  • Today, as I write, I’m asking my all-wise Creator for wisdom and creativity.
  • In a few days, we’ll begin another year of homeschooling. I’ll seek the Teacher to instruct me on how best to teach my kids.

Whatever you’re facing today, whatever you’ll face tomorrow and next year, God’s name is a strong tower, a hiding place of refuge and protection from the storms that assail. strong tower

Which name of God is your strong tower today? Please comment below – I’d love to hear! Let’s get to know Him better together!

Related Posts:

Shields are Not Just for Superheroes

When I Forget…God is Faithful

When Life Blindsides You




Free to Be Me

The secret is out. This is the real me.


A few weeks ago, we joined a homeschool co-op. I prepped my kids ahead of time…reminding them to be friendly, to be interested in others, to introduce themselves. You know, basic friend-making stuff. But inwardly, I was a bit anxious myself. I’m not naturally outgoing. Being the first to introduce myself is not exactly in my comfort zone. I, too, was hoping to make connections that would lead to new friendships.

I guess I was hoping to impress people, to make them like me.

You can imagine my embarrassment when, at the end of the first day, I had to search for my misplaced phone. I found it in the office. Assuming someone had turned it in, I asked where it had been found. The sweet lady gave me a puzzled look and told me it had been sitting on the desk all morning. Only then did I remember that I had come to the office first thing that morning in search of name tags. Hmmm….well, she’s not going to think of me as the most organized person in the group.

But really, it wasn’t that big of a deal. Anyone can misplace their phone. (I just happen to do it all the time!)

However, when this same person locks her keys in the car the very next week…Well, the secret is out. This is the real me.

I spent nearly the entire final period in the parking lot waiting for a locksmith. The locksmith, of course, showed up in a huge conspicuous tow truck, just as classes were letting out and people were coming to their cars. He was a jolly fellow – asked how my day was going, as if locking oneself out of one’s car adds humor and excitement to the day.

I guess I should have smiled about it, laughed it off. But I was too worried about what people were thinking.

Ah, people pleasing. I know it well.

It can be paralyzing at times. I spend so much time trying to keep everyone happy. I work hard to make people think well of me – even when it means hiding my quirks and imperfections.

It’s an exhausting way to live, and God is teaching me that we were never designed to live this way.

Can I share with you what I’m learning? Because maybe, just maybe, I’m not alone in this people-pleasing craziness.

First, a person’s value lies not in what we do (or don’t do), but in who we are. Our Maker says we are “remarkably and wonderfully made” (Ps 139:14 HCSB). We bear the image of God (Gen 1:26-27). We are infinitely loved and valued – not because of our own merit or loveliness, but because God has set His love upon us (Eph 2:4-5).


Second, we all have emotional needs that God alone can satisfy. The longing for acceptance is a God-given desire. Its purpose is to lead us to Him. When we look to Him in faith, we find that we are relentlessly adored, unconditionally accepted, and even greatly liked – quirks and all. (See Hos 2:14-19, Eph 3:12, Zeph 3:17.) On the other hand, looking to people to meet this need will lead to disappointment and conflict.

Third, another person’s opinion does not define us. This may seem obvious, but I have many times internalized a rejection (real or perceived), as if it were true of me. When our identity is built on who God says we are, we can come back to that reality every time we begin to feel otherwise.

Finally, true friendships are based on transparency and acceptance. If we keep our shortcomings hidden, the relationship will not be genuine. We’ll wear ourselves out trying to keep up the charade.

This is, of course, not a “blanket excuse” for hurtful behavior. We shouldn’t excuse sin or selfishness under the guise of “just being myself.” In living authentically, we should never lose sight of grace.

But oh, the freedom of walking confidently in faith. When those shackles of fear start to fall off – what a glorious new beginning! It’s taking place in my life. How about you? How has God helped you overcome people-pleasing? I’d love to learn from your journey!

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel says, ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation. In quietness and trust is your strength…’” (Is 30:15).

I Let It Go – Now What?

The perfect girl is gone, and everyone knows it. Now what?

It’s awful when your babies are sick. Last week, my little one had an ear infection and a fever of 104.7. We did lots of cuddling, cool rags on the head, Tylenol and Motrin, and texting with the doctor.

And watching movies.

Having two daughters, we naturally like princess movies. (My poor boy puts up with them!) Usually they are just fun fairy tales with little value beyond entertainment. Disney’s Frozen, however, seems to be an exception. This tale of two sisters has some pretty incredible spiritual gems hidden inside. Will you come on a treasure hunt with me?


Big sister Elsa is a very unique girl. She has the ability to freeze things. The trouble is, fear has frozen her own heart. Early in life she retreats into a “good girl” shell where no one really knows her – not the real Elsa. She has mastered the art of disguise, steeling herself from even her own emotions. Fear blinds her and keeps her from knowing love. But when a turn of events reveals her secret, she “lets it all go” – that good girl facade, all the pretending, the life of playing it safe. She runs to the mountains, trading in one form of isolation for another. Finally, she thinks, I’ve conquered my fear!

She throws off restraint and sets out to discover what she’s capable of achieving. She revels in self-expression and vows never to return to her old life. So this is freedom.

Her freedom is short-lived, however. She finds that looking within for security and fulfillment is just as devastating as hiding.

By the end of the movie, Elsa learns that only one thing can overcome fear and melt an icy heart – true love. Her sister Anna lays down her life for Elsa out of love. That love melts Elsa’s heart and from that moment forward, Elsa is compelled by love rather than driven by fear.

This story resonates with me. I know the good girl life. I know what it’s like to be driven by fear. Fear of displeasing people. Fear of disappointing God. Fear of failure. It’s exhausting. My identity, like Elsa’s, was was fragile – built on performance and the shifting tides of emotion. But also like Elsa, my heart was melted by an act of true love.

Jesus laid down His life for us – we who had broken His heart and were the source of His pain. By that act of true love, we can have forgiveness, freedom from fear and new life through faith in Jesus (Rom 5:8, 6:23, 10:9-13, John 3:16,). Once we realize how deeply and unconditionally we are loved, we have an unshakeable foundation for inner peace and security.

There is no need to pretend. No need to hide. No need to impress.


It’s okay for people to see our weaknesses because that’s where God’s loving power takes the spotlight. We are free to love others as an overflow of God’s love for us. When our needs are met in Jesus, we find freedom in our relationships because we are no longer looking to others to fulfill or validate us.

You, child of God, are loved.

Let it go – all the pretending, all the wrestling, all the fear, all the searching for fulfillment. You are loved! Rest in His love…relentless, unchanging, satisfying, empowering. You are free to love God and others from the overflow, even if your love is not returned by the people around you. God’s love for you is secure. Let it lead you.

How does love enable you to “let it go?”