Meredith McDaniel is a licensed professional counselor and owner of her private practice, Milk + Honey, near Charlotte, North Carolina. She has a gift for guiding people into the quieter places in their lives to help them taste God’s goodness. In her new book, In Want + Plenty: Waking up to God’s Provision in a Land of Longing, Meredith gives us permission to explore the false narratives of our past in order to walk forward with renewed hope and healing. She does this through scripture, storytelling, indie song recommendations, and guided journaling based on narrative therapy techniques.

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Meredith, your friendship has been such a source of life for me since meeting in Nashville last October. As we celebrate the upcoming release of your first book, and with Thanksgiving right around the corner, I can’t think of a more trusted voice to speak to us about learning to see God’s provision. In a sentence, who are you writing this book for? 

In Want + Plenty is for anyone who feels like they are not enough, do not have enough, and have had enough in this land of longing!

What is your book’s thesis statement? 

I invite women and men to walk alongside God’s people in Exodus as they wake up each morning to manna, God’s provision for them in desert places. We unfold the Israelites’ story of complete dependence on their Creator to discover—through guided journaling—how God is also providing for you right now, wherever you are in your own unique story. Along the way, you will develop a comforting awareness that you are seen, known, protected, and nourished by a good God in the person of Jesus.

What do you hope readers come away with after reading In Want + Plenty?

I hope they will have a new lens to hunt for the manna in their own story, in context of the Grander Narrative that ties us all together. I hope they will know they are not alone in aching for the land of milk and honey, while still trusting that they have a God who holds them in His hands. I hope they will begin to stand in awe as they wake up and see that they already have all they need in the One who made them, and—as a result—they too can make manna for others in their life. Lastly, I hope they know none of their story is wasted.

What was the hardest and most satisfying part of your writing/publishing process?

Realizing that I cannot do a big project in my own strength, even (and especially) when our Creator has called me into it. I have clung to the truth that Madeleine L’Engle states about how God qualifies the unqualified. It’s been the most refining and humbling project to date since I had to wrestle the content down to the ground as I revisited so many stories of trauma and tragedy of clients, friends, and family. I got the privilege to leaning into my own message of hunting for manna, both in want and plenty, as I traced His hand. This has made me more confident in the Hope I have found and compelled me to share it with as many people as possible because it has proven true for me endlessly.

How are you finding satisfaction in God these days in the midst of writing, ministry, a counseling practice, and tending to a family?

Honestly, early mornings when my house is quiet, with a candle lit, writing my morning pages (inspired by Julia Cameron), and having some time to play or listen to music. I need this carved space to ground me before the day gets going in order to avoid being swept up by all the to-do’s and, instead, be led by the Spirit’s whispers with every breath I take. My days are full, and I’m shifting in and out of various roles multiple times a day, but feeling centered informs my work, whether in my counseling practice, in our home with my kids and husband, or writing and working towards launching this book. When I start to feel like I am running ragged, I try to take a pause to breathe and pay attention to my body and soul. If I feel like I might explode, I’ve found I need to get up and outside in creation to inhale the glory and exhale the tension. Then I can come back in and reclaim the space.

What are three things you’re grateful for today? 

Tea—give me all the tea! Friends and family praying me through this wild season. My two Weimaraner Shadows.

What’s the hashtag we can use to follow along and join your community of manna-seekers? 

#inwantandplenty, and we also use #mannamoment.

Okay, now for a fun bonus question. I know you have good taste in music. What are three songs that should be on everyone’s Thanksgiving playlist? 

Ah, why thank you! These are my three favorites from my IWAP playlist on Spotify (I have a section at the end of each chapter called re*sound): “We Will Feast in the House of Zion” by Sandra McCracken, “Never See the End” by Mission House (Jess Ray & Taylor Leonhardt), and “Help Me To Give” by You Me & The Bread. (And just an aside, you are the first to hear about it, but my dear friends of You Me & The Bread are producing a FREE song for anyone who pre-orders the book by Jan 21st!)

In Want + Plenty: Waking Up to God’s Provision in a Land of Longing releases January 21, 2020 (click here to preorder a copy). If you’re local to Charlotte, you’re invited to attend the book launch party “Songs + Stories of Manna” on January 19th, 6:30pm, at Kadi Fit, where there will be select readings by Meredith, music by You Me & The Bread, and a panel of stories by local friends. She is also doing an indie book tour for the month of February at five bookshops in the south! You can follow Meredith at meredithmcdaniel.com or on Instagram @meredith_mcdaniel.

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Bailey Gillespie is a California girl at heart, living in Nashville Tennessee. She’s passionate about hospitality and loves throwing dinner parties, complete with fresh lemonade and a great playlist. Her writing has appeared at She Reads Truth, The Rabbit Room, and Worship Leader Magazine. You can follow her on Instagram @bailey_bluebird.