Who is Meredith Schneider?
I think I ask myself this question on a daily basis.
I can say that I am just a girl who has been given much and feels an obligation to return that to those I come in contact with while I’m here on this side of eternity.
“To whom much is given, much is expected” resonates in my heart and I know I need to share that with whomever God puts in my path.
How would you describe yourself as a person?
I’m 100% myself – it’s too difficult to be anyone else. Goofy, fun loving, adventure seeking and personable are some attributes that come to mind.
I strive to never stop exploring and to remain open to the life experiences that God puts in my path and makes a part of my journey. Within those experiences, I love meeting new people and hearing their stories. I have profound devotion to divine Providence and firmly believe that people are put in your life for a reason – to teach you something, help you grow or for you to teach, help grow, etc.
His Providence is shown to me on a regular basis. I guess I could categorize myself as a ‘blessed mess’ who has a legion of angels watching out for her. Thus far, it has worked for me, so I’m just going to keep rolling with it. I don’t know if I have any other choice.
Tell us something you value in life, others or just generally?
Life itself is such a gift. Authentic Beauty is all around us if we choose to open our eyes to it. Goodness Himself doesn’t hide from us but we sure can choose to cloud our vision. I know it happens to me all the time, but the Lord reminds me He’s here usually when something funny happens to me or around me.
I value God’s creation, authentic people, seeing humor and irony in the mundane. Children also make me laugh so much and teach me how I should just be. I studied elementary and special education and what I feel when working with children reminds me of how much God loves each of us.
What are the Difficulties of Being Single? Joys?
This is a great question. Many times singles within our faith community (perhaps widows, divorcees or even new converts) can feel like something is “wrong” with them because they are not married or their children are grown or they lost a spouse.
Their sense of purpose may feel lost.
Redirecting this thought is so important. Give of your time, your treasure or your talents. You are who you are and where you are for a reason.
Use the flexibility of your time to reach out to those who need it. Be a gift.
I’m thankful that I can pretty much drop anything at this point in my life to come to the aid of a friend in need.
Something as simple as bringing Communion to the homebound or volunteering to be a greeter at your parish can make a difference in your life and the life of someone else.
Is there one thing you would have done differently in life?
Nothing. I can honestly say – all by God’s grace – I will never think, “What if I just had…” in any of my life choices. God has taken me and continues to take me on a beautiful adventure. Even amidst my biggest crosses and poorest choices – they have all made me who I am and shown me how much I need God.
What is the one piece of advice you have used?
My granny had a magnet on her fridge that read:
“Life is a grindstone: it either wears you down or polishes you up. You decide”.
Everyday I have a choice. To let life break me or make me better.
Some days I choose to be polished better than others, but I have found that one thing I can control is how I respond to life’s disappointments or difficulties. Humor, Community and Faith are essential supports.
I have had to learn that even if I’m strong willed or deeply involved in Church ministries, I’m not immune to hard knocks and disappointments in life. I have also had to learn that God provides help and dwelling on those knocks rather than learning from them can really break you. We can’t control what happens to us many times, but we can control how we respond. Keep getting up. Life is a gift. And can really be a joy.
Who do you look up to in life?
There are so many amazing people in my life – it’s too difficult to narrow it down. I admire different people for different virtues. Worth mentioning are my parents, for their hard work and dedication to one another and any responsibility put before them. My brother has an excellent sense of humor and ability to just rise above undue drama. I have friends who are selfless mothers striving to be holy, or dedicated professionals who are the unseen Martha’s giving of their time, treasure and talents.
What have you learned along the way that others might benefit from knowing?
Quit being afraid. Do that ‘thing’ that keeps tugging at your heart. Years later, you will be glad you did.
At 21, I left college in Kansas and bought a plane ticket to Spanish Harlem in New York City. I had no idea what I was doing, but felt a deep desire to serve others. I did that for 7 years – God used that and all my weaknesses to form me into who I am and touch a few lives along the way. I am just a normal, weak human like everyone else, but God’s grace is real.
I can’t promise that some scars or disappointments won’t form along the way, but if you just remind yourself that Jesus already won and that God is goodness Himself – you will start to see changes in your perspective on life.