Category Archives: Faith

Put Me In Coach!

Have you ever walked into a place for the very first time and thought to yourself, “Wow, this feels like home.” After a long, two year search for my new church home, that’s exactly what I felt when I walked into Shorepoint City Church. It’s not something I can totally explain. In fact, it doesn’t make much sense. How can a place you have never been before feel like home?

After being so hurt by the church, I’ve found myself critical and angry. That church turned into a place that didn’t need or want me anymore. The work I had done as my ministry, the way I served my church, was taken over by staff. I tried to convince myself that I could know God without being a part of a church. Churches are run by people. And people hurt each other. I don’t want to be hurt, I just want to serve and worship and serve God. I told myself that I worked in a church, therefore, I got my weekly dose of church. But I’m not worshiping when I work. I’m not singing about God’s greatness. I’m getting things done. I’m preparing for others to come and worship.

Imagine being a kid who has been away from home. Imagine what it feels like to walk through your parent’s front door for the first time in years – excited yet comforted. I belong here. I have purpose here. There is a place for me here. I am needed and wanted here. I’m where I belong. I’m home.

God is in this place. He is doing amazing things at Shorepoint and I want “in.” I’m all in. Put me in coach! Use me! I want to be a part of what’s happening in this place. Planting a church sounds like a whole lot of work, sweat and hurt feelings. But it also sounds soooooo worth it!

God gave me gifts, just as He has given each of you a special set of gifts. I turn my palms towards the heavens and offer every gift I have received back to Him. I’ve been to hell and back and all I want is for the pain to mean something. I want something good to come from my story – even if it means that just one person knows the eternal kind of love I know.

Sometimes I get so excited to get in on the action, that I jump ahead of a process. I forget that good things come with time. Relationships need time to cultivate, deepen and for trust to be formed. My insides feel like they could burst I am so excited to do God’s work. I forget that it doesn’t happen overnight or in one conversation. The introduction has been made and I just need to wait patiently. I’m committed to the team, I’ve got the team colors on. Now I need to wait for my turn to hit the court and continue to pray for God to point me in the direction He needs me.

Dear God,
Thank you for the gifts you have given me. Thank you for a church that awakes your spirit within me; a place where I can go each week and know that you’ll meet me there. Please use me. Use me to tell of your goodness. You have planted in me a passion for communication, writing, graphic design, technology. Show me what you want me to do with these gifts. Lead me in the direction you want me to go. I’m ready and willing to go wherever you lead me. In Jesus name, AMEN!

Love, Mel

Advertisements

11 Comments

Filed under Faith, Posted by Melissa

Emotional Vomit

I honestly don’t know how people do it. How do they hold it together and not get all emotional and messy and angry all over the place. How do they stay in control of their feelings? Or at least what feelings come out? Mine seem to have a mind of their own. I try to manage them, process them as they come up … but they still seem to come pouring out all over the floor, usually in front of the wrong person at the wrong time. Emotional diarrhea.

I am emotional. You could blame it on the fact that I’m female. You could blame it on the fact that I’ve been really sick the past two weeks … But honestly I don’t think that’s it. I’m emotional even when I’m at the top of my game. Women who can control their feelings are like superheroes to me. Freaking WonderWoman!

Recently my tired, frustrated, put down, not-feeling-good-about-my-ministry emotions poured all over the floor. There were tears and boogers and used Kleenex. I felt depleted and uninspired. Most of all, when it was all over, I felt regret. I felt badly that I wasn’t able to put my feelings into thoughtful polite words. I felt responsible for the hurt I may have caused the other person. I was disappointed in myself for losing control of my emotional filter. I felt perplexed on how someone would have been able to tame those raw emotions I was feeling.

I started to wonder … how do people do it? Perhaps my feelings are stronger than others? Feelings on steroids. Perhaps I missed a life skill along the way. Maybe I’m just weaker than others – unable to hold it together. Whatever the reason, I knew I had done it again.

I gave a lot of prayerful thought to the “incident” over the weekend. I prayed for a way that I could take it all back. I struggled with the fact that I meant the hard truths I said, but regretted the way I said them. I was embarrassed and ashamed of the immaturity I displayed. I was embarrassed that I had come completely unraveled in front of someone else.

Monday morning came and I had to face the music. I had to sit in front of that person and talk about what had happened. I had to actually acknowledge that I had lost my “stuff” and had become unraveled. The only words that I could come up with were, “I’m sorry I hurt you. I want you to know that I love you and respect you and I am deeply sorry my actions didn’t show you that.” Because I was sorry. I couldn’t apologize for what I had said because I wouldn’t have been truthful. But I could say that I was sorry I had hurt my friend, that was truth. But sometimes that’s what the other needs to hear. Not that you take back what you said, but that you care about their hearts. Everything boils down to relationships. It’s not the work we are doing, it’s the hearts of the people we are working with and working for.

I still don’t have a clear answer why some are able to hold it together while I have emotional diarrhea. I wonder if it has more to do with not having conversations about things that bother me as they one up. They all build and fester and explode like a tea kettle. I try to hold it together by saying everything is ok, not wanting to upset the apple cart. I try to be strong enough to just take it and let it go. I need to have faith that my coworkers love me enough to want to know when I’m hurting. I have to believe that my brothers and sisters in Christ care as much about our relationship as I do.

I wish it wasn’t true, but it’ll happen again. I’ll vomit hurt, hysterical, emotional crap all over again. I’m going to work hard at processing, taking time to clear my thoughts and get “right” within myself. I care about my job, my work and the people I encounter. Sometimes I care too much that it becomes a pride thing.

The work we do in the Lord’s name means nothing if we are hurting His people along the way. Love each other. Ask for forgiveness when you need it. Be willing to forgive someone who doesn’t deserve it. Grace. Love one another. That it is the real job God gave us … to love one another.

Love, Mel

3 Comments

Filed under Faith, Posted by Melissa

My First Sermon – Lady Wisdom

I was super excited when asked to preach at the church I serve. I’ve poured my heart out on the world wide web with my writing, but never had to stand up in front of everyone and say it out loud. So, after lots of prayer, conversation and practice in my bathroom mirror, I preached at Atonement on Sunday, July 19, 2015 for the very first time. I had a blast and was so blessed to have the opportunity to worship with these people.

If you are interested in what I shared, below is the sermon I shared.

Love, Mel


Good morning! I’ve been serving Atonement as your office manager for almost two years now. Many of us have not met face to face and I just want to say how great it is to worship the Lord with you this morning!

You may or may not know, but I’m a single mom to four beautiful boys – Jaden (9), and the triplets: Logan, Owen and Weston (4.5). I have two of them with me on earth – Owen passed away when the triplets were 6.5 months old. Let me tell you raising all boys on your own can be a wild ride! One that I often do not feel equipped for. Moms are always giving instruction to their kids … offering them wisdom. I can tell you that I’ve surprised myself with some of the instructions that come out of my mouth like …

  • It’s gross to pick your nose, you’re gonna lose friends
  • We wear pants to the dinner table
  • It’s probably best to change your shirt each morning
  • Quit licking your brother’s armpit!

On a serious note … As mothers and women, we are in a constant role of offering instruction and guidance. In an average home, women are the nurturers, the care-givers, we are daughter, sister, friend, co-worker, mother, wife … sometimes we are laundromat, dishwasher, keeper of the lost and found, chef, chauffeur, and sometimes the hold-the-family-together-ers. I’m not saying that men can’t or don’t fulfill these roles … I just think in a general sense these are looked at as feminine qualities.

I remember sitting in a marriage counseling session, before my divorce. Joe, the therapist, was explaining male and female roles in a marriage and family unit. My ex husband was all in a tissy because we stayed at my parent’s house an hour past the boy’s bedtime and he felt like I was being irresponsible. Joe looked at him and said, “I can promise you that Mel has already thought about the boy’s bedtime four times before it’s even crossed your mind. She’s weighed the pros and cons of the boys staying up a little later against the benefit to the entire family unit of spending extra time together. She sees her family as much wider than you do … as most women do. They have an intuition on how to manage a wide range of relationships.”

Now I have to admit I was flattered by his words, I didn’t feel that my role was that important, nor did I feel as though I had that kind of insight. But as I’ve grown and my family has changed, I find that maybe there was some truth to Joe’s words. And not in a “pat myself on the back” kind of realization, but rather as a better understand of how God has knit me together as female. Seeking and managing relationships is intuitive to most women.

What’s really interesting about today’s scripture, and partly why Greg asked me to share today’s message, is that Proverbs 8 personifies wisdom as a woman …

Let’s first define wisdom. When I try to define wisdom I think of someone who is really smart – someone who has been there, done that. The wise old owl. However, in the Christian sense, wisdom is not the same as truth or knowledge. It’s not just intellectual insight or book learning, either. Wisdom is: good judgment. Book smarts are not associated with biblical wisdom.  Making good judgements relates to knowing, listening to, wanting to know more about God. A wise person seeks God, always.

So here’s wisdom … she’s hanging out, calling our names. She’s raising her voice to get our attention. “Yoo whoo, over here! Listen to me fools. I’ve got something that’s far more valuable than diamonds and jewels.” Lady Wisdom Calling

She’s calling out to us. She wants us to pick up the phone and listen to her. We can’t have it both ways tho … we can’t answer the call to wisdom and stupidity at the same time. In order to answer Lady Widsom’s call, we need to reject other calls. Wisdom rejects other calls. She is calling us in one direction and away from another. Wisdom calls us towards truth and light and righteousness. We are called away from pride, from envy, greed. The call isn’t always an easy one to answer … sometimes it’s really hard to do the right thing. Sometimes it’s hard to acknowledge that the problem lies within ourselves.

I don’t know about you, but I want to live a wisdom-filled life. I am guilty of following the wrong “truth.” Taking the easy way out, instead of pausing to listen to Lady Wisdom.

Sometimes it’s really hard to hear Lady Wisdom’s voice over all the other voices. We live in a time, place and culture that has a thousand different ideologies and truth claims. It’s not always clear what biblical wisdom looks like anymore.

In social media, like facebook, twitter, pinterest – Proverbs is often used as a modern day fortune cookie.

The LutheranThe front page of this month’s “The Lutheran” featured an article on how society uses the books of wisdom as adages. Some adages are biblical, some are negative and some are just hurtful. But they are words that are meant to shape our lives and offer us a deeper understanding. The trick is to be cautious about what we are trying to understand … are we seeking God’s wisdom? Or something to satisfy our own desires?

When King Solomon originally wrote the book of Proverbs, his audience was young men. His writing was intended to form character and promote values. So … one could conclude that wisdom, being written as a mysterious woman standing on the corner, calling your name was a metaphor for the way a man desires a beautiful woman. This is the same way we are supposed to desire God’s wisdom. He wants us to yearn for and long for His wisdom – His good judgement.Sleeping

What do you think about when you first wake up in the morning? What makes you get out of bed? What is the one thing you want more than anything else in the world?

I struggle with wanting people to like me. I wanted to be popular in school. There were three girls, who really wanted to be my friend, Katie, Dana and Helissa. But I had decided they weren’t cool enough. I still hung out with them but never really committed to their friendship. Fast forward and I don’t keep in touch with anyone from high school. I don’t think that it’s abnormal, but on the morning Jaden was born, Katie, one of the girls from elementary school came into the room. She asked if it would be ok for her to be the surgical tech for Jaden’s c-section. She spent the next two days visiting with me and holding my brand new baby boy. It was then that I realized how much I had missed out on because I was so busy trying to be popular. My heart desired fame and approval rather than God’s wisdom and truth. The three girls are still friends today. They stood up in each other’s weddings, their children are all friends. I have to admit, I answered the wrong call back in middle school. I rejected a gift that God was trying to bless me with and was seeking to fill my own desire.

My mom tried to offer me the wisdom of recognizing an authentic friendship. I can still hear her saying “Why do you want to be friends with those girls when they are so mean to you?” Or “Dana is such a sweet girl, why don’t you play with her anymore?” But I didn’t want to hear it from her. The value of wisdom can not be taught. It’s something you need to learn from the inside out. Through your experiences and choices.

It’s through our choices we learn that

… wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.

Proverbs 8The good news is that, Wisdom keeps calling. Lady Wisdom keeps calling over and over again. Scripture doesn’t say that she calls our name once, it doesn’t say she gives up if we ignore her. God keeps calling our name, he keeps giving us opportunity after opportunity.

I heard Lady Wisdom calling me when I met a family in the NICU after the triplets were born. Wisdom told me to pause and have a conversation with this person … and he has blessed me with my new “framily.” They keep me grounded, they are a safe place to go when my kids are scaling the walls. We share holidays and make memories together. They are a true example of what authentic friendship looks like.

What calls from Lady Wisdom did you put to voicemail? Did you miss her call today? Turn up the volume of your ringer, save her phone number in your contact list and seek her out. She wants to share her insight with you …

Amen.

1 Comment

Filed under Faith

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

I participated in a tenebre service last night at the church I serve. Seven people were asked to share a reflection on one of the seven last words from the cross. I reflected on Matthew 27:45-46 …

45From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 46And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani (sa-bacht-na-knee) ?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Matthew 27:46-46

After five and a half hours of agony, Jesus says, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me? Very different than the “I will always be with you,” “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” Yet, in so many ways, we can relate to this piece of scripture easier than the others. This passage speaks directly to our broken human hearts. I don’t know about you, but I think there are many more times in life that I have questioned where God was, than the moments where I could feel his arms carrying me.

Let me set the stage … May 21, 2011 one of my triplet sons stopped breathing at home. Owen lived on life support for five days until he gave his ultimate sacrifice on May 26th. I can only explain those five days in the hospital as magical. The presence of God was so strong. He sat next to Owen’s bed WITH me.

Fast forward a few months … my marriage was falling apart. I was crying myself to bed every night. Begging for counseling and getting no where. Day after day I was lonely, hurting and slowly losing myself. I begged God to help me. I pleaded with him to please save my marriage. “God, I have served you through the death of my baby boy – I have spoken of your love in the midst of my unthinkable loss – where are you now to help me? Where are you now to comfort me? Have I not loved you enough for you to love me back? My god, my god, why have you forsaken me?”

I sought out wisdom from my pastor. To my surprise he advised me to leave. For the first time I heard the A word … abuse. What? Me? No … he doesn’t hit me, I’m not being abused. But my pastor insisted, “Mel … this is a death dealing relationship … God loves you so much, he does not expect you to sustain such abuse … it’s time.” I was tired and thirsty, yet God did not offer me rest. When I called his name, He neither comforted nor encouraged me.

Today, Good Friday, Christ died for us. The same silent God I begged to save me, screams his love by allowing his own son to die for me. Sometimes the extent of God’s love is hard for me to grasp … I can be so unlovable, yet this invisible being sent his only child to die for me … he literally died to save me. When trying to understand God’s love for me, I often think of the love I have for my own children. Would I go through unspeakable pain so that they would have a better life? Yes – without a doubt yes. If my ability to love is only a fraction of what God is capable of … then I suppose he would be capable of loving me, even when I am so far separated from him.

I do find comfort in these incredibly sad and painful words … God understands. He gets it. He’s been there, done that.

Did you know that Psalm 22 begins with the same words?

1“My god, my god why have you forsaken me”

Why are you so far away when I groan for help?

2Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer.

Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief.

Psalm 22

Jesus cries out the same feelings that Kind David did so many years earlier.

When we feel pain, we are separated from God. When we worry, we are separated from God. When our sin weighs us down, we are separated from God. When my children don’t follow my instruction, they are separated from me. When the sun goes down and at the height of his agony, Jesus experiences what it feels like to be separated from God. While you may not be able to see where God is in your life, be sure that he knows your pain.

15My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay.

My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.

You have laid me in the dust and left me for dead.

19O lord, do not stay far away!

You are my strength; come quickly to my aid!

Psalm 22

He has not turned his back on you … he will come again.

Love, Mel

ps I even rocked the steps up to the chancel with my crutches!

2 Comments

Filed under Faith

Why God Created Spell Check

Most of the time I’m flying from one thing to the next. I’m balancing work, kids and my own emotional health (i.e. me time). I’m hoping that the decisions I’m making aren’t causing issues down the road. Am I giving my kids enough attention? Should I be taking more time off of work to go on that field trip? By not going on the field trip am I going to cause him “mommy issues” down the road? Do my kids really know just how much I love them? One juggling act after the other …

But then, it’s like God knows just what I need at just the right moment … there are these moments when everything is crystal clear. It doesn’t last very long, maybe a minute or two. But I have this clear vision that life is exactly what it’s supposed to be right now. I’m good enough right here.

This morning it was a moment when all the boys had been served their breakfast and they were watching a movie on the iPad. I heard a whisper: Look Mel! Just look at these three amazing boys! All sitting together and loving each other. They are as thick as thieves. You did this. I trust you with them. You are doing a great job!

photo 4

Me? I’m doing a good job? I don’t really feel like I am. Jaden and I forgot to study his spelling words last week. Logan was crying because his favorite pair of pants were dirty and I hadn’t done the laundry yet. I’m behind at work and forgot again to download the power points onto the computer in the sanctuary. There just isn’t enough time in the day to be “good enough.”

While it’s totally true that there are not enough hours in the day … it by no means reflects my value as a mother, friend or office manager. I am not defined by the unfinished jobs on my to-do list. But rather, I am measured by what I did accomplish. I didn’t study spelling words but I did cuddle Jaden each night before bed and I told him I loved him at least three times every day last week. I didn’t do the laundry, but I snuggled with Logan before school for a few minutes instead of curling my hair.

I have also come to realize that these “ah-ha” moments come when my kids are loving each other. We got some snow in Wisconsin this week and I had to go out and snow blow on Tuesday evening. I bundled all the boys up in their snow gear and set to work. While they did not help their mother shovel the driveway, they did go sledding on the side of the house – together. Their brotherly giggles and laughter was enough. It made the night feel almost magical really. This is my life … these are my boys … for real? How did I get so lucky to be the mom of these boys?

God whispered again: You are enough.

I have decided that if the only thing that my kids ever learn from me is to love one another and others, then my life in complete. Isn’t that why God created spell check? A gift for those moms who just can’t do it all.

I’m not totally sure what God thinks of me when my boys are fighting and screaming and kicking the living snot out of one another. But I suppose that’s for another blog … until then, I am enough.

Love, Mel

11038740_872066066041_4020337918537219889_n

1 Comment

Filed under Faith

I was late to church today

We were late for church today. Logan decided he didn’t want to put on his shoes. I was nervous when we finally arrived. Would my children be able to hold it together for an hour, or would the ugly side of our family rear it’s ugly head, revealing what our family is really like to a bunch of church-going-strangers? I dropped Logan and Weston off in the nursery. Both boys hung their coats and kissed me sweetly goodbye. A flawless drop off. Fingers crossed they wouldn’t get into a wrestling match in the next 59 minutes.

Jaden and I walked to the sanctuary at the other side of the building. I was thinking of the best way to find a seat without being noticed … we were really late and I knew any sudden movements would draw attention. When Jaden saw the doors to the sanctuary his pace quickened. He started tearing off his coat and hat, tossing them behind him, hoping I would catch them. He ran down the center aisle toward the altar where the children were sitting and listening to the children’s message. Let me repeat that … he RAN down the center aisle INTHE MIDDLE OF THE CHURCH SERVICE! There was no sneaking in the side door and sliding into a back row, going unnoticed. I asked him if he needed help finding his Sunday School class; we had only been to this church a few times before. He shook his head as he continued running down the aisle. I slid into a pew.

I couldn’t help but think of this verse:

Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. Luke 18:16 (NLT)

Whoa, did I just see this piece of scripture lived out in front of me? Those who are like children … When you finally get to church, run down the center aisle to hear His word – without worry or fear of what others are thinking of you. Just run towards the cross.

Why do I go to church? I come to church to receive God’s word and guidance. I shouldn’t be worried about impressing anyone or going unnoticed. Jaden had the right idea. RUN towards the cross. Run even if you are late. Run even if that means everyone is looking at you. The God I worship, is just glad we showed up. He loves us just as we are, totally messy, late and frazzle.

I am such a proud mama … I need to learn from Jaden. We need to learn from our children.

Love, Mel

Leave a comment

Filed under Faith

I heard angels sing

This week has been a little on the crazy side. The church that I work for has been hosting a children’s choir from Africa. That translates to an extra 22 children (ages 5-11) and 9 adults in the building. There has been a buzz in the hallways, angels singing from the Sunday School wing, running, laughing, soccer being played in the front yard. There is energy in the building. These children hug everyone they meet. They call me auntie. They are obedient and silly. They are just lovely.

I watched them for a while during their dress rehearsal. The beat of the drums and the energy was enchanting. They had moooooves! The six year old could move her hips better than this mama of four!

This afternoon, someone asked me more about the choir … so I pulled up asantechoir.org and started reading. Every single one of these children is an orphan. They have no parents, no family – no one. Yet I had no idea by spending the past few days with them. Not one of them looked sad or lonely. They just love Jesus. They have innocence in their eyes. Reading their story moved something within me. It made me realize that their happiness wasn’t because of their innocence … it was because of the love of Christ. The love from other Christ followers that have given them hope again. They felt rescued and loved.

Puts things into perspective. When I don’t like the food I have in my refrigerator. They are just happy to have food on a plate. I’m irritated because it was too hot to sleep well the night before. They are thankful to have a bed to sleep in. I struggle to find enough time to fit in both family and friends. They have no one but each other. Incredible how quickly you can be knocked into a new perspective.

When I watched them again, tears just rolled. Watching each of their smiles. Watching their beautiful costumes and their vibrant colors under the lights. Then picturing them in their home towns … living on the streets, torn clothing, bare boned, no parents, no job … nothing. Yet they were jumping and clapping and signing about God’s love. You can’t manufacture those kinds of things.

IMG_7306

The concert ended with a young boy, about 7, belting out “I’m Trading My Sorrows.” The choir jumping, clapping, arms flying and faces smiling behind him. Those smiles. Those loving eyes have seen such great despair. Those tummies have felt such extreme hunger. And here they are living care free.

I don’t think that they were so lighthearted because they were rescued. See, when I pictured them in the streets of their hometown, I still see those same eyes. I see the same Jesus-loving hearts. They are lighthearted because they follow a good God. They sing about an all loving, all powerful God. He’s the skip in their walk and the twinkle in their eyes.

Such beauty in such young people.

I’m so incredibly thankful that God brought the Asante choir to our middle to upper class, mainly Caucasian congregation. I’m blessed to have been moved by the beat of the drums to have danced to the songs of angels. I’m telling you … they are angels walking on earth. It’s all perspective. And it’s all about the big guy upstairs.

Love, Mel

IMG_7305

Leave a comment

Filed under Faith

What is it with people?

What is with people? Why are they so mean to each other? They fight with each other. They say rude things. They hurt feelings. Most have good intentions but they just don’t think before they speak. They say things trying to help or to offer comfort, but people in general have a knack for messing stuff up.

I first started learning how dumb people could be when I was pregnant with the triplets. Comments like “If I were having triplets, I’d kill myself!” or “Oh man, I’m glad I’m not you!” Come on, really? That’s all the encouragement you’ve got for the woman who is going to never sleep again? Seriously … having spontaneous triplets is weird!

The brutality of people’s lack of common sense came rushing back when talking on the phone with a lifelong friend. Heather and I have literally been friends since we were in the womb. Our moms were pregnant at the same time. We have been through a ton – first crushes, Ace of Base, puberty, boyfriends that we now make fun of each other for (what were we thinking?!?), then weddings and babies. The loss of Owen came flooding back when talking with her last night. She miscarried her dear baby a few weeks ago. The feelings and thoughts she shared were like hearing a recording of me from three years ago – people will well intentions saying really horribly, hurtful things. Let’s be clear on a few things …

  • My child dying was not “for the best”
  • Just because I’m crying a lot doesn’t mean I need medication (well it might, but that’s not the point) I just lost a child – I think I’m entitled to a few tears
  • How are you doing is a ridiculous question … how do you think I’m doing?!?
  • God didn’t NEED another angel – he’s got millions – it wasn’t His will that an innocent baby die

That leads me to my next thought – God is good, his people aren’t. I’m not saying that they are all bad, but they certainly are not perfect. When people do dumb stuff, it hurts. Especially the people who you would expect to know better – doctors, mothers, pastors, religious leaders, funeral directors. For heavens sake, when I met with the funeral director for Owen’s funeral, one of the first things the lady said to me was, “I know how you must be feeling.” Grief 101 – don’t tell someone you know how they are feelings … you have no clue. Even if you think you do, you don’t. You might have an idea or you can empathize, but everyone’s grief is unique. It took a heck of a lot of restraint to not walk out of that room right then. She meant well, but really missed the mark.

Being new in the ministry industry (that rhymed) I’ve become intrigued with why millennials are not attending church. Why is it that people my age don’t feel like they need a church community in their lives? Until recently, I would have thought they were nuts. Sunday was my favorite day of the week. I go back to the point – God is good, his people aren’t. People have egos, agendas, blinders, defenses that don’t allow them to be kind to each other. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be one of the millennials in the books I’ve been reading. “I’m spiritual but not religious.” I believe in God, just not his people. God is love, his people are broken. The hurt I experienced in church hit me out of nowhere. Took me out at the knees. I was left breathless and devastated.

Bigger picture – how do we reconcile this gap? We need people, yet they hurt us. In a way we are all sadists. In every single relationship we have, there is some kind of hurt – whether insignificant or drastic. Yet, most of us, keep going back for more. Meaningful relationships take hard work. Real love doesn’t come easy.

Real love takes seeing the brokenness we all carry and offering forgiveness … sometimes before people even speak. I knew when I went out in public with the triplets, people were going to say dumb stuff and ask intruding questions. I could expect someone to ask me about my sex life – Were you on infertility? At least one would try and touch my newborn babies. The stares and whispers would be waiting for me around each corner. We were a walking freak show every time we went anywhere. I learned that I had to forgive each and everyone one of them before I even left the house.

I didn’t forgive them for their own sake … I forgave them for me. Yes, you read that right, I offered THEM forgiveness for MY OWN well being. I smiled and nodded, being kind over and over again for my own heart. I refused to fixate on other’s lack of common sense in order to keep my own heart soft and kind. If I allowed them to get into my head, I’d get pissed and irritated. My entire trip to the store would have been frustrating. Rather, it became a game. What is the most ridiculous thing someone will say to me and what witty comeback will I have? I learned to have fun when others were rude or intrusive or when they just said the wrong thing.

The world has far too many problems – war, hate, racism, bullies. We need more forgiveness. The world is seriously lacking in that department. Offer your fellow warrior a little TLC and tolerance. Forgive them before they even open up their mouth. Expect them to say the wrong thing and love them anyway. I’ve got to believe that they mean well. They are coming from their own place of truth. Even when you can’t understand how they could possibly think their behavior or actions were justified, love them anyway. The world is seriously lacking in love. With each of us striving to be love warriors in this world of hate, maybe, just maybe, we’ll start a love revolution. Humans mean well, we’re all just a little dumb.

Love, Mel

4 Comments

Filed under Faith, Posted by Melissa

No Arms, No Legs, No Worries

I recently watched this video that was posted on a friend’s facebook wall.

I found myself with tears dripping down my face (ps did I mention I was at work? just a little awkward …). I kept watching the teen girl’s faces with the same tears running down their cheeks. I thought to myself, “Gosh, I’m a grown up, I should know this stuff. What he is saying that I haven’t already heard?” What I started to realize, is that in many ways I’m still a scarred, un-confident, self-doubting, unsure, insecure teenage girl on the inside. I’m still worried about what I look like, or if I’m saying or doing the right things to “fit in.” I say I believe that I am worthy, but do I really believe it? Am I just telling myself that, in hopes that one day I will know it? Hoping that when I look in the mirror I will see someone worthy of love, worthy of respect or worthy of happiness?

Do I really think that I am “good enough?” No … I probably don’t. I look in the mirror and I still see all the things I didn’t do – the dishes I didn’t clean, the opportunity I let pass me by, the mistakes I’ve made, the “what-ifs” of my past. I still see my cracks and flaws. I know that I have beautiful parts too – but I don’t often see them when I’m staring back at my broken soul in the mirror.

I say all this while still knowing that I am loved. I still know that people respect. I know that my friends enjoy spending time with me. But do I believe this of myself? If there was no one in my life whispering me words of strength and encouragement, would I see myself in the same light? I’d have to say no – I don’t think I would. I am broken and shattered without those who love me. I fall apart, I am insecure, I doubt everything I have ever done if it weren’t for someone whispering to me that I matter.

Shouldn’t I be able to stand strong on my own? Shouldn’t I see myself as precious? I want to be … but more often times than not, I find myself hoping that someone else will find me lovable or that someone else will see my brokeness as beautiful. I’m not sure this is the best way to live … always waiting for someone else to validate you. Always waiting for someone else to tell you that you matter. But how do I get to a place where I love myself, not matter what anyone else says to me? How do we help our teenage girls, who are so delicate, learn the same lesson I am learning at 30?

I am still a scared teenage girl inside. I’m still trying to figure out who I am and what makes me special. I’m still a little awkward … still trying on new faces to see which fits me better. I wonder if this part of me will ever “grow up.” Is what I feel normal for a mother of four? Should I feel more confident in myself? I have no idea … I ‘ve never asked anyone else. I’ve been too scared of the answering being “No, I don’t feel like that … it’s just you.” Then that means I’m weak, I’m alone, I’m not like anyone else.

This video stirred up something real in me. I hear God whispering this lesson to me in many different ways. “Melissa, child of mine, you are perfect just the way you are and I want you to know that. I want you to see what I see in you. And I want you to know this without needing anyone else to tell you that.” I guess I have an idea on what it is that I need to learn … I’m just not sure if I’ll ever truly believe those words.

Love, Mel

Leave a comment

Filed under Faith, Mommyhood Meditations, Posted by Melissa

A Day Dream …

Last week, I’d been floating on OWENGE clouds.  ImageLittle Warriors literally makes my heart beat differently.  It gives me an electric kind of energy.  Seeing all the children together because of Owen’s story.  Ugh just typing it makes me smile.

Along with all of the Little Warrior preparations, I’ve had a lot of heavy “stuff” on my heart.  Decisions I made years ago were causing me trouble now.  I was doubting everything that I had been confident in.  I was feeling like I went down the wrong path.  I was frustrated with the pain because I had thought I was right – how did it turn out so wrong?

In the midst of all my errand running, in preparation for Saturday, I had a day-dream.  Driving down Hwy 74, in my minivan with Despicable Me in the background, I had a vivid image appear.

I was standing before God, my heavenly Father … he looked a lot like my dad actually.  He placed his hand on the top of my head.  I was looking up at him going on and on …

“God – I thought I was doing what you wanted me to.  I had my doubts.  I didn’t want to do it.  But I prayed – just like you told me I should.  I prayed sooooo hard.  I thought your answer was to follow through.  I thought you wanted me to do this.  But it’s so awful.  And now I’m faced with the decision of un-doing it.  Did I get it wrong back then?  Were you trying to tell me something that I missed? Blessed are those who follow the Lord.  I don’t feel blessed in this decision – what did I miss?  I don’t want to miss your guidance again. Show me what I need to learn so that I will always be on your path …”

He stopped me mid sentence.  Moved his hand from the top of my head to my cheek.  “Child of mine, I have heard your prayers.  You did exactly what you were supposed to do at that time.  I know just how much you love me.  You are a faithful servant and I love you so much.  You did exactly what you were supposed to do.  It will all work out – it’s part of my plan.  Now go and know that you are loved.”

The weight was lifted … ok honestly?  Not totally, but it did lift just enough to breathe.  The first sense of relief in a long time … I felt relief that God didn’t blame me.  I felt confident in my prayers and how I came to my decision years ago.  God wasn’t disappointed in me.  It wasn’t that I missed something … it’s that this hardship is apart of my path.  I have to go through it.  It wasn’t something that I could have avoided.  This is not a consequence for my disobedience.

It doesn’t make the hardships any less – but I can carry them with a lighter heart.  I am confident that God has not left me and that He will be with me as a travel the next couple of months.

Now I’m wondering what my dad is going to think when he finds out God looked like him in my daydream … haha

Love, Mel

1 Comment

March 27, 2013 · 8:45 am