Sunday, December 14, 2014

Perfect LOVE casts out fear

Just this week during my favorite time in the morning, I felt the prompting of God. Maybe it was timing, maybe it was where my heart was at that moment, but either way I was obedient. Trusting God in the moment of obedience is difficult. Like anxious, what if this turns out badly, what if it turns out to be great... And the what ifs continued. I seem to trust God to a point. I will trust him with this but only so far. I find myself doing the same in my other relationships. I know where that stems from and it is a complete fight within myself to completely surrender. To allow someone else to take care of the rest. That's difficult for me to do. I tried that, we all have, trusted someone completely & then they wrecked it all. Destroyed the trust you graciously gave, so you withdrawal, you hide. You say things, "I won't ever let that happen again, I will only allow them to get this close". I know it's a form of misguided control thinking I can keep this close enough so I want get hurt again. It's the same thing that Eve wrestled with in the garden. The serpent placed doubt, she took the bait, she did not trust the heart of God, and just knew He was holding out on her. It's in our DNA. On the fallen Eve spectrum we women are either dominant/controlling, mousy/desolate, or some weird combination of both. How do we overcome this? TRUST.  We do what it is we know we are supposed too regardless of how risky, and leave the results to God. Sounds simple right? At least it looks easy on paper. I know it is much harder. I think it is like taking baby steps, we work hard to trust, we fall down, and we keep trying.

The good news is that as much as we try to arrange for a good life and protect ourselves from pain, our strategies will not work. Oh, they may work for awhile but not for long and they never give us the results we desire. I know after my obedience test this week, it turned out just fine. I was obedient, I did what I know God wanted me too, and I trust Him with the rest. The only TRUE safe place for our hearts is in God. God knows why we do the things we do. And He has mercy on us. He understands our deep fear and longs to replace it with His love. (Perfect love casts out fear). 

So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. (‭Hebrews‬ ‭4‬:‭14-16‬ NLT)

May we ask Jesus to continue to free us from our self-protective & fallen strategies. May He come & heal our places of deep fear where we don't know yet or believe that we are deeply loved and wanted. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

LOVE addict

Love... For some they completely misunderstand this word for others they completely get it. Simple four letter word so it should be easy right? One could only wish.

I spent my first 40 years looking for love in all the wrong places. Looking to fill the holes my heart longed to be filled but after finding said love, it was more empty than before. Growing up I could never truly understood love, I mean my parents loved me the best they knew how but there was always this longing. Longing to be loved, longing to be delighted in, longing to be seen, longing for someone to scoop down and rescue me. As a child my favorite movie was Cinderella, visions of my Prince Charming swooping in to rescue me from this life of pain, my damsel in distress mentality, unfairness, abuse, and rescue me from myself. My biggest problem with this dream, was in the searching. I searched for this dream in man. Failed relationship after failed relationship only left me empty. I had to learn, the hard way unfortunately, that God is the only one meant to fill the gaping holes in my heart. I learned that He is my Prince Charming.

Remember this toy? How when learning your shapes, you placed the right shaped piece in the exact shaped hole? Often in life we are filling our holes with all the wrong shaped pieces, men, food, money, children, work, and the list goes on. However when we learn early that only God is intended to fill these holes, how different our life could be.  

C.S. Lewis says, 

Perspective order: Put first things first you get first and second things, but put second things first you lose both first and second things. Thankfully, I have allowed God to tear off all the scabs covering the holes of my heart and I allowed Him to completely heal them.  It was a painful & difficult process but so worth it. Once this healing took place I was able to see Love through the lens of God. As my therapist said, I finally got my picker fixed. Haha! Finally, I was able to see the Godly love I was always supposed to receive. Then God gave me my hearts desire in a man. The one thing I spent my life longing for in a man, He gave it to me. I didn't search for it, I didn't stalk it, it came to me unexpectedly. Now that I have a Godly man who loves me as Christ loved the church, and who is the leader of our home, one would think I could rest now that all my holes are filled. One thing I have learned in the past 4 years is that no matter how Godly your husband is, no matter how he checks all the boxes we have in our minds, there will always be a loneliness. A loneliness and a longing that only God was meant to fill. It is too much to place the weighty expectation on my husband or anyone else other than God to fill. So, in my periods of loneliness, I rest in God. I take this need & let Him fill it. Lesson learned. So today, evaulate what's filling your holes. Seek God because He's the only one who can fill them without ever thirsting again. I am thankful God continued to pursue me. He met me at my well & filled every crevice with His unconditional LOVE

Loving Unconditionally, 

~Melissa ✨

Saturday, August 30, 2014


The believer replied, “Every promise of God proves true; he protects everyone who runs to him for help. So don’t second-guess him; he might take you to task and show up your lies.” (Proverbs 30:5-6 MSG)

There are things we see with our natural eyes, then there are things we see that others are blind too, finally there are things we see with our spiritual eyes. Same goes for truth. There are things we really want to believe but doubt, there are things we believe but those things truly have no truth to them, then there are things we believe that we can not see.  

I've often wondered why seemly intelligent people believe what they believe and think its truth when it's not. Or why some have ridiculous faith and believe what is unseen. Or when everyone thinks their way is the right way. 

But I'm reminded today what was revealed to me in September 2010 after Michael's mothers death. The last verse marked in her bible & written on a piece of paper marking her spot was this: 

For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand. (Matthew 13:13 NLT)

I like the message version of this verse: 
He replied, “You’ve been given insight into God’s kingdom. You know how it works. Not everybody has this gift, this insight; it hasn’t been given to them. Whenever someone has a ready heart for this, the insights and understandings flow freely. But if there is no readiness, any trace of receptivity soon disappears. That’s why I tell stories: to create readiness, to nudge the people toward receptive insight. In their present state they can stare till doomsday and not see it, listen till they’re blue in the face and not get it. I don’t want Isaiah’s forecast repeated all over again: Your ears are open but you don’t hear a thing. Your eyes are awake but you don’t see a thing. The people are blockheads! They stick their fingers in their ears so they won’t have to listen; They screw their eyes shut so they won’t have to look, so they won’t have to deal with me face-to-face and let me heal them. (Matthew 13:11-15 MSG)

I'm amazed how much truth is in this verse. Having eyes to truly see the truth, ears to truly hear the truth, and a heart to understand the truth... What a treasure indeed.  I've had plenty of times in my life when my eyes were closed to the truth, when my ears only heard the enemies voice, and when my heart was blinded to truly understand. However, after lots of lessons learned, and allowing God to truly heal the deep hurts of my heart was I finally freed to walk in His truth. I'm thankful for hard lessons, my terrible mistakes as they have helped me become the person I am today. I'm far from having it all together, God continues to show me cracks within my character that need his touch, & thankfully he's patient with this strong willed stubborn type A girl. 

My prayer for us all is this: Have eyes to see, ears to hear, & and a heart to understand.  

Sunday, May 25, 2014

~Never Give Up

Every. Single. Time.

Ever love someone deeply, you know just pour your life into, take really good care of, love unconditionally, turn, stab you several times in the back then come back and act like your the best thing since slice bread?

Ever just wonder why the lies just flow out of people's mouth like there's no consequences for such things?

Ever wonder how you can really just make it through another day. The struggles of life are so real.

Ever wonder how it's possible to truly love people when the betrayal is so deep you want to do nothing but turn and run for dear life.

It's possible... Experiencing God's love. Every. Single. Day. And of course forgiveness. I've been betrayed, lied about, gossiped about, disrespected, become frustrated with my struggles, and I've forgotten too many times to hold every thought captive.

But with every struggle God points me back. Remembering forgiveness is the easiest release. Not just once but... Every. Single. Time.

I always thought if I can get through this betrayal, I will have it down pat. No they keep coming. I thought let me get through this lie, it will be all good. No the lies keep being told. I think if I love them enough, my heart will stop breaking. No my heart breaks often.

Understanding that life struggles continue to come, regardless. But what do you do?

You remember all the times God made a way, that He loved anyway, He forgave anyway. Every. Single. Time.

I think it is like Elisha's untidy ending as described in Crash the Chatterbox. Wars and struggles will always come but how we handle it, defines our victory. Elisha instructed the King to pound the ground with an arrow. He pounded the ground with the arrow 3 times, it guaranteed that the people of God would have 3 decisive military victories over the enemy. Elisha became angry because he saw a king who had faith in the loving God, and even the humility to do what the prophet asks, settle for something less than complete victory. To see the king stand toe to toe with an opportunity to drive out his enemies entirely-but settle for this? Such astonishing potential, such a half hearted application.  Elisha surveys the wreckage of wasted opportunity, and seethes "Is that all you've got? Is that all you want? Just enough victory to back the enemy off, just enough to survive? Why did you stop striking the ground? you would have completely destroyed the enemy! Why would you settle for winning a few battles when you had the opportunity to win the war?

What can we learn from this? It takes tenacity. Every victory you win means another battle you have to fight. So you keep pounding. Every betrayal, keep pounding, every day your heart is broken, keep pounding, every disappointment, keep pounding. Pound the ground until the pounding becomes a rhythm. Pound the ground until the sound turns into cadence. Pound the ground until the ground starts to shake. Relentless. Steady. Consistent. Every. Single. Moment.

Never giving up. NEVER.

I have to decide that I won't let go, I won't stop, I will be unshakeable, relentless, steady, and consistent. Leaning on God. Trusting Him completely. I won't give up.  Every. Single. Time.

*Crash the Chatterbox credits

Friday, April 11, 2014


There are some days I could care less if I see another informational picture that quotes something encouraging or to praise God anyway. It seems we can like them, save them, share them, and even quote them but some days they can't speak to the core of your discouraged heart. You know that place that at the end of the day questioning why am I doing this again? Some days my struggles are overwhelming on top of being sick doesn't exactly make me want to read them or remember "in everything give thanks". I am frustrated. Lately it seems that's a state I find myself residing. Frustrated that people don't really listen, can't follow the rules, refuse to follow-up, wear their mask, or those who scam everyone to think that they really are doing what they are supposed too. Especially when there are so many who are overlooked that are working hard  & making good choices. Of course then there's those you spend your life pouring into. Those you make the biggest contribution too & at the end of the day you are left standing with egg on your face.

Sometimes I just feel stuck. I know I am supposed to be stuck to God not in my circumstance. But today here I am. What do I do with all these feelings? The feelings of not enough, never good enough, never any real understanding, no thank you's, no pats on the back, never credit for all you do. Just nothing simply nothing. It's a lonely place.

When you look to God to answer all these feelings and allow Him the liberty to speak into them I know He makes the difference. But even though I may know that doesn't mean I always feel like it. I feel there are days my heart just bleeds out. Giving all I can give and never asking for anything really in return but for them to know that I was there. Do I make a difference, am I loving enough, am I patient enough, is this all really worth it?

Well my answer deep inside is yes but how do I get what's inside out? How can I push what I know in my heart to become the reality I walk out? I know I will do it but I stand here with my arms folded like pouting child for a little while. Just this week I wrote about overcoming. I really don't feel like fighting to overcome today. Mama said there would be days like this.  I am thankful God doesn't give up on me when I am stuck. I actually saw that today on one of those encouraging word pictures I was talking about earlier. I laughed out loud because that does explain my situation today... Stuck. So I wait... I wait until I can humbly unfold my arms and quiet my heart. Until I actually allow God to fill me up so what's inside will push its way out.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Today I am reflecting. Scary I know but I am thinking of the overcomer's that I have witnessed in my life. Those fighting for their lives, those who take risks to be seen for who they truly are, those who married at 16 & this year will celebrate 46years of marriage, a girl who beat the odds of teenage pregnancy, no college & has a successful career. How do these overcomer's overcome? Maybe it's determination, never giving up, and attitude. Or maybe it's their extreme faith while clinging to the words God has written. I am not completely sure all aspects of what sets these individuals apart. What drives them? What is this hope that's buried deep in their soul? I'm not sure some days but may we all find it. For me I think it's getting up every time you are knocked down.

Yesterday we lost a true overcomer in our community. This sweet ladies attitude, humor, sweet spirit, and her "no quitting attitude" has impacted lives of everyone she met. What a great display of Angel's walking among us. She's completely whole today standing with the God who created her and I know He welcomed her in saying well done my good and faithful servant.

Then there's that video of a goth looking young man who gets on a stage to sing for the first time ever. Even his parents had no idea he could sing.  The music begins to play sweet soft sounds then from nowhere you hear opera coming from his vocal cords. Self taught, hiding his talent under a bushel, afraid, but courage springs forth and he receives a standing ovation. He overcame that fear of rejection.

Then the young couple who eloped at 16 that had no clue about life, marriage, love, and how it all works but this year celebrates 46 years of marriage. Not to mention the obstacles they overcame as they raise a family, juggle  working, drug/alcohol addiction, and bankruptcy. How does that work? How do you overcome such struggles? Persistence, determination, faith, hope, and Grace of God?

Yet in our day to day we can't get off the couch to exercise, we can't put down the cheeseburger, and we can't fight through our pain. Always wanting to run from our problems yet can't put on our tennis shoes to run around the neighborhood. Or maybe that's only me. It's funny how we can overcome a life of poverty but we can't help others or how we don't want someone to judge us but we can't get the log out of our own eye. Our tongue. The unruly little beast that spouts evil one minute then turns words into sugar. You know like syrupy sugar that sits at the bottom of southern sweet tea. Life & death are in the power of the tongue. How can we overcome that?

I'm not convinced of how it all works because I struggle daily. I have overcome a lot in my life and my struggles are different from others. Lately I can only breathe deeply, take one step at a time, work hard to stay in today, and trust. Trust that when Everything around me is in chaos God is there saying peace be still. I work hard to be thankful in all things but some days that's harder than others. How can we be overcomer's in our day to day, in our difficult struggles, & in deep pain. I heard a preacher use this phrase and it just stuck: the deep pain of life prepares you for the deep love of God.

What gives?

Today this...

Be a fighter, be an overcomer, be hopeful, be an encourager, be a lover, be a grace giver, love from every fiber of your being, speak words that give life. I think Romans 12 really says it all:

Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality. Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody. Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.” Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good. (Romans 12:9-21 MSG)

Fight to be an overcomer... That's what it is going to take.. We must fight...

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: (2 Timothy 4:7 KJV)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Learning to breathe

Finding myself in the place of the unknown. Not sure some days how to even breathe. I know there has been moments I've stopped. Wondering how did we get here and what got us to this place? Was there something differently we could have done? I'm trusting the years of praying for protection from all the lies believed and from the voice that gets the most attention will somehow reach to the core. Watching as this path of destruction is being walked, my thoughts sink into all the what if's. I'm left with a hole trying to decide if it's possible for God to fill it. He's done it before but this time is different. I realize I've been here before just a different lifetime and different roles.

I know God is able but we've got to be willing. How do you tell your heart to stop hurting but yet to breathe in the same breath? Seems impossible.

How do you walk it out trusting God yet pleading in every step? How do you offer tough love and truly walk it out when God has given Mother's an unlimited supply of grace. Where is that line and how do you tell your heart you can't cross it?

So I wait. I trust. I work to breathe one breath at a time & take one day at a time. I've learned I must stay in today & tell my what if's to pipe down. God loves more than we ever could. God see's our struggle and our pain. He is faithful and just to complete everything He has started.

So today I wait. I trust. And I'm learning how to breathe again.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

My years as a prodigal

Back story first:

I was always a happy child. Delightful as my granddaddy would say it. I learned about God very early in life as my grandparents would take me to church. At first glance organized religion seemed pretty harmless. You sit in service you stand, sing then you sit, stand a million more times then you sleep through the message, you go home, eat fried chicken then take a nap. Seemed pretty wonderful for this southern girl.

My parents didn't take us to church when we were younger. They were still finding their way, numbing their pain, & seeking the next thrill. Through my elementary years I took on the role of helping as much as I could around the house, looking out for my brother, & sometimes acting like a mom. I have always been good at taking care of everyone else. Then one day my dad found Jesus. Our lives changed somewhat. I think their addictions shifted and became model church folk. We started attending a church that preached condemnation. You can't wear this, you can't wear that, you can't listen to this, and the list goes on. I constantly found myself checking off the things I was doing right and feeling like a horrible person because of all I couldn't put a check beside.

We switched churches and learned of unconditional love and how Jesus loves us regardless. At this point I was so confused. So I don't have to keep this list of do's & don't's? Then my parents took up their addictions once more while Holding leadership positions in the church. I thought well I guess I don't really have to keep this list anymore. Or did I?

Through my teenage years I just wanted to find my way. Figure out who I was, what I believed in, and find a good man. Ambitious huh?

Insert my prodigal story:

My prodigal story isn't the typical one of disrespect, rebellion toward my parents, or leaving home. It's more of a journey that spanned 23 years. So here goes:

I went looking for love in all the wrong places as I can still hear Johnny Lee singing it. I took many roads of self destruction though drugs and alcohol weren't one of them, my craving for the hole in my heart to be filled with the perfect man and acceptance was addiction enough. I found myself
In a downward spiral never finding what my heart so desperately wanted. My path of horrible choices left Me with failed relationships, emotionally hurt children, near disasters, heartbreak, and feelings of well I guess I can't check those boxes of keeping it good with God.

As I carried my do's and don't's list around I encountered "church folk" that didn't really accept me. I was the scarlet letter. You know, "she can't get her act together" and "you know she's divorced" and "why is she here at church", "she doesn't belong here". It's hard to discern the truth about what God thinks of you when surrounded with such self righteous people.

Yet again I decided to try this church thing. I couldn't ever shake that I felt God pursuing me & often feeling His love even though I wasn't quite sure how He could love someone like me. You know I don't have checks in these boxes and I'm sure that's not really God I feel. I changed churches to suit my at the time, "I don't know about this Holy Spirit thing". So I played church, I was there every time the doors opened. I held every position there was to hold, taught every class I could teach, started children church, and prayed no one would really find out about my horrible choices in life because I knew they would slam the doors in my face. All the while I was making wrong choices in relationships, dragging my kids to church, I was silently keeping my list like it was some trade off. Well I did this well and I know that will cancel out this mistake, etc. but I always came up short in my heart & on my paper.

Feeling defeated as my recent relationship choice was leading my children to withdrawal and the verbal and emotional abuse was more than I could bare or watch my children endure. I felt as though my heart would break into a million pieces. After yet another failed relationship something happened. I truly found God. I didn't find Him in church with all the self righteous people, I didn't find Him in a relationship, I didn't find Him in serving others. I didn't find Him in my children even though they are gifts from God.  I found Him in the still quiet of my house. This prodigal finally found her home & into the One who knew me completely and loved me anyway. I realized I could put away my list of do's & don't's. I am finally truly finding my way. I haven't completely arrived & I am stumbling still working to figure it all out and I don't have all the answers nor do I have it all together. But I am working to walk in the direction I feel God is leading.

Yes today I do attend church and I sing in the choir. The "self righteous" ones are still lingering around but the difference for me now is I know who I am in Christ & His opinion of me outweighs the self righteous & the voice of the enemy. Church folk don't bother me at all except when they mess with those still finding their way. We must love the unlovable (even the self righteous folks) we must be patient in their process, love them where they are, show them they don't have to keep a list, while understanding that God is the only true judge as He has all the evidence.

I am finally in a healthy relationship. I have 3 children I birthed and 2 that are birthed from my heart. They are working hard to find their way. (Especially from all the decisions their parents made). They will travel difficult roads, they will make wrong choices, they will even say they hate me, they may doubt God, the may become the prodigal but none of that will ever separate them from the Love of God, His pursuit of them, nor the love of a momma who understands the paths they take, the why behind the what, & will be standing with arms wide open.

I know God is faithful. I know nothing can EVER separate me from His love.

As a side bar: This year my parents will celebrate 26 years of sobriety. I am so thankful & blessed with parents who are such overcomer's. They are wonderful parents & the best grandparents. I love them & I am so proud of them. They are finishing well.