Posted in Uncategorized

Get Rid of “Me”

Good morning. It’s day 6 of my quiet, social-media-free journey. It’s been nourishing for my soul.

Yesterday I slept almost all day because of a stomach virus. Truth is, I don’t feel much better physically today. But I’ve been way behind on getting any real rest – for months. So a day where I was forced to sleep helped me catch up.

I don’t feel like getting out of bed to get my journal and pens, so online journaling will have to do. The title of this blog is Get Rid of “Me” – here’s why:

For most of my adult life I’ve been a caretaker. I’ve been a single mom for 16 years. Every person I’ve dated post-divorce I’ve felt like I had to take care of in some way. I’m finding out that I unintentionally sought out people I could take care of so I wouldn’t have to think about my hurts, my fears, etc. In so doing, I helped many, but neglected myself.

So now I’m working hard at losing weight, being in the Word, finding out who God wants me to be. In short…taking care of myself.

Newsflash: neglecting myself was selfish.

It was selfish because when I don’t take care of myself, other people eventually have to. I want to live a long life and be part of my kids’ and future grandkids’ lives. I don’t want them to have to take care of me. I am finding out it is only when I take care of myself that I can take care of others in a healthy, balanced way.

So the title here reminds me that I need to get rid of the “me” who feels prideful and important when I take care of others before myself. I needed a motive check. A reality check.

In Mark 12, the Word says “Jesus answered, “The most important is Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is, Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.”

Mark 12:29-31 CSB

If I neglect my soul, live with a broken heart, am out of my mind with worry, and have no strength physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally, I cannot love the Lord well. I want to love him well. He is so worthy.

And the 2nd part of that verse hit me hard last night as I was studying this: love your neighbor as yourself. This implies that I love myself. It implies that I’m already taking care of myself. Already. Without hesitation. As a given. How can I “love well” if I don’t love myself well?

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about loving myself like this selfie-driven, me-first, all-for-one-and-that-one’s-me world says to.

I mean just basic self-care.

  • Being in the Word daily
  • Eating well
  • Exercising regularly
  • Sleeping well
  • Living a balanced life
  • Being intentional in real (not online-only) friendships

When I am done with this journey, there’s gonna be a whole lot less chatting and a whole lot more face-to-face. I’m so done with guessing what people mean when I just see their words on-screen instead of hearing their tone and seeing their facial expressions. So done.

With that, I’m going to try to get up and work as long as I can today.

And I’ll be “offline” social media wise (except for the occasional blog) til Sept 24th.

And then I’ll come back as a stronger, healthier “me”.

I’m always praying for you.

I always love you.

-Melissa

Posted in Uncategorized

Resetting My Life

I’ve had some life-altering experiences recently, which brought me to some major realizations. I’ve been wrong about some things. Instead of walking a path I thought God had me on, I’ve realized I was on the wrong path altogether. I’ve been on a path I wanted to walk down…and in the process, I’ve broken my own heart.

So I’m taking time to sort through some questions I have. I’ve been taking some necessary steps to be more balanced.

One thing I have been weakest in on this journey is my dependence on my phone and on social media. I have needed a break from both. There’s nothing on social media that helps me, and I do little there to help others while I’m this heart-broken and hurting this badly.

Today I went to IKEA with my daughter. As we were paying for her new dresser, I took my phone and my wallet out of my pocket. I noticed my phone was acting strangely. It turns out I must have hit the button to reset it to factory settings, because that’s exactly what happened.

I probably said, “you have GOT to be kidding me,” at least a dozen times while reinstalling all of my apps. The app I use to connect to my work’s VPN was the worst hassle – that alone cost me about an hour on the phone with tech support.

In the end, though, I did not reinstall Facebook or Pinterest or Instagram or any of my social media apps.

I feel like this happened for a reason. I need to take a break. So I am taking a break.

The past 3 nights I’ve been filling up my pen and paper journal with Psalms, scriptures, thoughts, questions, and prayers.

And I plan to continue. I’m on a 40 day journey to healing. It’s time for more than my phone to reset.

It’s time to reset my whole life.

If you’re reading, please pray for my journey. I’m sure this blog will post to my social media accounts but I won’t be checking responses there.

Until next time, God bless you.

I love you.

Posted in Friends, Uncategorized

Do You Have Friend-surance?

I was driving to work early today to enjoy a leisurely lunch before an in-house meeting. (I usually work from home.) My commute is a beautiful, winding drive through Argyle, TX.

I have had a rough couple of days, which followed a rough couple of weeks.

That’s when it hit me. Literally. I was stopped in traffic and the car behind me hit my car fairly hard. My neck and right arm took the brunt of the impact.

I sat there stunned for a few moments, then pulled over. The lady behind me pulled over too. Surprisingly, no one else in the long line of traffic stopped to render aid. I was okay. Just dizzy and stunned. My vitals were good. We exchanged info. My bumper is a bit roughed up. But no real damage was done.

And then the headache started. As the afternoon wore on I realized I can barely turn my head to the right. My right hip feels like someone took a baseball bat to it. And my right arm protests anytime I move.

Sometimes what appears to be minor damage on the outside causes major pain on the inside.

It seems like the smallest impacts can make for the greatest aches. And these kinds of aches seem to come in ripple-effect waves.

My latest life impact is actually something I should have seen coming and gotten out of the way. The impact point was a friendship I saw moving toward a relationship and we completely miscommunicated.

Miscommunications happen.

There was a minor impact when we finally communicated clearly, but my heart has taken the brunt of the impact.

To be fair, he communicated clearly and my heart didn’t want to hear it because it would hurt, and I’d put in over a year’s worth of time and effort to something I thought we were building together. When I realized it just wasn’t going to happen, my heart wanted him to see things my way. I think they call this bargaining.

Our miscommunication is like the picture of two people looking from opposite ends of a number. Is it a 9 or a 6? The answer is – yes. It all depends on your perspective.

Just like my arm and my neck today after the wreck, time and rest will heal me. When I look at it objectively, nothing really got broken. It was a minor, repairable scratch in an otherwise strongly-built friendship. The friendship will definitely survive. But right now I just ache so badly. I’m ready to start to heal and begin the repair work.

If you know me you may be surprised that I’m walking through this. I’m pretty strong. I just keeping on walking through life, but my heart hurts.

I smile. I write. I encourage. And just like today – I went on to lunch and work post-accident, but I was hurting the entire time.

Why am I writing this? Is this a journal entry or an encouraging word?

It’s both.

Can you think of a time you lost a friend or had words with a loved one or miscommunicated or had some kind of impact that hit you out of nowhere and you looked fine on the outside, but were aching on the inside?

I just wanted to say – I get it.

Build solid enough friendships that minor incidents won’t damage much. And if damage is done, which is what usually happens in any relationship, build in the friend-surance of love, grace, peace, space, forgiveness, and laughter to help get you healed and back on the road.

Oh…and some other great friend-surance is of lots of time spent laughing over lattes.

Life is better with friends. Take care of those you love.

Posted in Life Lessons, Love, Poetry, Truth, Uncategorized, waiting, Writing

In the Valleys

I sat and watched the sky
And the prairie running wild
Up to the mountains.
I watched the blues and reds
Scatter colors overhead –
Night fell around me.
And suddenly a whisper
Came from somewhere
Deep inside:
I’m walking here beside you
I hold every tear you’ve cried,
Just look around – see:
Some things grow better
In the valleys.

And I pondered the past year
And how if He holds every tear
They must fill an ocean.
When I looked up again
The prairie grass in the wind
Stirred up the notion –
That the God who made
The mountains
Is the God who made the seas.
The one who paints the skies
Is the one who painted me,
And peace swept around me –
Some thoughts are deeper
In the valleys.

If my heart ever finds love,
Or if it never does,
It makes no difference.
Please don’t misunderstand
I don’t think it’s in His plan
To be alone forever.
But looking at the mountains
It begins to make some sense
Some mountains are a fortress,
Some a tall, barbed-wire fence.
When He surrounds me –
Sometimes I’m safest in the valleys.

Posted in family, Friends, heartache, Life Lessons, Truth, Uncategorized, waiting, Word, Writing

Wait Lifting #6: What Are You Waiting For?

Fireworks are exploding over my North Texas town right now. This is one of my favorite holidays, but I skipped it this year. Oh, I had to work some, but the real work I did was on my heart.

I let it heal.

Sometimes it takes a long moment.

My long moment lasted 8 years. I’m finally ready to tell my story tonight…mostly because if I get it out, it’ll bring me closure.

July 2nd, 2011 was going to be one of the best days of my life.

I had been dating someone for a while and he was flying here from Ohio, where he lives, to spend the July 4th weekend with me and meet my family.

My kids were 3, 10, and 14. Stephi was especially excited to meet him – they talked on the phone when he would call me and he was all she could talk about.

Long distance relationships are difficult, at best. But every single weekday morning at 7:15am I would hear my phone ring and it would be him. He could not wait to say good morning and that he loves me. Then he’d text throughout the day just because he was thinking about me – until he texted to say goodnight – always at 9:30pm.

I’d driven up to meet him 2 months prior and the weekend was amazing. It ended oddly, but I was in love. Finally.

At this point I’d been a single mom for 8 years. I was in graduate school. I was teaching a summer technical writing course at the local university that summer, but school was out for this long holiday weekend and I was beyond excited.

His plane was to arrive late in the morning. I waited and waited for his call – well past the usual 7:15 timeslot. He finally called from the airport, said his flight was cancelled but he had been placed on another flight. He’d call with which airline/gate so I could know where to pick him up. So I waited. 2pm. 4pm. Nothing. I called the airline. I called the hospitals. I watched the news. Nothing.

His phone ringer was off. I left a third text message.

Nothing.

I had a massive panic attack. I just remember that my mom sat beside me the entire day. It’s one of my favorite moments with her, actually. I just remember her being close to me that day. Sometimes, even as an adult, you just need your mom.

How could I explain this to the kids? What would I say? Where was he? What was happening?

I finally slept. It was that sleep you have in the middle of an exhausting crying spell where you wake up, wonder where you are, remember, and start again where you left off.

The next day was a blur. No word. No arrival. Nothing.

The day after that was July 4th. I found myself pushing my kiddo in his stroller at the town parade. The parade is my favorite. I’d described it in detail to my boyfriend and he laughed at the Texas small town of it all. It was 9am. My phone rang just as the parade started coming down the street. It was him.

I shouted over the band. “Are you okay? Where are you?”

He said he’d had a medical emergency at the airport and he was at the hospital. He said which one. I knew he wasn’t. I’d already called them.

Short ending to a longer story: he was married.

I’d been waiting. Panicking. Crying over someone who I thought I might spend forever with, but things just were not what they seemed.

This blog is called “What Are You Waiting For?”

I told my story to say this: sometimes you’re waiting on the wrong thing.

Then again…sometimes you’re waiting on the right thing. Recently I waited almost 6 months to find a good job. My waiting and persistence paid off. I now have a great job.

Sometimes you need to wait.

Sometimes you just need to move forward.

I have friends right now who are waiting on healing – for themselves or others. Some who are waiting for spouses to come back. Some waiting on divorce proceedings to proceed. Some for a child to come home. I know two people this past week who have said they are just waiting around to die, and they hope it comes sooner than later.

I’m suggesting we stop waiting and start living in the pauses between the good things.

Hope. Anticipate. Dream. Dream BIG. Plan. Expect greatness.

But in the meantime – stop pausing your life (waiting) and start living.

Go watch the parade – even if you’re in tears.

Do what you need to do.

Today I didn’t want to do the normal July 4th stuff. I needed to spend time here with the kids. I needed it not to be a holiday. I needed it to be a healing day.

I got it.

Life is but a blip. Be present with the ones you love in every single moment.

Go enjoy.

What are you waiting for?

Posted in family, Friends, Life Lessons, Love, Uncategorized, Word, Writing

Glamour Shots

190501_165834_COLLAGE-1

I was purging old stuff in the garage this morning. I don’t even want to tell you what ALL I found. But I came across something that got me thinking.

I came across old Glamour Shots pics  of myself from 1995. That was the year I got married. I looked at my pic for a long while. My makeup is extremely thick and I have what I affectionately call my big Texas hair. This was when poofy bangs and a feathery look was the thing. I was 20 and beautiful, but I had absolutely no clue what I wanted out of life.

Like. Zero. Clue.

The girl I was back then thought she had knew what she wanted. Note the engagement ring in the pic. She had a good job as a retail manager. She was planning a wedding, ran 3 miles a day, and was at her ideal weight.

Here’s the deal – the 20-year-old girl in the picture would never have known what she really wanted or needed if she did not go through all the heartache she went through to get her to today: age 44 and 13 days.

That pic was pre-kids, pre-divorce, pre-assault(s), pre-brother’s death to Cancer, pre-heartache, pre-financial woes, pre-depression, pre-Cancer, pre-Bachelor’s degree, pre-Master’s degree, pre-single-parenting-for-16-years, pre-job-loss, pre-so-much-life.

Right now the kids are in the living room going through the old baby pics of them I found. I’m enjoying their laughter. It’s been difficult, being a single parent. It is certainly different than I expected parenting would be. But without it, I wouldn’t have my youngest.
My kids have changed my priorities in life for sure and for the better.
I am so grateful for the three blessings I have.
I am grateful for Katie’s funny jokes and stories about life and all the joy she lets me in on, on her path to get her teaching degree. She has the most even-keeled personality – ever.
I am grateful for Stephanie singing her heart out at all times and her all-over-the-place emotional greatness. She has the best laugh.
I am grateful for Gavin’s 11-year-old-boy sense of humor. For his knowing every part of every movie score he’s ever heard and being able to sing it back on cue. He has the sweetest heart.

My bestie tribe has helped me clarify what is good for me and what is not. I thoroughly enjoy their wisdom. Without going through my divorce I may have missed out on these 3 amazing people who are in my “tribe” – my inner circle. They keep me prayed up. They lovingly tell me when I’m wrong about something. They make me laugh every single day.

But the main things that have enhanced my life and made me grow are my heartaches – both my mistakes and just awful things I have had to walk through. Like divorce. Like Cancer. Like losing my brother to death and then my sister to the fallout over grieving him. Like so many things.
Trauma made me struggle and cry and bend. It made me stronger in the weak places. If I hadn’t gone through so much trauma, I wouldn’t have so much true joy.

This is because the struggle made me appreciate what I do have. It made me grateful every single day for my kids and my parents and my tribe and all the other friends I have.

The struggle drove me to God. It drove me to soak in His Word. It drove me to be better. It made me stronger.

As I went through the pictures today, I asked God to redeem each heartache. I asked Him to allow me to see where He was along the way. I found He was true to His promise to never leave me nor forsake me.

As for the glamour shot pic – I don’t look at it and wish I were younger. I just don’t. I look at it and realize how much more glamorous my heart is today. How much more confident, secure, and full of wisdom. AND I realized I’ve aged gracefully. The pics here are 24 years apart. I haven’t really aged all that much. I feel comfortable in my skin, but love myself enough to want to exercise and eat healthy and be a better version of myself day-by-day.

I’m glad I stumbled across my struggles today – it helped me appreciate my strengths.

Posted in Life Lessons, Uncategorized, Writing

Wait Lifting #4 – Waiting Out the Storm

For the past few weeks I have been immersed in a hands-on education in waiting. I’ve written more on this subject here (Life Lessons – Patience),  here (Waiting Room), here (Learning to Wait), here (Minding Your Ps [Pauses] and Qs [Quizzes]), and here (Finding Hope to See in the Dark).

Today we’re going back to 2011 to a stormy Spring afternoon to discover how to wait out a storm.

May 18, 2011, I set out from my little North Texas town to drive to Columbus, Ohio. That’s 1076 miles or just over a 16-hour drive. My final destination was my best friend’s wedding in Goshen, Indiana, but I was picking up my boyfriend in Columbus, Ohio “on the way.”
I know. You can do a Google Maps search and see that it wasn’t “on the way.” Oh, the things you do for love.

On May 22, 2011, I was driving back home to Texas from Ohio. I left early in the morning, heartbroken over what I could probably write a bestselling novel about, and had driven through Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. I only stopped once, so I was making great time. Driving through Springfield Missouri, I was all cried out and exhausted. It was less than 7 hours to home, and I was determined to go the distance. I wanted my own bed and my babies. I put in a CD and kept driving.

Just as I was about to call home, the sky changed to an eerie shade of green. I’m a Texas girl. I know what a squall line looks like coming and going. I know what green skies mean: hail or a tornado.

The wind from this storm began pulling the car down the road. Not pushing – pulling. I’d never driven in that kind of wind before, nor have I since.

I turned off the CD and turned on the radio. This was before smart phones were so smart. That weather warning signal – the one with the beeping and squealing – was on. It was on every station.

I heard the weather guy say something about a supercell, a tornado, and to take cover if you’re near Joplin, Mo. I had no idea where Joplin was, but for sure I was in Missouri. I pulled off the highway into a hotel parking lot and looked at a map. I was in Mount Vernon, MO – about 40 miles from Joplin. I got a room and stayed for the night.

I turned on the local news and saw that about a half hour after I had pulled off the road, an EF5 tornado had hit Joplin. In fact, it leveled most of it and killed 158 people. If I had not pulled off and taken cover, I would have come face-to-face with this massive tornado.

Why am I telling you all this?

Some of you are just about to hit the storm of the century. Some of you are worn out, think you’ve gone through enough miles already, are all cried out, are ready to get home, and are singing 90s breakup ballads at the top of your lungs over your car stereo. When all the while an EF5 tornado is taking aim at the road just ahead.

I’m suggesting you turn off the distractions and tune in to some reality. Look at the atmosphere around you. Is it changing? Are the people you love trying to tell you something? Are there meetings going on at work that you’re not invited to? Is someone you love pulling away? Are you having health symptoms that keep nagging you?

Stop. Pray. Ask your friends what you’re missing. Ask your loved ones. Tune back in.

Doing this may help you to stop heading toward a huge life-leveling storm.

As it turned out, I couldn’t go through Joplin the next day. The roads were packed with emergency vehicles and insurance agents all scrambling toward the devastated city.

I backtracked and took back roads to my grandparent’s house in Arkansas. It did me some good. I needed a couple of days to let my heart heal after what I’d gone through in Ohio. Nanas are always good for healing hearts. Nanas and a good road trip will cure what ails ya.

Do you need to backtrack? It’s okay.

Do you need to stop and look at a map? It’s okay.

I just wanted to share my story and ask you to stop and look up a minute. Assess your life.

It’s okay to need to stop and wait out a storm.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Waiting Room

“Take courage my heart, stay steadfast my soul, He’s in the waiting.”
-Bethel Music Take Courage

I hurried into the hospital’s maternity waiting area and sat down. It was past 9 pm. My husband and I had driven an hour through Dallas traffic to get there. Our two daughters, ages 2 and 6, were tucked in at their grandparent’s house. We had two, but I was hoping for three. I sat down with a sigh as he rushed to the desk to get some information. Then he hurried back through double-doors down a long, sterile corridor and out of sight.

Forget a theme-park. This was the happiest place on earth. The waiting room was large, but crowded with giggling Aunts, cooing Grandmothers, cigar-trading Papas and excited friends. They all stood around a window longing for a peek at the newborn babies. I sat back and took in the scene. I smiled that so much happiness was contained in one room.
I sat for over an hour and waited. And waited. And waited. And waited.

Two ladies sat across from me. Mother and daughter, I correctly surmised. They sat down, light blue balloons in hand, and clucked back and forth for a moment, then turned to me. “The first grand baby in our family was just born a few minutes ago. We are waiting to see him.” She drawled out height and weight stats and then asked, “Oh, and which baby are you here for?”

“My husband’s.” I stammered. Tears formed at the back of my eyes.
They looked confused.
“Oh, er, I mean, uhm, my husband is here to check on his girlfriend…who is having trouble with her pregnancy.”
The tears flowed hot down my cheeks as if it were April, 1848 and Niagara Falls, once frozen, began to thaw and burst forth again.

I was handed tissues and words of sympathy as the world blurred. I wandered back through that corridor to find my husband holding her hand and listening to the baby’s heartbeat at her bedside.

Funny how you never forget the faces of the people God sends to sit down beside you and comfort you.

That is waiting.

Four years later I walked into the maternity ward at 38 weeks, checked myself in as scheduled, and was shown to a room. This time there was no husband.
A cesarean section had been ordered for me a week earlier, but I convinced the doctor to wait a week so that I could be the backstage mom for my daughters’ huge ballet performance.
I was not about to miss tutus, pointe shoes, and red-headed, hair-sprayed buns.
It took several tries and several nurses to get an IV placed in me that day. It took seventeen sticks in my back to get the epidural in place once I was in the operating room. Seventeen.
Not that I minded. I was way too excited.
Gavin Michael was set to arrive just as soon as everything was in place. As soon as I was numb from the chest down, I felt pressure, then heard the softest, faintest first cry of my baby boy. He was 9 pounds, 10 oz, 19.5 inches long, and had the biggest umbilical cord any of the doctors or nurses had ever seen.

That is awaiting.

Wait and await are both transitive verbs, that is, they are verbs that need a direct object. Their meanings are similar, but slightly different.
Wait means to hold on, stay, or delay action until a later time.
Await, while similar, usually comes with hope or expectation attached.
Okay – grammar nerds – I realize I’m not using all of the definitions of wait or await here. Stay with me.

In the first story, I was waiting for my husband to go see the girl he got pregnant, assess what was wrong with the baby, and hurry back. I was there for moral support and because I wanted to save my marriage. (Needless to say, the ride home was quiet.) Waiting usually happens at doctor’s offices and train stations. It comes with sighs and moans and multiple glances at your watch. It means something is coming (direct object), but implies frustration. Waiting needs patience and sometimes courage.

In the second story, I was awaiting the arrival of my son. I was happy to go through whatever it took for however long it took to get him into the world. I was eagerly expecting his arrival. Awaiting usually happens when something amazing is coming. Awaiting implies faith and hope have joined you for the ride.

What if, instead of just waiting around for something to happen like John Mayer and his crew were Waiting For the World to Change, we were more like Richard Marx and were Right Here Waiting? If you missed the 80s, you missed that. What if we eagerly awaited a job, a marriage, a reconciliation, a new home, a new baby, a change of heart in someone, instead of getting so frustrated?
Let me add a couple of words to stand in for the “a” in await: alive or active.
What if next time, instead of waiting for a new job, you came alive while you waited, breathed that life into yourself, your job search, your friends and family? What if next time, instead of waiting for your spouse to change for the better, you prayed for them and actively worked on yourself while you awaited their change? What if they have actually been awaiting changes in you?

Practically speaking:

  • Give yourself some “waiting” room. Give yourself permission to slow down and enjoy the necessary delay.
  • Await (anticipate) the amazing things that are coming instead of dreading the sterile hallway in the meantime.
  • Walk in grace with yourself and others. Sometimes, like in the first scenario, life is just hard and completely unfair.
  • Be happy for others when they get what you hoped for.

To answer the questions you all are asking in your mind:

  • The baby in the first scenario turned out just fine. She is a beautiful, healthy, cheerleader and a wonderful half-sister to my two oldest girls. I’ve always had a soft-spot for her in my heart. 
  • I healed and moved forward.
  • My son is amazing as well. He’s a musician, basketball player, comedian, and has the greatest, most loving heart and soul.

Waiting, or awaiting? Your choice.

Posted in Uncategorized

How Long are You Going to Mourn?

The Lord said to Samuel, “How long are you going to mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem because I have selected a king from his sons.”
1 Samuel 16:1

Mourning is necessary for healing. But like anything else, too much is usually a bad thing.

I’ve started In Medias Res (in the middle of things).
Let me give a short backstory for the Old Testament story I posted above:
Saul is God’s pick for King over Israel and Samuel is a prophet.
The Lord told Saul (through Samuel) to have Saul destroy his enemies, even their livestock. Saul followed through with the first part, but saved some of the livestock to “sacrifice to the Lord.” (Those would be air-quotes if we were face-to-face.)
Samuel to Saul: Why didn’t you obey God?
Saul: I did.
Samuel: Is that sheep I hear bleating?

Because Saul disobeys, God rejects Saul as King, but Samuel is grief stricken that he has had to tell Saul – sorry – God won’t even listen to you since you disobeyed him – to obey is better than sacrifice (taken from 1 Samuel 15). In fact, the Word says they never saw each other again.

“The Lord said to Samuel,
“How long are you going to mourn for Saul, 
since I have rejected him…”

When I read these words my eyes were opened. How long will I mourn over (fill-in-the-blank).
Until Saturday when I read this – my answer would have been that I’ve been mourning the job I just lost. I loved what I was doing. I felt like I had purpose. I loved my co-workers.
Budgets get cut. Contracts end. I get it. But whatever the reason, I lost it. And when I read those words, time stood still for a moment. I thought back over my life and the things I have grieved for too long: divorce, being abused, people who left through death or stubbornness or disagreement.

What is it for you? Divorce? Being single? Losing a loved one in death? A job? People who have left?
How long are you going to mourn?

In most cases I can look back and see that the horrible things that have happened or the cases in which people left – that was God’s hand protecting me from something that either was bad for me or something that wasn’t in his plan for me.

But why grieve any longer? He has something for me to do.
Look at this next part:

Fill your horn with oil and go.
I am sending you to _________ because I have chosen to do ____________________ and I’ve chosen YOU to accomplish it .

Today we wouldn’t say fill your horn with oil and go.
The reference was to anointing oil. That was the tool of Samuel’s “trade.” Samuel was a priest; he used his anointing oil to literally pour out a blessing on someone. Today we’d say – get up, get your backpack, and let’s go. What’s in my backpack these days? What are my tools for blessing others? A laptop (for writing), a paper Bible (I don’t leave home without it), and many colorful pens (because I’m a writer).

In one verse I feel like God is speaking this to me through his word:

Melissa, how long are you going to mourn over your lost job, since I have tied up that end for you? Get your backpack and let’s go. I am sending you to the women in the community because I want to bless them with your story and with the Word I have stored up in you. Go bless them.

So I am choosing to obey.

How long are you going to mourn over that thing you’re mourning?
God has work for you.
Get up, get your backpack, and go.

Posted in Life Lessons, Uncategorized

Measure(d)

My “word for the year” 2018 was “measure” or “measured”. I stopped making resolutions long ago. Instead, at the close of each year I look back at the last 365 and prayerfully consider what my “word” is for the next year.

When my spirit settled on this word I thought to myself: seriously? Then I shook my head and plunged into 2018.

I’m a word nerd kinda girl. So let’s look up some definitions.

Measure

At year-end I can look back and see why this was my word.

This year my Doctor did a biopsy and said that if I don’t take drastic measures such as surgery and working on my health and wellness, that the precancerous cells he found would become Cancer.

He measured the size of my uterus. It’s walls. It’s thickness. If he hadn’t, cancerous growth would still be happening.

At the hospital they measured my weight, blood, blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen levels, etc.

They did this to keep me alive during an extra long surgery during which they found and annihilated all Cancerous cells.

Measured

Post-surgery I found myself in a less scientific place with my word.

Since surgery was long, recovery was slow. I had to occupy my mind so I wouldn’t get depressed. I had to be slow and measured with everything. Getting out of bed, out of a chair, out of/into a car…everything.

Life-lesson

This is the life-lesson this year: slow down, let people take care of you instead of always being the caretaker, learn to let someone else lead.

This doesn’t come naturally, but I am learning.

Psalm 46:10 is usually quoted:

Be still and know that I am God.

If you read the whole chapter you’ll see it is referring to war, and some translations say, “Stop fighting and know that I am God.”

I have got to stop fighting God and His timing and rest in the assurrance that He is in control.

I’m acutely aware that God is preparing me for a life change. I see this in some started, some mended, and other ended relationships this year. I see it in the way I approach my wellness plan. And I clearly see it in the direction God has me walking and in company with whom God has me walking.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord ’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21

I get this. I trust God. So my current struggle is to measure my steps. I get one life. I don’t want to misstep here.

Dad always told me when we were doing construction projects,

“Measure twice. Cut once.”

It’s easier for me to run headlong into life and measure the damage later than to stop and take care of myself. But it’s so much better to measure twice, cut once.

Seems so simple. I am learning.

Final Thought

Lately, as I’ve been slowing down and taking life in stride, I’ve found a beautiful reminder of how to examine my days.

I find that each day has something in common – sunrise and sunset.

So these days I’m measuring my life not in the things that seem out of control (the chaos of the daily grind) and instead I’m measuring life in something only God can control:

I’m measuring my life in sunsets.

I don’t wanna miss a thing.