Posted in Life Lessons, Uncategorized, Word, Word, Truth, Life, Love

Redeeming Love

My favorite book is Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. It’s based on the Bible story of Hosea. The main character is a little girl named Angel who is abandoned, abused, and sold to a pimp at a very young age. When she’s in her 20s, a farmer, Michael Hosea, answers a call from God to rescue her from a brothel and marry her – just as she is.

Here’s an excerpt from right after he rescues her from the brothel and brings her home:

So many people I love have been abandoned and abused emotionally, verbally, physically, sexually so often that love seems like it’s not worth the trouble.

I have been one of these people.

Love means being vulnerable. Being vulnerable means letting your guard down. Letting your guard down means the risk of being hurt again.

Sometimes I’ve found myself feeling and living like I actually deserve abuse, abandonment, betrayal. I’ve felt ugly, unloveable, and useless.

This is because I have an enemy – and he is a liar. His plan is to isolate me, taunt me with past mistakes, and make me feel like I’m unloveable.

The truth is, since he is by nature a liar, all those things are lies.

I am loveable. I am beautiful. My past is redeemable. And more to the point, He has rescued me from the pit and called me His beloved.

Yet like Angel in the story I hide from God or shout in his face and treat him like he’s the one who is wrong, when really – REALLY – He’s the only one who has been faithful, loving, generous, and right beside me all along. He’s the one who rescued me from all of that.

And like Michael Hosea in the quote above, when He has rescued me He says, “I want you to love me. I just want you to trust Me enough to let Me love you and I want to build a life with you.” But because my life is seen through the lens of past abusers, I say – “Can’t you understand that’s impossible?”

But ALL things are possible with Him.

Speaking of possible:

This week I let some things go. I ran into some people who had previously controlled, manipulated, and abused me, but I did not allow them the power to do so any longer.

And at each instance, each time I realized the struggle with them was over and I just felt neutral toward them, I felt a still small voice whisper, “Now your ministry can begin.”

I’ve also learned that I’m ready to be vulnerable with my heart again. With the guy who I think is the One, I’ll be bathing him in prayer, asking lots of questions, and making him meet with my dad’s approval first – and I may get hurt again – but I’m ready.

Anything is possible, right?

My prayer is that God would add roses to all my thorn bushes. I love roses.

God has redeemed every hurt I’ve had. That is to say – he’s allowed me to use those scars to help others through similar times.

Will you trust God enough to let His love in?

Love you,

Melissa

Posted in Poetry, Word, Truth, Life, Love

Steadfast Heart

It takes a steadfast heart
To linger when
Its sole receiver
Hasn’t an idea
That a sweet and
Gentle waiting soul
Has a heart of love
To share with him

It takes a steadfast faith
To stay the course
When its intend’s heart
Cries, aches, and bends
And covers itself in ‘pasts’
And ‘what-went-wrongs’
While his ‘true’ love sits and waits
And comforts him

So she will wait
On the midnight of his soul
While in her heart
The sun dispels the gray
Until the Lord says,
‘Turn to him your heart.
I’ve molded his anew
As out of clay.’

In her days of waiting
She’ll prepare to be
One who’ll love his new heart
Unconditionally

Melissa Fairchild (c) April 27, 2018

Posted in Life Lessons, Word, Word, Truth, Life, Love

Enduring Focus

I ordered my usual Grande Skinny Vanilla Latte, set out my vast array of colored pens, opened my planner to the work section, took my usual plethora of vitamins & supplements, opened my laptop, worked a while, and had lunch with a coworker.

It was a typical Tuesday.

And then the room started spinning.

Colors faded in and out, stars danced at my temples, I couldn’t find the right words to say.

I get migraines. This was different.

I made an appointment with my doctor that afternoon. She was obviously worried. She ordered bloodwork.

She called the next afternoon and told me that my iron count was very low and that I have Iron-deficiency Anemia caused by a pre-cancerous condition.

No wonder I felt like death.

She prescribed an iron pill 3x daily and said to repeat the bloodwork in 2 weeks to mark my progress.

Did I mention I take a plethora of vitamins and supplements? A multi-vitamin with iron was one of those, but I had not been taking it lately, because it was at the house and not in my work bag.

I started thinking about this verse from my daily Bible reading:

Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.
James 1:2‭-‬4 CSB

(The Message version says “…so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”)

So…tested & triumphed faith produces endurance. Full-grown endurance = being complete and lacking nothing.

As I drove home that afternoon, I began thinking over that verse: What do I lack? What am I deficient in?

Well physically right now I lack sufficient iron in my blood. It makes me weak, dizzy and exhausted.

My thought pattern traced the logic in the verse: I have to have faith in the doctor and trust she knows what’s best for me. I have to act on that faith by taking the iron pill 3x a day. I have to repeat the bloodwork in 2 weeks. For this to work I need to employ endurance. I have got to follow through with the plan the doctor gave me. Then my iron levels will not be deficient (lacking nothing).

As I was taking my iron pill tonight I felt that still, small voice of God prompting: What else? What do you lack spiritually and emotionally?

This took me down a path of asking myself, “What are my what else symptoms?”

So I made a list. Because listers gonna list.

What are some symptoms that tell me something is not right in me spiritually or emotionally:

  • Fear / Anxiety
  • Lack of focus
  • Frustration
  • Not finishing what I start

This lead me to ask myself the next question: What element do I lack that may be causing these symptoms?

I lack enduring focus.

I tend to just waltz through life following my own whims and desires. I need to start asking God what His plans are for me. I need to follow God consistently. I need enduring focus.

My friend Rebecca Carrell says:

“You won’t follow someone you don’t trust, and you can’t trust someone you don’t know, and you can’t know Christ apart from His Word.”

I need to be in the Word. Consistently.

To be healthy and balanced spiritually and emotionally, I need a steady diet of God’s Word. When I leave my Bible at home instead of in my work bag, it is easy for me to get out of the habit of my daily reading, and, just like with my lack of iron, symptoms arise.

Oh, I do well with supplementing my life with worship songs in the car, attending church meetings, having outings with friends, and spending time with my kids. But to function well, I need my time in the Word.

Young lions lack food and go hungry, but those who seek the Lord will not lack any good thing.
Psalms 34:10 CSB

I am at my best when I seek Him.

So here are some questions I’ll leave you to answer:

Are there “symptoms” that tell you something is not spiritually or emotionally right in your life?

What element is lacking that is causing these symptoms?

What have you left out lately that you used to be consistent with?

What are you gonna do about it?

Consider how much better your life will be if you just do the thing.

Posted in Word, Truth, Life, Love

Some Kind of Loveable

She drew in a long breath and let it out. She caught her reflection in the glass door and shifted the bakery box into her left hand, opened the door with her right, and expected the worst.

Why was it that she always expected the worst? Everyone in the room cheered and drawled her name. “Mah-lissa!” “Get on in here girlfriend.” and “Girl – whatchyou got in that box is about to go straight to my thighs – shore thang.”

Her thoughts – Melissa, place the pastries on the table, brew yourself a cup of coffee to keep your hands busy, and whatever you do – don’t cry and spoil the party.

This was the usual pattern. Same social anxiety – different party.

She looked around and began the mental checklist:

  • Suzy is always so well put together. Her outfit is so cute. *looks down at her own 3-day unwashed ‘good’ jeans*
  • Carrie’s house is always so clean. *thinks back to the tone she took last night with her middle child about the laundry being left on the bathroom floor – once again*

And on and on the judgment train chugs along until she finds herself seated and every eye is trained on her. There must have been a question, but she missed it.

Her – “I’m sorry, can you repeat that?”

Cute outfit girl -“How was your week?”

Her thoughts – “Don’t cry. Just sayfine’ and let them move on.

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry for help.

Psalm 34:15

Recently a group of ladies I attend Bible study with on Sunday mornings decided that enough was enough when it comes to judgment, bitterness, and silence.

We decided that we need each other. Not one of us is better than the other. We learned that we all had “secrets” that we kept from each other because of fear. Fear of being judged. Fear of not saying the right things. Fear of losing face. Fear of losing reputation or position.

Fear Is a Liar https://g.co/kgs/yBGfCY

Fear is most definitely a liar.

The notion that you are unloveable because you think are the only one who has ever (fill in the blank) IS A LIE.

Here’s the truth:

For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

ALL meaning: cute outfit girl, clean house girl, fancy car girl, rich girl, educated girl, ministry leader girl…we ALL fall short.

And I’m just going to be one more step honest with you: If God can take me from MY past and make something useful of me, then He can definitely redeem your current season.

Because here’s who I was:

Divorced, alcoholic, homeless, liar, judgement-placer, adulteress, pathetic, victim-mentality-projector, curser, co-dependent, food addict, angry, manipulator.

Given that list, I wouldn’t wanna be my own friend.

But when I live with my hands open to God and His desires for my life, when I allow myself to be open to healing, when I’m courageous enough to invite humility to my table, (none of which I ever do perfectly) God sees me this way:

Loveable, whole, pure, loved, His daughter, hand-crafted with love, worthy of love, kind, caring, sacred, an encourager…

And the more I let this list sink in, the better I become at believing it. And the more I keep my eyes fixed on His, the less the habits and belongings of the people at the table matter. And the less I look at myself, the more I see of their hearts, their hurts, and God’s desire for their healing.

This isn’t a blog for you to read and “like” – this is a call for a decision on your part. Are you – dear reader – going to change your circle of influence by making it better or worse?

Challenge: invite someone in your circle of influence to coffee or to share a meal this week and really lean in and listen to their story. I bet you’ll find out they are the same kind of loveable as you.

Always remember this: what you are walking through is a life-season, not a life-sentence.

Posted in Poetry, Word, Truth, Life, Love

Stand Your Ground

I think I know how David felt
Holding an ordinary stone
A poet’s soul
A warrior’s stance
As an army mocked his boast
They stood and laughed
But didn’t know
He’d faced lions, not alone
But with the strength, with the help
Of one mightier than those

Face your giant, not with armor
That the world finds adequate
But with power that only comes
From an all-surrendered spirit
When you look up, stare him down,
Say a prayer and square your shoulders
You’ll find an ordinary prayer
Hits like a giant boulder

With your back to the crowd
Set your jaw, don’t back down
Stand your ground

-M.A. Fairchild (c) 2014

Posted in Letters, Parenting, Word, Truth, Life, Love

Love, Mommy (a letter to my daughter)

Sweet child,

No one taught me how to be happy. No one. Not my Mom or Dad. Not my siblings or grandparents. Not my cousins or teachers or friends. No one.

Happiness, contentment, joy – these aren’t things I can teach you. They are things you already have inside of you.

We tend to look for something newer, better, more exciting to woo us or distract us from the yucky parts of life. This isn’t because we are made to be adventure addicts, it is because we are created to live fully, love creatively, and laugh continuously. Unfortunately, this world is far too full of muck and anxiety. The trick is to decide to pursue life to the fullest anyway.

We are made in His image. We are created to experience all manner of emotions. These emotions – even if they are sadness or anger or anxiety – these are what make us grow. Like the way a tree is strengthened by the tossing of the wind. Like the way life-sustaining oxygen bursts out of waves as they crash and tremble and die on the shore. Like the way you and I understand each other and ourselves better when we collide sometimes. This is why we are put into families – so we can grow before we go.

It’s this part – our clashing – that made me pause my work and write to you this afternoon.

You see – I don’t really mind it. It means you’re one day closer to being who I’ve imagined you to be. It means you get to find yourself in a mess on this side of life – on the safe side – instead of in the world where it’s too often dark and damp and scary.

So I’m inviting you to sit with me and laugh and love and rise and fall and fail and succeed and learn what it means to live. I’m inviting you to work through your emotional ups and downs in this “training environment” instead of in a “published environment”. Here you get do-overs. You get the joy of being safe enough to play.

It’s been an honor, these years, to spend my life watching you find your wings.

If you’ll trust that the process of learning flight means falling, striving, and unexpected flight-path corrections, you’ll find that my past experiences (and failures) will enhance your success rate exponentially. You WILL fall, but I promise I will be here for the getting up and beginning again.
Just focus and keep trying.

Remember the song we’d sing in the car on full blast on the way to elementary school:

I’m not afraid to fall
It means I climbed up high
To fall is not to fail
You fail when you don’t try.
-Superchick

My whole life has led to this window of time where I get to watch you unfurl.

And this is exactly where I want to be: in this moment.

The ability to climb this mountain, jump off, and find the elation of exercising your wings is in you.

Embrace joy and gratitude.

I love you more,

Mommy

Posted in Anxiety, Depression, Teenager, Poetry, Word, Truth, Life, Love

Pocket Full of Shoestrings

18557225_10105878219742550_319263151762499277_nSome things in life go perfectly
Some people find the perfect fit the first time
I just seldom happen to be among the “some”
Like new jeans… I hate those things
First, you inch into one of the legs, and
Do a kind of hop-step-jump into the other
And shimmy and stretch them up and hope that

  1. They don’t have cameras in the dressing room, and
  2. That when you get them up, you can zip them up, and
  3. That you don’t end up in a heap on the floor with the ever-growing
    “Those MIGHT fit a mouse” pile

Not that I know anything about all of that…

Some things in life go the way you hoped they would
Like outdoor weddings on crisp spring mornings, or
Babies who sleep through the night from day one, but
I got married on a hot, rainy summer weekend,
And divorced on a cold day in December, and
My 3 babies all loved to make sure I was held at all hours,
But actually – I didn’t mind this –
Because I got to be held at all hours
And I love that I get to be my babies’ Momma

Lately, I’ve been convicted of trying to control every aspect of my life
When I know that God knows the plans he has for me,
Yet I INSIST on keeping a planner,
Which is silly, really,
Especially when it’s clear by the Scratch-out marks and the
Clutter of stickers I use to cover over so many
Thwarted plans that
I probably shouldn’t bother to make any plans…
This is usually because some of the
Biggest events in my life are ones I never planned for…
Events I never saw coming…

Like this past year, when someone I love had thoughts of taking her own life
I found my planner filled with appointments
For psychiatrists, individual and family therapists,
504 accommodation meetings at the High School,
And follow-ups to follow follow-ups…
And my journal became full of words like:
“Safety plan” and “inpatient stay” and “intensive outpatient therapy”

And all the “Es” –
Diagnoses and pharmacies and anxieties
And the “shuns”
Depression and suicidal ideation

She’s just a baby at 16
She’s the good stuff in the middle of my precious three
My precious baby doll

And, oh… she is well-worth all of my going and seeing
Dr after Dr after Dr and
Listening and follow-upping and the daily drive to Dallas
And parking and praying and listening
And driving and parking and praying for sleep
Because the nightmare of walking through this
Far out-did any night-terror I might have asleep

This wasn’t the dream I had for my darlin’
But through it all I can’t forget one thing
One defining moment at the start of all this.
Let me take you back with me…
Down a near-empty hallway as I reached for my keys
And instead, found her tattered shoestrings
In my pocket

It was at the end of two sleepless days
Of walking through hospitals
Lost in a haze of despair
It was the beginning of a gut-wrenching 10-day
Nightmare – they called an “inpatient stay”
At a place that turned her life around
I walked down the hallway that echoed the sound
Of an electric lock
I can still hear that lock…

But I knew this was where she needed to be
Knew this was the best place for my baby
And I was too busy to let it all in –
Too busy with appointments and ground rules and then
As I left her behind that lock
And took the longest walk of my life
To the parking garage
I reached in my pocket for my keys
And pulled out a handful of dirty shoestrings
From her Converse sneaks
The ones she’d begged me for – for weeks
And the nurse had just handed them to me
So that she couldn’t use them
To hurt herself

With a fistful of shoestrings
I stopped short in the hall
Everything went dark, I reached for the wall,
And then it hit me – the wall AND the reality
It hit me  –
My baby was here for trying to end her life –
And my insides started to cry

This was nowhere in what I had planned, you see
Not when I decorated her pink nursery
Or bought her ballet tights or softball cleats
Or spent hours pressing her cheer-skirt pleats
Or buying Teletubbies sheets…

Something had to give
God, why doesn’t she want to live
When she’s just at the beginning of life
Doesn’t she know how precious she is?
Is my love not enough?
How can I be a father AND a mother all at the same time?
And that’s when God spoke to me
As if He was standing right beside me
He said, “I AM her father.”
And then

“Daughter, I love you more than you love her.
And I love her more than you know.”

He said,
“This is her story.
This is where she finds her way back to me.
I’m behind that lock.
I AM the key
This thing meant to harm her – will set her FREE.”
And then He asked me one more thing:
“Daughter, do you trust me?”

And right there, holding up the hospital wall, I thought about that word, trust…
I thought back to the husband who left me
The men who violated me
To the bio-dad who didn’t even know my name
Til I was 28
And even then – it was because I called him.
“Daughter, do you trust me?”
And I paused for an eternity…
You see,
Trust is something I un-learned long ago
Each time I was harmed or betrayed or “let go”
Trust slayed me
Broke my heart and raped me, frayed me
And He’s asking…
“Daughter, do you trust me?”
And my heart whispered –
“You’re the only one who has ever been faithful”

And just like that, I felt a spark
One smoldering ember of trust
Stirred in my heart and I just said
“YES!”
And I probably should go back and apologize
To that startled nurse in the hallway
But right in the middle of that sterile hallway of
Children’s Hospital in Dallas
I.
Said.
Yes.

And as I was standing there
Pondering all of these things
Holding my baby’s dirty shoestrings
I decided to trust that His plans
Are WAY better than my plans
And I realized one more valuable thing:

God did NOT order this chaos
But He DID bring order to this chaos

And He did
Today is one year later – almost to the day – my baby is well
She leads worship
She draws and paints and sings and plays instruments by ear
And she is so full of life
Her laughter is back
You’d never realize today – if you met her –
That this past year ever happened

The reason that I’m writing this
Is so you can begin these
Conversations – if only in your mind
It saddens me that we
We don’t talk about this in church
Or in school, or work, or anywhere unless
One of our kiddos is in crisis
Then it’s too late
So many of our kids are wandering around in the dark
And we need to flip on the light
And get to the heart of the matter
And the heart of the matter is LOVE

Here’s what you can do today that will help you avoid
Walking down a sterile hallway with a pocket-full of shoestrings:
Tell her that you love her on the way out the door
Put down your phone and catch a ball with him
Have REAL face-time with them
Dad, tell her you like it when she shares her heart with you
Mom, tell him you like it when a man opens the door for you
Let them find you reading your Bible
Teach them how to pray
Teach them the difference between guilt and shame
And never judge when they share their feelings,
But be there to redirect those feelings
Into decisions that will help their future,
Not harm them, at present

We have to start a dialogue
It has to start with you
And it has to start today
Tomorrow may well be too late

Posted in Poetry, Word, Truth, Life, Love

He Spoke To My Identity

I was running late for class. It was July 2007, right in the middle of my Summer session at UNT. I was taking what amounted to Poetry 101 and it was my day to be “workshopped.” I had printed enough copies of my poem for each member of the class and was expected to distribute them and have everyone critique my words. I was nervous. It was Texas Summer hot outside. I was suddenly overcome with nausea. Breakfast became a memory. I looked at my freshly washed face in the dank restroom at the University’s ancient Auditorium Building, blew out a long breath, and climbed the stairs to the third floor. Why was I so sick?
After the grueling 90-minute poetry workshop where my writing was called mediocre, at best, I made my way to the on-campus medical clinic.
I gave blood, endured the necessary pee-in-this-cup moment, laid down on the paper-covered table, and waited.
And waited.
I must have fallen asleep because the Nurse Practitioner shook my shoulder.
Miss Fairchild?
Yes?
I figured out what’s wrong.
Okay?
You’re pregnant.
I almost fell off the table.
My mind raced to an awful night four months before. I looked at her calendar and pointed to the date.
Yes – I remember. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was just one lonely moment during March Madness. Just one.

I pulled into my driveway 15 minutes later and spied my Mom on the porch swing reading to my 6-year-old. Her auburn pigtails wobbled as she flew into my arms. My 11-year-old was inside getting ready for the water park trip I’d promised them that afternoon.
Mommy’s home!
My heart felt sick. How do I explain this to my girls? How in the world was I going to make ends meet with another kiddo on the way?
I sent the kids to their bedroom to finish getting ready for the waterpark and began to weep, uncontrollably. My parents noticed.
I’d been living with them as a single mom while I went to college.
All I could think was – my folks are gonna kill me. They are pastors at a local church. How do you tell your Dad, who is also your pastor, that you’re unmarried and pregnant?
What happened next changed my whole life.

Now this is what the Lord says—
the One who created you, Jacob,
and the One who formed you, Israel—
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name; you are Mine.
Isaiah 43:1

I’m pregnant.
The truth escaped my mouth with finality. I repeated it to myself. Wow.
Mom started to ask several questions all at once, but Dad quieted the room.
He looked at me, right into my heart, and he slowly and deliberately spoke these words:
You are my daughter, and I love you.

I have no idea what happened next. We hugged. We prayed. We took the girls to the waterpark. That December, on an icy day, I delivered a beautiful, wonderful baby boy – and brought him home in a Christmas stocking. He’s 10 now – and I have no clue what I ever did without him. He is truly a joy.

But I want you to catch something here. Back up a paragraph.

Ladies, gentlemen, single parents, every soul on the planet – hear what the Lord says to you: “You are my daughter (my son), and I love you.”

Can you take that in for a moment? Just let your heart grasp that.

You are my daughter (my son), and I love you.”

Here’s what changed my whole life:

  1. God spoke to my identity. “You are my daughter…”
    I am HIS. Flaws, shortcomings, lonely moments and all. I am His daughter.
    As I mentioned in a previous blog, nothing can separate me from His love.
    (See Neither Debt Nor Diagnosis)
  2. He spoke to HIS identity. “…and I love you.”
    Love is who God IS.
    Love is a gift that we don’t deserve, but He gives it anyway.
    He lavishes me with His love.

When I mentor single moms, I tell them this. Nothing can separate you from the love of your Creator. Whatever you’ve done or not done, hear Him say:
You are my daughter, and I love you.
You are my son, and I love you.

…I just wanted you to know.

Love you,

Melissa

Posted in Word, Truth, Life, Love

Beach Walks

Beach Walk #1

We made our way down the crooked path lined with greyed boards and sand that led to the beach. The July wind brushed my hair into my face. A seagull cried overhead.We took off our sandals and tossed them beside the gate so our bare toes could feel sand and surf.

The sun had just stretched itself out over the Gulf Shores waves as our brother had said his “I dos”. An hour later, with reception in full-swing, we slipped out, wine glasses in hand, and headed for the beach.

We walked and talked and laughed as lightning did pirouettes on waves a couple of miles out. Small talk became deeper as it does with sisters. We began discussing my divorce from 6 months earlier, my two kids, their futures, whether I was ready to date again, and what the heck I was going to do now with just one income. I don’t recall the conversation with as much clarity as I recall the decision I made that night.

I realized I wanted to be able to afford a better life for my kids and I wanted to travel. The beach is my happy place. I wanted to be able to walk on the beach more often than once every few years (the closest beach to me is 5 hours away). I knew I needed a better job if I was going to be able to afford to do so. And for a better job, I’d at least need a college degree.

It seemed like a far-off fantasy for a 28-year-old mom with two daughters ages 8 and 4. I worked retail. How on earth was this going to happen?

I flew back to Texas, asked mom to babysit, and headed up to the local Junior College to see how much classes would cost. I came to the school on just the right day. They were starting registration. (I don’t believe in coincidences. I now see God’s hand in all of this.) I came home with enough grants to pay for school, a full load of classes for the semester, and an arm full of paid-for text books. I spent the next 8 years in school.

I graduated from there, got two degrees, and have been able to travel a bit more.

It all started with a conversation on the beach, a decision (moment of clarity), and lots of follow-through.

Beach Walk #2

Last October I found myself alone in Galveston with an empty sack for shells and a free evening. I began walking up the beach looking for sea shells and picking up plenty of sea glass.

As the wind brushed my hair into my face and lightning danced not far out on the horizon, my mind wandered back to Gulf Shores and that discussion between sisters.

Here I was – once again ankle-deep in waves – but I realized I was here alone.

I resumed walking and began to talk with God. I had questions. Why was I here 14 years later – still without a husband? Why is my “picker” broken when it comes to men? (I seem to find abusers and addicts.) Why am I always the pursuer? Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around? Am I too old to try to find someone? Am I not enough (pretty enough, smart enough, funny/rich/popular enough)? Will I always be alone? Should I just make peace with having no husband? After all, I have an amazing circle of girlfriends, wonderful kids, and a wonderful family.

I talked and asked questions and finally made peace with this:

  • The guy who will marry me will have to love God
  • We will have to start off as really good friends
  • He will have to pursue me – I should not have to carry the whole relationship
  • He will have to be perfectly imperfect. Perfect FOR me, imperfect LIKE me
  • I will be at peace while I continue to wait

As I was at the dentist’s office today, I joked with a friend via text about imagining I was at the beach while the dentist drilled out a cavity and refilled it. I came home, slept, and dreamed about holding hands on the beach with a man who loves me. I couldn’t see his face in my dream, but he felt friendly, comfortable, and familiar. Maybe I’ve already met him?

This isn’t my normal post, but it IS what has been on my mind today and it is MY blog, so…I posted.

Keep dreaming. Keep conversing. Keep walking in the direction God has you going.

And will someone please bring me a latte?

Love you,

Melissa

Posted in Word, Truth, Life, Love

Neither Debt nor Diagnosis…

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Photo by Helen Williams on Unsplash

It was a foul, damp night. I may as well have hopped into a DeLorean with Doc Brown and traveled back to 1830 and into Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s famous opening line – “It was a dark and stormy night; the rain [indeed] fell in torrents.”
I was seven and a half years and two beautiful daughters into what I thought was a good marriage when my husband caught my eye with his for a long moment, then dropped his eyes and said, “I don’t love you anymore. I don’t think I’ve ever loved you.”

Have you ever had one of those nights? The kind that slithers into your heart, curls up in a corner, and slowly overtakes the room. An atmosphere changer. That was mine. It was April 23, 2003.

That was 15 years ago. I am one marriage poorer, one kiddo richer, and have made peace with that moment, but I’ll tell you – it stuck around in my heart for quite awhile. I felt unlovable. Unknowable.

I acted unlovable and unknowable for a few years until I read the following passage one day and let it evict those slithering sentiments from my heart:

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:38-39 NIV)

I’m a writer. I hope the Lord doesn’t mind if I personalize and expand upon those words. When I read this passage to myself, I read it like this:

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present NOR MY PAST nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, NOR DEPRESSION NOR ANXIETY, NEITHER DIVORCE NOR JUDGE’S DECISION, NEITHER DEBT NOR DIAGNOSIS, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate ME from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus MY Lord.

NO THING. Not one thing.
I am loved by God Almighty. In fact: He gave His own son to pay the debt for my sins so that I could come to Heaven with Him because He WANTS TO lavish love on me and be with me FOREVER.

Devil: IN YA FACE!

If I’m perfectly candid, I know all of that, and then I come to a crossroads like tomorrow’s medical tests, and I discover that my knees are knocking, my doubts are creeping, and fear has begun its attempt at slithering back into my heart.
But I find the more I am in the Word, the more of the Word is in me. And when it is in me, it inevitably springs back up out of my soul at the right time.
This is what came out of my soul this evening as I was thinking about tomorrow’s medical exam:

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
(From Psalm 43)

And this:

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
(From Psalm 46)

Sometimes I just have to speak to my soul.
Spoken words are powerful.
In John 17:17, as Jesus is praying, he tells God, “…your word is truth.”
I find that the more truth I get into me through God’s Word, the more truth I have stored up to pour out in times when the torrential rains pelt my sunny days. It covers me like an umbrella in moments when someone I have trusted tells me lies like: “I don’t love you.” or “You’re ugly.” or “You’re not good enough.”
That’s when I can look deep into the eyes of my soul and remind myself of these truths: “God made you beautiful – inside and out. He is pleased with you. And He loves you just as you are. And He means for forever.”