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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Raw... Authentic Worship.

There are moments in your life... Life breaking moments. When you just... Break. When you fall head long sliding head first into the dirt, arms spread out before you as you try to futily stop your momentum... Somehow change the course that you have found yourself heading toward. A course you didn't get to choose. One you would trade any painful moment in your past for. Everything you thought that was... Not. Changed. It's one of the worst and most heart rending moments in your life. A game changer. A defining moment and opportunity to let go. Surrender. Completely. The truth of never being in control in the first place sinking in and sinking deep. The painful truths leaking and then pouring out so fast you can't stop them from running through your fingers and rushing ahead of you. Your mind spinning and your heart beat racing... And you want so badly to grip
tight to something... to anything... Just to stop falling forward fast. And when you finally do... with your face planted in the dirt... Your knees skinned straight through the cloth protecting them... your  hands bloody from the attempt to stop the fall.... the tears making tracks through the dirt on your face... the wracking of your body and the overwhelming emotion can not be contained... And it's not. It's laid bare for all to see... The raw and the ugly... the painful and the beautiful all mingling together as one. My words and whispered prayers filtering back in slow motion and powerful punch... "Let our lives be a living testimony... Let us be a reflection of Your Glory and Power in us... Through us..." I said that... I felt the strength of it shoot straight through my heart and out my lips like a prophetic sting. As I lift my head with palms turned up... I worship. I WORSHIP. And I choose to TRUST. I grip tight to the One who is kneeling right in front me. His knees dirty with mine. His tears my own. 
In the face of my enemy I stare hard and deep... I. Will. Worship.
I. Will. Not. Stop. 
More passionate.
More determined.  
I won't let go... I won't ever stop...
Even face down in the dirt. 
I. Will. Worship. 

“Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me. Lord, what are human beings that you care for them, mere mortals that you think of them? They are like a breath; their days are like a fleeting shadow. Part your heavens, Lord, and come down; touch the mountains, so that they smoke. Send forth lightning and scatter the enemy; shoot your arrows and rout them. Reach down your hand from on high; deliver me and rescue me from the mighty waters, from the hands of foreigners whose mouths are full of lies, whose right hands are deceitful. I will sing a new song to you, my God; on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you, to the One who gives victory to kings, who delivers his servant David. From the deadly sword deliver me; rescue me from the hands of foreigners whose mouths are full of lies, whose right hands are deceitful. Then our sons in their youth will be like well-nurtured plants, and our daughters will be like pillars carved to adorn a palace. Our barns will be filled with every kind of provision. Our sheep will increase by thousands, by tens of thousands in our fields; our oxen will draw heavy loads. There will be no breaching of walls, no going into captivity, no cry of distress in our streets. Blessed is the people of whom this is true; blessed is the people whose God is the Lord.”
Psalm 144:1-15 NIV

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Today has dawned with so much reflection for me..... 

Where has this last school year gone?
This year has whizzed by and although I feel like we always say that, it feels more my reality than ever today. As I made my son's breakfast for his last day of his freshman year I couldn't help but feel a little nostalgic. And not just because he's going to officially be a sophomore after the end of today, although that alone can start the water works, but because of all of the change this past year has brought to our small family.

We started off so fast after moving here across two state lines.  Attempting  to figure out what and where home is. We walked into it with high hopes, anticipation, and with a little anxiety sprinkled with fear. We have started connecting to our new environments and surroundings, but in so many ways we still stand on the fringe still very much feeling like outsiders.

We have begun to see a little bit of our purpose here, but we are still looking around with question marks and wondering. 

New house, new jobs, new schools, new church, new relationships, new accomplishments, new challenges, and new victories. 

It's felt like a really long hike and I don't feel like I can slip off my backpack quite yet. I'm not sure if I ever will. I love where we are and what and who we are surrounded by but  I still have this deep desire to explore more and adventure into areas yet unknown for us. Other places and new lands. Whether God keeps us here for an extended amount of time, or for a few short years, only time will tell. I feel as though we took a huge leap of faith off an enormous cliff and have landed temporarily in this beautiful land with beautiful people who've welcomed us. I wonder at times why I still very much feel like a nomad. Like one just passing through on a greater journey. Is it just the human condition or is it very much my families calling and destiny? I am learning to step in and stand a little more into the circles surrounding me here but still often times feel awkward and uncomfortable if I stay in them too long. It's this balancing act I haven't quite perfected yet. As I encourage my children to engage I have to remind myself to do the same. On the surface it appears that we are... But in so many ways at heart level we are still pushing ourselves to be brave and to not hold back even if we are unsure. That feeling of newness hasn't worn off yet and the emotions of acclimating haven't quite settled. We are growing and changing and in so many ways are continuing to be stretched beyond our comfort zones.

As I drove my son to school today I felt tears begin to well up inside me. It has been an interesting, joyful, tough, hopeful, and growing year for all of us. Amidst all of the emotions roiling and building this morning I felt this pressure to release some of it. Like water bubbling up that can't be contained. 
At the forefront of it all.... I am so thankful. 
For so many things. 

For those that have and continue to pray for our family amidst the huge change in our lives. For those that have welcomed us graciously and invited us freely into their circles and lives here. For our home that has become our safe harbor and  feels more us than anything has in a while. For our family here who we get to build deeper relationships with.  For our new church that continues to bless, grow, and challenge us. For friends and family far away who miss us enough to keep reaching out and loving us from afar. For new opportunities, new challenges, and new ways of looking and thinking about things. 
All of this last school year has brought so much.... and as I reflect today I am left with many many emotions... the greatest one I have and can't contain...
I am thankful. 
So very very thankful. 

Until another tomorrow, 


"We give thanks to You, O God,we give thanks, For Your name is near; Men declare Your wondrous works." Psalm 75:1 NASB

"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Let the redeemed say so," Psalm 107:1,2

Monday, March 23, 2015

Learning To Love Me

About that title... let me explain...

I hated my feet growing up.
When I say hate, which is a strong word, I mean hate.
I was even ridiculed by an extended family member about them.
I knew they were "different" than all of my friends feet.
I used to pray that God would change them. Grow them so that they would look "normal" like everyone else's.
I used to hide my toes and not wear shoes that showed them. I envied all the girls that wore the cute sandals that showcased them and used to dream about someday being able to wear shoes like that. In Heaven. When they would finally be perfect.

Ugh.... Seems silly doesn't it?
Or maybe not so silly to those who can identify with a less than perfect "something" in their lives that you may have given up hope of ever changing.

My feet aren't terrible.
I look at them now and I wonder why I struggled so hard to accept them growing up.
They don't look like everyone else's, true, but when I look at them now I see something very different.
Do I LOVE them.... umm... if I'm being truly honest, no, but I actually think their kinda cute now. :)
Have I accepted a part of me that I always hated and wanted to change... yes.
Have I learned to appreciate them in a way that I never thought possible... yes and amen.

Let me tell you why....

I have come to realize that what I early on came to believe was beautiful about other people did not hold true for me.
What started at my feet quickly progressed up until it settled and nestled its way into the deep recesses of my thought processes.
The lies that I bought and believed soon became what I measured all of me by.

I am not the same.
I am not special in the way one wants to be special.
I am weird.
I am odd.
I am different.

I was made wrong.

Pretty soon everything I ever thought about myself and how I made decisions and played life out were based on those things and those thoughts.
Wow... if I could only go back and tell the me then what I know now.

It has taken a LONG time for me to get here.
The "here" where I am growing and learning in new ways and for the first time in my life actually liking the things I am discovering about myself.

I AM unique.
I AM special.
I AM a little weird and odd in ways that I actually like.
I AM not like everyone else. This is a good thing. ;)
I AM different and for the first time in my life I am starting to accept that and love that about myself.

I AM made right. Just the way my God intended for me to be. Imperfections and all. Right down to my toes. :)

Do I still struggle at times with who I am and who I am meant to be?
Do I still wonder what I am called to do and how I'm supposed to walk that out?
Do I ever look in the mirror and think, "Man, today is just not a good day. I wish...."
I do.
Like I have said MANY times before... I am human. I am going to struggle and wonder and have bad days, but seriously, at the core of who I am and who I am learning who my God is in me is extraordinary and life changing.

Life changing...

When we begin to gain more God perspective and less me perspective...
When we stop listening to the naysayers and the liars  in our lives...
When we choose to believe that what God says about us is true...
When we take steps to walk in the manner to which we are called and redeemed to...

We are no longer standing out because we are shrinking...
We are standing out because we are confident in the Creator Who formed us and made us to be mighty daughters and sons of God.
We are no longer doubters of our ability and strengths...
We are believers of the Truth that says that we are created for a purpose and in every single one of our weaknesses and imperfections He can be made STRONG. And because He is stronger... and He lives in us... WE. ARE. STRONG.
He makes the impossible possible.

He makes the deformed and rejected, beautiful and accepted.

When I think about how such a small thing like the way my toes looked to me was so important and how it dominated so much of my self esteem it makes me sad.
I missed out on so much, like really cute shoes for one, but more importantly I missed out on all the times that I could have just been comfortable being me, the Melissa that God created me to be.
How do you get there you may ask?
Well.... you start like this;
You surrender the things that you struggle with the most about yourself.
The lies and half truths.
You admit that you actually struggle and not lie to yourself that you don't.
You begin to allow God access to speak truth over the lies that you have allowed to permeate and smog up your perspective.
You believe Him when He says you are fearfully and wonderfully made.

You choose to believe Him.

You write His words about who you are, taken from His book, and you plaster them on every nook and cranny of every place your eyes might possibly land.
Don't think the enemy won't try and dislodge everything you are trying to change.
He loves when we allow the weeds of wrong thinking to take root and reside in the deepest parts of us.
Pulling those weeds isn't always easy. It takes time, effort, and often lots of sweat and
hard work on our part.
But don't give up! Please. Don't. Give. Up.
Because you are more than worth any amount of effort that it will take to transform and change what used to be to what should be.

We have been created for a purpose. A life well lived. A life worth living.
Lives that are meant to shake up the systems and change our world.
Lives that are meant to be radical and amazing.
Lives that are meant to show that God is not merely a nice idea or a fantastical story.
Lives that shine and glisten with the beauty of God's love and forgiveness.
Lives that touch and heal and mend.
Lives that love deep and are faithful.
And if we are caught up in our insecurities, what "ifs" and wishes for wanting to change who we think we are or who we've been misled and told we are to be.... we will miss it.
The real us.
The bold us.
The authentic and beautiful us.
The courageous us.

You have more to give... more to do... and a world that needs the change that only you can bring.

The world doesn't need more narcism. Hopefully you don't get that from this.
It needs men and women of God who are willing to accept that they aren't perfect but they are perfectly made in Him. That we in our own abilities can not do life without our Savior. That with Him we are stronger and better people. A people that accept that they are made in the image of Christ and because of that truth they are beautiful and accepted.
Truth believers and truth givers.
That is what I am saying...
I have begun to say it often to anyone who will listen.
I hope you are hearing it too.
Because for me... today... I am no longer choosing to believe and walk in shoes that cover up my feet and try and hide who God has created me to be.
No longer.

I am different.
I am loved.
I am His.

And so are you....

Until another tomorrow....


Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High Godyou’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adorationwhat a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.” Psalm 139:14