Do you ever find yourself wondering how do we live at peace with others in a world that is so hell-bent on destroying peace in the name of fighting for peace? I think I may have found the answer in Proverbs 16:7.
This verse is referring back to King Jehoshaphat. Read 2 Chronicles 17-20 to see how the Lord honored King Jehoshaphat’s work of bringing his people back to the Lord by causing his enemies to live at peace with him. King Jehoshaphat wouldn’t have been successful at that time if he hadn’t been obedient and faithful to seek the Lord in all that he did. The key is that our focus is on living a life that is pleasing to the Lord.
Living a life that is pleasing to the Lord means actually doing the things that are of the Lord. Meeting the needs of the orphans, the poor, the widows, the grieving, the sick, the refugee, the unloved, the forgotten, the misunderstood, and the lost. It would mean having the grace and empathy to walk beside someone knowing you cannot fully understand the hurt they have experienced because you have not walked in their shoes nor have they walked in yours. But, you can love them because Jesus loves them and He loved the broken vessel of your life that is now whole. When we work at living a life that is pleasing to the Lord and that is all that matters then the rest will fade away.
Yes, we will still be disturbed by the things we see and hear going on in our world but rather than boiling over with anger, we will overflow with compassion and see it as another call to action to take the Gospel to the hurting. Because underneath all the anger and hate spewing forth is hidden hurts longing to be healed. And we know Who can heal those deep hurts. The only One who can bind that wound is the One who was wounded for our transgressions, the One who was bruised for our iniquities, the One who was punished so that we could know peace, and that One is Jesus, and it is only by His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).
I know I have fallen short of the mark many times but I am thankful for a fresh start and the opportunity to set my eyes, once again, on the Lord. I am going to allow Him to set my focus and not worry about the next trending issue on Facebook. I already know several of my first priorities – Love God and Love Others.
So, please excuse me, but the Lord has some work to do in me …
When you’re torn between today
And holding out for something you
There’s a strength you can find
Knowing in God’s own time
You’ll discover what He meant to be
‘Cause love like the Father intended
Is more than just a state of the heart
So don’t give up hope in the holding on
‘Cause no matter who you are
There’s a love He has for you
There’s a heart that He’s been saving
There’s a joy beyond all measure
That only comes from waiting
There’s a love He has for you
It’s more than the hope you’re holding to
And you will find the only love that’s true
Is the love He has for you
“The Love He Has For You” *Point of Grace – The Whole Story
I remember hearing this song in 5th grade and my mom pointing out the lyrics to me then as a source of encouragement to stand strong in my convictions. At 11, I wasn’t sure what I was agreeing to but this song became a theme song of my life … much to my dismay! Ha.
As many of you know, Joey and I became engaged on Monday night but the majority of you found yourselves saying, “Wait? What?! I didn’t even know (insert Melody or Joey’s name here) was dating someone!” Well, there’s a good reason for that it’s because we didn’t post our relationship all over social media. Joey has been the most unexpected blessing and the sweetest gift of my life, second to my salvation in Christ. We found ourselves simply wanting to savor our time together and get to know one another away from the social media spotlight.
I wasn’t looking for Joey … I wasn’t looking for any guy. Joey came into my life after a season of deep surrender, obedience, and acceptance of the Lord’s will for my life. Now, I am by no means saying that if someone does this then the Lord will bring the one they have been waiting for into their life … this is just what has happened to me. The key was that Joey was going through something similar in his life. I have had different times of surrender and acceptance over the years and periods where I was walking in disobedience as did Joey. We have discovered several times in the last few years that our paths crossed but we didn’t meet. I truly believe it’s because one may have been ready but the other wasn’t. However, once we were both ready then the Lord allowed our paths to cross at our church through our pastor! We have been on a whirlwind adventure ever since. I love my singing, gentle giant, who has a heart for the hurting, a deep love for the Lord and a precious love for me.
We are so grateful for every twist and turn in our paths that brought us closer to the Lord and directly to each other. We are also grateful to each and every one of you for your expression of love to us. You all mean the world to us. Thank you for your many prayers for us over the years. We covet your prayers in the days and years to come.
James 4:13-17. It’s always good to start your Friday off by having your toes stepped on. Our life is just like a fog in the grand scheme of things. We have such a brief amount of time to make a difference for Christ before we fade away. “We know what we ought to do” but often allow other things to get in the way. I am most guilty of this but I am so thankful for His grace and the “gentle” reminder to be about the Father’s business and not about Melody’s business.
These verses remind me again of Psalm 37:23 and 24 … “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.” Psalms 37:23-24 (NLT). I am grateful for a Savior who cares about my steps, my stops and promises to be there when I stumble.
Thank you for loving me just the way I am but for not letting me remain stagnant in my walk with You. Help me to appreciate the steps, the stops and the stumbles. Thank you for teaching me to fully rely on you and to not trust in my own plans. Thank you for reminding me that I am to be about your business. Please forgive me for where I have failed you. Thank you for your grace and mercy. I love you, Lord.
Ok … it’s not really midnight but I’m not staying up that late to post this and I’m so tired it might as well be midnight. So there’s that.
I was thinking through my day and the last few weeks … and I was overwhelmed in a good way. It just dawned on me that when my heart is overwhelmed in good and bad ways I cry out to God to “lead me to the rock that is higher than I am“. So I went in search of that Psalm.
It’s Psalm 61 and the header for the Psalm in the NKJV is that it’s an Assurance of God’s Eternal Protection . Although this Psalm really speaks to moments when we are under attack and in need of rescue, I think it is also a beautiful reflection of resting in God’s goodness when He overwhelms you with His love.
“Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, A strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah” Psalms 61:1-4 NKJV
Thank you, Lord, for always leading me to rock that is higher than I at the mere mention of Your name.
A few Sundays ago, I had the opportunity to share my testimony with the High School girls in my church. What’s so spectacular about my testimony? Well, I was a sinner and Christ saved me. It doesn’t get any better than that! Seriously, that’s the best testimony and we all can share that if we have found freedom in Christ. But part of what makes our testimony unique is the way Christ continues to be at work in our lives after we are saved. Yes, our salvation is settled but in our daily attempt to live for Him we come up against so many obstacles of our own making and of the Enemy’s design, that often knock us back a step or two. Each day we have a choice to either remain beaten down or to repent of our sins and start fresh. I want to share with you one area that Satan gained a foothold in my life for over 24 years and this was the part of my testimony that I shared with the girls a few weeks ago.
I decided to tell part of my story through pictures. I started with this one as I felt it was an accurate depiction of how serious I have been about singing over the years. That or it shows that I have always loved eating. I prefer to go with the former rather than the latter. 🙂 Music and food really do go well together and I am so grateful to be a Southern Baptist … hello, potlucks and singings!
Next, I showed them this photo just to confirm that I have always been a fashionista for years by rockin’ a pair of heels with jeans and a tee shirt at the age of 5.
Then, I showed them this picture. It may surprise many of you to discover that I was a cheerleader but I was. And I was even captain of the squad! (Mainly, because my family would be at every game since my brother played for the team.) I had fun cheering but I couldn’t do cartwheels, handstands or toe touches. I was a base for all of our stunts. I was in the fourth grade when I cheered and I remember realizing that my body was different from the other girls. I wasn’t as petite as them. I filled out my uniform differently. I came to the conclusion that I was fat. I look at myself now and wonder how I ever thought that then but I did. Something changed inside of me and I started measuring myself to other people’s standards. My parents had never placed importance on physical appearance beyond looking nice for church and being presentable for school. There were no obsessive conversations about being thin, working out or going on a diet around our house while I was growing up. There also wasn’t a huge celebration over our looks. It just wasn’t important. But somewhere, at some point, a message contrary to what I was being taught settled into my heart. I was fat and I wasn’t pretty.
I was naive enough to think that dating would fix a lot of my insecurities. Little did I know, dating only exposes them. I went all through my Middle School and High School years feeling awkward, ugly and overweight (which I was). No matter what I did, I couldn’t lose any substantial amount of weight. A life long battle with many ups and downs.
I never dated in HS (I did in my 20s) and I shared with the girls that Sunday how I understand when you go through a break up what that rejection feels like … however, there is a special kind of rejection that comes from never being chosen. You wonder if you are even seen. There were some nods in the room on that one. So what do you do? Well, I went to junior prom by myself and then my brother asked a college friend to take me to my senior prom. My brother happened to be going with a friend of mine at the time so that’s why he’s in this picture. He was not my date. I repeat, my brother was not my date! 🙂 I was so out of touch on the typical prom things a girl was supposed to do. I did my own hair and makeup. I had a shawl made for me by a sweet woman in my church because I was not about to show off my chunky arms and I borrowed the dress from a friend! But, I had a blast and even though I felt huge that night, I wouldn’t mind being that size again as well as would love to introduce myself to some bronzer. Hahaha.
I went on a few dates in college but as I am sure you have figured out … boys aren’t the answer. Men aren’t the answer. Yo-yo dieting wasn’t the answer. Loving myself wasn’t the answer. The answer has been and always will be found in Christ.
I have read all the blogs and books on being content in your singleness, on how to wait well for the perfect one and how to let go of waiting for the perfect one because God may not bring you the perfect one (well, duh). Can I just be honest and I say that I am tired of the Church putting a title on everything in this area … I’m not sure who I’m waiting on any more but it’s apparently someone like the kinsman-redeemer Boaz, with the timing of Adam (God didn’t wake him till Eve was ready …), the nonadulterous heart of David, the passion of Solomon, the selfless love of Jesus, the fire of Peter, the wisdom of Paul and the sensitivity of John. Any Mr. Perfects out there? 🙂 And I am supposed to be the quintessential Proverbs 31 woman. Hmm … well, I have come to a place where I am most content when I am focused on Jesus and serving Him. If that sounds good to anyone else then let’s talk. All the rest is just fluff as far as I am concerned and I have known that. I really have but it has finally settled into every fiber of my being. How?
It happened when I knelt at the altar well over a month ago and surrendered my need to compare myself to others. It was then that when I finally found freedom. And it was three weeks ago, in my car, that I realized I am a complete woman in Christ because that is who He made me be. It’s not in having sex, a baby or being married that makes me a woman. It’s not in a hormonal right of passage at some pre-teen age. I am a woman because that is who God created me to be and I am complete because of the finished work He did on the cross. Everything else is just icing on the cake. Once, I recognized who I was in Him everything else in my life completely shifted. I told the girls if I could do one thing for them it would be to help them understand this now instead of at 33. As well as to know that they are worth far more than what this world offers them. No amount of selfies will ever fill the void that Christ can. Marriage to the perfect mate will not fill that void. Nothing can show you your worth in Christ like the cross and the empty the tomb. And Satan has tried for 24 years to distract me from seeing myself as who I am in Christ.
It’s not like I am walking around looking at myself in the mirror and singing, “you’re so pretty, oh so pretty …” Hardly. Ha. But there is a deep peace in knowing Who’s I am and slowly the lies that I have believed about myself over the years are starting to fade away. I now work to hold every negative thought captive and call on the name of the Lord when I am tempted to belittle myself. A funny side effect to this is that as I am working on my emotional and mental health my physical health is falling into place as well. Go figure. 🙂 When you are no longer worried about what other’s think about you but instead focus on how God sees you and how you feel health wise things just sort of click. Willpower isn’t an issue anymore because it isn’t about a size, a weight or a standard. It’s all starting to fade because it just doesn’t matter anymore. I belong to Christ and I am kept by Him. I am complete in Him. Everything else is just an added blessing.
And oh, if I could help another girl come to understand that before she’s 33 then I would do everything within my power to do so but, honestly, it’s something that she is going to have to allow Christ to show her. She is going to have to open up her heart, be vulnerable with the Lord and “allow” Him to see all the wounded places of her soul. When she does, He will heal and fill every cavern with His grace. And she will know a freedom like never before!
In March of 2007, I came home to Knoxville from a week in Oklahoma City, where I had been visiting my aunt and uncle. My parents picked me up from the airport and I had an hour to repack my bag before we headed to Morristown, TN for the night as my dad would be preaching at a church there in revival Sunday – Wednesday of that week. My mom, sister and I were going up for the night to be with him for the Sunday morning service. My sister and I sang for the service. Afterward, we had a wonderful lunch with the young pastor, wife and his then 4 (soon to be 5, but now 6) children!
Anyway, that Saturday night at the hotel I shared with my parents’ something that I had written while out of town. The Lord had started laying on my heart a ministry for pastor’s families, more specifically their children. Growing up in the ministry, I had always heard of retreats for a pastor and his wife to attend in order to be refreshed in their work for the Lord but it always seemed to me the children were forgotten. While I am no longer serving in the same church that my father pastors, I have come to realize that you never cease to be the “pastor’s kid” and you are always tied to the ministry. I am thankful for the ministry and for the call the Lord has placed on my father’s life. I honestly could not have imagined growing up in any other way. I am thankful for the call the Lord has placed on my life and whether my desire to minister to pastors’ families will ever come to fruition there is one thing I can do now as a church member to minister to their families … support them.
Last Sunday night, my church had an ordination service for two of our ministers. It was a truly precious time in the Lord. The Pastor Emeritus gave the charge to the church and he did not hold back. He said things that I know most pastors wish they could say but can’t for fear of being fired. He told us that it is not our job to correct our ministers … that is the job of the Holy Spirit … but it is our job to support, encourage and pray for our ministers. I probably looked like a bobble head the whole time he was speaking. I had flashbacks of years past to those “well meaning” people who came under the impression that the Holy Spirit needed their help in pointing out a flaw or general disagreement they had with my dad or another staff member. Thanks to them I learned to practice verses like “Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!” Matthew 18:21-22. While these folks may not have sinned against me personally, attacking my daddy is about as personal as it gets and I have had to learn to extend grace upon grace.
So flashback to ten years ago and that hotel room … what did I share with my parents? Well, I had come to the conclusion that there are 3 basic categories church members fall into and the percentages will vary on the size of the church but the idea is there. And the question you have to ask yourself is where to do you fall?
The Initiator …
The Initiator is not an honorable title but like it sounds they typically are “self-starters” … in life and in the church. They are folks who do a lot for the church but are the first to pick it apart. They are the ones who go around planting seeds of doubts into other church members and questioning the leadership of the church over petty issues. Now, please know I am all for checks and balances in the church and you should hold your leadership accountable, however, when it is always just a few voices raising the questions then that should raise a red flag to the other members. Sometimes, the initiators are quiet and let the others do the talking after they have spread the poison. They make phone calls, visits, write letters to anyone who will give them an ear. They seek the vulnerable in the church for their following. They know how to play on people’s emotions.
They are small group … typically about 10% of the church is made up of them but they are deadly to the work of Christ because their focus is on typically on their needs and desires not the Church as a whole.
The Enabler …
This is where the bulk of the membership falls for several reasons …
They aren’t involved in the church so they don’t know what’s going on.
They hear the scuttlebutt but don’t do anything about it.
They hear the scuttlebutt and spread it.
Those who fall under the third reason are easily whipped into a frenzy by the initiators and their feelings are typically the first thing that has been neglected by the staff – they weren’t visited enough, called enough, validated enough or the wrong staff member came to visit when so-and-so had a visit from the senior pastor before their surgery, etc … However, when they have any opportunity to have a heart to heart with the pastor most of these non-issues are easily resolved, forgiveness is received on both sides and life goes on. But those who fall under reason one and two are the most dangerous to the church because they could be doing something to help stop the issues but instead stay quiet because they do not want to get involved in “church politics” as if forgetting that the church is full of imperfect people and there will always be issues to work through. Some may say something to the staff but they will not reveal the source and their favorite line is, “now don’t get mad but I thought you should know …”
Because of this, the Enablers average about 80% of the church.
The Extinguisher …
This is a rare group … a group of committed Christ-followers focused on Kingdom work and are willing to charge Hell with a water pistol … even if that means crossing the aisle on a Sunday morning and lovingly confronting “the initiator”. These aren’t people set out to make scenes but understand the wisdom of the Matthew 18 principle and seek to practice it. So, when they hear the scuttlebutt they go to the source and say something like this, “I know you aren’t looking to talking bad about Bro. Doe, so about we go together and address this concern with him?” I may be naïve but I truly believe that if more church members sought to be an extinguisher and lovingly told “initiators” and “enablers” that they are not going to listen to their gossip or complaints it would cut out the majority of the junky stuff our church staff has to deal with on a weekly basis. Then church staff could focus on what they are called to do … proclaiming the Gospel and ministering to those in their congregation.
Extinguishers make up the final 10% of the congregation. You may recognize some of them whereas others are quiet and do their work behind the scenes not seeking the glory for themselves because of their focus on the Lord.
I have been a member of four churches in the last ten years (PK side effect … JK) since I wrote that and even though, I have only been a member of my current church for 6 days, I have found these categories to still apply. I have sought to be an extinguisher at the churches I have been a member at but I’ll be honest, I am guilty of being an enabler and I have probably been an initiator at least once or twice in my adult life. However, I have repented and covenant to be an extinguisher at whatever church I am serving in as well as not speak ill of any other man of God at any other church. There’s too much work to be done for the cause of Christ without me running my mouth with my opinions about other pastors. Besides, as I was reminded this past Sunday night, it’s not my job to correct but to support, encourage and pray for these men of God.
So which one are you? Are you willing to change the percentages and become an extinguisher?
I love you all.
Happy Father’s Day, Daddy,
Thank you for being the man who not only taught me about the Lord but also led me to Lord and continued to lead me to the Lord for many years to come. Thank you for showing me that integrity isn’t just a word but it is an action to be lived out … every single day especially when no one is watching. Thank you for the setting the bar high but for being human enough that it’s not unattainable should the Lord have a man waiting in the wings. And thank you for teaching me to work on being the “right one” rather than finding “the one”. I love you!
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Jennifer Harvey
Yesterday marked 11 weeks that I have been completely off my anti-anxiety/depression medication after 7 years of being on it. I’ll be honest with you … I should have never been on it this long if I should have ever been on it in the first place and that is not my doctor’s fault.
You see I was given some poor advice coupled with the encouragement that I might lose weight and my young hurting heart took it. I asked for help as I was in a time of depression and struggling to make sense of some recent health diagnoses. I was 26 years old and all I wanted to do was sleep. I had no energy. I had been tested numerous times in the last two years for mono but it always came back negative. Anyway, after some concrete diagnoses, there were still some questions and deep hurts from other things going on in my world. Instead of seeking counseling, I sought a quick fix in the form of medication. Now, please know that I am an advocate for both … counseling and medication when they are given/taken responsibly. I would have been better off with speaking to a Biblical counselor, first, and then seeing if I needed some additional support. But I didn’t and Satan has used it against me for seven years.
Well, in my heart of hearts I have felt defeated. I mean, I was going to be on medication for the rest of my life. I was numb. I would go months without crying then have an epic meltdown. I have never wanted to be one who lives for emotions but I was not moved by much at all. Pretty much anyone who knows me will attest to this.
These last 11 weeks have been some of the hardest weeks of my life. I am not kidding. I didn’t know if I was going to make it through the first few weeks. I didn’t like myself on the medicine but I hated myself off the medicine. I was feeling all the feels and my emotions were across the board. I get angry now. That’s a foreign emotion. I cry. I still made it through all of “This Is Us” without crying but now the commercials about how much it has meant to the viewers are making me tear up. What the heck?
Satan wasn’t letting me go without a deeper fight either. There have been some dark spiritual warfare days. Nightmares. Dark conversations with people. Trying conversations with people. I got to a point my home was no longer my haven and that is a huge priority for an introvert. Utterly overwhelmed at times in a way I could not being to explain. I had doubts about whether or not I would still need to be on the medication. I mean, I am depressed and anxious, right?
It’s true … God will not call you where He does not lead you. I discovered He was already in the midst of every single situation I have experienced in the past 11 weeks. It took two weeks to wean off a medication that I was told is the hardest medication to wean off of. I had zero side effects. My depression? It was no longer there. My anxiety? Yes, it was there but I saw my counselor and after we identified what makes me anxious those attacks are gone. My home? When it wasn’t a haven the Lord led me to a place where I could find rest of a few minutes each week. Now that things are calming down, peace has been restored within my walls. My emotions? Yep, I still cry. But I am so thankful for my tears and that I can truly feel. I still get angry but I working on that whole “righteous indignation” thing. 🙂
Well, I’m still in the midst of this journey. I still have anxious moments and I am finding areas of my life where Satan is wanting to claim territory so I am taking a step back from the social media world. And while I have claimed this before this time it’s true. I find myself comparing my life to others. I’m not jealous of what other’s have but I find myself being much harder on myself because I can see why God would choose to bless them over me. Such a dumb thought process. Therefore, this Summer, I am going to work through Neil T. Anderson’s book “Who I Am in Christ”, spend time in the Word and try to stay ahead in my two masters classes starting next week. I’ll still blog from time to time as I have a new series running through my mind on dating.
Further thoughts on comparison …
I do not pretend to know what it is like to be a young mother working full time, part time or as a stay at home mom. I do not pretend to know what it is like to come home from work each day to someone else needing your attention or wanting to tell you about how their day went. I do not pretend to know what it is like to be sick with cancer or grieving the loss of a child or spouse. I simply do not pretend to know what the majority of those in my life are experiencing. But … I can empathize with you because it doesn’t take much to feel compassion for someone who is hurting, tired, grieving or stressed. I believe one of the biggest problems in our culture today is the need to minimize or downplay someone else’s situation because it doesn’t compare to our own. Who are we to compare our problems with someone else’s? The reality is we can never truly walk in someone else’s shoes. There is only one person who has ever experienced every possible thing that can be experienced on this Earth … and that was Jesus … and He still didn’t sin. Some may have it together and other’s may not but we have to remember we (as in, believers) all have our own “crosses to bear” but we have two invitations issued to us in that burdened area.
If we want to truly follow Christ then we need to take up our cross, by putting our plans and desires to death. (See Luke 9:23)
We can cast our burdens … the crosses we bear … on Him and He will give us His burden to carry which is far easier a load to bear. (See Matthew 11:28-30)
13 weeks ago, I was offered both invitations and I took it. And, by the grace of God alone, I am making it through and finding joy on the journey.
A funny thing happens every May, I find myself feeling a bit nostalgic and remembering my senior year of High School. Not in an Uncle Rico/Napoleon Dynamite way but more so as a Bethel moment in my life. In Genesis 35 we see where God told Jacob to go “to Bethel and dwell there. Make an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.” So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you and purify yourselves and change your garments. Then let us arise and go up to Bethel, so that I may make there an altar to the God who answers me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.” (Genesis 35:1-3)
My senior year is reminder to me of the joy that came as a result from the Summer before when I cried out to the Lord, on a beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama, that I was tired of being comfortable in the fact that I was saved (I had been since I was 9 years old) but I wanted to truly live for Christ. I didn’t want to just do the right thing because it was the right thing to do or because it was expected of me, I wanted it to be a natural response to my walk with Christ. From that night on, everything has been different. On the drive back to Memphis, I was reading the Psalms and came across these verses in chapter 30, “10 You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, 11 that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!’ I truly believe that Summer changed the whole trajectory of my life and it was evident all throughout my senior year in High School.
I was one of those who hated school. I might have looked forward to it for a bit but after a few weeks, I was over it. I didn’t fit in and I went to a private Christian school. While I longed to be accepted, I did the exact opposite – I called people out for things that they shouldn’t be doing and had no problem turning a guy in for making suggestive gestures with his hands towards me during Bible class. That was 7th grade and I remember being confronted in pick up line by an older friend about how I was wrong for getting him in trouble … after all, it wasn’t that big of a deal. I looked at her, told her it was inappropriate and I wasn’t going to let a guy do that to me.
In 8th grade, I had instigated a situation with a guy that ended with him calling me a “Fat B****”. A lifelong guy friend immediately came to my defense. I can still remember the horror I felt as I turned to see two guys that I had sort of had a crush on looking at me at what I assumed was through the lens of his words. I believe I apologized to that guy for instigating that situation … I should have if I didn’t. I have no idea if he apologized to me for what he said, I think my friend made him but it didn’t matter. Those were his true thoughts about me and it has stayed with me for the rest of my life. Not so much the witch part because I have those moments but the “fat” part. I just knew if this guy was gutsy enough to call me that to my face then he only said what everyone was thinking about me.
I was “accused” of being a “Bible thumper” at some point in High School and was encouraged to do something about that. I just smiled and said something like, “People are going to think that no matter what I do but I’m not going to change who I am.” I think I got that title because I asked someone to stop cussing around me. LOL. In many ways, I am in awe of my courage back then because I thought I was weak. I know I came off as a holier-than-thou know-it-all at times and truly regret that as I was simply in a place of figuring out how to walk with and live for Christ.
My senior year, I learned to love everyone. I became “friends” with just about everyone in our class. Meaning I made a point to talk to everyone at some point during the year. I didn’t hang out with them outside of school but I didn’t shun talking to them and I think they discovered I wasn’t that bad either … I just had my convictions and stuck to them. I didn’t apologize for my convictions but I also didn’t impose them on anyone else. I just didn’t care about how people thought about me anymore. It was an incredibly freeing time in my life. The Lord brought some precious people into my life that year several of whom I am still in communication with today. He opened up some unique doors for me that I would have never dreamed possible. Things that I still marvel at to this day.
However, what many do not know was that Satan had been an almost constant companion up until the Summer of 2001. He spoke the harshest of words to me and he still does. He loves to throw in my face the things I have missed out on because of my convictions.
But let me be perfectly clear, I have zero regrets over saying “no” or avoiding the temptation altogether to compromise on my convictions in the last 16 years.
It’s the moments that I gave in that I regret. It’s by God’s grace alone that I am still completely saving myself for marriage and if I never marry it will be worth it all. Satan and the world want you to think that it isn’t worth it all but it is. Every day I am becoming more and more convinced that the things of this world simply cannot satisfy me. When I have tried to fill myself on those things they have left me empty, aching and more alone than I was before. It’s a temporal satisfaction if there is any satisfaction at all so you have to fill yourself with more when in reality you are depleting yourself. Paul said it best in Philippians 3:8, “everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…”
So, yes, I go back in my memories to my senior year and remember the girl that probably would have charged Hell with a water pistol. I remember those moments when the Word of God became the living Word to me. I remember that moment on the sandy beach when Satan lost that foothold in my life that caused me to question my salvation because from that moment on I was walking with the Lord. I remember the girl who stopped letting the words of the world define her but instead listened to the words of her Savior. I go back to give thanks, to remind Satan of where I’ve been and to hold my feet to the fire when the words of the world drown out the words of my Savior.
To my young friends who are graduating this May,
It’s true … you get to completely rewrite your story from this point on. How people in school knew you for the last 12 years does not have to define how people will know you from this point forward. But none of that matters apart from a relationship with Christ. I came into my “own” after High School. I found my own sense of fashion, my own sense of humor and for the most part have accepted myself. Satan has come against me hard over the years but the Lord has remained faithful in my life and has given me the victory in those battles. One battle I am just now emerging from after seven years and that’s a story for another day. But I can tell you that nothing you face will ever be greater than the love and power of Jesus. Do not miss out walking with Him on a daily basis as it to will change the trajectory of your life.
I have so much to say but I simply feel right now is not the time to say it. I want to be obedient to the Lord’s direction in my life. Until He leads me or releases me to write more I am going to link other blog posts that are catching my eye or convicting me. I still want to be a source of encouragement for you all but I also feel like I am being called to warn/point out problems, which is something I struggle to do as I hate confrontation. So please know that I am really confronting these things in me and just taking you along for the ride.
Today, I was called back to John 10 through a friend. The verses describing Jesus as the Good Shepherd have really been resonating in my life over the last 5 months. I am not ignoring that. I believe it is for many reasons with one being that there are wolves all around us inside the Church. Friends, we have got to be on guard. I am linking this blog from The Gospel Coalition entitled Beware of Broken Wolves as it gives us an example of a “new” wolf in our midsts … a very authentic kind. And for those who are like me, drawn to help the broken, it is important that we spot these wolves and recognize them for what they are. Being bold for Christ isn’t just about being a witness for Him but about standing up for the things of Christ and calling out the things that are the opposite of Him.
If you aren’t sure what those things are may I humbly suggest you find a copy of God’s Word that you can understand and then start reading it? It’s hard to prepare yourself for battle when you don’t know what kind of weapons to use.
Well, it’s been a few weeks since I have written anything. There has been so much going on that it’s hard to know where to start or what to share. I haven’t been released by the Lord to share what all has been going on with me but when the time is right to share it with you then I will as I don’t believe He intends for me to keep this part of my journey to myself. It’s just that I am still in the process of fleshing it out and learning to press further into Him. Plus, I have to be sure that when I do share it with you this doesn’t become a “poor Melody” moment but rather a “to God be the glory, look what He has done” moment.
Anyway, until then just know that I am in this place where the Lord is completely emptying me of myself so that I have no other choice but to fill myself up with Him. Because when given a choice, I will fill myself up with other things … well meaning things but stuff that simply cannot satisfy like Jesus can. I am in a place of ministry that I never desired to be in and have had to draw much deeper from the well than before because I wasn’t prepared for what was placed before me. I wasn’t ready for what would be asked of me. So I have had to dig deeper and study more. Boy, am I thankful!
This past Sunday night, I attended a local church’s Easter program entitled “The Living Cross” where they shared the life of Christ as told in the Bible. It was beautifully portrayed. The song they chose to sing during the “miracles scene” was Take Me to the King. This song has been on instant replay in my heart and mind all week. No song better describes where I am at in my life right now and where I desire to stay in my life.
Truth is I’m tired
Options are few
I’m trying to pray
But where are you?
I’m all churched out
Hurt and abused
I can’t fake
What’s left to do?
Truth is I’m weak
No strength to fight
No tears to cry
Even if I tried
But still my soul
Refuses to die
One touch will change my life
Take me to the King
I don’t have much to bring
My heart’s torn in pieces
It’s my offering
Lay me at the throne
Leave me there alone
To gaze upon Your glory
And sing to You this song
Please take me to the King
Truth is its time
To stop playing these games
We need a word
For the people’s pain
So Lord speak right now
Let it pour like rain
Oh, yeah, we’re desperate
We’re chasing after you
No rules, no religion
I’ve made my decision
To run to You,
The healer that I need
Lord, we’re in the way
We keep making mistakes
The glory’s not for us
It’s all for You
The truth is I am tired. I am churched out – I know all the churchy answers to tell myself. I’m tired of the games we play. I’m tired of being in the way. I’m tired of trying to steal His glory. It’s not for me. It’s not for you. It’s all for Him because of Him.
So, please, take me to the King. Lay me the throne. Leave me there alone. My heart is torn in pieces over my sin and in awe of His goodness. I just want to gaze upon His glory and sing to Him. The audience of One. Take me to the King.