Thursday, July 31, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Its time to Move On to your New Life!
Are the mistakes you've made in the past destroying your present? When Jesus knelt before the woman accused of adultery, He wrote something in the sand that set her free from her accusers but it was his forgiveness that set her free to move on and make a fresh start. The Bible is full of real people who made choices to move on...
Move on from insecurity
Queen Esther…had to move on from her identity as a powerless orphan and accept God’s call to be queen. If she had focused on how unqualified she was to reign, she would have missed the opportunity to save the Jewish people and be a part of God’s great eternal plan for His chosen ones.
Move on from your past mistakes
King David…had to move on from his sins of adultery and murder. He cried out to God and received His forgiveness. God is so full of grace that He made something good out of David’s bad choice by giving him and Bathsheba King Solomon once they repented and moved on.
Move on from guilt
The Apostle Peter…had to move on when he failed to stand up for his Savior. Even though he loved Jesus passionately, Peter denied Him not once, not twice, but three times. When we let guilt keep us paralyzed from living out our purpose we are saying by our actions that the cross was not enough to set us free from guilt from our past mistakes.
Praise be to our God, we are a new creation. As far as the east is from the west is how far He has removed our sins from us—and remembers them no more. Do not let the devil whisper lies —let your Lord whisper His truth that you are totally forgiven and a brand New creation in Christ...A Pure Princess of the Lord
Don’t let your past torment you…let it teach you. Leave the past where it belongs…at the cross!
Have you given your past to Jesus? NO MATTER WHAT you are a "pure princess of the Lord". Pure. Washed clean.
If you have questions about what it means to know Jesus, please email me at: Melissa@MelissaTaylor.org. I would be honored to fill you in and share the truth with you. I want you to KNOW you are FREE, FORGIVEN, AMAZINGLY LOVED, AND ADORED, whether you feel like it or not. You can also click the "Got Jesus?" link in the sidebar of this blog for how you can begin a relationship with Christ today!
Love and Blessings,
Monday, July 28, 2008
Yesterday I wrote about the wonderful day I had with my daughter Hayley Grace. We went on a picnic with a good friend and her daughter. In this picture, you see me with the beautiful girls, Sydney and Hayley Grace. It was just good to get away with "the girls". I asked Hayley Grace what she liked so much about "Mommy-Daughter Day" and she said, "well, I just like spending time with you." So simple. Simple.
Do you think that maybe our relationship with God is like that?
I know I don't have to earn Hayley Grace's love. She's in love with me because I'm her mommy. She adores me. And I adore her too. There's nothing she can do to change that. I may try to do many things to make her happy, like: buy her a candy treat, take her to see Hannah Montana, let her stay up late on Friday night, make her favorite meal, help her with her homework, give her special attention, or allow her to have friends over. She likes all these things. But what does she like the most about me? She likes to spend time with me. Simple.
When we went on our picnic Sunday, that's exactly what the day was all about. Spending time with Mommies, Daughters, and Friends. No frills. No special purchases. Just spending time.
And the night before, it was the same way. The Hannah Montana Concert was on TV. What was Hayley Grace's favorite part? "I liked that my mommy danced with me while we watched it."
And here we are again. The photographer (Jeff) is in the loft taking the picture from the top. Did you know that you look thinner if you are looking up than down? Ha! That's why I used this picture here:)
I think it's the same way with our Father. We can do a lot of special services and special things for Him. But I think He really relishes our time with Him the most. Simple. Time. What more precious commodity do we have than time?
I enjoy making memories with Hayley Grace. I also enjoy making memories with God.
I truly believe that the Lord just wants some simple time with me. Often I try to complicate it. I think I have to have a perfect life to show Him. I think I need to bring Him an offering or pray a certain way. I think I need to do something really cool and special for Him. But I don't really. He just wants my time. Simply my time. My heart. My real true feelings. Time. Simple. Time. He loves me for who I am, not for what I do. "Just spend some time with Me, Melissa." That's what I hear Him saying.
This week, I want to give the Lord my time. Nothing else. Just my time. And He will be pleased with just that.
Over the past week, I've focused a lot on hearing from God. On letting go of the past. On being able to move on. This week, I just want to commit to spending time with the Lord. No expectations. Just simple time with God. I don't expect anything from Him and He doesn't expect anything from me.
Join me won't you? We've been through a lot of c_ap in our lives. We don't need to stay there. In fact we can't stay there. So, let's take the first step. Just "be" with God. No expectations. Just simple time with God.
He cares. He loves you. He made you for crying out loud! And just like Hayley Grace likes spending time with me, I think God likes spending time with you (and me).
Now, go spend some time with the One Who made you!
You are so beautiful and precious to Him.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Melissa, Sydney, and Hayley Grace
Friday, July 25, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
I have a devotion that will be running on Proverbs 31 and Crosswalk next Thursday, July 31st, titled "My Thoughts vs. God's Word". It is about combatting the negative thoughts in my head with what God's Word says about me. My thoughts are not always from God and many times I end up dwelling on more of the negative ones than the positive ones. Especially concerning myself. When I find myself spiralling downward in negative thinking, I also usually realize that I have not been spending enough time in the Word of God.
Life comes at us hard. As I've been writing about lately, life can be ugly, sad, defeating, and unfair. And at this point there's not a lot we can do about it. We can't go back and change the past. It is what it is. Or should I say, It was what it was. But what about what it can be....
Maybe you don't know how to be intimate with your husband or you just don't want to be. Or you have a past that haunts you. You've been a bad girl. You haven't been happy or fulfilled. You don't feel noticed or speical. You are working hard all day and come home to a messy house each evening. You've been exhausted and you're tired of trying so hard. You've heard of God speaking to others, well why isn't He speaking to you? Maybe He is.
At the top of this post I copied a paragraph written by Stormie O'Martian. Re-read it. Do you believe that God does indeed have much to speak into your life? Sometimes when we are left to our own thoughts or even the thoughts from those in our lives, it doesn't make us feel much better. God's Word though is not about self defeating thoughts and feelings. God's Word tells us the truth, the real truth.
Today, try to find a moment alone. But not totally alone, with the Lord. Pour out your heart. Then listen. No noise. No human voices. No TV. No music. No kids. No husband. No co-workers. Go in the bathroom if you have to. Take a walk. Sit in your car. Whatever it takes, grab a moment with God and ask Him to fill you. Read the Hope verses from a few days ago (http://melissataylorp31.blogspot.com/2008/07/dont-you-dare-lose-hope.html ) or some verses you find on your own. Repeat tomorrow.
The rest of the world may not care or notice you. But God does. And He has something to say. Quiet and calm your self and mind so you can hear Him.
There is hope. You are normal. You are okay. And best of all you are loved tremendously, NO MATTER WHAT. So, get happy, thankful, and praise God for the good He is doing in and all around you. During that quiet time with Him, find some things to thank Him for. Be intentional on noticing them. Keep them with you in your mind during the day.
I've been kind of serious this week on my blog, but it's just what's been on my mind. Friday is fast approaching, and I'm going to lighten up. Yeah, Fun Friday.
In closing, ask God if He's speaking to you and if you are having trouble hearing Him, ask Him to give you the spiritual ears to hear Him.
And if you comment here, let us know how you hear God and how you know it's God you are hearing.
If you wonder why you've never heard God, let us know your perspective as well.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Well, Joy looked it up and actually wrote out the definition from Websters, (see http://melissataylorp31.blogspot.com/2008/07/you-are-normal.html , comment section) and she was right, we aren't normal. God made us better than normal.
Lynn brought up how Jesus used ordinary water jugs to perform His first miracle. And likewise, God can use ordinary people like us to do amazing things.
It broke my heart last week when I received so many letters all asking the question, "Am I normal?" or "What's wrong with me?" It made me so sad, because I understood that question. It's familiar to me. I've asked myself that secretly for many years. I know the truth though. We are just fine. We aren't crazy. Nothing is wrong with us. Many of us have suffered. That's not who we are though. Many of us have sinned horribly and have a shameful past. That's not who we are though. These things happened to us. It is what we did. But it's not who we are. (If you have time and want to hear a dynamic message on this, visit http://www.elevationchurch.org/ and click on the message for "Week 3- Identity" and watch Pastor Stephen Furtick bring home this message. Honestly, it's one of the best I've ever heard. I'll warn you, he's not your typical Preacher...He's young and well, he looks like he should be the lead singer in a rock n roll band. Don't tune him out though. This young rocker has an amazing gift as a teacher and he is a genuine man of God. This message is 47 minutes and worth every minute.)
I can write all day long about the mighty work the Lord can do in your life. We can read our Bibles day and night and learn many interesting facts. We can listen to great messages like the one I mentioned above. Friends can pray for us . We can pray for us. But ultimately, until we answer the question, "Who is Jesus to me?" (and make it personal to yourself), I'm not sure we can move forward.
Other questions to consider: "Do you really believe Him?" "Believe in Him?" "Believe that His promises are as true for you as they are for the next person?"
This is just a peek at what's to come in the next few days.
Normal? Who wants to be normal? me me me me me:) Really, sweet sistas...we don't want to settle for plain ole normal. We are much better than that. We are royalty, daughters of the King. Extraordinarily made to live extraordinary lives. Hang on, YOU ARE WORTH IT!
Monday, July 21, 2008
One of the main questions I've been asked lately is: "Melissa, am I normal?"
Why would so many women ask me that question? Last week, I came forth and proclaimed to the world that:
I've been sexually molested and for years and years I felt shamed and dirty.
I witnessed my grandfather's stroke and it brought nightmares into my life.
My father left my home without warning for good, and it brought feelings of unworthiness and abandonment to me.
The feelings that followed, plagued me. I didn't know why, but for years, (even sometimes still!) I asked God, "Am I normal? What is wrong with me? I know I'm forgiven. I know You love me. Why can't I be intimate with my husband? Why am I so different from my friends? Or at least why do I still feel ugly...dirty...shameful?"
I can't answer these questions with solid answers. But let me share with you something....after I wrote last week's devotions, one thing I KNOW........I'm not alone. There are hundreds and hundreds of other women just like me. Violated, ruined, shamed, and disgraced. But ladies, we are not weird, strange, or abnormal. On the contrary, we are very normal.
I finally came to a point where I refused to believe anything else. My counselor really helped me to see that what I'd been through and even many of my current feelings weren't my fault. At the same time, I'm not defined by my feelings. How I feel is not who I am. I am a child of God. I am holy, righteous, and pure...I don't feel it, but I am. All because of Christ.
So, in answer to the question, "Am I normal?"
"YES, SWEET CHILD OF GOD, YOU ARE NORMAL. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU. Do not allow your circumstances or your past to define who you are. You belong to God. You are His."
I will write more. I wish I had more time right now, but I don't.
I love you "Normal Friends" of mine.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Any way, here are the winners:
1-The very 1st post from July 16th. BetterHalf, you have won a book. I'll be emailing you to see how I can get it to you.
2-Pam Crawford, you also won a book. I'll be emailing you to get your info also.
3-Anonymous Alice who posted July 16th at 11:43 am. I don't have any information to get in touch with you. So, I'm hoping you'll get in touch with me so I can get your information. I want to send you your prize.
The book I chose to give away is titled His Princess, Love Letters From Your King. The author is Sheri Rose Shepherd. I found this book about 6 years ago while waiting in line at a women's retreat to pay for some other books. I picked it up and opened it. I haven't put it down since. I've given it away so many times. When I am discouraged or not feeling God, I read His letters to me. Each one is based on scripture. It doesn't change my circumstances, but reminds me that I am cared for deeply by God. I need that. I get my feelings hurt very easily. Words speak to me and hit my heart. Depending on those words, that can be good or bad. These letters, written words from my Father, bring me comfort. If you are interested in this book, visit the Proverbs 31 Shop online, http://shopp31.com/index.asp?PageAction=PRODSEARCH&txtSearch=His+Princess&btnSearch=GO&Page=1 or call the Proverbs 31 office, 877-731-4663 to order. Or you can order it from your local bookstore.
My Princess...I will heal your heart.
Don't get discouraged, My beloved; pain is a part of life. But I promise you that I will turn every tear you've cried into joy, and I will use your deep pain for a divine purpose. Don't try to hide your hurts from Me. I know everything about you. You are Mine, My beloved! I'm the only one who can handle your heart and restore you to health and wholeness again. I, too, have felt great pain, rejection, and anger. But we can go through every trial together. Hand in hand I will lead you back to My place of peace and joy after the storm. The sun will shine on you again, and your heart will be healed. I promise you, My Princess, that when you go through deep waters of great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression you will not be burned.
Your King and your Healer
Isaiah 43:1-2, "Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed
you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through
deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown!"
That is from p. 72-73. Don't you just feel loved after reading that? To know that God knows everything about us...our thoughts, past, present, actions, sins, mistakes, desires, fears, loves, etc. and He loves us anyway, NO MATTER WHAT. I need to hear and read that. No one else loves me like He does. They can't. They never could and never will. And that's ok. I don't know how people survive without the Lord in their lives. But that's a post for another day!
I am praying for anyone who has posted a comment, sent an email, or just needs hope - I guess that would be all of us:) From yesterday's blog post, just as I promised I would be praying for all:
Romans 15:13, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, SO THAT you may overflow with hope by the POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT."
Have a wonderful day.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
I anticipate that my traffic here will return to normal, but since there was such an outpour of stories, prayers, and emotions, I'm going to continue to write and share. I hope to answer each question or at least get some dialogue going between those of you who may return here. I feel very humbled that God could use me in this way. I do not feel victorious or special and yet because of what He is doing somehow victory seems possible. I really do read every email and comment that is sent and posted. I wish I could sit down and have a conversation with each of you. I bet we'd have an amazing time together!
Today, I want to write about hope. Or actually the lack or loss of it. Someone asked, "How do you have hope?" My simple response would be, "Sometimes that all there is."
The definition of hope (in my Bible's dictionary) is: to desire something with confident expectation of its fulfillment Do you agree with that? Do you have that kind of hope? That's pretty steep, don't you think? It's hard to have that kind of hope, the confident kind, in our situations. Honestly, I didn't have that kind of hope in my marriage. I never had that kind of hope in my father. I certainly didn't have that kind of hope, if any, when I was a little girl and my world was falling apart. Even when I first asked Jesus into my life, I was kind of wanting a magician to fix everything. I didn't understand hope. I definitely didn't feel it. When I think about it, it was not until my relationship with Jesus started that I began to even hope for that kind of hope. That was in my early 20's.
Let's look at what the Bible says about hope. As we read these verses, let's personalize them. Where there is a blank line, fill in your name.
1.Psalm 25:1-3a, "To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. No one whose hope is in you will EVER be put to shame, ...."
Did you get that sweet princess???? Shame has no place in our lives. Let's not allow our enemies (and you know who they are, you told me about them...I told you about mine too!), rob us of hope and fill us with shame. Say the above verse each day if you have to. Post it on your mirror, refrigerator, inside cabinets, on your dashboard, highlight it in your Bible...whatever it takes to remind you that when you place your hope in our Almighty Capable Powerful Creator, you cannot be put to shame. Not by a person or a memory or even a crummy situation. God is bigger. Let's have hope...the confident kind! Now let's do another.
2. Psalm 42:5, "Why are you downcast ___________? Why so disturbed ___________? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God."
Are you down? Disturbed? Angry? Scared? Fearful? Well, this verse is telling you, "don't be!" Even when you don't feel like it, praise God. I know how hard that is. But just try it. Praise Him that He is with you. That He loves you and sees everything you have been through and are going through. He is Your true Father...and He will never leave you or abandon you or mistreat you. Place your hope in Him.
3. Psalm 130:5, "I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope."
Sometimes we feel left alone, like God doesn't see and we don't understand why we should have to endure it. But God knows the big picture. He is preparing us for something really special. Waiting on God's perfect timing is exhausting and difficult. It often seems like we are waiting eternally. Never give up. Don't you dare lose hope. Fill your soul with the Word of God and there you will find hope. Live on His Word and allow it to really be your "daily bread". Again, post it all over the place if you have to be reminded. I do! Go get yourself a special scripture bracelet or necklace to remind yourself of where you are in Christ. Don't wait on someone else to get you a gift, go get it yourself. It doesn't have to be expensive. I love cheap cool jewelry that has a message.
4. Jeremiah 29:11-14a, "For I know the plans I have for _____________," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper __________ and not to harm ___________, plans to give ___________hope and a future. Then _____________will call on me and come and pray to me and I will listen to _________________. _________________will seek me and find me when _________________seeks me with ALL her heart. I WILL BE FOUND by ______________, "declares the Lord, "and will bring you back from captivity...."
This one is so rich isn't it? Ok girls, repeat after me, "The Lord has plans for me!!!!! Yippee!"
"He plans to give me hope and a future because He loves me!!!!"
"He does not plan harm for me. Any harm that has come to me has not been from Him."
"I will call on Him, seek Him and put my hope in Him alone, oh yes I will!"
(this is the hard part) "I will seek Him with ALL my heart! Not just part of it, but all of it."
"And because I'm seeking Him with ALL my heart, I'll find Him. God will never hide from me. "
"And I am not a captive to anyone or anything anymore, because He promises to rescue me from captivity! This makes me so happy. And gives me reason to hope."
Are you any more hopeful now? Ok, let's do one more.
5. Romans 15:13, "May the God of hope fill ___________________with all joy and peace as _______________trusts in him, SO THAT ____________________may overflow hope by the POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT."
I pray this for you my friends (and I really do consider you my friends...I mean we've shared a lot together!). This verse, Romans 15:13, is my prayer for you. Pray it for yourself too. Ask anyone you feel comfortable asking to pray this for you.
We all deserve to have hope. Honestly, last summer, I really thought my marriage was over. I asked my husband, "Is there any hope?" I expected him so say, "No". But he said, "an ounce." I took that as a glorious gift from God. I knew what God could do. So, right then I asked the Lord to multiply that ounce. I knew if He could feed the 5000 with a few loaves and fish, then He could multiply that hope. It wasn't quick. I cried daily for months. But I began posting "hope" things all around. I have a bracelet with "hope" on it. I have an angel of "hope" figure. I visit my friend Amy's blog, http://amylbrooke.blogspot.com/, she writes of hope a lot. "Fill me with hope Lord, I NEED IT!!!! Hope was all I had. And I believed. I still cried and was sad, but I did have hope. Peace followed. And now there is joy.
This has gotten longer than I expected, but I "hope" it's helped or brought some encouragement. Just writing it, helps me.
And to those who are already filled with hope, please post a comment and chime in on what brings you that hope even in the darkest of your days. I was so encouraged by you who wrote that you had been through similar stuff and you are doing well today. It brings hope to those who are struggling. Thank you.
And, I haven't forgotten about the give away. In fact, I'm adding to it. I'll be taking your names from yesterday's posts and the emails I've received (just as many as comments). I'll give 3 Princess books away. I'm not adding any more names to the bucket I'll draw from though. I promise to let you know the 3 winners tomorrow. And if you don't win, save the $ and get this book, it's so sweet and life changing:)
Blessings Dear Friends. I pray you are filled with HOPE today!!! Don't you dare lose hope!
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Before I talk about my marriage, I just want to THANK all of you who posted yesterday or sent me emails. I have been pouring through your stories. Many times I have been brought to tears. There was such a great response to yesterday's devotion, I think Proverbs 31 Ministries is even going to run it on our Teen Blog sometime in the future.
Many of you thanked me for sharing and celebrated that I had "overcome" the baggage I've carried through my life and said you wished you could do that too. That's sweet, but I want you to know that I don't feel I've truly "overcome" anything. The devotion I wrote and you read yesterday was about my distant past, but a lot of it could be written about my present. I still struggle. I know, I mean I KNOW that God loves me unconditionally and that none of my past should have a hold on me. I know, I mean I KNOW that I am 100% free in Christ. I know, I mean I KNOW that I don't need to look for love or praise from anyone because God is enough. But like I said, it is my struggle. I have to read my Bible and I even have a few friends who have been sweet enough to make sure I remember all that I KNOW, because when the going gets tough, too often, Melissa falls apart ... again. That's why we really do need to have our quiet time (or whatever you call your time with the Lord) each and every day. Sunday is not enough, we need Him every day and every moment.
Ok, so on to today. So many people want to know about my marriage. Well it ain't perfect I'll tell you that right upfront. I can honestly say that my husband and I have worked harder in this area than any other area of our lives. I think he'd agree with that. We met in junior high school. We were high school sweethearts. We both attended the same college (Appalachian State ... yes we beat Michigan in football last year and yes we have been the National Football Champions in our division 3 years in a row. Can you tell I'm a bit of a football fanatic?). We married 1 month after I graduated. We have 4 beautiful children and the cutest little doggie you ever did see. We have a nice home that we love. Sounds like a fairytale doesn't it? And that's what I wanted, a fairy tale.
Honestly, when I met Jeff, I was in need of a rescue. He swept me off my feet, loved me, took care of me, and put up with me:) And he's continued to play the role of rescuer or knight in shining armour throughout our marriage. You know what's wrong with that? It's not fair and it's not truly possible. You probably know that too. No person can fulfill that role and I was unfair in expecting him to do that.
Over the years, we've experience many trials. Some involving the children. Others involving finances and jobs. We've also had individual trials. Some of these trials we've handled well. But some of them we, or at least I, have not handled well.
During 2007, our marriage was on the rocks. And I don't mean soft river pebble rocks, but the real sharp big boulder kind. I am not going to go into details here because we do have 4 children and we are dedicated to protecting our family and really the details don't matter. We both share in the responsibility of the breakdown, but it was me who really lost it. I shut down as a wife. I was not there for my husband. I quit listening to him, communicating honestly with him, and supporting him the way he needed supporting. Shame, blame, and fear once again took over. I don't blame my past for these recurring feelings, but at the same time I had to wonder what hold the past had on me. Finally for the first time in my life, I entered counseling. Boy, do I wish I'd done that 20+ years ago! That was by far one of the smartest things I've ever done because I needed it. Jeff and I also entered marriage counseling.
Through marriage counseling we dealt with our issues honestly and openly. We also discovered that our love languages were different. Here are the top 5 ways I feel love, in order:
1. Words, written and spoken
2. Physical Touch- non sexual
3. Quality Time
4. Acts of Service
5. Physical Touch- sexual
Here are the top 5 ways Jeff feels love, in order:
1. Physical Touch- sexual
2. Quality Time
3. Physical Touch- non sexual
4. Acts of Service
5. Words, written and spoken
Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding.....red flag appears....lights begin flashing....My #1 is his #5. His #5 is my #1. Go figure. We could have a problem here.
Now I knew about the love languages (and forgive me if I've left one out), but I never took the time to really examine the difference they could make in my marriage. When both of us began focusing on how the other felt loved, this changed our marriage drastically! Both of us were committed to change. Both of us were committed to make our marriage work. I know I will hear from some of you who are in a marriage where your husband isn't willing to work or he is not there for you. I know because I've heard from you before and it breaks my heart. I'm so sorry. All I can say is no matter who you are or what condition your marriage or any other relationship is in, your #1 relationship has to be with the Lord in order for you to feel whole and complete. I know there is still sadness and a void. I haven't been there, but I try to understand your feelings too. I hope I wrote that ok.
I am happy to report that my marriage is thriving right now. (note, thriving doesn't mean perfect and every problem solved...we are a work in progress, but we are happy right now.) I hope my husband would agree. We are being intentional about making sure we have time together, like date nights weekly (even if the date is in our bedroom because we are saving $) and moments sitting together in the early morning or after work. We are committed to each other and the legacy of our family. We began praying for each other 3 times a day too. He gives me his prayer requests and I give him mine. And we would not hesitate to enter counseling again if it were needed. In fact, we'd go a lot sooner. Personally, I think everyone needs a good Christian counseling session for themselves or as a couple every now and then. It's kind of like a tune up. That's just my personal opinion, I'm not telling anyone they need help:)
One thing we never lost was hope. That is one of my all time favorite words now. Last year I watched God take an ounce of hope and multiply it. Little by little I watched it increase in my life. Hope is a beautiful thing that God has an abundance of. Take it sweet friends and hang on to it.
I will probably continue to write about this and also base my upcoming posts on my blogs on your responses and questions. I read every single thing you write me and I treasure your words.
Oh, yea, I said I'd give something away didn't I? There is a book by Sheri Rose Shepherd titled, His Princess, Love Letters From Your King. It is a beautiful book filled with letters from God to the reader. There is hardly a day that goes by that I don't pick this book up and read something from it. We sell it here at Proverbs 31, so if you don't win it, you may want to consider purchasing it. It really is amazing. Just by posting on this blog today, you are entered. Make sure you let me know how I can reach you or at least put a name and you can check back tomorrow to see if you've won and we can get in touch. If you aren't interested or don't want to win, let me know that too.
Before I sign off, repeat after me: "I am beautiful" "I am loved unconditionally" "I may not feel it, but I know it, because I am a daughter of the almighty King, I am royalty, I am a princess" "No one, no thing, no past, no present, no future can EVER take that away from me" "God's promises are true for me, He loves me always NO MATTER WHAT"!!!!!! Now go and be blessed because of that!!!!
Sorry I was so long winded. I also have the spiritual gift of gab:)
Love and Blessings,
****I want to thank you Jeff for allowing me to share the pain and joy of our journey. I know it's not easy on either of us to look back and I'm so thankful for you. I love you with all of my heart. Maybe through sharing we are making a difference in another life or marriage. I look forward to each day with you and I can't wait until this Friday night! :) We may even have to get a little "Mud on the Tires"......... I thank God for blessing me with you as a friend, husband, and father of my children.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Often when I read a message or hear one, I'll think about how it applies to someone elses life. Sometimes because I'd rather share helpful information with them than take a good look at my own life. That's one of the reasons today's devotion was so hard for me to write. It made me really look at my own life and my life's circumstances. I had to examine God in my life, not try to figure out how He could work in the life of somebody else.
Originally, this devotion, along with the one that is running tomorrow, was set to go online last August. At the last minute, I requested that they both be pulled from publication. You see, my life was a mess. A big mess. My marriage was on the rocks. I was filled with anxiety and fear. I didn't feel like the time was right for these devotions to run. How could I minister to anyone when my own life was in shambles?
Today, I stand tall (all 5'4'' of me), grounded, and secure in the mighty works God has done in my life. I'll write more about what I've gone through in the past year on tomorrow's blog post. I've learned that indeed life is a journey, filled with ups, downs, twists, and turns, and that I'll never "arrive" until I go to Heaven.
"Love Me" is the title of the devotion. "Love Me" could also be the cry of my life. All my life that's what I've wanted, just to be loved without having to work for it. What I found and keep continuing to have shown to me is that I am loved by many. But there is only One Whose Love I really don't have to work for, and that's Jesus'. I know my husband loves me. I know my kids love me. My parents love me. My friends love me. But Jesus has Words that stand behind His love for me. His Words never return void. They remain true. His love is the Only One that is unconditional and unfailing.
I'm sad to say that so much of my self worth has been based on what others say about me or do for me. The man who molested me as a child made me feel dirty, worthless, and like I was a total scum. When my grandfather had his stroke, I felt lost and helpless. When my dad left without warning, I felt abandoned and somewhat at fault. What was wrong with me?
My decisions in life have often been quite skewed. I based them on how I was feeling instead of what I knew was right and true. I blame no one but myself. But I know that God doesn't even blame me. My freedom is found only in Him. Forgiveness is a beautiful thing, undeserving but beautiful.
I can look for love in many places. And I still do. I love encouragement and attention, almost to a fault! I can be a real baby sometimes. But, I KNOW BEYOND THE SHADOW OF A DOUBT, that the ONLY REAL PLACE that I can find love, experience love, and be one with love is through the love, death, and life through my Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Have you felt this way? Do you have shame, blame, or fear from your past? Do you realize that you are indeed the daughter of a mighty King? Do you know how mightily your life can be used for good no matter what? There is no shame in Christ, no blame in Christ, no fear in Christ.
I open up this blog as a place for you to share and comment if you feel led. I have found great freedom from sharing the pain of my past. I have found Isaiah 45:3 to be true in that "there are treasures in the darkness..." We can find treasures in the dark places of our lives. We can learn from every experience we go through. We can learn that trust and love and total security is ours to be had...in Christ.
Thank you for visiting my blog today. It is hard to share these things with you, but at the same time, it's very freeing. I am dirty, helpless, and alone........yet I am loved.....unconditionally and I'm beautiful in the eyes of the Lord. And so are you.
****If you struggle with self worth, confidence, or feeling beautiful also visit my other blog, http://www.beautifulp31.blogspot.com/. And stay tuned for a special give away I'll write about tomorrow.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
I am a visual person. I mean really visual. Gifts, emails, letters, trinkets with meaning touch my heart deeply and I usually attach a memory with each one I purchase or receive. Examples:
*On vacation I bought a silver ring with a J on it. The J is for my husband's name, Jeff. I look at it and I smile because he is the love of my life.
*Two weeks ago, my husband purchased me a new wedding band. Well, he kind of purchased it. He actually won $1500 to Tiffany's at Bingo. We went to Tiffany's together and got a new platinum thick wedding band, to symbolize a renewal in our love and commitment to each other. This is by far my favorite piece of jewelry. The very plain, neverending circle is a reminder of our simple yet beautiful love. We've faced trials in the past year, but we are together for the long haul. And he is the greatest blessing in my life.
*A silver ring with the word 4GVN engraved on it. This reminds me that NO MATTER WHAT Jesus loves me and I am indeed forgiven by Him. This was given to me by my very good friend Denise.
*And on my pinky, due to swelling and growth of my fingers over time, my engagement ring and wedding ring that my husband gave me 19 years ago, are now on this finger. When I look at them, I am reminded of 2 young people in love having no idea of the wild ride they were about to go on!
At the beach, I purchased 3 and was given 1:
*I bought a silver Scripture bracelet. It says, For With God, all things are possible. Mark 10:27 This is one of my favorite verses. I need the reminder because I am often full of doubt.
*Another silver bracelet with a simple cross on it.
*Another silver bracelet with a circular pendant on it. On the circle it says HOPE. When my husband and I were going through marriage trials last year, this word was an anchor to me. Jeff gave me HOPE that we could and would make it through our difficult time. The Lord gave me HOPE that He would guide me and love me and get me through whether my marriage survived or not. Thankfully, it's not only surviving, but thriving.
*A Silver bracelet with pink and clear beads. There are 3 silver oval pendants on this one. One says Special. One says Love. One says Forever. Jeff bought me this one at the beach just last week. Thanks honey:) I love you!
*A Silver bracelet with 4 pendants of 4 different shapes. A square with a B on it. A circle with an H on it. An oval with a D on it. And a heart with an HG on it. This was given to me by my Bible study group a few years ago. The letters stand for the names of my children, Blake, Hayden, Dylan, and Hayley Grace.
*A Gold charm bracelet, this is possibly my only gold one! Each charm has a special meaning. I will NOT allow a charm to go on it unless it has a deep special place in my heart. The charms: Blake, Hayden, Dylan Hayley Grace, 1/2 of a heart (my long time and very good friend Amy has the other half), a Charleston Charm, a Fraternity Lavalier (from my husband in college), and Mickey Mouse.
My t-shirts are the same way. Either with a message, my favorite football teams, or a favorite place I've visited. Same with the magnets on my refrigerator. Either the kids made them or they came from a favorite place or a special friend...just sweet little reminders of special people, special memories, and special places. I also love the Willow Tree Figures. I have 3 really special ones: one from Donna who has been like my angel over the past year (it is 2 girls sitting an talking), one is in memory of my dog of 15 years Poppy (it is an angel holding a dog- I bought this one for myself), and one is an angel bowed down in prayer given to me by a high school friend of mine Gretchen to thank me for praying for her. And then there's the little guy. He's so cute. A little Willow Tree Boy freely positioned holding the word HOPE. This one was given to me by Jeff:)
Tonight I'm going to dinner/Bible study with my 2 JAM girls. (JAM stands for Julie, Alexa, and Melissa...we meet every other week to pray, talk about life, and study the Bible. See, I even have a visual name for us...JAM...I'm silly like that!) I bought them Scripture bracelets and Husband initial rings too. I can't wait to give them to them. We have been encouraging each other in our marriages and our walks with God. It is my prayer that these little tokens will be visual encouragement to each of them.
Does your jewelry say anything? What do your clothes say about you? Do you have any special items that remind you of anything?
If I can actually get my camera to work, I'll try to post some pictures of my new jewelry tomorrow! I'm sure you can't wait...just kidding.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
As we drove home, Jeff and I discussed how we hoped to stay calm, relaxed, and happy once returning home. "Bring our vacation home", Hayley Grace said joyfully. "Okay, we will!" Her dad said. And so, that has been our goal. Even though real life is happening and we have returned to phone calls, emails, grocery shopping, daytime jobs, laundry, schedules, conflicts, deadlines, family and household duties, no ocean waves, and no time to read a novel...we are trying to keep our vacation attitudes. You know the "No problem Mon" attitude. Letting go of the stress and rush and hanging on to the smiles and taking time to enjoy the moment.
Truly, it's just so easy to get caught up and held captive to the hustle and bustle and cruelty that this world brings. I know that each day can't be a vacation, but I like Hayley Grace's suggestion to bring vacation home with us. And so, as a family, we are aiming to do just that. There is a time to work, email, clean, deal with problems, etc. There is also a time to enjoy life. Capture the moment with family and friends. Sit in the back yard and enjoy the life given to us here.
And with that, I must go. Our family is watching a movie together tonight. "Ratatouille" begins in 5 minutes.