Monday, July 14, 2008

Love Me

If you are visiting here after reading the Proverbs 31 Ministries Devotion, http://proverbs31devotions.blogspot.com/2008/07/love-me-heart-of-lost-teenage-girl.html, welcome. I pray that you were somewhat encouraged after reading today's devotion. Or at least I pray it got you thinking about your own life.

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.

Much Love,

Melissa

****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.

60 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've just read your devotional in the Encouragement for Today emails, and I am touched and grateful that you shared your own experiences. I am a teenager struggling with the world and its temptations and the idea of being loved and adored by other people. I wonder why we often seek that love and affection from others, only to feel dejected and broken afterwards. But everyday, I'm learning that truly, God's love is enough for us.

Julie Wyatt Kelada said...

Wow this is so powerful..I have really struggled with this and you speak truth. God's truth. God will never leave us or forsake us He Created us, He loves us and he adores us. May many be encouraged as I am today. To the teenager who wrote earlier great insight keep seeking God's love and He will fill you up to overflowing allowing you to splash out His love on others without having to seek other's love. Have a GREAT day!!!!

:)
Julie

Joyful said...

Love ya my friend. Continue sharing your story. It gives me courage to do likewise. It's easy to smile and play the game, write the expected. Masks, hiding, camaflouge, lonliness, depression and pain are words better used to describe most of my life...BUT GOD! I'll NEVER forget the day God lavished His love on me in such a way that, even though I had invited Him into my heart at a young age, for the first time I truly believed He loved me. I could believe it for everyone else, but not me. I wasn't good enough...or deserving. None of us are. It's an incredible gift. HE's an incredible gift.

Jesus loves me! Powerful truth. I shared this truth through poetry here: http://princessjoyful.blogspot.com/2008/03/jesus-loves-me.html

Rejoicing that He loves you too!!!
Hugs,
Joy
PS. Haven't received the devotional yet...looking forward to reading it!

Anonymous said...

I have struggled this way all my life. So much of what you wrote touches my own story. I have struggled to find my worth in Jesus and it has been a struggle. I am 60, my husband and children and grandchildren love me I have friends that love me. There are many things in my life just now that are changing and uncertain. This has once again opened up that void that is within me and obviously still there, only been covered up with things. I have sought to please others to get their approval and love. Right now I am struggling to rest in Jesus. Thank you so much for sharing your story, it helps. Penny

grey like snuffie said...

great devotional. A thought for others---it doesn't take a series of horrible circumstances to cause a person to look for love in the wrong places/ways. I have a child who struggles with believing God's love for her and nothing horrible has ever happened to shake her world. She was raised with Jesus and no one can figure from our laid back child rearing why she would need to perform, except it's just the way some are in this fallen world. Coming out of an abusive situation as a child I so "got" your message. We were created to be in tight with Jesus and it takes time to overcome that lost child status, some longer than others. He is a restorer of lost years.

JAG said...

Hi,

You have told my story. I have an added demension. I agree with you wholeheartedly. My marriage is on the rocks for the second time. I'm 53 and told that I'm beautiful. I'm admired by others because of my closeness with Jesus. My neglectful marriage has brought me closer to Jesus. I am a daughter of the KING. I believe that, but my husband doesn't love me and hasn't for a very long time. What's wrong with me that I still need that love along with God's love for me? I feel loved by God but I don't feel loved by a man, and I want that too. Our relationship has colored all our other relationships. We don't minister anymore and are isolated. We just simply can't because of it.
Any suggestions?

Wendy Pope said...

Melissa
Your devotion and blog post are going to change lives today.

Thanks for being real with us. I am a life that can testify: there is no substitute for the love Jesus gives.

I love you friend. You are as beautiful inside as you are outside.

TESSY said...

Thank you for sharing on your blog. I went thru teenage trauma (I was a mother at 16). God is wonderful and so faithful. May you be mightily blessed. Thank be to Him who blots out our transgressions.
Tessy

Cindy said...

I picked up my 12 year old niece at the airport yesterday. She was also molested a few years ago - by her dad's father. Then she was abused by her father.

Your article today reminded me of my responsibility to continue to be patient with her. She accepted Christ while she was going through the abuse, and I know He is watching over her now. I will continue to remind her Who's child she is.

Thank you for waiting until today to release that article. I needed the reminder today!

mbr said...

I have to admit I had to read the devotional twice. The first time it made me mad. The second time I remembered how faithful God has been to me, even when I didn't deserve it. I've had so many disappointments in the past three years that I no longer know how to pray but knowing God's love is everlasting is truly comforting. Because it's not tangible, it's easy to let fear take over. Losing my Daddy to cancer then almost immediately facing infertility (which puts an enormous strain on a marriage, especially when the other spouse is perfectly healthy) and going through menopause at 33 has just about done me in. But, the first power verse, Matt. 19:26. I love it. Thank you for sharing. I often feel like I am being punished (God knows I deserve it), but then He puts something in my way, like this devotional, to remind me I'm forgiven and still useful.

Marilyn said...

I would have to say yes, yes, and yes to your question "Do you have shame, blame, or fear from your past?" I suffered so long....especially as a teenager....from a complex of fear that no one would ever love me for who I was. My mama died when I was 16 and there was such a vast void in my life then! She was my encourager and after she was gone I felt so vunerable and alone. Although I had a good Christian daddy who provided for me. We just didn't have much communication.

I've always felt I was not good enough. Didn't matter what the situation. I have been able, with the Lord's help, to overcome a lot of that and at times I truly bask in the "Son-light" of His love and realize that I am wanted and loved and am just who he made me to be. Then at other times the devil whispers his lies to me and I begin to feel those old haunting hurts and insecurities.

I'm sorry that other people have these same feelings but at the same time it is helpful to me to know that I'm not alone. And that through Christ all things are possible. We are on the winning side. We are His most prized possesion....the Bride of Christ. I want to draw nearer and nearer to Him. And reading your post today will help to nudge me over a little closer to my Lord.

Thanks!
Marilyn in Mississippi

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing your heart in today's Encouragement for Today email. It is a very similar story to mine, and it came at the perfect time. I'm amazed how each "Encouragement for Today" always touches my heart in such a special way. Thank you so much for your part in making E for T such an impactful ministry. I am still learning, but I know that God is able to use whatever He can, including an email, to reach me.

Anonymous said...

I want to encourage jag. I was saved at the age of 37 by God's grace. My husband is still not a believer. I know how difficult it is to "play the game" of being okay, not wanting anyone to know your sadness, lonliness and pain. But,God can heal all situations, all relationships. I'm still waiting for his saving power in my husband's heart, but I know he'll do it. While pouring our hearts out to God can ease the burden, he also made us a family of believers. Find a loving woman to walk with you right now, to encourage you with a smile, a tear or holding your hand. Let the body love you. It's a wonderful thing! I love you in the Lord and pray for his healing in your life and marriage.
LL

Anonymous said...

Wow! This was great...I too have had a little sexual abuse as a little girl...and then as a teenager I would be with a guy for the attention. FINALLLY I met a guy who loved God and didn't want the sex stuff! Only to find out after 3 months of marriage he was addicted to pornography since he was 12. That CRUSHED me. 21 years and 3 kids, and one affair (on my part) later we are still married. And he is looking for his 19th job....I find myself wore out making my marriage work and not stressing about ANOTHER job change. Oh-my! any advice?
Your post encouraged me today...
Thank you!
JP

www.jerispot.blogspot.com said...

Thank you ! I needed this today.
My past has made me feel yucky and I seem to need attention too. I think most of us women are the same. We look for it from our man, when Jesus is the only one that can truly fill that spot in our heart. We are fearfully and wonderfully made....and guess what? His works ARE WONDERFUL!!!!
JeriLyn

hkudla said...

You are not the only one who had struggled with the exact same things. I just wrote a post about that last night, and wasn't sure if I should even post it on my blog. Even if I only referred to things I did, without details, it was really hard to write about. It has been hard learning these things about myself as well.

But I know that God is leading me through them and showing me more and more who I am in Him and that my worth comes through Him, not the things I do. Many of the things that you said you have felt because of the circumstances of your life, I know, deep inside. But I am also learning that God goes even deeper. And that He heals the deepest hurts of our hearts... of my heart.

Thank you so much for being so open, and ministering to many hearts through your transparency.
God bless,
Heather

Anonymous said...

So much of your story resonates with me. Some of it so eerily similar, I feel God speaking to me specifically. I thought I could "grow up" and escape my past. I thought I would grow up and it would become irrelevant but it has become impossibly intertwined with my present and holds me back from a future. Knowing God loves me in my head and knowing God loves me in my heart are two very different things. I know he is trying to tell me, but somehow I can't hear it. Thank you for being brave and sharing your story, it made a difference to me today. Maybe someday I will actually believe that there is something lovable about me and find where I fit in this world.

Joy in The Truth said...

Dear Beautiful Melissa:

My heart is filled with love and warmth for you even more now that I have read today's devotion. I appreciate you even more now.

Thank you for unveiling your heart and face.....that is how we bring Him glory for the work HE has done and the life HE has given! May HE bless you for your obedience. May you see His fruit in abundance!

Wow...can't wait to read tomorrow's!

Warm hugs,
Sharon

Anonymous said...

Wow, I am currently going through a divorce from my husband of almost 38 years. We were married when I was 16 and he was 19. I was pregnant. I was looking for someone to love me and instead I got sex and got pregnant.
There has been so much hurt in this marriage. My husband has constantly threatened to leave me if I didn't do things the way he wanted them done. He has had numerous affairs and I have always taken him back. But, this time I found out about his affair and filed for divorce. I can't do it any more. I have tried so hard to find the human love I so need and want. I know Jesus loves me and will never leave me. Knowing His love is what has enabled me to love and forgive my husband for all the hurt that I have gone through in the past. But we are also created with a need for human love and acceptance. This time when he cheated I learned many more disturbing things about some of the other times he has cheated on me including even the time before we were married. I have so much hurt and anger to deal with now.
I know God loves me and I am praying that I will be able to rest in his love as I work through the many issues I have to work through.
Thank you for your openness and your ministry to women of faith.
Teresa

Deb said...

Dear Melissa,
Thank you for being so open and sharing some painful memories with us. Thank you for reminding us that God's love for us is enough. Have a blessed day.

Deb - Ohio

nothingcanseparateme said...

Melissa,
This is a wonderful post and I appreciate your vulnerableness very much. Thankfully I did not face the same trials that you did as a child, I had my own. I was born to teenage parents. I fortunately remember a pretty good childhood other that being fearful of many things. My father was a wonderful provider and a "jokester" when his mood was good but never a really "loving" dad. I always wanted to be a daddy's girl and tried my hardest but just never seemed to "measure-up". Mom didn't leave me much room for mistakes. Basically I felt all my love and attention was based on my performance--certainly not unconditional love.

And then I met Jesus!! I still have days of doubt and low self-esteem but I turn my eyes toward him--WOW!! I am his child--a child of the KING! And he loves me even when I mess up and nothing can separate him from me! And his promises just go on and on.....and on.

I am speechless at the love he has for ME!!

Sarah said...

Wow Melissa! This was powerful in so many ways. Bless your heart for opening up this way... that is the hardest thing, being exposed. This is Sarah Drohan, the one who brought her 10 year old, Mariah to this year's "She Speaks"! We spoke on the phone and you were the immediate answer to our prayer we had literally just finished praying right before the phone rang and there was your voice! That still just blows us both away! We love when God does things like that!
Anyway, my life has been a huge struggle and I can relate to so much of what you've been through. My dad was abusive, physically, emotionally, verbally and mentally to my mom, myself, and my brother growing up. As a matter of fact, it's by God and my mother saying "yes" to Him against all odds that I'm even here. I wasn't wanted by my dad, to the point that he gave my mother the money for the abortion, told her he would hate her and never see her again if she didn't go through with it. She almost did, was actually getting ready for her appt. when God spoke to her heart through two songs at two different points in the day. One of those songs was "Let It Be" by the Beatles. Anyway, I'm here, and that's a story in and of itself. I'm just so grateful God wanted me here and my mom said "yes", stepping out scared to death in faith, with everyone including her mother, father, friends against her.
Growing up I always felt I wasn't "normal" compared to other children, that our family wasn't normal. The only "norm" I felt I had was my grandparents, who I spent so much time with growing up and I'm so thankful for that, and my church family. Thank God my grandparents took me to church every Sunay and there, I had a real family. I wholeheartedly invited Jesus into my heart at the age of 12. My dad was against that as well. He thought I was too young and made my getting baptized very hard. But no matter what, I knew he couldn't touch or control what was in my heart. I hid the dirty secrets from my own family. Although I wasn't sexually abused as a child, I saw things that no child should ever see. I had to learn about sex at such a very young age, 5, to be exact, because of some awful things I saw in my own house. My mom was so furious with my dad, but he never got rid of the things. They were always there, never hidden well, actually not at all, so I remained exposed. That has done so much damage to me, damage I didn't even realize until God opened my eyes to it a couple years ago.
My mom finally left my dad when I was 14. I thought that was a dream-come-true, but it took a different turn than what I expected. I slowly started to drift further away from God and closer to the world's way, my own way of looking for the love I longed for so desperately. I found the love I thought I was looking for in another boy my age, lost and in great need of love just like me (even though I didn't know that at the time), and I hung on to him for dear life. Well, he didn't always hang on to me as tightly. My heart was severely broken more times than I can count and the high school years were torture. I wound up transferring my senior year and getting my g.e.d along with my diploma since I took the extended classes, because my grades had fallen so low and I couldn't bare going another year, not graduating with my class. Seeing him with that beautiful blonde, who years ago was my best, little friend, was something I just couldn't take, could never compare to. She wasn't the only one, so you can imagine how horrible I felt about myself, like something was wrong with me, I wasn't good enough, wasn't worthy enough. Well, we stayed together and I got pregnant right out of school. I pray the sweet teenager who posted a comment earlier is reading this.
I'm actually going to finish posting this on my own blog. It will be my first post because I am brand new to this!!! I would love to make some blogger friends!

Melissa, thank you so much for sharing your heart today. I know it's going to touch so many people and only good will come from it. You are such a blessing!

In His Love,

Sarah

Van said...

May God's most precious and compassionate blessings be yours today. I know lives will change today because of your obedience to show how God takes ashes and turns them into beauty. Your story deserves to go into the Hebrews Hall of Faith. Thank you for being real, for showing truth, and for showing every girl, teenager, and woman that there is a pathway to freedom, dignity, and godlinessa. That pathway is Jesus Christ. Through Him we have all been cleansed and set free.

Anonymous said...

Melissa,
Thank you so much for sharing today. I too have had a similar life and am in counseling once again. I believe that God shows us what we need and he brought me to you today. Thank you so much for sharing your feelings and your story.
My father also abandoned my family. My mother became an alcoholic. I too was molested by a family friend and felt all of the shame and disgust in myself that you mentioned. (just coming out with this now to a counselor for the first time, Im 41 years old!) My mother married an abusive man and we witnessed a lot of thins children should never see. My mother was murdered by this man at the age of 42. I just went through a divorce last year after 20 years of marriage. A marriage I thought was going to last forever. I have prayed and begged God to love me. He has been there for me all along. I know with Gods help, I can go through the pain of counseling and will be able to see the light on the other side. My shame and pain won't hold me back anymore from God. I know that even though I have made bad choices in my life (an affair)and have worked through my anger and resentments from my ex (his drug problems) that God loves me unconditionally. Thank you for helping me. May God Bless you,
Cindy S.

tiggerdaisy said...

Great post and devotion. It is filled to the brim with heart felt emotion and a joy to share what you've learned with others. Thank you for sharing!

Prayers and blessings,
Rebecca

debbie giese said...

Dear Melissa, I too walked much of the same path you did and handled in the same way. Looking for love, affection, anything to make me feel wanted. Sexual abuse makes you feel like you are only wanted for one thing,so I kept giving that thing away to feel special. I was rescued from the same pit and set on safe ground by our Savior 5 years ago. I had a chance to share my story at our Easter service (all 4 of them). That's a lot of people to let into your own darkness, but all glory to God. How could I choose what brokenness He would use to draw others to Him. I had to lay it all out. Needless to say, it has been a huge blessing. It has opened doors for women who didn't think they would ever be whole again. Thanks for shining the light in the dark corners of your life. I will definitely be a reader of your blog!
Deb Giese

Sharon said...

Hi Melissa,
Your encouragement was really good, I think most of us can relate.
I find it alittle hard to talk about. I am glad you have found healing in this situation.
Have a Blessed day
Sharon

Anonymous said...

Thank you Melissa for opening up and sharing such personal things that we can all relate to.
No absuse; a great childhood; a hot husband,but still the need for attention, affection,emotional connection. I can see a little bit of that in my husband too, but his need is more of wanting to be wanted physically and mine emotionally. The bottom line is that God created all of us with a void that ONLY HE can fill! It seems we just try so hard to fill it our ourselves, our own way.
I see that when I draw close to God and when HE is my best friend, that my heart is satisfied and His love splashes out on those around me and that is peace!

The words to this song help me when I am frustrated with the lack of affection from my husband: "you are the treasure that I seek, you are my all in all...seeking you as a precious jewel, Lord, to give up- I'd be a fool! You are my ALL IN ALL.
I'd like to hear more about your marriage being on the "rocks" last year...cuz there have been times that I thought mine was too. Here we are this "great" Christian couple, and yet there are times that I listen to satan's lies and allow myself to become disillusioned and I give satan a foothold. We ladies have got to stop those conversations in our head! It helps to quote scripture instead. My friend calls it "writing a novel in your head"! Funny, by I can relate!
How did your marriage go from "surviving" to "Thriving"? I want to Thrive!
Thanks again for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I have just read the encouragement for today devotion. I am not a teenager anymore yet it spoke to the teenager/child inside that I try desparately to hide from. I have come to a point in my life where I am tired of hiding. I am struggling with so many of the same events that at times it is hard to even get about my day. I am inspired by Isaiah 45:3. Thank you so much for sharing your treasures from darkness

Anonymous said...

Thank you Melissa for being so open with us. This is my first visit to your bog and it was really comforting to know that I am not the only crying out for Gods Love right now.

I too experienced a very difficult childhood. Between the ages of 4-8 I was repeatedly sexually molested. Later to be told that I was promiscuous (at age 4). And then for a time I was ignored from that side of my family. There were several other occasions that this happened as well by a neighborhood boy and babysitter & her boyfriend. Then at age 8, my parents got divorced. For years I begged my dad to love me and all I would hear is that I wanted his money. That was the last thing on my mind as a teenage girl crying out for her daddies love. My mom stood by me and continually showed me love but I hopped from one bad relationship to another. After having two of my beautiful children the Lord saved me at age 26. My entire life changed. Instead of asking people to love me I began to ask God to love me. The Lord blessed me with the opportunity to forgive my uncle for sexually abusing me at my dads funeral and I even invited him to my wedding three years later. Before my father passed he finally was able to show me his love and I thank God for those last two years of his life. After I was married to my wonderful husband I thought that my clingy "love me" mentality was gone but the more problems we had in our marriage the worst it got. My husband filed for divorce. Now with three beautiful children I once again cling to the Cross of my Saviour and ask him to love me because He is the only that can show me unconditional love!

Dave Sherrill said...

Thank you for your devotion today, I am fairly new to Proverbs 31 and have found it to be a gift from God. It has given me opportunities to talk and connect even more to my 15 yr old daughter and to my Lord. I could say a lot about my painful past, but it has been wiped clean by Jesus and I have no reason to visit it at this point. But just know that you have touched and helped many of God's people with the sharing of your story, to be reminded that God's love is always there, no matter what choices we make or how hard we try to fix things by ourselves, He will somhow remind us to "Be still and Know". I am looking forward to tomorrows devotion.
by His grace, Diane

Joyce said...

I too needed to hear this right now! I was molested as a little girl, then again as a teen. I married a man that I respected, but had to grow to love because of my fears and insecurities. We have a beautiful family of godly children. But we were attacked in such an inconceivable way this past year. My precious, godly, loving husband broke our vows for an affair with a fellow church member. I am haunted by visions of them together. He has repented and is trying so hard. But because of my history I feel I am losing my mind. I sometimes despise him and what he did and never want to speak again then I am terrified he will leave. God has used huge trials in the past, like when I suffered with my son as he almost died from a ruptured appendix in 2001. My husband and I were broken but at least we had each other. I drew closer to God than I had ever been. This time I feel so alone. I know He loves me, but how can I release this? How do I come out of this shock and fear? Your prayers, thoughts and suggestions are much needed! Resting in Him, Joyce

Anonymous said...

My life is fell with so many up and downs but i still go on, beause my life is fill with God . He is the only one that realy knows me.Your life help me to see ,that I need to do is trust in my Lord for he is all I need.So I will not give up because God do love me and he want me to be happy. He all the love I need

flying eagle woman said...

Thanks for sharing the TRUTH today...blessings and hugs!

Jen said...

Melissa,

Thank you for being vulnerable and writing this! I appreciate it! I read the Proverbs 31 Devotional and decided to stop by and read more. It is very encouraging! I was sexually abused as a child.. although I can't/don't remember it really well, it still hurts! My biological father left my mom(and I) when she found out that she was pregnant with me. They were not really together or married or anything. It still hurts to think about this. As a result I tend to hid my emotions and don't like to bring things up all the time. I am trying to work through these things and I go to a Christian counselor. I have done some pretty self-destructive things as a result of my pain(I guess you can say it is b/c of my pain).. And currently I am still struggling with it. Thank you again for talking about this. A lot of times when things happen to us in our childhood it causes us to close up and we don't really open ourselves up, yes it is probably really hard to talk about this even still, BUT God will bless you because of it! He wouldn't have let these awful and horrendous things happen to you (and us for that matter) if He wasn't going to use. And because you wrote about this you might even help someone realize that this could have happened to them and they didn't know. Thank you and God bless you!!!

Lelia Chealey said...

Melissa,
Isn't it awesome how God is using the ugliness of your past to bring others into the Kingdom?
For years the enemy used my past to keep me repeating it and make me feel dirty and so full of shame. The day I gave it to Jesus was one I will never forget. He took it...ugliness and all and is using it today in ways that don't leave me hanging my head. I no longer sit next to women that are filled with Jesus thinking, "If they only knew the real me" because God is such a Redeemer!!
I am so touched by your testimony. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. Recently my friend Kelley, from Aroma of Joy posted how she was jogging and came across a for sale sign in front of a house. On the top of the sign was another sign that said "I am Gorgeous Inside". I hope that all the women who leave you a comment know that Jesus is thinking that very thing of them today, right where they are!
Thanks Melissa..You are Gorgeous Inside!!!
Blessings,
Lelia

Sarah said...

This comment is actually for Julie and I pray she gets it. My name is Sarah and I left a comment before you left yours. I know in my heart it was God's doing that I came back to this to read some more comments. I have experienced what you are going through now. I didn't write about that in my comment, but oh how my heart breaks for you. As much as my heart breaks for you as I can feel so much of your pain, lonelieness and confusion, I want you to know with all honesty, with everything I have in me, there is hope. God can absolutely take this horrible thing that has happened and use it for good in your life, and in your husband's life as well. Please take it from the girl who told God word for word one night as I lay in bed pregnant with our fourth child, and told God word for word, "Lord, I am convinced there is absolutely no way nothing ever good can come from this situation". I was actually trying to convince God to just take me to be with Him Hiself because I knew I couldn't bring myself to do it. That's how bad it was.

I don't want to write the rest of what God has put on my heart to you here, but I do have a new blog. I am brand new at this and just signed up last week, so I think you just need to click on my name in order to read it. I tried clicking on yours to leave you a comment but I think, like I was last week, you're not all the way set up yet. Please give me just a little while to write to you and check on my blog by clicking my name. I will also be deep in prayer for you. I am so sorry that you're going through this, but as impossible and ridiculous as this sounds now, some day, some day my friend, you may actually thank God for this time, not for what happened, but for the good He will bring from it.

Once again, I pray you get this and I promise, it might take me a bit throughout today because I have four precious babies of my own that keep me on my toes, to write to you what God has put on my heart, but I promise, I will write it. I'll trust God that you'll get it if it's His will.

Also, you can write to me any time you need to. Once again, I'm brand new to this blogging thing and have no "buddies". I would be honored to just be a friend to you, especially during this most difficult time in your life, since helping others somehow who are going through what I've been through has been my heart's desire since it happened to me.

Your Sister in Christ,

Sarah

p.s. Thank you again, sweet Melissa, for opening your heart up today the way you have. In reading these precious women's comments today, getting a glimpse into their hearts, I think we can say honestly that we can all relate to you in some way or another. Sometimes it just takes the courage from that one special person opening their heart to get the ball rolling for the rest of us.

michelle1966 said...

I was also abused - emotionally by my mom and then sexually by a cousin who was 8 years older. To this day (at 41), I still suffer from the effects - not able to feel loved though I am, in truth, surrounded by love. And of course, I am loved by God, which is the only love that truly matters. I still struggle. I pray. I fail, daily. Thank you for your story.

Anonymous said...

You have really touched me with your words. Thank you.

Chatty Kelly said...

Thank you for sharing. You have made your self vunerable and transparent to everyone, and look at the good of it! Sometimes the most painful stories of our lives, are the ones that help others the most. I think that is why God lets these things happen to us. So that we can help others.

Thank you for helping others.

Anonymous said...

How do you let go of the shame and forgive yourself?

Stephanie said...

Melissa,

I was so blessed and encouraged when I read your devotional! Thank you for your humility, honesty and openness! Once again, I was reminded that I am a new creation in God and that He loves me no matter what!

May the Lord continue to use you and bless you!!

Caren said...

God works in mysterious ways...I recently attended my 25th year class reunion this past weekend. I was a class officer, but, because I had so many other outside and unproductive things going on in my life, I was never notified or never chose to help with any of the other reunions. I helped from start to finish with this one, but felt that there were a few people (other officers and friends) that still looked down on me, or thought of themselves to be better than me, and, for a while last night, I let that get to me. I even went as far as emailing a girl who was a good friend in high school and a fellow officer, just to see if I had done something wrong, if people didn't approve of my choice in husband (who I've been with for 25 years, and married to for 8), or what. Directly after sending that email, I read "Love Me" and I know it was sent through you directly from God!! My father died when I was just 8 years old, and I think, from then on, for a long time, I wanted the attention of men. I, too, had been molested by my youth group leader, but, at 12 years old, I knew it was wrong, but I revelled in the attention. I made a few other bad decisions in my senior year of high school with guys, and on our class trip, found myself in bed, for my first time, with someone I had only knew and talked to for a few hours. I dabbled in drugs and alcohol after that for many, many years, after being raised in the church. Then, 4-5 years ago, I went back to my little country church, reaffirmed my faith in God The Father Almighty, and got myself together. After praying very hard for two long years, I had a baby daughter at the age of 41, and she is the light of my world, next to Jesus, of course!! You have been such a blessing to me today, and thank you for being here for me during a weak moment of dwindling self-esteem, which I should not have let occur. If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it, and I praise him each day for everything He has brought me through, for every blessing He has bestowed upon me and my family, and for bringing me out of the darkness, into the light. Amen!!!

Kylie said...

Hi Melissa
Thanks for being so open and honest with us. I think as women we often talk a lot to our friends but we are not as open and honest as you have been. Thanks

Darci Salisbury said...

My dear friend Melissa,
After having lunch last year at She Speaks, I continued to watch my emails daily to read your "upcoming" devotions we had chatted about. Multiple times I prayed and talked to God about why I hadn't seen them. I am blessed to know why and feel privileged to have been praying!

Thank you for your REALNESS. It's refreshing and contagious. You are so special in my heart!

Chat soon :)
darci
NY

lachey said...

Thank you Melissa. I know it was tough writing those words but you have given many many people encouragement today, myself included. I still deal with the shame and guilt of my past mistakes even knowing that God has forgiven me. I constantly need that reassurance from my family that they love me. Maybe someday I'll have the strength that you do to fully overcome.
Lori

MommyP said...

Melissa, I want you to know that after reading your devotional it was the coolest thing, after reading of your horrible first 13 years and then the blessings that came later in life some would think you would end up thinking, "That poor women for what she indurred" Instead all i could think was, "How AWESOME is GOD!!!!!" I was the perfect looking person until after high school, then i played into pressure and temptation and ended up with a BEAUTIFUL BOY. What was so great was when he was 6 weeks old and i was sitting there wondering WHY he wouldn't quit crying, i asked God to take him, to take me, to be my husband and the father to my child, i have been on the up and up for almost 4 years, HOW AWESOME IS OUR LORD!!! Thanks for sharing!

Brandee said...

Melissa,
Thank you for sharing this struggle that so many of us have faced. I too was a victim of sexual abuse. My father is also a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. Most of my life was spent trying to gain approval and for someone to love me, accept me and notice me. I spent most of my teen years seeking that love and attention in all the wrong places. My whole life was what others thought about me and if I made them happy. After I had my son four years ago, all that I was, all that I had become and the weight of my past crashed down on me. God picked me up, out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire and set my feet on a rock (Psalm 40:2). The past four years have been spent growing and learning about the truth of His unconditional love and mercy and my worth and value as a daughter of the King and not in what other's think of me. I went from an insecure, introvert to the current Coordinator for my MOPS group in TN. God is amazing and my relationship with Christ Jesus is the most important thing in my life I was at the "She Speaks" conference last month and Saturday night I left insecurities and fears at the foot of that cross and my passion is for other women to know this freedom that Christ can provide in your life. God bless you and the Proverbs 31 ministry!

A sister in Christ,
Brandee
www.setmyfeetonarock.blogspot.com (in process of setting this up)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your openness and honesty. It's obvious you have touched a lot of women! My question(s) is "How do you get to the point of knowing in your heart that God loves you vs. just knowing it in your head? Why is it so hard to feel like His love is real?"

Anonymous said...

Wow! Do you see how many women have said that they were molested as children? I posted earlier and did not mention it but I also was a victim. For a long time I guess I thought that if you weren't raped you weren't sexually abused. I didn't realize at the time that "fondling" is a form of molestation .....I just knew it was wrong for someone to be doing that to me. I was ashamed and scared to tell anyone. I thought it must somehow be my fault. Even though I was so young I can't even remember my age then.....possibly 6 or 7. Then again as a very young teen a family member did the same thing. I remember crying and crying. Thankfully I was spared being raped. But even the other has hurt my marriage and kept me from being the wife that I should be. I have told VERY few people about this and so will sign in as "Anonymous". So, what is the next step for people who have been molested as children but who have never worked through all the feelings and fears? Does anyone have any solutions? I pray to God often that none of my grandchildren are ever molested!

Kerri said...

Melissa - thank you sharing your struggles. It takes so much courage to admit to our challenges in life. I can completely relate to your post and I felt like you were writing personally to me! I struggle with the same things. I was abused by an uncle at a young age and ended up with an abusive boyfriend in college. I have struggled with my self-worth for as long as I can remember. I realize now that I have been a people-pleaser and over achiever for much of my life...trying to prove my self-worth to myself and others. I have based my self-perspective on what others say or think about me. I am now trying desperately to realize that I am wonderful in God's eyes and he does not judge me at all. I am my own worst critic and want to bask in God's love from now on. I wish I could just stop my inner negative and critical voice. God loves me and that should be enough! Thank you again for your honesty. You have given me so much hope. How did you get to where you are now? I have been blessed with such a wonderful husband and two beautiful children. God has blessed me with so much. However, I still struggle greatly with anxiety, fear and low self-esteem.

lorrena said...

thank you for sharing your story on the proverbs 31 devo's. I cried when I read this because it was almost like reading a story of my life. When I was young my mother passed away and right before her death i was molested by an older boy who was my neighbor. I always struggled with feelings of being dirty and not worth anything. I moved in with guardians who were an older couple and didnt know how to show affection and always told me i was "stupid"! When I hit my teen years i desperetly wanted a man to fill the emptiness in my heart. I always saw my older friends relationships and wanted someone to love me. The cry of my life has also been somebody love me please!!! So i did give in a had sex before marriage. I was living with my boyfriend when we decided to get married. I had accepted jesus at the age of 14 but couldnt comprehend his love for me till i was much older. I could only see love coming for a man and not from God I am not sure why. I guess the enemy kept telling me that God couldnt love because i had messed up. soon after we married and my son was born i began my relationship with jesus and have been going strong with him for 2 years and never looked back. He has completly satisfied every need, want and desire of my heart. He has redeemed me to himself and made me a precious and dearly loved daughter of the King. He has washed me clean with his blood and declared me not guilty (1john1:7) He has trully loved me uncondiotionally, more then a man can even comprehend(John3:16) Jesus saved me and thats true love!! Thanks for sharing your story it encouraged me so much!!

Hazelin said...

Dear friend, ur so blessed by God to get the courage to share this with the whole world. It's so encouraging. I thank God for you and your words. Thank you Lord for using her to give courage to all those who are broken with shame and disgust from their past. Thank you so much friend. Please pray for me to experience that unconditional love of God always and not depend on worldly love.

Edie said...

Just wanted to say Thank you. God used your P31 devotion to speak to my heart and then confirmed it here as He has been chasing me with Isaiah 45:3 for the last month. I even posted about it on my blog earlier this month. God Bless You.

Waitherero said...

this was just timely. Like the bible says the word of the Lord does not return to Him Void. i have struggled with this..perfect on the outside, dying on the inside..it makes me act out sometimes, and my family and friends never understand whats going on..but really, all i need is love.

You have reminded me that Jesus is and always has been in my heart..all i have to do is let go and surrender. He will make me anew. I am thankful to God for you. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

thank you for sharing. hugs, barbara

Ana Gonzalez said...

I love your devotional. It totally suits me and what my husband and I are struggling with. I don't think he doesn't want to work on our marriage, I think he has difficulty sharing his heart with me and that hurts me to the core. I feel like he is protecting his heart and not letting me totally in. He loves me and we both love the Lord, but we need help.
ana73gonzalez@yahoo.com

tedgell said...

Hi Melissa, I too hail from the appliation state and really have enjoyed your latest devotions. I have read today's and yesterdays and usually do daily but these last two have really hit home for me. However I guess its a day late and a dollar short. My husband and I have been separated for a year and a half now for alot of the same reasons. Your and your husbands love languages are very similar if not exactly the same as chris and I's however, his #1 has gotten him into one too many things during our marriage. Alot of the time I felt like maybe it was my fault due to the lack of my wanting to be intimate with him (for fear of my past hence feeling dirty, ect). I really do blame myself for alot of it. I don't know what if anything could be saved concering our marriage but, with your encouragement within the last few days I feel like I at least know what direction I need to be headed in. With Christ by my side i "hope" I can overcome this and move on to the next chapter in my life.

God Bless You!
tonyaedgell@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this. I will be using your story to talk to my teenage daughter about sex and waiting until marriage. She went through a traumatic event and I am praying it won't let the enemy steal her sense of value in God's eyes. Thank you!!!

Cindi said...

After reading your devotional "Love Me", it was so much like my own childhood, I couldn't even believe it. I decided to come here, and post a thank you on your blog. Much to my surprise I found I'm not alone at all. There are so very many woman who were abused as children. I have always felt like I was dirty,
some kind of a freak, unworthy of
love, inferior to others etc. All of the terrible feelings that come from physical and mental abuse as a child. If you mention it to your family or friends their only advice is, oh
let it go, it happened a long time ago. Overcome it. Yes, this is true
you can work to overcome it with the Lords help, but deep down under it is always there lurking.
It has inhibited me from having a
great career, wonderful close relationships, trusting others, and me from truly loving myself.
Anyway, bless you for devotional
messages. Obviously because of you sharing your story others are able
to know that they are not alone, and sometimes that can be a comfort in itself. Thank you so much Melissa.