About melanieporter45

Just a simple Jesus girl.

A Few Lessons Learned from Pain

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Pain can make us better or bitter ... the choice is ours.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18

The enemy is a master at manipulating our pain and suffering.

Our emotions are a direct reaction to the pain that we go through. Those negative emotions can build up a toxic fog making our thoughts murky and leading us astray.

The more we dwell on the negative thoughts the more we will rebel.

Coming in tune with my emotions and how they carry either truth or lies has been a hard but needed lesson over the last year and a half.

I can clearly see how experiences, good or bad can build a case for any offense (real or perceived).

I recognize how dysfunction and the past finds a place to nest within our emotional vault in order to weaken the spirit.

I understand how warfare goes hand in hand with the pain, the past and negative emotions.

The devil is counting on our ignorance and how we react and deal with pain to wreck us because he knows that pain changes us.

I know this pain has changed me … I’ve been told I am different … many times.

Though I wouldn’t wish all that our family has endured over the last year on anyone, I am grateful for some real-life lessons that involve human behavior and Jesus.

Learning and watching other’s deal with pain in their life has been eye-opening for me.

I’ve resolved I don’t want to become bitter, period.

And I don’t want to react from a place of hurt that causes others harm.

I refuse to get stuck in a toxic fog and lose sight of the future.

Nope … I’m not a prisoner of unforgiveness no matter if a few want to believe that for their own consciences’ sake.

Forgiveness is a choice, period.

I choose forgiveness every day before I roll out of bed … and it’s not based on emotions.

Does it still hurt? Yes, it does.

Is trust gone? Sadly, yes.

But … my Shepherd is minding my heart well and the peace I am finding comes in making more healing choices that are good for me.

Pain doesn’t just change the person … it changes the way one lives.

Pain weeds out what needs to be weeded out.

Pain gives you a clear view of who is for you and who is not.

But one of the most important lessons I’ve learned is … the enemy wanted the pain to devalue who I am in Christ … in order to keep me down.

Nevertheless, this life-changing pain and emotional muck have merely made me more desperate for God.

The enemy wanted the pain to ruin me … but I have a loving Creator that has been pursuing and fighting for me every day.

And HE has patiently shown me what to let go of and why.

So … pain has many lessons.

I’ll be learning from this last year and a half for the rest of my life.

But I want to encourage you …  if you are in a place of great pain that makes you want to give up on life, faith, and even those around you …

The most important thing you can do in the middle of a life-changing painful season is to cry out to God, rest, grieve, and learn to let Him comfort you.

Being patient and learning to trust Him is key to healing.

Ask for protection over your emotions to not react.

Find an activity that brings joy and a change of pace in your life.

Ask Him to lessen the hurt and help you forget a little more each day.

Seek Him in knowing what to let go of.

Ask Him to bring something good out of that which has broken your heart … and believe HE leaves nothing undone.

Pain can make us bitter or better … the choice is ours.

We know what the enemy wants … but we have a choice to let pain make us all that the Father wants us to be … for His Glory.

Father, may we seek your healing in places that our hearts can’t even fathom. Make us wiser to see where the enemy wants us to linger in harmful emotions. Help us choose forgiveness every day and trust your timing to bring healing in your way. Amen.

Praying for all those bound in the bondage of pain tonight.

love mel

Fighting Grief

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So, I’ve been quiet on this forum for some time now. I’ve never addressed it here formally – and thank you to those who have continued to reach out in messages. I’m grateful that many of you continue to read old blogs and send messages of encouragement to keep writing.

For those in faraway places who don’t know … My husband’s daughter – my stepdaughter, and our son-in-law were killed in a tragic car wreck on January 30, 2017. Our three, precious grandchildren lost their whole world that night. And I want to be clear … any pain my husband and I have felt can’t compare to theirs.

In the days and months that’s followed, the enemy orchestrated chaos and our grief’s been complicated in ways that our family should have never experienced. A lot of loss has peppered our lives and it’s still hard to comprehend. So … I’ve been quiet – not because I didn’t have anything to say … but because I didn’t like how I sounded when sour words found their way onto pages and pages of countless journals.

A lot of tears … a lot of honest prayers … and a lot of sleepless nights have come and gone over the last 16 months.  We will never find a new normal because what our family experienced is flat out abnormal. It isn’t the natural order of living.

But dang it … Life is just so stinking hard.

The losses and pain hurled my way over the years have left me at times asking if this life is worth living?

There have been moments that courage floundered and my faith shillyshallied like a triple crown filly that’s thrown a shoe.

The last year’s events have brought the realization that there are defining moments in our faith that will make us ask hard questions.

Like when the unbearable happens and you almost feel like God let you down?

Is there a line that God can cross in your relationship?

Have you ever thought about that?

What it would take?

What would be the breaking point … or if there is one?

That’s rattled around hard in my brain … cause all I’ve ever known is trying to seek Him out in an imperfect life. I naively existed as though faithfulness will keep me safe from the reality of life and death trials.

I’ve wondered how in the world can the last year and a half of losses ever work for God’s glory like the verse in Romans 8:28 proclaims.

I’ll be honest … I’ve asked the Lord if all this pain is worth the glory because from where I’m sitting … I just can’t see what good can come from it.

And then after I repent of thinking thoughts that I recognize came from the enemy, I ask Him … am I living in a way that will make the loss worth God’s glory? Gads I don’t want to mess that up.

So many questions and not enough answers for a hard thinking girl that probably thinks too much.

At the end of the day … the pain is only lessened by time, a lot of snot slinging prayers and the word of God. That’s it. That’s all I got.

Grief is a place where you put up or shut up so to speak.

It’s where you find out if what you’ve practiced as a way of life is going to carry you through the darkness.

Grief wrestling sure ain’t for the weak -pardon my Tennessee twang.

In my grappling, I went back to the Ecclesiastes 3 scripture – you know the one about …  “to everything there is a season.”

As I studied word meanings and cultural explanations, verse 7 jumped out at me.

“A time to tear … and a time to sew.”

The bible is full of people who would rend (tear) their clothes when great grief, pain, regret or even sin were a factor. We see this term a lot with those who mourn death.

As I studied further … I learned that after a period of time, they sewed their robes back together. Not only did this signify that we are to move on from mourning in time … but it’s a beautiful picture of a tapestry of faithfulness … that God puts our hearts back together … just like the garment.

The stitched-up tear reminds us of the pain … but also of the faithfulness of a Holy God to bring healing and hope again. I’ve found this truth very comforting of late.

And if this scripture in Ecclesiastes signifies anything its that God made life to be a cycle of activities. Some of those activities are darn hard, while others are joyful.

We may think sometimes that what He allows will kill us.

But in each hard place that we experience … we find balance. God balances everything with time … joy … sadness … death and new life. He leaves nothing undone … ever.

Grief has the makings of a great come back and restoration if we are willing to let God do with time and purpose what He wants to do in our lives.

It’s a fierce buckling under a Holy God that allows the incredible pressure of heartache to melt and refine stubborn hearts.

It’s hard. Just darn hard to learn from grief … but God deems it necessary to make us more like Him.

That almost seems harsh … doesn’t it?

But in truth … He knows what will make us better … kinder … more loving … more patient … more forgiving … more generous … more faithful … just more like him – period.

God allows grief with a period of mourning to measure the good things in life and to learn from the bad. And we have to fight the enemy’s schemes for grief to take us to places that we can never recover from.

Some days it feels like this time of grief will never be over … and then out of nowhere a day of pure joy will surprise us.

We still have days of overwhelming sadness and it sure makes this old girl tired.

But the one thing I have come to believe with all my heart is … grief and all of its questions have to lead us to faith … because faith is where the hope is.

If there’s no faith … you got no hope to heal, restore, or find a purpose out of the pain.

So, I’m going to keep digging a hole in my bible …  and refuse feelings that want to bury me in acrimony.

I don’t want to be bitter at the losses or those who have inflicted our family with their bitterness.

I don’t want to let the losses and pain of life entomb me … because then I will be useless for the kingdom.

I’m not going to lie … it’s a daily struggle … but I know this … I have to press on in doing the right thing even if I don’t feel like it because God is in the process.

And as long as He’s here with me in this process and I’m honest with Him … the weeds of sorrow will eventually be pulled out and I’ll relish in the beauty of new growth.

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Lord, Help us run to you in our deepest griefs for a shelter of protection from the enemy’s attempts to break us. Help us believe you are in the process and in the mourning. Give us faith … give us hope … and help us endure until you turn our mourning into dancing. Amen.

Remember … broken hearts run to Jesus.

love mel

The Big Picture

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Faithfulness Matters

Photo by IB Wira Dyatmika on Unsplash

“As for you, you thought evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring about that many people should be kept alive, as they are this day.” Genesis 50:20 (Amplified Bible)

For months I’ve lost track of life mourning the fact that some situations can’t be redeemed this side of heaven.

Some pain can never be reversed can it?

Like the death of loved ones … a way of life … relationships.

I’ve spent days in bed with my bible just trying to get a word from the Lord that would pull me out of this funk.

The enemy has used the pain and my introverted tendencies …  to tempt me in walking away from the church and community in general.

The Devil loves using pain and loss to persuade us that faithfulness doesn’t matter in light of our circumstances.

But the story of Joseph has been a great encouragement these last few months.

This story has it all – betrayal, loss, oppression, dysfunction, jealously, rejection, false accusations and bondage … the list goes on and on.

And every time Joseph was oppressed … falsely accused … rejected … the scripture reminds us that God was with him.

I recently read a story about Andrew Murray who was a beloved pastor and writer in England in the late 1800’s. He suffered from debilitating back pain as a result of an injury. As he was eating breakfast one morning, his maid came to tell him that a woman was downstairs in great distress and was seeking advice or encouragement. Murray handed his maid the piece of paper he had been writing on and said, “Give her this advice that I’m writing down for myself. It may be helpful to her too.”

The paper read:

“In time of trouble, say, ‘First, He brought me here. It is by His will I am in this strait place; in that I will rest.’ Next, ‘He will keep me here in His love, and give me grace in this trial to behave as His child.’ Then say, ‘He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me lessons He intends me to learn, and working in me the grace He means to bestow.’ And last, say, ‘In His good time He can bring me out again. How and when, He knows.’ Therefore, say ‘I am here (1) by God’s appointment, (2) in His keeping, (3) under His training, (4) for His time.”

When I read this story, I realized that Mr. Murray’s advice is the exact model that God used in Joseph’s life … over and over.

Amazingly … Joseph remained faithful in all things … good or bad.

As a result, God used him to save many lives … including the lives of the brothers who hated him … yet Joseph held no bitterness in his heart for his oppressors.

Trusting God with our pain and learning to walk in the fullness of His sovereignty … just like Joseph did … can lead us to our purpose in life … if we remain faithful.

Faithfulness matters … especially when our world has turned upside down.

So, let this truth seep into every crevice of your heart …

You are here by God’s appointment … kept under the shelter of his loving wings … for His instruction to grow … within His timing.

Oh, sweet friend with the broken heart …

God has a purpose for your pain … so trust Him and remain faithful.

And that’s the Big Picture that Joseph so wisely understood.

love mel

There Are Better Ways To Protest #NFLprotest #VeteransDay

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Guest Post by Veteran Gailen G. Porter

As a 68 year Vietnam Vet, I really get jacked up over this kneeling when the Star Spangled Banner is played and Old Glory is waving in the background.

I remember too well … getting drafted and serving with some of the greatest men of my generation.

My best friend, Roger Harris, was one of those men.

He wasn’t as fortunate as some of us. Roger was hit in the back with an RPG round which paralyzed him from the waist down.

And when I’m having one of those down days … and that’s quiet often lately … I can rely on Roger to answer his phone and get me back on track.

Our flag became our nation’s symbol in 1777 and the Star Spangled Banner became our nation’s anthem in 1814. People died to make both of these factors happen.

None of us were around then but our great nation was becoming the standard for all others to follow. I wonder if they think we are the standard anymore?

Some of our history’s leaders have made great decisions and some not so great.

Nevertheless, this great nation in spite of all … still shines bright under the watchful eye of an awesome God.

But this kneeling stuff … only creates more division in our country. No longer is our unity admired by other powers because we are seen as a divided nation – for a lot of stupid reasons … especially selfish politicians who have big egos … and not to mention a crooked media that wouldn’t know what truth looked like if it smacked them on the face.

But what this kneeling stuff does to me personally is so offensive that I can’t really articulate it so that you can understand it fully.

There are better ways to protest.

There are better ways to protest that won’t divide us further.

But the root of this issue needs to be addressed.

You see the bad things that we have done as individuals don’t necessarily define who we really are … and for that I am grateful.

We can’t keep blaming those in the past for mistakes that can’t be changed.

Bringing up those mistakes is like playing a broken record. We should never burden the next generation with the mistakes of the past … they can’t do anything about it.

And keeping it in the forefront in various ways that are offensive just nurtures this bitterness.

The rich NFL players say they are protesting during the national anthem because of police brutality. Well here’s the deal … I know that many of you have been mistreated – and I’m sorry for your pain.

But this situation goes both ways. Those that don’t obey our laws and choose violence or other ways to break the law are going to be challenged by the police … because that’s what the police do … they hunt down law offenders.

Red and yellow … black and white skin … it don’t matter … if you break the law … you’re going to jail. If you live by the sword … then your are likely going to die by the sword.

And I know there are some bad police that abuse the public’s trust … but I believe there are more good police than bad … just like I believe there are more good, black Americans than bad.

I wish that we could learn from the past and move forward in a positive way.

I wish we could believe in each other again.

The God I serve forgives and even chooses to not remember my sin and mistakes.

How great it would be if we could all choose to not dwell on the past and refuse to place blame?

I choose to see the greatness in America … in our flag … our anthem … and our people.

No matter the color of skin, the tattoos, the piercings, the rich, the poor, religion or creed.

I believe in America.

And if you believe in something … you are loyal to it.

I believe in the freedom that we have.

I believe in the men who leave their families and go lay down their lives so that those fat cats can run around on a football field and get paid an insane amount of money.

So I have a message for those protesting the flag that I came close to loosing my life for.

Go take a history class and learn what the great men and women in our military have done to keep you free … then get honest and ask some hard questions.

How would you feel if you were made to go to Vietnam as a teenage boy and give up your dreams to keep America free?

Would you kneel if your best friend is forced to sit in a wheelchair day in and day out – plagued with unimaginable health problems as a result of his injury?

How would you feel if you left to serve and came home a broken man in ways that are inconceivable?

Would you kneel if your brokenness has hurt your family in ways they don’t deserve?

Get honest here if you got the guts.

Instead of using your platform to offend the armed forces of this great nation … use it for doing good.

Choose to make a real difference by promoting unity and respect.

Use the platform that God blessed you with to teach the generations coming behind you … why they should love and honor this great nation.

Use your platform to make a difference … not divide us further.

If we continue to think bad about each other everyday … then nothing is ever going to get better.

There are better ways to protest.

Go spend some of your millions and hire someone who can help you find a better way … a way that won’t offend good men who have sacrificed, bled and died for your freedom.

Sgt. Gailen G. Porter

23rd Infantry Division (Americal) 196 L.I.B. Light Infantry Brigade

 

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Photo by Matthew Huang on Unsplash

Is Loyalty Dying Among Christians?

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When I look back on the people that have come in and out of my life … the enemy wants the losses to overshadow those who remain loyal friends.

We know when people pull away … when they are for us or not.

It’s obvious by their speech, actions, and heaven forbid … even in their Facebook activity (that’s a truth said in jest by the way).

It’s difficult when we realize the loyalty we give … is not always matched. And that’s okay because we know too well how human we all are.

But loyalty – that true kind that eptiomizes God in every sense of the word … has been on my mind for some time. Recently in a meeting with one of my pastors, he hit on the subject -reiterating how important loyalty is for Christians to practice.

Loyalty comes in many forms.

There is loyalty to God that says … no matter what … I’m going to be faithful to you Lord.

This determined faithfulness to His statutes and commands, compels us to do the right thing … even when we don’t feel like it.

There is a persistent, unwavering commitment to our spouse that hangs tough when life is less than perfect.

In fact, this kind of loyalty builds character. It’s a determination much like a tenacious hound dog that won’t let go of a bone.

There is a loyalty that a mother hen gives to her children.

A mother’s devotion will take on a herd of bullies even if it means being smashed like a bug in the dirt. NOBODY messes with my hairy, man, babies … and that goes for my daughter-in-law and grand-kids as well.

Then there is the sibling allegiance – like the kind my boys have.

They may aggravate and irritate each other but by golly … nobody’s gonna’ mess with any one of them … or there will be a hellacious problem.

There is steadfastness to an Alma Mater … our favorite learning institute …  or die hard dedication to our favorite sports teams … and even to our preferred hobbies.

Then there is devoted constancy to the church … to God’s man in the pulpit … and to the body of Christ over all. This kind of loyalty guards against fickleness or offense.

Loyalty is vast in variety, but the one that’s wrestling in my heart of late … is the loyalty of a friend that sticks closer than a brother.

It’s a beautiful picture of walking through life’s valleys with those you value during the hard times and even the good times.

And as I’ve tried to wrap my flawed brain around what loyalty really is and means in regards to friendship … I keep thinking about what loyalty isn’t. Those descriptions are much easier to name and recall for obvious reasons, aren’t they?

You see, we all can find a reason to abandon someone … when it’s not convenient … when we’ve been hurt … when there’s no apology … or when we just want to sit on the fence and not get involved.

But the truth of that is… we can still be loyal in neutrality if we desire to. And perhaps we don’t realize when we’ve walked away from loyalty? Or, maybe we justify it by flawed reasons?

Then for some reason we think loyalty is about shifting the relational balance and standing in one’s corner. But that’s not true loyalty. It’s not about taking sides … it’s about faithful friendship, period.

But as I search the bible looking for examples of what it means to truly be loyal … I keep hearing the Spirit say … “It’s all about the love, Mel.”

“It’s all about the love.”

That’s a thought that makes me think … well if it’s all about the love … then the people that abandon us never really love us, is that right God?

Maybe … probably … maybe not.

So, if we don’t feel this love to the core … then either we don’t love like Jesus loves … or we allow the enemy to draw our intentions away … making us abandon God, and each other.

In fact, I believe the loyalty we give is equal to the love we have in our hearts. This truth is making me examine some wounded places deep in my soul.

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We can always find a reason to walk away … whether it’s a righteous one can only be determined by the Holy Spirit … but the flawed words of man should never pull us away.

I’ve finally realized, if loyalty is all about love … then I need to adjust my love meter, I guess.

The truth is … there are times when it’s easy to be loyal, right?

Like when it’s not costly or when it’s righteous … when we feel it to our core. I guess that’s the love part the Holy Spirit uttered to me.

But the point is … we are all so stinking flawed … we blow it in this love and loyalty thing.

If there is anything God has taught me at all in the last 12 months … loyalty matters because it’s a reflection of God’s Covenant love.

If you’ve never studied God’s Covenant love … then you will never understand true love or loyalty.

So … I want to love better, period.

And loving better doesn’t mean that I dive in without boundaries … but it does mean that I love … without judgement … without hypocrisy … and without giving up the desire to want God’s best for those that abandon me.

Loving better means I don’t take sides and I sure as heck don’t wag my tongue.

Loving better means I forgive … and I move on to heal.

Loving better means I don’t look back.

And finally, loving better means that even if my love and loyalty is not reciprocated … I love anyway … without offense.

Loyalty may be a dying character quality to the world … but Christians can show the world a better way – if we truly love what’s important … and what’s most important is God … and each other.

Lord, May our love be evident to you and each other … by our loyalty to do what’s right.

love mel

The Truth About Social Media #pocketsofjoy

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pockets of joy

“I got off social media, the devil was using it against me.” This message came from a sweet, young mom of two littles. I shot back, “I’m proud of you, you are a wise, young woman!” And she is. My friend gets how the enemy can lie about perceptions. She totally understands that this comparison game on social media is one big hoax, 90% of the time.

Don’t get me wrong – social media can be fun and a tool for good. I love seeing special moments in friends and family’s lives. But outside of the real moments of life, Satan has used social media to wreak havoc in our lives with this comparison sham, and it ain’t pretty, pardon the Tennessee slang.

We see the pictures posted of what appears to be the perfect person, in the ideal setting, smiling ear to ear, and making us all feel less than perfect, right? I don’t have to tell you that comparison messes us up, we know that.

My sweet, young, mama friend said that she felt like a failure when her kids were screaming and she was cleaning house like a slave – and then the glossy pictures with  perfect, behaved children on the fun mom outings pop up. Needless to say, she was defeated.

The real truth behind those types of pictures is that nobody’s life is perfect – It doesn’t matter who we are – there is a mess in our lives somewhere – or a difficult circumstance we are enduring.

I really became aware of this last fall when a friend told me that we had the perfect family. That we seemed to have so much fun. I realized she perceived my life to be different from what it really is. So, I just point blank told her. We are far from a perfect family. We do have fun with each other, but we have situations that are hard for us.

For example, my husband’s PTSD from his time as a combat soldier in Vietnam. My sweet daughter-in-law, Kayla, recently said; “No one would believe how he is behind the scenes if they didn’t see it for themselves.” My husband is a charismatic, fun guy when he’s in public; however, there is a deep sadness that comes over him sometimes when he is alone with his thoughts. As a result, my children have lived life in ways that most kids will never face.

For this very reason, I am more aware than ever of the pictures I post.

Losing our precious Paula and Ronnie in a tragic wreck on January 30th has left our lives in a mess frankly. The same is true for our grandkids, they’re really feeling the loss of their parents in a messy kind of way that we will never get. That fact is, we’re all broken in ways that we will wrestle with for years to come.

So, I’m not going to pretend that my family is all that when we are not, nor have we ever been.

But the Lord gave me a scripture that brings great comfort and truth during this time:

“When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.”  Psalm 94:19  

psalm 94 19 pockets of joy

Here is the truth that I can sink my heart into … and it’s never been more true in my life than of late.

The cares of my heart are many, but God consoles through tender moments just for me.

The pictures I post are merely “pockets of joy” wrapped in imperfections.

They are moments that have been ordained by my heavenly Father to console and cheer my soul.

They are precious times when we laugh in the midst of our pain.

They are sweet, sweet memories that I cherish afterwards for days.

I wish we could all just get wise and honest about those pictures that we post in the moment. Yeah, it’s a good moment and a blessing … but it doesn’t mean life is perfect.

So, don’t let the enemy trick you into thinking, posting, or believing in something that isn’t real. Be real, share your “pockets of joy” and savor the memories.

Here’s your challenge … live your “imperfect joy moments” with the hashtag #PocketsofJOY

love mel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why All the Hurts Lord?

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Wastes our sin on Hurt

Tragedy and loss have a way of reordering life.

Some days we feel as though we’re starting over … like we’re learning God’s ways again. It’s silly to think we ever had them figured out. Like that’s gonna’ happen, right?

I think we get comfortable doing this faith thing and stupidity along with a little spiritual arrogance sneaks in.

My husband and I have been walking with the Lord a long time. We’ve faced countless hard trials … but none like the one our family is enduring in this season of life.

What our sovereign God allows sometimes is gut wrenching, especially for those we love the most. We’re seeking Him hard these days.

I find I’m desperate to see something tangible come from all this hurt. God’s word reminds me that we’ll be tested. He puts us in the direct path of the storm to see what we’re made of.

This testing thing is a hard pill to swallow when three precious kids are involved.

And then there are new hurts and realities that just seem to pile up daily. You’ve  heard the old saying that you find out who your real friends are in tough times? We are finding this a harsh reality as well.

The Devil has compounded our grief with deception, manipulations, and sin messes. The ripple effect of others sin has multiplied our hurts. What’s in the bucket is gonna’ come out … especially when it’s turned upside down.

I keep asking God, what is your purpose Lord? Why all the hurts? Why all the losses?

I’ve been doing a bible study by Dr. Tony Evans called “Detours” … it’s no accident God led me to this book. Dr. Evans explains the why’s of God’s purpose like this:

“We would never plan chaos and detours into our lives on purpose. And yet that seems to be God’s go-to mode for testing, training, and preparing us. The perspective we take toward personal detours will influence the impact they have on our lives.”

In other words, if we bare down in anger, bitterness, or abandon God, the impact on our lives will be even more tragic.

Detours are critical crossroads in our stories. We either choose to submit like an old hound dog that turns belly up or we bite back.

How we react will show the world if we are walking in God’s will … or not. And sadly, God gets no glory if we waste our hurts on sin.

Just days ago I stood in church singing one of my favorite worship songs … “He’s a Good, Good Father” by Chris Tomlin.

As the chorus led us to the bridge … simple words wedged in my throat … “You’re perfect in all of your ways … You’re perfect in all of your ways, You’re perfect in all of your ways to us.”

In that moment, it hit me … I’m singing to my good, good Father who has allowed unimaginable pain and loss to turn my family’s world upside down.

I’m not gonna’ lie – for a split second, it was hard to form those words in my mouth … and from my heart.

Losing one person that you love is dang hard – but losing a second person at the same time almost seems cruel … like God is trying to break us, right?

But that’s not what our good, good Father is trying to do … ever.

Though our detours don’t come with clear explanations, God does have a plan. He’ll use every stinking hurt we go through … if we are willing to let Him.

Detours come to test us, develop us, and to help us clean up our sin messes. In this challenging process, brokenness strips us of pride and self-sufficiency.

And it’s in this fragile place of complete dependency on God that we are humbled … so that He can get His greatest glory from our broken story.

There may be a momentary sinful tendency to bristle at the Creator receiving glory from our pain; however, this alternative will only bring us more heartache.

Plain and simple, this is where the rubber meets the road.

Is our faith in God stronger than the pain we feel?

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Do we really trust Him?

I won’t understand this loss until I bow at my Savior’s feet one day, but I don’t want to look back and see my detour extended or exacerbated by unforgiveness or sinful reactions.

He’s been faithful before so I choose to trust Him with my pain, once again.

Maybe you’ve hit a detour and you’re at a crossroads in your story?

Perhaps you’ve gotten lost on your detour and you’re miles away from God?

You can always turn around … no matter how far you have traveled.

Won’t you trust Him with your pain and let Him guide you safely back into His mercy? There is no sweeter place to be, especially when we are heartbroken and disillusioned.

And yes, I still believe to the core of my very being – He’s a good, good Father … and He’s perfect in all of His ways.

love mel

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. James 1:12

When Mamas Cry #JOHNNYSAWYERSTRONG

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When Mamas cry … surely heaven gets out all the buckets, right?

And surely the good Lord knows how long that Mamas gonna’ cry, and how many buckets she’s gonna’ need?

I reckon the angels are pretty busy when Mamas cry.

In my big imagination I can see the stealth, precise movement of angel wings as they swoop in and switch out the buckets … carrying them back to heaven for safe keeping.

These blessed tears of pain manifest a deep dependence on the Holy Spirit: because being in the presence of the Spirit strengthens a Mama’s heart. Heck we are all changed when we’re in the presence of the Holy Spirit.

But oh how God works through the tears of worry that birth a hungry faith.

The bible says there is a time to cry. (Ecclesiastes 3:4)

Mamas don’t pick those times … the heart does all the picking.

Mamas cry at the silly things too. The first day of school, the first time a heart gets broken, and the first time we realize our babies don’t need our help anymore.

But sometimes the biggest tears are those that bring the biggest fears. These are the most precious tears because they beg for a stronger faith and learn how to rest in a sovereign God.

God made us to cry so it’s okay to just boohoo when we’re at our Mama’s wit’s end. A good cry clears out all the cobwebs of anxiousness and lets the soul breath in the prince of peace.

God knew we needed an emotional release in this complex Mama makeup that’s wrapped up in our babies.

Even Jesus cried and He didn’t have no babies. (John 11:33,35)

So it makes sense that He knows the heart of a Mama’s cry and what He needs to do for her.

Oh you rest assured that God don’t waste a Mama’s tears. He’s just storing them up in His glory pools. One day He’ll release them like a broken dam and His glory will burst onto the scene to do its work.

Yes, He works through every tear a Mama cries.

So think about all those precious tears you’ve cried Mamas. Nothing so precious to you will ever be forgotten by your Creator … on no … He sent His son to die for those tears.

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There’s a couple of sweet Mama’s I know that’s been using up heaven’s buckets lately. They are precious friends to me. One’s a grand-mama who’s taught me a lot about Jesus. The other is her daughter. These girls sure do love Jesus.

But right now they are crying because their precious, 7 year old, Johnny Sawyer, received a diagnosis of MLA / Leukemia last week.

There’s some hard days ahead of them but these Mama’s are warriors. But even warriors need some help every now and then.

I got a lot of friends out there in cyber space and it would sure be nice if  ya’ll would pray for my sweet friends. Here is a link that will share more of their story. I promise … you’re gonna’ fall in love with the Dyers.

You can also find Johnny Sawyer’s Facebook page at this link. Go visit, like it … and please share it.

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I don’t take this sacred place that I share my heart with you for granted. I just love these sweet Mama’s so very much and they’re just flat out heartbroken right now … they are desperate for our prayers.

If you are a Mama who knows what its like to have endless tears … will you pray, please?

Thank you sweet friends. I’m so thankful for you … and for a Heavenly Father who cares about every single tear that each and everyone of His children cry. (Psalm 56:8)

love mel

Seven Take-Away’s to Remember from 2016

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I’m sure glad 2016 is history. It was a rotten year for me. But the lessons learned have born a stubborn faith to blot out the bitter feelings I fought most of the year. That’s the way God does things; to taste the salt of our tears leaves us with the memory of what shifted in our spirits. There was a lot of shifting in me from 2016.

In short, I guess the good Lord told me to get over it all, especially myself. A whole lot of inner turmoil can come when the enemy sends a good distraction. Too many times we change the station in our brains to the poor pitiful me channel.

Seriously though, some things in my mind are of my own misery making and some of it is a reaction from the devil’s bullseye hit. I thought I’d passed the spiritual warfare test a million times ago but it turns out that 2016 was one big flunk for me. Dang it.

So at the risk of embarrassing my family … I believe transparency is a good way to bring glory to God and just down right infuriate the devil. After all, if we don’t share what we learn from tough seasons, we can’t help each other right? So here it is … my seven take-away’s from a hellacious year.

  • God knows I attract crazy.

I have PTSD from living with a husband who has severe PTSD, because he’s a combat soldier stuck in 1969. Seriously, I’m not kidding people, it was the worst year for PTSD since he quit drinking. Where’s the fix in that, right?  So the thing about this whole situation for both my man and me … grace covers crazy, even when I’ve lost my mind. So thank God for crazy grace and just know, He’s got enough for your crazy too.

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  • People have two sides, and unless you’re on their bad side, you’ll never see it.

Some do a good job of hiding the side that reeks while others don’t have a clue they need to hide it. Some are better fooler’s that’s all. It makes me laugh every time I hear the word “fooler.” My husband calls a baby’s pacifier, a “fooler.” But I got to thinking about the use of a fooler / paci. It’s to keep a baby occupied, to give them comfort and create a diversion. At times the clues are obvious for people with two sides, but sometimes we let the fooler entertain us… it’s just easier than dealing with the truth.

  • People with opinions, ignore them.

Especially if those opinions are about you. When someone slates an opinion about you and it’s not favorable or even remotely truthful … let ‘em spew. No matter what man says about you, it will not thwart God’s purpose for your life, period. Let God’s word define you … not man’s. And remember … faithfulness always out lives the enemy’s lies.

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  • My dog is my best friend.

Seriously, he loves me unconditionally … even when I forget to feed him. He’s constant, never fickle, and his opinion of me is pretty awesome. He loves me, period. If only we could all love this big and beautiful, right?

  • Glory hogs will always be glory hogs.

It’s best just to let the good Lord deal with that nonsense … and He will. Chuck Swindoll says; “Maturity means we no longer need the mother’s milk of public attention.” In the words of Forrest Gump … “That’s all I have to say about that.”

  • The only people that have a problem with truth, are the ones that don’t want to be held accountable.

Truth is an agent of change. Human nature hates change because truth exposes the worst. Eventually truth takes center stage and sings like the beautiful, exotic, lady at the opera. Slowly but surely, truth becomes the star. Thank God for some needed truth in my life in 2016.

  • Some things aren’t worth the battle, especially in view of life and death matters.

For example, “No Shave November.”

I have 3 hairy, man-boys who have been able to grow a Grizzly Adams beard since they hit puberty in 6th grade. This freak of human nature and hormones is a great source of pride for them. It’s been a source of contention for me, needless to say. This moma slicked their little heads down like Remington Steele (google it – it will be worth it), every time they stepped out in public. I ironed a crease in their jeans until they left home – they resent this too by the way. These little handsome dudes looked like they stepped out of a GQ magazine. Anyway, the beard and hair thing’s been a controversy between us for years.

But then my middle, hairy, man boy got very sick. For days he was terribly sick. In fact, when doctors finally figured out what was wrong (in a six-hour surgery that was only supposed to be two), Aaron’s body was in a critical state. The surgeon said he was hours away from organs shutting down. We were dangerously close to losing our boy, but God sent that crazy grace to cover him. Thank you Lord.

That night after surgery as he lay in the hospital bed, I sat beside him in one of those hideous chairs that’s supposed to recline like a roll away bed. They don’t by the way. Nevertheless, I watched him sleep, and lying on his chest was that big, beautiful, manly beard that the doctors and nurses all admired in post op. I was eternally grateful to see that rebellious display of facial hair rising and falling with each breath.

So … when this years “No Shave November” rolled around, I embraced it by ordering beard products for all three of my hairy, man boys. These items were Christmas presents but the fact remains … I let it go. Some things just aren’t worth the battle anymore.

With each lesson I learned during this unpleasant year, I count it all grace … that crazy grace. Grace that helps me see behind the frustrations, the pain, and the aggravations. It’s a glorious thing this crazy grace.  And don’t forget, He can cover your crazy too. 

love mel

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The Porter Boys

When You Need a Reason to be Thankful

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Everywhere I’ve been this week I see Christmas decorations. In the stores, in yards, and even Facebook is splattered with pictures of Christmas trees going up.

As much as I love Christmas, I couldn’t find it in me to take down my fall mantle. It has a set of broken pilgrims that stand tall and proud. If you shake the mantle … the male pilgrim’s top half will topple over, making him look like he’s been sawn in half by a magician.

I know … I need to superglue this universal symbol of gratitude together but somehow … I feel led to leave him broken. He reminds me of how I feel sometimes … broken … but still showing up and taking my place as God would have me do.

I purposely don’t want to forget the raw places that keep me close to God. I may whine at times … but the truth is … I need to see and be reminded of how desperately I need God.

Just as I write these words to you today … I sit here in mismatched pajamas … Indian style on my bed. My bible is laid open to Psalms 71 (a new favorite), there are about 10 used up tissues scattered about because I have a vicious cold.

The heating pad is on my lower back at the moment because I landed in the doctor’s office yesterday, doubled over with intense pain. It seems I have a rather angry kidney/urinary tract infection because God gave me two urethras. What a blessing right?

I’m miserable, physically, head to toe on this special day … but yet I am most thankful.

In my younger days, I am ashamed to say that I couldn’t always find gratefulness when life wasn’t all sunshine.

How about you?

Is there a situation in your life today that is swallowing up the goodness of God?

Are you wondering this morning how you were dealt the cards you are playing with?

Are you confused at how God allows the good and the bad … even from difficult people … into your life?

Yes, our infinite God allows places in life that we don’t understand … but HE is ever understanding about our plight.

Unfortunately, some of these difficult places we find ourselves in is of our own making … yet some are trials.

God wants us to learn the truths of His faithfulness through our mistakes and the trials … but sometimes we choose to check out on God in the middle of the test.

Sometimes we are walking through the wilderness and we decide to camp out for a while.

Bitterness, anger, and depression often stall us.

Just like the children of Israel, we can complain, blame God or someone else … but the truth of the matter is … we are responsible for checking out on God.

We are the ones who take our eyes off God and put them on self.

Trust me … I know.

I’ve done it too many times in years past.

So today on this Thanksgiving day … I challenge you to take your eyes off of what it is that’s stealing your peace.

Shift your focus … if only for an hour … to our faithful God who wants you to see Him today.

Make a list of the good things in your life. Then make a list of how HE has been faithful to you in the past.

I challenge you to spend some time in prayer thanking Him for all good in your life, past and present.

It’s time to shut down camp and move on.

We can choose to wallow in our circumstances or we can be grateful for what “is” good in our lives.

It’s simply an attitude adjustment my friends … one that replaces misery … with a faith in the one who created you and knows all about you.

“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”                                                                                                                     1 Thessalonians 5:18

So what is your “everything” dear one? Will you get alone with God and figure it out today? You might just be surprised at what He shows you.

Happy Thanksgiving my friends. May you see our loving God through all of your circumstances today!

love mel