Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I've embarked on a new journey. A journey that I'm hoping will lead me deeper into discipline and more intimacy in my relationship with God. I've started a diet program and also a Bible Study called "Made To Crave" by Lysa Terkeurst. This week one of the discussion questions was about our cravings...

My cravings look like a puzzle piece that will fill the weird emptiness in me that comes shaped with nooks and crannies. My struggle with the medical diagnosis of depression hasn't stopped me from trying to fill those empty spaces with food...if anything it's fueled them.

I'm mean, I'm supposed to be feeling better with my medication, right? Often I don't and so I self-medicate, self-stimulate, self-mutilate with food. I know, intellectually, that I need to run to my Father at these times. I also know that my sinful tendency is to hide instead (like
Adam and Eve in the garden). It's much easier to eat in secret and pretend to the world that everything is fine.

I am struggling with letting go of this crutch and just clinging to Him. I am so used to being controlled by my emotions that when I don't "feel" him, it's hard to believe he's there. That's why doing this study and practicing this discipline is so very important to MY spiritual life. I need the discipline because my emotions are fragile and unreliable. HE is faithful. HE is eternal. HE is what I NEED.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Rerun of Return to Me

reposted from April 15,2007 (this story is a truth that I preach to myself over and over again so I thought I would share again)

Our church just began a series of sermons today on the letters to the seven churches in the book of Revelation. The focus was on the church in Ephesus and "returning to our first love"... in particular, how we spend so much time trying to look like "good Christians" that we neglect our relationship with the One it is all about. One of the "responses" that our Pastor encouraged us to pursue was to take some time in the next 24 hours to reflect on when our faith first came alive and write about it.

As I was thinking through this exercise, I had some trouble identifying a specific time period or age when this occurred for me. Being brought up in a Christian home and identifying myself as a Christian for my entire life has put me in the position (sometimes awkward in church circles) of not having a "conversion date" (or "spiritual birthday" as those who trumpet their own like to call it). My relationship with Christ has all been a journey and not always linear.

I did find, however, that even though I couldn't point to a conversion experience, I could clearly recall moments where grace sneaked into my life and invaded my space...changing forever the way I viewed God, myself and the world around me and marking that instant of time as life altering kairos.

I experienced one of these moments in November of 1997.

The months, even years, leading up to this particular winter were some of the most difficult of my life and definitely the most difficult in our marriage. We had been dealing with everything from secondary infertility to finishing a master's degree, raising the most precocious toddler on earth and watching our marriage fall apart. Both wounded, angry and tired, we had committed to being obedient...despite how we "felt"...and staying in and working on our marriage. During the worst months of our marriage and the first couple months of our decision to love each other "no matter what", we had put our plans for expanding our family on hold... no fertility treatments, no talks about adoption... not right now.

On November 10th, I received a call from an adoption facilitator, Sarah, who we had met through a crisis pregnancy center. She informed me that she was in contact with several birth moms who were looking specifically for Christian families for their babies. Sarah liked to give the birth moms information on several families so that they could make the best decision about placing their children. At this particular time, she felt she didn't have enough families that fit these requests to give the girls real options. In addition, one had already given birth and a couple others were due any day. Time was of the essence. She asked me if Larry and I would consider submitting a "birth mother" letter for her to offer along with the few other families she currently had on file.

Larry and I were overwhelmed with every emotion imaginable...excitement, fear, apprehension. We knew we were not even out of the pit our marriage had fallen into...would this even be wise? We prayed about it together that night and talked to our parents and some trusted people at church. Then, believing that God had His hand on this and had confirmed it, we wrote the letter and on the 12th I drove it up to Sarah's office.

On Friday, the 14th, I received a page from Sarah (the days of the ever present cell phone had not yet arrived). I returned her call and she reminded me to make copies of the letter so that she could present them to the birth mothers. I assured her that I would get them done and deliver them later that day. Not half an hour later, my phone rang. I answered and Sarah said, "You know, Melissa, don't bother making copies of that letter." My immediate panicked thought was, "What could she have found out about us?" She followed up immediately with, "I read your letter to a birth mom over the phone and she picked your family! The baby is five months old already and you can meet him on Sunday." WHAT??????!!!!!!!!

I'm sure I don't need to go into the details of our crazy weekend. I can share that another time. Suffice it to say that we met Desiree and our sweet Isaac on Sunday, November 16th and Monday, November 17th he was in our home. A true miracle.

With no time to prepare, we ended up setting up a Pack 'n Play in our bedroom next to our bed for him to sleep in. He slept through the first night but the second night he woke up whimpering. I leaned over, still in compete amazement over this gift with which God had astonished us. I gently lifted him into bed and placed him between me and Larry. He continued to whimper and reached about with his little hand until he found my face in the dark. He placed his little palm on my cheek and immediately stopped crying... falling asleep with his hand still on my face. Tears streamed down my face and soaked my pillow and his little hand. Larry whispered, "Are you okay?" All I could say was, "I don't deserve this."

THAT is grace. God had given us a gift in Isaac. He had shown us that He believed in our family...that He would sustain our marriage. Grace had invaded my space.

These are the moments I need to remember... what God has done for me, the chief of sinners. I need to keep that wonder... return to that wonder...the wonder of His grace.

Monday, January 23, 2012


I've been overwhelmed the last few weeks at how weak I really am. My tendencies to choose the easy way and reject challenge makes me angry but obviously not angry enough to do anything about it.

This week I am embarking on a challenge that I've been avoiding for some time now. I am planning to undergird this venture with spiritual nourishment. I need the extra support and to believe in something bigger than myself. I know, all too well, how weak I am. I know, all too well, how easily I quit. I know, all too well, how I struggle with discouragement. But, thankfully, I also know that I am loved by Someone who is all powerful... whose power is made evident THROUGH my weakness. My prayer is that my mind be daily renewed by this knowledge and that I remember to lean on the rock that is higher.