Friday, November 16, 2007

I Trust You

I trust You with the big and with the small Lord, I trust You Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall I trust You with every moment of my day I trust You to lead me all the way Lord, I know who You are And I know what You’ve said You will do And that is why I trust You ‘cause I don’t just know about You Lord, I know You and I know You’re always good All my life has been a journey with You Looking back I see so much You’ve led me through Lord, I know who You are And I know You’ll never change Your Word is true And that is why I trust You with all my heart and my soul And lean not on my own understanding I acknowledge You, Lord, in all I do And I know that You will make my path straight I trust You in the good and in the bad Lord, I trust You. You’re the best friend I’ll ever have All my life You’ve been right here by my side And in You my heart is satisfied Lord, I know who You are And I know You love me You always will And that is why I trust You
by Melissa

With Much Love

Well, I'm not sure exactly how to start this post. Especially after what I wrote last time... : ) But here's the deal. I've decided I'm going to take a break from blogging (and blog-reading) until at least the end of the year. (I even just deleted ALL of the blogs in my favorites file--that's how serious I am about this! If I left them there, I would be way too easily tempted!) I have too many things to do in the next weeks to spend a lot of time online and as I thought about this yesterday, I was surprised at how relieved I felt. There are quite a few reasons for this decision and contrary to my usual manner of doing things, I'm not going to try to explain them all here. (Well, I actually did try, but it didn't make any sense, so I'm not going to try anymore!) If you are somebody I see, feel free to ask me about it. I'd love to chat with you in real life. : ) As for the rest of you, you can still leave comments... they'll still get to me and I'll write you back if you leave me an email address. You can all feel free to come back in January and see if I've started blogging again. I honestly don't know if I will or not. It could be this was just a season and has served its purpose and needs to die now. Or maybe it just needs to be dormant a while so it can come back to life again in the future, maybe even in a whole new form. God knows and I trust Him to get me where He wants me... even when I don't know He's moving me at all. : ) I'm ending this year in Blogland with the words to my newest song. I just want them to be at the top because they express where I am with God right now. I'm learning to trust Him and remembering how much He loves me. And I love Him too. : ) I hope and pray your Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year are more special and meaningful than ever. I also pray for each of you that God will show you more and more and more and that you will believe and know more and more just how incredibly much He loves you. And to join with Paul in Ephesians 3:17b-21, "I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." With Much Love, Melissa

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


This is the conclusion of the Bloggy Cliffhanger I left you with last time.  I know, you've been checking hourly to see if I'd finished the cabinet cleaning story yet or not.  Sorry about the suspense.  : )

As I said last time, Saturday when I was scrubbing 40 years worth of nasty grime off my kitchen cabinets, I was pondering the spiritual significance of what I was doing.  That is what I do when my hands are working and my brain isn't.  (Which, notably, constitutes a large part of my days.)  I was cleaning off some gunk that I had thought would never come off...  which is why I had never really tried.  When we moved into the house there was SO much else to do (like cleaning up after the guy who had been living here before we bought it) (which is why, I now understand, people buy NEW houses!) I scratched a bit at the cabinets and surface cleaned them, but didn't really work hard at the grimy stuff because I thought it wasn't possible to remove it w/o removing the finish coming off in the process. 

So anyway, in preparation for our party Sunday, Lowell had asked me to clean the cabinets and like usual, I got carried away and started really working on them and realized it WAS possible to get the stuff off without destroying the finish.  I had just never tried hard enough before.  So the spiritual significance here???  Well, I was wondering how many things there are in my life that I've never really thought could be changed, so I never bothered trying or letting God work on it. 

Unfortunately, I didn't come up with any good answers, but I was getting annoyed at myself for THINKING so much about it!!!  When my brain gets going like that, it's hard to stop it and sometimes it seems pointless.  I honestly get TIRED of hearing myself think and b/c much of my thinking lately takes the form of how I would write a blog post about it, I start wondering about whether or not anybody else is getting tired of hearing me think as well.  (But, thankfully, if you are...  you can just stop.  Just click the little red X up there in the corner. J

But here's the thing I ultimately decided/realized as I kept cleaning.  GOD MADE ME THIS WAY.  "Normal" people don't see spiritual significance in stuff like grimy kitchen cabinets.  But I do.  In this I AM study I'm doing, she was talking about Moses and how he was put where he was at just the right time and I realized that one of the reasons God had me born in 1972 was so that when I was 35 and thinking thoughts like this, I could have a blog and write about them.  And it's not (for me) about how it impacts you.  Having a place like this where I can learn to think and formulate my thoughts and not be afraid of what people think and let my family know more of the real me has been a very significant thing for me. 

And as a bonus, here are some of the spiritual conclusions I came to yesterday as I was cleaning the refrigerator.  J

The fridge and cabinets can't clean themselves!  In the same way, I am not capable of cleaning myself.  God has to do it.  Just like HE saved me by his grace, He is the One who will complete the work HE has started in me.  Yes, I have a part to play in cooperating with Him, but I am changed by His grace, not by my effort.

Once one area is cleaned up I notice other areas that need cleaning up.  All of a sudden, they look bad next to the clean areas, whereas before I had never even noticed them.  When God is at work in me, I start noticing worry and pride (or whatever) in my heart I had never noticed before, even though it's been there a long time.  I'm thankful I don't see all the work there is to be done--it would be overwhelming!--and that God is also not content to leave it, but is always working on me. 

Just like the fridge gets new smudges on it and the bookshelves gather new dust, my heart's purity needs to be maintained.  God's job is to clean me...  My job is to cooperate.  And there will always be new things to work on as long as I'm alive and God and I will just keep working on them.  And I'll probably keep on blogging about them, too.  J

Thanks for thinking with me.

Y, Mel

Monday, November 12, 2007

I'm Back!

Well, a lot has happened since I last wrote...
THEY'RE ALL SMILES! Toby got his teeth cleaned for the first time (he was very excited) and after a long, suspense and stress filled time of wiggling, Mikaela's first top tooth came out! I'm serious, people, it was stressing her out! She was worried about it and it was hurting for DAYS and as soon as it was finally out, she was a different kid... a much happier, smiling, silly kid. What a relief. If I'd only known it would make such a difference in her mood, I'd have yanked it a couple days earlier. (Because she had actually asked me to and I didn't pull hard enough because I wasn't sure it was ready, not just because I'm mean and selfish!) Aren't they cute???

BUTLER CHURCH 50th ANNIVERSARY! Yesterday we got to go to our former church's 50th anniversary celebration. It was so very sweet to see so many people who we had worshipped and served with during the many years we were there. Most of the former pastors were there and we got to hear the Spanish choir and see the SE Asian dancers and hear the kids choir sing "Sing alleluia to the Lord" in 3 languages... I miss that so much! But it was also a clear reminder that we are where we are now b/c it is where God wants us to be. As much as I still love Butler, my heart is most definitely at the Grove.

CLEANING/PARTY! Well, in spite of the fact that I was (really, I'm not exagerrating here) mopping my kitchen floor 10 minutes before the first people arrived last night for our Game Night, we had a lot of fun. God brought just the right amount of people and we had a great time and the kids all had a lot of fun. Lowell isn't sure he's going to ever let me do this again (I did leave WAY too much to get done after we got home from the Butler lunch/celebration) but I'm glad we did it and now my house is cleaner than it has been since the social worker came for our home study.

BLOGGING IN MY HEAD. On Saturday I was scrubbing 40 years worth of nasty grime off my kitchen cabinets, pondering the spiritual significance of what I was doing. (Because what else do you expect me to think about when I'm scrubbing cabinets???) I started to write all of my thoughts out here, but it's going to be way too long, so I'm saving it for later. Just in case you have something else to do today. : ) And to leave you in some sort of suspense as to what great spiritual truth I learned. If you'd like to guess or tell me what scrubbing kitchen cabinets might mean to you and your spiritual journey, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments!

Y, Melissa

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I AM Study - Lesson 2 - Beautiful to God

Again, this is a response to the study questions from the lesson.  If you haven't read it, it won't make as much sense.  I am really enjoying participating in this.  It's really neat to visit the responses the other women have made on their blogs.  So anyway, here are mine!

Background reading: Exodus 2, Acts 7, Isaiah 53
Focal Verses:

"It was at this time that Moses was born; and he was lovely in the sight of God, and he was nurtured three months in his father's house. Acts 7:20 NASB

"He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not." Isaiah 53:2-3 NIV

"For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation." Psalm 149:4

What is your initial response when anyone suggests you are beautiful?
When my husband tells me I'm beautiful, I usually believe him, but inside I'm longing to be told that I'm beautiful on the inside even more because that is so much more important and more elusive on days like today when I'm tired and snapping at my kids.  Lately, I've been sharing some music at church and I've realized there is a connection to that too.  When people give me compliments, I don't know exactly how to respond.  I usually just say thanks and am sincerely appreciative, but again, what I'm really wanting to hear isn't just that I have a nice voice or write beautiful music, but that God was ministering to their hearts while they were listening.  

Do you find you engage in a lot of negative 'self-talk'? How much of your thought life does this form of thinking consume?
Thankfully, I don't engage in nearly as much as I used to.  God has freed me from a whole lot of destructive thinking and I've learned to be much more gracious with myself when I make mistakes…  but I still have trouble getting past not feeling quite good enough EVEN THOUGH I know this is wrong.  Like Lisa said, I'm not supposed to be focusing on myself.  My focus is to be on God, remembering who I am because of Him and worshipping Him just for who He is, partaking of all the blessings I have in Christ instead of just asking for God to help me (like asking for more food when I haven't bothered eating what He's already provided).  When I do that…  fix my eyes on what is true and eternal instead of dwelling on the negative stuff, my life is so much more beautiful—who I am and how I experience everything.

What is the most radical transformation you've witnessed in an individual after they were born again? It's okay to tell about your own!  (I'm skipping this for now)

The imagery of being a City Girl has absolutely changed the way I perceive my worth before God. Does it yours? Will you receive this truth and let it boost your righteous confidence?
As I drove around my city today, I thought about how unlike this city my heavenly home is.  Sort of like the difference between here and a Righteously Royal kingdom I believe.  I can't help but think of the Princess Diaries and how obvious it was that Mia's grandma was NOT from around there and the change that took place in Mia when she realized and embraced that she was actually a princess.  When people meet me, God wants them to know—by my accent (the flavor of my words—to my kids and everyone else!), by my confidence, by my contentment, by my PEACE—that I do not belong here.  This world is not my home!

Jesus, I believe You are in the process of doing an amazing new work in me…  teaching me how to BE WHO I AM while reaching out to others who either don't know You or don't yet know who they are because of You.  I have looked at people struggling with sins I cannot relate to and imagined how hard it would be for them to listen to me or how unlikely it would be that they would even want to learn anything from me.  After all, what do I know about their problems?  So how crazy is it that You are leading me into some type of participation in Celebrate Recovery!!!  J  It makes me laugh.  Obviously I have a lot to learn about limiting where I think You can use me.  And as You reminded me today…  I don't know from experience about many of the problems others experience, but I do know WHO the solution is!  Keep teaching me, Lord, not to be afraid of who You have made me to be and not to believe the lies that say I'm not good enough or that I appear too good.  I am in You and You are in me!  According to I Cor. 4:10, I have this treasure in a jar of clay (a body and mind that is weak and filled with problems) to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from myself.  May I not now, or ever again hide this treasure or this amazing power, Lord.  Forgive me for forgetting!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I AM Bible Study Part One

Last week I discovered this online Bible Study written and hosted by Lisa who is a preacher's wife somewhere (I can't remember where at the moment!) and anyway I've decided to join the study. The way it works is you click on the button here and it takes you to the intro, FAQ etc page and you can start it at the beginning whenever you want to and can do it at your own pace. Then you post your answers to the questions on your blog and add your name to the link list at the particular study you were answering. And let's just say she explains it better than I do! In the future, when you see this little picture, you'll know it's about the study. But without further ado, here are my answers to the questions, which unless you've read the study won't mean quite as much as if you have.
1. Are there any circumstances or relationships in your life where you can see God has intentionally placed you? What do you perceive may be at stake if you do or do not speak out for Him? Is it too obvious to mention my family? I know God has put me in this place as my husband’s wife and Mikaela & Toby’s mom and “soon” mom to another one. I also know God has me/us at our young church because He has wanted to use us there. I’m sure there are more situations that I am less aware or unsure about. I know that at the least, people will miss out on blessings or encouragement if I am not obedient in speaking what God wants me to. And it could be much worse… that they miss out on the freedom God has for them through whatever He is wanting to speak to them at that time. 2. Can you honestly describe yourself as a woman with a 'yes' in her spirit? If not, what keeps you from this? I would say yes, but that God is dealing with the worry I can harbor even when I’ve surrendered to Him. It’s been a real revelation lately that I can be completely surrendered and still not completely trusting God. And I’m grateful He’s working on that! 3. Do you recognize any circumstances in your life which could be described as an 'unrecurring event'? Have you ever said 'no' to one and watched God use someone else instead? This was one of the big things I got out of this first part of the study. I’m realizing more and more that every single moment of every day is an unrecurring event and that I should appreciate that. I’ve been prone to worry about what I’m not doing right (for example, not spending enough time playing with my kids) and now I’m more and more just DOING something about it instead of feeling guilty for not having done it before. As for the second question, I’m not very good at remembering details, but think I have almost been more likely to say “yes” when I shouldn’t have and then ended up wishing I had said no. 4. Are you in an emotionally and spiritually healthy place? If yes, how are you using this freedom to minister to others? If no, what do you feel is holding you in your Egypt? I am in a strange place right now spiritually. I was journaling this morning about how God has brought me to a place that on the surface looks less healthy than places I’ve been in the past. I’m studying the Bible less, journaling less, having less consistent, shorter quiet times… and yet I realized this morning that God has brought me to this place very intentionally—to challenge me on where my confidence has been. I think I have been trusting more in my spiritual disciplines to maintain my right relationship with God than I’ve been trusting God. I have always been one to want to know exactly what’s expected and what the rules are so I can do everything right. I am very comfortable with clear boundaries. But God is pushing me past that and to a new place where it’s all about trusting Him and His truth and not what I am doing. And it feels just a little bit crazy! I hope to use this new freedom to minister to others as I continue to serve at church in prayer ministry and just by being real and honest with others. This is quite an adventure and God’s challenging me to not worry about what others will think about where I am and just to keep trusting Him. It was encouraging to me this afternoon when I realized the fruit I am already enjoying in my spirit… the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. And that can only come from Him!

Monday, November 05, 2007

General Family Updates!

What a weekend! Saturday, I was inspired to move Toby's bed out of Mikaela's room and into his own.  Before doing that, however, Lowell wanted to texture the wall in there and then he even got it painted Sunday!  Toby is sleeping in there now and is thrilled.  And Mikaela's room looks better than it ever has before.  We spent hours in there over the weekend and my allergies still haven't recovered from all of the dust we apparently stirred up. (There is still a lot of stuff in there, but Mikaela won't have it any other way--because she is, after all, my daughter!  : )  We have always been quite hospitable to "stuff.")  So finally we are all in our "new" bedrooms, even though there are still a few finishing touches left to be done.  You'll get to see pictures someday.  : )
Anyway, I'm glad we got it done and got a head start on the mad cleaning frenzy I will be in this week as we get ready for a church game night/potluck we're hosting next Sunday night.  There could be a lot of people here and I don't want them to have to put their plates on stacks of papers and piles of who-knows-what.  So I'll be doing a lot of taking care of that this week.  If you don't hear from me again soon, that would probably be why.
And since I'm doing some general updating here...  people lately have been asking what's up on the adoption front.  And the answer is...  time is passing and we're waiting and praying and waiting.  Every 3 months our agency gets a list of children (and their info) to be matched with families on the waiting list.  Usually around 6.  So there is a very small possibility we could be matched with a child in December, but probably for sure by March.  We're no. 8 on the list right now, but they don't just go straight down the list b/c sometimes they're looking for the family that fits the child best and some families have requested specific genders, etc.  (And after we're matched we wait another 7-9 months before we go and bring our Little One home!)  And so we wait and dream and wonder...  but mostly wait.  Once we have been matched and have seen a picture and all, I'm sure things will feel very, very different.  But for now, I'm grateful for this less-intense time in the middle.  I have a feeling I'm going to have needed it.  : )

Sunday, November 04, 2007

I love Sundays!

This started out to be a really long post, but I'm cutting some stuff out and will add it in another post tomorrow. What I mostly wanted to tell you was... Church this morning was a joy! Before the service started, I was talking to a great guy who (with his wife) is getting ready to start/lead a Celebrate Recovery group at our church. Earlier in the morning I had felt led/free to tell him that if he would ever like me to come and do any music for them at any of their meetings, that I would love to. He broke into a laugh and said they usually start with some worship and that he and his wife had been praying for God to put it on somebody's heart to help in that area. : ) Is that sweet or what? Especially since I had been choosing to TRUST GOD to lead me to opportunities to share and sing. And even though I won't be doing it every week, I am totally excited about the opportunity to be a part of what God is going to do through this new ministry at our church. Yay! And to top it all off, I learned something new this morning! : ) What was especially cool about that (because yes, I learn stuff at church all the time) was that it was from a passage I am so very familiar with. Our associate/resident/almost-planting-his-own-church-pastor Gary was preaching about God giving us unlimited mulligans in life (unlike what you get in golf!) He talked about Peter denying Christ and read the passage where Christ restored Peter. (Where Jesus asks Peter 3 times "Do you love me?") You know what I noticed for the first time ever? That Jesus didn't just restore Peter to a right relationship with Him. He restored him to MINISTRY. Perhaps because of what God has taught me this year, that seems huge to me. When Peter responded to Jesus' questions saying "Yes, I love you" and "You know I love you!" Jesus said, "Feed my lambs" and "Take care of my sheep." He was telling Peter that he wasn't only forgiven, HE WAS STILL THE ROCK ON WHOM CHRIST'S CHURCH WOULD BE BUILT. God still chose to trust Peter with the enormous task of leading The Church. And the result? Peter wasn't just restored, he was transformed. If that's not miraculous, amazing mercy and forgiveness and grace, I don't know what is. How could I not love & follow & sing about that Jesus?????

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Lemon Bars Part 2

If you haven't read the post below this yet, this is additional information regarding the recipe. 
IF YOU DON'T HAVE A FOOD PROCESSOR, you should.  It makes making pie crust (oh, I really want to say "easy as pie!" but I won't) a lot easier than using a pastry cutter and it makes this recipe very easy, but not everyone has one or wants one or wants to dig it out of wherever it is. 
SO if you don't use a food processor, just make sure the butter is soft.  Mix the first 4 ingredients together until it's smooth and spread it in the bottom of the pan.  Everything else is basically the same except that you're whisking the filling instead of doing it in the processor. 
Hopefully that makes sense.  If it doesn't and you want to make it, feel free to email me or call me if you have my number!  : )

My Favorite Lemon Bars

Click on the pictures if you don't want to squint to read them.

Even though I have other things I would love to talk about, I don't have time to formulate my thoughts and type them up. But I do have just enough time to attempt to post here my favorite recipe (which I just wrote up for my sister-in-law) for the BEST lemon bars (which I just made to take to my her house.) Now, I know you don't all have lemon trees in your backyards so you're not all looking for something else to do with lemons, but this is still a never-fail really yummy recipe. AND I do it all (except for the baking, of course!) in my food processor, so there's no cutting butter into flour by hand and you don't even need to soften the butter first! And by the way, I always double the recipe and use my glass 9x13.

So anyway, hopefully it will come through and even if you never try them, I can now direct people to my blog if they ever want a copy of the recipe. : ) But maybe you'll feel ambitious someday soon and will try it when you're looking for something new (like to give to neighbors or co-workers for Christmas!)

Or you can just invite yourself over to my house and I'll quite happily make them for you myself. : ) Really!

Happy Saturday everyone!!!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Reckless Trust

There has been lots going on in my heart lately, but much of it has been really hard to put into words, which is why you haven't heard about most of it!  : )  I have mentioned a few times about how God is teaching me how to trust Him more completely.  One of the things He has shown me in the last few weeks is just how much I worry!  I honestly had no idea how much I worried--normally not about the big stuff, but about the little things like keeping my house clean, which ministries to pursue at church, how my kids are doing and what I'm going to make for dinner and whether or not Lowell will like it and that my van is a mess...  whatever it is, I can probably figure out a way to worry about it.
I always used to think I was just "thinking" too much.  And I always wanted God to tell me exactly what to do, because I knew He knew what was best and I desperately wanted Him to lead me.  I didn't have a problem with surrendering to Him, but I realize now I did have a problem trusting that He would lead me.  I'm learning, though, that trusting Him means not worrying or thinking too much and trusting He will lead me (in His way and in His timing) even when I don't realize I'm being led.  It's like walking with Him through a huge flat desert with no landmarks to be seen in any direction and no road or signs and just walking with Him even when He doesn't say where to go…  trusting that He is leading me even when I am not even aware of it.
What's funny is that it feels sort of reckless and irresponsible to not figure everything out (=worry) and just to trust Him, but there is already fruit coming from it and it is so good!  I'm already feeling relieved from a lot of stress and am so thankful God is teaching me this now because I know I'm going to have much to trust Him with in the future...   (But I'm not going to worry about that just now.)  : )
Thanks for letting me share some of this journey with you.  : )
Blessings to you!

Monday, October 29, 2007


Well, you'll see at the bottom of this a reference to a Women of Faith copyright and all of their rights being reserved.  I don't really know exactly what that means, but I'm hoping it means that as long as I acknowledge that's where this came from and I don't make any money off it, that they won't mind me sharing it here.  My good friend Paula emailed this to me tonight and I loved it, so I thought I'd share it with you all hoping it will encourage you like it encouraged me.  I believe it is written by Anita Renfroe, who I just discovered, tours with Women of Faith (they do big women's conferences, in case you aren't familiar with them) and she is the same Anita Renfroe who has become a huge youtube star because of her mom version of William Tell's overture which, is you haven't seen yet, you have to see!!!
Hello, Girlfriends!

 We're home off the road for a few days and I am once again faced with scaling the heights of the mounds of dirty clothes we have all unceremoniously dumped from our suitcases. After all the sorting and pre-treating we crank up the washer and dryer and wonder why our "large capacity" machines can't handle "more" of "Mount Washmore". I have been tempted to cram it full (I know, I know: the clothes don't get as clean when you overload…) until I hear that familiar "ka-thunk, ka-thunk, ka-THUNK," alerting me that something is out of balance and, if I don't go take care of it (pronto!), my washing machine may walk its unbalanced self into the next county.

 I understand my washer because I feel unbalanced a lot of the time. This is not something that's easy for me to admit because I have spent a goodly portion of my adult life chasing this lofty and elusive concept called "balance". I have read books about it. I've listened to Bible studies about it. I have heard lots of talks at women's events concerning it. I have GIVEN talks at women's events outlining the "seven steps to achieving it". I even know a couple of women who seem to have mastered it.

 But here's the absolute truth about it:
 I'm giving up on it.


 In fact, I'm not so sure that it was ever that great of a spiritual pursuit to begin with. There seems to be a lot of Scriptures you could interpret to be in support of it, but nothing that says, "Verily, verily, be ye balanced, sayeth the Lord." What we do find in God's word is a lot of Scripture concerning the subject of seasons. (planting, waiting, watering, working, weeding, harvesting, letting the ground rest ― then
 starting the whole cycle over again). Some of those seasons require lots of  work (planting, harvesting), some of them require less physical labor and more patience (weeding, watering, waiting), and some of them require periods of no visible activity at all (letting the ground rest so that it can be ready to plant again).

 When you are in the middle of any one of those seasons it doesn't seem very "balanced." If you are in the week when you have to get the crops in or they will rot, you have to put in some strenuous days and nights because the window of opportunity is so small. If you took a snapshot of people feverishly working during that week, one might correctly say, "Well, that's not balanced at all!" Or if you look at a farmer resting by the fire in the dead of January you might think, "No balance there!" But it's a season.

 Not all seasons carry the same work load or rest opportunities. They do all have their unique rhythms and it is up to us to recognize the beauty of each season and to know that it will, over the course of a lifetime, add up to something akin to "balance" – although we are unlikely to find it in a single day, or even a single week or month.

 So I am praying for you, as I pray for my own self, the ability to recognize your season you are in and to stop beating yourself up because you can't quite get to the place of perfect balance every day. As the writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us, "To everything there is a season and a purpose for everything under Heaven."

 Enjoying this season in my life,


 Copyright 2007 Women of Faith. All Rights Reserved.

A Bad Movie

Well, I'm trying to figure out what to do with this information and thought I'd start with putting it on my blog. Last week my sister-in-law sent me this link about a movie coming out in December called The Golden Compass. It's advertised as a kid's movie (like Chronicles of Narnia or the like) and stars Nicole Kidman so will likely be big... but the author is an athiest who wants to get kids to not believe in God. The movie is a milder version of the first book in a trilogy and the author is hoping the movie will get parents to buy the books for their kids. To read more about it, click here. If when you go to the site, it jumps to an ad page, try clicking on your back button. I hope and pray enough Christians find out about it and speak up about it so that it doesn't get promoted without people knowing the truth about the author's purpose.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Because it's my job.

It's my job to post videos of my family on my blog, that is. : ) This video was taken yesterday late afternoon when it was almost raining outside. This is Fresno after all. We have to celebrate whatever rain we get! So watch the video and you'll get to see Mikaela and Toby's riding skills and my hubby's video/editting skills. The talent will astound you. : )

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Could this day get any better???

Hi everyone! I am celebrating right now!

First of all, neither of my kids woke me up last night. No bad dreams or tummy aches for the first night in maybe a week or so. So very nice.

Second, I got to sing this morning at a Women's Breakfast for our church and it was really fun. I had a couple of ladies tell me after how rested they felt, which was neat b/c the songs (and our pastor's wife's great talk on Psalm 23) talked about being still and being filled and I'm praying God will keep calling us to that and that we will let Him quiet us more and more. I need it so very much! (Which is part of where the songs came from to be sure!)

Thirdly, when I got home I found an email from somebody congratulating me on winning over at BooMama's. "What??? I won something????" And sure enough, I did! She was hosting a giveaway for some beautiful jewelry made by Lisa and I am one of the 2 winners! I can hardly believe it and am so excited. It's really a big blessing. Just this week Mikaela found this in the closet I'm trying to move out of (it's supposed to be Toby's now) and while it's really cute if you're a Kindergarten teacher, I haven't taught in almost 7 years now and it's not really the look I'm going for these days. If, however, YOU are a teacher of little children and you think you would wear this ever, please let me know and I'll be very happy to give it to you as I am very soon going to be the recipient of something much much more beautiful and much much less educational.

And for that, among so, so many other things like the happy sounds of my kids and a roof over my head today I am feeling very, very blessed. Because I am. Thanks again to Lisa and BooMama and most of all to God! : )

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Show & Tell

Just for fun, I thought I'd share a few pictures with you today.
First we have the kids showing off their new Lego. After a couple weeks of waiting since Daddy won them (uh, the Lego--not the kids!) on an ebay auction, the box of used, purchased by the pound Lego finally arrived today! This is only the new stuff-- and they are very excited about all the new cool pieces we were missing in our current collection and already building stuff!

Next is a picture of Toby taken last week. Can you see the scar forming on the bottom of his chin? He's actually healing very nicely. I'm so glad we didn't bother with a potentially traumatic trip to the Dr. that day.

And last but certainly not least, we have Mikaela's latest hair creation. She's even done this on me once. So far it hasn't caught on much elsewhere, perhaps because of the impaired visibility it causes, but you never know! If you see this on the fashion runways soon, you'll know where it all started! : )

Happy Thursday everyone!

Monday, October 22, 2007


Thank You Jesus for Sunday morning!  I wish you all could have been there--not to hear me sing, but just because it was such a great celebration of God and what He is doing in the lives of people at our church.  But here's a little rundown on my part of it. 
Every Sunday morning our church has a prayer time.  (Think of it sort of as Sunday School with the topic being prayer and the purpose being not to talk about it but for people to learn and do it together.)  It starts at 9:00 and I was going to practice my song for the first time with the bass player and the drummer after the prayer time which I knew probably wouldn't be over until 9:35 or 9:40.  (The service starts at 10.)  I got there around 8:45 so I wouldn't be feeling rushed and I paced around a bit while the worship team practiced.  I wasn't nervous, but I was feeling restless and wondering how it was going to work out.  I decided to sit down, try to relax a bit and pray when God said "Open your Bible."  So, I opened it and found myself on page 1589 where my eyes fell on the red words in Luke 24:36 "Peace be with you."  I can't quite describe what it meant to me, but perhaps you can imagine.  I sat there with tears in my eyes and thanked my loving, gracious Savior for being so very close and amazing and real and for speaking to me and for offering me His peace.  And I knew everything was going to work out just fine.  And that even if it didn't, that I was going to be fine because Jesus was with me.
Well, I was able to participate in the prayer time with everyone (again, I wish you were there!) as we prayed for the various ministries of the church and after it was all done and we prayed for the pastor and the couple who was going to be sharing their testimony I finally got to practice and it came together beautifully.  (The guys had heard the song b/c I had emailed them a recording of it.)  I got to sing during communion and felt so blessed to get to be part of the service that way.
The day was topped off by a lunch and dessert auction to raise money for our women's ministries and a shocking (almost scandalous) amount of money was given generously by the people who were there.  It was amazing and so much fun.   God is hilarious sometimes!
I pray that this week you will experience God's peace that He so generously offers to each of us.  I'm realizing more and more places where I don't live in Christ's peace and I'm expecting that the Holy Spirit is going to deal with what He is exposing because that seems to be the pattern lately.  But I'll (hopefully) tell you more about that soon...  : )
Peace to you!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

What I thought was going to be a really quick post...

Well, I haven't forgotten about you all.  I just thought you should know.  And I want to thank you all for helping me achieve my first week of having an average of a whole 10 (TEN!) visits to my blog per day this last week.  I've been watching my sitemeter thing for a long time just waiting to hit 10.  My blog life is now complete.  : )
I didn't blog yesterday b/c it was my fabulous husband's birthday, & I watched a movie with him instead of blogging (aren't I sweet?) and tonight Lowell's cousin Charis and her hubby Maarten (I think that's how it's spelled) are coming to stay at our house overnight, so I'm trying to get ready (or at least I will be when I'm "off the computer".  So all I'm going to do right now is tell you that I'm very excited that tomorrow I get to sing one of my songs at church during communion!  : )  Since I still haven't figured out how to put music on my blog, I'll just give you here the lyrics to the song and what I typed up to put in the bulletin explaining the song.  (In the bulletin so I won't go talking too long in the middle of what it supposed to be communion accompanied by my singing--not communion accompanied by me talking.)  (Not that I ever talk too long...)  Feel free to make up your own melody if you are so inclined.
I'll let you know next time how it goes.  : )  If you see this before Sunday morning at 10:something you can pray for me! 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Psalm 51 (Renew Me)


Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love

According to Your great compassion, cleanse me from my sin

Wash away my iniquity; against You only have I sinned

Create in me a pure and steadfast heart, O God


I cry

Renew me, Restore me

Transform me to Your image for Your glory, O God


Cleanse me and I will be clean; wash me whiter than snow

Don't take Your Holy Spirit from me

or send me away from You

Save me from my guilt, O God, the God who saves me

Then I will teach transgressors Your ways

And sinners will turn back to You


And we will

Praise You, Extol You

Lord, open my lips and my mouth will declare Your praise


Restore to me the joy of Your salvation

And grant me a willing spirit to sustain me

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit

A broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise


~M. Ens, July 2007


      As you listen to this song, I pray God will bless and speak to you.  It was written during a time when I was feeling awful about a sin God had exposed in my heart.  I felt guilty because I knew I had betrayed God.  The words King David wrote (after he was confronted regarding his sin of adultery and murder) in Psalm 51 became my prayer as I cried out to God to renew and restore me because I knew I could not restore myself.  God was the only One who could forgive me and save me from my guilt.

      David declared that he would teach transgressors (anyone who violates God's laws or commands) God's ways and that sinners would return to God.   David knew that God was gracious and compassionate and forgiving and that as God restored him, David would be able to testify to God's kindness and encourage others to cry out to God for forgiveness as well.

      I am so grateful that God will never turn away from a heart broken by its sin.  When I am sorry and ask for His forgiveness, He will never deny me.  He created each and every one of us for His glory (Isaiah 43:6-7) and wants to continue to transform us into His image.  God does the work of changing us and we get to tell others about it and extol (praise highly!) Jesus' mighty Name!  Hallelujah!



Wednesday, October 17, 2007

What to say???

Well, this is the perfect time to write something (Lowell is at a meeting and the kids are in bed) but I have too much to say and don't know where to start. I could tell you about the appointments I had last week with the psychologist and the conclusions he had about my alleged ADD. I could write about the book I finished reading last weekend about the life of Oswald Chambers. I could tell you about what it's been like babysitting my niece Bailey this and last week and what it makes me think about bringing home a toddler from Thailand. I could tell you about the 2 chances I'm going to have to sing (songs I've written!) at church on Sunday and at our Women's breakfast the next Saturday. I could put Stacy's mind at ease by explaining what money-making ventures I've started or I could tell you all about her new puppy. Or I could tell you about all the things God has been teaching me lately about being still and not thinking (i.e. worrying) so much about stuff. So do you see my problem? Well, I guess I'm going to start with the psychologist's conclusions about my brain, because I can see in my decision making process here some of what he was talking about, so why not? To try to make it short, he did a bunch of tests with me and concluded that according to some of the tests I seem to be fine and according to others it seems that I have some attention issues. He also observed from the 567 (yes, 567!) questions that I answered on the MMPI-2 test (google that if you want to know more) that (among many other things!) I seem to think/worry about things a lot and that while I'm not complusive in the OCD sense, I can be a bit obsessive. Hmmm..... Yeah, he was right about that! You can see this in how hard it was for me to decide something as simple as what to write a blog post about. Not really a big deal, and yet I'll go in circles trying to decide. No wonder I'm so exhausted at the end of the day! I probably do more overanalyzing in a day than I need to do in a week. (or half a week. or maybe I'll think about that some more and get back to you.) Dr. G also encouraged me to find a place to work that is free from distractions if I really need to concentrate. That will be a challenge, but since he also determined from all the tests that I was pretty smart, I'm hoping I'll figure something out. (If only smartness was the same thing as common sense I'd be home free.) (And no big decisions have been made about treatment, in case you're wondering.) I was pretty nervous going into the last part of the testing and Jesus really met me on the way there asking if He could just come with me? It was such an obvious thing (He is everywhere and inside me, right?) yet it spoke straight to my heart. He was with me and had been leading me up to that point, so I didn't need to WORRY about what was going to come out of it. I just needed to trust Him and remember He was with me and let Him take care of me. And that's just what He did. : ) So maybe soon you'll get to hear about the other stuff I mentioned at the start of this post. But for now, I'm glad I'm learning to relax and be still more and obsess and think a little less. So far it's been a good thing.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Wow! It worked!

Below, you'll find a short video (not from a video camera, hence the not super quality) of Mikaela taken at the Fall Program last week. The boy she's with is named Kyler and after the program, Lowell informed his father that they were going to have to have a talk about his son dancing with our daughter. : ) Mikaela's class sang 2 songs. It was a fantastic, fun program and over in less than an hour! : ) It was really neat to see/hear the older kids in the Bilingual program singing/reciting poems in both languages so fluently. Fun, fun!

El Twist de Mik's Colegio

Click on the big arrow twice to play video.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Excuse me... I have an announcement to make.

(Drumroll please...)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased to announce to you all that, after much procrastinating and avoidance of the finest kind, Lowell and I officially and finally finished and filed our taxes tonight!  (What???  Were you expecting something more exciting?)  And we even figured out that since taxes were due on April 17 this year (I can't remember why) our 6 month extension was good until Oct. 17 so we are actually 3 days early!  (So very sad, I know.  Especially considering we are getting a rebate.)
So, I just want all of you who care to know that hopefully I will be returning to the normal blogging schedule tomorrow (whatever that is.)
And if you don't care...  well, you know anyway.  : )

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Taxing my Brain

I'm giving myself literally ONE MINUTE to tell you that I am working on our taxes this week and probably won't be doing much/any blogging until they are done...  seeing as they are due Oct. 15 and that is coming up soon.  Which is why we're finally getting them done. 
OK.  Time's up!  : )  Bye!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

To Stitch or Not To Stitch

First of all, I have to say that word ("stitch") just does not look right.  All those consonants and only one vowel???  It's almost as bad as the street I used to live on...  "Kerckhoff".  Anyway...
(Oh...  and you might not want to read this if your stomach was already turning when you read the title up there...  because this post IS NOT about quilting!)
Yesterday was one of those days mothers all around the world fear.  The kids were in the front yard playing when I heard a thud followed by a cry that got louder with each wail accompanied by a sister yelling "Mom!  Toby's really hurt!  He's REALLY HURT!"  Well, I could tell that much by the wailing.  And by the blood.  On Toby's chin, hands, shirt, legs, the sidewalk...  So of course, the first matter of business...  Where is it coming from?????  Other than a minor scrape on his knee, it was all coming from the underside of his chin.  Thankfully, no teeth were involved.  He fell and his chin landed on the scalloped brick edging between our driveway and the flowerbed.  And I was sure, at that first moment, that he was going to need stitches because it looked bad. 
You might be asking yourself a few questions right now...  "Why in the world is Melissa torturing me by writing about this?"  or perhaps, "Why in the world am I reading this???"  And to tell you the honest truth, I don't really have a good answer for you.  Sorry.  It's just the most dramatic thing that's happened around here in quite a while I guess. 
Well, after holding a washcloth on his chin for a few minutes while I called Lowell (who had no vehicle b/c he'd taken our van to get worked on) and my mom (who rescued us by coming right over from her school) Toby mostly calmed down, got cleaned up and the bleeding surprisingly stopped.  My mom and I started wondering if he really needed stitches after all.  Maybe a butterfly bandage would be enough.  And let me tell you...  I really could not stand the idea of him getting stitches if not really needed.  The idea alone just freaks me out.  But I had called the Dr's office and they thought I should bring him in so they could look at it and decide.  And I agonized over what to do.  Decision making is really not ever my strength.
Here's where I got really brave.  I decided I didn't have to do what they said!!!  It took a bit of waiting and talking to Lowell and my mom and Jesus, but I decided the bandage we'd done was probably enough and if he had a scar on the bottom of his chin, so what?  I think he'd rather have a scar than stitches.  Funny thing is I felt like I was being brave (dealing with it ourselves, rebelling against the nurse's orders) and scared (of the stitches) all at the same time.  I will be so, so glad when he's totally better and I don't have to fret about it anymore.
But in the meantime, I'm getting an idea what he might look like someday with a goatee.  Mighty handsome, I'd say.  (Assuming the scar doesn't get in the way.)  J

Saturday, October 06, 2007

It Must be the Jet Lag

Well, we are home from our whirwind tour of central Oregon. I was happy to leave the clouds behind as we flew out above them, but it was nice to visit our friends and for Lowell and I to spend some time together. As you may have noticed, I didn't add anything else to my blog while we were there. I didn't end up having much time after all at the hotel Fri. morning b/c we checked out a bit early (and then I went shopping until Lowell got out of his meeting) and at the Kyllo's farm they only had dial up internet and we were busy discussing all sorts of important things so I skipped the blogging. I'm sure you understand! A highlight of the trip was getting to stop in at the Holt International office in Eugene because we were in the area. It was nice to get to meet one of the gals working on our adoption and see the place where it all happens. We also got to ask her some questions about when we go (like if they cared if we take our kids or not and if we can stay there longer or should come home right away) and found out we are now #8 on the waiting list! : ) There is a good chance we will be matched with a child by March (and a small chance it could be sooner). That visit was a nice treat. Anyway, I thought you'd be happy to know that after seeing Mt. Shasta and Half Dome and El Capitan from the airplane (so very cool!!!!!) we are safe and sound back in our little house in Fresno. And the dogs are happy we're back. And I'm going to go cook some Mac and Cheese because I'm not sure what else to cook for my hungry children. It's amazing how fast I forget how to do stuff like that. (Maybe it's the jet lag...) I hope your Sunday is filled with good fellowship and meaningful time spent with God... but then, those things are good any day of the week... ~Melissa P.S. Because I like to give credit where credit is due, I feel the need to add to this post by saying that when I walked into the kitchen, Lowell was already emptying a box of pasta into some boiling water. What a guy!!! : )

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Hey! Guess What?

I'm in Portland, OR! Lowell actually flew up here yesterday and I joined him today--a couple of hours ago, actually. Lowell is attending a conference about cleaning up contaminated land (called "Brownfields") and I'm along just for the fun of it. We're going tomorrow to see our friends Sam & Melinda Kyllo who live not toooo far away and then we're going home Saturday. And I have another couple hours yet today and several more tomorrow morning ALL TO MYSELF!!! So you might be hearing from me again before we leave here tomorrow, since I have, you know... TIME! It was so very strange today to travel without any family or friends. I sat next to another woman and though we exchanged a couple of comments while we waited for the military jets to land so we could take off, we didn't have even what I would call half a conversation, really. And I kept thinking I had to be forgetting something or someone since I wasn't carrying anyone or their backpack or holding any hands or turning around every 3 seconds to see where the kids were or what they were doing. And I felt so anonymous. To think nobody around me knew if I had kids or a husband or a church or a job. It was very strange. I actually wrote a whole lot more here, but lost it when the connection disappeared. Bummer!!! But Lowell's back from his meeting now so I'm not going to take another 20 minutes to redo it. You'll just have to make up your own ending for this post. And maybe I'll tell you tomorrow what it actually said. : ) It was the best blogging I've ever done, I tell you! Have a nice day everyone!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Take My Life and Let It Be

Take my life and let it be

Consecrated, Lord, to Thee

Take my moments and my days

Let them flow in ceaseless praise

Take my hands and let them move

At the impulse of Thy love

Take my feet and let them be

Swift and beautiful for Thee

Take my voice and let me sing

Always, only for my King

Take my lips and let them be

Filled with messages from Thee

Take my silver and my gold

Not a mite would I withhold

Take my intellect and use

Every power as Thou shalt choose

Take my will and make it Thine

It shall be no longer mine

Take my heart, it is Thine own

It shall be Thy royal throne

Take my love, my Lord I pour

At Thy feet its treasure store

Take myself and I will be ever, only, all for Thee

These words were written by Frances Havergal in 1874. She was 36 and had just experienced God using her in an amazing way after having recently fully surrendered her all to Christ. I read them this morning (the song is on the Passion Hymns CD) and it was as if I'd really heard them for the first time. I'm not sure what else to say but that they truly express the desire of my heart... that God would use every part of me for His glory. And I know it's out of joy and love that He wants me to serve Him and others, not out of obligation or guilt or fear or duty. And that is perhaps one of the most freeing, glorious thoughts of all.

Take me Lord, and I will be, ever, only all for Thee!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

I'm Tired!

Well, I don't have much to say at the moment because I'm tired.  Thursday afternoon, my sister and bro-in-law dropped off their 5 kids (ages 1, 3, 5, almost 7 and 8) here on their way out of town.  The youngest 2  spent the nights with my parents but all day yesterday here.  So for the day yesterday I had 6 (when Mik was at school) or 7 kids to take care of.  Thankfully they all get along well and it was very fun. 
But now I'm back to taking care of my 2.  And I'm tired.  : )  But I have a whole new appreciation for the fact that my kids sleep in until at least 7 in the morning!!!  : )  And I still don't know how my sister does what she does...  but that's nothing new!  : )
I'll leave you with a verse I read yesterday that sums up so much in so few words.  May God help you to...
"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men [and women] of courage; be strong.  Do everything in love." 
(I Corinthians 16:13-14)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Thank You Beth!

Beth Moore and her daughter have a blog over at Living Proof Ministries and I love it. Today in particular she wrote something and I think she was talking to me. So rather than write anything today I'm just gonna send you on over to her place so maybe you can be blessed to. CLICK HERE. Cuz I'm sure I'm not the only one God was talking to. : ) Blessings to you Friends! ~Melissa

Monday, September 24, 2007

God is Good

Lowell and I came home yesterday from our Annual Marriage Immunity Booster Conference. (It's actually Hume Lake's Fall Couples Conference #1, but my name for it is so much more descriptive, don't you think?) It did rain most of Saturday afternoon, which meant we didn't get to shoot shotguns or go on the GPS Adventure (follow GPS coordinates to get to the prize) and we skipped the rainy extreme Bocce tournament b/c taking a nap was just a lot more enticing. But the most important pieces were all there... A really good speaker (I'll talk more about him in a minute), awesome worship, lots and lots of good food and meals shared with a lot of neat couples we'd never met before and time for Lowell and I to be together and learning and thinking about our marriage. It might not be a cheap weekend, but we've determined that our marriage is absolutely worth investing in and this is a great place for that to happen. Unfortunately, I don't have any great pictures to show you b/c we left our camera at home and Lowell's phone wouldn't work. Oh well. The speaker was Pete McKenzie from Southern California and he was so good. Our favorite quote from his sessions was this: "Life is difficult. But it's more difficult if you're stupid." Nice, huh??? But the thing he said that hit me the hardest was that we have to choose between the path to Pleasing God and the path to Trusting God. I wasn't sure where he was going with that at first, because I've always tried to do both. But he explained that STRIVING to PLEASE God depends on our own efforts and focuses on our failures and trying to fix our sin and do everything right. But TRUSTING God starts with humility and repentance and lets God do the work of changing us and changing those around us. It says "I'm standing with God and my sin is before me and we're working on it together" instead of "I'm working on it..." He also mentioned that to "Be Still" means to "Cease Striving" which means so much to me especially since I wrote a song back in July called "Be Still". So, I'm going to be learning for a while about how to trust God without the striving. Striving to be better and do everything right is as natural to me as breathing so it's going to be a hard habit to break, but I'm trusting God to do it because I know I can't do it on my own. And I can trust Him. God is good and life is good when I'm walking with and waiting on God. Even when it's difficult.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Hume Lake here we come!!!

Lowell and I leave today for one of Hume Lake's couple's conferences. This is the 4th year in a row we've gone. I'm very excited and hoping it doesn't rain too much. Mikaela and Toby are going to be staying on the Friesen Farm with my sister Coleen and her fabulous family. If you want to have an idea of what we'll be doing, after you finish reading this, click HERE and scroll down a little. Then click on the Fall Couple's #1 Video link to watch a video of last year. Pay attention and you'll see me in a black sweater shooting a shotgun (yes, I promise that's me) after a few seconds of the video starting. (And I'm not doing the skeet shooting range again this year b/c my arms get too tired holding up the gun. Yes, I'm a weakling.)

And if you have even more time, click on the tab up at the top of their page where it says "Fun" and select "Video archive" and watch some of the videos they have produced over the years. Funny stuff!!!
OK, Have a nice weekend everyone! I'll be back next week to tell you about everything Lowell and I learn!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Me and My Big Mouth

Hi Friends! I haven't been blogging as much lately, but thankfully not just because of Blogger's Block and worrying about what people looking at my blog for the first time will think. (So far I don't think there's been anybody visiting it other than all of you regular faithful... uh... Readers o' my Blog anyway. Phew! Pressure's off!) We DID finally get our actual copy of the Christian Leader this week. It's fun to see what I wrote in there and funny that at least one friend of mine was reading it thinking "Hmm... this lady is saying a lot of the same stuff Melissa was talking about..." realizing at the end that it was in fact me again. I've been busy these last couple of weeks. I'm working on a project for a friend and I'm actually getting paid real money for it! Amazing! And I'm playing around with another business idea that I'll tell you more about one of these days. So in addition to normal life stuff I have some new things to do. It's really nice to have some other stuff to think about, but definitely leaves me with less time to blog. I'm also going to have some opportunities soon to share some of my music at church! : ) I'm very excited about it (and a little nervous, of course!) I'm praying for more opportunities to sing and share because I feel like God has done so incredibly much for me and everyone needs to be encouraged in this life... I've been reading in 1 Corinthians about the body of Christ and thinking that if God made me to be a mouth, I'd better not keep quiet. (Oh, the FUN (at my expense) my family would have with that comment!!!!!) But it's true. And I can't sing my songs without talking about what they mean and where they came from and how I hope they encourage or bless others or God. At church last week God was challenging me to start asking Him for opportunities to share because that's the dream He's given me. I want so badly to tell people (mostly women) about how good He is and about the FREEDOM He offers and longs for us to experience in this life if we will let Him untangle the lies our hearts are holding on to... So anyway, I'm grateful that next month I'll likely have a couple of chances to do that. Yay! (Are you brave enough to ask Him to make the dreams He's given You come true???)

Monday, September 17, 2007

GREAT will be your children's peace!

What a promise! This morning I read in Isaiah 54:13 "All your sons will be taught by the LORD, and great will be your children's peace." It reminded me of something Keith Martens said yesterday at a seminar I attended... That the Bible alone cannot save us. (What??? It almost seems heretical, doesn't it?) He went on to talk about the Pharisees who knew the Words of God better than anyone (maybe ever) and yet they didn't recognize God in the flesh when He was standing right in front of them. Their knowledge of the Word didn't save them. It takes the Holy Spirit of God opening our eyes so that we can KNOW with experiential knowledge (not intellectual belief alone) the Truth so the Truth can set us free. The combination of the Spirit of Truth and the Word of Truth is powerful, dynamic and life-transforming! So back to the verse, I was reminded of how much my kids need to learn to be taught by the Lord--to hear His voice and to know the Word, so they can know His peace now and all the days of their lives. I know they will have struggles, much as my mother's heart wishes they didn't have to. But I know that they too can learn to find God's peace even in the struggles and that peace is the most profound peace I have experienced. Just a bit of what God's speaking to me about today... Blessings to you! ~Melissa

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I Only have a Minute...

Because Mikaela is setting up a card game for us to play even as I sit here, so I have to hurry. I had a lot of things to talk about until I started writing and then they all ran away as fast as they could (probably chanting "You can't catch us! We're all of your good ideas that will inspire your readers and make them smile!" though I don't know how that could be chanted.) Mikaela is ready now. One last thing. I got to talk on the phone last night with my sister-in-law Carmen who is living for Jesus in Thailand. And SHE has already gotten a copy of the Christian Leader magazine for this month and got to read my article. Funny thing is, we haven't seen it yet. Somehow it gets to Thailand faster than to Fresno. : ) Who knew!?! Have a great Saturday everyone! ~Melissa