What’s In Your Heart?

Posted on Updated on

When I showed this video to my son, he believed the whole thing was “totally rigged.” I had to admit, it was a possibility.

You see, I’ve had quite a few dental procedures and some pretty good meds along the way, but come on

…this chick was so wasted, she was destroyed when she didn’t wake up looking like Nicki Minaj after having her wisdom teeth pulled!!!

I have a friend who’s married to a doctor and she refers to medication as “better life through chemistry.”

In the case of our friend on the video, she was hoping for an altered reality altogether.

truth serumTime for Some Truth Telling

While we laugh at the absurdity of this, I have to wonder if you and I were given truth serum, how would we honestly answer the following questions:

  • If you could be anybody in the world, who would you want to be and why?
  • If God allowed you to have one talent you don’t currently possess, what would you select and why?

Let’s even get a little more spiritual with this.

  • If you could have one spiritual gift that you don’t currently have, what gift would you hope for?

I guess what I’m asking is this…

In your heart of hearts, who are you REALLY?

(And who are you wishing, hoping, trying to be….)

A Quick Story

Before I close, let me share one quick- but oh so important- story with you.

Years ago, I had a friend at church who was diagnosed with brain cancer which ultimately took her life.

One of my last visits with her is etched in my memory forever.

I can still see sweet Donna. She was curled up in her bed – almost in a fetal position.

I can still remember my friend, Bonnie and I feeding her ice cream. She was delighted! She let out little squeals and stuck out her tongue for more and more.

I also recall that she lost that thrill when she clearly tasted something she Did. Not. Like. in her creamy treat. (We had hidden her meds in there to get her to take them.) Well, let me tell you – she proceeded to spit.. spat.. sputter.. and boy, did she make some faces!!!…just like a little kid would do.

Another thing I remember so clearly about that day…

Donna didn’t have a hair on her head and no adornment that would have made her attractive in this world that is obsessed with looking like the air-brushed, photo-shopped beauties on magazine covers. But, you know what? She was beautiful!

You see, in many ways, Donna became very child-like and while I never considered her pretentious, her illness took away any semblance of a mask or facade. She was beautiful and despite the fact that cancer ravaged her body, she seemed...free!

We could tell that Donna was aware we were there that day, even though there were no “normal conversations.”

I mean, we spoke to her – softly at times and boldly as we sang hymns and …she was with us. She worshiped with us!

But, here’s the part I don’t want you to miss! We may not have had “normal conversations” but Donna spoke to us straight from her heart. The words she said came from the core of her being.

I don’t think she had any conscious control over her thoughts and words….but, what she kept saying over and over again was this. “I love my Richard (her husband.) He’s so good to me.” Over and over and over again – in the sweetest voice I’ve ever heard.

I thought about what she’d said the whole way home.

And, you know what’s funny?

Donna and I weren’t best friends and that day I’ve shared with you was many, many years ago.

Yet, all these years later, God continues to use this story to teach me.

To this day, I still can’t help but wonder…

At the end of my life, when all that is coming out is what is at the very core-

the very depth of my soul…what will my heart reveal?

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45

heartpacking

Or if heaven forbid our friend on the video should ever hook me up with her dentist

A Must-Share Resource – Trust Me, This is a Keeper!

Link Posted on Updated on

HelpMeWorshipGod_3056

Good morning and welcome to the weekend!

For some of you, it’s summer time and “the livin’ is easy.”

For others….not so much.

Just this morning, I visited Michele Cushatt’s blog. If you aren’t familiar with her, you need to be. You can read her incredibly difficult and humbling, grace-filled story in her new book Undone.

I have never met Michele or any of her readers but I have found a place of transparency and authenticity through her story and her blog.

Her courage (and that of her readers) is a huge inspiration to me! For that reason, I felt led to share about her today.

Perhaps you are unsure of just what your next step should be. If that is the case I encourage you to join me in a 7 day challenge Michele is offering her followers. Here is the info.

Finally, despite where you are today, I pray that you will sense God’s love and presence in very real, very tangible ways!

Huge shout-out to Michelle Cushatt.. I hope that it is an encouragement to you to know that you are “comforting others with the comfort you yourself have been given.” (2 Corinthians 1: 3-7)Thanks for keeping it real!

I only pray that as God directs, my blog may also become a place of refuge and safety.

Grace and Peace All Because of Jesus,

Melanie

“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” (Ephesians 3:18-19 NLT)

It’s Still Marinating

Posted on Updated on

It doesn't have to be this way with my writing, though!
It doesn’t have to be this way with my writing, though!

I’m having one of those days where God is showing me so much and I don’t know where to begin to share it.

It’s summertime and the “living ain’t so easy” for several people that I dearly love.

I am searching for a common theme – an insight to share- that will help someone turn a corner…to give hope to hopeless situations.

This morning, God was speaking and Scripture was pinging and dinging all over my heart. I wanted to just dig in and explore ALL OF IT…but somehow I just couldn’t “buckle down.” I really didn’t know where to start.

Besides that, I haven’t actually been very “productive” this week.

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve been allowed the privilege of “entering into” the lives and the pain of some of my closest friends and their families. Doing life in this deep way has been a bittersweet blessing.

And it’s been emotionally draining.

Nevertheless..  (I’ve heard a few really good messages camped out on this word.) Nevertheless, God was there in the midst of the conversations and He is here as I write now.

I have so much I want to share but I’m not sure that will happen today. Why?

First, I have a lot more to process.

Secondly, I really want to honor my family and accomplish a few domestic responsibilities.

(I do want to, right?)

Maxine and I have really bonded over housework!
Maxine and I have really bonded over housework!

There are oodles more reasons I may not have anything really profound to share today.

The biggest reason is that I want to reveal God and His grace and truth in the midst of my musings. I want to be a vulnerable and honest writer and I have asked God to be in it all – from the stares at the blank page to the finality of hitting the publish button.

Sometimes that means sharing the writing process as I wait for God’s Spirit to refine my writing, just as He is doing with me.

Anybody with me on this? I welcome your comments.

I will sing to the Lord as long as I live.
    I will praise my God to my last breath!
34 May all my thoughts be pleasing to him,
    for I rejoice in the Lord. Psalm 104:33-34

When the Student is Ready…

Image Posted on

"He, your Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher.   Your ears will hear a word behind you,  This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left." Isaiah 30:20b-21
“He, your Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher.
Your ears will hear a word behind you,
This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left.”
Isaiah 30:20b-21

Day One: Introduce Yourself to the World

Posted on Updated on

Secret’s Out Now…

So, I totally envy those of you who are so naturally witty. Check out my About Me page where I totally revealed to all that I am a Witty Wannabe.

Don't tell anybody that I had to look up the word, meme, ok?
Don’t tell anybody that I had to look up the word, meme, ok?

S O N…

And, of course, wouldn’t you know it – my son J (who is going to kill me when he finds out I mentioned him on my blog…I don’t think he even knows I have a blog… or if he does, he’s playing it close to the vest.) But, I digress..of course my son is just naturally funny. He has this crazy intellect combined with self-deprecating humor that just works! He’s so smart that sometimes he makes up words and thinks he can get away with it but we don’t play that. (Why have I turned into a gangsta’ on here?)

HUBS HAS IT TOO..

And then there’s the hubs..(I promise I have never called him that before.) He taught my son everything he knows about humor and just so you know, I can’t take hubs out with the preacher anymore.  Did that twice – and the man has no shame. What you see with hubs (there it is again) is what you get. Just so you know, he does love Jesus and people love HIM ‘cuz he’s real!

AND THEN THERE’S ME…

I know that today is supposed to be sharing about me but that’s an impossibility without sharing about my first love, Jesus…. and then about the two men I care about most on this earth.

You see, I may not have their wit, but I’ve got heart. And though I hate to admit it, (am I trapped in an online confessional here or what?) sometimes, I get distracted with a lot of stuff that I’m passionate about and I don’t let them know how much they mean to me.

Like most other wives and Mamas, sometimes I focus on what I think they should change instead of appreciating my men the way they are….funny, solid, hard-working, God-lovin’, guys who would do just about anything for me.

Who could ask for more than that? Well, I did…but I’m working on leaving the changing that happens in our family to God and intentionally seeking to show my men daily what they mean to me. (I wanted to say “to show them they are the bomb dot com” but I’m too old for that – guess I’m a Slangster Wannabe, too!)

That's me sandwiched in between COOLNESS!
That’s me sandwiched in between COOLNESS!

Are You Experiencing Real Community?

Posted on Updated on

I have a movie you must see.

I just saw it at the discount theater and I loved it!

crying-with-laughter

It was a feel good movie

(which means I laughed and cried – at times simultaneously!) 

I also left the theater with lots of questions

and a desire to make some changes in my life.  

  

 (To check out the movie, click here to see the trailer.)

What made this movie such a stand-out for me?

(1) It compelled me to dig deeper and to seek to break out of my complacent American lifestyle (which to be honest, I am a bit disillusioned with right now.)

(2) It made me yearn for a diverse community.

(3) It made me wonder what it might feel like to enter into a culture where people work harder (than I can imagine), live simply, and yet, share what they have with family and friends.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Okay, so I can hear some of you now…it was a movie – of course, it looked enticing. So, without giving too much away – let me include a little synopsis for you.

“Track coach Jim White (Kevin Costner) is a newcomer to a predominantly Latino high-school in California’s Central Valley. Coach White and his new students find that they have much to learn about one another, but things begin to change when White realizes the boys’ exceptional running ability. More than just physical prowess drives the teens to succeed; their strong family ties, incredible work ethic and commitment to their team all play a factor in forging these novice runners into champions.”
McFarland, USA, Film synopsis

I’d really like to have a dialogue with some of you! Please share your thoughts with me.

  • Am I crazy? Do some of you have similar yearnings? Yearnings for a deeper sense of community concern and investment in the real struggles of life?

I was raised in a large family with my parents and six girls! (It’s not that I’m looking for all the drama that went with that.) But, there was something very comforting about having a dozen or more friends whose parents were like second parents to me.

Unlike the community of McFarland, I was definitely raised in an upper middle class family because my parents wanted more for us. Please don’t get me wrong – I am eternally grateful for all my parents did and continue to do for me.

If I am honest, part of my unrest stems from my own personal issues.  For example: people are starving, friends are out of work and yet…

  • I continue to binge on junk food?
  • Throw food away because we didn’t eat it before it rotted?
  • Go out to eat because I’m not “in the mood” for what’s at home?

Where do I find the balance between enjoying the fruits of our labor and looking out for people who have nothing?

Am I giving of myself and opening my home and sharing with people who need help?

Is it a little weird that I want to make richer, deeper, more diverse connections?

Does it sound nuts that I want to “do life” with different cultures? 

 I think of a fellow teacher from Mexico whose niece is living with her in America to attend high school. Please hear this -We have a GREAT school filled with teachers, students and parents that love Jesus. My friend is just concerned that her niece may miss out on her exuberant, fun-filled, open door Mexican culture. (Maybe I need to spend a few weeks teaching in Mexico?)

At the end of the day, I know I must take these concerns to Jesus. I just don’t think I can turn away from what the Spirit is trying to show me.

I do think it is crucial that we have conversations about this. Based on the books and blogs many Christians are reading, I know that others are pondering some of these same issues. I just think it is time to follow the mandates of Christ and I am asking God to show me how and to give me the courage to take the next steps.

 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need,
yet closes his heart against him,
how does God’s love abide in him?
Little children, let us not love in word or talk
but in deed and in truth.” 
John 3:17-18

Caveat: My family and I have been generously supported by friends and family alike who love Jesus and who have worked hard to achieve financial success. To these people…we say thank you! For helping with our needs and providing special wants, too! We all know that money is not the root of evil and is a necessary part of advancing God’s kingdom. Each of us must wrestle with how we invest it and I seek to pass no judgment on the financial decisions of others. 

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”(Heb 10:24)


Musings of a Surrendered Musician

Posted on Updated on

As a music lover and teacher, music has soothed and stirred my soul in the deepest of ways. Throw in beautiful redemptive lyrics and rich vocal and instrumental harmonies, and I am as good as wrecked.

Sadly, like many other good things, music also has the potential to bring out some of my worst insecurities.

Have you ever wanted something so badly that you could taste it?

In the past, I so yearned to make beautiful music that the means to worship overtook my love and adoration for the One so worthy of my praise.

You see, when I was saved as an adult, God reignited a passion for music that had laid dormant for over a decade.

I started to sing in the choir and play and teach piano. I was enamored …and self-conscious.  Being uncertain of whether I had any real talent, I just wanted to know – was I any good (or not.)  As hard as I tried not to, I still yearned to hear affirmation from others after I played or sang.

After a time, I started singing in a trio with a couple of very talented singers.  At first, I was insecure and often felt like the “weakest link.” Despite my misgivings, there was no denying that God had put us together for a reason.  Only He could have orchestrated the beautiful harmonies that occurred the very first time we sang.  Even more amazing was our ability to sing as one voice even though our individual voices were vastly different.

I have learned a lot about my walk with Jesus in the midst of various music communities and I have enjoyed many rich and Spirit-filled moments. Interestingly enough, these didn’t always occur when I was singing with the trio or with a “great sounding choir” but with yielded lovers of Jesus lifting their voices in worship to the only One who deserves any credit.

“For the Lord your God is living among you.
    He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
    With his love, he will calm all your fears.
    He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17

In the end, it is always his unmerited favor towards me that brings me to my knees.  When I least deserve it, He delights in me and rejoices over me in song! Praise Your Holy Name, Jesus!