Friday, July 2, 2021

These Things Are True

 I am feeling really strongly that it is time for this story to be told. Even as I am putting pen to paper, I am struggling to find the words. I thought when I healed from my abortion and found the strength to share my story publicly that somehow all the other secrets that laid dormant would be put to rest too...that hasn't been the case. The enemy almost immediately brought something to the surface to "remind me" of my weakness and it has been almost as hard for me to face as my abortion. Right at a moment where Freedom became real, in swooped the enemy to remind me of bondage. I wasn't ready at the time to face it. I didn't want to. I wanted to walk in my miraculous healing and I hoped that would just seep over into this other part of me that was wounded and tortured. I didn't want to face the pain of another life altering moment in my past. I wanted to be healed, without walking through the healing. God had other plans. 

So here I am after battling decently crippling anxiety for the last 45 days, stepping into the darkness and writing it into the light! Cause God told me that what we give to Him, He will redeem. Darkness cannot overpower the Light. I am sharing this for my own healing, but also because I know I am not alone. Sadly, there are many women and men who are walking around with this same weight of agonizing pain threatening to cripple them at any given moment. I want to let this weight go. To give it to Jesus once and for all. I hope that through my story you can feel safe to do the same.

I was raped. 

As I write those words, my head hurts and my heart pounds. My eyes are swollen and burning from all the tears I shed today. My body still tense and anxious from just over 6 weeks of constant low level and at times extreme anxiety. This all following a week long PTSD "episode" triggered by a comment made on social media. Yes, trauma triggered can be that bad. Heart palpitations, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, deep depression, not taking a full breath for hours at a time, anxiety headaches that feel like a rubber band is wrapped tightly around my forehead, interrupted restless sleep and ALL the stages of grief happening in my mind and heart on loop. 

I thought that I could ride it out. It will go away. It will get better. As I sobbed again today, not initially realizing why, I asked my Husband to pray. Honestly, I only heard a few words here and there but right in the middle of his praying, I saw this man's face. The man who raped me. I just couldn't shake it. Again all the memories and visuals came flooding back in. Taking over. The pain was almost unbearable. "I just want it to go away! I just want the pain to stop!" I cried out loud to both my Husband and Jesus. 

Immediately John 1:5 came so clearly into my mind "The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it." There it was again, just like with my abortion story. In that moment I could see God's miraculous hand. You see, I have been singing and memorizing all of John 1:1-7 with my girls this past year! I was Unintentionally allowing , even asking God to shine light in the darkness. So now, after the third time in that same time frame that my PTSD has been triggered around this, I can see clearly God telling me..."It's time."

There are some things I need to say and I believe some of you need to hear. I am giving this to Jesus once and for all and I am walking in the belief that just like my abortion, He will not only use what the enemy intended for evil and harm for my good, but also for the saving of others (Genesis 50:20) 

These thigs are true...

Just because some people cannot believe or accept that I was raped, does not mean I was not raped. 

Just because I was drunk doesn't make it may fault for "getting into" that situation. 

Just because the act wasn't violent does not mean it wasn't an assault.

Just because you know someone doesn't give them a pass or release them from accountability. Actually, it is the opposite! I had no reason to believe I was not safe with this person or to think for even a minute something like that would happen. 

No means No. Always. No matter what. Even if you don't punch someone or yell or scream. Crying and saying "No" multiple times (OR not saying anything at all and mentally/emotionally "freezing") while not physically fighting someone off of you in no way equals consensually participating! 

 It has been over 20 years since this traumatic event occurred. I remember parts of it like it was yesterday while others are completely gone. I remember the ride home, with him, screaming and crying my mind spinning trying to make sense of what just happened. I vaguely remember driving myself completely distraught to my best friends house, literally foaming at the mouth when I arrived. I don't recall much from there until I was in an emergency room. Sobbing and shaking from shock, beginning to realize the trauma. I remember the police station and the officer who was less than kind and the officer who looked at me like she understood. From there it was the phone calls and visits to "see how I was doing" but really to say things like "You aren't going to press charges, right?" and "You know this wasn't rape." 

I just wanted the nightmare to be over. I wanted to forget. To move on and never think of it again. How foolish the thoughts seem now. How sad that I was so broken already that I allowed a narrative to be written that wasn't true. Simply so other people wouldn't have to feel the way I felt. To have to view what happened through a clear lens, not one of emotional and personal protection. I sacrificed myself, as I had many times in my life already, for the comfort of others. 

But, GOD. He held me even when I didn't know it! He still does to this day. Hence the strength to write and share this raw and vulnerable piece of me. People who were involved may read this. I want to let them know I am finally letting this go. I will work on forgiving and healing and living truth instead of a lie no matter how long that process may take. It had to start here though. God has been allowing the pain to become unbearable, so I would know my only hope is through giving it to Him. Trusting Him with healing me like no other can. I pray that those involved will seek and find the same peace. Truly, I do. 

Today, right now, I am turning to Jesus and accepting that I was raped. It wasn't my fault. It happened to me, but it doesn't have to stay with me. 

If this has resonated with you, first...I am so very sorry. You should never have been hurt like that. I am here if you need to tell someone. To allow Light into the darkness. That is the first step. You are not alone. You are loved by Jesus and you don't have to hide anymore. Healing often hurts, but hiding is much more painful. So, here's to healing...


Live Loved,

Melissa  

Sunday, May 9, 2021

“Be Fruitful...”

Motherhood. The mere word itself elicits feelings all over the spectrum. For some those are feelings of joy and fulfillment, for others sadness and loss, and others are holding space in the middle for both. There is sanctification taking place no matter how you hold this title. This we know for sure. 

Whether you set forth on this journey of motherhood with an elated and expectant heart or you found yourself there frightened and unsure. I promise you, there is another in the fire (Daniel 3:25) 

As you travel down this road that leads to hearts full or hearts grieving (or both) There is one who goes before you and will never leave you or forsake you. So do not be afraid or discouraged (Deuteronomy 31:8) 

When you feel you have lost your way and your strength is failing from the growing and the stretching, the guiding and the teaching or from the darkness and confusion, the sadness and the loss...There is One who says to you “I will be with you always (Matthew 28:20) 

When your weakness and inabilities are all you can see, there is One who says “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Coronthians 12:9) 

When they have grown and you have grown or motherhood has turned into something you never thought or expected at all. Yet through both the joy and the pain you have changed and find peace...there is One who says “They will know that I am the LORD their God...” (Exodus 29:46) 

Genesis 1:27-28a reads, So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number...”  When I look at Motherhood through the lens of Creation versus how we all have taken part in defining it, it is the words “be fruitful” that stand out to me today. I am realizing after 25 years of this journey, including both a full and grieving heart, that it is not so much about the action of being fruitful but rather the cultivation of the fruit that determines how I perceive and walk through all of it! 

I hope to encourage you today, no matter where you find yourself in this motherhood journey, that you are not waking alone. Thankfully it is not by our own strength and abilities that we walk out this role. We have access to God and the Holy Spirit within us willing and working on our behalf! Cultivating the fruit...Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control. 

No matter what thoughts, experiences, circumstances, trials or emotions we face and endure in our journey of motherhood we are reminded we aren’t called to do this on our own. When we realize that we don’t have to control but rather release our control, ideals and expectations so that we are walking this out with the Holy Spirit as our guide...it is then that the necessary fruit will grow! 

So wherever you are on this journey, whatever comes up for you today, I pray you are reminded, comforted and encouraged to know that you are not in this alone. The master gardener is tending to our hearts through it all. 


Live Loved, 

Melissa 



Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Healing

 I can't recall what it was exactly that made me realize I needed to heal. Looking back, I'm sure that it wasn't one specific thing, but rather a series of things seemingly unrelated, that brought me to my knees after all those years. I do however remember very clearly the voice of God I heard in my head saying "we are going to walk through this now, and then you are going to help others." I wish I could tell you that I responded with joy and obedience, instead I abruptly replied, "No. I'll do anything but that." One of the many amazing things about God is that He truly knows better than we do (still struggle with this sometimes) If he has laid something on your heart that needs tending to, rest assured it does actually need tending to. It will likely not be easy, but I assure you it will be good. The outcome of this hard work will be more than worth the pain of stepping into it. God is not in the business of human experiments with no definitive outcome. He is the Grand Physician who is Executive and Chief in the healing department! If He stirs your heart to look at something, His word tells us that "he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion" (Phil. 1:6) 

I realize that not everyone reading this believes as I do. Thank you for making it this far. I truly hope that it won't stop you from reading my healing story. I believe that you too are loved by God, whether you believe it or not won't change it. And I am certain He does not want for you to suffer in silence. 

Despite my inability to embrace the idea and process of looking back at one of my most traumatic and life altering experiences, I could no longer avoid it. It seemed as though everywhere I turned there was evidence that I was already walking though the journey without even having signed up. 

The first big crack in the faulty armor I had designed to protect myself came at a friends house during a seemingly irrelative movie night. When the movie was over somehow a conversation around abortion came up. Please keep in mind at this time very few people knew about my abortion and I had fully intended to keep it that way. Up until that night I physically and emotionally could not even think about what I had done, let alone share it with women I barely knew. I couldn't read articles about abortion, hear facts about the procedure or even imagine that hope and healing would be a part of my story. Despite all of that, I spoke up! I shared! I cried and I let go of the shame for the first time. I spoke boldly (while shaking) of my deep sorrow. Not only surrounding my abortion but for the women I knew who were suffering silently, for the men who had no say, for all the lives lost to abortion and the destruction it leaves in it's wake. To my surprise I was not met with judgement but with love, acceptance and empathy. Not only that, I will never forget the encouragement from one woman who said she had "never been so moved by someone speaking about abortion" and that I "had a fire about me when I spoke of it." She said "I know you are going to help others." 

I didn't realize at the time that there were healing programs for Post Abortive women just like there are for many other challenging situations we find ourselves struggling with. So I spent the next few years slowly healing on my own. I prayed that God would be gracious and gentle in guiding me along the way. I shared with my husband and close friends what was going on with me now, and what had gone on then. I even admitted to my family that the "miscarriage story" was just that, a story I told out of necessity to the people who knew I was expecting my second child. I also shared a couple Pro Life videos on my social media, without saying why as I was not ready to publicly share. I was mostly met with love and compassion. I was healing and it felt good.

As time went by I shared more and more abut my healing and even more so about my desire to help others. A dear friend called me and said that she had heard that a Pregnancy Center was opening up in downtown Springfield and she knew I would want to know. I did some homework and found out the information was true. Clearway Clinic of Worcester was planning to open a second center in Springfield. Surely they will need help I thought, so I called up the Director, Kelly Wilcox, to basically tell her about my miraculous journey and how ready I was to help others heal too! Basically I said "Hi, I'm Melissa, I'm pretty amazing because God did a thing in me, so yeah, when can I start?" Well, it wasn't exactly like that, but close. Kelly was kind and compassionate and politely asked me what type of "healing work" I had done. I wanted to say "Did you not hear me? It's been years of me walking through this." Fortunately, I answered that I had had no "formal counseling" around this pain. This was when she told me about Save One. This is a recovery program for Post Abortive women that her clinic provided. Honestly, I was kinda offended. Remember I thought I was healed! I thought I was good. Thankfully I agreed that she could call me when the group was starting up and said I would think about it until then. Two months later she called. I said Yes. One month after that I found myself driving to a town in the middle of nowhere to meet a group of women I had never known before, to dive into one of the darkest seasons of my life. Head on. Once and for all. To be FREE. 

From that point on nothing has been the same. My eyes were opened to the disguised symptoms of my abortion. I was able to connect so many dots! Did you know that PAS (Post Abortion Syndrome) is a thing??? I sure didn't. My inability to remember or recall so many parts of that day are a result of that. Some other symptoms I suffered were Anxiety, Depression, Low Self Value, Dangerous and Abusive Relationships, Substance Abuse, Flashbacks (to the few horrific memories I did have) and Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors. The most confusing of all, that no one really talks about, was this "distance" as I would label it, between myself and my two other children. I never shared this with anyone because I felt so much shame around it. Why could I only get "so close" to my kids? How could a Mother have such a hard time feeling free and able to unconditionally love her own children? I'll tell you how, Unresolved Guilt. When you had a child whom you took away their gift of life, it is exceptionally challenging to give above and beyond for the others who you let live. 

Save One not only helped me see the connection to these things, but walked me gently through healing them. I learned that although I always believed in my head I had been forgiven, in my heart and mind this was still the unforgivable sin. As if God could set me free from everything else, but not this. Through my processing I could clearly see that it was my inability to ACCEPT the healing and freedom God was offering! Not that it didn't exist. 

The most mind blowing part of all is that I was able to finally give my child life! By that I mean, I recognized through prayer that my baby (which prior to Save One I was not able to address or even use the term "baby") was a Girl! I gave her a name...Ruth "Ruthie" Jean. She now has an identity and a place in our family and is no longer "the abortion I had to forget". She is my Daughter. She is loved and one day I will meet her and thanks to my recovery, I believe it will be a joyous reunion. No anger, no resentment or condemnation, just a loving embrace of a Mother and her Daughter she never got the chance to meet.  

I share my story because I know I am not alone. Statistics show that 1 in 4 women will have an abortion in her lifetime. If you are reading this and you have been impacted by abortion, I want you to know there is HOPE! There is HEALING! There is HELP. Please reach out, I am here to help in any way I can. My heart is already with you. You do not have to suffer alone. 


Live Loved,

Melissa


Sunday, September 6, 2020

Christ > Tequila

 I’m here to share with you that on August 24th I was sober for TWO YEARS 👍🏼 Yes. That deserves a thumbs up. I am sharing because I came to my sober living in a way most don’t speak about. 

Admittedly my life was “unmanageable”. However, no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t seem to blame it on the tequila. Even my closest family and friends all believed that I was “fine”. What I finally was able to see though was that although my day to day “life” wasn’t so much effected, my Spiritual life was. I had pretty much resigned myself that God was not going to change my circumstances (still in some ways hasn’t) and wasn’t going to make me “feel” any better either. So, I had to help myself in that department. This my friends is what would be defined as “creating an idol.” What initially started as something to “take the edge off” over a period of undefinable time, became a replacement for God’s healing hand and comforting presence. 


Full disclosure, I was SO angry at God at one point, I was sitting on my back porch yelling at Him to LEAVE ME ALONE! Shouting out, like David, that I didn’t want His help anymore if this is what that would look like! I even added that I knew He probably wouldn’t actually leave me alone, but that I just wasn’t going to listen anymore. Yes, I was just like a child kicking and screaming telling my Father what a big jerk he was because I was not the least bit happy with his choices for me. 


Second full disclosure, this super low point still wasn’t enough for me to realize about the whole “replacing God with a bottle of Don Julio” thing. It took an extremely traumatic event in our family’s life and three nights after of trying to self medicate, for me to Wake Up. Which is quite precisely what happened. On the 4th morning I woke up and proceeded throughout my day as I had been the three days before. I prayed, I cried, I begged God to help me, to help us, and proceeded on auto pilot to get through the day. When the girls were tucked in that night something inside me (aka the Holy Spirit) said “How about instead of grabbing that bottle, you grab that book. Just tonight. That’s all.” That book I am speaking of is called “Coming Clean” by Seth Haines. I had happened upon it on Instagram (see there is good on there) and it had been collecting dust in my room for a bit (Sorry Seth) 


For reasons I can only explain as divine intervention, I chose to listen to that still small voice and picked up that book. One night turned into two turned into three turned into TWO YEARS. Seth was the first person I had ever heard speak of the connection between our drinking and our trust in God (or lack thereof) in the way that he does. He shared his personal story of acknowledgement in mostly giving up and how the realization of that act changed everything. And it gave me hope, right in the middle of despair. 


I wish I could tell you that I came to this realization and a bright light shown down on me and ever since then it’s been nothing but blessings galore...but that would be a bold face lie. As a matter of fact, the last two years have felt like literal hell at times. But I can FEEL the hell. I feel the pain, the struggle, the ache and the longing. I see clearly that so much more needs to be done and it isn’t going to be easy. All the while, I am learning who I really am, I am seeing the power I have within me when I rest in Christ! I am learning to love myself and others, and to see how stinking hard that can be at times. Most importantly I am doing the best I can to remember that God is still on the throne! That no matter how my life may look sometimes (even if those times have lasted years) He has not left! He is the only one who never will! He is good and loving and kind and merciful even when He doesn’t take away the pain. He will show me how to fight with Words instead of wine. Which ultimately, is the only way any battle is won. 


So here’s to two hard fought years of sobriety in an effort to find more comfort in Christ than intoxication. Here’s to continuing on this journey and hoping this might resonate and help some of you too. 


I will end with Jesus’ words himself “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 


Live Loved,

Melissa 

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Silent No More

I can no longer hold this story inside of myself. It is meant to be set free. God has been nudging me to pick up a pen, with shaking hands, and bravely speak the truth in love for quite sometime. Although I truly believe that writing these words to you all will be incredibly empowering to myself, the real gift is for you the reader. Especially those of you who may not even have known how desperately you needed to hear them.

So here goes...

I had an abortion. I am stating it so matter of factually because although some would choose to believe that you can pretty up the word, Abortion, I don't believe you can. Which is precisely why my story matters and needs to be told. At this point I may lose some of you. I hope you will please ask yourself why you can't or don't want to hear my story. Is it because you think you may disagree? Or maybe you are like I was? I remember all to clearly a time when I would have walked away from one myself. Where every comment made, pro-life campaign, and detailed account was unbearable. My ears couldn't hear it and my heart couldn't take it, so I turned away. Told myself I was fine, it hadn't deeply effected me, I was just sensitive. I did what I had to do. There was no way myself and my young son who were only just recently getting onto our feet, could possibly have a future if I had another child. Not to mention that I had accepted the harsh reality that I would be having a baby with a man I did not love. No one should do that to themselves or put that onto a child, right?

To help you further understand my situation, I had only recently left my son's father and was just 23 years old. I started dating a guy I had known from earlier in my life and within a few months found myself pregnant. When I told my boyfriend he was nervous but happy. He quickly adjusted many things in his life in order to prepare for his new role as a Father. He even told me he loved me and would marry me if that was what I wanted to do. I wasn't quite ready for that but tried to be optimistic, as I really felt I had no choice. Ever since I was old enough to hear the word Abortion and to understand clearly (on my own) that this was a procedure that would end a life, to me it was incomprehensible. Especially considering that I had already previously become pregnant under less than desirable circumstances at the young age of 19 and had an incredible young son who made my life worth living. So, I moved my boyfriend in and we began preparing for our new life together as a family. To no one's surprise I am sure, it wasn't all a bed of roses. His family was less than thrilled about this new situation. He was trying so hard to be supportive while under a great deal of stress (as even the most prepared of parents can be with a new pregnancy). So there were arguments where there hadn't been before. I was battling horrible morning sickness, barely able to keep anything down. Working trying to earn money for our growing family and unable to get out of the bathroom half of the time! One of the most difficult pieces of my story is that I was preparing for this child. I was not just a few weeks along, not that that makes the reality of the choice any different, but it pains me to know just how formed in my womb our baby was. 

On a particularly emotionally challenging day I vented to friends about my sadness. About the fighting and the stress. About how I didn't think I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this man. I concluded that I needed to do this alone. That I could do this alone. I was strong, smart, competent, and capable. Heck, I had an amazing young son to prove it! I could do it again, on my own. Within minutes the conversation shifted and abortion was brought up. Let's be honest, it almost always is. Oh, you are pregnant and it's not a good time, not the right circumstances, not the right father, your family will be mad/embarrassed/disown you, you don't have a lot of money or a college degree, you had big plans to travel, to go to school, to start a business, to marry someone you loved...why not have an abortion? It's quick, mostly painless and no one needs to know. You can move on with your life and not have to face the hardships or trials that may or may not be ahead. You can dictate your own future based on what's best for you in that moment. No regrets only freedom and a sigh of relief. This is what we say. This is what we are told.

I can't really recall exactly what made the shift in my mind, the change of my choice. I just know it happened in an instant and there was no turning back. I decided this was my only choice now. It just had to be done, whether I liked it or not. It seemed to be the only way. My plan was plain and simple. Go home, call Planned Parenthood, tell boyfriend, get abortion, move on, be OK. Goodness, when I write that out it seems so obvious that other than maybe what you will eat for lunch, no plan is that simple.

Here is where things get significantly heavier instead of what we think will be lighter, better, best. I drove home, made the call and was scheduled right away. I remember the urgency in her tone as she booked me for an appointment just two days later. When my boyfriend got home I sat him down and told him I was having an abortion and that the appointment was already booked. I don't remember everything he said, but I will never forget the horrified look on his face. This was my right, right? That's what we are told. My body, my choice. You see, this is one of the truest lies we believe. Men have no say. They have no choice. It is absolutely true because we often take away their say and remove their choice. In the name of feminism and empowerment we look them in the face (or not even) and tell them they have no say. That a child that was only ours because of their involvement, is not going to survive because we have chosen not to allow it. Not all men walk away. Not all men want abortion. I was not only choosing for myself, I was choosing for another living breathing human being (aside from our baby) who wanted our baby and he in fact, had no choice.

I only remember fragments from the day of my abortion. I know my son was waiting for his Mommy while she went to "the doctors". I know I was driven to Boston because it was the only place I could go. I do not remember where it was or walking in the door. I vaguely remember the waiting room, the eerie silence and somber faces hanging down on every woman there. I was given no view of an ultrasound, no surgical consult, as a matter of fact I never even met the Doctor until I was undressed and slightly sedated on a gurney in the dimly lit uninviting procedure room. The sounds, those I couldn't forget. I remembered them well as they haunted my days and nights for years to come. I remember the "recovery room". I am putting that in quotes because it was more like a corral. So many of us, barely separated, crying, moaning, drifting in and out of awareness of what we had just gone through. No matter whether we went in OK with our choice or not, no one was feeling OK in that moment. The darkness that connected us, strangers in a strange place, was palpable. From there I have no recollection of leaving, my long ride home or getting to my house. I do have one clear memory of myself curled up in a ball, sobbing in excruciating pain, while my son was playing outside.

As I said, I was planning for this child, so many people knew. The following day I called out work. I told them I had a miscarriage. I told the same lie to almost everyone who knew. Then I took the truth, shoved it into the back corner of my mind, and vowed to never think or speak of it again. This was the only way I believed I could be OK. The following months were some of the darkest days of my life. At the time I truly had no idea that the horrible choices I was making or the uncontrollable sadness and anger had anything to do with my abortion. I had moved on and figured eventually I would be OK with my choice.

This is why I am writing. I cannot stay quiet any longer. I suffered in silence for far to many years! I told only a few people along the way, but even then I couldn't talk about my actual experience or the horrible PTSD I would have when certain ad's, conversations, and especially sounds would trigger me right back into that surgical room or the recovery room after. It wasn't until I went through an Abortion Recovery Program and truly healed that I began really sharing. Women opened up to me about similar experiences and pain. I knew I was not alone! Chances are many of you reading this have had an abortion yourself or know someone who has. Chances are, no matter how vocal you may be about how we should have a right to choose, you too may be keeping a secret locked tight in the corner of your mind. This is because I believe one of two things happens to us after an abortion, we will live in silent suffering (like me) until someone (like me) let's you know there is hope and true healing. Or, we will tell ourselves and as many people as will listen that abortion is a necessity. It is a choice and not a child. We will say whatever it takes to feel OK with the choice we (or someone we love) made. Look, I get it! I am not here to judge. I promise. I am here to say these hard things because it is time to shine a light on the darkness! So that no one else has to suffer in silence.

Abortion is not the answer. Abortion is the problem. We as females are strong and capable, no matter what the situation! We do not need to tell ourselves and others that the only way to be OK and dare I say "successful", is by ending the life of an innocent child. We know this is what abortion does. We know the damage left in it's wake. It is time to be brave and speak truth! I know it won't be popular, but I can't be concerned about that anymore when so many Women (1 in 4) are faced with this choice. And thousands upon thousands are still suffering silently having already made it. I will speak for you.

If this message has offended you, I truly meant no harm. If you have had an abortion and are in pain or struggling, PLEASE reach out! You are not alone. You no longer need to carry this secret. You are loved right where you are and you can be safely heard. If I can truly heal to the point of telling my older children, and now sharing this raw and vulnerable story with all of you...YOU CAN HEAL TOO!

I have so much more to say, but for now I will end with this...

"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." John 1:5

What is brought into the light holds NO power anymore.

Live Loved,
Melissa  



 

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Armor Up (Part Three)

Originally I thought I was going to write about how the man at the pool had a part in manifesting (or not) his own healing. Then God clearly showed me how I was missing the point. That the healing and the "wellness" were not one in the same. I believe that what God wanted me to learn and share is that you can have wellness without the physical/mental healing, because Jesus is truly enough. Then I realized, Wait, now that this is clear we have to talk about how the enemy uses our unmet expectations (praying for physical healing-said healing doesn't come) in order to have us believe that God has somehow left or forgotten us...think serpent whispering in your ear "Surely God could forsake you"(referencing both Genesis 3:4 and Deuteronomy 31:6). That's when I realized, OH, there's a Part 2...we need to expose the LIES!

~In the event that you have just happened upon this piece I would recommend that you double back and check out the two previous posts in order to get the full picture.

So, now that we realize that God can and does miraculously heal, when He so chooses, as He sees fit, for reasons beyond our comprehension. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord (Isaiah 55:8) We can see how in the absence of physical healing we are vulnerable to the enemy's attacks, he is a prowling lion don't forget! What then do we do? It was at that moment where I realized God wanted me to go deeper, to share more. He wanted me to talk about Spiritual Warfare. I know, not exactly the "Come on over for a cup of tea" type of conversation. I believe the time has come to change that line of thinking. I'll be honest, when I first became a Christian and read Joyce Meyer's "The Battlefield of the Mind", the thought of rebuking the enemy was a bit crazy to me. Thirteen years later, I am beyond grateful that God taught me about these battles right away, while my heart was on fire and I was eating up every word He gave me.

On that note, I am going to break this message into two very important yet separate action plans, the Spiritual and the Physical. Reason being, as seems to be a running theme here in this "Wellness" series, I had thought I had known what to say to you all, but God took me deeper. In retrospect it is no surprise that God met me the week I wrote this, in the throws of crippling depression. Beyond which I felt I could bear at times. Which I firmly believe had been an attack on my mind. All this while I was writing to you about how the enemy does EXACTLY WHAT HE WAS DOING! On the Spiritual side, it is important to note that quite often when we step in to something that God has made clear He is calling us to do for the Kingdom, there WILL be attacks! Remember that the enemy wants to render you useless. Also please take note that his plans FAILED! Did he cause me to break down in tears more times than I could count? To question God as to why oh why is this happening to me. To beg God to remove this pain. To put thoughts of the ending of my life into my head. Yes, all that and then some is true. However, you are reading this because he didn't win! I cried and I prayed and I wrote, despite the pain. In fact, in spite of the pain.

First I wrote out Ephesians 6:10-18 this is where Paul tells us to "Be strong in the Lord (not yourself) and in His mighty power." to "Put on the full armor of God so you can take your stand against the devil's schemes" (v. 10-11 emphasis added) and that "Our struggle is not against flesh and blood...but against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (v.12 in part) Imagine if there were a literal army of enemies outside your home, what would you do? Would you ignore them, pretend they weren't there, expect you could simply convince them to leave, maybe you could invite them in to stay for a few days? Of course not! So why do we do this with our Spiritual attacks? Or maybe it's just me because for FOUR entire days this was my plan of action. After writing to you about how the enemy will use our sufferings against us, I couldn't see that that was exactly what was happening to me.

So please, don't just write out the verses you cling to when you are facing a battle, Read Them, Recite Them Out Loud, better yet PRAY them in Jesus name! Then get that armor on! When you pray God's Word, you have the "Sword of the Spirit" (v.17) in your hand. Remind yourself who you are in Christ, this is the "Belt of Truth"(v.14). Guard your heart by giving thanks to God in all circumstances, this puts on the "breastplate of righteousness" (v.14) and let God be the air in your lungs. Stand firm in the storm knowing that Jesus came and died for you to have life and peace beyond understanding, this is the "Gospel of peace" (v.15). Take up your "Shield of faith" by rebuking the enemy and his lies, tell him out loud Satan, you hold no ground here, by the blood of Jesus be gone! This can "extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one" (v.16). Put your helmet on by doing as Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 10:5 and take every thought captive that doesn't line up with our knowledge of God and our Salvation through Christ. Pick up your Bible...literally! This is your Sword! Ultimately, at the end of it all, God's Word is "alive and active, sharper than any double edge sword...dividing soul and spirit...judging thoughts and attitudes of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12) Even when our minds or bodies attempt to tell us something different, nothing can ever change the truths written by the breath of God.

The next part is where we have to act in the physical realm. We have to move our feet as I like to say. The enemy wants us to freeze, to stay quiet, to isolate. God's word tells us that "where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them" (Matthew 18:20) So please, I implore you, reach out to someone! Ask for prayer. Speak out loud what you are dealing with because when light shines in the darkness, the darkness cannot overcome it! Then, get up, go out, talk a walk, go to your favorite spot, treat yourself to Sushi! If you like yoga, do it, if you have always wanted to run a marathon, sign up.  Find what sets your heart on fire and stand up for it! Serve others. I'll tell ya, there is nothing quite as spirit lifting as stepping in and lifting someone else.
Take care of yourself first. Kinda like the old airplane oxygen bag spiel. By drawing near to God, in James 4:8 his word tells us He will draw near to us. Then once your feet are fitted, try some of the rest.

I pray this has encouraged you. That you know you are not alone. That if you feel your prayers for physical/mental healing are not being heard let alone answered, that you would be willing to let go of your ideal just enough to sit at the feet of the Father who loves you beyond comprehension. Who wants better for you than you could ever imagine. I am here to let you know that Jesus won't always remove your "pain" but He surely will walk with you through it.



Live Loved,
Melissa

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Exposing The Lies (Part Two)

The enemy is real and he does not want you to know or understand that he has been and will be defeated! He does not want you to feel comfortable rebuking him in your prayers, out loud or especially in front of others. He does not want you to know that we have the authority, by the blood of Jesus to cast him out of our minds, our marriages, our homes, our schools, our neighborhoods ext. ext. He does not want you to know that you can pray mighty prayers of protection over your children too!

I said I was going to speak more about being well and this my friends is the next most important part.

The enemy does not want you to remember or think on all the healing God has likely already provided. All the miracles big and small that have been woven into your life and story so that the greatest one, frankly the only one that matters, could take place... your acceptance of Christ as Savior and our welcoming in as Son's and Daughter's of the one true God! That means, It IS Well!

Here is what the enemy does want, for us to believe that if our earthly "healing" as WE have defined and desire it doesn't come, that we are not "well". That somehow we have been forgotten. Left out. Abandoned. Or worse, that God is angry with us and is punishing us! That he has forsaken us or maybe changed his mind about us entirely. None of this is true because these are not the biblical attributes or promises of God.

A friend of mine told me years ago that "the enemy knows he cannot have us, so he wants to render us useless." Let that sink in.

You see, the Bible tells us in John 10:28 "I give them eternal life, and they shall never parish; no one will snatch them out of my hand." The enemy does not have power and authority to steal us away or to rob us of the promises of God. So, his sneaky trick is to use whatever he can to at the very least keep us quiet. This way the people who need to hear about Jesus and our personal stories of Salvation as a light to their path towards him, are kept in the dark.

I am going to go out on a dangerous but necessary limb here and say that I firmly believe that in many cases the enemy tries to use our struggles as a weapon against us. Anxiety (for example) is not new to our age. In 1 Peter 5 one of my favorite verses is "cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you" (v.7) Right before this it tells us to "humble ourselves under God's mighty hand, that he may lift us up in due time" (v.6) Right after it says "Be alert and of sober mind your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (v.8)

I need to acknowledge and say loud and clear that your pain is real and valid! There are many types of pain and many reasons for them. Mental or physical. Is your pain connected to your faith or lack there of, maybe, but also, maybe not! I am not God, only he knows the details and we should never judge or assume. Should you repent of sin that you are feeling convicted on, absolutely! Should you forgive those who have hurt you and not harbor resentments and bitterness, Yes! (Still working on this one myself) Should you pray in belief that God can heal you, Please Do! Does the outcome of all this guarantee "healing" or have any bearing on the sovereignty and goodness of God...NO! But the prowling enemy sure wants to convince you it does. So when our expectations of God in our situation are seemingly unmet, we begin to doubt and question. Worse case scenario, we turn away from God.

If the enemy can convince us of these lies do you think we will be shouting God's praises? Will we want to fight for our marriage? Have hope in our darkness? Feel equipped to battle the addiction, illness or circumstance that is threatening to take us down? Will we write the devotional or start the ministry that we were sure God was calling us to? I doubt it, and the enemy is counting on it! Worst of all, could you decide that this life is to much? That no one needs you, that the pain will never end, that you cannot take one more breath...this is surely the enemies ultimate goal.

Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians that he was given a "thorn in his flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me." (ch.12 v.7) He goes on to explain that "three times he pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me"(v.8)  but the Lord said to him "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness"(v.9) Again, I do not know why you are suffering and I do believe you CAN be healed. I just feel so compelled to expose what God has made clear is a scheme of the enemy to stop you dead in your tracks...Your healing does not equal your wellness! Do not be fooled! Please here me loud and clear...If you BELIEVE, you can declare it is well with my soul! You can go about whatever business God has set before you despite the pain, boasting in your weakness and allowing Christ's power to rest on you!

Not Today Satan...(More to come)

Live Loved,
Melissa