Posted in Life Lessons, Uncategorized, Word, Word, Truth, Life, Love

Redeeming Love

My favorite book is Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. It’s based on the Bible story of Hosea. The main character is a little girl named Angel who is abandoned, abused, and sold to a pimp at a very young age. When she’s in her 20s, a farmer, Michael Hosea, answers a call from God to rescue her from a brothel and marry her – just as she is.

Here’s an excerpt from right after he rescues her from the brothel and brings her home:

So many people I love have been abandoned and abused emotionally, verbally, physically, sexually so often that love seems like it’s not worth the trouble.

I have been one of these people.

Love means being vulnerable. Being vulnerable means letting your guard down. Letting your guard down means the risk of being hurt again.

Sometimes I’ve found myself feeling and living like I actually deserve abuse, abandonment, betrayal. I’ve felt ugly, unloveable, and useless.

This is because I have an enemy – and he is a liar. His plan is to isolate me, taunt me with past mistakes, and make me feel like I’m unloveable.

The truth is, since he is by nature a liar, all those things are lies.

I am loveable. I am beautiful. My past is redeemable. And more to the point, He has rescued me from the pit and called me His beloved.

Yet like Angel in the story I hide from God or shout in his face and treat him like he’s the one who is wrong, when really – REALLY – He’s the only one who has been faithful, loving, generous, and right beside me all along. He’s the one who rescued me from all of that.

And like Michael Hosea in the quote above, when He has rescued me He says, “I want you to love me. I just want you to trust Me enough to let Me love you and I want to build a life with you.” But because my life is seen through the lens of past abusers, I say – “Can’t you understand that’s impossible?”

But ALL things are possible with Him.

Speaking of possible:

This week I let some things go. I ran into some people who had previously controlled, manipulated, and abused me, but I did not allow them the power to do so any longer.

And at each instance, each time I realized the struggle with them was over and I just felt neutral toward them, I felt a still small voice whisper, “Now your ministry can begin.”

I’ve also learned that I’m ready to be vulnerable with my heart again. With the guy who I think is the One, I’ll be bathing him in prayer, asking lots of questions, and making him meet with my dad’s approval first – and I may get hurt again – but I’m ready.

Anything is possible, right?

My prayer is that God would add roses to all my thorn bushes. I love roses.

God has redeemed every hurt I’ve had. That is to say – he’s allowed me to use those scars to help others through similar times.

Will you trust God enough to let His love in?

Love you,

Melissa

Posted in Poetry, Word, Truth, Life, Love

Steadfast Heart

It takes a steadfast heart
To linger when
Its sole receiver
Hasn’t an idea
That a sweet and
Gentle waiting soul
Has a heart of love
To share with him

It takes a steadfast faith
To stay the course
When its intend’s heart
Cries, aches, and bends
And covers itself in ‘pasts’
And ‘what-went-wrongs’
While his ‘true’ love sits and waits
And comforts him

So she will wait
On the midnight of his soul
While in her heart
The sun dispels the gray
Until the Lord says,
‘Turn to him your heart.
I’ve molded his anew
As out of clay.’

In her days of waiting
She’ll prepare to be
One who’ll love his new heart
Unconditionally

Melissa Fairchild (c) April 27, 2018

Posted in Life Lessons, Word, Word, Truth, Life, Love

Enduring Focus

I ordered my usual Grande Skinny Vanilla Latte, set out my vast array of colored pens, opened my planner to the work section, took my usual plethora of vitamins & supplements, opened my laptop, worked a while, and had lunch with a coworker.

It was a typical Tuesday.

And then the room started spinning.

Colors faded in and out, stars danced at my temples, I couldn’t find the right words to say.

I get migraines. This was different.

I made an appointment with my doctor that afternoon. She was obviously worried. She ordered bloodwork.

She called the next afternoon and told me that my iron count was very low and that I have Iron-deficiency Anemia caused by a pre-cancerous condition.

No wonder I felt like death.

She prescribed an iron pill 3x daily and said to repeat the bloodwork in 2 weeks to mark my progress.

Did I mention I take a plethora of vitamins and supplements? A multi-vitamin with iron was one of those, but I had not been taking it lately, because it was at the house and not in my work bag.

I started thinking about this verse from my daily Bible reading:

Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.
James 1:2‭-‬4 CSB

(The Message version says “…so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”)

So…tested & triumphed faith produces endurance. Full-grown endurance = being complete and lacking nothing.

As I drove home that afternoon, I began thinking over that verse: What do I lack? What am I deficient in?

Well physically right now I lack sufficient iron in my blood. It makes me weak, dizzy and exhausted.

My thought pattern traced the logic in the verse: I have to have faith in the doctor and trust she knows what’s best for me. I have to act on that faith by taking the iron pill 3x a day. I have to repeat the bloodwork in 2 weeks. For this to work I need to employ endurance. I have got to follow through with the plan the doctor gave me. Then my iron levels will not be deficient (lacking nothing).

As I was taking my iron pill tonight I felt that still, small voice of God prompting: What else? What do you lack spiritually and emotionally?

This took me down a path of asking myself, “What are my what else symptoms?”

So I made a list. Because listers gonna list.

What are some symptoms that tell me something is not right in me spiritually or emotionally:

  • Fear / Anxiety
  • Lack of focus
  • Frustration
  • Not finishing what I start

This lead me to ask myself the next question: What element do I lack that may be causing these symptoms?

I lack enduring focus.

I tend to just waltz through life following my own whims and desires. I need to start asking God what His plans are for me. I need to follow God consistently. I need enduring focus.

My friend Rebecca Carrell says:

“You won’t follow someone you don’t trust, and you can’t trust someone you don’t know, and you can’t know Christ apart from His Word.”

I need to be in the Word. Consistently.

To be healthy and balanced spiritually and emotionally, I need a steady diet of God’s Word. When I leave my Bible at home instead of in my work bag, it is easy for me to get out of the habit of my daily reading, and, just like with my lack of iron, symptoms arise.

Oh, I do well with supplementing my life with worship songs in the car, attending church meetings, having outings with friends, and spending time with my kids. But to function well, I need my time in the Word.

Young lions lack food and go hungry, but those who seek the Lord will not lack any good thing.
Psalms 34:10 CSB

I am at my best when I seek Him.

So here are some questions I’ll leave you to answer:

Are there “symptoms” that tell you something is not spiritually or emotionally right in your life?

What element is lacking that is causing these symptoms?

What have you left out lately that you used to be consistent with?

What are you gonna do about it?

Consider how much better your life will be if you just do the thing.

Posted in Poetry

Writing, Half-asleep

Sunlight barged in through
half-opened blinds, without knocking.
Nosey sun. I deep-blinked; then again.
What was its business here so
early – without bringing coffee, no less?
People stirred in the house, the
ice maker clanked and hummed.
I began recalling the dream I was
just awakened from. I vaguely remember darkness, a dying fire, someone holding my hand… The remnant of a bawdy tune shoved its lyrics in my face.
I could still hear it. Feel it. Was it the teenagers bass next door or was that
thump-ringing a headache – just forming?
A train shuffled its feet outside
of town – it whistled in harmony with the
refrigerator and the ringing in my ears.

Wait. That’s not sun..it’s the porch light.
A glance at my clock showed 10:46 pm.
You gotta be kidding me.
It’s not morning. It’s not even 11pm.
I texted someone. The reply – go rest. I’ll apologize tomorrow for the late-night intrusion.
Slow blink. Turn the pillow to the cold side. I’m totally posting this. I’ll laugh at the responses tomorrow – and the fact that I’m sleep-writing.
If anyone reads, they’ll understand that this is what they get for befriending a writer who is awakened 7 hours too early.
Did I spell everything correctly? Punctuate?
Do I care. I do not. There is no try.
Go rest, they said. I’ll try anyway. Goodni…

Posted in Word, Truth, Life, Love

Some Kind of Loveable

She drew in a long breath and let it out. She caught her reflection in the glass door and shifted the bakery box into her left hand, opened the door with her right, and expected the worst.

Why was it that she always expected the worst? Everyone in the room cheered and drawled her name. “Mah-lissa!” “Get on in here girlfriend.” and “Girl – whatchyou got in that box is about to go straight to my thighs – shore thang.”

Her thoughts – Melissa, place the pastries on the table, brew yourself a cup of coffee to keep your hands busy, and whatever you do – don’t cry and spoil the party.

This was the usual pattern. Same social anxiety – different party.

She looked around and began the mental checklist:

  • Suzy is always so well put together. Her outfit is so cute. *looks down at her own 3-day unwashed ‘good’ jeans*
  • Carrie’s house is always so clean. *thinks back to the tone she took last night with her middle child about the laundry being left on the bathroom floor – once again*

And on and on the judgment train chugs along until she finds herself seated and every eye is trained on her. There must have been a question, but she missed it.

Her – “I’m sorry, can you repeat that?”

Cute outfit girl -“How was your week?”

Her thoughts – “Don’t cry. Just sayfine’ and let them move on.

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry for help.

Psalm 34:15

Recently a group of ladies I attend Bible study with on Sunday mornings decided that enough was enough when it comes to judgment, bitterness, and silence.

We decided that we need each other. Not one of us is better than the other. We learned that we all had “secrets” that we kept from each other because of fear. Fear of being judged. Fear of not saying the right things. Fear of losing face. Fear of losing reputation or position.

Fear Is a Liar https://g.co/kgs/yBGfCY

Fear is most definitely a liar.

The notion that you are unloveable because you think are the only one who has ever (fill in the blank) IS A LIE.

Here’s the truth:

For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

ALL meaning: cute outfit girl, clean house girl, fancy car girl, rich girl, educated girl, ministry leader girl…we ALL fall short.

And I’m just going to be one more step honest with you: If God can take me from MY past and make something useful of me, then He can definitely redeem your current season.

Because here’s who I was:

Divorced, alcoholic, homeless, liar, judgement-placer, adulteress, pathetic, victim-mentality-projector, curser, co-dependent, food addict, angry, manipulator.

Given that list, I wouldn’t wanna be my own friend.

But when I live with my hands open to God and His desires for my life, when I allow myself to be open to healing, when I’m courageous enough to invite humility to my table, (none of which I ever do perfectly) God sees me this way:

Loveable, whole, pure, loved, His daughter, hand-crafted with love, worthy of love, kind, caring, sacred, an encourager…

And the more I let this list sink in, the better I become at believing it. And the more I keep my eyes fixed on His, the less the habits and belongings of the people at the table matter. And the less I look at myself, the more I see of their hearts, their hurts, and God’s desire for their healing.

This isn’t a blog for you to read and “like” – this is a call for a decision on your part. Are you – dear reader – going to change your circle of influence by making it better or worse?

Challenge: invite someone in your circle of influence to coffee or to share a meal this week and really lean in and listen to their story. I bet you’ll find out they are the same kind of loveable as you.

Always remember this: what you are walking through is a life-season, not a life-sentence.

Posted in Poetry, Word, Truth, Life, Love

Stand Your Ground

I think I know how David felt
Holding an ordinary stone
A poet’s soul
A warrior’s stance
As an army mocked his boast
They stood and laughed
But didn’t know
He’d faced lions, not alone
But with the strength, with the help
Of one mightier than those

Face your giant, not with armor
That the world finds adequate
But with power that only comes
From an all-surrendered spirit
When you look up, stare him down,
Say a prayer and square your shoulders
You’ll find an ordinary prayer
Hits like a giant boulder

With your back to the crowd
Set your jaw, don’t back down
Stand your ground

-M.A. Fairchild (c) 2014

Posted in Letters, Parenting, Word, Truth, Life, Love

Love, Mommy (a letter to my daughter)

Sweet child,

No one taught me how to be happy. No one. Not my Mom or Dad. Not my siblings or grandparents. Not my cousins or teachers or friends. No one.

Happiness, contentment, joy – these aren’t things I can teach you. They are things you already have inside of you.

We tend to look for something newer, better, more exciting to woo us or distract us from the yucky parts of life. This isn’t because we are made to be adventure addicts, it is because we are created to live fully, love creatively, and laugh continuously. Unfortunately, this world is far too full of muck and anxiety. The trick is to decide to pursue life to the fullest anyway.

We are made in His image. We are created to experience all manner of emotions. These emotions – even if they are sadness or anger or anxiety – these are what make us grow. Like the way a tree is strengthened by the tossing of the wind. Like the way life-sustaining oxygen bursts out of waves as they crash and tremble and die on the shore. Like the way you and I understand each other and ourselves better when we collide sometimes. This is why we are put into families – so we can grow before we go.

It’s this part – our clashing – that made me pause my work and write to you this afternoon.

You see – I don’t really mind it. It means you’re one day closer to being who I’ve imagined you to be. It means you get to find yourself in a mess on this side of life – on the safe side – instead of in the world where it’s too often dark and damp and scary.

So I’m inviting you to sit with me and laugh and love and rise and fall and fail and succeed and learn what it means to live. I’m inviting you to work through your emotional ups and downs in this “training environment” instead of in a “published environment”. Here you get do-overs. You get the joy of being safe enough to play.

It’s been an honor, these years, to spend my life watching you find your wings.

If you’ll trust that the process of learning flight means falling, striving, and unexpected flight-path corrections, you’ll find that my past experiences (and failures) will enhance your success rate exponentially. You WILL fall, but I promise I will be here for the getting up and beginning again.
Just focus and keep trying.

Remember the song we’d sing in the car on full blast on the way to elementary school:

I’m not afraid to fall
It means I climbed up high
To fall is not to fail
You fail when you don’t try.
-Superchick

My whole life has led to this window of time where I get to watch you unfurl.

And this is exactly where I want to be: in this moment.

The ability to climb this mountain, jump off, and find the elation of exercising your wings is in you.

Embrace joy and gratitude.

I love you more,

Mommy