Posted in Poetry, Word, Word, Truth, Life, Love, Writing

Word Before the Day

As I stumble upon morning, yet again, My throat parched,
My eyes cluttered with matter,
My heart half-awake –
I reach for your Word.
Well, first coffee; because…coffee
But always your Word.
And not out of habit.
Well, it IS my daily habit, but
That’s not my motivation.
No. My sweet, smiley,
Southern-belle-heart
Doesn’t always drink-in a
“Good” morning
So easily.
Whereas I don’t always
Feel “good” –
It is good.
Which is why your Word
Is necessary.
It brings life.

I’m 2 weeks into this
Quiet journey today,
Yet there are moments I,
Like the Israelites,
Prefer my “Egypt”-
Because
There is comfort in the familiar.

Truth-be-told
I’ve walked through this
Desert for 16 years and I, too
Have grumbled about
Mannah and quail.
But it has been my provision.
We’ve never missed a meal,
Nor had no roof over our heads.

But it’s time to cross over the Jordan.

My “Egypt” looked like
Men comforting me via text with
Hollow words that kept me
Wondering – and wandering.
My “Egypt” looked like
Words on a screen that
At first soothed, then
Scarred my heart.
My “Egypt” looked like
Delicious foods,
Pleasing to my mouth, yet
Horrible on my body.
Like spending too much,
Like being “liked” by strangers,
Like “I got this.”

But I don’t. Not really.
Not without my good, good Father.

When I awake at dawn
And find myself alone –
And find a message meant from
A concerned friend
Saying “you don’t have a husband because you don’t love God enough and you must have hidden sin.”

I want to shriek –
And block their number
And, like Job, finally stand and utter:
“Look, my eyes have seen all this; my ears have heard and understood it. Everything you know, I also know; I am not inferior to you. Yet I prefer to speak to the Almighty and argue my case before God. You use lies like plaster; you are all worthless healers. If only you would shut up and let that be your wisdom!” [Job 13:1‭-‬5 CSB]

This! This is why I reach for your Word.
Before work.
Before my daily wake-up greeting for Mr. Middle School.
Before my work inbox fills with requests.

And, like the Psalmist, I declare:
“If your instruction had not been my delight, I would have died in my affliction. I will never forget your precepts for you have given me life through them.”
[Psalm 119: 92]

More Word.
Less text. Less grumbling.
More Word.
Less “likes.” Less posting.
More Word.
Less judgment. Less hatred.
More Word.
Just more of your life-giving Word.

Posted in healing, Prayer, rest

Resting in Peace

I was in the hospital for a while yesterday. I suppose this was an appropriate location given my last blog on taking care of myself.

Bottom line though is…I’m sick. I’ve kept working through it this week (I took 3 half-days off), kept the house picked up after the kids, etc. But I’m extremely weak. When I got to the ER I wondered aloud why I hadn’t gone there two days earlier. My hips and legs hurt so badly (from dehydration from my stomach illness and vitamin deficiency) that it feels like it’s my very bones that ache. I got a bag of IV fluids, two meds for nausea, one for stomach pain, thiamine, and I’m on two antibiotics.

I’ve been on a mostly liquid diet since Tuesday morning and have to continue it for another week. If you handle life with prayer, I could use some right now. If you know me well, a text wouldn’t hurt either. Just sayin.

This is day 9 of my 40-day social-media-free journey. This week when I was so sick, I wanted to reach out to people via social media, but I didn’t. Instead I surrounded myself with my family, texted my closest girl-friends, and prayed.

I haven’t been perfect on this journey. I did peek in on social media on a couple of occasions, but there’s grace for that. And anyway, it’s my own journey.

I had bought tickets to take my son to Legoland and Sea Life Aquarium today, but mom ended up taking him. I also had plans to join one of my bestie girls (Shelby) for dinner in Celina and shower her with pre-birthday goodies (Happy Birthday Shelby-Lou) but I didn’t feel like going.

Instead I watched Braveheart and Avengers End-game and slept. A lot.

I tell you what, sleeping has been surprisingly peaceful this week. I usually can’t fall asleep, This afternoon I slept on the couch through two of my favorite battle scenes in Braveheart and had to rewind. I love that movie for so many reasons.

I’m not even sure I’ll post this publicly. It’ll probably post privately like so many of these do.

My point (mostly to self) is… I need more sleep and more prayer in my life. And apparently more B vitamins.

Sigh.

Speaking of sleep, I do believe I will…

Posted in Uncategorized

Get Rid of “Me”

Good morning. It’s day 6 of my quiet, social-media-free journey. It’s been nourishing for my soul.

Yesterday I slept almost all day because of a stomach virus. Truth is, I don’t feel much better physically today. But I’ve been way behind on getting any real rest – for months. So a day where I was forced to sleep helped me catch up.

I don’t feel like getting out of bed to get my journal and pens, so online journaling will have to do. The title of this blog is Get Rid of “Me” – here’s why:

For most of my adult life I’ve been a caretaker. I’ve been a single mom for 16 years. Every person I’ve dated post-divorce I’ve felt like I had to take care of in some way. I’m finding out that I unintentionally sought out people I could take care of so I wouldn’t have to think about my hurts, my fears, etc. In so doing, I helped many, but neglected myself.

So now I’m working hard at losing weight, being in the Word, finding out who God wants me to be. In short…taking care of myself.

Newsflash: neglecting myself was selfish.

It was selfish because when I don’t take care of myself, other people eventually have to. I want to live a long life and be part of my kids’ and future grandkids’ lives. I don’t want them to have to take care of me. I am finding out it is only when I take care of myself that I can take care of others in a healthy, balanced way.

So the title here reminds me that I need to get rid of the “me” who feels prideful and important when I take care of others before myself. I needed a motive check. A reality check.

In Mark 12, the Word says “Jesus answered, “The most important is Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is, Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.”

Mark 12:29-31 CSB

If I neglect my soul, live with a broken heart, am out of my mind with worry, and have no strength physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally, I cannot love the Lord well. I want to love him well. He is so worthy.

And the 2nd part of that verse hit me hard last night as I was studying this: love your neighbor as yourself. This implies that I love myself. It implies that I’m already taking care of myself. Already. Without hesitation. As a given. How can I “love well” if I don’t love myself well?

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about loving myself like this selfie-driven, me-first, all-for-one-and-that-one’s-me world says to.

I mean just basic self-care.

  • Being in the Word daily
  • Eating well
  • Exercising regularly
  • Sleeping well
  • Living a balanced life
  • Being intentional in real (not online-only) friendships

When I am done with this journey, there’s gonna be a whole lot less chatting and a whole lot more face-to-face. I’m so done with guessing what people mean when I just see their words on-screen instead of hearing their tone and seeing their facial expressions. So done.

With that, I’m going to try to get up and work as long as I can today.

And I’ll be “offline” social media wise (except for the occasional blog) til Sept 24th.

And then I’ll come back as a stronger, healthier “me”.

I’m always praying for you.

I always love you.

-Melissa

Posted in Uncategorized

Resetting My Life

I’ve had some life-altering experiences recently, which brought me to some major realizations. I’ve been wrong about some things. Instead of walking a path I thought God had me on, I’ve realized I was on the wrong path altogether. I’ve been on a path I wanted to walk down…and in the process, I’ve broken my own heart.

So I’m taking time to sort through some questions I have. I’ve been taking some necessary steps to be more balanced.

One thing I have been weakest in on this journey is my dependence on my phone and on social media. I have needed a break from both. There’s nothing on social media that helps me, and I do little there to help others while I’m this heart-broken and hurting this badly.

Today I went to IKEA with my daughter. As we were paying for her new dresser, I took my phone and my wallet out of my pocket. I noticed my phone was acting strangely. It turns out I must have hit the button to reset it to factory settings, because that’s exactly what happened.

I probably said, “you have GOT to be kidding me,” at least a dozen times while reinstalling all of my apps. The app I use to connect to my work’s VPN was the worst hassle – that alone cost me about an hour on the phone with tech support.

In the end, though, I did not reinstall Facebook or Pinterest or Instagram or any of my social media apps.

I feel like this happened for a reason. I need to take a break. So I am taking a break.

The past 3 nights I’ve been filling up my pen and paper journal with Psalms, scriptures, thoughts, questions, and prayers.

And I plan to continue. I’m on a 40 day journey to healing. It’s time for more than my phone to reset.

It’s time to reset my whole life.

If you’re reading, please pray for my journey. I’m sure this blog will post to my social media accounts but I won’t be checking responses there.

Until next time, God bless you.

I love you.

Posted in heartache

Wait Lifting #7 – Rest Stop

Have you ever come to the conclusion that you’ve been headed toward something for so long that it’s just time to stop a minute and rest?

Me too.

This past weekend I took a long road trip with my daughter.

Every 2 or 3 hours I’d pull the car into a rest stop, we’d get out and stretch our legs, grab a cup of coffee, and people watch. Then we’d get back on the road for another 3 hours before stopping again.

I learned it’s okay sometimes to stop and rest. I learned that I’ll eventually get to where I’m going, but if I don’t slow down, stop, stretch my legs a bit, and fill up my tank, I’ll be too tired and too out of fuel to finish the trip.

My life feels like that right now. I’m on a long journey right now to a destination that is going to be beautiful, but sometimes it’s just necessary to stop and rest for a moment.

I’ve come to the conclusion that my heart’s tank is on empty. I simply cannot handle one more heartache. I’ve run my heart’s engine too long pursuing love and it’s just time to stop and rest awhile.

Perhaps it’s even time for a longer stop than just a rest stop. I need to let my heart cool off and heal before I journey on.

This may only make sense to me. That’s okay. Sometimes this blog is more like a journal for me than encouragement or information for anyone else.

I’m parking my heart for a while. And it’s okay.

Posted in Uncategorized, waiting, Writing

Startle Me Brave

In late Spring when the sky balayaged to a deep somber grey, I’d sit with my knees gathered up to my chest under Grandma’s top sheet and pull it up to my ears. The wind would whistle and crack through the old oak. If the storm was going to be bad, Harold Taft would tell me so from in front of a weather map on the black-and-white rabbit-eared TV. If not, Bo and Luke Duke would continue to harass a muttering Boss Hogg on the Dukes of Hazzard.

All too soon I’d hear the tell-tale ting, ping, ting-ping-ping of rain on the window ac unit until the room filled with a beautiful symphonic movement – crashing and flickering and the calm chaos of Spring.

It was such a moment when I first learned what it felt like to be alone and brave. Mom had taken my brother somewhere brotherish and Grandma was in the kitchen filling the house with the smell of chicken fried steak, biscuits, mashed potatoes, and gravy.

I was back in the bedroom when the sky suddenly went dark and the ting-pinging started. Only it wasn’t rain. At four years old, in all my put togethers I hadn’t heard a sound like that. Ice cubes were banging off the windows, Taft was saying a “bad” word on the TV (hell/hail?), and I was scared.

I pulled the top sheet over my head and sang at the top of my voice – “a sailor went to sea, sea, sea, to see what he could see, see, see…”

Anything to drown out the crashing out there.

It was just then that I made a conscious decision that I wasn’t going to be scared. Maybe I borrowed courage from the sailor going to the sea. I’d only ever heard about the sea, but it seemed like a place a little girl could get lost forever in, but if the sailor could be brave, so could I. I don’t know what came over me. I was suddenly determined to go see, see, see what was banging on the window.

I slowly peeked out, swung my little legs off the bed, put my bare feet on the just-swept floor, and walked to the window. My eyes were probably as wide as any of the hail stones falling outside.

I made it to the window, looked out, and just stood there on tip-toes watching the storm.

The banging slowed, then stopped, and the rain started in again.

I could handle rain. It was comforting.

Grandma called in from the kitchen, “Sweet Baby Ma-lisssa. You stay away from the windas, ya hear now?”

I ran from the window, quick-climbed back into bed, and tucked myself in.

“Yes Gramma. I love you Sweet Baby Gramma.”

Not sure why this moment has my attention tonight.

Maybe because it’s quiet in my life right now and I’m usually alone.

Maybe because I’m in a storm right now and surprised at how calming it is to let it fall around me while I look on.

Maybe because I’m meeting people tomorrow for the first or second time in my life and being vulnerable enough to meet them means I’m risking rejection and it scares me to death, but I’m going anyway.

All I know is, that brave little girl lives in me, and we’re far too courageous to lie in bed while the world and all it’s mysteries clang and crash about us.

I love moments like these where life startles me brave.