Posted in healing, heartache, Life Lessons, Love, Uncategorized

Do You Want to Get Well?

When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

John 5:6 NIV

As I type on my dimly lit phone, I’m at the emergency room with my 11-year-old son. It’s almost midnight and we’ve been here for a few hours. Around 8:30 pm he came into my bedroom and said, “Mom, will you take me to the doctor? My head hurts too bad.” At 9 pm the urgent care center sent us to the ER to be tested for meningitis. (Thank God he doesn’t have that.) He also tested negative for strep, flu, and mono, but his white blood count is elevated.

But when we got back into a room at the ER, and they were about to start an IV, he absolutely panicked. Suddenly fear took over and he began to shake and hold his arm against his chest so the nurse couldn’t get the IV in. He sat up in the bed, buried his face in my chest, and sobbed.

I reasoned with him. Reminded him he’d had an IV years ago when he broke his arm and he was fine. Nothing I said made it any better.

Sometimes our minds are our worst enemies.

Finally I put my hand under his chin, tipped his face up to look at me, and said, “Son, do you want to get well?”

“Yes. My head hurts so bad. Please make it stop.” He sobbed. “This will make it stop?” I nodded.

Then he relaxed and allowed the nurse to give him an IV. In the end he said it wasn’t so bad.

An hour later, with headache meds coursing through his veins and his quiet snoring filling the room, it hit me – today I panicked just like this over something else.

I had been afraid of losing both someone and the dream of something and it caused me to sob and hold my heart in my chest where it couldn’t be touched and lash out at whomever said that letting go was the best thing for me. The fear of abandonment and loneliness and being unloved forever washed over me. I feared feeling unworthy and unlovable and useless and embarrassed and rejected and unwanted. The fear to me was just as real as the needle was to Gavin. Letting myself feel the sting of letting go that would ultimately heal me was just too scary in the moment.

It reminded me of when Jesus healed a man in the Bible, but first he asked the man, “Do you want to get well?”

Of course I want to get well. But just like my son, I have to get past the fear of the pain that will ultimately allow healing to flow through me.

Posted in Poetry, Uncategorized

Redemption

Tonight I allowed my heart
To envision myself
As a 6-year-old with dimples
With honey-blonde wisps
Spilling out of a
Bobby-pinned bun
With tattered ballet slippers
And a fresh recital bouquet.
Joyful, graceful feet
Pirouetting across the stage.
Grandma used to say
“Beauty is only skin deep –
Ugly goes to the bone.”
But she meant bitter, not ugly.
Bitter lives inside and eats a person up
Until callous actions flow out of a
Bitter, hard heart;
Whereas
Beauty bursts out through the
Kind of smile you can see
In someone’s eyes.
Beauty lives inside a heart
But can’t be contained, so it
Flutters out in
Thoughtful words and kind gestures.
That 6-year-old me was
Lovely, innocent,
Yet full of the kind of heartache
Cruelly gifted through careless words
She ought not to have overheard.
Words like
“She’s not really in our family,” and
“She’s not really my sister,” and
“She can’t play with us.”
Yet she breathed in better, not bitter.
She chose to be kind, not cruel.
But she learned she had to
Give something to be loved back.
Growing up this looked like giving
Toys and time and allowance.
But as a woman it looked like
Giving her innocence, her money,
Her dignity.
How much has she given over the years
To receive a zero return on investment?
But she’s learning.
She’s wiser now, yet lonely.
Lovelier than ever, but her
Broken heart still beats and longs
For someone to say,
“You are the best part of my life” and
“I’m glad you’re mine” and
“Come hang with us.”
To say all this without
Her having to give or be or do anything.
To have her own home, a husband,
A place where she feels seen and heard.
Tonight I allowed my heart
To envision myself
As a 44-year-old with dimples
With chocolate-frosted wisps
Spilling out of a
Messy bun –
Beautiful even without makeup.
And I reminded myself that
Beauty overflows from a
Tender heart that is broken, yet
Has abundant joy and love to give
To someone who will
Look past these
Hard-earned scars and see
A beautifully-mended heart.

Posted in Uncategorized

Let’s Talk About Text, Baby

If you caught the title reference to this Salt N Pepa song, you were born in my generation. If not, just never mind.

Tonight I wanna talk about texting.

My love-hate relationship with texting began in the early 2000s. I was in the middle of my divorce and lonely. So I did what lonely people do – I found someone to talk to. It was the age of chatrooms where everyone was chatting, meeting, and out of their everlasting minds.

I chatted with people from Texas to Australia. I chatted at all hours. I had friends the world over.

We wrote poetry together. Shared recipes together. Got together. Broke up together. Fought internet crime together. All without ever meeting face-to-face. I still have friends in California I’ve chatted with … one since 2003 and one since 2005. Its 2019. We still talk regularly, but we have never met.

This past year I’ve come to hate texting. Here’s why:

When I text back and forth daily with someone I have either never met or have met on a handful of occasions, my mind fills in the blanks with what I think they mean or how I think they feel. Especially with the opposite sex. I start to think I know them. And in some ways I do, but you can only really know someone when you interact with them face-to-face at least once a month.

Text doesn’t convey tone or inflection. It doesn’t show tears or anger.

It implies things for sure, but it implies what I want it to.

I’m tired of living in a false reality with friends who don’t wanna meet because they’d rather hide at home. That’s what happens these days. We don’t talk about it, but it’s easier to text than get up, get dressed, spend $5 on a Skinny Vanilla Latte, and actually talk.

No, I don’t always have time to do this. So in those cases I try for once a month, or once every other month. I have a really good friend I’ve been trying to see but our schedules always miss. I get it. We’re busy. But we need to get less busy or just tell our friends the truth…I don’t have time for you.

This is also why church is so good for me. I have friends I only see at church on Sundays, but that’s more often than I see the ones who don’t attend church with me. These are some of the best friends I have.

Also, texting allows people to lie and betray, even if they don’t mean to. Once I was betrayed by someone who decided she’d like to “help” me get over someone, all the while trying to nuzzle her way into his heart. The means of doing so? She was texting us both! This is why I keep my personal life mostly to myself. Because people can copy and paste and photoshop and create something that looks like I said something. Or seem like they care when they’re really just trying to get info from me so they can use it against me in some way. Betrayal hurts. Especially betrayal by a so-called friend via text.

So I’ve decided that if you really wanna be my friend, come to church, invite me to have coffee or lunch, call me so I can hear your voice, come to the house for a movie or to work on planners, but for the love…no more incessant texting. I mean…I’ll take every 6 months if we’re busy and we’ve known each other year in and year out and are at that point where we know and trust each other.

And when it comes to the opposite sex, please just call me or let’s have coffee. Even if we’re friends. Because when we text, my mind will believe you aren’t saying those sweet words to anyone else and that you’re interested in only me. That’s because I’m worthy of a man who is interested in only me and because I don’t say sweet things to men unless I’m really interested and have prayed about him. I am a one-man woman. When I get married, I don’t want to be tied to this one and that one that I got even remotely involved with via text. I want to live my life in such a way that my future husband (whoever that may be) will understand that I’m solely his. The more my heart gets entangled, the harder it is to untangle it and heal. I don’t love often, but when I do, every last piece of my beautiful, fragile heart is all-in. So I have to be careful with my heart. Just trying to be real here.

When I’m talking about texting less and talking more, I’m talking to myself most of all.

So that’s my text talk for today.

It’s day 35 of my 40-day journey. I have stayed off social media 85% of the time, texted about 85% less, and upped my call-time to some of y’all by 99.9% given the amount of time we used to spend actually talking.

Next journey? I’ll tell you all about it in 5 days.

Love y’all

Posted in Uncategorized

How I Finally Turned the Page

I was lying on my couch tonight when my phone buzzed. It was a text. My heart raced as I saw the horribly abusive words on the screen that were designed to wound my heart. It was from an emotionally abusive ex-boyfriend who decided after a long while of not talking – that he would lash out at me verbally. I shook my head and hit block on his number (all my numbers unblocked when my phone reset itself last month). The last time we talked I saved him from hurting himself. Though I was furious with this guy’s words, I knew God was in this moment – turning a page. Our chapter is over.

My phone quickly buzzed again. This time it was a phone call – from another ex. This was the man who was my boyfriend on and off through high school and then for awhile post-divorce. I’d gotten into so much trouble over the years with and for him. He always made me laugh – always. He loves me – always. But he is just not the man for me. He left me when he went to prison when I was in high school, which shattered my heart, and then many years later we ended up trying to date again for a bit after my divorce.

I answered the phone and caught up on life with him a bit and I apologized for always being on the fringe as a friend. He stopped me short in my apology and told me that I had nothing to apologize for – but that he actually needed to apologize to me. He told me he regrets just one thing in his life – he regrets not having been the man I truly deserve. He apologized for all the troubles he caused me. For breaking my heart. For causing me pain. I sat on the other end of the phone and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed.

He spoke words only God knew I needed to hear. He is not a man of faith – but God used him tonight to help heal my heart. As he spoke for several minutes he spoke truth to the lies I’d believed all these years. His words were nourishment to the raw, oozing, open wounds in my heart. He said he isn’t a man of prayer but he has been praying lately that I find a man worthy of me. A family man. A praying man. An educated man. A great father. A caring, devoted husband. He said if anyone in the world deserves love – that it is me. He said I deserve to have the kind of love that I give others.

All the things I pray to find in a man – he spoke those things as if reading from the pages of my open heart.

The more he spoke, the more I knew that this was God speaking healing to my heart from the most unlikely of places. He spoke things only God knows I struggle with. Since this guy knew me from the time I was 12 – he watched me struggle with things – he spoke truth into some long-standing lies and broke their power over me. When God decides to speak – he speaks, using whatever mouth he wants to speak from.

When he was done speaking, I told him I accept his apology and told him I forgive him. Then we said goodbye for the last time.

Another page turned.

These God moments actually came after another surprise phone call I received last night. This, too, was from someone God used to speak healing to my heart. This one, though a page turned, actually marks the beginning of a new chapter in that particular friendship.

Why am I posting this?

Sometimes God speaks to me this way – through the most unlikely people. And I’m being vulnerable because maybe you’re struggling like me and these words can help breathe life back into you too.

Interestingly, I’ve been mostly off my phone for almost a month – which is exactly how God chose to bring healing – through the phone. AND – I’ve decided that I’m going to rely less on text and more on actual voice calls because text is often misinterpreted.

Interesting then, isn’t it – how tonight’s ugly text brought me pain, while the voice calls from tonight and last night brought me healing.

God cares about even the smallest details.

It goes to show me that I can trust that He will work in me if I’ll trust Him, follow Him, and let Him work HIS way. I control nothing. Not even my own healing.

And it shows me that He knows every detail of my heart and wants to heal me in ALL of my broken places.

And that, my friends, is how I finally turned the page.

Posted in Uncategorized

My Final Goodbye

Dear Insecurity,

I never thought I’d be sitting here writing you this letter. In fact, I didn’t realize you’d taken up residence in my life at all until someone showed me a picture. And there you were – right in close behind me – photo bombing my life. You were in every frame. I just didn’t know it until I slowed down long enough to look through my life’s photo gallery.

And there you were, in

Every. Single. Frame.

I addressed you by your formal name, Insecurity, but you have many an alias: Self-Doubt, Hesitancy, Apprehension, Fear, Anxiety, Panic, Timidity. And you come in unannounced with your usual gang of thugs – Pride, Vanity, Stubbornness, Control, Jealousy, Codependency, Unforgiveness, Relationship-Addiction, Lust, and Gossip.

What a motley crew.

The sad thing is – I opened the door and let you all in, and you just stayed, satisfied with using me as a host until I looked in the mirror someone was kind enough to hold up for me and found my heart dehydrated, malnourished, lethargic, barely beating.

You thrived while I slowly began to die.

But something happened recently. Remember those proverbial photo albums I just mentioned? I found some older ones in my memory. I found the ones from when my heart was pure and healthy and strong. Before you. Before I became this sick version of myself.

With you and your cheering squad (all those I allowed in my life that fed you and made you stronger) I became a weaker version of myself. I allowed people you also inhabited into my life who promised to make me happy, yet bled me dry.

You’ve lied and lied and I’ve believed and believed, but it’s time for me to stand up to you and replace your lies with Truth.

I am not who you say – I am who I AM says I am.

I am not insecure – I am secure in the finished work of Jesus’ blood on the cross.

I am not better off dead – I am alive in Christ. It’s the OLD me who is dead. Get it straight.

I am not anxious or depressed – I am equipped with a sound mind.

I am not illegitimate – I am adopted.

I am not unforgiveable – I am forgiven.

I am not unworthy – I am bought with a high price.

I am not broken – I am fearfully and wonderfully made (present tense).

I am not a lost cause – I am redeemed.

I am not ugly in any way – I am beautiful.

I am not controlling – I AM is in control.

I am not your friend – I am a friend of God, which means you are my enemy.

I am not unlovable – I am loved.

You are not welcome in my life any longer. You and your entire aforementioned crew are henceforth banished from me. Forever. As a permanent statute. This document is legal and binding.

Get off my property in the Almighty name of the Everlasting God, Lord of my life.

Run away and never return.

As I begin to grow and get nourishment and live again there’s no doubt my life will get better. Your effects on my life are not permanent.

No doubt, though – our paths WILL cross again – because I know you need a host in which to live, and when I see you thriving off of someone else, I will show them the old crippled way in which I used to live when I allowed you trespass, and when they see the new me, they will know Christ and they will evict you. So don’t get comfortable.

No, we’re not parting on good terms. No, we’re not ever going to be friends again. I’m blocking you upon hitting send.

One final thought, Insecurity and Crew,

Go back to hell where you belong.

This is my final goodbye.

-Melissa

Posted in Uncategorized

There’s No Anesthetic For A Broken Heart

There is no anesthetic for a broken heart.
No stick to bite
No hand to hold
At least not the one you wish you could hold.
There’s no remedy for a heart break
Especially one that’s finally healed stronger that before
And now it’s broken again
In the same place
And you know this process because
You’ve endured it before.

When I had my hysterectomy
The surgery lasted over 3 hours,
All because
Where they were cutting
Had been cut 3x before via c-section
And thick, hardened scar tissue had formed.
In fact, my uterus had become entangled in all that scar tissue
So they couldn’t separate it easily.
It had to be cut and cleaned up –
Scar tissue and all.

This time the healing hurt worse than before.
Good thing I didn’t need that organ anymore.
It had done it’s job well.

But that’s exactly how my “heart” feels right now:
Entangled in scar tissue.
Every beat restricted by
Tissue that I’ve built up to
Help me heal before.
But unlike my uterus,
I need my heart.
It is central to life.
And unlike my hysterectomy,
There’s no anesthetic for this.

Some days I don’t feel it at all.
But the worst part about healing isn’t the initial cut.
It’s when the nerve endings
Grow and reconnect and do their job of allowing you to feel again.
But as it heals, it’s so excruciating that I don’t want to feel.

I wrote these words recently.
They accurately describe
How I feel tonight.

But…
A friend of mine had a vision this morning.
She said she saw a band-aid over a wound,
Then the Lord showed her that
He was on the inside, beneath the skin,
Stitching the wound closed.
As she talked I began to cry.
This vision
Is exactly what’s happening
With me right now.
Oh, the pain is agony…
I won’t lie or sugar-coat this:
This is the worst heartache yet
Because of having to
Cut through all the previous
“Scar tissue” from
Past heartaches so I
Heal thoroughly this time.
But at least now I know
That this time
The healing is being orchestrated
By the best Healer.

I am trying to still my
Aching heart,
To quiet my spirit,
And let Him work.

Perhaps it’s time to just rip off the band-aid,
It’s not doing me any good anyway.
Everyone can see the
Gaping wound in my heart that I’m trying so hard to hide.
It’s no secret.
I feel like I’ve had more heartache
Than most people do
In a lifetime and I’ve
Officially had enough.

So…
I need to rip it off and trust
That this time the healing is happening
From the inside out.
One precious stitch at a time.

Healing has no timeline.
I am learning.

Posted in Uncategorized

My Heart Begs for Table Scraps

My dog is precious. Her name is Princess. She is a Cocker Spaniel with soft, silky black fur, sweet brown eyes, and when she curls up beside me on the couch and falls asleep with her head in my lap, it melts my heart.

But when I’m cooking dinner and she’s underfoot begging for scraps…ugh. And when my son put his burger too close to the edge of the table and walked into the kitchen for a drink only to find his burger gone and Princess licking her lips… super ugh.

“Dog!” I say with a raised voice…”didn’t I already feed you?!”

Yes. I fed her. She’s just waiting to see if something better gets dropped before resorting to her bowl of dry Beneful.

She’s just doing what doggies do. But I think sometimes that I have been just like the dog when it comes to relationships.

Waiting at the door for attention. Underfoot in the kitchen begging for scraps. Waiting. Pacing. Hoping someone will knock something off the counter. A kind word. A coffee meeting that I can pretend is a date. A text that is probably sent to multiple people as a copy, paste, repeat moment people never admit they do, but it won’t matter…it will FEEL special to me. I will feel singled out. Important. Oh, I know it’s not real love, it’s friendship, or conquest, or boredom, but who cares? It’s a scrap – quickly consumed, yet something that satisfies – for the moment.

I’m worthy of being taken out for a nice, quiet dinner and conversation. I’m way too precious to be begging for the leftovers of someone’s time and attention.

I’ll stop overgeneralizing. You get the analogy.

I am finally realizing that I don’t have to beg for love. I am worthy of love. And if someone doesn’t freely give it, it’s not real and it’s no good for me.

And I’m learning that when someone says let’s just be friends, they mean they’re not interested in more than that with me. Period.

I’ve looked back and counted the number of guy-good-friends I have had and it’s a lot and they all have the pattern of one casual coffee date quickly becoming “good” friends. Still praying through why I’m never seen as more than that. I still have a ways to go on understanding this one. Perhaps God is protecting me. That, and I’m a fantastic friend.

I am learning so many things lately.

I am learning to be quiet. To be content with what I have. To understand the difference between friendship-love and forever-love. To enjoy my life all by myself so much that I am not begging any longer for love and attention.

I am learning who I am and what my life-assignment is.

The last two days of this 40-day-journey (I’m on day 25 right now) I plan to take a short, unplugged, solo two-night trip – just God and me. To journal. To read. To pray. To breathe. To cry. To celebrate a successful journey.

Have I done this journey perfectly? No.

Have I made progress? Definitely.

If you’re praying, I appreciate you, more than you know.

Pray my heart heals. I realized tonight that although I’ve come really far, my heart still has open wounds that are still too painful to touch. They are painful because my feelings are 100% real. I learned that tonight too, when that place was touched for a moment and I winced, internally. Insta-tears. That’s how you know…

I’m just being real here. Because you who read me really pray and really love the real me.

Thank you.

Love you too.