Posted in family, Friends, Life Lessons, Love, Word

When the Unexpected Happens

Has your life ever come to an end punctuation that you weren’t quite expecting? Haven’t you been so sure of one thing, only to, at the turn of a phrase, been suddenly unsure, and ended your sentence with a question mark instead of an exclamation point?! (Okay – that’s the word nerd in me.)

More practical:
Have you ever gone home to what you thought was a solid marriage, but then had to pack your bags suddenly because you discovered your spouse was cheating or wanting out? Or have you ever had an unexpected Cancer diagnosis? Or have you ever gone to work carefree one morning only to find out your job was suddenly ending? Or been in the car talking about dinner one minute and been hit by a deer the next and found yourself covered in glass and debris? That last one happened to one of my best friends this week. (Praise God she’s recovering well.)

I’m saying – there’s not much in life that is constant. At least not in mine. I feel like for the past 16 years I have been living in “what if” mode.

I’m constantly wondering what’s next.

But I’ve found some constants that keep me steady when things change suddenly.

  • Daily Bible reading
  • Worship music in my earbuds at work
  • Family time
  • Intentional time with friends

If I am not in the Word and constantly reminding myself that “God’s got this even when the unexpected happens,” then when the unexpected does happen, I return to my former ways of thinking. These include being slow to listen, quick to speak, and quick to anger.

But the Word reminds me to “…understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.”
James 1:19‭-‬20 CSB

And that, “The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and great in faithful love.”
Psalms 145:8 CSB

I want to be more like Him.

So I perked up when I came across Beth Moore’s quote from “The Faithful” Bible Study on Old Testament Heroes that says “When our old priorities don’t go with our new life, we either return to our old life or adopt new priorities.”

I love my new life. If you knew me before I surrendered to God, you know why. My old life was a mess. With Him life is not perfect, but the storms don’t shake me as much. And new friends and readers – if you read back over archived blogs about my life, you’ll find more storm damage than Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Andrew combined.

In fact, it’s stormy season for me right now, but you probably have no idea – because I’m in the boat with the God who tames the winds and rains and waves. Like this:

“…and as they [Jesus’ disciples] were sailing he [Jesus] fell asleep. Then a fierce windstorm came down on the lake; they were being swamped and were in danger. They came and woke him up, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to die!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waves. So they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, “Where is your faith?” They were fearful and amazed, asking one another, “Who then is this? He commands even the winds and the waves, and they obey him!”
Luke 8:23‭-‬25 CSB

In my old life I lived on my own time, with my own priorities, and on the little faith I thought I had (which was mostly self-centered.) In my new life I find that I need so much more Jesus than I think I do. Contrary to popular memes, I’m really NOT enough. In fact, I’m NOTHING without Jesus.

One final thought about new priorities that go with a new life: it’s so easy in this social media era to revisit our past and to “like” things just to be noticed. Please avoid this. If you’ve moved on to a new life, just move on.

And as we discussed in my Sunday morning group, “If that thought, lyric, or image put Jesus on the cross, (if it causes someone else to lust, or entices them to stumble, or is aimed at irritating them in some way) then it’s probably not worth liking, commenting, or posting.”

New life. New priorities. New year.

My word for 2019 is “MORE”.

What’s yours?

Posted in Cancer, Life Lessons, Word

My Word for 2019

Ups and Downs

This year has been a roller-coaster. It began January 4th with a biopsy by way of a D&C.

It continued to May 17th – when I had surgery to remove fast-growing pre-Cancerous cells by removing my uterus. It was not the surgery I signed up for. There were complications. A laparoscopic procedure became an open abdominal procedure and it took months, not weeks, to recover. I spent weeks in bed and my depression level spiked.

One thing people say they notice from my social media presence is that I am a person who absolutely trusts and believes in God. This is true.
But it is also true that my faith has been tested more this past year than any other.

Also this year – I re-gained and then quickly re-lost my sister. This has been something I’m quietly grieving. It is so deep…

I’ve felt my heart ache more times this year over more situations than I have blog space for.
I have cried more tears than I thought were humanly possible.

Finding Hope

But I’ve freshly realized that for every single horrible moment in my life, I have had the opportunity to use it to help someone else through a similar circumstance.
I am grateful for that.

This will go down as the year I fell deeply in love with God via His Word. I just can’t put it down. I prayed for this and found that God was faithful to give me an unquenchable thirst for the deeper things in the Bible.

As I struggled with the reality of Cancer this year, I’ve realize that my perspective on things is always clearer when I look upward instead of inward.

Don’t miss this: What I need is to be honest about my struggle with depression so that someone else can see what it is to struggle and still (imperfectly) rely on God.
God did not order this chaos; God is bringing order to this chaos.
I’m not sure where you are in life – but I know you’re not alone, because…I struggle too.

Word of the Year

At the end of each year, I ask God for one word or phrase that will carry me through the next year. In 2018, my word was “MEASURE(D)”. It’s interesting because I can’t tell you how many medical tests and how much of my bloodwork was measured this year. But in the end, what is immeasurable is how much I’ve grown spiritually this year and how much deeper – my love for the Lord.

My word for 2019 is “MORE”.

I can’t wait to see what that looks like.

Pray about your word for 2019 and comment here or on my Facebook page.

I’d love to know your word for 2019.

Posted in Cancer, Life Lessons, Love, Parenting, Poetry, Uncategorized, Word, Word, Truth, Life, Love

Playing Hide-and-Seek (my life story)

I was out shopping with the most beautiful girl in the world. She was 3 years old – with gorgeous red curls and bright, happy green eyes. We were at a major department store looking for a size 3T Easter dress – with extra frills, ruffle-butt tights, and those fold-down socks with the lace that look beautiful in patent leather Mary-Janes.

She kept running off – looking at the tiny purses and teddy bears. I was afraid I would lose her. So I did what any good mom would do to teach an object-lesson: I let her get lost.

hide_and_seek

This was the perfect moment – no one else was in this section. I got really quiet and just let her wander from rack to rack. Books. Toys. Purses. I didn’t let her see me. I kept hiding until I watched panic slowly set in – all over her tiny little body. Her eyes got wide. Her feet starting running. Her eyes darted all around looking for safety. Her little voice began calling out – “Mommy. Mommy? MOMMY!”

I let that go on for about 30 seconds before I scooped her up in my arms and said, “It’s okay, Baby Doll. You’re safe. Mommy’s gotcha.” And she looked up at me with her big green eyes and said, “I lost you, Mommy. I thought you were gone.”

She didn’t lose me. She only thought she did. I was right there all the time.

I’ve felt this level of panic set in before. Have you?

The first time I felt something like this I was 7. My 2 brothers and sister were all playing together behind the apartment building and I wasn’t allowed to play. They had formed a “no-Melissas allowed” club. I ran around the building to try to play anyway. They circled up. I just couldn’t believe it. Panic set in as I realized that I was alone – and left out. Big tears formed in the depths of my universe. Something shattered. I remember this being the first time I found solace in making up a story in my mind as a form of self-comfort. This was the beginning of writing for me. My parents figured out what was going on and they formed a “let’s-walk-to-7-11-to-get-a-Slurpee-club” that my siblings weren’t invited to. I learned from this to run to my authority figures for comfort. As an adult, I remember this incident when I feel left out and it reminds me to turn to God. I’m always welcome in his club.

The next time I felt like this, I was in high school. At age 16, a boy I liked from school took an interest in me. I was over-the-moon excited. I had “his-initials-plus-my-initials” written all over my school notebooks. One afternoon, when I was home alone after school, he came to my house. I was so excited that I ignored the rule about not having friends over when my parents were gone. I let him in – only to find out that he had come with 5 grown men. They made me go to my room and would not let me out. One-by-one they came in and took turns doing awful things to me. The boy who I thought liked me left me humiliated, ashamed, and feeling very alone. They warned me they would hurt my family if I told. I never told. Not anyone. This may actually be the first time my family is reading about this.

In the middle of the whole thing, one of the guys told me he loved me. This shattered my heart. If that was love – and love was what I was so desperately longing for – I didn’t really want to be loved anymore. I wasn’t sure I really even wanted to live anymore. It was at this point when I made an attempt on my own life.

I looked around and couldn’t find anyone there to rescue me. The shame, embarrassment, and guilt led me to keep this a secret – even from God. Through counseling years later I was able to open this horrible memory up and see that God was there in the room with me that day. He was screaming at those men – STOP. THIS IS MY DAUGHTER. YOU SHOULDN’T BE DOING THIS.

But His voice was drowned out by the voices of Lust, Desire, Control, and Greed simultaneously screaming – DO WHAT YOU WANT, TAKE WHAT YOU WANT, SHE’S JUST THERE FOR YOU TO USE.

God showed me that He was there that night to comfort me. He was my pink teddy bear and the blanket I slept with over my head. He was there then and on so many other nights when I cried myself to sleep and felt alone in my shame. I didn’t lose him – he was right there all along.

These incidents plus the fact that my bio-dad left before I was born caused me to have a decades-long thought pattern that said – “You’re not good enough. You’re not worthy of real love. You’re just an after-thought, a second choice. You’re not wanted. Get lost – no one wants you around here anyway. If you want love, you’ll have to do something to earn it.”

Lies. All lies.

I had a fairy-tale wedding right out of high school that resulted in two beautiful redheaded daughters.

One day my husband came home and was acting strangely. We’d had a great first 7 years. We had our moments, but it wasn’t anything major. But I’d noticed that he had become violent with his words and sometimes with his hands. I confronted him and he said he did not love me anymore. His porn habit had turned into real affairs over the last 3 years of our marriage – resulting in his latest girlfriend becoming pregnant. I didn’t know. I guess I didn’t want to know. Devastated doesn’t begin to describe what I was feeling. Some words I have for the next months after that are numb, lifeless, severely depressed, and hopeless. Once again the voices crept back into my thought-space.

I was angry. Very angry. I was angry at my husband for hurting me in this way, angry at myself for not having seen this coming, angry at God for knowing this was coming and not letting me know for 3 years, and angry at life in general. I had to move out of my home and back in with my parents while he moved his pregnant girlfriend into my home. It was humiliating.

So how does youth minister/housewife cope with this kind of tragedy? In my case – I did not cope very well. I began a secret life of binge drinking on weekends when my kids were gone to their father’s house. They say bitterness is a poison you give yourself – hoping the other person will suffer. My drinking and lifestyle of masking my pain through any means necessary was a poison. I felt unlovable. I was taking out all of my frustrations alright – but all that I was doing was only hurting ME.

The lowest point for me was in the middle of the divorce. I was at a party one night at an apartment when everyone all went home at once – everyone but me and the guy who lived there. He kept pouring and I had kept drinking, but that last drink after everyone left must have had something in it – because the room began to wobble and I only remember bits and pieces of a torturous, sick, violent rape that must have lasted a couple of hours – and I was powerless to stop it. I woke up in an upstairs room – alone. I stumbled around, found my keys, and left – still full of liquor, or whatever it was I’d been given. I honestly think an angel rode in the passenger seat while I drove home that night – because how I got myself and my car home in one piece is a mystery. I decided that night I wanted to try to reconcile with my husband and make things right with my little family again. My kids deserved a whole family – and I was hell-bent on making sure they had one – even if it meant I had to do a makeover on my marriage. My husband agreed – but he had already told my parents about my having gone to a party and that I’d been drinking – so they kicked me out and, because I had no other alternative, I could not take my kids. I tried to explain about the night before and my transformed heart, but it was too late – the decision had been made. I was furious with what had just happened to me, and now I was furious that my desire to start over had failed. I lived the next two weeks out of my car, in the backroom of the store I managed, one night at a laundry mat, and at different friend’s apartments. After two long miserable weeks, I told my dad I was coming home – taking my kids, getting a divorce, and moving into an apartment. Enough was enough. I stopped drinking, reconciled with God, and tried to get my life back in order.

If I’m with you and you have a glass of wine and I politely decline, this is why. I’m not judging, it’s just that it reminds me of where I’ve been – and that’s a place I’d rather not remember.

Three years later I was back on my feet, studying for my undergrad in English at the local university, and raising my two girls. We moved out of the apartment after a year and back in with my folks so that I could focus on my studies.

During my time at the university, my brother died of cancer and my sister decided to leave the family – for good. Just because I don’t give these incidents many words here doesn’t mean they didn’t hurt me to my core.

Life thus far had been a hide-and-seek game with God – mostly hide. But what happened in 2007 changed the entire course of my life.

It was July 2007, right in the middle of my summer session at the university. I was taking what amounted to Poetry 101 and it was my day to be “workshopped.” I had printed enough copies of my poem for each member of the class and was expected to distribute them and have everyone critique my words. I was nervous. It was Texas Summer hot outside. I was suddenly overcome with nausea. Breakfast became a memory.
After the grueling 90-minute poetry workshop where my writing was called mediocre, at best, I made my way to the on-campus medical clinic.
I gave blood, endured the necessary pee-in-this-cup moment, laid down on the paper-covered table, and waited.
I must have fallen asleep because the Nurse Practitioner shook my shoulder.
Miss Fairchild?
Yes?
I figured out what’s wrong.
Okay?
You’re pregnant.
I almost fell off the table.
My mind raced to an awful night four months before. I looked at her calendar and pointed to the date.
Yes – I remember. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was just one lonely moment during March Madness. Just one.

I pulled into my driveway 15 minutes later and spied my Mom on the porch swing reading to my 6-year-old, whose auburn pigtails wobbled as she flew into my arms. My 11-year-old was inside getting ready for the water park trip I’d promised them that afternoon.
Mommy’s home!
My heart felt sick. How do I explain this to my girls? How in the world was I going to make ends meet with another kiddo on the way?
I sent the kids to their bedroom to finish getting ready for the water park and began to weep uncontrollably. My parents noticed.
All I could think was – my folks are gonna kill me. They are pastors at a local church. How do you tell your Dad, who is also your pastor, that you’re unmarried and pregnant?
Between sobs, I finally formed the words – I’m pregnant.
The truth escaped my mouth with finality. I repeated it to myself. Wow.
Mom started to ask several questions all at once, but Dad quieted the room.
He looked at me, right into my heart, and he slowly and deliberately spoke these words:
“You are my daughter, and I love you.

In one sentence, years worth of feeling less-than, feeling used, abandoned, abused, picked last, feeling unlovable, unforgivable, unworthy, and like I just didn’t belong came to a grinding halt.

In one sentence I felt God speaking through my father’s mouth.

He spoke to my identity “You are my daughter,…”

He spoke to his identity “…and I love you.”

I belong to him and am fully loved because he IS love.

I’ve had many more adventures and mishaps since this day. I’ve written or will write about most of them—just look back or wait for the next blog if you want to see what else has happened in my crazy life. But since that day I’ve had a deep-seated knowing in my gut that I’m not alone. And I’m not alone because God is with me. And because God is with me, he won’t let me panic for too long.

And in the times where I’ve panicked and looked around, frantically searching for God where I’ve thought – “I lost you, God. I thought you were gone,” He has been so faithful to remind me that I didn’t lose him. I only thought I did. He was right there all the time.

I hope you feel God speaking to you from your screen, “You are my daughter (son), and I love you.”

And I hope your life will change – starting today.

If you’re going through any of the things I’ve gone through – please email me or message me and let’s talk about it. I’m always good for coffee and conversation.

And if you don’t know the God I’ve been writing about, please let me introduce you.

He’s a good, good Father. The best way to find him is to stop hiding and start seeking. Let’s seek him – together.

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

Vines, Cancer, & the Gardener

The problem with my busy life is I seldom find myself on the back porch with a decent cup of coffee and an open Bible. I did that today, for just a moment. I listened to the birds, watched the dog chase squirrels, and marveled at the beauty of the first open blossom on our Magnolia tree.

At first glance, this is just a blossom. But just like people – we all have a story. Let me tell you how this blossom came to be and how it relates to your life.

The Blossom’s Story

You see, for years this beautiful spot in my backyard was a vast tangle of vines, so much so that we didn’t even know this Magnolia tree was trying to grow. But because of the vines, there was not sufficient light getting to it, so it stayed small and insignificant.

One day my Dad decided to hire a crew to start chopping down the vines. The mass of dead trees, leaves, and branches overtook our front curb, but the crew just kept on bringing them around from the backyard.

When the crew went home, the backyard spot looked sparse – almost sad. I wondered if this little area would ever look good. The city brought out it’s wood chipping trucks the next week and the old dead branches were gone.

If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
John 15:6 HCSB

That was two months ago. Today I walked outside and saw this:

My Cancer Story

Last October I found myself at the doctor’s office due to abnormal bleeding (TMI? Maybe so, but it’s worth telling if it gets you to go to the doctor if this happens to YOU.) The doctor ordered a sonogram of my abdomen to see what was causing this. My uterus was abnormally large, it’s walls abnormally thick, and the look on the doctor’s face told me a story I didn’t want to hear. He ordered a biopsy because I had all the markings of early stage Endometrial Cancer. My insurance was awful, so I waited until January to get the biopsy. In the meantime, I lived in fear of what might be growing in me.

January came and I had a D & C. The biopsy of that showed a lot of precancerous cells. The Dr removed most of the cells; we decided to wait and see what happened.

In April a sonogram showed new cell growth. In May I had a hysterectomy that went 2 hours overtime. I’m writing this as I recover from an open abdominal hysterectomy instead of a laparoscopic procedure. The doctor had to take out an ovary because he found out it was tangled when he got in there. He also found a massive amount of precancer cells, fibroids, and adenyomyosis.

When I walked outside for coffee this morning and remembered how this garden spot used to look – it reminded me of my insides – ugly, tangled branches that were literally going to kill me from the inside out. And like the yard crew cutting down the vines to let the Magnolia tree grow, if the doctor hadn’t cut out the bad places, I would have failed to thrive, or even ceased to live.

The Gardener’s Story

(Stay with me. This is where it gets good.)

Since October of last year I have had interactions with countless old friends and relatives. In every instance I found myself faced with someone with whom I’d had conflict. Sometimes the conflict was inflicted by me, sometimes by them. In each case we have come to a new understanding. Either I got to make ammends in some way, or they finally apologized and made ammends in some way with me, or we simply parted ways. These included people who had mentored me or whom I’d mentored. They included my ex-husband, my sister, a cousin, my bio-Dad, friends, enemies, people I’d harmed, you name it. Even myself.

The more often this happened, the more I began to realize that these moments were orchestrated by God. There have been too many to have been coincidental.

It’s as if my life were the overgrown garden spot and God was pulling up some relationships by the roots and throwing them to the curb, or carefully exposing and pruning them so they could grow and begin to thrive.

Even my relationship with God and with myself is thriving. I’m walking with Him – daily. I’m remaining in Him, which makes all the difference.

I am the vine; you are the branches.
The one who remains in Me
and I in him produces much fruit,
because you can do nothing without Me.”
John 15:5‭ HCSB

The best part is – God has planted a new friend in my garden and has re-planted someone I have missed for a long time. You both know who you are.

Even the Cancer threat is gone. Pruned.

Pruning hurts (like my recovery) and requires me to be still and rest – but it is so worth it.

Your Story

My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples.
John 15:8 HCSB

I don’t know what your story is. I don’t know what God is doing in your life, but I’m praying today that you’ll be still, remain in Him, and let him prune out the bad and expose the good so that your life can blossom.

Don’t know the God I walk with? Just send me a private message – I’ll introduce you.

Posted in Anxiety, Depression, Teenager, Cancer, Life Lessons, Love, Parenting, Word, Word, Truth, Life, Love

Going on a Bear Hunt – I’m Not Scared!

Tonight I feel like I’m in the old nursery rhyme my kids would chant about “Going on a Bear Hunt.” In the chant the kids would search for the bear in various ways (in tall grass, behind a big tree, through a pond) and realize they couldn’t get around these things – they had to go through them.

The opening refrain was:

“Going on a bear hunt,
Gonna catch a big one,
I’m not scared.
What a beautiful day.

Can’t go over it.
Can’t go under it.
Can’t go around it.
Gotta go through it.”

I guess I’ve been on a bear hunt lately. I prepared for this. I’m a researcher – it served me well in grad school. I prepared myself for my bear hunt – a laparoscopic hysterectomy. I was gonna catch a big one – in this case my big bear is Cancer. Getting my uterus out means a lessened threat of Cancer – because these pre-cancerous cells won’t stop multiplying.

I planned to take off a week and a half from work and then work from home for 2 weeks and then go back to the office. A week and a half off of work is what my budget could stand to lose without setting me too far off-track financially. The surgery would cost this much money. I’d be fine. I’ve had surgery before – three of them being c-sections. I could handle this – no problem.
I’m not scared.
And therein lies my problem – I didn’t really prepare for unexpected complications. Certainly not for the strain this particular procedure would have on me – emotionally.
This was supposed to be a beautiful day.
By nature – I’m an encourager. There is nothing I can encourage myself with tonight. I got nothing.
Nothing could have prepared me for a switch between a laparascopic surgery and an open abdominal procedure. Nor for the fact that I seem to be grieving the loss of the womb that carried my three precious children. Nor for the fact that my hormones would cause so many tears. Nor that uncontrollable sobbing would make my stitches burn. Nor for the dread in my heart as I wait to find out if my uterus has Cancer or not.
Nothing.
And why do I feel so guilty for feeling this way? I’m a woman of faith. I feel the hand of God in my life daily. Daily. I know He is with me and for me. I know His Word instructs me not to worry. I know He has not left me – He says so, and I trust Him.
But I feel so guilty.
I feel guilty that my 21-year-old daughter has taken on the full-time job of taking care of her mother because it hurts me just to get out of bed.
I feel guilty that my 17-year-old daughter feels anxiety because of all this.
I feel guilty that I’m missing Gavin’s last week of school, and friend’s graduation parties, and so many things.
And the lonliness I feel is absolutely overwhelming. It’s the dread of not having a partner to walk through this with. It’s been 15 years without a forever kind of love – and I’m wondering if I’m just always going to walk through life without such a love. (More tears.) Is it too much to ask for a loving hand to hold through this? I’m worthy of love, right?
It’s not fair for me to put this off on my friends.
So I struggle silently.

“Can’t go over it.
Can’t go under it.
Can’t go around it
Gotta go through it.”

All I know to do is let nature take its course. I will heal in time. My hormones will regulate. Life will return to a new normal. I just gotta go through it.
I just hope that soon it will again be a beautiful day.
I must close by reminding myself of the words God gave me a few years back:
“What you’re walking through is a life-season, not a life-sentence.”
Love you,
Melissa

Posted in Uncategorized

Balance

Photo cred Annie Spratt upsplash.com

I am all glitter and tulle:
Painted smile,
Painted toes,
Satin – hot pink and black, the
Perfect outfit for the
Star of the show.

While clowns spray each other with
Silly string and fire hoses,
While the crowd roars with laughter,
While elephants parade in
Bright blankets and bare skin,
I wait for the spotlight –
I ascend the rope ladder, silently,
And wait.

This is not my first,
Nor my thousandth
Walk across a thin fate.
This is not my first circus.

The music pauses, changes, intensifies
The crowd gasps as they look
Up
Up
Up
At the next act…

I disappear and in my place
Is a performer:
A painted smile,
A sparkly entertainer,
An escape from their boring reality.

One thousand,
two hundred and
forty-three
Pairs of eyes wait for
Hot-pink-and-black
To take up her baton and
Balance her way overhead…
I pause, take my cue, and…
Look down.
“Never look down.”
How many times did they
Say that in training?
Focus.
Breathe.
Balance.
This is not my first circus.
But this IS my first time
Back after “the fall.”

It took me years to get up
The courage to train again.
Years to even think about the
Lipstick, the outfit,
The balancing act…
Yet here I stand,
Here she stands – the performer –
Doing what she, what I,
What we do best…

“Don’t project an old fear
On a new day.”

But with scars still present,
Limbs stiff from non-use,
Age sitting on me
Like a bear on my shoulders,
I…
I look down…
And step back.
The crowd boos
Someone calls,out,
“Come on – let’s see the act.”
Popcorn flies, babies cry,
My pride swells…
Okay – let’s do it then.
The first step wasn’t so hard,
Nor the second.

All of a sudden
I find myself
In the center of the rope –
One painted, glittering foot
In front of the other,
Toes pointed,
Lights catching my every move…
“Don’t project an old fear
On a new day…”
And then I see it:
A camera flash
Recalls to my mind the
Moment when I
Spiraled into nothing,
Into a sickened crowd,
Taking out half a dozen spectators
With one whiff of fear.
I find myself stumbling,
Catch myself with my baton and
Dangle there –
My palms gripping either side
Of the baton as it
Balances on the rope.

Do I swing up and let myself
Finish the act? or
Fall, or fail, or
Just give up the façade?
And is it really a façade,
Or do I really possess this talent?

Am I the talent or just a trained bit of spunk and sparkle?
Well? What am I?
Fearless.
Talented.
Inspired.

So what if I stumbled?
So what if I fell?
So what if I didn’t live up
To expectations?
Fall twice, get back up three times –
As long as the get up rate is greater than that of the fall –
Golden.
In a moment I know what happens…
I have to trust what
I know will happen…
A swing will fly,
Seemingly out of nowhere –
Unexpected by the crowd,
But He planned this long ago.
This is the work of a good Ringmaster.

I take a breath,
I swing back up,
Dive headfirst off the rope,
And wait for Him to catch me.

Melissa Fairchild (c) 2016

Posted in Cancer, Life Lessons, Love, Word

Feet to the Fire

Today I’m reading in Daniel. It’s one of my favorite stories in the Bible. In it we meet Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – three men who lived like they believed God – even if it potentially cost them their lives. Their king demanded for all of his subjects to bow to a gold statue that was 90 feet high and nine feet wide to show him their loyalty – or else be burned in a furnace. Talk about peer pressure! These brave three essentially said – “No chance, king. We only bow to our God.” So when they stood while society bowed, King Full-of-Himself said they’d better bow, or face the fire, then dared to ask “…and who is the god who can rescue you from my power?”

He’s about to find out. Read with me.

Daniel 3:16 says:

“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to the king, “Nebuchadnezzar, we don’t need to give you an answer to this question. If the God we serve exists, then He can rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and He can rescue us from the power of you, the king.”

But even if He does not rescue us, we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.”

(Daniel 3:1‭, ‬16‭-‬18 HCSB)

I’ve read this story many times, but the wonderful thing that came alive to me tonight is this:

But even if He does not rescue us… we will not serve your gods… .”

Now that’s some kind of faith.

I don’t know what you’re facing, but I know it always goes better for me when I align my life with God and focus solely on Him.

I didn’t say it is easier.

I said it always goes better for me.

I’ve bowed to alcoholism, promiscuity, bitterness, self-pity, deceit, anger, and pride more times than old King Nebuchadnezzar had subjects.

But ever since God rescued me from myself and gave me a brand new start, my whole life changed.

You see, the things I bowed to (listed above) were actually not idols at all, but thresholds to the furnace.

Last year, when I thought I might lose someone important to me, I decided not to self-medicate and instead trust God – even if that meant facing the fire. And face the fire I did. Let’s see how it worked in the Bible story.

“And these three men fell, bound, into the furnace of blazing fire.
King Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in alarm. He said … “Didn’t we throw three men…into the fire? ” “Yes, …” they replied. He exclaimed, “Look! I see four men, not tied, walking around in the fire unharmed; and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” Nebuchadnezzar then called: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, you servants of the Most High God — come out! ” So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the fire. When the king’s advisers gathered around, they saw that the fire had no effect on the bodies of these men: not a hair of their heads was singed, their robes were unaffected, and there was no smell of fire on them.
Daniel 3:24‭-‬27 HCSB

Last year the outcome for me was like these three. When I placed my trust in God and refused to bow to anyone or anything else – I still faced the fire, but I wasn’t burned by it. In fact, I felt the presence of God throughout the whole ordeal. It only served to increase my faith and that of others. My loved one is doing great – and so am I.

This week I’m facing a potential new monsterous idol I’m expected to bow down to. It is the threat of a scary disease. I could bow to self-pity, depression, anxiety, or fear, but I’m choosing to stand in its presence instead of bow.

I will stand with my heart lifted and say,

“God is able to heal me, but even if He does not rescue me, I want you to know that I will not serve any other gods or worship anything that could potentially take His place.”

I encourage you to read the end of this story for yourself and see how it ends for the old king.

I’ll tell you how my story from last year ended – in victory.

You can read my story here.

So what’ll it be?

Bow to an idol at the demand of society, or stand in the fire with the Almighty God?