Posted in heartache, Life Lessons, Love, Truth, waiting, Word, Writing

Lookin’ For Love

My mind wandered this morning to John 4 and the woman Jesus spoke with at the well. I’m often reminded of her when I mentor single moms. Why had she come to this well to draw water alone? That was an activity the women did together. For safety. For social interaction.

I’ll guess why: shame.
She was hiding.

From other women. From society. From her shame.

That’s when she met Jesus – the man who would alter the course of her life.
Jesus was sitting there alone, waiting on his disciples to get back from town with food. He asked her to draw him some water and you can almost hear her audible gasp.

“Who, me? I’m detestable.” (Paraphrasing here.)

She actually said:
“You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

Let’s stop a sec.

Single momma, how many times have you been asked to go get your husband? By a salesman? By a snarky married woman who knows you don’t have one? By a mean girl? You know what this feels like. I know what this feels like.
And the answer stammers it’s way out of your trembling mouth. Your eyes glance down, or away.
“I, I… have no husband.”
Then Jesus spoke a truth that walked right through the solid, heretofore impenetrable walls around her heart:
“You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband.”
Ouch. Yep. There it is.
But let’s be real. I’ve often wondered if there was a more shameful truth exposed here. I’d be willing to bet more than one of the 5 wasn’t her own husband, but someone else’s husband. Just keeping it real.
But Jesus knows everything and chooses to forgive anyway and offer a second chance at life. He did for me when I was that woman.

Forgiveness heals. You. The other person. It heals.

I know this hits more than single moms, but that’s who is on my mind today.

Girl, lift up your face.
I’ve done worse than you. Don’t believe me? Sit down for coffee with me one day. I’m not afraid to tell you about my past anymore because it does not own me. But hearing about it might just set you free.
Because if God can know my heart the way it was, forgive me anyway, give me a new heart, and offer me forgiveness and fill me up with love, He can and will for you too.
The Samaritan woman in this story had looked for love all her life, but was handed counterfeited love. I’m not sure what happened. Like me, did her husband leave unexpectedly and take her hope and strength and dignity with him?
Jesus wants to give you back your hope and strength and dignity.
Drink deeply of His Word.
You keep going back to the places you know will give you the love you want so badly, but you get thirsty again and just have to keep going back. And truth be told, you do the walk of shame all the way there and all the way home. Because it’s not love.

Enter Jesus.

He’s waiting to meet you and give you all the love you’ll ever want. Trust me. I know what you might be saying. “But I want a husband’s arms to hold me and love me.”

I’ve cried myself to sleep more nights than I care to admit because I want that kind of love, have it to give, yet have no one to share it with.
Oh, I know.
But each morning I choose to meet Jesus and allow His love to restore my hope, strength, and dignity and THAT is why I walk in joy and peace.
Do I want a husband?
Yes I do.
Oh, but not if it costs me even one precious drop of the love Jesus gives. I’m not giving that up. No way.

Now a man who loves Jesus and drinks deeply from His love, I’ll walk with THAT guy forever and five days.

Seriously: drink up, sister.

You’ll never thirst for love again once you’ve had the real thing.

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

One heart. Many faces.

I made a huge mistake at work today. To be fair, it’s my first week of actually doing my job and I’m still onboarding. But the impact of this was far-reaching.

I control 2 email inboxes from the same email account. One is my personal company email. The other is my team’s email. I was tasked with sending our team’s newsletter out to 500+ call center agents and managers from our team’s email. I made the newsletter, hit send, and waited for it to arrive in my personal inbox (since I fall within the recipient list).

It arrived. But it was NOT from the team email. It came from my personal account.

Audible gasp.

My breath caught. My lungs seized. My heart chugged deep and slow like the 2am train that runs through town. People who matter would see my mistake.

Got me thinking though. How many times in life do I live duplicitously?

How many sides can there be?

Work me. Home me. Friend me. Inner circle me. Church me. Mom me.

And how many times have I been caught saying something that must sound strange to an audience who either knows a different side of me, or who knows me better?

I used to be this way more than now. Now I try to always just aim for being real.

I find that this throws people off though.

I’m an encourager. I just am.

But when I struggle nowadays, and people read it in my blog or on my social media pages, they’re like…”that’s the girl who is always up. Why is SHE struggling?” And my private message box fills up with concerns.

Here’s the thing:

I am only ever up because I have chosen to get back up.

I’m gonna repeat that in case someone missed it.

I am only ever up because I have chosen to get back up.

Fallen is my natural state.

But see, now when I fail and when I fall, I get excited. Not right away. Not till I dust off my knees and clean up my wounds. But eventually I get excited.

Not for me. I get excited for others.

Because now I can see when someone else is about to fall in that same pit and I can say…”HEY! YOU! THERE’S A HUGE PIT RIGHT THERE.”

And if they fall anyway, I get to say…”Here’s my hand…let’s get you get back up. Keep going.”

So when I broadcast on social media what my inner circle already knows I’m struggling with, people aren’t ready for it. They’re ready for more encouragement. More happy.

But conversely, my inner circle probably rolls collective eyes when they see me broadcast supergirl encouragement when I just blew up our group or private chats with how I cried myself to sleep for the fifth time this week.

But what I understand is – I learn and grow best by struggling, being transparent, and getting back up.

I really do possess the capacity to walk beside people who have hurt me. And this is because I have been forgiven much, and have been loved much – so I am quick to forgive much, and quick to love much.

My teammates at work expected to see that weekly newsletter from the team, not the new-hire.

But at the end of the day (after I recalled the email and had another team member send it correctly) I realized that all the information I sent was correct.

And that’s the point. If you’re correct in what you say and how you live, you don’t have to worry about who sees or hears you.

Side note: it wasn’t my fault after all – my email lacks a setting that allows me to send anything from the team.

I’ll put in a ticket to IT on Monday.

Y’all have a great weekend.

Live with integrity.

One heart. One voice.

Life is short. Love well.

I love you.

Posted in Word

Is This On My Kid’s School Supply List?!

This is the week before school begins. More than usual, this week is all about family dinner nights out, Wal-Mart excursions (for school supplies), and various other ways the kids are finding to raid my bank account.

When I was shopping for my own school supplies at M.E. Moses (that was a five & dime store, remember those?) for elementary school, it was crayons, scissors, glue, watercolors, and construction paper. Now it’s all of that plus copy paper, Expo markers, and earbuds. Yes – earbuds.

Times, they are a changin’.

This is my last year with an elementary school student. My middle child is in her Senior year of high school. And my eldest is a Junior at the University. Sigh.

All of these changes lately have me asking questions.

Where did the time go?

How did we get here?

How do I make the most of this year with them?

What the heck?

I’m in the 2nd week of a FREE Beth Moore online Bible study called The Quest. The sessions are free, you just have to buy your workbook (I bought mine on Amazon.com). The sessions are free to view online until September 30th. I get there by going to https://blog.lifeway.com.

In The Quest I’m learning not just to study the Bible (as you’d expect from Beth Moore), but to let the lessons dust off the leaf-covered paths in my life of faith. Somehow I’ve become so accustomed to lacing up my hiking boots and grabbing a water bottle on my way out to hike this forest of faith, but I’ve forgotten all direction. I’m all routine. No destination.

I’d forgotten beautiful well-worn paths I’ve walked with God. I’m so accustomed to throwing in a pair of necessary-for-life (and apparently elementary school) earbuds and listening to worship music or re-listening to the Sunday sermon via podcast, or scrolling through my Bible app and letting it read the Word to me, but I’ve left my gold-edged brown leather Bible pages to stick together and gather dust on a shelf.

But the last 2 weeks, highlighter and colored pens in hand, I’ve been cross- referencing and journaling and pouring my heart out to God aloud and onto the workbook pages and my life suddenly feels right. Fulfilled.

I’m encouraging you, as I’ve encouraged my kids this week – get in the Word and see what happens.

Like poetry? Psalms

Need wisdom? Proverbs

Like great stories? Genesis & Exodus

I find a new treasure every time I read.

This weeks challege:

Skip Netflix, ditch your earbuds, read the Word.

Posted in Life Lessons

Just Get in the Game

Yesterday my son taught me yet another valuable lesson.

We were sitting quietly on a hill yesterday afternoon waiting for the fireworks to begin. Just the two of us. Out of the blue he said, “Mom, next time lets bring a football.” I’d been lost somewhere in my own thoughts and this brought me back to reality.

A football. Yes. Next time son.

Then I sat up and pointed to a group of boys his age tossing a football around. I encouraged him to join them. He hesitated at first, pondered the situation, then said, “Yeah – okay, I think I will.”

Anything athletic for him brings with it anxiety. He was born with a coordination disorder called Dyspraxia. It leaves him a beat behind the rest of the boys. But within the first five minutes of a guy showing him throwing techniques, he was throwing a spiral with the rest of them. I’ll admit to a Momma tear as I watched from my blanket on the hill. Okay, maybe two.

Today I recorded a radio interview with some good friends of mine. I was giving my testimony. I feel so much passion about speaking to single moms. But speaking to a broad audience brings me anxiety, whereas I’m better mentoring someone one-on-one. I tend to get my words mixed up. It’s odd how the thoughts in my head when I’m writing are crystal clear, fluid, and on point. But when I open my mouth to speak, I feel like I’ve got nothing to say that anyone would want to hear, and it casues me to second-guess every single word I say. It all just comes out wrong.

I came home from the radio interview a bit discouraged.

As we were making dinner, I asked my son what it was inside of him that gave him courage to go play with those boys yesterday. He said this:

“I just remembered that when I was in 1st grade it was fun to play. No one made fun of me. It was just fun. And I wanted to get into the game and have fun.”

So there you have it.

I just need to remember to do things in life for the fun of it.

My anxieties would lessen if I’d quit worrying about my precision with and my execution of things (speaking, working, pursuing my passions, etc.) and just start enjoying each moment. So what if I don’t throw a perfect spiral the first time. At least I’m enjoying the game.

Life is short. Have fun. Be present.

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