Posted in healing, heartache, Jesus, Life Lessons, Love, Prayer, Truth, Word, Writing

Me, Being Vulnerable

I took this picture on a beautiful night on a beach in Ventura, California. It was the only long trip I took with my husband. This is the cover of my book. It’s breathtaking. But I cannot look at it without wanting to throw up.
Why? He left. Suddenly. Had a baby with someone else.

Betrayal by someone you intimately, ultimately trusted (bio Dad, exes, friends who violently assaulted me) makes you question your worth, your decision making skill set, your whole life. It can cause you to dissociate from yourself. To cling to anyone who appears to love you while pushing them away with your actions. It causes you to feel unsafe in every single relationship you have. It’s cost me real love, and time, and closeness with people I adore.

It shuts you down, forces you to cope one way or the other. For me, I drank to numb the pain. I couldn’t handle it.

Sixteen years later I’m finally feeling it. All of it. Without the aid of any pain killers. And it’s excruciatingly hard. I’m putting in the hard work of letting myself feel and heal.

I’m realizing that every time I walk away from God, or yell at the sky “why?” and “where were you?” I’m accusing him of being guilty of what my ex, and the monsters who attacked me and the ex bf who emotionally abused me, (and even myself for staying so long) are actually guilty of. That’s also betrayal. God understands betrayal. I’ve done it to him so many times. He hates that they did this to me. He hates that I allowed it for so long. It’s scary letting God into my wounds. But he’s not a man. I can trust him. He’s safe.

So if my eyes leak when we talk, you’ll know why. I’m learning and growing and healing. It’s the bravest, hardest thing I’m doing. It will take time and tears and effort to learn to trust and love and live fully. But in the end I’ll be better.

If I have opened up with you over coffee or messenger and shared my heart, perhaps this gives you some insight into how scary that has been for me. You’ve probably wondered why I cling or put up a wall and then cling again. This is why. I have a beautiful broken heart.

Why am I being so vulnerable?
Because somewhere someone is numbing their pain instead of facing it. So this is me, finally facing more trauma than I’ll EVER share on social media, saying to YOU – if I can, you can too.

If this is you, message me. I promise I’ll pray for you.

I love you. Yes, YOU. You’re so worthy of love. You’re too precious to walk through life with a wounded heart. Be brave with me. Let Jesus heal your heart.

Love,
Melissa

Posted in Poetry, Writing

Nice and Slow

Lying here awake tonight
As the clock ticks off the time
Nice and slow
Nice and slow

Just outside of town
The 1 am train takes its bow
Its whistle blows
Its whistle blows

Can’t get you off my mind
The train, it’s right on time
But no one knows
But no one knows

You’re not coming home
You’re not coming home
You’re not coming home

I’ve run a needle through Patsy Cline,
Five or 7 times
And Norah Jones
And Norah Jones

It’s just begun to storm
I pull the covers over my arms
The lighting glows
The lighting glows

I just can’t tell my friends
The truth that shakes my bones
Because no one knows
Because no one knows

You’re not coming home
You’re not coming home
You’re not coming back home

Posted in healing, heartache, Letters, Life Lessons, Love, Poetry, Truth, waiting, Writing

Tear-stained Wisdom

You never really knew me until you sat across from me at coffee on a cloudy day and watched the rain fall from my eyes.

You never really understood me until you let me get past the catch in my throat that’s always there when I sit across from you.

It’s as I listen to your heart through your words that I can make sense of my own feelings, which is why I always pause and let silence stand between us for a long moment before I speak.

It’s when I make sense of my own feelings that I can process yours. Then I can give you the tear-stained wisdom that is chiseled in my soul.

I never really knew you until I sat across from you and realized that we can both as freely give as receive wisdom and love.

And I’d like to know you more.

And I’d like for you to know me more.

But texts don’t form tears, or capture the pitch when you really laugh out loud, or give a full picture of what’s inside a heart.

But it’s all we can do now.

And it’s going to be really hard to give my whole heart again to anyone else when it’s broken but still yours. But it’s going to be hard for anyone else to break my heart when it isn’t really whole because it’s still yours.

I can only let time and silence and steadfast prayer heal me.

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

Girl, Lift Your Face

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 look in the mirror in the mornings. Why had she come to this well to draw water alone? That was an activity the women usually did together. For safety. For social interaction.

I’ll guess why she was there alone. She felt shame. She was hiding.

Hiding from other women. From society. From her soiled reputation.

Guilt will always point out what I’ve done (which is healthy), but shame sneaks in and replaces my own name.

Hello, my name is (fill-in-the-blank).

  • Adulteress
  • Fat girl
  • Single Mom
  • Divorced
  • Lonely
  • Heart-broken
  • Insecure
  • Flawed
  • Unwanted
  • Ugly
  • Annoying
  • Unworthy
  • Useless
  • Stupid
  • Unlovable

Has shame ever replaced your name with something else?

It has replaced every one of the above names for my name at times throughout my life.

So there she was – sneaking away to get water, and that’s when she met Jesus – the man who would change 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 (fill-in-the-blank).” (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.

How many times over the past 16 years have I been asked to go get my husband? By a salesman? By a snarky married woman who knows I don’t have one? By a mean girl? I know what this feels like.
And the answer stammers it’s way out of my trembling mouth. My eyes glance down, or away.
I, I… have no husband. He left me for someone else he got pregnant.

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.

Can I just be honest? Every time I read this story I put myself in her place, but I imagine Jesus’ answer to me would be more like, “You’re right – since your husband left you’ve had 2 other women’s husbands and 2 boyfriends you let act like a husband.”

The fact that Jesus knows everything and chooses to forgive anyway and offer a second chance at life always astounds me. He did this same thing for me when I was in a similar place as that woman.

Forgiveness heals.

I want to address something else shame has done to me over the years. Because I was sexually assaulted, shame has said I’m damaged – permanently.

I hope you’ve never endured a sexual assault of any kind, but something tells me someone reading right now either has or knows someone who has.

It was not your fault. It wasn’t.

Shame likes to whisper that it was. Shame likes to whisper that if I just wouldn’t have opened the door it wouldn’t have happened.

That’s a lie.

Girl, lift your face.

Enter Jesus who replaced my name with who he says I am.

My name is:

  • Chosen
  • Redeemed
  • Righteousness
  • Beautiful
  • Daughter
  • Lovely
  • Loved
  • Lovable
  • Pure

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 gave me back my hope and strength and dignity. And he wants to do the same for you.

I had to stop going back to the places I thought would give me the love I want so badly. It just made me thirsty for more so I just kept going back.

But I was never satisfied, because that was not love.

My Jesus met me where I was – even though I was trying to hide my shame from everyone. He gave me all the love I’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 darling, I know.
But each morning I choose to meet Jesus and allow His love to restore my hope, strength, and dignity. THAT is why I walk in joy and peace.
Do I want a husband?
Yes, I absolutely 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.

Drink up, sister. Drink deeply of His love. Nothing else will ever satisfy.

Hello, my name is: Melissa, Loved, Beautiful, Hand-crafted, Adored, Poetess, Daughter of God.

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 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.

Posted in constitution, Letters, Life Lessons, Writing

My Personal Constitution

Me a Person fed up with the relentless pursuit of keeping up with everyone else’s wants and wishes, in Order to form a more perfect Life, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for my personal Defense, promote my general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to myself and my life, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the Life of Melissa.

My Personal Constitution

One: I retain the right to establish and exercise my faith in the way I so choose. In so saying this, I today declare that I am a child of God, an instrument to be used at His bidding; I am Christ minded, Spirit filled, and Heaven bound.

Two: I retain the right to establish, maintain, and defend my self respect. No person who comes against my self respect shall be allowed to remain an active part of my life.

Three: I retain the right to nurture, protect, and defend the children God has entrusted me with. In my children’s defense, I will not put up with any man coming around them without first proving to be a stable provider, a great father figure, and a willingly active participant in their lives. And no one else for that matter shall be allowed entrance into my children’s lives without respecting my position as a parent.

Four: I retain the right to protect my heart against the advances or trickery of any man who only wants to engage in immoral conduct. Any man wishing to be in my life must first be compared to the following list and meet these minimum requirements:

  1. Love God with all his heart
  2. Love me at least as much as I love him
  3. Possess the ability to actively communicate with me about all things
  4. Be educated and possess a mind that wants to continually learn
  5. Hold a stable job and have an adequate income for providing for me and my children
  6. Possess the patience, love, attention, and discipline necessary for raising children
  7. Remember special occasions and mark them with me in some way
  8. Possess a creative energy and flow; as writing is the key to my heart
  9. Posses the desire to maintain his own space and personal life while allowing and respecting my desire to do the same
  10. Be honest and trustworthy
  11. Posses the desire to date me; woo me, charm me, and impress me even after the first few months of dating and/or marriage
  12. Possess the ability to receive love in return
  13. To not be actively addicted to any substance, object, mindset, or activity
  14. Never cheat on me or go outside our relationship for any form of intimacy
  15. Posses the desire to pray with me and promote our family’s spiritual growth
  16. Never abuse or manipulate me mentally, emotionally, physically, or in any way

Five: I retain the right to guard my individuality; to walk through life at my own pace without being pressured by others to conform or dumb down my intelligence for any reason. I retain the right to determine and defend my life’s code of morality, political views, and points of view without the express input of others.

Six: I retain the right to remove myself from society now and again for the purposes of self reflection and growth without fear of retaliation, pressure, or questions afterwards.

Seven: I retain the right to protect my personal property including but not limited to my physical property and my thoughts as spoken or printed. Plagiarism and thievery will not be tolerated.

Eight: I retain the right to remain human. Realizing I am prone to sin as are those around me: forgiveness, grace, and mercy shall be reciprocally distributed between myself and any person wishing to walk in close proximity to me. I expect those closest to me to point out my imbecilities lovingly and, when I repent, to not hold such against me so that I can be restored, if need be, to right standing with God and man.

Nine: I retain the responsibility of being a good friend: to stand by those who stand by me, to love openly, to share my life with, and to value those persons that I hold in high esteem.

Ten: I retain the right to propose Amendments to this constitution at any time so long as they don’t dispute or negate these first ten. I retain the right to do so without the express consent or negotiation of any other party or person.

Done in closed session by the sole Consent of myself present the Sixth Day of February in the Year of our Lord two thousand and eight and have hereunto subscribed my Name,

Melissa Ann Fairchild