Monday, January 30, 2017

Something NEW is coming!!!



Oh my goodness, friends, I am SO excited to share what God is doing!  Something new is coming! God has put something on my heart and I am being obedient and following His lead.  About three years ago, I started on a health and wellness journey.  What originally started as a way to lose some weight and become healthy became so much more! God has shown me that it's about stewardship of what He has given us and caring for ourselves so we can in turn care well for those around us: our families, the church, and so forth.  

I am super humbled and excited to introduce you to I Am Free 2 B.  This is a membership community for  women who desire to be free to be who God created us to be. We are women who love Jesus and desire to be good stewards of our bodies.  The word God keeps giving me is "toolbox."  This site is a toolbox for women who want to grow in the Lord with the renewing of their mind, healthy foods, healthy bodies and in turn, live a healthy life, free to be who He created us to be!

As a member of this community, you will receive the following:

* One Personal Development book recommendation for the month as we renew our minds together.
* Two clean eating recipes/week

* Suggestions and ideas for exercise
* Tips, tricks, inspiration and motivation to live the life He called you to {this will be in 1 blog post/week}.
* Access to lots of resources to equip and help you on your journey, including a meal planner, grocery template, companies that promote freedom and so on.
* Access to a members only facebook group where we can pray for each other, connect and have some member challenges.

If you'd like to learn more, please visit the site here.  This isn't about a product, or program, but about equipping you to be who God created you to be for His glory!  I'd love for you to be a part!

Blessings,
Melissa

Friday, January 27, 2017

Love and Some Thoughts On It

It's Friday afternoon and I was watching the March for Life in D.C. on the t.v.  Now that I have turned it off to write this post, I'm listening to Pandora.  "It Is Well," by Bethel is playing.  Man, this song is amazing!  Check it out here.  Seriously, this song gets me every time I hear it. {Sometimes I might act like the keyboard of my laptop is a piano and like I am playing along with it, but I'm getting off track here....}  This is one to play on repeat, over and over again.  {Now that it's over on Pandora, it is on YouTube.  At least there you can repeat it, lol!}


Oh, and I am wearing this shirt, which is where the blog idea came from. Love. Something it doesn't seem we are seeing a lot of lately, on the whole.  I think overall, if we were asked to describe the tone of our nation now, words like angry, upset, bitter, might come to mind, but loving.....not sure it would be up there.  Would you agree, or am I just tainted here?  {If that's the case, good!}




Not too long ago, {like less than hours ago!}, I posted this picture and said something like "choose love today. #loveyourneighborasyourself" Then, it hit me!  Is the reason we aren't full of love for our neighbor because we don't love ourselves?  I don't mean like a cocky, arrogant, full of yourself love, but the love the Bible talks about.  Are we walking around with our hurts, wounds and baggage that we either aren't willing to get rid of, or don't know how to get rid of and we are just walking around in our hurt and brokenness, projecting our hurts onto everyone around us?  I'm not asking to be judgmental, I'm asking because I have been there.  Ask my husband.  

"Hurting people hurt people," is something I have heard a lot and for the first part of our marriage, it was true and lived out daily.  I was so hurt, broken, wounded, offended, upset by things that had happened in the past that were affecting my current reality.  I was a hurting person hurting those around me {often those closest because I was safe with them, knew they loved and accepted me.  It wasn't this way with others, though.}

Is this what is happening in our society, but behind the filters of social media, we throw those fiery darts at our "friends?"  Have we wanted so bad to be right and show we are right, that we have forgotten WHAT is right? To be honest, the amount of hurtful things I have read on facebook has been heartbreaking.   It makes me wonder if we were in person, or face to face, would we be as bold and abrasive with our comments?  {And, just to disclaim here, no one was rude to me, I am just speaking about the comments and posts I have seen on facebook as of late.  This is not personal, nor is directed at anyone.  If I had a concern with someone, I would go directly to them to address it vs addressing it here in a passive aggressive way.}  Thankfully, when I have posted about it, my friends have been respectful and kind.  And, that's a beautiful thing.  The ability to agree to disagree in a civil way.  You may not agree or like everything I post on social media, and that is fine.  You don't have to.  {If you don't, I appreciate you being kind about it, so thank you :)  No one has been rude to my face or on my wall, so thank you!}  

Back to our brokenness, do you really love yourself?  Do you know that Jesus died for YOU?  Do you live like a daughter or son of the King? Because you are.  So many people don't walk around in their inheritance and it's so sad.  It's like the story of the couple who saved up all their money to go on a cruise and brought their own food because they didn't realize their food was included.  So instead of joining everyone at the nice meals, they ate bread and water in their cabin.  Talk about missing out!  Don't do that, don't be like that. And, this isn't meal time.....this is your LIFE! Walk in the righteousness Christ died to give you.  It is your right as His child.  Once we are healed in Him, we have a different perspective.  Things that used to trip us up or make us angry don't have that hold on us anymore {at least from my personal experience.}  If you want to be free, but don't know where to start, please let me know.  I would love to share my journey and what He has done in my life.  

It seems to me that in order to love others, we have to first love ourselves, yes?  Doesn't the Bible say "love your neighbor as yourself," Mark 12:31.  But if you don't have that view of yourself that Jesus has for you, can you have it for those around you?  The saying "you can't give someone something you don't have," is coming to mind now, so possibly?

Would love to hear your thoughts on this as always, friends.  This is a place for me to share some random thoughts I have.  I always love to dialogue, so let me know what you think :)


Monday, January 23, 2017

Marching, Time and Worth

I'm still sorting and process a lot here, so this is a work in progress as thoughts are leaving my brain, and being transferred to this blog. There was a march this weekend.  More specifically, a women's march.  For me being a woman, it's important that I understand what the objective of this was.  To be honest, I am still not 100% sure and to some that makes me part of the problem, according to their facebook post.  However, I believe that not understanding and not trying to understand is part of the problem vs not understanding and trying to understand.  So, there's that.

I have friends who marched.  Some marched for women's rights.  Some marched against Trump. What I struggle with is the lack of clarity/unity around what the march was for. Was it for women's rights?  What is anti-Trump?  Against both?  There doesn't seem to be a clear sense to me, what the purpose of the march was, as a whole.  Yes, people marched for various reasons, but the point of the march as a whole remains fuzzy to me.  {If you know, please feel free to share.  Again, I am open and want to understand.}  If the march is to make your voice heard, there are lots of ways in addition to marching to let your voice be heard.

As I look at the "Womens March on Washington" website, I see some "Unity Principles" listed, which I love, and agree with.  I think my bigger question with all of this is what is happening beyond the march? What are we doing as individuals to model unity?  How are we as women uniting to support one another?  I just recently received a magazine that on the front cover said "Mommy Wars."  On the inside, it talked about the mommy wars between working moms, stay at home moms, etc.  It was spot on.  There's an area we can unite in ~ motherhood.  Let's cut the judgmental mama junk {you know what I'm talking about if you're a mama.  The whole breastfed vs. bottle fed, Pinterest mom competition, etc.  You know.....}  What are we doing outside of the march to promote, encourage, model and create what we marched for?

A lot of people took a lot of time out of their schedules to march this weekend.  Time.  It's one of the most precious things we have and something we can never get back . Once it's gone, it is gone. Unlike money, we can't earn more time.  That's just not how it works.  To me, when you value something, when it is worth something, you invest time in it.  Let's talk relationships for example. I believe it is respectful, considerate and tells the person they matter to you if you reply to them if they have reached out.  It's a simple way of saying "you matter to me."  Just like the march, you did it because it mattered to you, right?   You spend time with and invest time in people that matter to you, right?  So if you took time to march, maybe you could model people matter to you by replying to them as well as marching?  That's one way to say you value people, in addition to marching.

Women marched this weekend because they believe it was worth it.  They believe what they marched for was worth it.  If it was women's rights, for example, the point is that women matter, yes?  {Again, if I am off here, please correct me.}  So, what are we doing on a consistent basis to show our children that we matter?  I am a woman.  For me, that looks like taking care of myself.  I read my Bible daily, I read personal development, I watch what I put in and on my body, I work out.  It's self care because I believe I am worth taking care of {you are too, for that matter!} While I didn't march this weekend, I think my children are more likely to remember those consistent acts vs a march I might have participated in once in a while.  {Again, not saying the march is bad, but adding these things IN ADDITION TO.} 


I appreciate the masses of people marching to impact change this weekend.  Let's just not forget the power of one as well.  We each have the power to choose love or hate each day. We each have the power to choose unity or division daily.  We have the power to choose positive or negative.  Let's not forget it starts with us.  We can be the change we wish to see in the world, right?  This was confirmed for me a few times today via messages from friends thanking me for encouraging them to remember the dream God put in their heart, and another one thanking me for helping her change her nutrition.  As a result, one friend is chasing that God-given dream, and the other one's friend is also changing their nutrition as well.  Each one, reach one, right?  



Friday, January 20, 2017

The Church: A Hospital For Sinners?

The hospital.  Ugh.  Not someplace I am fond of.  As I was there with my mom last week for her angiogram, it hit me.  Life.  Death.  Both take place in the hospital.  Good.  Bad.  Joyful. Hard.  Sad. Happy.  Healing. It all takes place there.  The hospital.

As I was walking the halls last week to the waiting room, bathrooms, cafeteria, all these thoughts and feelings were going through my mind and heart. God was starting to speak to me, but didn't finish it until today.  Initially, I was angry about the church being referred to as a hospital for sinners.  "Why would anyone want to go there {church} if that's what it is referred to?"  "What good happens here, at the hospital, other than birth?"  "What good happens here?"  Those are some thoughts that went through my head that day. Apparently, the newness of my dad's passing at the hospital is still fresh and "raw" in me.  Death. That's what I associate with the hospital. That brings up a myriad of emotions and feelings. Christ had to die to set us free.  Death brought life and freedom and joy and all that He gives us, so freely and without us deserving any of it.  Death.  Where loved ones leave this earth and your life, and hopefully, as my dad did, know Jesus and go their eternal home of heaven, where there is no pain, no suffering, no hurt {Revelation 21:4}.  But there's more to death, which I will get into later.


On the flip side, LIFE happens at the hospital. Babies are born everyday, bringing new life into the world.  That's a blessing, and again, something Christ's death brought to us ~ life {John 10:10}. However, last week, the experience of death overshadowed the life component.  I wonder if that's what happens in our day to day lives, we get so caught up in death that we forget life?  That death overpowers life?  Jesus died for us to have life to the full, so really death brings life.  That's exactly what we are going through now with our church, the "Live|Dead Joy" book by Dick Brogden.  Highly recommend, by the way.

I actually asked my friend, who is a pastor herself and the pastor's wife how she felt about the church being called a hospital for sinners.  She replied "we are all sinners."  I then went onto say something like "but who likes to go to the hospital?"   As I have had more time to think about that, the Holy Spirit has convicted me that my statement comes from a place of pride.  Pride in saying I want to be well, I don't want to be sick.  I don't want to need medical attention because I am healthy.  Isn't that like saying I don't need Jesus?  That I can do it on my own?  Forgive me for my pride, Lord.  I am a sinner who clearly needs Your help; I can't do this on my own.   I need the LIFE that you bring by my dying.  Dying to self.  Dying to sin.

Today's "Live|Dead Joy" smacked me right between the eyes.  He says "We are comfortable and desirous of the Spirit-led life, quick to embrace the power, guidance, deliverance, and liberty the Spirit gives - but we are slow to accept that the Spirit also leads to death."  WOW!  Quick to embrace life, but slow to accept death.  That's exactly what I was thinking about at the hospital.  He continues "All who follow Jesus must come to terms with the Spirit leading them to death; the death of self-will, which leads to the deliverance of others.  We do not live to be served, but to serve and to give our lives for the ransom of others {Matt 20:28}.  If we do this joyfully, we will indeed be baptized with the baptism of Jesus."  


So, this is my moment of coming to terms with the Spirit leading me to death and being THANKFUL the church is a HOSPITAL for sinners.  I clearly need the LIFE, support, help and aide that Jesus offers in His home.  I have to admit something is wrong, that I am sinful and in need of a Savior to go there.

Curious what your take is on the church being called a "hospital for sinners?"

Blessings on you abundantly today, friends!