S A Y :: free people, free people

Lastnight I had the privilege of speaking at our Wednesday Night Youth Service. I was the perfect mix of nervous and excited. I have gone through a two year discipleship program where I got my ministerial credentials, 4 years at a bible university and been involved in ministry for 10 years, I've taught Sunday school classes and led small groups, but I have never ever preached a sermon. Why? Fear, nervousness, feelings of inadequacy... all of the usual suspects. So, Elisha regularly tries to get me on stage and I always have some excuse not to. Well, this time he got me. He asked and I said yes (and then immediately regretted my decision). As I prayed and thought through what I wanted to share, I began to get more and more peace about what I was going to be doing.  I realized that I had gone through certain situations in my life, felt certain feelings and experienced certain life change, that for me to share, would be my way giving those things purpose. I failed, I learned, I grew and now it gets to benefit other girls; and that's amazing! 

So lastnight I shared and it was incredible. I felt...comfortable. One word that I never thought I'd say about preaching. I didn't even feel afraid. It was really great being able to share with these young women and have them come up to me and share how much it meant to them. I know I am not the greatest communicator, but God has given me (and all of us!) a voice. 

At the Passion Conference I went to this last weekend, there was a phrase that kept being shared and it was: free people, free people. When we are free, when we know the truth and we tell others about our experience, it changes and frees them too! You have a voice, use it! 

I thought of rewriting my sermon as a blog post, but let's be honest, sometimes hearing a voice talking directly to us, makes a big difference. So, if you'd like to hear my sermon on relationships and the four lies the world tries to convince us of, take a listen! 

Thanks so much for all of your support and kind comments left for me on instagram and twitter! Y'all are the best! 

xo. melisa

**for some reason it starts the video at minute 7... sorry!

D O W N L O A D :: iphone wallpaper

download yours here

I've been fixated on the idea of  "mountaintop moments". The moments we share with God, where we see Him like never before, and in turn see ourselves and others in new light. I shared something similar via instagram and thought I'd share a new wallpaper for le iPhone. It's a kind reminder that today can, if we allow it to, be the best day. Sometimes we hold ourselves back, sabotage ourselves with useless lies, or simply don't give in to the goodness that God has just waiting for us. So today, give in. Have a mountaintop moment and decide to make today the best!

xo. melisa

a word of encouragement

As I mentioned last week, I had the privilege of taking students to youth camp this week. It was incredible. I never had the chance to go to camp when I was a kid, so I think I'm pretty lucky to take part in it now as an adult. It's such a different experience than anything else. It's like this completely set apart moment in time that completely changes your life. It's incredible to see a student go from being anxious, angry, selfish and filled with resentment, sadness and loneliness to a new person; a person that when I look at, I can't help but believe in a God that loves. 

I know I give this disclaimer every time I mention God, but I understand that the world doesn't all share my beliefs. If these posts make you feel uncomfortable, I apologize, that's not at all my intention, but I do hope that you find a way to apply the truths that I share, in your own life. Because if you do decide to continue reading, there's a pretty special nugget of truth I think you might like.

I'm a worrier by nature. I stress, I get anxious, I'm impatient and I like plans. When disorder clutters my life I can't help but begin to panic. There's something special that happens when you can lean on someone else for safety, for assurance, for strength... There's a trust, a bond, that forms - something I believe can rarely be broken. This past week I was reminded of how good God is. God's goodness never ceases to amaze me, but more than that, the fact that He shares that goodness with me... gosh, it just overwhelms me. Getting to be a part of what God was doing in these students lives, seeing them being freed of sickness, thoughts and feelings that made them feel awful - truly changing into people who love life, who have a new appreciation for who they are, and expressing joy. Sitting in those services, it was impossible to deny that a good God existed and He was in that room with each of those 940 students. Seeing them learn to lean on God, challenged my faith.

Whether you believe what I believe, or if you've never had a conversation with God, I challenge you to get alone, take a piece of paper, write out everything on your heart and let it go. This is something I started to do when I graduated high school. It was a time in my life when I truly began changing into the person I am today - it was difficult. Sitting in my room, taking out my journal and titling it "on my heart," I'd write out every worry and every fear, every situation that seemed impossible and in that moment I gave it over to God. It was so exciting going back through those journals months later and seeing how far from those issues I was. 

We're always growing. Isn't that a weird thought? Whether we want to change or not, change is constantly at our doorstep. I hope I change for the good. Looking back on my life I want to look back and say, "I have no idea how I got here". haha. But really, I hope I do more than I ever thought I possibly could do - challenge yourself to become the unexpected. 


a word of encouragement

I was talking with Jesus the other day, and this is me just being totally real with you, and I was thanking Him for being so good and faithful to me. I've learned over the years to be in constant thanks; it helps kick the worries and the stresses in the face. I often find myself thanking God for the littlest and silliest of things, but good things no less, that have brought me even the slightest bit of joy. For instance, and I'm aware this may make me sound insane, for whatever reason anytime I find myself in a foul mood, I will come across the cutest baby animal that instantly puts a smile on my face. Like a miniature horse that happens to be grazing in a field on my way home from a bad day at work, or a tiny mouse scurrying across the road just after having a tough conversation, or a tiny dog just sitting in a front seat after feeling completely overwhelmed... Yes, it may be coincidence, or it just may be God sending me a message, perfectly tailored to who I am, to remind me that He is good, He loves me and He is for me, not against me - and then I give thanks. 

So back to my original story, I was in the car the other day, thanking Jesus and I began to think of moments passed when I missed out on the opportunity of being thankful. There are times in our lives where things go awry and we trust God, we pray, and we accept the fate that is upon us, but how often do we find ourselves thanking Him for those circumstances? You see in this moment of thanks, I grew strong in my heart. I did not thank Him because my life was perfect, I was appreciating Him through my struggle; that although life did not feel as I thought it would, it was indeed a part of His plan and I was ever thankful to be a part of that plan. 

It's in the struggle that our love for Him can either wither away, being easily swayed by circumstances, or it can settle in and begin to grow roots, it can trust and bathe in the beauty that is faith - faith in things hoped for, believing in the unseen and knowing that God is indeed on our side. 

I don't know your current state, but whatever it may be, remember to be thankful. It may not always feel like the best life, or even the life you imagined, but it is certainly a beautiful gift - enjoy every moment and give thanks! It's a wonderful feeling to be grateful. In fact I think it is more rewarding on this end than it is to receive the thanks; although that's always nice too!  I hope you have a lovely day!


A Word of Encouragement

Have you ever encountered a fork in the road? You know, like you have two options and you're not sure which one is the "right one."  Here's what I've come to the conclusion of over the last month or so. In your life you will have many forks in the road, opportunities to go one way or the other. While it makes more sense to believe that one way is the "right way" and the other will lead to ultimate doom, I dare take a different perspective. What if, they're both the "right one"?? What if both will get you to the destination you (or God) desires? Is it possible that both will be the "right choice" and both, carrying their own sets of challenges, promises and blessings, will in fact get you to where you need to be; and somehow you have been entrusted with the glorious option of simply choosing which to take based solely on your preference?? I believe so. 

Yes, I think sometimes we are faced with two options and one is clearly a better choice and the other may lead down some serious trials, but more often than not I think we find ourselves in the Two Good Paths scenario. I believe God has a plan. I like to think of my life as a maze of sorts - sometimes I feel completely lost and I feel as though I'm turning aimlessly, while other times I see a turn up ahead that makes total and complete sense and I know for certain I'm going to make it through okay. There are countless times when I face a decision of turning right or left and in all reality, they will both get me to the end; one may take longer, have a few more crazy turns, but if I'm still seeking God, still living my life the way I know to be true, then I'll make it out alive and well. 

I just think it's incredible that God, the maker of all I know to be true, trusts me. Because that's what all this is about. We get ourselves into these situations and we immediately seek God through prayer and get all sorts of anxious when we don't hear a definitive yes or no. Honestly, I kind of love when God does this. It's a bigger leap of faith for me to trust in myself than it is to trust in God. That's worded kind of silly so let me explain, when I hear from God, I know for certain it's God and I listen and obey. When I don't hear from God, it freaks me out. Let's just be honest, at a certain point you have to be willing to trust that God trusts you. Making a choice because God says as opposed to making it based on what God has taught you through the years is just easier, in my opinion. 

Take this all with a grain of salt, but this is simply what has been on my heart and I just wanted to share. If you feel like you're at a fork, and you're not really hearing a yes or no from God, just know that He hasn't left you, He's standing by your side and He trusts you. With Him there is no wrong way; if you're seeking out His dreams for your life then you will get there. Don't give up and believe in who He has created you to be. You can do anything you set your heart to. ( and there was much rejoicing!)


Introducing: Conversations

So, I'd like to introduce you to something that I've been dreaming up for awhile. I've always felt like there was a part of me that I didn't always share here on the blog, but it truly is such a big part of who I am, and that's my faith. I'm a Christian... I go to a bible university, I'm going to be in full time ministry, I have my credentials, my boyfriend is a youth pastor... It's a very large part of who I am. Here's the thing; I never wanted anyone to feel like they weren't welcome at my blog because they didn't believe what I believe and I never wanted to make anyone feel like I was making this about something that it's not. 

Another reason I'm not so quick to share about this kind of stuff is because God is so personal to me and I feel like our relationship should be private. Does that make sense? But, the more I try and reach out to others, the more I realize that people can learn from my mistakes, my triumphs and my everyday life. Sometimes people just need to know that they're not going through life alone. My faith has shaped me into the person I am today, so I want to share this part of my journey with you. 

I have decided to include a feature called "Conversations" here on the blog. It will include dialogue about my journey with God; things I'm learning, things I'm failing at, & things I feel like God is doing in my life. They will be open and honest and hopefully you'll get to see me for who I am; just another girl trying to live up to my fullest potential. 

My hope is that, through this feature, I will be able to identify with each of you; let you know that you're not crazy for thinking that one way, or maybe shed light to something you had forgotten, or hopefully provide an answer or understanding to something no one had shared with you before. We'll see how this goes. OH and I get that this isn't going to be for everyone. Maybe you're not interested in this at all, and that's fine. That's why it'll be a button on my sidebar, linked to it's own separate page in the world wide web, far far away from you, where it won't have to bother you if you don't want it too. ^_^

That is all. I'm excited. And I must admit, a little nervous. This is quite possibly the most I've ever written in one post, that's how nervous I am. I don't usually share a lot of personal stuff and this whole feature will be nothing but personal stuff and that puts me in a very vulnerable place and we girls, don't like to be vulnerable, but I know this'll be a good thing. Okay, now I'm done. The first one is up here. I hope you like it and I hope you still like me because I like each of you so very much. kbye.