The Gift of Unconditional Love

As I sit here in front of the computer, I am trying to get hold of my thoughts and my heart. I am just blown away at the messages that I have gotten the past few days.

I just read Ann Voskamp’s post ~ How to Get Really Living Instead of Merely Existing. I feel the tears coming as I read the story about Maximilian Kolbe. And then I read this statement…

Because One died for me that I might breathe this breath…  It’s all a gift. 

And she asks these questions…

If we believe  we’re the lost who are saved — how can we lose our First Love? How can our bones not burn with thanks, with love, with the message of Who saved us? How can anything after His rescuing — be anything but appalling gift?

I am not here merely to survive each day – I am here to share God’s love, to make the most of each day!

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All of this after an emotional day yesterday.

I almost didn’t go to church yesterday. My husband didn’t feel well and my middle child just did not want to go. I felt that I HAD to go and I knew why once I got there.

I have read the passage of the woman that was caught in adultery before (John 8:1-11), but I have never heard a message like this one. It was about Unconditional Love – definitely something I need to work on. Here are some of the notes I wrote…

  • As a church (or as a Christian), we are more known for what we are against than what we are for. (Amen?)
  • What she did was wrong, but Jesus knew the motives of the Pharisees.
  • Other people’s wrongs remind us we are right.
  • It’s easy to spot sin (takes nothing to pick up a stone), but it’s just as easy to miss sin in our own lives.
  • Jesus dropped the rock and took the beating for her!
  • God’s law levels us all. We are all unworthy of His unconditional love, but He loves us no matter what. We are saved by grace.
  • Others should be able to recognize we belong to Him by our love for others.
  • It is the revelation of the love of God for us that produces love for God in us.

(Recording of the sermon)

What are our motives? How do we treat others? Can others see Christ in us?

Let me tell you – I can feel God grabbing hold of me and changing me. How about you?

I want to leave this world knowing that I accepted each day as a gift. I want to lose the drive to be right and judgmental. I want to love others unconditionally, because that is how my Father loves me.

Love & Blessings to you all!
Melissa

Lost ~ Five Minute Friday

LOST…

A good word to describe how I have felt lately. Lost, disappointed, worried, not sure of my path or purpose. Have you ever felt this way?

I left a job about 5 years ago to work at my son’s school. We went through some rough times, but I don’t regret the time I got to spend with him. I have missed the people I worked with and have looked for an opportunity to go back and then the “perfect” job for me was posted. I just knew this was what I had been waiting for. I went for an interview, felt good about my chances, and then I got the email. Yes, an email letting me know that they had selected a few others to move on to the next interview. I was crushed!

Then the next week, I thought I had finally found a teaching position that was a good fit for me. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go back to teaching full-time, but I felt really good about it after the interview. Nope ~ got the call yesterday.

If you know me then you know I try to be positive. I look for silver lining. I trust that God has a plan and His plan is so much greater than mine. Lately though, I have struggled.

Today is a new day and I am holding on to His promise…

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I will continue to praise and thank Him for what He has done and look forward to what He will do ~ in His own time.

Blessings to You!
Melissa

Five Minute FridayHop over to Lisa-Jo’s to see what others are writing today!

Pillowcase Dress Drive ~ Orphan Aid Liberia

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Time to make some dresses! I have teamed up with Orphan Aid Liberia and they will deliver our dresses to some beautiful girls in Liberia. I don’t know about you, but I am so excited about this opportunity! Just think how loved those girls will feel knowing that someone made a dress just for them. Are you ready? (Update – I am also partnering with Sole Hope to get dresses to Uganda!)

Can you sew? Yes? GREAT! No? That’s okay too. Here are two easy ways to make dresses…

Do you sew? 
If so, you probably already know that a pillowcase dress is one of the simplest sewing projects that exists. If you’ve never made one, you can find a tutorial here at Sew Like My Mom.

Don’t sew?
Never fear, you can also make a no-sew pillowcase dress…believe it or not, it’s simple and just as nice! Here’s a tutorial from Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom.

We need ALL sizes…you can use this quick size chart!

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Please let me know if you have any questions.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/melissa.fields.wallace
Twitter: @mjwallace3
Email: mjwallace2010@gmail.com

Thank you and God Bless you!
Melissa

Smile because You Are Loved!

As you can tell, I haven’t posted much this year. My blog became more of a HAVE to and not a WANT to. We have also been very busy with the kids…baseball, softball, karate. I love it though! I enjoy watching my kids have fun and make new friends. I have also made some new friends at the ballfield!

Now here is what is on my heart today…

I just started the online study with Good Morning Girls ~ You Are Loved. It is only Day One, but I am already working through some issues. Maybe you feel the same…

How could God love me so much?
Doesn’t He see how I have failed in the past?
How can He use someone like me?

Two verses in our study today stood out to me…

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me! Psalms 139:17-18

It just amazes me how much God loves me! He thinks about me all of the time. He cares about every little detail in my life. He is always with me. He loves me more than I love my own children and that is hard to comprehend!

I have to remember that He created me ~ down to the last detail. So when I am overly critical of myself, I am being critical about His creation. I have to accept my past mistakes and move on. I have to look at my quirks and determine how those quirks can be used for His glory. I am sure He had a reason for making me like He did.

I have to change the way I think and that can be hard to do. The great thing is that He will always be there. He will forgive me when I mess up and will be there to give me strength when I need it. He will lead and guide me if I will let Him.

My friend, He loves you that much too! He created you the way you are and He has a plan just for you. We have to be patient and the best way to do that is to spend time reading His Word. He will comfort you, empower you, and show His plan and His love for you through those passages.

May you have a blessed day and Smile because You Are Loved!

Melissa

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14…How did he get here so fast?

14…How did he get here so fast? My sweet, little baby boy is now becoming a man. I’m caught off guard at times at his lower voice and I just can’t believe he is already my height. I can’t imagine how big he is going to be when he finally stops growing. But when I look at him, I still see that sweet baby face and a smile that warms my heart.

I have to tell you I am very blessed! Yes, he has his typical teenage moments…whining and complaining and a mouth that works a little faster than his brain, but he is a good kid.

I think back to those early school years when the teachers kept telling us he needed to learn self-control, but then told us that he had such a sweet spirit. I am happy to report that he is much better at self-control, but has never lost that sweet spirit. I love to watch him when he is playing one of his many sports. It makes me proud to see him helping and encouraging his teammates. I do wish I saw more of this at home with his siblings.

I pray for this young man of mine every day. He is at an age where there are so many temptations and Mom is not always around. I pray that God would lead him and use him. I pray that Patrick will look to Him for his character and direction. I pray for true friends and for ones that will hold him accountable. I pray for purity and for the girl that will steal his heart one day. I have learned that it does no good to worry, I just have to be diligent in my prayers.

I thank God for my Patrick! He gives the BEST hugs and still tells me He Loves Me every day! I am so proud of him and look forward to watching him become the man God created him to be.

Happy Birthday Patrick!! I Love You!!

I’ll love you forever.
I’ll like you for always.
As long as I’m living,
my baby you’ll be!

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Need a great resource for praying for your boy? Check out Brooke’s new book ~ Praying for Boys!

You Are Beautiful…just as you are

You…that reflection you see in the mirror…YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!

If you are like me, it is sometimes hard to see past the extra pounds, the wrinkles, and the hair that just won’t do what you want it to do. God sees past all of that and we should too.

He created us, every little thing about us. Our looks, our gifts, and yes, even our quirks. All of these things are what make us special and unique.

I know it sounds cliche, but it is truly our inner beauty that matters. That’s what people remember about us…a smile, a hug, or just being there to listen. Our beauty from within comes from Him…spending time with Him, reading His word, and trying to live like Him.

So the next time those negative thoughts start creeping in…remember who you are and whose you are. You are a child of God and…

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Blessings to You!
Melissa

I am linking up with Holley for the 2014 Encouragement Challenge – will you join us and help spread the encouragement love?!

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Finding Love ~ It was there all the time

Hi Friend! I am joining up with Holley and some friends each Wednesday for Coffee for Your Heart. I wrote a post yesterday for the topic “You’re Loved”. I am now rewriting it. I felt God telling me to start over and open up more.

I have to tell you that opening up is very hard for me. If I open up then I have to share my hopes, my dreams, my insecurities, and my failures. I’m the girl that puts a smile on my face each day and says “I’m fine” even if I am struggling and hurting on the inside. I don’t want to bother others with my problems. I just want to be there to help them.

When I saw the topic for this week I started thinking a lot about my past. I haven’t always felt loved. In fact, it has only been over the past few years that I have felt truly loved. Sure my parents love me and I know my husband and children love me too, but there was always something missing. A void that just couldn’t be filled.

I was saved and baptized when I was 7 and I knew that Jesus was my Savior, but I never had a close, personal relationship with him until recently. What a difference! I am learning to ignore the lies that I have always dealt with. You know the ones…You are not good enough, You are not pretty enough, You are not strong enough.

I am no longer looking for something or someone to fill the void. There is only One that can complete you and that is Jesus. He loves you, He comforts you, He gives you all the strength you need.

I hate that I wasted so many years looking for more when He was there waiting on me the whole time. My sweet Jesus, the One that came to earth to die for me ~ Who loved me before I was ever created. There is no other love like that.

I AM LOVED! And you know what ~ so are you!

Do you feel like something is missing in your life? Are you struggling to get by right now? Do you feel alone?

My friend, He is waiting. He loves you and He is always there for you. He pursues you and wants a relationship with you. He will change your life!

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14

Love and Blessings to You!
Melissa

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2013 ~ A Year of Change, Growth, and God-Sized Dreams

What a year! As I look back over 2013, these words come to mind…faith growing, reconnecting, confidence, God-given dreams, stepping out of my comfort zone. This has truly been a year of change and growth for me!

I wasn’t sure what to expect at the beginning of the year with my God-sized Dream Team, but I knew God had included me for a reason. Holley’s book was inspiring and helped me to open my heart to whatever God has in store for me. Our team has become more like a family. A group of ladies that love and encourage one another.

My dreams have changed over this year. I have to admit it was hard when God shut a door or pushed back a dream I was excited about. I would love to see some of those dreams come true, but it will be in His timing or He might have someone else in mind to do it. I just want to focus on the plans He has for me right now.

I have to tell you that I certainly didn’t expect to be sewing and starting a new business at the end of this year! I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to buy something I had made. I am still amazed that I sold so much over the past two months. I don’t know where it will go from here, but I am excited to find out. I know I’ve got to catch up on the other side of the business – making dresses for girls in the Dominican Republic and Liberia. What a blessing it would be to be able to deliver some of these dresses myself in 2014!

I love how this business has brought me and my husband closer too. He has been so supportive. He bought my embroidery machine as an early Christmas present, he goes to the store to buy the fabric I need, and he delivers and ships orders. We make a great team!

The best thing about 2013 is my relationship with my Father! This is an area of my life where I have struggled. I would give Him most of my life but not all of it. I have a hard time letting go of the planning and trusting that He will provide. If things aren’t going the way I think they should then I try to step in and take care of it. I am thankful for His grace as I work on this. I can tell you that I do more praying and less worrying and taking control now.

I had a hard lesson during the year that ended up making my faith stronger than ever. I went on several interviews to go back into teaching (and a lot more pay), but nothing worked out. I couldn’t understand why He was closing the door on each opportunity. Didn’t He want us to be better off financially? What I realize now is that He wanted me to depend on Him. I didn’t see how we would ever get through the year on my current salary. We have made it and He has taken care of each need and blessed us more than I could have imagined.

2013 was definitely a year of changing and growing. I look forward to this new year and how God will change me and use me!

I pray that each of you has a Blessed New Year!
Melissa

Are you ready to go after your God-sized dreams? Join us at this beautiful, new website and get ready to see what God does in you and through you!

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New Year ~ New Word: What is your One Word for 2014?

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I can’t believe in just a few short days it will be 2014! A new year, new goals, and a new word. I found a great devotion about finding your one word. It is a 4-day devotional on the Bible app…https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/809-one-word-that-will-change-your-life. I am on day 3 and I believe I have my word ~ Strength. At first I didn’t think it was a good word for me, but God led me to this verse…

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. Psalm 84:5

I have never considered myself as strong. Actually, I have seen myself as weak, lacking confidence, and looking for approval from others most of my life. I have been growing and changing over the past few years though ~ realizing that I am the King’s daughter and He loves me no matter what! My confidence comes through Him and I only need His approval. What a difference this has made in my life and in the lives of my family. 

No, I can’t be strong on my own, but with God I can be and I can do anything through Him (Philippians 4:13). This is a verse I have read over and over throughout my life, but this year I choose to believe it and live it. This year I will rely on God’s strength and follow His plan for my life. I will make myself available to Him and believe that ANYTHING is possible!

How about you? Have you found your word for 2014? Please share it when you do – I’d love to hear from you throughout the year about how God is using you and your word. I believe God has amazing plans for us in 2014!

(Do you need a button for your One Word? Let me know and I will create it for you.)

Happy New Year and Blessings to You,
Melissa

Slowing Down to Savor Christmas

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Hi Friend! Yes, it has been a while since I sat down and written a post. Lots going on around here lately!

I felt like writing today because I think there are other Moms out there that are feeling like me and I want to let you know that it is okay.

December 1st…a new month…a new start…so many wonderful plans for Advent and Christmas! After one week, this Mom is worn out, stressed, and feeling guilty. You too?

I keep thinking to myself ~ How am I ever going to catch up and get everything done?

We are already three days behind on our Advent crafts, there are still boxes that need to be taken back downstairs, there is a BIG wreath sitting in front of our house waiting to be put on the front window, and did I mention the house? Oh, how it needs a good cleaning! Lots of plans for Random Acts of Christmas Kindness that have not been put into action yet and very little shopping done.  At least our sweet elf, Noell, just like to move around, read the Bible, or leave sweet notes. He will certainly not be making any messes in our house – we have enough of those right now.

And to top it all off…our kitten decided to knock our Christmas tree over at 1:15 this morning! Four of my favorite ornaments were shattered. I am so thankful for my husband! He told me to go back to bed and he would take care of it. As you can imagine, I am dragging this morning.

The crazy thing is that I feel better today…yes you read that correctly!

I have a new perspective on Christmas this morning. I realize that I can’t do it all and I need to give myself some grace. I need to take a deep breath, relax, and take each day as it comes. I have my calendar out and will do a better job at planning our days and activities. But most importantly, I will focus on why we celebrate Christmas.

Right now, my favorite thing each day is to read my devotion in Ann Voskamp’s new book, The Greatest Gift. She helps me stop and reflect on God’s love and the Gift He gave us so many years ago.

This morning I went back to yesterday’s devotion and read this part…

The greatest gift God graces a soul with is His own presence. So the whirl can hush and the spin can slow because He will bless, and He will bless with Himself come down. The present is His presence, and the greatest present you always have to give is His presence – looking into someone’s eyes as you listen, refusing the wrong of rushing, lingering long enough to really listen – to everything.

So my friend, slow down and savor time with your Savior and time with your family and friends. If the other stuff gets done ~ Great! If not, that’s okay too.

Sending you Love & Blessings!
Melissa