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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One Year Ago…the email that changed everything

Wow! One Year…I can’t believe it has been year since I got THE email from Holley Gerth. The email that welcomed me to the God-Sized Dream Team!

After a moment of excitement, and then panic, and then tears, I knew God had a plan for me. I had been just getting through this life for so many years. It was time for me to push fear aside, step out of my comfort zone, and become who He wanted me to become.

Happy Birthday to this amazing group of 100 women and Happy Birthday to our strong, sweet, encouraging friend who brought us all together!

I never knew how awesome it would be to have friends all over the world. Friends that I have never met face to face, but friends that listen to me, encourage me, and pray for me. Only God could pull all of us together and create such a bond.

Because of this group, I am now willing to step out and do whatever God calls me to do. My faith is stronger and I am more confident. I know I have a friends that will pray for me when life gets tough and celebrate with me when things are going great…all it takes is a post on Facebook.

I am looking forward to meeting some of these incredible ladies over the next year. I can’t wait to hug them and thank them. I am also looking forward to seeing how God continues to change us and use us.

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Thank you again, Holley, for being so faithful and encouraging me to go after my God-sized Dreams! Love you!

Blessings to You!
Melissa

Day 17 ~ More Like Mary…slowing down to spend time with Jesus

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“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10 : 41-42

Are you more of a Mary or Martha? 

As women, we have lots of responsibilities. It is so easy to be like Martha…too busy to sit at the feet of Jesus.

I am so guilty of this. I spent so many years getting up and getting my day started, checking off things on my to do list, and then heading to bed. Day after day without spending time with my Savior. I went to church on Sunday, but then left my Bible in my bag all week.

I was saved, but didn’t have a personal relationship with the One who saved me.

I am so thankful for people like Renee Swope, Holley Gerth, Lysa TerKeurst, and Courtney Joseph. Reading their blogs and their books have changed the way I live life.

I used to think…I really need to sit down and read my Bible. Now I can’t wait to spend my quiet time reading my Bible and listening and talking to Jesus. My favorite time is early in the morning, sitting in my chair by the window, and drinking my Spark.

Do you struggle with slowing down…taking time to listen to His voice?

Check out Courtney’s 7 ways to get in the Word. Be creative. Find what works best for you.

One thing that not only helped me read each day but also taught me how to reflect on what I read is the Good Morning Girls online study. You can register for free and even join a group. I am in a Facebook group and we share with each other what we learned from the passage each day. We also share and pray for each other.

Living with Purpose…Let’s all try to be more like Mary each day…slow down and spend time with Jesus.

Blessing to You!
Melissa

Still Dreaming

Have you ever had that feeling…you know, the one where you feel that you are here to be more, do more?

In Holley’s book, You’re Made For A God-Sized Dream, she tells us that “We are made for a pupose, and until we are intentionally pursuing it, we feel half alive. We are dreamers waiting for someone to wake us up so the real adventure can begin.”

I know God made me for a purpose and He has put dreams in my heart. My problem is that I get in the way. I try to start figuring things out and take charge. That is when He stops me and tells me to be still. I have been in this struggle for a few months now.

I know He is teaching me to slow down and take one thing at a time, but that is so hard for me. He is also changing some of my dreams, some dreams that are hard to let go.

Another thing Holley reminds us of is…”Our part is not control. It’s not results. It’s obedience. It’s intimacy with the One who asks us to trust him even when nothing makes sense.”

I have to remind myself that it is not “what” I get done, it is the journey and the time spent with my Father.

Also during the past few months, I have felt Him calling me to do more in my own home. I feel that He wants me to work on my relationship with my husband and our children. Sometimes it is easier to go out and help others instead of working on the hard parts in your family.

Our pastor is even doing a series on family right now and one question that I have been wrestling with is…If you could change your family, what would it look like?

It was also perfect timing (God’ timing) that I was chosen to be on Courtney’s launch team. Her book is so honest and thought provoking. She reminds us of what is truly important in this life and who God created us to be. (You can order yours right now and get 10 FREE ebooks!)

I am truly a work in progess and I am so thankful for His love and grace! I will continue to work on letting go and following His plan for me, focusing on the relationship and not the tasks.

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How about you? Do you have areas that you need to work on or let go of? I’ll ask you the same question as my pastor…If you could change your family, what would it look like?

Hope you have a fabulous week!
Blessings to You,
Melissa

Summer…Time for Family, Fun, and Faith

Whew! The past month has been a busy one…end of school, working, writing, teaching at night, kids’ activities…all while trying to lead our Bible study and find the time I need for rest. How about you? Have you been busy too?

This month I am planning some time for fun! I am still working and teaching two nights a week but I am making time to study God’s Word and making memories with my family.

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I didn’t always make the time for those two things. I focused on my career and tried to make everyone else happy. I wasn’t happy with myself so I felt I had to work harder and do more so people would like me. I thought that would make me feel better. I was so very wrong!

I now know what brings me joy and happiness…
It is having a close, personal relationship with our Creator.
It is focusing on my most important ministry – my family.
It is knowing that God has a plan for me and it is better than I could ever imagine!

I am teaching a night class back at the college I worked at four years ago. It was so hard leaving that place. I love the people there and it is still the best job I ever had. It has felt like going home.

I left because God had other plans for me, but now I feel like He is leading me back. They don’t have a full-time position right now but I can see myself there within the next year. It would be a perfect fit with my non-profit too.

I want to help women follow their God-sized dreams. If their dream is to go to college, then I could help them get in and be right there to encourage them all the way through.

There is a peace looking back and seeing how God has used people and experiences to get you ready for the next journey. I see so much in my past that makes me the perfect one to pursue my dream. It hasn’t always been easy but it will all be worth it.

Do you have a God-sized dream? Have you been struggling to find your path? Spend time praying and reading His Word and He will make your path clear. Just leave me a comment and I will be praying for you too.

Do you plan to slow down this summer and focus on making memories? Please feel free to share your ideas and activities with the rest of us. I’ll be sharing some of our fun here on the blog. Check out some of the cool things I found on Pinterest too…http://pinterest.com/mjwallace3/summer-time/.

Blessings to You!
Melissa

Are you looking for something to read this summer? Two books I highly recommend…
Holley Gerth’s You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream and it is 50% off this week at LifeWay.
Jennie Allen’s Anything…reading this right now for our Good Morning Girls study. I had planned to do a different study this summer, but God had a different plan. 🙂

 

The Journey With My God-sized Dream Team

For I know the plans I have for

Blessed…so very blessed!

I remember reading on Holley’s blog about the God-sized Dream Team she was putting together. It sounded like a wonderful opportunity to meet other ladies and to grow closer to God. I never really thought I would be chosen though.

I remember the day I opened my email and Holley welcomed me to the team. I sat there smiling and crying at the same time. I knew then that God was about to change my life.

The past six months have flown by. I have been challenged, encouraged, and loved by 99 other women that I have never met in person. Only God could make that happen! We have shared our fears, our accomplishments, and our struggles.

It has always been hard for me to share my true feelings, to show the real me. I am still working on it but I am so proud of the changes I have already made. I have learned that God can do great things when you are willing to step out of your comfort zone and trust Him completely.

One of the big obstacles for me was not feeling worthy enough to be used by Him. Boy was I wrong! He uses our weaknesses to show how wonderful, powerful, and gracious He is. I am truly humbled and so thankful that He wants to use me.

When I started this adventure I wasn’t sure what my God-sized dreams were. I had left a 17 year teaching career in May and I was homeschooling our three children. I thought that was the plan He had for me.

In December, He provided a new job for me which led to some really hard decisions. I had never imagined sending our children to public school. My fear and pride got in the way at first but after lots of prayer I had a peace about it. We couldn’t have asked for better teachers or administrators at the school they attended. God had them in the palm of His hand. I went to work knowing that everything was according to His plan.

Over the past few months, I have started leading Bible studies and I have started planning a ladies conference. We are still in the planning stages for the conference but I hope to have it this October. I would appreciate your prayers and would love to have any of my GSDT sisters come and speak!

I am so very thankful for you Holley Gerth! Thank you for following His plan and blessing me with your love and support!

I look forward to staying connected and watching all of the amazing things God does through this team. I will be praying for each one of you as you pursue your God-sized dreams!

Who I am now…

I am a new woman in Christ that will continue seeking His plan for my life. I am no longer afraid to step out and do what He calls me to do. I want to be used for His glory. I want to follow my God-sized dreams. I want to encourage others to find their God given gifts and go after their dreams.

Love, hugs, and blessings to you all!
Melissa

Back on Track

Welcome! It feels so good to be writing again. The past few weeks have been so hard…a very busy time of year with my family…feeling overwhelmed…losing my direction.

One problem is that I let the negative thoughts take over. You know, the thoughts like “What am I thinking, I can’t do all of this” and “Who are you to think God has called you to do this?”

The biggest problem though was that I wasn’t spending enough time with God and in His Word. I let my busy life take over and I lost my direction. If we want to follow our God-sized dreams then we have to spend time with our Father. I went back to one of my highlighted parts in Holley’s book

“It’s about a relationship. God is not all that interested in your getting things done. If he made the world in seven days, there’s nothing he can’t check off his to-do list without your help. What he wants on this journey to your dream is intimacy with you. Success is simply this: obedience.”

Obedience…intimacy…He just wants to spend time with us and help us follow the dreams He put in our hearts.

I do feel back on track now. I plan on having our Beautiful You conference in October. I am working on finding a place and I am working with a friend on getting t-shirts made. I want to go ahead and start selling t-shirts to help with the upfront costs of the conference.

One thing that I have been thinking about this week is the focus of the conference. It is definitely seeing ourselves as Christ sees us…we are Beautiful…but I was searching for something more. This morning He showed me what I was looking for. Ephesians 2:1-10…Come Alive is the focus of the conference. We have been saved by grace, we are God’s workmanship, and we have good works to do.
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I am praying that this conference will encourage women to truly see their beauty and their worth, to grow closer to their Father, and to dream God-sized dreams.

Can I do what it takes to plan and have this conference all by myself? No way! I need God’s strength, His direction, and His grace. I also need friends that will help with different pieces (I have already had a few offer to help) and lots of prayers. Will you pray for me that I will continue following His plan and that my focus will be on how He can use this conference for His glory?

Would you like to help with this conference? I’d love to have you join us!

(Wouldn’t you know that as soon as I sat down to write this morning, I heard my daughter get up. My first thought was “Oh no, I really wanted some time by myself this morning to write”, but now I can tell you I sure did enjoy the time cuddling and talking with her this morning. Isn’t that what is important…our relationships? My daughter will be grown before I know it so I will cherish all the moments we have now. The writing, the cleaning, and all the other stuff will get done eventually. Our relationships with our family and with others should come first.)

Blessings to You!
Melissa

Why Dream?

I am still dreaming the dream…linking up with Holley Gerth and the rest of the Dream Team this week to talk about the “why” of our dreams. Won’t you join us?

Are you a dreamer? If you are, you must get a copy of Holley’s book, “You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream“. It is like sitting down with a long time friend. She will encourage you, challenge you, and prepare you for going after your own God-sized dream.

One part of the book that has changed the way I look at my dream is when she said,

“It’s about a relationship. God is not all that interested in your getting things done. If he made the world in seven days, there’s nothing he can’t check off his to-do list without your help. What he wants on this journey to your dream is intimacy with you. Success is simply this: obedience.”

I have learned that it is about spending time with God, finding his will for my life, and completely depending on him. This has changed all areas of my life, not just pursuing my dream.

I feel stronger, more confident, and much more willing to step out of my comfort zone. I am changing and growing and willing to do whatever he calls me to do.

One of the hardest things for me that I am working on, and will probably always have to work on, is Patience. I am learning to Be Still.

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I have big dreams – things that I had never even imagined I could do – but I can tell he wants me to do a little at a time. He knows me so well and knows that I usually take on way too much and then get completely burned out. I’ve got to learn to go slow and steady.

So why Dream?

My first and most important “why” is that I am growing closer to God and following his will for my life.

Another “why” is to be an example to my children so that they can see what an amzing God we have and that he desires to have a relationship with us. I want them to know that God has given them certain gifts and has wonderful plans for their lives.

My other “why” is because I believe he made me to encourage others. I have never felt worthy enough to do that but he has shown me that I can help others through my experiences. I just have to be willing to open up and share.

So my friend, what are your dreams? I’d love to hear about them and your why.