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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Marriage & Mommyhood ~ Priorities

Today is the kickoff of my new (in)courager group. I joined up with my friend, Laura Pratt, in the Marriage and Mommyhood: Finding grace in the balance group.

Not sure I could have found a more perfect group for me. I am looking forward to learning, sharing, and growing with these other moms. Sometimes we just need others to listen, those that have been there and done that. A place we can go for grace and encouragement.

Do you struggle with all the responsibilities of being a wife and a mom, while also becoming who God created you to be?

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I know I feel like I am drowning at times. I have so many things I need and want to do, but not enough hours in the day. It is during these times that I have to stop and re-focus…time to look at my priorities.

Finding time to spend with my heavenly Father has to come first. I need His love, strength, and guidance to get through each day. I find that if I don’t have my quiet time I start doubting myself and I let the negative thoughts start creeping in. You know…the ones that tell you that you aren’t good enough and you can’t do what God is calling you to do. The only way to fight these thoughts is through His Word and asking Him for help.

My husband and children come next. My family should be my most important ministry. Sometimes it is easier or you get more appreciation by helping others outside of your home, but God blessed me with them and they should get my best. Annette Soldini calls this the Family Ministry Golden Rule…”goes a step beyond the regular golden rule: treat your family members as you would like them to treat you and see them as your most important ministry.”

After that, my life gets messy. I have got to start doing a better job organizing everything…cleaning, blogging, reading, crafting, exercising, and following my dreams.

As I look over my calendar for the next month, I will HAVE to be organized to get it all done! It seems a little crazy with everything else I have to do but I have decided to take the 31 Day Challenge. This is a challenge to write for 31 day straight in October about a particular subject. After lots of prayer, I decided to do it and came up with my subject…31 Days of Living with Purpose. Each day I will look at a different part of my life and how I can improve. I am looking forward to seeing the changes in my life at the end of the month. Want to know more about the challenge? Hop on over to the Nesting Place.

As a mom, I don’t think I will ever find true balance in my life. I just need to focus on God and His plan for my life, my family, and then prioritize the rest.

How about you…How do you manage all of your responsibilities? I’d love to hear from you!

Thank you for stopping by and I pray you have a Blessed week!
Melissa

 

A Reminder ~ Psalm 37

I love how you can read a passage in the Bible many times over the years but then when you read it again…it jumps off the page.

Psalm 37 was that way for me today. Have your read this passage lately?

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Our Lord reminds us that He is here for us. Life may be hard and it may not seem fair, but He will take care of us. He is our refuge.

3 Trust in the Lord and do good

4 Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the Lord: trust in him and he will do this:

6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,

7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him

8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;

23 If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm;

24 though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.

39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble.

These verses remind me of how I am to live. I am to trust my Father and follow His plan for my life. I can only do that if I spend time with Him and stay close to Him.

Sometimes fear keeps me from stepping out and doing what He wants me to do. I have to remember that as long as I am following Him, He will hold me up with His hand and help me.

My Father loves me and He loves you too! What desires has He put in your heart? Are you following His plan for your life?

Just some things to think about on this beautiful Sunday morning.

Blessings 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

Palms Up

Palms Up…a phrase that we have been using this week in our Proverbs 31 Study. I am having to learn to put my palms up when all I want to do is put my head down and go hide.

It has been one of THOSE weeks. You know the kind…busy, disappointing, lots of daily stuff going wrong. I struggled to just get through the week.

As I sit here in the quiet on Saturday morning, I finally get to spend some time reading, reflecting, and writing in my journal. I can now see that my enemy had some fun with me this week. Instead of focusing on God and spending time with Him, I let myself get caught up in the craziness of the first week of school, some disappointing news, and worry about our finances.

I want to say “Yes” to God…I want to live a life that is poured out for Him. He has put dreams in my heart and has a plan just for me. Why can’t I just do it?

Why? Because I still get scared and insecure. Yes, it is time to be honest. I am afraid I can’t do it. I am afraid I am not good enough. I am hoping this study will help me change that.

There are days when I feel like nothing can bring me down, that I can do anything that God asks me to do…then I let all those other thoughts start creeping in. I turn to verses that I know but the problem is do I really believe them. That is something I have been struggling with this week.

I “know” God loves me and will provide for me, but do I truly “believe” that?

I am holding on to this verse and I am going to work on truly believing…

This God–his way is perfect;the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. Psalm 18:30

I am going to focus on being thankful and keeping my Palms Up.

I love what Lysa wrote in Chapter 1…

Being a woman who says yes to God means making the choice to trust Him even when you can’t understand why He requires some of the things He does. It also means that once you’ve said yes to God, you refuse to turn back, even when things get hard.

I am publicly saying “YES”. I refuse to let the enemy have his way in my life. I refuse to quit. I will fight through the fear and insecurities and follow His plan for my life.

What about you? Are there things in your life keeping you from following His plan for you? Are you having a hard time keeping your Palms Up? I’d love to hear from you. We can pray for each other.

Blessings to You,
Melissa

P31 OBS Blog Hop

Belong {Five Minute Friday}

It’s Five Minute Friday! I am linking up again with our awesome host, Lisa-Jo. She gives us one word each week and asks us just to write for five minutes. Our word for this week…

BELONG...

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I have spent most of my life trying to belong. Looking for others to accept me. The problem with that is that I was always trying to be someone else…not who God made me to be. It is a little scary knowing that I got to my 30’s not really knowing who I was.

It took some challenges in this life for me to figure out who I am and whose I am. I don’t know why I ever tried so hard to be in groups or date boys that were so different than me. I guess I just wanted to be accepted and liked no matter what.

The greatest thing now is that I belong (and always have) to a Father that loves me unconditionally. He designed me perfectly and gave me certain gifts and has a plan just for me. It is an incredible feeling each morning knowing that I belong to Him. God sent His only son to die for Me. There is no greater gift and for that I give my life to Him.

How about you? Have you struggled to belong? He is there for you too!

Blessings to You,
Melissa

Check out some other great posts over at Lisa-Jo’s…

Five Minute Friday

He’s Still Working On Me

When I think about how much I have changed over the past few years, I start singing the song “He’s still working on me”. Do you remember that song? My dad had it on cassette and loved to hear me sing it. I never realized how powerful the words were to this song until recently.

He’s still working on me
To make me what I need to be
It took him just a week to make the moon and stars
The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars
How loving and patient He must be
‘Cause He’s still workin’ on me

There really ought to be a sign upon my heart
Don’t judge him yet, there’s an unfinished part
But I’ll be better just according to His plan
Fashioned by the Master’s loving hands

In the mirror of His word
Reflections that I see
Makes me wonder why He never gave up on me
But He loves me as I am and helps me when I pray
Remember He’s the potter; I’m the clay

(written by Joel Hemphill)

I feel Him working on me each day…changing a little at a time…shaping me for His plans.

Change is not easy but it is necessary. He often requires us stepping out of our comfort zones, taking a leap of faith. This keeps us where we need to be…relying on Him. The dreams He has put in my heart would be impossible to do on my own, but I know I can do all things through Him (Philippians 4:13).

He supplies my strength, my hope, my joy, my peace…he supplies me with everything I need.

Since I made the decision to give Him control, my life has not been stable or comfortable. Walking away from a full-time position was very hard but He has been so faithful. We just get by some months, but we have a home, cars to drive, food to eat, and clothes to wear. I am thankful for everything He has blessed us with.

He has shown me that life is about so much more than things. It is about love and relationships. It is about learning and growing. It is about living the life He has planned for us.

I have always been a planner so letting go of our future was a hard transition for me. It took some hard times for me to give that up. Oh I still have my calendar (I’d be lost without it) but I am open to changes. I know that God’s plan is so much better than mine.

We are in a waiting period right now and patience is not something that comes to me naturally. I have gotten better but still have a ways to go.

There are some other job opportunities out there for me right now. I have applied and interviewed for two of them. I believe one job would be great for me and my family but I have struggled with the other one. It would be a great position with a better salary but one that would take a lot of time and effort on my part. It would be nice having more money coming in but my first ministry is to my family and I don’t want to do anything to jeopardize that. I am a wife and a mom and those two responsibilities come first. (I think I now have my answer about the second position.)

God is so good and I am proud of the changes I see in me. Giving Him control of my life though is not just something I did one day and it is done…it is a daily thing for me. I still struggle and I still make mistakes. The difference is that I know my gracious Father forgives me and will continue to help me. Each day I turn to Luke 9:23. I want to be His disciple and bring Him honor and glory.

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How about you…is He still working on you? Is it hard to turn it all over to Him? I’d love to hear from you.

Blessing to You,
Melissa

Listen {Five Minute Friday}

It’s Five Minute Friday! I am linking up again with our awesome host, Lisa-Jo. She gives us one word each week and asks us just to write for five minutes. Our word for this week…

LISTEN

Who do you listen to?

Do you listen to those negative comments in your mind? Does your self-worth come from what others say to you or about you?

I spent years trying to do and say the right things so that others would like me. My self-worth came from my job, how my kids acted, what we drove. I still listen sometimes to those negative thoughts that creep in but I am working on that. A good way to fight those thoughts is to remember who you are and whose you are…I am a daughter of the King!

I used to wonder why I didn’t hear God…why wasn’t He showing me His plan for my life. I realized that I wasn’t listening. I wasn’t spending time with Him so that He could speak to me and lead me. I also had to learn to give Him the control. I had wanted Him to show me which way to go and then get out of my way.

My day is so different when I start it off spending time with my Father. He speaks to me through His Word, through songs, and through others.

Right now I am waiting patiently and listening for what to do next in my life. There are other job opportunities for me but I want to make sure I am following His path for me. What may seem like a good idea to me could actually lead me away from what He has planned. So I will wait, pray, and listen.

Join us over at Lisa-Jo’s to see what others have to say about listening.
Five Minute Friday
Blessings to You,
Melissa

Another Year

Another year…42 in all. The years have passed way too fast!

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As I sit here and think about my life, I can truly say that I am now joyful…full of joy. I know that this kind of joy does not come from people or things. It comes from having a close relationship with God.

I was saved when I was a little girl but I haven’t always had a close relationship with Him. I am so thankful that He has changed me over the past few years. I am still a work in progress and I always will be. I know He has great plans for me and I look forward to seeing them unfold.

It has been a wonderful day so far…I have had my Spark…I did my Bible study…and now I am enjoying the quiet before my family gets up.

I am looking forward to spending time with my family today and all the hugs and kisses.

I pray today that however long God has me here that I will be a good example for my family and others. I want to be a light for Him and be used for His glory. I am thankful for all the blessings He has given to me and I am thankful for another birthday.

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. 🙂