Monday, 23 January 2017

A Reason to March

So much comes in and so very little comes out.  I try to get my brain to start connecting with my mouth.  I have a voice too you know and now I've got something to say, if you've got a weak stomach for honesty,  then nows the time to look away.

Turn your heads from the truth as it screams from the homeless man's eyes, though he fought for your freedom, you got the better deal from life. Today, homeless soldier, I March for you.

Deafen your ears to the cries of the unborn babies that never had a chance, you felt your life was more important so you took a pill and  passed it quietly  with just some minor cramps. Today, aborted children, I March for you.

Close your eyes to the women in the city standing under the red lights, not caring if they were kidnapped as you look for the perfect one to give you a good time. Today, sex trafficked victim, I March for you.

Clench your fists tight at the drug addict needing a hand of grace, they get high to escape their torment, it helps to numb the pain.  Today, struggling drug addict, I March for you.

Keep your head down as you pass them, their cries for help reflected on their faces, your problems are much more important, but a simple smile is all it would have taken...to give them hope, to save their life. Today, Suicide victims and everyone with depression, I March for you.

You see my point is pretty simple, our bodies were made for a purpose, but not in the way you'd ever see, because in the end it's not about anyone else its always been about me, me, me.

You have arms to be extended to those who need your hope, you have feet to walk beside them when life gets to be too tough for them to cope. You have a shoulder for them to lean on and maybe shed a few tears, you have eyes that can see their suffering as their pleas fall on deaf ears.

You have a voice that can be heard, and it's not because of your gender or your race,  but because you want to use your whole body as it was created to finally make a change.  Change of perspective, change of heart and change of mind.

You March for equal rights but turn your head away from those three feet from you with a cardboard sign begging for a warm place to stay.

So tell me who is the real oppressor now?
Today, marching oppressors, I March for them.

-Melissa Garcia

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Why Me Lord?

Why me Lord? What have I ever done, to deserve even one, of the blessings I've known?

That's the song my daddy used to sing in church when I was a little girl. It was my favorite song to hear him sing because he put so much heart into it and often times, he would finish it with tears rolling down his cheeks.
It is also, the song that I sang on my way home from my walk today.
I have been struggling lately trying to fight for what's right and to make sure justice is the outcome as a result of my best warrior like efforts. All of my life I've tried to fight for the right thing even if it meant standing alone. And all of my efforts to do the right thing have only backfired and I was the one left wondering what I did wrong.

Funny thing about doing what is right. There are less and less people in the world that want to do what's right because it isn't easy and as I've learned, the outcome is not always what we want. The thing I've been fighting for, the outcome wasn't what I wanted and the right decision was not made. Simply because people cannot be bothered with the truth of things and are inconvenienced by my pain. So under the rug it was swept, and I ended up being the one who was punished while the wrong doer was promoted.

I came home from work this morning feeling rather defeated and dumb. This afternoon, I decided to go for a walk instead of sitting in the house and wallowing in my emotions. I talked to God on my walk. I laid it all out on the table. My anger, my anxiety, my doubt, confusion, hurt, pride, and my sadness at the cowardliness of the people that turned a blind eye to my pain. As I was talking to him, I kept asking why me God? Why does this always happen to me? Why do I even bother doing the right thing anymore? Have I not learned my lesson by now? I kind of ran out of things to say at one point and so I just stood there in this big open field with the sunset to my front and not a person to be seen for miles. And I listened.

As I stood there with the wind blowing on my face and my heart full of pride, he said to me, "Why not you?" Uhhh, come again God? I'm sorry but the wind was in my ears and I could have sworn you just said, Why not you...yep, that's what he said. It didn't take me very long to understand what he meant and to realize what a fool I had been this entire time. He's been using me my entire life for a purpose that is far greater than what my tiny mind can comprehend. I stood there for a good minute soaking in God and his truth and I was humbled by his love for me. He entrusted me with his gifts, his passion, his truth, and love to go out and fulfill HIS purpose, not mine. And there I was questioning him, why me?  I should be honored to be chosen to be used by him, instead I was worried about when I, ME, HOLY MELISSA, MELISSA GARCIA WHO SPEAKS THE NAME OF JESUS OUT LOUD AND DEMONS WILL FLEE would see MY justice!

God showed me that it simply does not work that way. And I'm not sure why it has taken me 29 years to get it, but I understand now. I had to relinquish my right to be right. The battle belongs to God, I am but a tiny soldier in his army and he commands my every footstep, my every breath, my very heartbeat. He didn't leave me when I was abandoned at birth, and he's been with me my entire life. He's never left me, nor has he forsaken me.

I walked out to that field today as a victim of injustice asking God why me. Never did I imagine I would be walking home in victory asking God the same question, this time with a completely different meaning. A different perspective is sometimes all we really need.

Tell me Lord, what did I ever do, that was worth love from you or the kindness you've shown. Lord help me Jesus, I've wasted it so help me Jesus, I know what I am. Now that I know I've needed you so help me Jesus, my soul's in your hand.

Why me Lord? 

https://youtu.be/mtQOY-0sViQ

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Matters of the heart

I haven't spoken to you in four years. And today, when I called you, the tears were instant. Even now I cannot stop them from racing down my face. Thank you for making the effort, even when I did not, to reach out to me and heal the broken places with your wisdom and unconditional love. For being the best role model of who God is and how powerful his love and grace is to unworthy people like me. I'm glad we have reconnected, although you have never been far from my thoughts, especially around the holidays when I'm making a million loaves of potica.

In case you all are wondering who I am talking about, it's my Auntie Bobbee. She is a nun, yes I'm serious. And she is my favorite person in the whole wide world. She is THE reason (her and Auntie Georgia) that I am who I am. The reason I had the courage to run cross country in Jr. High even though I wasn't that great. The reason I played soccer, the reason I  play the flute, the reason I write, the reason that I have courage to just go for what I want in life even if I fail. At least I can say I tried. She taught me to have manners, how to be a lady, and that life really is one big adventure if you are brave enough to embark on it.

There hasn't been a week that has gone by in my life that I haven't spoken to her through email at the very least. Until four years ago when I moved to England. There was a big miscommunication and I stopped talking to her. She messaged me on fb and gave me her number a few weeks ago and I called and kept missing her, but today, I got to talk to her. And it was like nothing had changed, like we never skipped a beat in that four year gap. I asked her for her forgiveness and she forgave me as we updated each other on life. Before we got off the phone, she said to me what she has always said to me in every email and every conversation we've ever had in my 29 years of life. She said I just want you to be happy my little peanut. I'm glad that you are finally happy.

In all of my life, I've never heard her bring up my past. I've never had her rub my mistakes in my face, and I've never known her to turn her back on me because of a disagreement, misunderstanding, or different views.  I.e. She is catholic, I am not. But I've always gone to mass with her whenever I visited her every summer, and she has even come to church services with me when she would visit.

I write this today because I hope you will listen when I urge you to not waste the time you have left on this earth posting another facebook status about the election. What is done, is done. What will be, will be. Sign off of social media for a while and go call that family member you haven't spoken to in a while. Just say hey, I love you and I miss you. Don't talk about politics, talk about life. Talk about your dreams, make amends if they need to be made, and have a laugh from memories that you share. It's not about political views, religious views, but heart views. We are only guaranteed TODAY, RIGHT NOW, THIS MOMENT. Please don't waste it.

In the words of Dionne Warwick, "What the world needs now is love sweet love. It's the only thing that there's just too little of." 

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Whole Pieces of Broken

About a year ago, I had a friend I was really close to stop talking to me. Just up and disappeared out of my life. I tried to reach out to her numerous times and she just ignored my messages. So I stopped messaging her and waited for her to come to me instead. And I waited, and waited. I beat myself up for a while wondering what in the heck could I have done wrong to make her not want to talk to me anymore? We didn't get into a fight or have a disagreement. One minute everything was great and the next I didn't exist. Well time went on and she deployed for six months. Jose and I kept in contact with her husband to make sure he was getting through the deployment ok, and to hang out with his totally cool mom! (Seriously though, she rides a motorcycle. It doesn't get much cooler than that) Then June rolls around  and said former friend comes home. Well the deployment took its toll on her marriage and some truths came out, gossip flew around, and overnight this gals reputation was tarnished, and her marriage was over.

I can't say I wasn't mad at her as well, because I was. One day Jose and I saw her as we were out and about and my immediate reaction was to stretch out my arms and give her a big hug. Yea, I know. I was yelling at my body to stop, don't hug her, she betrayed you and everyone around her. (insert the rest of those horrible judgy thoughts we all have). But I hugged her and asked how she was doing, she said good just getting dinner for her and her husband. It hit me then that she didn't know that I knew (her husband had left her already) and at that moment my anger and judgement melted away into sadness. As I said goodbye and wished her well, I looked back and all I saw was a broken woman. She's been on my heart ever since.

There have been many a time in my life where I've messed up, where I've been confused about who I was, where I thought no one was watching so what's it going to hurt if I'm having a good time?

And every time my sins were found out and I was put on public display to be shamed for the rest of my life. Except I had Jesus. He forgave me when I repented and changed my ways. He gave me mercy, he showed me grace. All of which by anyone else's account, I was undeserving of and probably would have stoned me to death if they could have. There were a few people that distanced themselves from me but they still loved me. They came around once I came around to my senses and convictions. They didn't see me as this horrible person who was deserving of desertion. They saw me as the broken mess that I truly was and they loved me back to being whole.

It's a common story really. Most of us can relate or have/are going through it right now. But I'll tell you what I've learned from my brokenness with the best country analogy that I've got.
Have you ever been in an old barn? You know how some of the boards are broken in various places? At night, all you can see is the broken boards and the cold that they let in to the barn. But watch the sun rise through those pieces of brokenness and watch how the light hits the hay or the inside of the barn. You know the kind I'm talking about, light so perfect that you can see all the dust particles floating in the air where it falls. It's stunning isn't it? For a while you forget about the broken boards and just stand in awe at the beauty you are surrounded by.
That's kind of like life. If we take the time to see and appreciate the beauty in our brokenness, only then can we help our neighbor who is fixing his broken barn boards with money, alcohol, drugs, sex, etc.

You see I wasn't mad at my friend because of what she did. I was mad at her because she reminded me of who I used to be. I judged her like I was judged and in that moment I looked back at her and I saw how broken she was, I also saw a little bit of me. To deny her any grace and forgiveness would be to deny that I had ever made mistakes in my life. And that folks would be very hypocritical of me to do. I pray that when others hurt us or dissapoint us, we are slow to judge their mistakes and instead see them as broken people who simply need Jesus.

In other words, take those people to your barn and show them the beauty that lies in being broken. God's love is the only love that will ever put our shattered pieces back together and make us whole again.
Ah, mercy, isn't it beautiful?

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Guess Who?

Recently, I had someone tell me that I am too much. I am too honest, too critical, too deep, too intense. And it's no wonder I couldn't hang on to friends. Yea, I was hurt but not surprised. This person (who will later be named) has always told me my entire life that I wasn't good enough, I wasn't smart enough. I will never be loved because of my past, God doesn't love me because I don't go to church, but if I dare go to church, O how they will judge you and God could never love you if you're not perfect. They magnified my flaws to my face, day in and day out, never letting me forget that I'm just not pretty enough. My boobs are too small, my butt is too big, and those hips, are dispraportionate to my tiny frame. You're ugly, you're awkward, you're weird. Why can't you just be more like your sisters Melissa? That's what they would always tell me.

As I got older, the insults and hurtful words got worse. You've sinned so much, you're too far away from God for him to ever reach you again, let alone hear your prayers. God doesn't listen to sinners when they pray. All this pain you're going through is your fault, remember who I told you you were when you were little, your own mother abandoned you, why would anyone else want to be in your life, you're pathetic for even trying. You were born with a disability, you'll never be smart enough to get through college, let alone make something of your life. You'll never be successful like your sisters.

Do you get the point yet? Ready for me to name that horrible person who traumatized me my entire life?

It was me.

You see although I have actually had someone tell me some of these things for most of my life, a lot of it is just me.
I bet you re-read through those two paragraphs just now and realized that you can relate. And I also hope that you are strong enough to tell that awful person to hush up, let me tell you a thing or two bud.

Yes I might be awkward, dispraportionate, too intense at times, and my story isn't a story of success in the worldly sense, but one of tiny accomplishments every day that I consider to amount to a successful day.

I've learned to embrace my flaws and differentiate between the lies I was told as a child, plus the lies I tell myself, and see myself for who God and my husband see me as. Perfectly imperfect.

I hate that I'm so clumsy. But my husband thinks it's just the most hilarious thing in the world. I've learned to laugh at my clumsiness now because, well, it actually is pretty funny. (seriously, I once cut my finger pretty badly with a spoon!)
I still look in the mirror some days and hate my reflection, but my husband looks at me and says, "with a little makeup, you'll get there." Ha, just kidding guys. Had to see if I still had an audience. Moving along.

**See what I did there? I put in something random and funny in the middle of a serious blog post! If that isn't awkward, I don't know what is. But did it make you laugh? I bet it did. If so, then you're the reason I can embrace my awkwardness. I still see my self as awkward but in a fun way. I've learned to be my awkward self and make people laugh, and I get a good chuckle out of it as well. I was once told that I should be a comedian. I told the lady, I am, that'll be $80 please! badum boom! Ok, sorry. I'll be serious now.**

My point is, you are your own worst critic and if you wouldn't want other people to say it about you, then certainly don't say it to yourself!  Proverbs 4:23 says, "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. That to me includes my thoughts as well. If we constantly tell ourselves that we are nothing, not good enough, etc. then that is what we will become. But if we stomp on those lies and see the beauty in who God made us, then O the things we will accomplish.
There is no way I can fully love on Jesus but hate the body he put me in. That's like telling God, hey I know you created me in your image and all, but you're kinda ugly. God your nose is too big, you have way too much cellulite, and your feet are two different sizes! This is unacceptable, you must change to look like everyone else! I HIGHLY doubt we would dare tell God that, so WHY DO WE SAY THESE THINGS TO OURSELVES? (yes I am yelling at you!).

Just take a minute today and write down all of the things that you love about yourself and why. Not what you love that your husband loves about you, or your mom loves about you. Nope, write what YOU love about YOU. You may just be surprised.

-Melissa Out xoxoxoxo

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Mother's Day

Today I'm going to share with you a story. A story that I hope you will see as inspirational. For those of you reading, and you know my story, you know that my intentions are not for pity, but to inspire. For those of you reading and you don't know my story, that's ok, I hope this still touches your life in some way.

 I woke up this morning and I read this verse as I always do on Mother's Day and Father's day. My childhood story is not a happy one, I grew up in a very toxic environment that left me a complete shattered mess of a person emotionally, mentally, and physically. And by the time I reached 25 I had decided I had had enough. I haven't spoken to my foster mother in 4 years, or anyone in my family (except my brother and biological mom). Which has actually helped me heal in the most amazing way and I am proud of who I have become and what I have overcome. God has opened my eyes to so many things that I thought were my fault, all the lies I was told growing up, and that my foster mother is a very mentally sick woman. I was able to forgive myself, her, and the rest of my family for the things they did to me. Which is why I can share this blog entry with you.

I used to struggle with Mother's Day. I hated it and I would spend all day feeling sorry for myself and being jealous of everyone that had loving Mothers they can wish a Happy Mother's day to. Why? Mostly because of my childhood, and because when I was 18 my foster mother gave me a huge box full of all my school and baby pictures along with every mother's day card and any other card I ever made for her. Told me, I wasn't really her daughter, so she doesn't want these things anymore. I was devastated. I still have all of that stuff in a box in my garage. I look at it from time to time, mostly on Mother's day.


Well this week, I pulled all of this stuff out as I usually do (I'm a very nostalgic person if you haven't noticed) and I came across this photo and my heart flooded with happy memories and the tears just flowed. I realized Mother's Day isn't about making cards and giving gifts, it's about these two women for me.

So this Mother's Day, instead of thinking about the Mother I never had growing up, I want to tell you about the women God placed in my life to be a Mother to me.

The lady on the left with the beautiful smile and a face that radiates with love and joy....that's my Mama K. Her name is really Kamante (I know, it's a beautiful name). God put her in my life at a very crucial time. I met her at church my freshman/sophomore year of High School and ever since then, she has been a very steady rock in my ever rocky life. She has shown me how to love God and other people. She has prayed with me at the altar, cried with me, helped me to laugh in the face of fear, encouraged me to pursue God's calling on my life, and has loved me even through all the times I messed up. She's always had my back when I thought I was alone, she saw everything I went through at home and was my prayer warrior for God's protection over me, she has opened up her home to me when I had nowhere else to go and has only asked that I never forget my first love, Jesus. If anyone knows my heart, it's this woman. I still go to her for advice to this day, when something good happens, I tell my mama K. I wouldn't be who I am today without her constant prayers. So Mama K, Happy Mother's Day. I love you more than words could ever express. Thank you for opening your heart for this little gal to take refuge in. For inviting me to be a part of your amazing family, and for helping me to not become the very thing that I despise. You are forever a part of my heart and will always be my Mama K.

Now on to the other beautiful lady on the right with the blond hair and the radiant smile. That's my  Mama Edie (and her husband Tim next to her). I also officially met her at the same time I met Mama K, but I saw her at other churches when she would sing as a guest. I loved her voice the moment I heard her sing. And she showed me what real worship was. She is the reason I wanted to follow my heart and be a worship leader. If this woman knows how to do anything, it's to sing praises to Jesus and to worship him. I was there at her son Matt's funeral, she sat in the front row right by his casket. We had his funeral in the church and we had a praise and worship time. During that time, I was on the stage and I looked up during a song, everyone was still sitting but Mama Edie was standing with her arms raised to heaven worshiping God. She was at her own son's funeral and was the only one standing and worshiping. In that moment I saw what worship was really about. It's not about us, it's always about our Heavenly Father and even in our grief we must worship him because he is HOLY. I will never ever forget that moment. It has helped me to worship my Jesus in the very worst of times, and guess what, when I surrender to him and I am engulfed in his presence, my problems and pain disappear. Mama Edie has also been a prayer warrior for me and has opened up her home and her heart for me to take refuge in. You have forever made an impact on my life. So to Mama Edie, Happy Mother's day. Thank you for loving me in spite of my flaws and for bringing me closer to Jesus just by being that example. Thank you for helping me to become better, not bitter. I love you always.

Happy Mother's Day you two. I love you and I would not be who I am without you. You have made a difference in this gals life for the better.
Thank you for loving me and for taking me into your families as one of your own. But mostly, thank you for seeing the beauty in my brokenness, and for helping to piece me back together with your wisdom, encouragement, and love. It's the glue that holds me together to this day.

With all of my love forever,
Your daughter Melissa xoxoxo


Sunday, 1 May 2016

Vulnerability





This past week, I took a trip to Keukenhof Holland to see the Tulip festival. Tulips are my absolute favorite flower in the entire world, so being able to be at the Tulip fesitival with the man of my dreams, was an absolute dream come true. Upon being there and visiting the amazing display of tulips, I learned something. The tulips that you see above, the ones with the feathery/frayed flowers, those tulips are actually diseased. I can't remember the name of the disease, but I do remember thinking when I read about it, how beautiful are these tulips. They were vulnerable, caught a disease, and came out on top, becoming my second favorite type of tulip. A very rare, sick, but beautiful tulip indeed. Which got me thinking about the word vulnerable..........



Being vulnerable. What does that mean to you? Well, I suppose it might depend on your current situation, your past upbringing, or who you are currently working on becoming. To me, it means everything. It used to be a word that struck fear into my core. I hated it. I was brought up to be tough and independent. I wasn't allowed to cry, I wasn't allowed to ask for help. So I grew up alone. I learned ALL of my lessons the hard way, I have cried more tears from heart break and disappointment than I could count, I have shoved people out of my life because I knew they would never live up to my expectations and eventually would hurt me. I have lied to everyone that asked me how I was doing because I knew they didn't really care. I've slammed the door (metaphorically) on so many valuable people in my life because they simply let me down.

However, I am nearly 30 and life isn't so hard. I've contemplated why in the world have I had such a good stream of luck in the past few years...surely happiness isn't in God's plan for me. And I have learned one thing. It's because I have chosen to be vulnerable. I have opened up myself to mostly every one I have come across. Nine times out of ten, it backfires on me and I end up the one being hurt. But in my pain, I have come to the conclusion that the people that use my vulnerability against me are hurting far worse than I am. And in turn, when they are ready (if and when) to come back and be my friend again, I will be there for them. Why?, you ask. They hurt you, they took advantage of you, they talk so badly about you! Because they need the love that I have to offer them. They need the love that Jesus has put into my heart to give to them more than I need it. God gave me my husband as my best friend to be there for me on this earth when I really need to refuel, when I really need to be reminded that I am a good person, and I am unconditionally loved. The people that betray me? They don't have that.

They are who I used to be. Hurt, confused, full of fear, needing approval, wanting love. And they show it by hurting others. It's sad, it's unfortunate, it's humanity without God. Do you want to know how I learned all of this? Yes, my amazing husband. We have a mutual friend, one he has known for 11 years, and one I have known for 6 years. I have had the hardest time with them accepting me for me and just being my friend. I had opened up to them (of course when Jose was there) and we bonded, we really bonded. It was great, until it wasn't. They shoved me away, picked fights with me on purpose, and generally tried to shove me out of their life. I was infuriated to the point of tears and I asked Jose why? Why were they punishing me when I didn't do anything to them? I'm never going to open up to them again, that's it, I'm done trying! Being my amazing truthful non biased husband he is, he in turn gave me this gut wrenching advice.

"Mamacita, if you want to make a difference in this person's life, then you have to be vulnerable with them." "You must show them unconditional love, no matter what." Ugh, but I don't want to! They hurt me, bla bla bla. But then I realized he was right. And be vulnerable I did. It actually hasn't made a bit of a difference in our friendship, but in being vulnerable, I learned what Jose was really trying to teach me. Being vulnerable isn't about the results you get with other people, whether it be good or bad. It's about YOU growing as a person and just accepting who you are, character builders (flaws) and all. Once you accept who you are, then the people that reject you for being who you are, really won't phase you. Because you know the harm they cause you is actually a cry for help. What they are really asking is this. "Please don't prove me right." "Please give me one more chance." " I didn't mean it, I just don't know how to accept love, goodness, and kindness."

What they are really saying to me? PROVE ME WRONG! Prove to me that not everyone is the same. Prove to me what unconditional love looks like, feels like, is. So from January 2016 onward I have been nothing but vulnerable, honest, me. And so far, it hasn't really paid off. I've only had disappointments, but many lessons have been learned. So many people need love. So many people need Jesus! If you love someone and you open yourself up to them and you give them your all, and they reject it and it makes you angry, then you have not really loved them have you? Love is not selfish. So the next time you meet someone new, or you give someone in your life another chance, love them. I mean REALLY love them unconditionally for who they are, who they have been, and who you know they can be. Love them like Jesus would. Unconditionally, with no expectations. I promise, it's a win win situation. The Beatles had it right when they said, "All you need is love, love is all you need." And more importantly, the Bible had it right when it said,

 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a]but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13

P.s. I actually had to memorize this entire verse when I was in the 1st grade at the Lighthouse Christian school with Mrs. Tallman as my teacher. So it has stuck with me my entire life. (christian school was the best half year of my life, I remember almost everything about it and I loved it).
P.s.s. Never forget where God has brought you from into where you are now. The pain that people cause you, is the very same pain that you have caused someone in your life when you were none the wiser. We are all humans searching for love and acceptance. And Jesus is the ONLY way to show true love and acceptance. More Jesus, less YOU.