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


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.