Saturday, March 26, 2011

TNT (Triumph n Therapy)

 So I breathed a long drawn out sigh of relief when that 30 day thing was over. I don't think I can fully express how confining and maddening it was for me. To restrict myself like that was a bit like sticking a live butterfly in one of those cases for displaying dead butterflies. I was completely out of my element. I tend to ramble and really embrace the stream of consciousness that flows throughout myself and that really made me stick to a topic. But I had to do it! Think of it this way... This scene in Nanny Mcphee Returns about sums it up. I had to keep it up, but really wanted to quit. I think for me it was a bit cathartic, to open up and share some things about myself that I would usually rather have kept hidden.

 Do you have those things? The thoughts and memories that lurk in the darkest corner of your mind that you would just as soon have them disappear? For a long time I struggled with guilt over what happened to me as a child. I remember talking to the police and saying over and over again "I regret it". I was 9, what control did I have?? None! Now that it is all out in the open for the few who read my blog, I feel like all the cards are on the table.

 I have been in therapy on several occasions, both as a child and an adult. As a child I learned how to say what needed to be said in order to make it through life. Pay attention to how they phrase the question, hear the inflection in their voice and you can figure how you're supposed to answer. So that's what I did, and I did it well. Later in my teen years, same experience, different counselors. I also went through some grief counseling after my mother passed away, because man, that hit hard. Finally, I went through Trauma Resolution Therapy (TRT).

 This was a different approach to therapy altogether. Instead of talking about whatever trivial things I was coping with in my daily life, I went to the root of the problem. I wrote out the memories, painful ones (that have not been blocked out) and read them aloud. Then I dissected them as I did that cat in high school (for Anatomy, not because I'm a sadist or serial killer in training). I identified the differences in how good families treat one another and how I was treated and how that affects me even to this day in how I handle situations. I have not forgotten the past, nor should I, but the moments of being blindsided by a flashback are fewer and farther between. It is still a journey with myself and God. I know that together, we can accomplish anything.

So there you have it. More rawness revealed, and more glory to God for His redemptive work in my life. It is an ongoing thing for all of us. This blog is kind of a journal documenting where I go, what I feel and how God moves in me and through me. Thanks for coming alongside me in my journey!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

30 DOT Day 30!!!!!

A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself 

Dear Melissa,
 First off, I love that you actually completed this 30 day thing! You really surprised me and I'm proud of you. I can't believe it's finally over. This was especially challenging, because not only did the frequency make you feel creatively restrained, but the fact that they were all guided and you had to stay on topic.

 I love that you know how to have fun, your carefree spirit and willingness to laugh at yourself. Many people take themselves to seriously and you don't fall into that trap. I love that you say what you mean without trying to be mean. I love that you put God first in your life even when it is uncomfortable. I love that you can be a leader without being a complete jack wagon! Too often those who claim to be leaders are total jerks and unapologetic about it. At least when you get jerky (because it happens to all of us sometimes) you almost always apologize and most likely didn't mean it that way. 

 I love that you try without giving up. Even if something seems impossible, you are willing to take a shot at it and see what happens. I love that today's entry was one of the hardest for you to write because of your humility. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

30 DOT Day 29

Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.

Almost done with this 30 day journey. If you've kept up with this, then you may know more about me than you would like or even thought possible. Well here's a little more...

One thing I would like to change about myself is that I would love to be more of a cleaner. I try and do my best as a house wife, but it is not my strong suit. Things like that don't come naturally to me, so it's as if I am working against nature to accomplish anything. If those things could come a little easier that would be awesome! So if you are so inclined, I would love your prayers in this area :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

30 DOT Day 28

What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?

Well if I got someone pregnant, we would be checking one of us in to the circus because that, my friends, is impossible. 

If I were pregnant, that would mean a lot of work needs to be done. My spare bedroom would need remodeled and cleaned. All of Lilly's baby things that we kept "just in case" would need to be gotten out of the attic. That in itself would be an exercise in risking life and limb in that cluster muck. 

Aside from the work involved in preparing for a new baby, there would be lots of excitement. I loved being pregnant with Lilly, it was like having my best friend with me all the time. I talked to her, and rubbed my belly non stop. I even liked it after she discovered there was an internal button that made me spontaneously eject whatever I had just eaten... 

Monday, March 21, 2011

30 DOT Day 27

What’s the best thing going for you right now?

Definitely my family. I am truly thankful for my amazing husband and daughter. Growing up, I would never have imagined I could have the life I have now. It's surprising to me that I have been so abundantly blessed and did nothing to deserve it. I love my family and I love my life!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

30 DOT Day 25

The reason you believe you’re still alive today.

Here's why, plain and simple

  The song lyrics                                                   My life

I was born in Tennessee                                              Change that to Florida
Late July humidity                                                           and that to August
Doctor said I was lucky to be alive                        

I’ve been trouble since the day that I got here
Trouble till the day that I disappear
That’ll be the day that I finally get it right

There is hope for me yet
Because God won’t forget
All the plans he’s made for me
I have to wait and see
He’s not finished with me yet

I never really was that good in school                          I actually was good in school LOL
I talked too much, broke the rules                                 Now that's true
Teacher thought I was hopeless fool alright

I don’t know how but I made it through 
It’s one of those things that you’ve gotta do
But I always had a knack for telling the truth                 Not so much...


Still wondering why I’m here
Still wrestling with my fear
But oh, He’s up to something
And the farther on I go
I’ve seen enough to know
That I’m, not here for nothing
He’s up to something

So now’s my time to be a man                                     or woman
Follow my heart as far as I can
No telling where I’m ending up tonight
I never slow down or so it seems
But singing my heart it’s one of my dreams
All I gotta do is hold on tight


Friday, March 18, 2011

30 DOT Day 24

Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)

I decided to a playlist for several someones in my family and choose song or songs for each of them.

Chris: Blow up the Outside World by Soundgarden because it takes me back to the days when we were young and only wanted to be together
Chris: Part 2 Bootcamp by Soundgarden because we are living our something else, our something good
Lilly: Cinderella by Stephen Curtis Chapman because I know that you will grow up but you will always be my little girl
Lilly: Part 2 Ribbons Undone by Tori Amos because you are my little pony
B.J.: Paradise City by Guns N Roses because I can still see you as a kid singing along to this with your mess of red hair and being a total rock star
Mom: The Beekeeper by Tori Amos because I know that when death took my queen and you left this earth you awoke somewhere even better
Mom: Part 2 These Dreams by Heart because I will never forget seeing you dance and hearing you sing along to these women just a month before you died
Dad (Lynn): Then They Do by Trace Adkins because while you weren't around for my baby years you are still my dad, no matter what
Dad: Part 2 He Didn't Have to Be by Brad Paisley because I am so glad you are the man you didn't have to be
Mom (Marianne): His Strength is Perfect by Stephen Curtis Chapman because you are stronger than you know and because I know you like the verse :)
All my friends: Lean on Me by Bill Withers because you can always count on me to be there for you

I just realized there are two SCC songs on this and I'm not even a huge fan of his. Apparently his words express feelings for me pretty well though?!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

30 DOT Day 23

Something you wish you had done in your life.

I wish I had appreciated my mom and knew the gift that I had while she was here...

This is true.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

30 DOT Day 22

Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.

Sure, there are some things I should not have done in my life. But should I wish them away or accept that they happened and just move on. That's what I choose to do. Instead of rehashing the past and dredging up old wounds, I will say, use time as an excellent teacher. Instead of wishing away my mistakes, I will learn from them. I will choose to learn from the stupid decisions I have made and vow never to make them again. 

Live and learn.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

30 DOT Day 21

(scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?

I'm assuming by this, that my friend was injured and it wasn't just a fender bender resulting in a busted tail light. 

It would not even take me a second to grab my keys and jump in the car and head for the hospital. Because petty arguments aside, I would be there for my friend no matter what. All can be forgiven. I'll stand by you.

Monday, March 14, 2011

30 DOT Day 20

Your views on drugs and alcohol.

Well, let me begin by saying something my husband taught me... Jesus is my favorite wine maker! I believe in moderation, alcohol is not a very bad thing. Over indulging can cause you to compromise your values (not to mention give you a serious headache). So therefor I choose not to get sloppy drunk just because I have a glass of wine, or a margarita or heck even a Long Island Iced Tea :)

I think most illegal drugs are that way for good reason. They are highly addictive and the effects can destroy lives. I however feel that marijuana should be legal and we should tax the ever loving crap out of it! That may not be a popular stance among my readers, but it's my personal opinion. Oh, and this song cracked me up. Who knew?? Neil Diamond?! It's actually an anti drug song, and quite a catchy little ditty LOL

Sunday, March 13, 2011

30 DOT Day 19

What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?

Both of these are sticky subjects and likely to ruffle feathers. I'm sure if you've been reading up until now, you probably already know I lean towards the right. I don't call myself a staunch Republican, but a lot of my views line up with them. Not all mind you, but a fair number. 

That being said, I think politics are a messy and ineffective way of ruling a country. Many people, on both sides, like to "play politics". I mean to say they treat it as a game where there is a winner and a loser, when in reality the entire country loses. Men allow selfish desires for personal gain to influence their decisions and quite often develop a superiority complex, feeling they know better than we do how we feel about issues, and how to spend our own money. If there's one thing I can't stand, it's an elitist whose nose is so far in the air, they would frown were it to start raining.

I was almost done with todays writing when I had a revolutionary thought. Why not do a quick blurb on both subjects and tick everyone off equally?!

I think religion is mans attempt to reach God, Jesus was His way of reaching us. I feel that often times religion can get in the way of Him. A lot of todays church activities have a way of becoming a new set of rules to follow, like the ones Jesus set us free from. We've traded the ticky tacky laws of the Pharisees for new ones disguised as something less sinister, like taking a class or going to a Sunday school or becoming a "member" of this ministry or just fill in the blank for whatever expectations church has placed on you. For acceptance, you need to be at every function even at the expense of your own personal ministry needing to be fulfilled in the lives of those you influence. Many modern Christians (I was one of them), simply traded in the Old Testament restrictions for newer ones. True freedom in Christ is a beautiful thing, though many "Christians" will never experience it on this Earth. It is rather counter cultural to actually live as Jesus commanded, and you can face opposition from even other Christ followers. But as long as you are obedient to what He wants for you, you can never go wrong!

I'll close with one of my favorite quotes from Jake Colsen 

"The free person in Christ and the rebellious will always look the same to those who labor under religious obligation, because both ignore the conventions that govern men and women"

Saturday, March 12, 2011

30 DOT Day 18

Your views on gay marriage.

Once again, here is where I offend others and that's okay. I believe that God created man and woman to be together in marriage joined with Him. While I don't think the political arena is where God really wants us to be active, I do believe that marriage is sacred and between one man and one woman. There are many perversions of this; having "relations" outside of marriage, multiple spouses and homosexual relationships to name a few. Notice that I admit there are perversions even within the "straight" community. Sin does not pick and choose, we are all equally susceptible to those traps. Though our struggles may be different, how God wants us to respond to them is the same. James 4:7 says "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."

My aim is not to condemn anyone by my opinions, but to offer hope. There is freedom in Christ. Freedom from being a slave to the sin you're in. God is faithful to forgive and only asks that you humble yourself to His will for your life.

Friday, March 11, 2011

30 DOT Day 17

A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.

There is a book that changed the entire way I view church. After we left the last church we were at, a friend lent me the book So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore. As I read this it was as if scales fell off my eyes. For the first time ever, I began to see God's church for what it really is, His people doing His will. My views of task based relationships and the corrupted ideals we strive for and teach others to strive for were in an instant shattered. I encourage anyone reading to this to go to the site above. You can download the book free, or order a hard copy of it. This is the book I most recommend; second only to the Bible. 

As I read this, it was like the authors had peered into my life and experiences and wrote a book about it. I remember feeling the same things they describe, from wanting to reveal the truth about certain things to learning to yield to God's timing about those things and allowing Him to be the only Judge. I attend no "formal church" on a Sunday morning. I am learning what it means to actually BE the church, to give selflessly to those God has placed in my life expecting nothing in return except God's continued favor. The freedom I have received from Jesus has been made complete in my acceptance of His will for my life. 

I could go on and on for hours about the similarities between our experience and this book. Suffice it to say; this book took what I had been feeling and learning since my baptism and put into words what I could not. God placed me on the journey I am on years ago and I am still nowhere near the end. But, Lord willin', I will be there one day!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

30 DOT Day 16

Someone or something you definitely could not live without.

I absolutely could not live without my husband. He is by far the best man I have ever known. He loves me like no other and is the best friend I could ever have. He supports me in my decisions but still offers wisdom when I need it. He is the embodiment of love presented in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.8 Love never fails."

Not to sound overly gushy, but I have the best husband ever and could not live without him. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

30 DOT Day 15

Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.

Maybe I don't deny myself enough, I honestly can't think of something I have tried to live without that made my life unbearable. 

I guess if I stretch things a bit I could say that my not allowing people to get close to me has denied me close friends in the past. I know what that's like, not having people know the real me. I will say life was a lot more gray then. With closeness of friends you bring a virtual rainbow of colors into your life. I have probably denied myself blessings by guarding myself so tightly. The relationships I am building now, through the power of Christ, are deeper, long lasting and fulfilling. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

30 DOT Day 14

A hero that has let you down.

It may sound odd, but I never have really had any heroes for them to have the ability to let me down. Maybe I'm a bit of realist because I have seen and experienced so much pain in my life starting at a young age. I think I quickly learned that no one is worthy of that kind of ultimate respect usually associated with a "hero".  

The only Hero I have now is Jesus, and He will NEVER let me down!! You never let go!

Monday, March 7, 2011

30 DOT Day 13

A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough days.

I think if you know me this kind of goes without saying. But for those of you newer to Melissa-world; it's hands down Tori Amos. I remember listening to her when Little Earthquakes came out  and then my obsession really took life during the Under the Pink era. My first concert was during the Dew Drop Inn Tour supporting Boys for Pele. At this point I don't even know how many times I've seen her live and each time is pure magic for me. I've always found it kind of amazing that although there is a big age difference between she and I, each album she releases somehow meets me where I am. 

Chris often makes fun of me because I refuse to choose a favorite song for fear of hurting the other songs feelings. But in all honesty, I simply can't choose because at any given moment, any song can grab me by the heart and speak to me. Her music can at once bring me peace and inspiration. During the time after I lost my mother, The Beekeeper was released. I think this album really helped me deal with my mother's passing. This may sound really cheesy or even stalker-ish but... When she did this song one of the last times I saw her, there was a moment, where with tears streaming down my face grieving for my mom, her eyes met mine and she was singing, at that moment, these words for me. (Side note, she wrote this after almost losing her mother to a heart attack).

Sunday, March 6, 2011

30 DOT Day 12

Something you never get compliments on.

Folks are generally nice to me and my friends are quite honest and able to share their feelings with me. But one thing they never compliment me on is my ability to be a geek. I am quite dorky, and I'm pretty good at it, but no one ever says "Gee Melissa, it's awesome that you play WoW." Or "You know, no one can pop out random useless trivia like that Melissa!".  Granted these are probably things most people would NOT want to be complimented on, but I embrace my inner nerd. She's a fun girl with eccentricities and quirks that, I think, make her quite lovable!

Geek is this quite long clip that made me crack up at how many I identified with (approx 12), any other of my friends? Chris liked some of them but will never admit it!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

30 DOT Day 11

Something people seem to compliment you the most on.

Hmm, people compliment me; do they do that? I know my husband always says I'm beautiful but he's contractually obligated to do so! Lilly always tells me I'm the best Mommy ever but I think she's a little biased. Geesh, look how I just explained away all those compliments.  

Okay. How about this? People often compliment me on my writing ability. I find it easy to express my thoughts and feelings in written words as well as verbally. That's kind of a nicer way of saying I talk a lot. However I try to use my gift in this blog. I aim to be salt and light in the lives of others. I also use my God given abilities to teach others. I have been told I have a way of making God's Word understandable and applicable to your life and for this I am grateful. To think that God would use me to further His Gospel and disciple His children is an honor beyond compare that I am unworthy to behold.

I think the thing to remember when anyone compliments you, is to give God the glory. It is He who made me the way I am. So thank you God, for overcoming a big mouth and using her as your instrument :) 

I use what God has given me to proclaim Him, it is my offering.

Friday, March 4, 2011

30 DOT Day 10

Someone you need to let go, or just wish you didn't know.

I have a family member who I wish I didn't know. This person is just a big ol' ball o' negativity. One of those people who thrive on drama and just aren't content unless everyones life is in an uproar. We have no contact so it's not really an issue of needing to let go, that part has been done. But even without contact with this person, they still somehow manage to stir up trouble and cause unneeded stress in the family we do have. As in my previous blog, names have been withheld to protect the parties involved, though not necessarily the innocent!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

30 DOT Day 9

Someone you didn't want to let go, but just drifted.

I have had several friends from our previous church whom I have drifted away from. Part of this is because I did not wish to be divisive in what remains their church. What happened for us there was a pretty messy situation and sometimes it's best to keep your distance and avoid spilling the nastiness onto others. So while the relationships aren't what they once were, the love is definitely still there.  

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

30 DOT Day 8

Someone who made your life Hell  or treated you badly.

Okay, here's where it gets messy. I will be honest in what I say and it may bother you or upset you but as I said at the outset of this experiment, these are my feelings. Feel free to skip this one if you like.

I am a survivor of  mental and sexual abuse at the hands of my biological father. I say survivor instead of victim because that is a mentality I will not allow myself to have. He has no power over me now, and cannot hurt me or my family. I will choose not to divulge his name here. It's not really about him, it's about me. I could drag him through the mud and lay out all the terrible things he did to both me and my mother but instead I will take the high road and not rehash the past. 

Break the silence. (new link, same song)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

30 DOT Day 7

Someone who has made your life worth living for.

My God has made life worth living. He gives me meaning and purpose. He has plans for me and loves me completely despite all my shortcomings. In this I am blessed. If you don't know him, message me. I would love to tell you some of the things He has done for me. I have seen Him work in my life and the lives of others and count it a privilege to tell of His love for mankind. 

If you haven't noticed, music is very important to me. Songs can sometimes express what my words cannot.