What If…

I wasn’t going to write about the Coronavirus, mainly because I’m t i r e d of reading articles about it, listening to all the opinions that express frustration about this or that. Can you relate? I find it to be draining.

However, this is our life right now. Don’t get me wrong. I get it. I understand why people are anxious. In all of my lifetime, I’ve never seen things change so much in such a short amount of time. I work at a preschool, so guess what — my job may be over for the school year. I don’t know that yet, however, it’s a very unsettling time because of the unknown.

A friend mentioned that it’s like we are having an invisible blizzard. If you’ve ever experienced one, then you know that’s a perfect analogy. Everything is coming to a halt. We have no control. The main difference is that we still have electricity.

This is life — sometimes it can be really, really good. However, sometimes it can be the opposite. And this is why I started my blog. Over the years I’ve tried to be open and share what’s happening, and then I try my best to offer words of encouragement in case someone else out there is facing something similar. I don’t always have the right words, but I’ll give it my best shot.

I’ve been reading the One Year Bible since January 1, 2020. It’s funny how we shrug off what people went through back then because it almost seems unbelievable, and then…. here we are — in the middle (or is this just the beginning?) of something almost unbelievable. I guess the Old Testament is helpful for today!

Here’s the thing. It’s Lent. You know, that time when many believers give up something — like meat, chocolate, TV, FB, or something else that most likely isn’t that hard to live without. I shouldn’t throw everyone out there into the same basket. I do know there are some who take it seriously. I apologize if I offended anyone.

However….

What if God is allowing this to show us exactly what it means to give up something. What if He is trying to reveal to us what we truly treasure? Is it the almighty dollar? Sports? Control? Pride? What if He is allowing our life (as we know it) to be shook up in order to reveal how much we trust Him? Does our security come from trusting that He is in control — or does it come from other people, our finances, etc. When I ask myself those questions, I am humbled beyond measure.

I believe there’s a lesson in everything. I pray we will rise up to the occasion and be bold enough to ask Him to reveal what we should be learning in such a time as this. Then, I pray when this crazy virus is long gone, we will remember to look up and thank Him for such a teachable experience….and praise Him for bringing us through it.

Thank you, Lord.

 

 

Memes the Word

I find the trend to post memes on social media interesting. Maybe people do it because they don’t have anything to talk about, or perhaps some of those memes represent something that’s going on in their life. Probably both.

I feel that some of the memes that have been circulating around contain messages that most people seem to like or support, but I wonder if they really understand their meaning or why they were shared. It’s just so easy to click “like” – right?

The most common ones tell you to stop comparing yourself to others, love yourself as you are, and in a roundabout way say you will be happy if you remove yourself from toxic people.

Although I agree that it’s dangerous to compare, I believe it can motivate you to step up your game. Everyone knows we aren’t equally gifted in all areas. Where you are strong, I may be weak. Someone may be stunning in looks, but lack compassion for others. You get the picture.

Love yourself as you are? How about love yourself enough to make the effort to improve or change? I’m thankful I didn’t settle for how I was living my life several years ago. God loves me, yes. However, he sets the bar in His Word. If I’m not reading it, then I’m going to remain the same as the day I realized I needed Him as my Savior. I DIDN’T love myself back then. That’s when I realized I needed a Savior. That’s when my love for Him helped me overcome and start making changes. I’m still a work in progress. We all are.

Avoid toxic people? Is that really possible? What spot on earth can you separate yourself from them? Ha. I get it — some people are in a scary place because their life is being controlled by unhealthy people. Some friends I know have been abused and need encouragement to step away and seek help. I know it’s a serious problem in society. However, my point is — if you’re a believer, then you understand that God loves those people, too! We need to pray for them, work with them, and let them experience God’s love through us. If necessary – do those things from afar.

Last, but not least, let’s talk about those cat and dog memes. Now we’re talking! Those are all true, funny, and good for your heart.

No words

I recently went with a couple friends to visit someone I’ve known a long time who is in rehab. Although she’s dealing with a lot of physical pain, it was obvious that she was battling a broken heart. Completely shattered. You see, she lost her adult son a few months ago due to a tragic accident. I could feel the pain from across the room.

Sometimes she teared up and struggled to talk –that’s when I found myself absolutely speechless. I silently prayed that God would give me the right words to say because the words I wanted to speak didn’t seem right for the moment. However, all that I could offer was a nod that I knew her pain was as intense as it was the first day that she lost him.

We talked about many things, but we managed to come back to her son, and his wife, and their kids…..

She finally asked that one question that goes through everyone’s mind at some point in life. Why? Why, did God let this happen? I think that’s an answer she needs to learn from Him. Not from me or any other friend who tries to offer comfort. Because only God knows.

I am praying that she will allow God to lift her up and give her the strength that she needs in order to endure life. Won’t you pray for her with me?

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.” Psalm 40:1-3

Child of God

I recently had the pleasure of going on a trip to Grand Cayman. What made it even more special was that I got to fly on a private jet. It was my first experience, and it was pretty wonderful.

I’m not one who likes to do things in order to feel better than everyone else, but I do like that feeling of being someone special. I guess we all do. It’s funny how ONE thing can make you feel that way.

The week was amazing. The weather was perfect. I truly appreciated being able to walk outside every day — especially since there were cold temps back where we live. The added bonus was that we got to know a lot of people from other states who were so fun to be around. What a blessing.

Yesterday, as I scrolled through my pics, I stopped at the one above. Although it wasn’t the best photo, it brought back that wonderful feeling of I can’t believe I’m on a private jet. We weren’t served peanuts and pretzels. However, we were served delicious danishes from Panera. I was like a kid at Disney when I discovered that lunch and dessert were served on our way home. I loved how the pilots took the time to talk to us. It was an experience I’ll never forget.

That feeling of being someone special or important is one of the best feelings, ever. However, I’m learning that it’s just a feeling and not necessarily the truth when it comes from an experience or from depending on someone’s compliments. It sure is hard when we sense that feeling is vanishing into thin air — especially as time passes, you grow older, or the compliments stop.

Self image is pretty tricky sometimes. I regret that I’ve depended on others for my self-worth, especially when my maker has been trying to tell me who I am all along.

Forgiveness

It amazes me how we all view forgiveness differently.

One may think that some don’t deserve it. However, when you’ve been on the receiving end — your view can change as you experience the force behind it.

I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life. Some I can view as normal teen error in judgement. Others, well — I just totally screwed up. It’s scary how satan can mask something so that it appears to be right.

A few years ago, I was told that I was forgiven by someone I love. I knew I didn’t deserve it. I guess that’s what made me realize I was truly loved.

Friends, if there’s someone who has hurt you, lied to you, or perhaps they rallied the troops to throw stones at you — remind yourself that there is someone who understands your pain.

His name is Jesus.

Kids

Little conversations can sometimes provide the best moments.

I was walking a 4 year old student to the school’s cafeteria when she looked up at me and said, “I don’t remember your name.” I smiled and said, “I think you’re just teasing.” She insisted that she was telling the truth. Before I had the chance to remind her, she added, “I don’t remember Mrs. Mellinger’s name, either!”

Naturally, I laughed out loud.

I asked her, “Do you realize you just said her name?”

She looked away with a smile.

Jesus – There’s something about that name

After a long, difficult day where I help teach preschool, my soul was touched when I heard a group of children randomly sing “Jesus Loves Me” in our classroom. There is nothing more uplifting than hearing the voices of children lift up His name.

Oh, how He loves you and me…

What Happens When We Ignore the Pain

I received such a sad message this week that one of my son’s friends died at his workplace. I couldn’t believe it – he was only 34 years young. As of today, the cause isn’t known.

Tonight was the viewing, and as soon as I saw his mom we embraced. I sensed that she was still in shock, but it’s possible she ran out of tears for the time being.

After we talked in the entrance, my husband and I walked around — looking at all the photos they had on display. Such a short life to be captured on the boards along the way.

As we walked up to the casket, I felt his mom’s presence once again. She had walked up behind me and began to explain what she knew. She said,”He had been complaining of chest pains for a couple weeks, but he thought it was something like pleurisy.” Her explanation stopped there and that’s when my thoughts drifted off — trying to imagine what she is thinking and feeling. All I could think of is how different things would be if he had taken the time to get the pain checked out.

Such a sad story for the ones left behind. Absolutely heartbroken are his wife and 3 daughters, mom and dad, and naturally — his friends.

As we walked out to our car, I couldn’t help but think how easy it is to dismiss those warning signs that indicate something is seriously wrong — physically, mentally or spiritually. Why do we do it?

How about you? Are you ignoring some warning signs that are trying to grab your attention? Life can be incredibly complicated, but God is incredibly good.

He just might be pursuing you — sending you messages through something painful — trying to reveal that something needs to heal, change, be plucked out of your life.

“If you aren’t willing to listen to everything God has to say, you eventually won’t hear anything He has to say. If you want to hear His comforting voice, you have to listen to His convicting voice. And it’s often what we want to hear least that we need to hear most.” ~Mark Batterson

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23

Are you riding on a coattail?

When I was in the 6th grade, I had to give my first oral presentation. I was extremely nervous about getting in front of my peers, especially since I wasn’t prepared.

We had a choice to do a report on a book or a movie — then tell the class about the highlights. The purpose of the presentation was to make what we read or watched so appealing that most of the audience would want to read or see it. My best friend and I both thought the movie would be more fun, so that’s what we chose to do.

The thing is, I didn’t get to see the movie. I knew I would fail the class if I didn’t do the report and the presentation, so I did the unthinkable and asked my friend if she would give me all the details that she captured. All I had to do was change some of the words so that it wouldn’t be obvious.

I’ll never forget the anxiety I experienced as I waited for my name to be called to come to the front of the class. There’s something awkward about giving a speech about a movie that you’ve never experienced. My description was very straight forward and quite boring.

I remember the silence in the room as I basically repeated what my friend told me. Believe me, I didn’t experience a wonderful feeling of achievement when explaining the plot and the outcome since I didn’t see it firsthand, and I hoped with all my being that no one would ask me any questions — especially the teacher. Like, what would I say?!

All I know is that I could not wait to get back to my seat because I looked forward to having the weight of the world lifted off of my shoulders. Sadly, that didn’t happen. I ended up experiencing the complete opposite — more like an overwhelming feeling of complete failure all around.

  1. I had deceived my teacher.
  2. I put my friend in a bad position.
  3. I didn’t do what I was instructed to do.
  4. I received a grade that I didn’t deserve.
  5. No one wanted to go see the movie after my speech.

It was then that I realized that it wasn’t a good thing to try to ride on the coattails of someone else in order to be successful.

The same with my faith. I could repeat what others have taught me throughout the years; however, there wouldn’t be any passion behind my words if I haven’t read them and experienced them myself.

How about you? Do you know the way to Heaven, or are you simply hoping to ascend on the coattails of others?

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

Mary

It’s been awhile since I’ve even had a desire to write. Even though writing has been a huge outlet for me for the last 7 years, I recently haven’t been able to write a single word. If you choose to express your thoughts this way instead of using your voice in some way, then you know the feeling when you feel your thoughts flow through your fingertips and magically appear onto your computer screen. It can feel that good — even if no one reads them.

My life has been pretty crazy lately. I know, you’re thinking that’s life today. However, I don’t think my spirits have dipped this low, ever. They are finally on the upswing, but I recently walked in a valley I’ve never experienced before. Because my husband is a minister — fairly new to our church, I didn’t know if I should talk about it, so I’ve pretty much kept it to myself…and to my husband. Until now.

We never know what life is going to throw at us, but one thing I know is this: we need to be prepared because those hard times that we think will never touch our life — can happen. Things you never dream of doing or avoiding sometimes do happen. That’s when the hard questions come.

One question I kept hearing being whispered in my ear — over and over – was this: How do I know God still loves me? (I know John 3:16, but I’m talking about later on – after we have accepted Jesus, asked for forgiveness, been baptized, and lived a life of serving Him….and then we mess up or we’re experiencing a crisis.)

Out of curiosity, I turned to my school-aged Sunday School class and asked what they would say if someone asked that question after a school shooting, for example. Every one shrugged their shoulders as if to say – I don’t know the answer.

As I left my classroom, I realized that so many of us are so unprepared. What a great need there is for all of us!

Still searching for an answer, I recently read something on a devotional on YouVersion that provided something, at least. It comes from ADVENT: THE JOURNEY TO CHRISTMAS

The Scripture reference is found in Luke 2:18. “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

The devotion encourages us to “turn to the supply we’ve saved to sustain us when we’re in need. Knowing the prophecies about the Messiah’s sacrifice, Mary would have been aware that her precious child would one day experience incredible suffering. When she stood at the foot of the cross as her Son was crucified, Mary must have had to rehearse every memory she had of God’s faithfulness so she could continue believing in the promise of Jesus’ resurrection. In her greatest moment of pain, she had a collection of proof that God would do what He promised.”

It doesn’t matter if you’re presently living on the mountaintop, do yourself a favor and check your reserve. What are you storing up in your heart? Friend, there will come a day when you will need to tap into that reserve so that you won’t forget His promises and how deeply our Savior loves you.

A perfect way to celebrate His birth, by storing His love and promises in your heart so that they can be unwrapped at the proper time.