Rest Redefines

REST.

Jesus did it, Jesus commanded it and I hardly do it.

If I am being honest I know rest is so good for my soul and my body (mentally & physically) but yet it is something I have struggled with.

I like to be productive. I like to look at my day and see the things I have accomplished tangibly. I like to work hard. and I used to view rest as being lazy.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have taken Thursdays to get away and rest. I have rested by spending time with my family, spending time with mentors and spending time alone. On Thursdays when I rested I would not do anything work-related, partnership (internship) related or school related.

Through resting the past few weeks on a day consistently I learned things about myself. I learned that I struggle with not having control. When I rest I give up control in every area. I work hard until my rest day and then if anything comes up I chose to trust that the Lord will take care of it and then I get back to it the next day.

I have also learned that I view success in a very negative way. I think success is the things I can do and things I can accomplish in a day and to a state of perfection.

Resting has allowed me to stop. pause. and allow God to define my reality. He has allowed me to see the blessings in my life and to understand his great love for me.

Rest refuels and refreshes.

I challenge you to take a rest day and let God redefine rest for you.

xo, MB

 

 

#closethegapNSLC

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Prayer Challenge or Prayer Challenged?

Prayer.

When I was young I always prayed with my Mom before bed and I always prayed at meals or prayed if an ambulance passed us on the road. I have always known prayer to be important and what you are “supposed to do” but I have never been able to grasp the real “why” for myself other than “because it’s in the Bible.” Prayer is something I would quickly do if someone asked me to pray for them or prayer is something I would do if I was trying to make a decision that I couldn’t figure out on my own. Over time I begin to realize that I want prayer to mean something to me and for prayer to be real to me.

A couple of weeks ago I challenged myself to begin my day by praying for 10 minutes for 5 days. So each morning I would wake up and set a 10-minute alarm and pray. At first, it was awkward and weird; I would pray a little and when I couldn’t think of something to say so I would check how much time had gone by. and I know it is embarrassing to say prayer felt awkward but that’s okay because talking to someone you don’t really know can be awkward. I really did feel like I was bad at praying and something wasn’t right with me but As the days went by I became more comfortable praying and I began desiring to pray more than just in the mornings. I found myself praying throughout the day about anything whether something minuscule or a frustration.

Not only did I pray more during the day but I noticed that I had more joy and was excited for the day when I prayed first. I realized that the behavior of praying changed when I decided that I wanted to seek God first and that the way I connect with him is through prayer.

Prayer has helped me to become sensitive to the Lords promptings and has helped me to be kingdom minded.

I want to be a woman who prays first and earnestly seeks my father. I truly believe prayer is powerful. Prayer changes my mindset and prayer also aligns my will with the will of my father.

If prayer seems strange to you and you aren’t sure it works I challenge you to begin your day by praying first.

xo,

MB

#closethegapnslc

 

 

Run Toward the Roar

This speaks volumes to me. Absolutely love this.

davey blackburn

Perhaps one of the most impactful books I’ve read in this season is Levi Lusko’s Through the Eyes of a Lion. I talk more about this book in this post. I’m excited to have the opportunity to spend a couple days with Levi in May and visit his church.

Levi lost his 5-year-old daughter 2 years ago to a freak asthma attack. She died in his arms as he was trying to revive her. Amanda and I heard his story 2 weeks before Amanda was killed. We were in tears on a train to a romantic getaway in Chicago as we listened to him preach a message at Elevation Church. The message was about how he and his family had learned to overcome the greatest trial in their life through the resurrection power of Jesus. I look back on that moment and know that God was preparing…

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To The Girl; Overwhelmed

But first read Psalm 139.

To The Girl,

I understand the feeling; of being stuck, at war with your thoughts, comparing yourself to the girl next to you, the stress of a school or housing decision. Friend you do not have to bear that.

Friend you do have to feel that. The pressures of following the crowd and talking like the group…

I want to invite you into a new perspective. That you are wholly Loved even when you fall short of who you want to be. You are loved by a perfect Savior dying for the imperfect. A love story so deeply rooted in a sacrifice that it compares to no other.

I want to encourage you to open your eyes and see the beauty everywhere. The wildflowers in the field, a quiet sun rising in the still morning, the birds chirping and butterflies gliding through the sky. I want you to open your eyes to the creator who created these very creations for our enjoyment and to know him better.

I want to encourage you to look around and see the beautiful faces of women each set up with a unique role and purpose with where they are. Some are Wives, Sisters, Entrepreneur sMothers, Photographers you name it. They each have a gift and skill set specific to their ministries. The uniqueness of each women’s passions created for us to see the many sides of our creator in a tangible way.

I want to encourage you to see The Creator inside of you and the many ways he has shifted you. It may be hard to look at our Creator, but I want to encourage you to look at yourself through his eyes, instead of asking why let us praise him for how far he’s brought us, how good his plan is, how incredible his sacrifice to send his only Son to come and die on the cross for our sins that will and have been committed.

I want to encourage you of how greatly you are loved despite everything. rest in the simplicity of our sweet Savior.

So much love to you friend,

Melissa Beth

 

A Year In Blogging

1 year, 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days.

One year ago I started this blog. I know a one year post should be posted as resolutions to the new year. Except I started this blog at the end of February and resolutions are hard and tend to feel like failed attempts at life by the end of February.

Also I tend to like change a lot and it is hard for me to stick with one thing for long periods of time. Keeping this blog going on for a year is a huge accomplishment for myself.

Since having this blog: I switched schools, am graduating a year early, donated my hair, got my braces off, went to Israel, had my heart broken, had my heart healed, broke my ankle, got a job, started driving… the list is literally endless.

Here are a few major life lessons I learned in my  year of blogging.

  1. Grace:

Having grace for yourself and not just others is majorly important. A quote that I love a whole lot is, “Grace, I am learning, is seeing whatever mess I am standing in right now and then forgiving myself for not being perfect within (Hannah Brencher).”

In life I put a whole lot of pressure on myself to be perfect and appear like I don’t have problems or am handling my problems perfectly. Honestly, thats the opposite of grace. We have grace so we don’t have to be perfect and feel ashamed because God is perfect in every way. This makes you perfectly imperfect.

2. Surrendering Control & Adjusting to Change:

Your life can change with the drop of a hat. You may have control of it or you may not. I love change but only when I have control of it. When change happens outside of my control I tend to have anxiety attacks and mental break downs. I am slowly realizing that change is so good and when it happens unexpectedly that a new door is opening soon and that it all has a greater reason.

Be open to change, Don’t fight it. Surrender that control to God, for he is the only constant. God created you and he knows you better than you know yourself and he is the ultimate play maker!

3. Vulnerability:

It’s scary. It’s not easy. I totally learned that the key to new & lasting relationships is vulnerability. Not just in who you are but also in  what is going on in your life. I know it is easy to build walls so high that no one can possibly climb over them. But listen to me it does not protect you from getting hurt it only hardens your heart and creates a barricade from anything good in your life.

Vulnerability creates like a wave. It starts small with you breaking your walls and showing your true self and then it starts growing as you share yourself more and then becomes huge as it gets closer and crashes over someone else’s wall and lets you and that person in. This creates a bond thats built on truth and who God truly created you.

Life is tough, life is scary but God is big, God is ultimate. He forever has you in his arms. I challenge you to evaluate your year from a point of grace for yourself and all that changes that happen and will happen through vulnerability!

Much love,

Melissa Beth

 

 

 

God’s faithfulness does not depend on what you do – no matter how much you mess up, how much you do or how little you do.

“As it is written:“There is no one righteous, not even one;   there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.”- Romans 3:10-11

We are all the same sinners. I sometimes I start feeling insecure and down on myself because I see other people doing so much and then there’s just me. Mel, with my mistakes, shortcomings, and pain.

But we are ALL justified by his grace. No one is better than anyone else. We are all the same sinners in need of the same grace. whether leading a high school ministry, the president, a boarding school student or musician.

We cannot compare because each of our walks are different because of Jesus. Each of our stories are different. Each of them has shaped us differently. but we have all been justified by the same grace.

so…

  • God’s ideal for you may not be God’s ideal for someone else.
  • His ideal for you may not bring total happiness right where you are. (Romans 8:18)

I believe everyone’s convictions are different based on who God’s called you to be and what God’s called you from.

also.. Here’s a little quote

 

Everything I own I can fit in my saddle bag which is how I like it. Most people like to own things. You know, land, luggage, other people. Makes them feel secure. But all that can be taken away. But in the end, the only thing you really own is uh… is your story. Just trying to live a good one.” -The Drover from the Movie Austrailia

Go out; own your story & live to your fullest potential

 

—-

Melissa

More Than a Name

My name is Melissa. In Greek, it means honey bee; in Persian it means red rose.

A honey bee produces honey and pollinates flowers, but if provoked, it will sting you.

A red rose gives off a beautiful scent; it looks pretty. It’s a symbol of love, but if picked up the wrong way, you’ll be pricked by a thorn.

What do both of these have in common? They all help to make beautiful things and create joy, but if handled the wrong way, they will hurt you to protect themselves.

I’m a lot like a bee. I like making people feel loved, happy and joyful, but I’m also direct and I hurt people.

I have always been vulnerable growing up, but whenever something didn’t go my way, I would lash out. If I got hurt, I would play the victim or block people out of my life. But Jesus has been changing my heart and tearing down walls like never before. He calls me loved, forgiven, and strong.

In Daniel 1, Daniel and 3 other boys were captured and taken into Babylon. The authorities changed each of their Hebrew names to Babylonian names.

Daniel became Belteshazzar. Hananiah became Shadrach. Mishael became Meshach. Azariah became Abednego.

” Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.” – Daniel 1:6-7

The world tries to change our names and call us something which clearly doesn’t belong to us; just as the Babylonians renamed the boys.

Unloved. Alone. Young. Incapable. Immature.

But the names the world gives us are based from different gods such as popularity, partying, or being a slave to fitting in. Those are all inaccurate substitutes of the one True God.

But Jesus came to give us new life and new names.

Loved. Forgiven. Trusted. More than Capable. Enough.

In the Bible, there are countless times in both the Old and New Testaments that the Lord changed people’s names. Some of them were running from God, some were hating God, and some had lost sight of God and his goodness.

“No longer shall your name be called Abram, But your name shall be Abraham; For I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.” -Genesis 17:5

“Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name.” -Genesis 17:15

“He said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.”-Genesis 32:28

“But Saul, who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze on him,” -Acts 13:9 

The Lord came at the perfect time for Abram, Sarai, Jacob, and Saul and changed their names and identities to what God truly called them to be.

 

What identity and name do you need to finally accept for yourself?

What name have you been believing about yourself that is not your true identity?

How can you show those around you that they are more than the worldly names they settle for?

Let’s change the world,

-Melissa

 

 

Chose Faith not Fear

Stuck.

When I think about my spiritual journey these past couple months I would describe myself as feeling stuck. I have not been myself for a while and honestly I still feel stuck sometimes. It’s definitely not a fun feeling.

I’ve come to realize that over the course of the past few months God has called me to and from several things. But honestly I haven’t wanted to do any of them. So I brushed them off and pretended I didn’t hear anything.  But I kept praying for the Lord to show me and speak to me because I wanted to hear something different. Needless to say he would not tell me anything new, only what he asked from me previously.

I so badly wanted to be comfortable. But that’s a huge mistake.

The Lords been slowly teaching me that as a Christ follower I am called to go out and be uncomfortable.

I started reading through Esther and it hit me how much courage she had. Her audacious faith and trust in God saved a whole entire nation! Esther went in to talk to king Xerxes and he could have killed her for coming into the throne room but instead by Gods grace king Xerxes extended his scepter and allowed her to speak! (Esther 5:1-2)

Esther modeled a life of “bold actions and dauntless faith” and that made me realize how that I want to live in faith and not fear.

Chose to  live in faith not fear

Esther was where she needed to be because she said “yes” to obeying The Lord rather than thinking of her own wants and needs.

In Esther 4:14 it says,

“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance shall arise for the Jews from elsewhere, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows but that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this and for this very occasion?”
Think about that for a second. “for such a time as this.” God calls you to things because they are at the right time and right place. Or he calls you from things be they are not for this time!

How reassuring it is that God knows all that has and will happen. He knows what is perfect and just for this timing. We just need the boldness to say “yes”.

If God is calling you to something do it! Please don’t let the fear or difficulty keep you from stepping into who God created you to be.

Putting off what God calls you to creates a cage of misery, don’t let it trap you.

Pay With Kindness

Let’s face it. When you’re driving and someone cuts you off, your first instinct is to run them off the road, right? No. You wouldn’t try to hit someone who cut you off. That’s silly.

But how about if someone teases you, says something rude about your family or starts something over social media. What’s you first instinct? Do you ignore it? Do you retaliate?

What happens if you are doing something right and get criticized for it? What then do you do?

“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” – 1 Peter 3:8-12

As believers we are called to pass on blessings even when we are wronged, even when we are insulted.

Imagine how our families, our schools, our cities and our country would be different if we chose to choose Jesus even when it would be easier to choose the world. If we showcased loved instead of hate.

How would a classmate feel if they said something to hurt you but instead you turned the other cheek and did something kind to them, something to bless them? They would be pretty surprised, wouldn’t they? But what if you chose to retaliate? They would not be surprised because it is the normal thing to do. But, when you repay someone with kindness, it catches them off guard it makes them take a second thought on your actions and gives room to wonder why you were kind.

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” – Romans 12:21

Each of our actions points somewhere; they can either point toward the world or toward Jesus.

It’s really hard to choose Jesus in every situation. It’s easier to choose the world most of the time, but when you chose Jesus over the world it makes the biggest impact. It shows others that there is something greater than yourself and living in the world.

” Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” – 1 Peter 12:2a

How are we supposed to make a difference if we blend in with world? Don’t conform, rather stand out and showcase Gods everlasting love.

Following The Staircase 

“A life changing experience.”

That’s exactly what it was like being in Israel. Every place we went, every sermon preached, touched me in a different way.

My most favorite place was Peter’s Primacy.

This is where Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him, but when it came down to costing him something, he gave in.

But following Jesus is an invitation of faith, and not knowing the whole staircase, but continuing to trust Him and His work step by step.

“A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure.” Proverbs 16:9

I’ve realized in my own life that sometimes I would rather plan my life and then ask God to bless those plans. But that’s not how it works. 

He has a greater plan in store for me and He wants my desires more than I want them.

“Jesus is radically devoted to changing me. The work He wants to do in me is directly related to the change He does in me” – Kaleb White

I’ve realized that I didn’t want to change and do things that weren’t comfortable to me. But God’s taught me that if I want to grow in my relationship, I need to go outside of my comfort level and do things He’s asked of me, even if I don’t want to.

Because… His will be done.

I am thankful for the grace He shows me every day and that He will always hold onto to me, even if I let go.

——-

How has God shown you that His plans are greater than your own?

What is one thing you tried to do apart from God in your life? How did it affect you negatively? What good came from the experience?

What is one change God is asking you to make? How will this change affect your future?