Archives for February 2008

Feb 28

Back at work and loving it!

As previously mentioned in my blogs last week, I had surgery. Nothing major. A bunion removed off of my left foot. No big deal. The doctor just broke my big toe, inserted a screw between two bones, and sawed and shaved my bone on the outside of my foot. OMGsh!!!!!!!!!!!!! The pain and recovery has been worse than I expected. I was a great patient last week. I stayed off my feet, kept my surgery foot on ice and elevated, and took my medication on time. I was well taken care of. Friends brought meals daily, my mother and mother in law stayed over and took care of me, my husband and kids have worked overtime to serve me since I couldn’t do much for myself, and one of my friends (bless Denise’s heart) even bathed me. Yes, you know you are bad off when you allow yourself to be stark naked—20 pounds overweight and winter white, with a shower cap on—allowing a friend…even if she is one of your best friends, to help you take a shower. I had to keep my hurt foot dry and out of the shower, I was afraid I’d fall. And she just kept laughing at me. (I think it was the shower cap that caused the laughter….I hope it wasn’t my fat beeeehind!)



1. Here I am ready to go. Only I can’t walk down the steps. I’ll just scoot on me bum!

Well, needless to say, I was going stir crazy. Finally, Monday morning, I decided it was time to go back to work. I work at the front desk for Proverbs 31 Ministries. If you walked in the front door of our office, mine would be the first face you would see. If you call the office, usually my voice is the first voice you hear. I could drive to work okay because it’s not my driving foot that is healing. Walking gracefully is different story! As I pulled up to the office, I called ahead and asked for some help getting in. Teri and LeAnn met me at my car (Teri stepped on my foot as she gave me a hug—ouch), carried in my stuff, and

2. laughed at the way I scooted up the steps backwards on my backside.

3.See the smiling faces I get to be with every day? This is Barb and Holly.



4. Wendy and I sit, chat, and get caught up on everything that’s been going on since I’ve been gone. Lovely position I’m in…but my foot’s up!



5. Look at the beautiful view from my desk: Wendy, LeAnn, Samantha, Barb, and Teri.



6. Look at the not so beautiful view from my desk. My foot and my computer.

7. Sweet Teri and Samantha (taking the picture) help me get back to my car. The cooler is not holding beer silly…it’s holding ice which was pumped to my foot to keep it cool and icy during the day.

It’s so great to be back. I missed it. I’ve been back 3 days now. I was on my feet probably too much today. I’m on the couch now with my foot up and I feel like my foot is ripping open. But I’m not complaining. I’m thankful.

Thankful for my family. Thankful for my friends. Thankful for my surgeon. Thankful for my job and the incredible staff I work with. Thankful for my health. And thankful for all my bloggy friends who have been praying for me and checking up on me.



Much Love,

Melissa

***I’m going to begin posting again on “I am Beautiful” tomorrow. I just couldn’t keep up with both. I need some beautiful encouragement…I’ve been feeling so frumpy lately!




Melissa
Feb 23

Answers to Your Questions:)

If you are here looking for answers to your questions from Lysa’s blog, WELCOME!!! I’m so happy to meet you and share a little of my journey in speaking, writing, and the She Speaks Conference with you. Please please feel free to share and post your own thoughts about the topics I address. And if you have any more questions, ask ask ask. I am thrilled to answer any questions you might have. I wish I had all this help when I was first getting started:)

I will be answering your questions dealing with Fear, Transparency, and Balance. I’ll also tell you about my 1st She Speaks Conference and how attending this conference changed my life.

Questions are in black, answers are in red.

FEAR

I have just begun teaching and speaking to women(something I never would have imagined I would do) and I really feel a passion for it. However, I am soooo lacking in confidence and skills. Am I ready for this type of conference, should I get more (local) training first? How do you get over the thought “no one really cares what I have to say”? How do you deal with rejection?

Great questions! I can relate to every fear you listed. I think most speakers and writers can. I am going to break your questions up so I can answer them all:

1. Lacking in Confidence and Skills….That’s okay:) If you were super confident and highly skilled then you may not realize how much you need the Lord. Based on your confidence and skills you may not be ready, but God will equip those He calls. Have no doubt about it, if God has called you into speaking, He will equip and qualify you for each and every step. If this is your passion, do not let fear be what stops you. The enemy will use those fears to try and convince you that you are not good enough. That’s not true. Pray daily and arm yourself for protection. Once you get started, your confidence will build and you will learn as you go along changes and improvements you may need to make. Just don’t compare yourself to ANYONE else. Be yourself, don’t try to be someone you are not. God made you. He called you. Allow Him to use you and trust Him. You probably are not as “lacking” as you think anyway. I still get nervous. I still question if I’m good enough. That’s when I need to seek God the most and tune out everything else. As long as I keep it about Him and not me, then there is no way that I can fail.

2. How do you get over the thought “no one really cares what I have to say”?

When you figure this one out, would you let me know! Seriously, I still ask myself this because I just can’t believe that something that I could say could be so interesting or important. But wait…it is. It is because I’m not just up there talking. I’m sharing life. I’m sharing the Lord. He has given me my message and He has been with me on my journey of life. It is His Word that I want my audiences to believe. I always tell them, “Don’t take my word for it. Find out for yourself.” If your passion and reason for speaking is because of what God has placed on your heart, then don’t you worry one bit if anyone cares what you have to say. He cares. And almost always when I speak there is at least one woman who comes up to me and says, “this message was for me”. I praise God right then and there. Even if everyone else was falling asleep, that’s okay. God used it for His purpose for that person. Everytime before I speak I pray and ask God to determine every word that comes out of mouth. I pray that my audience would see and hear Him, not me.

3. How do you deal with rejection?

I pray and ask God what He thinks of me. Then I call my best girlfriend and cry and she sets me straight! Rejection and criticsm unfortunately come with the territory. It’s just the way it is. Honestly some rejection and criticsm hurts more than others. It never feels good, but I’ve learned to keep it in perspective and try to learn from it. I keep reminding myself that my identity is in Christ. Most of the time when a church is considering me for an event, they are also considering others. From the moment I find out that I am being considered, I give it to God. I trust if He wants me there and if it is in His plan then He will work it out. I would never want to mess up God’s plan, so if I’m not selected, then that’s a good thing. On the other hand, if it’s been months and months that I have not been invited to speak even though I’ve been sending out my bio and CD, then I have to ask myself some questions to determine if there are some changes I could make to be a more effective speaker and communicator. She Speaks addresses a lot of this.

4. Am I ready for this type of conference, should I get more (local) training first?

Yes, you are ready for this type of conference. You do not need any skills or “local training” to come to She Speaks. You need the desire to please God with your life. That’s it. She Speaks is educational, professional, fun, encouraging, and God’s Hand is all over it. Some have even said it was like a revival, a renewal of the heart. You are equipped with the tools needed to get started, but you are also given encouragement and feedback. We’ve all been there and so we have a heart for our attendees. Whether you want to be a better leader, teacher, speaker, writer, or just build your confidence to share your story, She Speaks is for you, no matter how much experience or training you’ve had.

TRANSPARENCY

1. How do you open your heart? I have so much baggage do people really want to hear my story? Can they really learn from it? If I thought one person could I would shout it from the roof top!!! or would I? I think my past could help alot of young people! No! I know my past could help alot of young people but where do I get started!

You better climb on that roof top and start shouting! Many people can learn from your story! If God took you through it then He can use it. How much you share is really up to you. I have found that for me, sharing my baggage has been a blessing to me and to others. I just make sure that my story is not about all the baggage, but what God did with and through the baggage, how I was transformed by Him. I share those parts of my life because I have hopes of showing that if God could use me, He could use anyone. I want them to find the freedom in their lives that I have found. People don’t need all of the details to get the impact of the story and I don’t share every detail. I try to use discretion in how much I share depending on the audience and the purpose of the event. I devote a lot of prayer in determining what I share and when.

I have found that my transparency is one thing my audiences really like about me. They are glad that the speaker isn’t perfect. They don’t want to hear from someone who appears perfect and has it all together. I not only share my baggage from the past, but I share the tough stuff in life right now if it is appropriate and could help someone. The most important gift you can give your audience is to be yourself. That’s who God made you. Allow Him to shine through you…not you trying to be all put together. Open up your heart. Something I found helpful was to write out my entire testimony. It helped to see it in writing. As I experience more and add to it, I write some more. When I read over it I can easily decide what I want to leave out, if I’ve shared too many details, and how long it’s going to take me. I hope this helps you a little bit.

BALANCE

I’m just going to jump right in on this topic. Isn’t it every woman’s stuggle? I am married and have 4 children ages 6-14. Our household is very busy. We have many appointments and after school activities weekly. I do not have a housekeeper, but if I could afford one, I would! Last October I went to work in the Proverbs 31 office as an Administrative Assistant. I work 5 days a week. Up until then I basically had been a stay at home mom for 12 years. It was hard to find balance when I was a stay at home mom and it’s hard to find balance now that I work. Speaking began slowly for me. I taught classes and led Bible studies at church for years. When God called me to begin speaking, the first thing I did was talk to my husband about it. He was very supportive. I don’t know how I’d do it if my family wasn’t a part of it. It’s not “my” ministry, it’s “our” ministry. I couldn’t do what I do without them. We have to work together so I can have time to plan and prepare for a message or an event. We have to work together so I can travel and be away without the family falling apart. Their support is key to keep a balance.

I also had to let a lot of other things go. I used to feel guilty for this, but I’m over it now. This is just me. I’m not saying everyone has to quit what I quit, but in order for me to keep my priorities straight and for balance to occur I had to make some changes. Some of them were very hard for me to make. I do not volunteer for PTA or committies at my kid’s schools. I attend school functions, go to their parties, eat lunch with them occasionally, and attend all of their activities and events, but I don’t volunteer anymore. I do not volunteer at the same level I used to at church anymore. It no longer works for me to lead Bible studies and teach classes. I’m very selective about the activities I choose to do. I don’t volunteer to be Team Mom, Classroom Mom, or anything else that I would have to be in charge of. I don’t volunteer to do class projects or help the teacher. I’ll meet the teacher for coffee or visit her at school, but I just can’t do all those other things. Oh, I felt so guilty about that. The PTA President has been asking me for years why I don’t serve on a committee. I try to answer honestly. Some people just don’t get it. They may think I’m not doing my part, but I know I am. God knows I am. My family knows I am. For me speaking and writing is my thing now. It is my way of serving God using His purpose for my life. If I thought for one second that my not doing any of things was hurtful in any way to my relationship with the Lord or hurt my family, I would do different, but I had to let these things go. Hear this: I’m not saying that you have to quit it all to be a speaker/writer. I can’t handle a lot going on at one time. I get anxious. Chaos sends me over the edge when it is occurring daily. This is what has worked for me. You have the find the balance that works for you and your family:)

SHE SPEAKS

I cannot say enough good things about this conference. The women’s ministry director at my church sent me to my first She Speaks Conference six years ago. I was blown away by the friendliness of the speakers and staff. I expected to gain insight and tools needed to improve as a leader, but what I didn’t expect was all that God gave me that weekend. I thought I wanted to be a speaker, but I wasn’t really sure. I was very insecure and like many of you thought, “why would anyone want to come and hear me speak?” I compared myself to Beth Moore and Lysa TerKeurst and that scared me because I knew I’d NEVER be that good. And I probably never will, but who cares? God didn’t need another Beth or Lysa. He needed me. And He confirmed my calling to speak at the conference. She Speaks helped me to gain the confidence I needed not to believe in myself but to rely on God.

A year later I joined the Speaker Team at Proverbs. A short time after that, I began writing devotions. The Lord has used me and taken me places I never would have dreamed of. The one event I look forward to more than any other every year is She Speaks. When I see someone on the fence about going, I just want to say, “You have to go! It’s awesome! It’s amazing!” But really nothing I say can express how great it really is. You just have to experience for yourself. The conference is 100% about God and what He can do through you. It’s just icing on the cake that you happen to walk away with some valuable information.

As if this is not enough, you also make many good new friends.

So, if you are one who is on the fence…pray about it first of course and if God gives you the go ahead…JUST DO IT! GO TO SHE SPEAKS!

I really hope that this information has been helpful to you. If you have any more questions about what I’ve written, let me know. Thank you for visiting my blog and please come back again soon!

Blessings to you as you seek God’s will in ministry. I look forward to meeting many of you face to face at She Speaks!

Love,

Melissa

Melissa
23

No Longer Waiting (and a recovery update)

For the past 2 days, I took a little break from blogging and instead devoted my time to writing devotions. It has been a while since I wrote one. I have been writing devotions for Proverbs 31 Ministries for 5 years. I truly believe that during the last year God just wanted me to soak in lessons from other devo writers, friends, and Him instead of sharing my own. The past 6 months have been a season of rebuilding and reflecting for me. So, I did just that. Instead of pouring out to teach and share with others, I sat still, listened, and learned. God was working on me and He needed my undivided attention.

I felt the Lord prompting me to start writing again in January, 2008. That’s when I set up this blog, my “I Am Beautiful” blog (www.BeautifulP31.blogspot.com) and our family blog. I used these 3 as healthy outlets to begin sharing the different life changing lessons God had been showing me throughout 2007. I also used these blogs to reach out to others. 2007 was an extrememly difficult year. I pray God will use the hard times to help someone else. So I am sharing. A few have mentioned that there is no need for me to share the “dark places” in my life. I know better. God’s Word says in Isaiah 45:3, “I will bring treasures in the darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name.” Yes, that’s right. There are treasures even in the darkest of places. Last year it was my marriage. It was in a deep pit. But my husband and I got through it, went to counseling, recommitted to each other, and now we are stronger than ever. Our marriage did not go back to how it used to be, it bumped up a level. Not only are Jeff and I rock solid today, but we want to help others and encourage people who feel hopeless. We know that with God, hopelessness does not exist. If we weren’t willing to share the dark places of our lives, then God really can’t bring purpose and treasures out of them. God call us by name. And I can hear Him calling me to #1 a radical commitment to Him, #2 a radical commitment to my husband and family, and #3 to write, speak, and share the work that He has done throughout my life….even in the darkest of times. He is calling me to write again. I started with blogging and now I’m ready to writed devotions again.

Yesterday I wrote and submitted two devotions to Proverbs 31. I think before the weekend is up, I may write two more. It’s as if God is oozing out of my pores and I have to write about it. I can’t just sit here anymore. I hear Him saying, “The wait is over. No longer do I want you to sit still. Do what I have called you to do.” Do you hear God calling you to do anything? To maybe step out of your comfort zone? Are you willing to share the dark places if God can use them for good? Listen closely to what He says. And if you can’t hear Him, slow down for a while and spend some time in His Word. Too often the busyness of our lives can drown out the Lord’s voice. Ever heard the verse in Psalms that says, “BE STILL and know that I AM GOD.”? Well, I must get moving. I’m actually going to bathe today:) Check in later because I’ll be sharing some information for those of you interested in Speaking or Writing and possibly considering attending the She Speaks Conference. Happy Weekend!Love, Melissa

******About my recovery. The past 3 days have been tough. I’m sick of sitting still in the same position. My body hurts. I’m having weird dreams. I’m still in a lot of pain. I want to go outside! I don’t want to complain though. This surgery was a good thing and this is a very minor thing to go through considering the rewards will be great. I’ve been living with the pain of this bunion for a few years now. It’s really selfish of me to complain when I have so many blessings, but I am down in the dumps. My friend Amy Woods brought me a great meal on Thursday and visited with me for a little while. I so enjoyed that. My friends and family have taken really good care of me and they have gone out of their way to care for me, Jeff, and the kids. I don’t have any pictures to post today because I haven’t taken any in the past few days.

Melissa