Archives for December 2009

Dec 23

I Wish Y’all A Merry Christmas Eve!

So, it’s been quite a while since I’ve blogged. 9 days to be exact.  That wasn’t my plan, but life came at me hard. (I say that a lot I think…)  Each time I would begin to write, the inspiration would leave me.  You should see all of the drafts I have over the past week! It’s crazy!  And frustrating.

This past Monday was one of the best days of my life. I say that with the utmost respect and seriousness that I have within me.  It was a day that changed my life forever and I don’t think I could ever fully express it.  Here is what I wrote after my meeting with a beautiful 13 year old girl who I have become friends with recently.  We have a lot in common. I’ve written about her before very briefly. We were supposed to meet a few weeks ago, but it didn’t work out.  Her amazing mom drove her to Charlotte on Monday. We connected after I wrote my devotion, Stained and Ruined, about being sexually abused.  Read below:

I’m not sure I’ve ever had such a time that I knew beyond anything that this was a divine appointment for me, ******, and her mom.  I could go on and on at how God led and directed my words, how this sweet child opened up and how brave she is but also how fragile she is.  We laughed.  We cried.  There were so many crazy “coincidences”…like the judge in her case where she testified against the man who sexually abused her..The judge’s name was Melissa Taylor. Can you believe that?  The story of her father is very similar to mine.  We like the same music. We both love Jesus.  And now this sweet child has a little more hope in her life.  There was also a man on the jury who had long brown hair. She said he looked like Jesus. And that brought her comfort. When the trial was over “Jesus” mouthed to her, “You are going to be ok.”  Jesus on the jury and Melissa Taylor as judge! How cool is that!  Another coincidence, my daughter’s good friend is her mom’s God Daughter!!! How does something like that happen???  I am blown away!!

She gave me a card.  On it she wrote:  “you show me that there is hope in life and I thank God for putting you in my life every day.”  These words meant more to me than any spoken in all of 2009.  Could this sweet child possibly know that she gives me hope?  I had a box of personalized Bible verses I gave to her.   When I gave her the Scripture box with the personalized verses, her mother broke down crying (a good cry).  I opened a few of them and read them to her.  I imagine Jesus will continue to speak life into her through those verses and the His Princess book I gave her.  She is amazing, but I tell you what…her mother, what an amazing mom.  She’s a fighter, Prayer Warrior, and she loves with action. She drove 2 hours to get here, spent 3 hours here and then drove 2 hours to get home. All of this came from a devotion.  All this came out of a terrible experience for me and God redeemed it 100%.  He said He would redeem that time for me and He did. I am thankful for what happened to me so that I could help bring hope to my new 13 yr old friend.  I’ve never been able to actually thank God for what happened to me until now.

As for me, I feel like there has been a sweet validation in this horrific chapter of my life.  Looking into her eyes in a way was like looking into my own eyes and being able to tell myself it was going to be okay. Y’all it was huge for me.  I think that ******, her mom and I will continue our friendship for a long time.  They were thanking me, I was thanking them, we were all thanking Jesus.  I love them and I’m so grateful for their strength and bravery.

Isn’t that just amazing???  That, my friends, is the power of Jesus!

I finished up my work today at the Proverbs 31 office. I won’t be back there until December 29th. Today, I baked cookies and treats with Hayley Grace and 2 of our best friends, Sydney and Donna.  Tomorrow we will sleep in (very late I hope) and then attend our church’s “Uptown Christmas Worship Experience”.   I cannot wait!  After that we will visit Jeff’s parents’ house for egg nog and the annual shaking but not opening of the presents.  Then we come home.  We’ll put on our jammies, read the Christmas story from the Bible, read “Twas the Night Before Christmas”, and the kids will watch Mary Poppins.  WHAT??? Yes, that’s right, Mary Poppins.  What can I say? It’s a tradition!

Christmas Day for us is full of love, family, music, food, and yes a few presents.  Most of all, Christmas Day is the day we celebrate the most important birthday of the year.  Sweet Jesus, Happy Birthday!!!!

Hopefully, I’ll be back the day after Christmas to let y’all know how our Christmas was.  For sure I’ll be back a few days after Christmas…I have a devo running on the P31 site and I’m giving away a book! (stay tuned for that), But until then I hope you and those you spend your time with have a fabulous Christmas together!  Most of all, I pray you celebrate Jesus.  Whether Christmas is happy or sad for you, we all can do that.

Thanks so much for your support and love.  And thank you for taking the time to read this.

And to my sweet beautiful 13 yr old friend, if you are reading this, you know who you are. You rock sweet sista!  And so does your mom!  I love you both more than you know!  You are my inspiration.

Christmas Eve Blessings Y’all,

Melissa
Dec 14

Freedom to Heal

I’ve gotten some emails and comments that made me decide to keep this posted a little longer before I post anything else.  Y’all, I told you I was warped!  Now maybe you believe me!  I really am.  But truly we all are to some extent.  Thanks for all of your comments and emails that keep me thinking that I’m normal!  I love you to pieces!  Below is my post from last weekend.  Love Y’all!

This weekend I decided to post a past article from the P31 Woman magazine.  I wrote it a little over a year ago.  Again, I address yet another flaw in my oh so not perfect life…suffering from anxiety and depression.

I know that there are so many people who suffer from anxiety and depression.  As Christians who face this struggle, we wonder why we can’t just pray our condition away.  Is our trust in God not enough?  Sometimes it is, but sometimes we need more.  And THAT IS OK!!!!

Recently,  I attempted to come off of medication.  I have felt better and in control of my emotions and feelings for a while now.  So I thought that maybe I was ready to come off of the medication.  I really believed I was.  With my doctor’s advice, I weaned off of the medication.  Unfortunately, within a few weeks, I was filled once again with panic and anxiety, with no reason.  I felt unsettled.  I’ve decided that I need to go back on my medication.  And I don’t feel bad about that.  I’ve accepted that the medicine helps me.  There is no need to suffer with guilt and keep silent about it. It is what it is.  Maybe one day I will be able to come off of the medication.  Now is not the time.  That’s ok.

Here is the article that ran in the November, 2008 issue of the P31 Woman magazine.  I pray it will help you or someone you know.  Or at least offer a little insight to those of us who do genuinely suffer from a mental illness. (eww, I hate that terminology!)

Freedom to Heal

By Melissa Taylor

What is wrong with me?  I’m 40 years old.  I’ve lived long enough to figure out this thing called life.  I’ve overcome so much from the past.  I love the Lord and I long to please Him.  I have an amazing family.  I am part of an incredible ministry.  I aim to be authentic and truthful.  I desire to be a good wife.  I aspire to be a better speaker and writer.  Why do feel this way if I’m totally trusting God with my life?  My husband wouldn’t understand my inner feelings.  Friends would never depend on me if they knew my insecurity.  No one would read my devotions or invite me to speak if they knew the real me.  Who can I talk to?  No one.  What is wrong with me?  Help me Lord; I need help now.

One year ago those words spilled forth from a secret, honest place deep within my heart.  Not an isolated season, they characterized many difficult phases of my life hidden from others.  On the outside I appeared a happy woman who had it all together.  If you looked a little closer, past the mask, you might have seen the emotional turmoil brewing beneath the surface.  I was good at wearing masks; telling others one story on the outside and covering up a completely different story on the inside.

My name is Melissa Taylor, and I suffer from anxiety and depression.  There, I said it.  What a relief to acknowledge and handle it appropriately rather than attempting to fix it alone.  Out of shame, I hid these emotions.  Embarrassment hounded me.  How could I struggle with this?  After all, I was teaching Bible classes, having a quiet time and praying.  Yet I couldn’t overcome the anxiety and depression.  I knew I needed help, but was too prideful to ask for it.  Well-meaning friends encouraged me with, “all things are possible with God” (Mark 10:27).  A strong Christian wife, mom, friend, speaker, writer and Bible teacher should not need help with her emotional state.  She should be able to pray the problems away— shouldn’t she?  Guilt lied to me, “Yes!”

So I prayed eagerly, seeking God to take away the panic and anxiety.  Yet it continued to attack.  For four years, feelings of unworthiness, helplessness and anxiety motivated me to quit speaking and writing with Proverbs 31 over 10 times.  At home, nervousness, tears that came far too easily, and thin patience revealed the anxiety within.  As a result, we suffered as a family, and I wondered again, “What is wrong with me?”

I needed help.  James 1:5 promises, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” On the brink of a nervous breakdown, I cried out for God’s wisdom to lead me to help.  He directed me to my doctor and counselor, and gave them wisdom to prescribe medication.  Initially I strongly objected and tried other avenues like dietary changes, relaxation techniques, exercise, journaling, and other means.  I made changes, but none of them took away the anxiety or depression.

Eventually, I relented and tried medication.  What a difficult decision. I felt like a failure as a woman and Christian, but have since learned that is a lie. Medication changed my life, giving me the ability to unmask my emotions.

I realize people in the church fall on different sides of the this issue.  Some adamantly disagree with relying on external aids, while others see value in coupling tools to administer healing.

I have a good friend who has dealt with depression most of her life.  Her biggest critics?  Christians.  She wishes she could say to people, “Don’t judge my faith based on my depression.  Judge it on my faith in God who helps me through His Word, His presence, His people and even science.  The meds don’t matter or have anything to do with my faith.  Not letting depression rule me is what counts.”

Another friend spoke of her depression, “Pressure to maintain the ‘Christian’ image was suffocating me.  The scar I carry from this year of wilderness wandering is deep, but God has healed me.  The darkness still calls and the battle is strong, but victory is in Jesus.”  I couldn’t agree more.  Victory is in Jesus, and I give Him all the glory and thanks for leading me to people who could help.

Treating my depression and anxiety is like a team sport.  My “Head Coach” is the Lord.  My “assistant coaches” are my husband, doctors, counselors, and few friends.  The Star Player is me.  I play by the rules set by my Head Coach, but I also take instructions from the assistant coaches and its up to me to carry out the proper instruction.

Today I stand here as a woman who praises the Lord for hearing my cry for help and leading me to greener pastures.  I have taken to heart what Isaiah 43:1-4a says and personalized it:

“But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Melissa, he who formed you, Melissa:  ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; Melissa you are mine.  When you pass through the waters Melissa, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire Melissa, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. Since you are precious and honored in my sight and because I love you Melissa’”

Yes, He loves me and I belong to Him.  I’m not afraid or ashamed anymore.  My name is Melissa Taylor, and I am a beloved, free and beautiful child of God.  There, I said it!  And I meant it too.

Melissa is a speaker for Proverbs 31 Ministries and a contributing author to “God’s Purpose For Every Woman” and “Encouragement For Today” online devotions. Her goal is to challenge women and teen girls to see themselves as God sees them and to live their lives free from condemnation.  She lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband of 19 years, Jeff, and their four beautiful children.  Read more about Melissa on her blog:  www.MelisssaTaylor.org.

Melissa
Dec 11

Jesus Only You…

Jesus Only You…

J.O.Y.

I asked a question on my blog and you responded. I asked you to finish this sentence:  Jesus Only You …..

Here are your responses:

  • J.O.Y…Jesus, Only You can fill my heart up with your neverending love.
  • Jesus, Only You can give me this and each and every day to be here on this beautiful earth to love my children.
  • Jesus, Only You lead me down the right path of my life and help me know the place where you want me to be.
  • Jesus, it is Only with You that all things are possible.
  • Jesus Only You, who can help me be the momma that my girls need and the wife my husband needs.
  • Jesus, Only You can bring peace to broken hearts.
  • Jesus, only You can can look past my outward appearance and see my true self!
  • Jesus, only You can pick me up every time I fall or fail.
  • Jesus, only You can exchange fear for faith.
  • Jesus, only You can breathe new life into a cold, dead heart.
  • Jesus, only You can turn prodigals home.
  • Jesus, only You can forgive sin and promise eternal life.
  • Jesus, only You offer strength in weakness, see the last as first and know the way up is found by getting down on our knees.
  • Jesus, only You…You only are more than enough for me.
  • Jesus Only You could show me how to forgive my abusive birth mother.
  • Jesus Only You can love me like I long to be loved.
  • Jesus Only You are my soulmate. No man can ever love me like you do. (I’m so thankful I understand this now.)
  • Jesus Only You can comfort me.
  • Jesus Only You can give me hope for the future.
  • Jesus Only You can bless my friends.
  • Jesus Only You can work in my dad’s heart and answer my prayer that he give his life to you before it is too late for him.
  • Jesus Only You is where my true value and worth is found. It is not in what others say or don’t say, what others do or don’t do, it is only in Christ.
  • Jesus, only you can give me true peace.
  • Jesus, Only You can restore what has crumbled and give me the strength to get back up when Satan knocks me down. Give me hope when Satan fills me with discouragement. And never remember my confessed sin although Satan uses it to bring me down.
  • Jesus only you can reach into my past and hold me in those dark places!
  • Jesus, only you can teach me to rest totally in the promises you have given me in your word.
  • Jesus, only you can preserve me in a land where I really feel like an alien and a stranger.
  • Jesus,only you can replace thoughts of anger and revenge with the sweetness of your spirit. Only you …Lord…ONLY YOU!!!!
  • Jesus Only You know what I truly need (which may not necessarily be what I want). Lead me to what I need.
  • Jesus Only You know all the desires of my heart. Teach me what they may all be.
  • Jesus Only You can heal the sick, wounded and sad of heart. My worrying will not help any of that. Please help me to direct my energies towards prayer and not worry.
  • Jesus only you offer me true protection from my enemies, when I am afraid.
  • Jesus only you give me strength when am I too weary to keep going on my own.
  • Jesus only you can make the wind blow and allow me to hear it as if it were a silent whisper meant only for me.
  • Jesus only you know the true desires of my heart.
  • Jesus only you can feed the hunger and quench the thirst of my soul with your word.
  • Jesus only you can heal my physical pain with your touch, when doctors give hope.
  • Jesus only you accept me broken and heal me.
  • Jesus Only You can heal my friend, Cindy’s body and relieve her pain, all my worrying and desires to help won’t heal her.
  • Jesus Only You can do my job at church, through me… my own efforts are for nothing without You.
  • Jesus Only You can make this women’s retreat work, not all my concern and over thinking and over committing.
  • These things have been stealing my JOY today. I need to be filled with Jesus Only You. Jesus, my focus. Jesus, my all. Jesus, the one and only.
  • Jesus, only you can meet all my needs!
  • Jesus Only You know every intricate part of me and know the true intent of my heart!
  • Jesus Only You can give me eternal, everlasting, unseparable love and joy!

Jesus Only You.  We can try to find peace, contentment, love, and comfort elsewhere, but no one or no thing can ever take the place of Jesus. The next time you are wishing things were different, just remind yourself that “Jesus, Only You…”

God Bless You,

Melissa