Archives for August 2011

Aug 30

I Know and yet…I Still Doubt

She called me last week. Defeated. Annoyed. Frustrated.  “I can’t do this.  I don’t think I can.  I’m a screw up. Please don’t be disappointed in me. Are you mad at me?”

He came to me last night. Rejected. Broken hearted.  “She broke up with me. I really liked her too. I feel sad. Why did this happen? What did I do wrong?”

She called me from the waiting room this morning. Alone. Nervous.  “I’m scared. What if they find something they can’t fix? What if something bad is wrong? Or what if they don’t find anything and we never know what’s causing all this?”

He came in from football practice. Down. Angry. Deflated. “They pulled me off of defense. I was the captain. What if I don’t get playing time? This is my life. I’ve worked hard and they don’t notice what a difference I’m making. What if I never get my chance?”

I crawled in bed, the end of a long long week. Worried. Insecure. Invisible. Doubtful. “How can I handle all this? My heart is breaking for the things I cannot fix. I feel forgotten. I try to take care of everybody in my life…not doing such a good job at it though. I’m letting people down. I don’t feel validated, in fact what I do goes unnoticed. I’m not doing real good in any one area of life. Maybe just maybe my life isn’t going to get any better, then what? He told me I was not normal. Could that be true?”

Does any of this sound familiar to you?  I’m guessing, YES IT DOES!  Why? Because these are all real life examples of people filled with doubt and insecurity…both of which ARE NOT FROM GOD.  And if it’s not from God, then we cannot trust it.

How hard to understand that we can’t trust our own thoughts. After all, don’t we know ourselves better than anyone else?  Uh, kind of, but guess what?  Your enemy knows you pretty well too. He’s familiarized himself with your doubts and weaknesses and so that’s where he attacks.

This has to stop. It’s time we stop believing the lies that we aren’t good enough, smart enough, or valuable enough because we are.

God’s Word says:

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name, you are mine.” ~Isaiah 43:1

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” ~Proverbs 3:5-6

“He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.” ~Psalm 126:6

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” ~Joshua 1:9

“Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today…The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.” ~Exodus 14:13-14

Here’s the kicker for me…I KNOW ALL THIS! I totally know better. So, why is it so easy for me to get distracted and allow those doubts to take over? Oh, I get so mad at myself sometimes! But, because I do know the Truth, I am able to come back to it. Hopefully as I seek God’s Word daily, I will be quicker to remember what He says and not what my own thoughts dictate. My thoughts are often not in line with God’s Word. Only His Word can be fully trusted. I need that reminder everyday, many times a day.

I’m fortunate in the fact that words, specifically written words, are my #1 love language. If you want to love me in my love language, write me a letter. It blesses me more than anything else. I hold on to those special letters people have written me. They are in my Bible, on my wall, at my desk, in keepsake folders. I feel wrapped up, loved and safe when someone has written down something meaningful or encouraging to me. Maybe that’s why I love Facebook, Twitter, and blogging so much. It’s all words! And maybe that’s why my Bible is my most prized possession.  God’s Words, His Love Letter to me is everything. I don’t know what I’d do without it. And that’s where I am able to put out the doubt fire in my heart. “Doubt and hope cannot live in our hearts at the same time.” (Confident Heart)  So, when doubt creeps in, God’s Word pushes it out.

I’m unfortunate in the fact that words are my #1 love language. If you withhold them from me, I fill in the blanks….and it’s usually not good. You can use them in a negative way and you can guarantee to kill me. My heart is ruined by negative words. I am down and defeated more than anything else could do. Words can build me up or words can tear me down. I crumble and cower under defeating words.  So easy. So profound. I have to guard my heart with the Word of God or I am ruined. I need God’s Word to keep me in line…to keep me grounded…to keep me believing the Truth. To keep me confident.

Our next Online Bible Study begins September 18th. (yes the 18th..I know I keep messing that up…it’s the 18th!)   I invite you to join me and so many other wonderful ladies as we get together to learn, grow, study, encourage, and pray our way through A Confident Heart, by Renee Swope.

Y’all have a beautiful day!  And oh, yea, I almost forgot…MIRANDA WHITE. You won a conference call series. Send me your information: Melissa@MelissaTaylor.org.

Bye now!

(for those of you who receive this in your email, visit my actual blog to leave a comment and watch the video blog. Click here.

 

Melissa
Aug 19

News + An Interview With Dylan

Happy Weekend Y’all! I’ve been praying for ALL of you who commented over the past few days! What an honor it’s been for me to do that!

We have a winner of A Confident Heart!  Angela, who posted August 17th at 7:59 am, you are our winner!  You have until next Wednesday, August 24th to claim your copy of A Confident Heart by Renee Swope!

If you didn’t win today, keep coming back. In the next few weeks, I have MAJOR COOL announcements to make about:

*A “Girl’s Getaway Cruise” I’d like to invite you to join me on in January, 2012. (P31 team memebers Lysa TerKeurst, Karen Ehman, and Glynnis Whitwer will also be there).

*More Dream Center stories plus giving away a copy of Matthew Barnett’s best selling book, The Cause Within You.  Pastor Matthew is the founder of The Dream Center.

*An invitation to join me this fall for another Women’s Wellness Weekend in the NC mountains.

*And more Confident Heart give aways..books and conference calls!!!

So, please keep coming back or better yet, sign up in the right sidebar to receive my blog posts straight to your email. Then you don’t have to remember to come to me, I’ll come to you! :)

 

The following is an interview I conducted with my son, Dylan over a year ago. So many of you fell in love with Dylan after reading my last blog post, so I thought I’d share a little more wisdom from this sweet and honest child of mine.  His story is featured in our next online study book, A Confident Heart.

Special Guest: Interview with 13 yr Old, Dylan Taylor

In case this is your first time joining me on my blog, let me get you caught up.  July 2, 2010, the devotion, Is God Enough? , was featured as the Proverbs 31 Daily Devotion.  The devotion spurred me to write 13 Years Ago Today on my blog.  Both received so much feedback (and are even being featured in an upcoming release by a well known author/speaker) that I felt like I needed to do more.  One more step was required to complete this series on “Is God Enough?”  It was an interview with my 13 year old son, Dylan.
If you read the blog post mentioned above, you know that Dylan was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder at a very early age.  What I didn’t tell you was that he was also diagnosed with a coordination disorder and had severe speech issues. On top of all this, he was born with Aplaisia Cutis .  Although this was no risk to his health, it was very visible on his scalp. Plastic surgery helped this not to be as noticeable, but it did leave a scar.  Occasionally people have asked Dylan about it.  It was enough to cause major insecurity and believe me, my husband and I had concerns.  Dylan has handled it wonderfully, but it was one more obstacle he had to deal with.
When I interviewed Dylan, I asked him to be honest and pretend I wasn’t his mom. I am printing exactly what he said, not adding or taking anything from it. As promised, here is the interview:
1.  When you are explaining your disorders to your friends, how do you explain it or do you even share with your friends?
I don’t think I’ve ever shared it with my friends.  Didn’t need to.

2.  What would be the best advice you would give to other kids suffering from anxiety?
There’s really nothing to be afraid of or embarrassed about.  If you are like me and carry other people’s burdens , it hurts yourself more than them and doesn’t help them at all.  I learned that.  I realized there was nothing to fear.

3.  You have a scar on your head. Does that bother you?
I didn’t even know what it looked like until a kid made fun of it in school.  Then I was self-conscious about it. I knew I had a scar because my mom would put sun screen on it, but it wasn’t a big deal until then. It was bad and I was a bit embarrassed.
4.  Does it still bother you?
Now I don’t really care as much what people think.  I don’t care about their opinion.  As I began to overcome my anxiety I stopped listening to other people.  I started listening to people who said good things like good friends, God, Mom, Dad, and Pastor Steven (pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC).

5.  How does having a Mom and Dad that are devoted to the Lord and to each other help you in your struggle, if at all?

No one else understood, but they could help me with my problems to overcome them and work on it.  I trusted my parents.

6.  Do you feel like you can talk to your parents about anything?
Hmm.  Not really anything, but most things.  Some stuff is just personal and I tell people my own age, like my friends.  Not Mom and Dad.

7.  How do you feel about your family?  Have they helped?
Yes.  I guess Mom would always comfort me and introduce me to things with a Christian perspective. Blake (older brother) was a great role model.  Hayden (older brother) showed me how people basically are.  Hayley Grace (younger sister) has been a friend.  Dad has been a friend, father, watched over me, and helped me.

8.  What kinds of things help you to relax, and what do your parents do for you which help you de-stress the most?

Take a breather (a time out for just me).  My parents comforted me and told me they weren’t disappointed in me and love me the same.  I learned to ask for prayer.
9.  How did it feel when you were little and afraid of things?
I was sorry for people and afraid something would happen to them. I worried about other people a lot.

10.  How does it feel now?
It’s not a big deal for me now.  I’m used to things now and I’ve grown out of it I guess.  I learned there wasn’t anything to be afraid of.  I still feel sorry for people though.  I care a lot but I don’t worry as much.

11.  Was there a time when it all “clicked” and you made a decision to change your thinking or reaction to life? You are a hero in overcoming trials and I want to learn from you and pass it on!
I guess around summer after 4th grade.  I was embarrassed at school about crying over stuff and I realized I didn’t need to cry over the stuff.  I learned to deal with my problems other ways.  Instead of crying, I would talk to someone or focus on something better going on in my life.

12.  How did medication help you?
It made me feel used to being relaxed and I accepted that feeling and then I was able to do it on my own.  I’m not on any medication now.
13.  In your opinion, what can a Sunday School teacher/leader do to keep her students motivated in their walk with God?
Encourage them to get involved serving and let them know how the Bible can help in your life.  Take the verses beyond the next level, like Pastor Steven does and explain them and how they apply to modern life and how they can use them. It gives you hope.
14.  Do you ever feel like God is going to use you in a really big way?  I’m thinking about Moses, who was way too scared to lead, but once he trusted God, he became one of the most powerful leaders in history. Do you ever think that could be you?
I never really thought about myself as a leader until this year.  I started to lead my life myself.  I got involved in serving at Elevation myself and I brought my friends to come volunteer some too.  I do feel like God is going to use me in a really big way.

15.  What are the most effective ways you’ve found to manage anxiety?
I guess having supporting friends in addition to family to help cheer me on.  Family has always helped me, but my friends made me feel like I could get over it at my age.
16.  What Scriptures (if any) did you cling to?
My life verse (Proverbs 3:5-6) that my mom prayed for me and gave me when I was a baby helped me.  But my brother’s life verse (Joshua 1:9) helped me too.  It said to be strong and courageous.  I knew I had to be brave about this stuff.  And the Lord was watching over me so nothing could go wrong.

17.  What do you do for fun?
Play drums.  Have friends over.  Swim.  Serve at Elevation.

18.  What advice would you give to someone who does not want to go to church any more?
Give church another chance because God gives you another chance.  Don’t give up on God because God never gave up on you.
19.  What did your parents do to help you overcome all of your stuff?
Took me to the doctor.  Prayed for me.  Got their friends to pray for me.  Loved me always.
20.  How did a doctor help you?
He had me talk about it and helped me understand it and what to expect. He also helped me learn about what to say to others about it.

21.  Why did you ask your mom’s friends for prayer when you were scared?
That’s all I knew to do.  There was nothing I could do to make it settle, so I left it to Mom, her friends, and God.

22.  Did that help?
Yes.
23.  Who do you talk to when you are down or troubled?
My close friends.  I pray about it. Depends on the problem.  I’d go to my parents for big stuff.
24.  How is your relationship with God now?
Pretty good.  I don’t have much to ask of Him other than to keep my life how it is.  I trust Him. I believe in Him.
25.  How do you feel about you?
Pretty good.  Around 5th grade I started making friends and that helped my self esteem.  Playing drums gave me a hobby and that helped.

In closing: Today I still fear when there is something to fear, but I don’t fear harmless things.  It didn’t happen quickly, but because of the people in my life, I’ve learned to trust.  God is enough.

Dylan, thank you so much for taking the time to share straight from your heart with my blog readers, Facebook and Twitter friends, and anyone else who may stumble across this interview.  Your strength, determination, and faith are amazing to me.  I love you and I’m so proud of the man you are becoming.  xoxoxoxo  (hope that doesn’t embarrass you too much!) _________________________________________________________________________

 

If you have hung in there this long, I think you deserve a prize!  So, leave me a comment with a prayer for Dylan. I’ll show him the way you prayed for him AND you will be entered to win the Conference Call Series Package that compliments our study! Double blessing!

Have a great weekend y’all!!!

Melissa
Aug 17

Is God Enough?

Is God Enough?  No one needed my devotion, which is running today on various sites, more than I did today! In fact, I had kind of forgotten it was running today and when I clicked open my email and saw it, my heart felt like God knew. He knew what I was going through and that I needed to decide today, “Melissa, Am I enough for you?”  And I thought, “Yes Lord, You are.”  I need to remember that.

If you are visiting because you read today’s Proverbs 31 devotion, welcome. I’m happy you are visiting.

Leave a comment today and you will be entered to win a copy of the next book we are studying right here on this blog. It’s going to be a life changer. A Confident Heart, by Renee Swope is our next book.  The study begins September 19th and it is going to be powerful. If you’ve ever struggled with doubt, (who hasn’t???) this is the study for you!  So far this year, 7000+ women have participated in my online studies, I’d love for you to be a part of my group too. :)

To sign up for this study, all you need to do is fill out the form in the right hand column of this blog (the sign up form is right under the Proverbs 31 logo).  Also keep checking my blog (you can sign up for updates on that too in the right hand column (where it says “subscribe to receive posts…” under my picture), because I’ll be giving away more copies of the book and conference call packages.

To participate in the study, all you need is the book, A Confident Heart, and computer access so you can be a part of the online portion of the study.  There is an optional Conference Call series, which I highly recommend. There is a cost for the Conference Calls ($15 total for all 4 calls) and we have a stellar line up of guests for you.  You can sign up for the calls here.  You can listen to the calls live or if you can’t be on live, each call is recorded so you won’t miss anything.  Each call contains a message, interviews with amazing guests, and time for Q & A. More info on the calls soon.  They fill up quick, so if you are interested, sign up soon!

If you have any questions about our next online study, email me at:  MelissaTaylorQuestions@gmail.com .

Read below, a blog post that I wrote a little over a year ago. It was written when I wrote “Is God Enough?” originally. It’s about my son, Dylan. Renee Swope read about Dylan on my blog and was so moved, she included his story in her book, A Confident Heart.

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**The following was originally posted on my blog July 2, 2010.

 

13 Years ago today, my 3rd son was born.  I didn’t know it at the time, but I gave birth to the sweetest child in the world that day.  Dylan Ross Taylor is my child who possesses a great amount of love for others, a smile to share daily, sensitivity towards others, a loyal disposition, and a heart of gold.  This is all true.  If I had to say anything negative about him, it would be that he carries others’ burdens way heavier than a boy his age should.  Well that and he’s a bit unorganized and easily distracted. :) Proverbs 3:5-6 are his life verses that we taught him when he was little as he has grown they have always seemed to fit.  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight. (NIV) (used purple because that is his favorite color)  Even at his young age, he relies on these verses, a promise from God that when we trust Him and not ourselves, He will provide direction.

It is totally a coincidence that my devotion is running on Dylan’s birthday.  Well a coincidence to me, not to God.  In my devotion I wrote about how God is enough…enough to provide for and get us through any and all situations.  His Word gives us that reassurance.  His Words give us the comfort and security we need. Dylan has also found comfort and security from God’s Word as well as the words people have spoken and prayed in his life.  Let me explain.

Dylan was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder when he was in the 1st grade. Now some of you may think that’s way too young to be given a diagnosis like that, but for my husband and I, it answered many questions.  Like, why did our son cry for hours after being disciplined (simple discipline like getting a card pulled at school)?  Why did he remain visibly upset after hearing the alarm during a routine fire drill at school or seeing a bee in the backyard at home?  Why did he worry so much about problems that weren’t his own?  Why did he have acid reflux so often and there was no physical reason for it?  Why did he perform well on tests with no time limit but bomb on tests with a time limit?  Anxiety.  And with his diagnosis came education and knowledge on how to best treat it and help Dylan.  He began taking medication, which helped a great deal.  We also learned how to adjust various other factors in Dylan’s life. Two things provided Dylan great comfort. One was that his mom’s friends were praying for him.  The other was God’s Word.

When Dylan was 9 years old, he had to have a lot of lab work done involving needles and the drawing of blood. Anxiety disorders and needles don’t go well together in case you are wondering.  He practically hyperventilated just hearing what would be done to him.  His breathing became short and he went into panic mode just listening to the doctor explain what needed to be done. Since we had been working with Dylan on speaking up for what he needed, he decided this was a good time to put that into practice and I’ll never forget it.  He said,”Can we please wait 1 week to do this lab work please?”  The doctor asked, “Why?”  To which Dylan replied, “I’d like to get my mom’s friends to pray for me.”  The doctor replied with an absolute, “Certainly, that’s a great idea.”  We got home and Dylan said to me, “Mom, if you will get all of your praying friends to please pray for me to be brave and unafraid, I know it will work.”  So of course, I did.  And let me tell you what my sweet praying friends did.  They did pray for him, but not only that, they emailed letters to Dylan sharing with him their exact prayers and their words of encouragement.  Dylan believed them and he believed in the power of prayer. He believed that God heard these prayers and a week later, we went to the lab.  When it was time, I could tell Dylan was nervous, but he kept saying, “God is with me and will get me through this. Trust the Lord with all my heart…” At that moment he needed to decide, Is God enough to get me through this. He obviously decided Yes. The nurse stuck the needle in his arm and the blood was drawn.  5 viles full.  When it was over, Dylan exclaimed, “That’s it?  It’s over?  The prayers worked!”

Don’t you just love that story?  I do. I printed all of those prayers from my friends. We still look at them today. They are Dylan’s (and mine) reminder that God is faithful.

I know many of you (me included) have experienced or are experiencing circumstances that leave you distraught, afraid, or uneasy. Life is hard and often our only real choice is to trust God with all our heart and rely on Him. That alone is enough and I pray that you believe and trust in that. God is enough.

In honor of Dylan’s 13th birthday, if you leave a comment, I will pray Dylan’s verses for you by name today.  Have a great day and thanks again for stopping by.  Love and blessings!  <3

 

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Leave a comment today and you will receive a double blessing. #1, you will be entered to win a copy of A Confident Heart.  #2, I will pray Proverbs 3:5-6 for you personally.

Have a FABULOUS, CONFIDENT,  “God is Enough” Day!

 

 

Melissa