Friday, December 12, 2008
It really hit me hard watching her have all of her hair cut off. That is such a visual. A visual I will have in my mind forever. At first she had tears. But they were brief. I think she's being strong for me. And I was being strong for my kids. I could've cried easily.I told my mom today, "thank goodness you have such a pretty face!" And she does. I was so taken aback at how pretty she was with very little hair. I'm so proud of her.
Beauty really is held within. Too often I focus on my weight or some other outward appearance. But if your heart is bitter and ugly then there is no way for beauty to shine through. But if what is within is beautiful, then there is no outward appearance that can prevent it from shining through. My mother's beauty shines bright.Have a wonderful weekend.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
As you know I haven't been blogging much. Life has thrown it's curve balls and blogging has taken a back seat. The teen blog I started in August is more or less nonexistent. I keep going back and forth between this blog and my other one, www.MelissaTaylorP31.blogspot.com. I'm contemplating merging the 2. I don't know how that will work, but I'm praying about it. I guess I've bitten off more than I can chew.
My mom and I went wig shopping on Monday. Have I told you how beautiful she is? Her strength and dignity amazes me. She found a wig she likes and she indeed does look beautiful. She had her 2nd chemo treatment today. And tomorrow me and the kids are going with her...to the salon. She's getting her head buzzed/shaved. Her hair has been falling in clumps for 2 weeks. That has been so hard to watch. Everytime I see her pull out her hair, it just kills me. I am reminded that God knows every hair on our head...even the ones that fall out. And that reminds me that God is watching over my mom. He knows her every day and is with her.
My natural tendancy is to be blue and dwell on what I cannot change. I have to really fight and be intentional on believing God and trusting Him to take care of things. I read scriptures and promises from the Lord and I believe them. But I still "feel" sad and forgotten.
It's been 4 months since I got my hair cut. Now what that means is that it's also been 4 months since my roots have been done! Seriously, my hair looked like 2 totally different colors. So I decided to go for a change. This was a major change for me. I've been blonde for 7 years. My husband thought I'd look good blonde, so that's what I did. Well, I was feeling the need for a change. I got approval all around, except from my husband....My co workers thought my hair would be great brown, my friends thought I should do what makes me happy. My husband would not express his opinion. He just said, "I want you to be happy."
Well, I went. And I made a big change. I am now a brunette. Not blonde. And I've already learned that blondes do NOT have more fun! But I like it. A lot.
Thank you for your prayers. I love you and think you are so beautiful!
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Her funeral was Wednesday. It was the most amazing worship and celebration. This child was so joyful and left such a legacy. She loved Jesus and He is the reason for the joy posessed while here on this earth. Her 7 yr old sister wrote a song about her and sang it at the funeral. Both of her parents spoke at her funeral. Her life was celebrated. The service ended with the song, "I'm Trading My Sorrow". Just amazing.
So Alexa Grace, you my sweet sister in Christ, up in Heaven, inspired me more than you will ever know. I want to be like you when I grow up! Your challenge to "find something to be thankful for everyday and never give up" will be something I strive to do daily for the rest of my life.
And to my friend, Robin. If you ever read this, just know, I love you so much and I can't wait to spend more time with you in the coming year. You are so beautiful. Just like your amazingly beautiful girls.
Love to All,
Friday, November 28, 2008
God says we are to be joyful in all things. That is tough, especially when you don't understand why things happen the way they do. But God also wants us to trust Him even when we don't understand...especially when we don't understand.
Today I received the saddest news I think I could have ever received. The daughter of one of my friends died last night. She was only 12 years old. Her life has been a series of trials, battles, and uncertainties. This little girl, however, did not lose her joy. She was absolutely amazing. I want to be like her when I grow up! Her name is Alexa. Alexa Rohrbach. Please pray for her family. It's going to be very hard for them. When I think of "joy in all things", I think of Alexa. The Source of joy, peace, comfort, and love brought her home to be with Him. She is totally healed...walking, running even, singing, and dancing with the King of Kings. That's the one thing that brings me joy in all of this. I know her parents, Robin and Chris...and her sister, Jenna feel that way too. The Lord has carried them every day and I know He won't stop now. I know they are happy that Alexa is with the Lord, but I also know their hearts are shattered and their lives feel incomplete right now. I cannot even imagine.
Are you able to be joyful in all things? Not because you are happy with your life, but just because you trust God? That is my personal goal right now. To trust God with the plans and find joy in all things....and give thanks for it.
Hug the ones you are with today. Share your love and find the joy.
I have been previewing 2 books for Proverbs 31. When we consider selling a book, we preview it first. The last 2 I've read have been really good. I think the reason LeAnn, my amazing boss, gave them to me to preview was because she knows how I feel so strong about a woman's inner beauty. These books were based on just that. They were very good and I hope to tell you more about them in the near future. But even more so, I want to communicate how beautiful we ALL are to God.
I've been quite vocal about the weight gain I've had this year. I have no one to blame but me. My weight has gone up. My clothes are tight. My appearance is not what I'd like it to be. But my God thinks I'm beautiful this November. My Father loves me just the way I am today. November, 2008. Beautiful.
Doesn't that just warm your heart? Doesn't that just make you feel amazing? It should. No matter what you feel like. No matter what others think of you. You are beautiful. I am beautiful. And we have much to be thankful for.
The most beautiful woman in the world to me right now is my mom. She could not make it to my house for Thanksgiving because she was not feeling well today. She began chemotherapy last week and it took it's toll on her this week. Physically she is feeling quite crappy. I would have been okay if she would have taken the past 3 days off and just focused on herself. But she didn't.
Mom's dressing/stuffing is the best! Her macaroni and cheese is the best. And we were ALL looking forward to her cooking...especially since her cancer diagnosis has left us wondering what the next year will bring. She was not able to make it today. And that made me so very sad. But her cooking did make it. And that made me sad too.
Mom, you amaze me. Even though you did not feel like cooking, you did. Even though you would rather have stayed in bed, you didn't. Your love for your children, grandchildren, and family surpasses anything I've seen. You prepared and cooked and served your family, yet you stayed home. I love you so much. You are so beautiful. I pray I become just like you. The Lord blessed me with such a wonderful mother.
Happy Thanksgiving! If you are reading this, I pray you experienced true beauty today. Because you are beautiful No matter what the day, what the weight, what the thoughts. God has plans for you. They are good. We are made in His image. How cool is that? Pretty darn cool if you ask me!
On these last few days of November, believe in yourself, will you? Believe what God believes about you. You are amazing. You are the apple of His eye. And you are beautiful.
Happy Thanksgiving. I am thankful for all of my blessings, especially the people in my life....both in person and in cyber space....Love you!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I just haven't been myself lately. I've been trying to be really intentional about my time and my priorities. And that's been hard. I love to blog. And I've missed it. I keep saying I am getting back to it. But my family, specifically my mom, has taken first place. I will intend to blog, but all of a sudden it's late at night and I need to go to bed. Anyway, not to make excuses, but I do miss blogging. I'm in a new phase of life right now. Experiencing what I've never gone through before.
My husband...his name is Jeff. Oh, how I thank and praise God for him. He has so been there for me. He's given me extra hugs and text messages when I needed them. I've been insecure and he has been in my corner cheering me on. I love him so much.
I am not running the half marathon. It makes me so sad. I've been training. But my mom started chemo and she's not feeling well. Plus, we really are in a finance crunch and the trip to Charleston to run the race is more than we need to spend. So, I withdrew. I still plan to train for a half marathon. I will keep doing what I'm doing. But I'm not "officially" running. So, I'm dealing with the fact that in a way I'm failing. Not really, but kind of.
I began this blog encouraging others to believe they are beautiful. And I want to keep doing that. I believe we are ALL SO BEAUTIFUL...just because God made us. And I hope to get back to that soon.
If you are reading this, I hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving! On this American holiday, I am counting my blessings. And there are so many.......
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I get scared easily. I lose my confidence with a quick negative remark about me. I can feel inadequate, unworthy, or unqualified real quick. It doesn't take much. But God is so good. He is the best.
He has shown me that all He requires is that I just be me. He made me. He created me. And He needed me here on this Earth. If He didn't need me, He wouldn't have bothered with making me in the first place.
I was so nervous about writing an article for the P31 Woman Magazine on depression and anxiety. I was worried about what people would think of me. Would they consider me qualified to be in ministry after admitting my struggles? Me qualified? Maybe not! God equipping me? Definitely so!
God has been so good to me, just the best. I have received countless emails about my article. I have received letters from women who suffer from depression and people who walk along side of those suffering from depression. Many with a similar story, they felt like failures and wanted to keep hidden the shame of their disease. My heart rejoices that Jesus sets us free!
God has never made a mistake. That means you are here for a reason and God has plans for your life! Now, that's beautiful!
I love you. I really do. And I pray that you are seeking the Lord with all your heart and asking Him what His plans are for you. You are an amazing child of God. Be blessed sweet sista!
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
So, Barack Obama, you have my prayers. I will be praying for you and your family and your leadership over our country. God chose you long ago. And I trust God.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
If you are stopping in for a visit after reading my devotion today from Proverbs 31 Ministries,
I'm glad you did. Please feel free to comment, read past posts, and come back to visit any time. This blog is written for the glory of God and by sharing my life struggles with honesty, I pray that someone else is impacted, even if it's in the smallest way.
So, back to the title here "I Kissed A Girl". That was the title I originally gave the devotion just because I wanted to grab the reader's attention. Wisely, our editors thought it would be a bit much to run a devotion with that title, so we changed it. There were other things that we edited out for the sake of space and respect, but on this blog I'm going to just tell it like it is. I almost didn't write this devotion because I was afraid it might cross the line a bit and offend some people. Oh did God ever speak to me about that!!!! Basically, I knew in my heart and mind that God would want me to cross the line and if it offended anyone, so be it. I feel with all my heart that we need to discuss and be aware of what is in our pop culture today. Then we can decide how to deal with it, confront it, or make peace with it. This is all my opinion and I have prayed about my words before I wrote them.
I love music and now that I'm older I do listen to the lyrics much more than I used to. In fact that is usually what draws me into a song or pushes me away from one. I remember when I was a teenager... I might have known all the lyrics to a song, but I didn't really think about what they meant. I thought they were harmless. I can't believe I used to sing aloud "Like A Virgin" by Madonna and never really paused to think of what the song was about. Like most my age, I loved music and Mtv. My boys tell me today that they could care less about the words of a song, they like a song if the guitar and drum parts are cool. With all that said, I know music is a big influence whether we are aware of it or not. This song by Katy Perry is just one of many that I could make an issue of today.
Actually, it makes me more sad than mad. Sad that girls today are being enticed...yes enticed, encouraged, and even persuaded to bump and grind on the dance floor with each other. They are kissing each other, flirting with each other. Calling each other pet names. And it has nothing to do with being gay. That's a completely different topic. Guys are encouraging girls to "get it on" because it turns them on and they like it. And girls are doing it. It's "an art". It's "nothing serious, just for fun", they say. It's happening at parties, and out at various establishments. I have seen it first hand once or twice myself and I couldn't believe my eyes. One time it was at a birthday party. I was having dinner with a friend and a party of young women came in and were all over each other. The other time was at a restaurant with a dance floor. All I could think was, "if their mommas and daddies could see them right now...." It broke my heart.
Now first and foremost, I'm not writing about this to open a can of worms about how low society has gone and how if parents raised their kids better this wouldn't be happening. I'm just telling you it's out there. Be on guard, be aware, and talk to your kids if you have them. We need to know what's going on in our world. We may do our best to keep away from things like this and to protect our children, but we have to be real. It's out there. This and a whole lot more. You can talk to them or someone else can. Or they can learn for themselves. I don't know about you, but I want to be the one to talk to my kids first. And talk openly. Ask me questions and anything goes, we can talk about it. I want to hopefully teach them to also filter their thoughts and questions through God. Look at their friends and people they are around as creations of the Lord to be respected. To gain approval from Him, not the in crowd.
Truly this all comes down to lack of confidence in one's self. Fitting in. Being noticed. Paid attention to. "Sweet beautiful girl" I want to say, "Don't you know you are beautiful just the way you are?" (which happens to be the title of Kellie Pickler's new song...I love it!). "Don't you know that doing all these things won't make you feel better, you'll still go home empty? Don't give into ways of the world no matter how popular it is. Feed your body and mind with something of lasting value. Only Jesus can do that."
Beautiful Blessings to Each of You,
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
The November issue is out and I chose to write about a tough subject. The title of the ariticle is "Freedom to Heal". It is about my journey from emotional turmoil to peace. I am so excited about this article. First of all, I hope it will in some way help others who struggle with anxiety and depression. I also hope it will help those who struggle with guilt from being on medication. And maybe most importantly, I'm excited about this article because it is my story. I had perfected the mask I wore hiding a very frustrated and insecure woman. Now it's off and I'm ok with who I am. And not afraid to admit that "yes, I have anxiety issues, I have been depressed, and I needed help." If you'd like to read about it, check out the November issue of the P31 Woman. (Proverbs 31, 704-849-2270) Or if you have a comment to share about the article or your own story, I would love to hear from you either here on my blog or by emailing me at Melissa@MelissaTaylor.org.
I want to thank 3 people who contributed in a great way to this article. Amy Brooke (who also has an article in this issue), Joy Brown, and Samantha Reed. You all know what you did, but also just your sweet friendship and faith in me was a big boost. Thank you so much.
Above all, I give all thanks and credit to God. He has given purpose to my pain and provided healing to my soul. He gave me the confidence to write about my insecurities and I pray He will use it all for His glory and purpose.I have to admit, I was so nervous about writing this article. It's not easy to admit that you have suffered with emotional or mental issues. But I'm glad I did it.If you get the chance to read it, let me know what you think.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
For almost a month, I have been dealing with the news that my mom could be dying. I have days when I'm fine. And I know that only God knows the number of our days. My mom could be around for years to come. Some days I just enjoy the blessings and make the most of them. Then other days, I am down. I cry. I can't imagine living without my mom. But then I went to Kinston.
I met so many sweet, beautiful, and amazing women and girls. And as I shared how Jesus is the answer to life's problems, I began to feel it myself. I was filled with thanksgiving.
My mom has been here for me for ALL of my 41 years of life.
I have never been hungry.
I have never been abandonded.
My husband loves me.
My roof has never leaked.
My parents have never been in jail.
I was able to go to college.
Someone believed in me.
When I needed help, I asked for it and received it.
I found Jesus and learned to trust Him.
I believe that I'm beautiful.
Also, that I got to travel with an amazing woman of God and my friend, Lynn Cowell. We had over 11 hours in a car together and roomed together and she was my partner in ministry this weekend. Thank you God! Having her with me was a great blessing!!!!!!!!
Friday night, I met some great women from Greenville, NC. They were so very friendly and inviting. They were the women of Grace Church. They showed up on a very rainy Friday night. We talked about God, marriage, children, home, finances, friends, and community service. It was such a blessing getting to know them and awesome to share and swap stories.
Saturday, Lynn and I both had the opportunity to meet and minister to almost 70 teenage girls. These girls came from backgrounds that I truly can't relate to. We were speaking at The Gate community center in Kinston, NC. Wow! What an amazing facility devoted to God and transforming the next generation. Selfishly, I was very nervous. This was my first teen event. It was way out of my comfort zone. I chose to trust God though, and I choose to trust that He was in control and seeds were planted in these girl's lives. Lynn was amazing and right at home. I am so grateful to her for giving up her weekend to accompany me on this weekend. My ultimate prayer is that all of those we came in contact with realized that they are truly Beautiful. Beautiful women and Beautiful girls.
I have been absent from the blogging world lately. (see www.MelissaTaylorP31.blogspot.com) but I've had my reasons. And I'm hopeful to post a little more a little more often :) :) :)
Thanks be to God! You are beautiful. I am beautiful. And God made us all. He has a plan for our lives, He knows the number of our days, and I hope that we will make each one count!
It's late and I need to go.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Yes, I received some news last week that I wish I hadn't about my mom, but I know that most of you are no different. We all have tough times and we have to get through them. How we do that is up to us.
We can't depend on outside influences to get us through. We can't depend on our appearance, social upbringing or class, finances, friends, or ever family. All of these can and will let us down. When times get tough, all we can totally depend on is God. And boy am I ever thankful for that!!!!
Over the past few weeks, I've been reading a lot. I picked up a book in our office resource room because I was looking to escape from real life. I picked up Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. Wow!!!! What an amazing book! What an amazing story of God's true unconditional and unfailing and forgiving love. I didn't want it to end. And I was so sad when it did. I was left wanting more. I loved it because it had few racy moments :) but it was also filled with values and true relationships and an overall theme that God reigns. He is there. He is in control and can bring good out of any situation.
I hadn't read fiction in 15 years at least. And I admit....I'm kind of sad to say this....but I really thought Christian fiction would be boring. I'm sorry. But I did. Well, I was wrong. It was not boring. After Redeeming Love, I wanted to keep reading. I went back to our resource room and picked up Redemption by Karen Kingsbury. At first I didn't think I liked it as much. But I was wrong again! After about 50 pages, I couldn't put it down. Fortunately, this was the first book in a series of 5 books about the Baxter family. I'm in the middle of the 3rd one now and I have already bought the last 2. I bet I'll be done with them in another week! I read them at stop lights. While dinner is cooking. When I go potty :) On a break. I love reading for pleasure again!!!!
Not only have these books brought me pleasure and given me a healthy escape from my world, but I promise you they have also encouraged me and inspired me to be a better wife, mom, family member, and friend. I promise you. The values in these books are being woven into me. They have actually made me desire good. Desire to please those around me. Desire to be more like Christ. Desire.
Once upon a time, what I desired most was to be beautiful. I wanted others to desire me. I've learned that's not a sign of beauty at all. Now what I desire is to please God. And when others look at me, I hope they don't want to be like me, but they want what I have. And that's a peace and contentment that comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If any part of me is beautiful, that's it. The rest keeps struggling: up and down on the scales....up and down in her moods.....in and out of depression.....filled with life's disappointments....and continually learning that she needs God more than ever. In fact, this girl has learned that she desires Him.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
I've spent a lot of time over the past few days in the hospital with my mom. Here's what we know so far:
She has cancer. It's in an advanced stage. The doctors are not sure if it's actually lung cancer but it is cancer in her lungs. Possibly there by spreading through her bloodstream. So, there are further tests to be done. My mom is home now. My sister is flying in from Texas tomorrow. And we wait. Monday Mom has an appointment with her oncologist and we will get more information about what stage the cancer is in and what the plan is for treatment.
What do you do when you are waiting for something as life changing as the prognosis and plan for your mother's life? Well, at the Taylor house, we celebrate. We celebrate each other.
Family time. Watching football. Spending time just loving and laughing. Being grateful. Appreciating the gift of life the Lord has given us. What else can we do?
My mom, Becky, is a beautiful woman. She is strong. She raised my sister and I by herself for the most part. She's always been there for me. I can't imagine my life without her.
Life isn't easy. But we are never promised that it would be. In fact, I think that much of life's difficulties are presented in our lives to make us realize that we need to be dependent on God. I know that my relationship with the Lord has grown many times as a result of trials.
Isaiah 45:3- "I have given you treasures in the darkness, riches stored in secret places. So that you will know that I am the Lord. The God of Israel, who calls you by name."
I claim this verse. Yes, there are treasures in the darkness. Have you had dark times in your life where God has revealed a treasure there for you? Sometimes we need to go through those dark times. Otherwise, we would not realize our need for God. That has definitely been the case for me.
My mom believes. She believes in God and Jesus is her Savior. I am praying for her daily walk to be grounded and to walk in peace and comfort. I pray she would know that God is with her no matter what and that He has an amazing plan for her life. I want her to know what a great difference she's made in the lives of those around her. Especially me!
Thank you friends for being supportive and for being there for me. I love you. You just don't know. I love you. You are so beautiful!
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Does anyone recognize that line? "Hello Darlin, it's been a long time" is from an old country tune by Conway Twitty. I don't really know why I chose this moment to share that, but it has "been a long time" since I've blogged. Since September 13th.
I have logged on to blogger.com many times. But when I would get to the screen to make a new post, my mind would just go blank. Dry. I have been crazy busy. Pushed to the max lately. And truly in the whole scheme of things, when I looked at my priorities, blogging was not at the top. My family has needed me. I traveled to Florida to speak at a women's retreat. My mom is in the hospital. The Proverbs 31 office has been very busy. Football games. Dance lessons. Conferences with teachers. My husband had a double root canal with a third to be done next week. A friend needed me. Much to do. I bet your life is not much different.
There has been so much that I've wanted to write about. But it just hasn't happened. I know many believe that if they don't blog every day, people will forget about them. That may be true. But I've had to trust God that He will provide and fill in the gaps. He is meant to be remembered, not me.
I will be posting soon about my Florida retreat. I had the amazing opportunity to spend a weekend at the Palm Island Resort near Venice, FL on the Gulf Coast. I went to share and minister to these beautiful ladies, but God is so good. These amazing ladies also shared and ministered to me. I can't wait to post my pictures from this awesome retreat. I'll post very soon, I promise!
On a closing note, could I ask you to please pray for my mom? She is in the hospital. The doctors are not sure what is wrong. There is fluid outside of her lungs and one of her lungs is deflated. She's had many tests and has more to follow. She's scared. Please just pray for her. She's only 63 yrs old. Thank you so much. Her name is Becky.
Blessings sweet friends. And thank you so much for those of you who have written to check on me. That means the world to me. You are a treasure in my life.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Friday night, we went to a high school football game. Our team won. yeah! Afterwards, we came home and watched "Overboard" on TV Land.
Saturday, Jeff and I slept in until 10 am! Sweet! When was the last time that happened??? IDK. And what did I do all day? Watch football ofcourse. Gamecocks lost. Stinky. But Hayden's team won. And now I'm watching USC whoop Ohio State. Ha!
Well, I haven't reported about counseling yet. But let me just say, I got my $90 worth. It was so validating and encouraging and confirming. I just really needed a little refresher. The guidance and wisdom coming from my counselor was exactly what I needed. She reminded me of what I already know but am struggling with in life right now. I honestly think everyone could benefit from a good Christian counselor. I know I have.
Well, beautiful friends, I pray that you are having a great weekend. Fun. Family. And other stuff.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Yesterday, I posted about how I was feeling better. And that I'd made a counseling appointment. Well, I didn't mean to alarm anyone. I'm fine. I've just learned when I'm feeling overwhelmed with life that I'm not one who can just sit it out. I get anxious, depressed, and unsettled inside. I've learned when I need a little more help than regular life offers me. So, yes, I'm going to a counselor. And I've had many questions about it. I'll try to answer them here.
Yes, she is a Christian counselor. I've seen both a Christian and a regular (didn't know what she was) counselor. I'm choosing to go to a Christian counselor. I feel like she knows what is most important to me in life and can offer guidance based on that. This particular one was also mine and Jeff's marriage counselor. She knows the most about the situations and issues I currently face and therefore she is the best choice for me at this time.
How did I find a counselor? I asked around. Jeff and I had friends who had seen this counselor and they liked her. Plus there is a huge sign outside of a big church near by advertising for this counseling center. If you want a counselor, don't be too embarrassed to ask around. Ask your church. Ask your friends. Google what you want. Pray. I think the comments from my last post were all very positive about obtaining counseling when needed. There is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, if you feel you need some extra guidance, it's one of the best investments you can make for yourself.
What made me finally decide to get counseling? I'm really embarrassed to tell you this part. Honestly, I should have gone years ago. I have so many past issues and memories that haunt me. But I thought I could get through life on my own. And with God of course. Me and God can do anything together, right? Well, while I won't dispute that, I will say, that sometimes we need someone else to point us to God and to help us discern exactly what is our godly response to life and what is not. I've responded both ways. Not proud to admit that. Someone actually took me to my first counselor. I was at a dead end and only falling deeper. I felt lost, hopeless, and crazy. Now, as a Proverbs 31 Ministries Speaker and Writer, I did not want to admit that I needed help. I thought I had to maintain that "have it all together" image in order for God to use me and for people to think I was worthy. Let me tell you. That is a lie straight from the pit of you know where. Since I've been to counseling and sought the input from a psychiatrist, things are much better. I even wrote an article about it that will be published in the November issue of the P31 Woman magazine. The title of my article? Glad you asked. It's What Is Wrong With Me?
Well, that's enough for today. Thank you again for your concern and your friendship. All of us beautiful girls need to stick together!
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
I have to be honest. I've just been down in the dumps. And I haven't felt much like posting. Really down. So much that I decided to make a counseling appt. I have found over the past year that a good counselor can go a long way. It's just so good to get an outside, removed person from your life, who is a professional, to offer some guidance. Until last year, I had never seen a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist. I think I looked at seeing someone for emotional or mental help as an admittance of failure or weakness. And I definitely didn't want anyone to know. I'm supposed to have it all together, I can't let anyone know that I don't. I don't feel that way anymore. Seeking help was the best thing I ever did. Now I do not look at seeking help as failing, but as smart and wise. You know I don't think twice about seeking treatment for a physical illness, so why did I wait so long to seek help for depression/anxiety? Pride I guess, but that's gone. Now I encourage people, "get help if you need it! There's nothing to be ashamed of."
But today. Well today was good. And I needed it. I've had a lot of great things happen lately, but I've just been down. Jeff and I were out of sync (not anymore), the kids' schedules have been crazy, my back has been hurt, my dad's blood sugar has been mega elevated and he's needed extra care, Dylan had a rough weekend, and I've been real tired. But, today, was good. Work was fun. I laughed so hard I had tears. And after work, I actually went on a 4.5 mile walk/run and it felt amazing! My back didn't even hurt. It was the 1st time I've been able to run in 2 weeks. I thank God for today. And I even feel beautiful ..... okay, at least I keep telling myself that!
On my other blog, http://www.melissataylorp31.blogspot.com/, I posted a picture of me and Donna in high school. Since we've been talking about friendship here, I thought I'd post the picture here too.
Yes, just 23 short years ago, this was us. Me on the left and Donna on the right. Oh my gosh, I just realized that now anyone who looks at this will realize I'm NOT a natural blonde!!!
Well, I don't know if this post has offered any inspiration to you or not, but it's all I got for today.
Friday, September 5, 2008
For a little while I've been posting excerpts from a little book for teen girls on friendship. Even though it is marketed and written for teens, I found it just as valuable for me and I'm no teen! It's called Every Teen Girl's Little Pink Book on Girlfriends and it's by Cathy Bartel.
I thank all of you who have posted over the past few weeks sharing your friendship stories. I even connected with one of my good college friends through all this. She posted a comment. I haven't talked to her in years. What a blessing it was for me to be able to get back in touch with her. Although we still haven't talked yet, I've emailed her and commented on her Caring Bridge website. Another friend and I also sent her a little something in the mail today. You see, her oldest daughter, who is 11, has battled cancer and other medical conditions since she was 1 yr old. I cannot even describe to you the pain, hardships, and suffering this family has been through. They totally know what it means to trust God, because that's about all they've felt like they could do. Anyway, I praise God for allowing a post about friendship to prompt my friend, Robin, to respond. Robin if you read this, I love you sweetie! I wish I was hangin' out at Holly's with you right now watching the sun set!
Ok, on to the winners. Again, thanks for your stories! I hope these posts on friendship have encouraged you to reconnect with a friend. Or maybe prompted you to build up a friend or have lunch with a friend or pick up the phone and call a friend.
The winners are:
Margaret (anonymous...but I have your email)
Congratulations! I'll get your prizes in the mail to you on Monday. Make sure you get me your address. You can email me at Melissa@MelissaTaylor.org or Adminassistant@Proverbs31.org.
Have a great weekend to my sweet and beautiful friends.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Before I begin writing about friendship, let me just stop to ask "how are you doing?" Are you feeling beautiful today? Do you have something to smile about? Do you know how absolutely loved and adored you are by God? And appreciated. And valued. You matter. You matter to me. You matter to your friends and family. But most of all you matter to God. Even if you don't feel like it, you do. So there! If you didn't have something to smile about before, that is good reason to smile:)
Admittedly, I've been on a downward mood these past few days. No concrete reason, just down. Blue. Unmotivated. I'm not staying there though. Today, I'm choosing to be joyful and appreciative. I'm joyful in my life today and appreciative of all God has given me. I find that sharing encouragement is just as helpful to me as it is for others. I share encouragement for the purpose of lifting up those in my sphere of influence, but what I also find is that when I am busy doing something that may help someone else, I end up being the one who is changed. Already from writing these first few paragraphs, I feel better. Praise God! He's so good.
So, on that note, today, I'm going to write what the LPB has to say about encouraging friends.
3 messages that lift people up
1. "God created you to succeed in life."
But like any created thing, you must find out exactly what you were created to do. A hammer isn't very good at being a screwdriver, but it's powerful when used for its creative purpose.
2. "No matter what you've done, Jesus Christ loves you
The Bible says that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) When we were at our worst, Jesus gave us His very best.
3. "Heaven is a little like earth, without the bad days."
The Bible talks about streets, trees, and rivers in heaven. So
there are similarities to earth. Yet it promises no pain and no
tears! It is absent of tragedy, depression, and temptation. And God has a mansion prepared for every one of His children. (John 14:2; Revelation 21:4,21; Revelation 22:1,2)
When you have a message that encourages, you are sure to stand
out from the crowd.
**Don't forget to share a comment on friendship. You could win 1 of 3 copies of Every Teen Girl's Little Pink Book on Girlfriends by Cathy Bartel. I'll be announcing the winners on Friday.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Don't you just love how our society, especially younger ones who can text faster than they can speak have come up with all these abbreviations for words and phrases? I remember when I was younger, I'd write LYLAS when I signed a note that I'd written to a friend. (Love You Like A Sister). Now there are hundreds of these cute little acronyms (I think that's what they are, right?). BFF, IDK, G2G, LY, LOL, CULTR, NP, THX....and MM (many more).
Yesterday I began a blog series on Girlfriends that I'm going to continue for a little while. After all, it is our BGF's that so often remind us that we are beautiful!
Here is an acronym using the word GIRLFRIEND that can help grow your friendships and keep them meaningful. It is from the book, Every Teen Girl's Little Pink Book on Girlfriends by Cathy Bartel. As I said yesterday, it may be for teens, but I have found it appropriate for girlfriends of all ages. Probably because we haven't grown up as much as we think we have!
Gift---Your friends are a gift from God, so treat them that way.
Inspire---Inspire each other to do big things.
Rally---Rally around each other. You need to comfort your friends when they are hurting and be happy for them when they have something to celebrate.
Listen---When your friend talks, listen to what she's saying. This is the easiest and most important part fo being a good friend.
Fun---This is the best part of having friends!
Real---Keep it real! Don't be fake. True friends will see right through it.
Include---Expand your group of friends, and get to know others because they can influence your life, too.
Eternal---Make sure you and your friends spend eternity together by sharing the gift of Jesus with them.
Nice---Show kindness and forgiveness to your friends, even if you don't feel like they deserve it sometimes.
Dream---Dream together. Dream about your future and what you want to accomplish in life.
I'm giving 3 of these LPB's away, so if you'd like one, just leave me a comment before next Friday (Sept. 5th).
Have a terrific weekend!
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Over the next few days, I'm going to share excerpts from this book. I know that it's often my closest girlfriends who take the time to remind me that I'm beautiful and valued. As you read these words on girlfriends ask yourself 2 questions: 1. Do I have a friend like that? 2. Am I a friend like that?
3 marks of a true friend
There is a big difference between an aquaintance and a true friend.
People you simply hang out with will come and go, but a true friend is someone
who will always be there for you. Recognizing the difference will help you
develop relationships that will last. Here are 3 traits of a true
A true friend will tell you the truth no matter what, even if it may
initially hurt your feelings. Having someone who will give you an honest
answer is priceless. (Proverbs 27:6)
The people who truly value their friendship with you will keep their
word. If you cannot count on someone, or if they cannot count on you, your
friendship will not last.
Mutual respect is a large part of a good friendship. If someone is
not respected, their opinions and feelings will be discounted and
overlooked. Without respect, a friendship will simply not work.
Having a true blue (No Matter What) friend, can be rare. It seems like it should just be par for the course to have friends who are honest, dependable, and respectful. But being all of these things takes time and that seems to be what most people lack these days. If you have one friend with these 3 qualities, consider yourself blessed. Hey, how about contacting them today and letting them know. If you have a friend like this, thank God and say a prayer for that person. Then do something special for her to let her know how you feel.
On that note, let me take this time to thank you. Your words and notes to me encourage me more than you know.
I pray you are feeling beautiful today, because you are. Don't forget that you were wonderfully made and God is always there to be your friend ... No Matter What!
****Hey I feel like giving away 3 Little Pink Books. Send me a note either by posting a comment or email and you'll be entered. In your response, share your feelings on friendships. The give away winners will be posted on Fun Friday, September 5th!
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
My mood and emotional state affect my blogging. I wish they didn't, but they do.
Last week and over the weekend I was just really down. I could tell you that I don't know why. But that would be dishonest. I do know why. My husband and I were not in sync. We were in a disagreement and we were not seeing eye to eye. My feelings were hurt and I just shut down.
Now why is that? Why is it that just because Jeff and I were having a quarrel that I had trouble functioning in the other areas of my life?
I don't know about you, but when part of my life isn't running well (especially my marriage), it causes the rest of my life to shut down. This is probably not healthy, but it's just how I am. I dwell. I worry. I can't rest until everything is worked out. I just want peace!
Well, I'm happy to report that all is well today. Jeff and I have made up. Neither of us were sleeping well during our time of disagreement.. And it felt so good to make up, talk about our feelings, and apologize. So now I'm back to blogging again. When there was a riff between us, there was a block in my mind and I just couldn't blog much.
On to other things. I started a Teen Blog this week. It is called Beautiful Girl (www.BeautifulGirlP31.blogspot.com) and it is devoted to teen girls and helping them feel loved, valued, and beautiful. I had a devotion running this week on the Proverbs 31 Teen site (www.RadRevolution.blogspot.com) and I have felt God calling me into ministry to teen girls. So, I'm entering into unchartered territory for me. A little nervous, but excited. If it just helps one...then I'll feel satisfied. I would love input and suggestions.
Lastly. My back is out. I can barely walk. I'd treasure your prayers. I've never had anything like this happen to me... ever! I don't know how or why. It just happened. And it hurts. Bad.
I must go. My husband is back inside. He's been working on my car (in the pouring rain, thunder, and lightning) because it just quit working today! It's after 10 at night, so I should give him my attention:)
You are beautiful. Praying you know it and feel it!
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Until I can get another post up here, please go check out my family's American Idol Experience at: http://melissataylorp31.blogspot.com/2008/08/we-saw-american-idols.html .
Enjoy and stay tuned. I'll be posting about my girl's beach trip and making some blog changes soon.
Hope you are having a beautiful day,
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Imagine Me ------Kirk Franklin
Imagine me loving what I see when the mirror looks at me cause I, I imagine me. In a place, of no insecurities and I'm
finally happy cause I imagine me. Letting go of all of the ones who hurt me
cause they never did deserve me, can you imagine me. Saying no to thoughts that
try to control me, remembering all you told me, Lord can you imagine me? Over
what my momma said, and healed from what my daddy did and I wanna live and not read that page again.
(Chorus)Imagine me, being free, trusting you totally,
finally I can imagine me, I admit it was hard to see you being in love with
someone like me, finally I can imagine me.
Imagine me Being strong and not letting people break me down, you won't get that joy this time around. Can you imagine me? In a world, in a world nobody has to live afraid, because of your love, fear's gone away, can you imagine me. Letting go of my past and glad I have another chance and my heart will dance cause I don't have to read that page again.
(Repeat Chorus 1x)
Kirk talks: This song is dedicated to people like me,
those that struggle with insecurities, acceptance and even self esteem, you never felt good enough, you never felt pretty enough but imagine God whispering in your ear letting you know that everything that has happened is now.Gone, Gone, Its’ Gone, All Gone Repeat
Kirk’s remarks( Oh It’s All Gone. Every Sin,
Every Mistake, Every Failure Its’ All Gone!Depression Gone By Faith It’s Gone. Low Self Esteem, Halleluiah Its Gone, All Gone,It’s Gone All My Scars, All My Pain
It’s In The Past , Its’ Yesterday. Its’ All Gone( Can’t Believe Its’ Gone) What Your Mother Did, What your Father Did, Halleluiah (Its’ Gone All Gone Oh Whoa))
Pretty powerful, wouldn't you agree?
Think on those words awhile. Gone. Gone. Gone. The past is gone. We don't have to stay there.
The last post I wrote was titled "Reflection". It was about looking in the mirror and seeing God in you. Seeing what God sees. And learning from your past, but not living in it. Gone. Gone. It's yesterday.
Love that! Thank you Heather, I've already bought it on iTunes and put in on my iPod:)
In closing, I'd like to share some fun. I'm leaving today for a beachtrip with a few high school girlfriends and I won't be blogging while there. I'll include a little fun today since I won't get to have a Fun Friday post this week. Here it is.
Let me just say, it's a good thing that it's what's on the inside that counts. My sweet doggie, Princess, who I adore, normally looks like this:
Isn't she just the cutest thing you ever did see???? Well, she went to the groomer. Her hair was all matted and knotted. They had to shave my sweet baby. This greatly changed her appearance. People are laughing at her. They ask, what she is. I'm sure this has hurt Princess' feelings. I mean, she's still the same dog with the same heart, yet she is clearly being treated differently just based on her appearance! Even her own family has given her the nickname "Stick"!!!! Can you believe that. She went from "Princess" to "Stick" all because she looks like this:
The world is a mean place! But, can't we relate to what Princess is going through? It's sad, but true. Often we are treated different because of how we look or something in our past or something in our life that seems out of the norm. That's why we need God. People can just be cruel and we cannot get our confidence and self esteem from them.
Now's a good time to go back and read the words to that Kirk Franklin song. And in the mean time, I'm going to give my sweet puppy a few extra doggie bones (yea, that's good Melissa, love her with food!) and let her sleep on my pillow while I'm away. After all, I love her ... NO MATTER WHAT!
Monday, August 11, 2008
As I type, I'm trying to see the keyboard through the tears in my eyes.
I'm watching "The Lion King" with my family. I've seen it a hundred times at least. I used to cry when Simba's father died, but that part doesn't make me cry anymore. The part that brought me to tears tonight was when Simba was looking at his reflection.
If you haven't seen this fabulous animated Disney picture, it's worth the rent. Here's the scene:
Simba is supposed to take his father's place as King after his father is killed by a wildebeast stampede. However, Simba thinks his father's death is all his fault and he is ashamed and scared so he runs away. He meets 2 friends who convince him he should run from his past, "Hakuna Matata" they tell him, which means "No worries". While this sounds good, the past catches up.
A wise monkey, named Rafiki, tells Simba that his father is still alive. He convinces Simba to follow him and he'll show him where he is. Simba is led to a lake. Rafiki tells Simba to look into the lake and he will see his father. Simba looks and only sees his own reflection to which he states, "That's not my father, that's only my reflection." And Rafiki replies, "Look harder. He lives in you." That's when I lost it. My family just looked at me like I was crazy. The tears started and I couldn't get them to stop.
How many times do I look at myself and only see me. But truly there is much more to me that what is seen on the outside. My Father is there. Look harder. He lives in me.
My feelings of unworthiness leave me in a state of hopelessness, just like Simba. My past actions tell me that I'm not capable of making a difference in my world today. My failures convinced me that I could never be a success and the world would be better if I just kept quiet. All lies.
The piece of me that enables me to rise up and meet each day with optimism and gives me the strength to keep going is He Who lives in me. My Father is there. Look harder. He lives in me.
The movie doesn't end there and neither does my life. (or yours) Simba's father appears in the sky and tells him, "Remember who you are." In other words, because of who you are and who lives inside of you, you do not have to run away. You are worthy. You are beautiful.
Rafiki the wise monkey then hits Simba on the head with his stick. Simba says, "Ouch! What did you do that for?" Rafiki replies, "It doesn't matter, it's in the past." To which Simba states, "Yea, but it still hurts." Yes, Simba, I can relate, it does hurt. But it doesn't mean we are to quit and consider ourselves done for.
Rafiki tells Simba that he can run from his past or he can learn from it. He goes to hit Simba one more time. Simba moves and doesn't get hit. Why? Because he learned from the past. Simba returns home to fight for his rightful place as King and saves his kingdom from evil.
Look at yourself in the mirror. What do you see?
Look harder. Now what do you see?
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
This video clip, to the tune of Total Eclipse of the Heart, shows that when our identity is in Christ and we give Him our burdens, labels, issues, etc, we are Free and Saved from this world. We may still live in this world, but we are New Creations.
Take a look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kuEEMBgNUs .
I pray you live today as a New Creation, free and saved.
Have a beautiful day!
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Recently, I wrote quite a bit about my anxiety and depression. As I gathered my words and talked to others about the subject, one of my friends made a great point. It was Amy, http://amylbrooke.blogspot.com/ . She said (and I'm paraphrasing) "I don't say 'I'm depressed or I'm anxious', I say, "I have depression or I have anxiety." Since she put it to me that way a few weeks ago, I have never referred to myself as depressed again. That's not who I am, it's what I have.
Same with my weight. Instead of saying, "I am (fat, overweight, pleasantly plump, skinny, thin, insert your word here ________)", say, "I have weight issues" or something like that. When we say, "I am ________", it just implies that that's our identity, and I don't like that. Nope not one bit!
Maybe you have a disability. You've been labeled disabled. It's still not who you are. It's your condition.
When you have a cold do you say, "I am a cold."? When you have strep throat, do you say, "I am strep throat."? Of course not. However with other issues, especially those that relate to the mind or body, we carry and label ourselves as if that's what and who we are. It's a condition not an identity. Conditions change. Our identity does not.
Many people use the roles they have in life to define who they are. "I am a wife." "I am a mom." "I am single." "I am a lawyer." I am a teacher." "I am a friend." Still, all of those can change. All of them. They still don't define who you are. Not really.
Even this blog is called "I am beautiful." It's a positive term and one I hope you do believe about yourself. But even so, it's not who you are, it just describes you.
In order to fully live like a child of God, we have to believe ourselves to be children of God. Once you accept your identity in Christ, it cannot be robbed or taken away from you. Jesus is your Savior, He loves you, He forgives you, He is with you, and that is that. Your responsibility in all of this is to live your life for Him and make decisions to take care of yourself and try to honor God in all you do. You can do that most of the time. And the times that you don't, well, it doesn't mean that you aren't His Child anymore, it just means you messed up. I love where we are told of our identity in the Bible.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a New Creation; the Old Is Gone,the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
Read this from the Life Application section of my Bible:
"Christians are brand-new people on the inside. The Holy Spirit gives them new life, and they are not the same anymore. We are not reformed, rehabilitated, or reeducated----we are re-created....we are not merely turning over a new leaf; we are beginning a new life..."
Do me a favor. Fill in the blank: "I Am _________________" and use your identity here.
Call yourself by name.
forever a New Creation in Christ Jesus, Child of God, Daughter of the King
Do you know Jesus? Would you like to? Visit: http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/doyouknowJesus/doYouKnowJesus.php . And as always, if you have any questions or want to talk about it, just get in touch with me and I'd be overjoyed to speak with you:)
Monday, August 4, 2008
I found out it is just a harmless and fun blogging game. And here are the rules:
Here are the rules:
1. Link to the person who tagged you --- Amy, http://amylbrooke.blogspot.com/
2. Post the rules on your blog (check - you're looking at them)
3. Write 6 random things about yourself (see below)
4. Tag 6 people at the end of your post and link to them (see below)
5. Let each person know they have been tagged and leave a comment on their blog
6. Let the tagger know your entry is up.
Now for my bit of randomness:
1. I've only read one novel in the past 15 years. Oddly enough, I love to read, but I usually read Bible related study books or magazines. I read a novel at the beach this summer and loved it. I hope I'll make the time to read another one soon.
2. I get great pleasure out of my dog. Her name is Princess. She is a 5 pound poodle. She is so sweet and gets along with everyone. She has brought so much happiness to our family and she is mine! I got her for my 38th birthday. Her full name is Princess Poppy Angel Taylor:)
3. I resisted this whole blogging thing. I thought it was insane. My husband still does, bless his heart. Really, I thought what in the world could I have to write about every day and why would anyone care. Now I'm addicted. I love reading other blogs and I especially love the friends I've made.
4. My family means the world to me. This may not seem random, but I had to mention it. I would do just about anything for my husband and kids. I am so very grateful that God gave them to me. I feel like it is an extreme privilege to be the wife of Jeff Taylor and the mom to Blake, Hayden, Dylan, and Hayley Grace Taylor.
5. I love cheeseburgers, fried chicken, and sweet potato fries. My favorite place to eat is a restaurant called The Lizard's Thicket in Columbia, SC. When I go there, I get my fried food fix of: fried chicken, fried okra, squash casserole, candied yams, corn bread, banana puddin' and sweet tea. It is the best! This is about a once a year experience for me. (it's about all my digestive can handle anyway!)
6. I LOVE college football!!! I mean like really love it. So much, that when I get a speaker request, I check the South Carolina Gamecock and Florida Gators football schedule to make sure it's not a big game week before I accept. Football Saturdays are big at the Taylor house. We have a lot of people over, the BBQ is always on, and we are serious about our football. My husband and I both attended Appalachian State (#1, 3 years in a row in their division) and I was raised to know Gamecock football well. Don't get me started, I could go on and on.
So there I did it. And now I guess I have to tag 6 more people. So have fun with it. Let us know something about you we don't know. And thanks Amy for tagging me, it was fun:)
Here are the 6 people I've decided to tag. If you are reading this PLEASE go visit them and introduce yourself. Here they are:
1. Amy Carroll- I just love this girl. She is on the speaker team with me at Proverbs 31 and has the best attitude and enthusiasm of anyone I've known. She was my roommate in Ecuador last year and I absolutely adore her! Amy, you've been tagged! http://amycarrollp31.blogspot.com/
2. Denise Hammond- A dear dear friend of mine. We've been close sisters in Christ for at least 15 years and we were sorority sisters before that:) She doesn't blog near as much as she should. PLEASE go visit her and tell her that Melissa sent you. Denise, you've been tagged! http://denise-hammond.blogspot.com/
3. Glynnis Whitwer- I tagged Glynnis because I just wanted to. She is on the speaker team with me at Proverbs and she is the Senior Editor of the P31 Woman. I have so much respect for Glynnis. She is so beautiful inside and out. Go visit her. Glynnis, you've been tagged! http://www.glynniswhitwer.blogspot.com/
4. Heather Kudla- I tagged Heather because I just met her. She made a sweet impression on my heart. You can visit her blog here. Heather, you've been tagged! http://hkudla.wordpress.com/
5. Sarah Drohan- I tagged Sarah because she's starting a blog. She's only made one post and I want to encourage her to keep going. I would love it if you sent her some encouragement to show her it's not that difficult. Sarah, you've been tagged! http://sarahdrohan.blogspot.com/
6. Cheri Bunch- I tagged Cheri because she's just so sweet! She was in my She Speaks Evaluation Group a few years ago. She has such a heart for the Lord and her smile is conagious. Cheri, you've been tagged! http://cheribunch.blogspot.com/
Ok, now I'm going to let these poor souls know they've been tagged. Thanks Amy Brooke for tagging me!
Have a beautiful day people!
Sunday, August 3, 2008
One of the comments that touched me the most came from a woman who was struggling with the exact opposite physical problem as mine. I continually talk of wanting to lose weight. She spoke of the need to gain weight. How her family and friends commented often of how she looked ill and needed to gain. I can't relate to that. At all. But I can relate to her heart. She just wants to be content and satisfied with who she is. She wants to be what others want her to be. One of my greatest friends in all the world is so super skinny. I frequently joke of how I'd like to give her half of my thighs and hips. And she jokes back of how she'd like that. She tires of people telling her that she looks unhealthy and weak. No one tells me I need to lose weight, but it's obvious I do. Our society is weird like that. We need to recognize that those of us who need to lose feel just as self concious as those of us who need to gain. Thank you for being so honest. Self image and feelings of doubt are just as important no matter what the situation. This blog is for EVERYONE! Not just the overweight. I'm so glad you chimed in. Sweet sista, I love you.
No matter what the reason: stuck together toes (like mine on both feet), being overweight, being underweight, having a horrid past, having a sinful past, being rejected, having a shameful scar, being divorced, having an abortion, having a drugfilled past, committing adultery, focusing on people pleasing, carrying baggage from a relationship or past, having a depleting marriage, WHATEVER you carry with you....there are many issues. BUT, they don't have to hinder you from being what and who you are today. Hear that????? I hope so. You are NOT what you did or what you were a part of. It's who you are that matters. Are you a child of God? Yes. Do you love Jesus and accept Him as your Savior? Well, that's up to you and that's who you are. You are NOT what you did. That's what you did. It's NOT who you are.
So, who are you? I don't know. Only you can decide that. I can tell you who I am. I am Melissa Taylor, daughter of the One and Only Almighty King of this Universe. God loves me unconditionally and unfailingly. I am forgiven and my slate is clean. Yours can be too. I am pure. I am ok, alright, accepted, and totally good. That is ALL because of Jesus. My actions have shown a very flawed and disturbed woman. My actions have been scewed and misled and confused. But God still loves me. He still loves me. No matter what my issues. No matter what my past. No matter what.
Yes, we all have different issues. We may not understand each other. That's ok. We can't judge each other and we shouldn't. It's NOT our place to do that. It's our place to love like Jesus does. If we all would just praise the Lord for Who He is and focus on who He wants us to be, we'd be so much better off. Yes, we all have different issues. But we all serve the same God.
My friends, you are so beautiful. Whether you are overweight, underweight, scarred, abused, sinful, filthy, undisciplined, confused, scared, afraid, confident, secure, insecure, or whatever you are.....you are beautiful. And Jesus loves you and desires that you enter His family.
Any questions? Ask me. I'll share Jesus with anyone, anywhere, or no matter what.
Friday, August 1, 2008
Thursday, July 31, 2008
This blog is called, "I Am Beautiful", but I can tell you that those words don't come out of my mouth easily. You see, I don't think I'm beautiful. I think I'm overweight, undisciplined, nervous, insecure, untalented, out of control, weak, unworthy, and ugly. But I know better. Those are my thoughts, not God's Word. God's Word tells a very different story. That's one of the reasons I created this blog. I struggle with negative thoughts about myself and I don't ever want to forget what God says about me. And indeed, I am Beautiful, and so are you. If I had it my way, every woman and girl in the world would view herself as God sees her, not as she sees herself or as others may tell her she is.
I'm not sure where your thoughts are today. And I don't know what or who helped to form the thoughts you have today. But I know the One Who made you. And I know that He knows best. And in order to begin transforming your thoughts to be in line with God's Word, you have to think like Him. That often takes training and being super intentional. It doesn't come natural to me, does it come natural to you? Only by filling my head with God's Word, do my thoughts begin to reflect His. So, I talk about His Word, I write about His Word, and I read His Word. I have to or I forget His Word!
I recently wrote an article on anxiety and depression for the November issue of the Proverbs 31 Woman Magazine. It was one of the hardest articles I've ever written. You see, I didn't want to admit that I was a Christian and struggled with negative thoughts. I didn't want to admit that I needed help. I tried so long to fix myself and I became exhausted to the point of practically breaking down. I don't hide those feelings anymore. And I don't try to fix myself anymore either. My life has turned around. Now when "My" thoughts enter my head, I check them as quick as I realize what I'm thinking. I say, "Now Melissa, is this what God says about you?" The answer is usually "No Way!"
I want to close with a prayer written by Sheri Rose Shepherd,
My King, You Are Words Of Life
Lord, I love You so much. I want to know You better and
walk closer with You more than ever before. So why do I struggle to sit
and read (and believe) Your Word?
God, please grow in me a stronger passion for Your powerful
Word. Remind me that every love letter was written just for me and that each one is full of life-giving truth to live by. Don't let me look for
wisdom in this world any longer, but instead remind me by Your Holy Spirit that all I need to know about how to live can be found in my
So I ask You now to help me make time to spend with You
regularly in Your precious Word, Your love gift to me. I pray that all
You have to say to me will rest securely in my heart and mind as I gain a deeper understanding of who You are and how much You love me.
In Jesus' Name I Pray.
Your princess, who wants to know Your Word
"The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full
of majesty." Psalm 29:4
If you too struggle with believing your thoughts over God's Word, be intentional on filling yourself with something different. Subscribe to the P31 Woman, (http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/p31womanmagazine/ReceiveMagazine.php or call 877-731-4663), keep reading the daily devotions, ask a friend to pray for you, start a blog or begin journaling God's Word, post Scripture verses all over to remind yourself of what God says about you (I do!), join a Bible study or check out one of the Proverbs 31 resources(http://shopp31.com/ or call 877-731-4663), and above all else, open your Bible. If you have questions about how to have a personal relationship with Jesus, let me know. I'll help you. It's the most important thing you can do for yourself.
I pray you have been encouraged today. Believe you are amazing and beautiful and forgiven and loved and gifted and worthy and wonderfully made, because your Creator does. And fix those thoughts on God's Word. You are so worth it!
Love and Blessings,
***If you do want to place an order from Proverbs 31, the Shopping Cart online has been experiencing difficulties. Please call the office if you cannot order online. I'll be glad to assist you! (877-731-4663, toll free number).
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Keep it up. If you haven't already posted 10 things you like about yourself, share them now. (see http://beautifulp31.blogspot.com/2008/07/move-on-sista.html for details).
It's not so easy to think of 10 things to like about yourself. I could think of 100 things to like about someone else, why is it so hard to do for me? Because typically we don't think the best of ourselves. We need to change that. This is a start.
10 Things you like about yourself...keep 'em coming!
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Today, try to make a list of 10 things you like about yourself. Really, 10. Don't stop at 1, 2, 5, or 9. Write 10. If you stumble, ask someone for help. After you've made your list of 10 things you like about yourself, thank God for each one of them. Let me warn you, this is really hard.
Here are mine.
1. I am a fun mom who loves her kids to pieces!
2. I am a wife devoted to making my husband happy and I love him with all my heart.
3. I am not afraid of what people think about me. (anymore)
4. I am not a quitter.
5. I am a survivor.
6. I am an encourager and I really care about people.
7. I like that I enjoy being around people and that I'm social.
8. I like that I am a writer and that God is using that in ways I never thought possible.
9. I like that I am a Proverbs 31 Woman:)
10. I like that Jesus is in my heart and that my life is in His Hands and that because of Him I am free and forgiven!!!!! Actually, I love that about myself!
Ok, there's my list. Now I'm thanking God for making me the way He did! Please share your list too.
Focus on what there is to like, and I know you can find 10 things! I can't wait to thank God with you!
Monday, July 28, 2008
This morning, I opened my book, Jesus Calling , to read the devotion for July 28th. As usual God was speaking to me. I listened and absorbed the truth in these words:
"Let My Love seep into the inner recesses of your being. Do not close
off any part of yourself from Me. I know you inside and out, so do not try
to present a 'cleaned-up' self to Me. Wounds that you shut away from the
Light of My Love will fester and become wormy. Secret sins that you 'hide'
from Me can split off and develop lives of their own, controlling you without
your realizing it.Open yourself fully to My transforming Presence. Let My brilliant
Love-Light search out and destroy hidden fears. This process requires time
alone with Me, as My Love soaks into your innermost being. Enjoy My
perfect Love, which expels every trace of fear."
I love how God's perfect love is stronger than all my fears...."expels every trace of fear". But in order for that to happen, I have to open my whole self to Him. That's what the verses in Psalm 139:23-24 are all about:
"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
I know for a long time, I used to ask God to fix me, but I never asked Him to search me or examine me...I guess I was afraid of what He would find! But I didn't need to be afraid, He loves me NO MATTER WHAT! And He loves you too.
And 1 John 4:18:
"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."
God's love can quiet your fears and give you confidence.
This may sound petty, but I am feeling less than beautiful and less than confident in my body size. As I've mentioned before, I gained lots of weight over the past year! Like 30 pounds! I was healthy and in shape and now I'm not. "Failure" "Loser" (really gainer) "undisciplined"...these are all names I've called myself. Today I even called myself a cow and said "Rattle rattle here comes the cattle"..and I was referring to myself. I laughed about it, but I'm really ashamed that I would talk of myself that way. I know my Creator would NEVER say that about me.
That's one of the many reasons I need the Lord each and every moment of every day. Because I too quickly begin to ridicule myself. That's so wrong.
Here's my challenge to myself and to you this week: Only speak positively of yourself. Don't cut yourself down to yourself or anyone else. I'll agree to it, if you will? What do you say?
Let's ask God to examine us and know our thoughts and motives and remove any offensive thoughts or ways.
Feeling Beautiful? Well, not really. But I know I am. Thank You Lord that I AM NOT what my feelings are. I am Yours. I am Beautiful. And you are too:)
Love ya sweet sistas,
Friday, July 25, 2008
The writing, reading comments, receiving emails, discovering we are not alone and that we are indeed ok and normal, well, it's been a blessing to me. If I write about the very things that bring me the most pain and that I struggle with the most, it ends up actually helping me. Only God could use what Satan meant to harm me and bring beauty out of it. I Love Him, don't you?
Today, I listened to Lindsey Kane's CD, "Move Me Aside". Oh how I love her music. When I heard her sing for the very 1st time at She Speaks this year I absolutely fell in love with her sound. It was soft, mellow, folksy, and rockin all put together. Then I met her and realized she was just as beautiful as her music....inside and out! My favorite aspect to any song is the lyrics. If a song can tell a good story, I'm hooked. I think that's why I like Brad Paisley and Jimmy Buffett so much. You can say what you want about either of them, but you can't argue with their story telling abilities. Same with Carolyn Arrends and Nicole Nordeman. Great singers, great story tellers with their music. Lindsey had that affect on me.
Given what we've been discussing over the past week, and it ain't been too pretty, this music had me feeling beautiful and so in love with my Savior. And did I mention she writes her own songs???? Here's one titled, "Measure of Beauty"
All beautiful you are My darling
There is no flaw in you
I have to look away by one look of your eyes
You ravish My heart My sister My bride
Fearfully and wonderfully made are you
Cheerfully and beautifully formed are you
I will give you eyes to see the way that I measure beauty
Jesus give me eyes to see the way that You measure beauty
You are beautiful
You are beautiful
You are beautiful
Do you hear Jesus saying that to you? And each time He tells me that "I am beautiful", I add on, "No Matter What" because I just can't believe He would think such great things about me. Me. Me. Flawed, sinful, ugly, disturbed, misread, misunderstood, lacking, far from perfect, impulsive, etc etc me. That "Me" is beautiful. He says so and He knows all, so I really must be. Yeah! And it's fun Friday, so let's celebrate!
Right now, go put on your favorite music. Dance with your kids. Dance with your main man. Dance alone. No, don't dance alone, dance with God:) Dance with your pet. Sing loud. Sing soft. And if you can't do this physically right now, just close your eyes and imagine. Bring joy into your life, it's fun Friday and the God of the universe loves you and thinks that you are mighty special. He's with you , He's always been with you. Let the par-tay begin:)
Now, to end this very Fun Friday post, I'm going to share some pictures. Earlier in the month, I shared on one of my blogs how visual I am. And that placing visual reminders around me is very helpful in me remembering who I am and Whose I am. My jewelry does this for me.
Bracelet: Silver, with the word "HOPE"...reminds me to keep hope and always believe:) I bought it for myself.
Rings: Middle finger ring says "4GVN"...reminds me that I am.
Given to me by my friend, Denise.
Pinky rings: My original wedding and engagement ring. Jeff gave me those almost 19 years ago. I will always treasure these.
Rings: Wedding ring is new. Just got it last month. A renewal of commitment from my husband. I love the simplicity of the platinum band.
Ring on pointer, has a "J" on it. For Jeff, my amazing husband.
Bracelets: Cross on one-that's obvious, points me to Jesus.
Verse on the other one- Mark 10:27, With God All Things Are Possible:)
Have a wonderful and beautiful weekend friends. Thank you for encouraging me and reminding me that I'm not alone in this life. And now let's go have fun! Bye-bye!
****One request. Please pray for my dad. He went into the hospital while on vacation this week in Myrtle Beach, SC. Thank you.