Hope & Joy & Restoration (i’m still here)

A couple of weeks ago as I wrapped up the first week of my junior year of college, one sentence kept running through my head, mantra-like in its persistence and pervasiveness:

“Something’s got to give or I will.”

It had been a long, stressful week following on the tail of a crazy-busy summer, and my heart wasn’t here at school. The more I thought about it, I wasn’t sure if my heart had ever been here at school. Freshman and sophomore years were their own brands of crazy, riddled with long bouts of intense homesickness and severe burnout.

Two years of fighting to stay at Hardin Simmons because of some higher purpose, some feeling of ‘this is where I’m supposed to be,’ and all I felt was worn out.

I almost dropped out.

Two weeks ago today I was completely ready to go to the registrar’s office, drop all my classes, pack my truck, and leave. I had developed a pretty solid two-year-plan that involved finishing my degree in Business Administration and diving into the home renovation world via flipping houses—first with Dad, then increasingly on my own as my skill set continued to grow. I was going to miss friends, but it kind of came down to prioritizing my mental health over the fear of letting people down by leaving. And besides, long-distance friendships are a thing, right?

I’m still so so grateful to the people who talked to me for hours all throughout that weekend—my parents, sister, and best friends—who I know would have supported and embraced me regardless of which path I chose. God knew what he was doing when he assigned me a family.

Today I just finished my third week of school. And I’m in a totally different head space than I was in two weeks ago.

The new phrase that it permeating my life is, “God, you have restored my hope.”

And I’m weeping with joy just to type that, because this journey is proving to be so much more beautiful than I could ever have imagined.

As much as I sat down with the specific idea of sharing this, though, I don’t know how to put it into words.

I…I guess I came into freshman year, like I said, with this idea that God had me exactly where he wanted me, and I struggled with not being able to fully delight in being where I felt called. But, you know, God doesn’t always call us to comfort, so I slogged on through homesickness (that I would’ve buckled under if home had been any nearer than 19 hours away). And as I think it through now, I still don’t know whether that divine purpose that I kept clinging to was truly still a calling in my life, or if I just feared giving up, feared failing at sticking out this scholastic, grown-up undertaking. Whatever the reason, I still clung to that phrase.

But that phrase felt so threadbare this year.

When we were in Scotland we got to tour Falkland Palace, and one of the more breathtaking spots in the palace was the chapel. Partly because I just am overwhelmed by the breadth of the church, how it spans history and continents. But one can’t enter the chapel without noticing the beautiful tapestries on the walls.

Tapestries fade with time. They weather and the threads come loose. Mice get into them.

They have to be restored before they are truly worthy of awe.

My conviction of my belonging had to be restored before it was worth anything.

In the past two weeks, I have not once told myself that I am in Abilene because I am called to be. I think that I’ve let go of that concept all together, because in all the prayer and seeking counsel that I’ve done lately, I’ve realized that I am not bound to Abilene by God or anyone else. I can make the choice to stay here, or I can make the choice to leave, and neither one violates the call that has been made on my life.

I choose Abilene.

I choose it.

I choose a church where I am (finally allowing myself to be) drawn into a community of believers who are fervently pursuing the heart of God and joyfully sharing that hope with the world.

I choose friends who have so much to teach me and love me in ways I’ve never asked them to.

I choose a horse who lives down the street from me and who makes me laugh every day (even if we’re both getting chased by wasps that will not freaking go away!)

I choose professors who know me and genuinely care about how I’m doing and who have been so gracious about my needing to step back and catch my breath.

I choose Abilene and I choose to hope.


That’s my new favorite word.


That’s still my favorite word. The two go hand in hand!


(This is the part where I’m a rebel and declare that I have three favorite words because this is my blog and this is America and I do what I want and…yeah.)

As much as this post has rambled and as much as I’m not sure that I’ve communicated all that I’d like to, this is me. This is where I am right now.

I don’t want to take steps backward, but I know that I will.

I don’t want life to hurt anymore, but sometimes it does.

I do want to paint hope and joy and restoration and all their abstract realizations all over my wall, but I can’t do that because I am renting and I don’t want to have to pay fees on top of what I’m already paying to live here, so…


God is restoring my hope.

And for this I shall forever rejoice.

– Melissa
(I usually use this space link to something, but I can’t find just the right song for tonight/this week. There are plenty of lyrics coming to mind, but I’m way too tired to put together some kind of mashup, so…go listen to music that gives you hope, because hope is pretty legit.)


the note from Senior year I found in a box

What if one day you awoke and the world was bare?

What would you miss most?

What would you wish you’d taken a moment to stop and sear into your memory?

The world is a stunningly gorgeous place.

Have you ever noticed that?

Psalm 19 verse 1 says that the heavens declare the glory of God.

That the skies proclaim the work of his hands.


Have you ever considered that?

Up above you head,

every moment of every day,

is a Masterwork that shouts out the brilliance of its Creator.

And here we go, shuffling through life with our eyes on our feet.

Lame, huh?

I know my feet pretty well.

I’ve known ‘em basically my whole life.

So why do I have to moniter them all the time?


“You’re on your own!

“Don’t disappear, but…

“I’m setting my sights elsewhere!

“Hey…nice socks…”

Stop for a second.

Stop whatever you’re doing.

Now close your eyes…

…and take a deep breath.

How do you do that?

How do you know how to breathe?

Can you imagine not breathing?

No…but that doesn’t mean that you notice it.

You’re too busy.

Take another breath.

Feels good, doesn’t it?

My point is that we rush through life,

or zombie-walk through life,

when there’s so much beauty all around.

What if we all started paying attention to it?

What if we wrote it on signs and took it to the streets?

What if we gathered it in bouquets and handed it out?

Could we start a revolution?

You don’t get it!

Life is too short to have road rage!

It’s too short to quarrel over who was first in line!

You have been given the Breath of Life!

Don’t squander it!

If you awoke tomorrow to a world deprived of color,

empty of warmth,

devoid of beauty,

would you even notice?

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.

Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.

They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them.

Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.

Wake up your senses.

Checkout the masterpiece the Father has authored.

Let’s make



Okay, so maybe this is a soapbox.

It’s May. Halfway through May, actually.

By some wizardry or some something else we’re already partway through the fifth month of a twelve-month year.


(This is where you insert a mental image of me, eyes unnaturally wide and hair sleepily disheveled, marveling about how it got to be so late into the year without my noticing it.)

The weather is being all summery here in California, and I’ve been here in California for a week and a half now, and my summer is in full swing.

No more sophomore year!

People keep asking me how college is, and I waffle between hemming and hawing my way around the question and just straight up telling them that it sucks. Usually I settle for something along the lines of, “Sophomore year is over and I never have to do that again. Hallelujah.” And then I get asked what was so hard about this year, and I don’t really know.

How do you explain that you just felt like crap for the majority of a semester no matter how brightly the sun shone some days and that you really weren’t entirely sure that you’d make it to May without dropping out and that you still pretty much feel like you’re going through the motions of going to college because it’s what you expect of yourself and what everybody else expects of you and you have no idea what you’d be doing if you weren’t in school? So I kinda shrug my shoulders and say, “I dunno exactly. It was just really, really hard. And I’m really glad it’s over.”

Nobody’s satisfied with that answer. Least of all me. But I go with it because church people actually don’t usually care about your deepest thoughts. We ask, “How are you?!” as we walk in opposite directions down the sidewalk.

I freaking hate that custom: ‘How are you?’ as synonymous with ‘Hello! Nice to see you!’ Because the response is either the general (and often dishonest [and also totally grammatically incorrect]) ‘I’m good. You?’ or it’s being obnoxiously honest and making someone uncomfortable by giving them an ‘I’m kind of struggling right now’ when all they expected was for you to mindlessly acknowledge their greeting and keep walking.

I know, part of this indignation is my really straightforward personality talking. Because if it were up to me, we’d strip all the pointless small talk away and only talk to each other when we needed to accomplish something or wanted to discuss the really relevant stuff that fills our headspace and is key to who we are.

But at the same time, why do we say this one thing when we actually mean something entirely different? Language is fluid; why has it moved to perpetrate a sham in our everyday speech?

Even on the days when I’m doing fine, I hate answering people’s greetings of ‘How are you?’ Whenever possible to politely do so, I will just smile in a friendly sort of way and keep walking (because that’s what the other person’s doing) and maybe that’s kind of rude, but…I dunno. I feel worse about it when I’m distracted and I unintentionally buy into that, “Great; you?” nonsense.

I’m sure that the classy response is to respond to this not-actual-question with a friendly, ‘Hi! Good to see you!’ or something like it. (But when am I classy?)

How are you today? Like, actually? Where’s your heart along the scale of Great to Breaking?

What if we made sure that ‘How are you?’ communicated something closer to ‘I see you—not just for your face, but for your humanity’?

I’ve stayed home for the last two days, trying to recover from a pretty decent-sized case of social exhaustion. Because small talk is hard and social cues are hard and being me sometimes feels like it needs extensive surgeries to be acceptable. I still don’t know that I’m ready to face the big, big world beyond my front door.

But social exhaustion is not all that there is to this sentiment.

This is a big deal because this is how we lie to each other and this is how the church makes the world think we think we’re perfect while they watch our lives come down in shambles around our ears.

I don’t know. I’m not an activist. I don’t jump in to get my hands dirty to get things done. I talk about change and then curl up in my room and think about it until the idea has died and nothing has come of it. At most I start a personal crusade and then occasionally get on a soapbox about what I think—AKA this blog post.

I don’t pretend that this little blog will take the world by storm. But I do know that if the few of us here would be conscious of meaning it when we said ‘How are you?’ that maybe we could make a difference in the lives of the few people around us.

And that should be our goal, right? To be as positive an influence on our tiny slice of the world as possible.

It’s my goal.

Or, at least, it’s the goal I pull myself back to when my heart quails at the impossibility of changing all the things I see wrong in the world at large.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go find some food. Because if you were to ask me, right now, how I am, the answer would be that I am ravenous. And that would be an exaggeration, but that’s okay.

Love y’all!

– Melissa
If We’re Honest by Francesca Battistelli

momentary vs. lasting

I want to numb the pain. I want to follow suit with everybody around me and do something morally irresponsible just to distract me from the turmoil that’s going on inside me.

I want to.

But I can’t.

Because I have rigid morals, and I can’t not toe the line. It’s obedience for the sake of obedience, for the sake of not doing anything wrong. It’s perfectionism.

I vaguely remember that at one time these morals I’ve formed meant something to me. I’ve made the behavioral choices that I have because of one really big factor: I have been loved perfectly by the Father, and my heartfelt response is to follow the guidelines He’s set before me.

I vaguely remember all that. But I don’t feel it tonight.

Tonight I remember just enough of high school youth group to know that this is wanting to ‘treat the symptom instead of the cause.’ Tonight I am processing just enough to know that dumb decisions now can mean hefty consequences later. Tonight I am present just enough to know that tired, emotional thinking is not rational thinking.

I could easily drop out of school right now. This very instant. I am more than ready to gather the few belongings I consider most precious, climb into my car, and start driving West until I have to pull over somewhere to sleep. Then I’ll sleep just long enough to find the stamina to keep driving, and carry on that way until I’m home. I could. Right now.

I could easily get drunk right now. Sloppy, pass-out drunk. From everything I’ve heard, it’s a great way to get out of your head. And if I get drunk enough, then it’s not me making whatever dumb decision comes next: it’s the alcohol, so I can blame that and ignore the fact that I’m still the one in charge of whether I’m drinking or not. I could. Right now.

I could easily take everything out on someone right now. Friends are passing anyway; why not just pick a friendship to end abruptly in order to purge myself of some of the ick I feel? There are plenty of nasty, hateful things that have fluttered through my head in the 19 years I’ve been around, so it’s just a matter of reaching deep inside, retrieving them, and phrasing them so they’re most effective at tearing apart the heart of whomever I’m targeting. I could. Right now.

There are plenty of other options. None of them wise. None of them leading to abundant life.

Because the temporary relief that this world offers is a cheap knock-off of life. (Aka ‘Melissa: remember how we both know that you know this, so don’t go do something we’ll regret later!)

Right now it hurts inside, and I can’t see God’s bigger plan from where I’m standing, and that kind of sucks. But I know that I know it’s still there, and I know that I know why I’m trusting in it.

I could whisper my fears and my doubts and my hurts to the one who designed my heart. I could trust the truths that I’ve stored away for moments like this and remember that however dark the night may seem, joy comes with the morning.

That’s what I choose.

Right now.

Because numbing the pain won’t fix anything.

And I know the one who will fix everything in its time.

– Melissa
“When My Heart Is Torn” by Phil Wickham

i feel pretty jubilant today

Stagnating is one of the things that terrifies me the most.

Now, don’t get me wrong: in some ways I love to stay still. I love to put down roots somewhere, and once I do I cling to ‘normal’ and hate, hate, hate change.

But I hate to stagnate.

I hate to sit in one place doing nothing for too long. I also hate observing people sitting in one place doing nothing for too long.

This is the reason that sometimes, when I’ve had to sit still for a while, I will suddenly spring to my feet and do something silly and active and not sitting still. This is also the reason that even if I don’t jump up and do something random in a random moment I will still jump up and move with intensity if it’s (finally) time to do something else.

And as awesome and dynamic as my relationship with God is, sometimes I let myself stagnate, and I hate it. Sometimes my prayers seem to get stopped by the ceiling and I don’t remember what it’s like to be held because I’ve dug my heels in and refused to go where I’ve been told to go. I don’t grow and I won’t go and I cry the entire time because where is God? because why am I not getting what I want how I want it when I want it?

Not good times.

Praise God for loving me despite me being so me.

But you know what the opposite of stagnation is?



And those moments of obvious, measurable movement in my spiritual journey stand out as some of the most breathlessly beautiful things I have ever experienced in life.

I remember my junior year of high school, preparing to go on our annual mission trip to Mexico. It was a hard year for me, mainly because of the leadership position I had been put in and because of the leader that was directly over me. There had been many tears, much frustration, and probably some energetic rants to the people I trusted best. And then, one day, kind of out of nowhere, it dawned on me:

I wasn’t the same person I had been a few weeks before.

Through all the struggle and all the pain, something had clicked and I had changed for the better. It was an almost physical feeling of elation; I danced in it for days. The journey remained hard, but I wasn’t the same and I was able to meet it with a new strength and new sense of purpose.

I’ve been dancing through this week, too, and once again it’s something I can’t quite adequately describe.

See, for a long time I have really, genuinely disliked people. As a whole. As a species. Humans are prone to idiocy, laziness, and a herd-like mentality that only makes things worse. Really, what’s to like?

Now, sure, I made exceptions. I had a group of about fifteen humans that I loved and maybe twice that many that I could tolerate for a decent amount of time. I’m not even kidding.

But if I’m called in life to mirror Christ to the world, then hating the very people he loved enough to save isn’t exactly the right game plan.

So I prayed about it. A lot. Beginning the first semester of my freshman year. What use was this new mission field that I felt certain God had brought me to if I disliked everybody too much to even talk to them? Because if there’s one thing I know from being a hard-headed introvert, it’s that few of us have voices outside of the relationships we build, and here I was not building any relationships at all. (Well, I kinda built two. But that’s not the point.)

And so I kept praying.

And I cried.

And I detested humanity.

And I prayed.

But it’s been within the last week that I have realized that I don’t actually hate the human population anymore. I don’t know when it happened. I guess it’s been a gradual change that I’ve just now noticed. Regardless, it’s pretty amazing!

I think I’m actually learning to love people. As a whole. I’m making friends with more than just one or two people. I’m interested in what people have to say, not because it directly pertains to my life but because they are human beings, created in the image of God, and the ability to communicate at all is intrinsically beautiful.

It’s crazy and mind-blowing, and it’s so nothing I could have done on my own.

Simple though it sounds, it’s exactly what 1 John 4:19 has to say:

“We love because he first loved us.”

The more I learn about how vastly and perfectly I am loved, the more I know how to love others. The more I am embraced by vast love the more I see the vast importance of embracing others.

Three things, though, that I must clarify:

  1. I am still an introvert. I still love coming back to the quiet of my room at night. I still process everything internally, and lately I’ve often laughed at how busy of a day I think I’ve had simply because of how many internalized conversations I’ve carried out. So please don’t think I’ve suddenly become the life of the party. (I actually haven’t gone to any parties this semester, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.)
  2. I am still a human being and I do not, by any means, have this down pat. I do not suddenly possess the saint-like ability to love everybody no matter what. Despite the fact that I’m doing way better about seeing people as fellow image-bearers of God, there are actually still a couple of people that I would rather leave the room than be around. I acknowledge that they’re valid and probably wonderful people who I just dislike for no apparent reason, and that I just need to get over myself. I’m working on it. God’s working on me.
  3. Despite how this post may read, I am not going to run out and make friends with the entire world. I don’t want to. Because (referring back to point 1 here) I’m not actually an extrovert and I can’t handle trying to be friends with the entire world. It’s not how I’m wired. But what I am going to do is continue doing what I’m learning I do best: loving you in the moment we’re together. And when I meet somebody new, I’m going to do the same for her, too. (Or him. We need a gender neutral pronoun, and I refuse to accept ‘them’/’they’.)

So that’s kind of what’s on my heart. That’s kind of why I’ve been so singy/dancey/overall jubilant for days.

The dark days will come. They always do, because that’s how weather works.

But in those days, when all might seem lost, I’ll remember today, I’ll remember what it feels like to know that I’m not the same person I was this time last year, and I’ll know that the sun is coming back again.

– Melissa
1 John 4:7-21

P.S. This whole ‘love’ thing has nothing to do with Valentine’s Day or being seasonally appropriate. It was an unfortunate coincidence. In the future, I’ll try to go back to warning you if a post is going to have to do with the latest and greatest holiday craze.

the mask comes off: i’m not strong enough

Recently, I’ve been pretty down in spirit.

During my free time.

During my quiet time.

During worship service at church.

Because I keep running up against an I-keep-failing-at-this wall.

I do not love people in the fearless, relentless way to which I know I am called. And that breaks my heart.

So I get quiet.

Or I cry.

I weep my repentance and swear to do better and deep down am filled with the premonition that I’m going to fail again.

Is this all life is: failure and heartbreak and failure again?

If I try harder, though.

If I really mean what I say, and if I grit my teeth, by golly I can love you with the love of God! This time I’ll do it!

If all it took to do what was right was the heartfelt desire to do so, I would be there. Trust me, I would so be there.

But it’s not just wanting. It’s not just saying something and really meaning it.

Because you know what?

I’m just human.

My human strength isn’t enough to even allow me to keep breathing.

Somebody else does that for me.

If life were up to me, try as I might, my heart would stop beating. The atoms that make up my body would cease to know how to have cohesion. I could not exist by mere force of will power.

I’m not cosmically powerful enough.

But there’s someone who is. Someone who literally spoke the universe into existence. Not coaxed it back into proper working condition, no, He spoke and it became.

I speak and things break.

God spoke and the universe became a thing.

That’s the kind of strength I need to make this ‘loving others’ thing a reality.

The exciting thing is, that strength is offered to me.

The Psalms are full of declarations that ‘The Lord is our strength!’

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” – Psalm 46:1

“Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob!” – Psalm 81:1

“My flesh and my heart my fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” – Psalm 73:26

These are awesome promises to claim. And trust me, I do.

But then comes a new day of inadequacy despite my best intentions and I begin to wonder if I’ve not only failed at loving others, but if I’ve also failed to access strength made available to me, and then I spiral down into guilt that leaves me feeling too ashamed to pray at all.

It’s been a tidy, predictable, awful cycle.

The other night at Midnight Worship we were singing a song (that I can’t remember the title to) wherein the chorus refrains, “I want to know Your heart,” and I suddenly lost my voice.

I am fully aware of God’s heart for me where I am.

I know exactly what I am called to.

But I’m not doing it, so am I in rebellion? Maybe sometimes. Am I a failure? I feel like that.

Pour in, pour out.

That’s what I was given as I cried out to my Abba in frustration and shame.

Pour in, pour out.

That might not make much sense to you, but I grew up in Remedy youth group at LBC, and “pour in, pour out” was one of our Core Values. It’s the idea that others have poured into us, we have been loved and taught about God, and from the overflow of that we can love others and pour into their lives.

And I realized as I stood there, surrounded by the voices of my peers earnestly seeking the heart of God, what I’ve forgotten:

I keep trying to pour out of a cup that’s not actually full.

As I have worked to keep my head above water this semester, time with God has fallen to the wayside, my contact with the people who keep me accountable and partner with me in chasing after God has drastically decreased, and I have neglected to get involved with any kind of small group. I attend church, sure, but it’s a megachurch where I can slip in and out without talking to anyone. Which I generally (aka, always) do.

If I’m honest, the reason I’ve made it to October 5, 2015 without totally losing it is running on overflow from summer.

That’s something I can fix. That’s something I will fix, starting this week.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not going to quit working to love people just because I don’t have me straightened out yet. That’s definitely not my goal or intention.

But I’ve learned that you’ve got to know the true cause of the problem before you can fix it, and I think maybe I’ve at least partially found mine. And that’s exciting! In an I’m-still-broken, healing-takes-time sort of way…

So I’m going to get back to the basics. Back to living life one breath at a time. Back to where God’s strength isn’t something I call on when I think something’s too hard for me, but where God’s strength is the lifeblood of everything I do.

All this to say, this post isn’t about how awful I am. It’s not about how great I am, either. It’s not actually even about my failures or about fixing my problems.

I share this because life is real.

Because I wear a mask, just like you, and I think I’m pretty good at it.

I share this because there is hope.

And I also share this because if you see me, I want you to be able to call me on this. I want you to be able to say, “Hey, Melissa. Whose strength are you operating on today?” and I want to have to honestly answer you even when the honest answer is, “…mine.”

I don’t have a tidy wrap-up for you.

But…let’s value honesty. Let’s value vulnerability, and let’s value absolute dependence on the God who loves us absolutely.

– Melissa
I Need You, I Love You, I Want You by Tenth Avenue North

First Friday of Second Year

Cast lists went up today! Aaah!

I’m cast in one of this semester’s shows! Aaah!

Also, apparently I’m designing and running sound for one of them! AAAAAAAAH!

Yeah, I’ve definitely never designed the sound for a show. I’ve never run a sound board. This is going to be either great fun or greatly stressful or some delicious combination of both.

But anyway, I’m involved! I don’t get to stay in my room and be antisocial! Yay!

Enough with the exclamation points. Let’s be serious and boring and monotone for awhile.

Who am I kidding?! Life isn’t boring or monotone, like, ever, and it’s very seldom all that serious.

Except in funerals.

I cry in funerals. Even if I don’t really know the person. Just saying.

That has nothing to do with anything.

Can you tell I’ve had caffeine?

And not enough sleep?

See, people around here bellyache all the time about how gross 8am classes are. Honestly, I can’t blame them. I mean, who wants to break off a snuggle session with her pillow to go listen to a professor talk about something that would make a whole lot more sense in about three hours? I certainly don’t.

And, so far in my college career, I have avoided having to schedule any 8am classes.

Go me!

So instead I brought a horse. Who is now my 8am. Seven days a week.

He also is really dead-set on getting as many burs in his mane and equinely possible (see what I did there?) and it is driving me insane! I mean, come on, dude! We both hate having to stand there so that I can pull about a bajillion burs out of your lovely, flowing mane (which has gorgeous sun highlights from this summer, I’m just saying) and so you could save us both a lot of trouble by just keeping your stupid head out of the pile I have made of all the weeds I’ve pulled so that they wouldn’t be in your way while you beg for the other horses to love you even though they recognize as clearly as I do that you’re an idiot!

Too bad I’m timid about speaking my mind, huh?

Anywho, semester (all one week of it) has been good so far, with the exception of being so tired that functioning is hard(er than it usually is for me). I am doing awesomely poorly in bowling, so it is almost certain that I will have improved by the end of semester, because I can’t really get any worse. My computer applications professor should keep that dullest of dull classes interesting. And my theatre professors are some of the awesomest individuals on the face of the planet. Just saying.

Microsoft Word says that “awesomest” isn’t a word. Well you know what, Word?! I don’t care!

So I finally downloaded a game that I’d seen before but didn’t have the opportunity to get for free at the time—I did get it for free today, by the way—and it definitely kept me amused for a good portion of the day.

It’s called…Goat Simulator.

And you literally run around a town as a goat, destroying things and licking things and terrorizing people.

There’s even a way to make dead goats rain from the sky. I kid you not.

Definitely a waste of time, but I suggest it if you find yourself with a bit of time to kill between classes or something.

I think that kind of wraps up what I have to say.

I’m writing tonight from a place of (big surprise) exhaustion and (equally shocking) sugar overload, so I’m not really feeling coherent enough to tell you anything life-altering that I’ve learned lately. I’m sure there’s something along those lines that could be said, but it’ll have to wait for another day.

In the meantime and in between time, though, have a wonderful evening/morning/day/afternoon/whatever-applies-to-you and I’ll talk at you again before too long, I’m quite sure.


– Melissa

Destined for More

If the Christian life were all about satisfying the self, life would kind of suck.

Because, I mean, you get saved, and that’s great and all because you’re going to heaven instead of hell, right, but…then what?

If Christianity was all about being happy, earth isn’t the place for Christians.

I don’t know about you, but I long for my heavenly home where pain isn’t a thing and relationships thrive the way God intended them to and I don’t have to worry about how many calories that bar of dark chocolate has.

(Let’s be honest: I really don’t care about the calories all that much. I’m a total chocoholic and I have no shame.)

But seriously, life kinda sucks if it’s all about you being a happy Christian.

Your mentors, the ones who taught you about God and helped you attain salvation, they’re gonna die. Go to heaven and be away from you. And you’re going to be stuck here.

Here, where no matter how hard you try, you will never attain perfection. The day will never ever come where you’re, like, “Dude! I just overcame my last struggle! Now that I’ve attained not lying to anyone, I will never struggle with sin again! I get to sit back and relax and just chill!”

Just in case this is necessary for someone, news flash: You will always be struggling with something. Always. And if you somehow reach a point where you can honestly look at your life and be, like, “Hey, I’ve got it all together!” then you’re not being humble, and that’s a sin, too.

So yeah, you’re stuck in a world where loved ones die and where you’re going to keep messing up no matter how hard or how long you try.

And while you’re here, people are going to give you a hard time. Because you’re a “Christian” and they don’t get it. Or maybe they think they do, or maybe they feel threatened by the way the truth is outshining the lie they’re living, or maybe something else. Whatever the cause, people are going to mess with you and be rude to you simply because you call yourself a Christian.

If you’re lucky.

In some cases, people will take it beyond just rudeness and will actually cause you physical harm. Maybe they’ll even kill you.

So why?

Why live at all if Christianity is about being happy and going to heaven?

Thing is, it’s not.

Christianity isn’t about you being happy.

Christianity is about a God who loves not just you, but the world.

And the really sad part is that a great portion of the world doesn’t know that.

So here’s the deal: instead of it being all about you, it’s all about us. The collective whole that the gospel was written for.

You are loved. Unconditionally, unequivocally, and beyond everything you can imagine.

But so is your neighbor. So is your coworker. So is your boss who you can hardly stand and who some days you wish would step out in front of a passing horse-drawn carriage and break every bone in their body so that she’d have to spend months in a full-body cast.

Yeah. I’m serious.

God loves them, too.

And you know what?

He’s put you in their lives to tell them that.

And you know what else?

He’s put me in people’s lives to tell them that.

The truth?

I don’t really like people.

I’m not even kidding. As a whole, the human population tends to rather repulse me. I’m working on getting my heart in tune with God’s on this one, but it’s a struggle because people are just such (yeah, I’m gonna say it) idiots.

(I’m a person, too, by the way. I annoy me, too.)

If it were up to me, looking out for my own personal happiness, I would go live on an island with my horse and a smart phone and a wifi signal, and I would live out my days in solitude until I got to go to my true home in heaven.

But I don’t get to do that.

Because life isn’t about me.

It’s about doing the will of my Father, which is to tell others what was told me.

So I love you.

I love you as an individual, despite the fact that you’re a person and I sometimes get annoyed with you, because my God loved you enough to die for you. And that makes you pretty worthwhile indeed.

And so whatever I have to do, whatever I have to say, I am committed to telling you how worthwhile life is when you have a purpose bigger than yourself.

Because living to gratify yourself, living to ‘be happy’ inside or outside of Christ, is a pretty dreary, meaningless place to be.

And you were destined for something greater.

– Melissa

i burned the chocolate pudding today

Woo. Today.

Today was today and today was unique.

Of course, every day is.

If it weren’t, we’d be living in a never ending time loop where everything was the same and nothing was ever different and it was all horrendously boring.

I don’t like horrendously boring.

Actually, I don’t like horrendous and I don’t like boring, so when you combine them you end up with something I absolutely detest.

I also detest spiders and when my sister’s boyfriend encourages my sister to play with knives. But that’s beside the point.

Today: August 9, 2015.

It all began at 5:30am…

Okay, now this has turned into a detective narrative in my head and it’s super cheesy and I apologize even though I’m not going to make you live through that.

Have I mentioned that the only thing I have eaten in the past four hours is chocolate? I drank some water and ate a whole bunch of chocolate. Chocolate pudding, chocolate brownies, and chocolate MnMs.

Yay, chocolate!

Anyhow…this morning my sister headed out to begin her college adventure. The little punk turned down the opportunity to live with me in Abilene and is instead opting to live with my aunt about three hours away from my school. Weirdo.

I mean, my aunt is cool and all, but I’m…beyond cool.

So she and my mom headed out, and I cried even though I’ll see her in two weeks and (hopefully) fairly regularly after that. Did someone say road trip?!

And because it was about 6:30am when they headed out, afterwards I went back to bed and slept until I got up for church and then I went to church. I like church. I love the people and the worship (and the cookies) and the great, awesome, incredible, indescribable God who loves me despite the mess I am and empowers me to love people despite the messes they are.

People are so messy. And it drives me so crazy.

Like, I seriously cannot read through my facebook feed recently without freaking out about people’s atrocious grammar. I mean, come on! Your and You’re are two different words, and two, too, and to are three different words!

I’ve become obnoxious, even if it’s just within the confines of my own head. So I decided that it wasn’t worth the stress and took a hiatus from facebook, and it’s honestly been really nice. Weird, but nice.

Anyway, Abbie left and I miss her and that is all I have to say about those emotions.

So then I worked for my dad. For, like, four and a half hours. And since the house we’re renovating to sell is six weeks behind schedule, none of us have been the most patient with each other on the job site. So it was a kind of rough day. But hopefully showings will start tomorrow because that house is as near to done as it will ever be and HOO-RAH!

Working is not my favorite thing generally. Working on a belly-full of conflicted and confused emotions is most definitely NOT my favorite thing at all. (I know that was redundant, but it needed to be. Trust me.)


Friends are my favorite.

The people who I love most dearliest (new word) and who I feel safest around.

So Grace and I picked a couple of them (who have both been horrendously busy this summer and who we’ve hardly gotten to see at all -_-) and we all watched Thor on my back porch because I have a projector.

(Everybody should have a projector. Life is so much more exciting that way. And movie nights can happen literally anywhere.)

In short, I am a hyper mess tonight, and I am here instead of bed because I don’t even know how to describe the amount of chocolate that I have ingested tonight.

I also burned an entire saucepan of chocolate pudding today because I got distracted and I forgot all about it. I may have ruined the saucepan.

But I know what a saucepan is now!

Yeah…I had to look that up, and I’m stating that now because eventually Grace will decide the world needs to know that and I’d rather you heard it from me. I have never claimed to be a cook. Just be grateful that I haven’t accidentally poisoned anyone yet.

That’s a much sunnier perspective to have, now isn’t it?

I have a lot to say tonight.

But I can’t make sense of it enough to tell you.

I’m a little bit scared for life to turn topsy-turvy on-its-head again when I move in a couple of weeks.

But God is bigger, and each day is just a new chance to take a step and say, “Okay. You’ve got this. Not me.”

My summer has been big. Big and different and exhausting and maybe I’ll write all about it here someday and maybe I won’t. I’m not sure.

Either way, God remains bigger.

It’s past midnight, so I should probably call it a night.

I think the chocolate might be wearing off anyway.

Wow. I’ve wrapped this post up well.

‘Way to pull off the stellar conclusion, Melissa. If this were a paper, you’d get an A.’


If I wrote papers the way I wrote blog posts, I would never have gotten into HSU. I would never have graduate high school, for that matter.


Good night. (Even though it’s most likely morning as you’re reading this.)

Sleep tight. (Even though I don’t know what that even means, unless you’re a baby and you’ve been swaddled, in which case you don’t know how to read and so this post is completely lost on you and therefore irrelevant.)

And don’t bite the bed bugs, because that’s rude.

Bugs are people, too, you know.

(Actually, they’re not; I just say that because I’m tired and sassy.)

– Melissa
This is a picture of mayonnaise.

the post i actually got typed up (instead of just thinking about it)

Life is never planned.

I mean, perhaps your parents planned to have you, and maybe you even came at the time they were hoping you to.

(I was 10 days late, but born around the time of life that my parents were hoping to have kids. My younger brother was a surprise baby.)

But what I actually am talking about is our absolute inability to dictate how a day is going to transpire.

Sometimes everything goes right.

Sometimes everything goes wrong.

Sometimes life balances precariously in the middle of absolute disaster and absolute ecstasy and there’s nothing but the color of your lens on life to decide which way the scales are going to tip.

Speaking of scales, my youngest sister is learning to play piano and I wish she had a keyboard with headphones.

It’s how you view life that mixes up everything.

Today I got paid way too much to move furniture, far too little (in my opinion) to work a few hours at renovating a house my dad is trying to sell, I took a lovely (though belated and short) nap, and watched bits and fragments of rather uninteresting movies and TV shows on Amazon Prime.

Six months ago, today would have been a bust in my eyes.

Two months ago, I’d probably be curled up in a corner somewhere, trying to remind myself that things are never as bleak as I make them out to be, pep talking myself with the good that I could recognize from today and trying to reason that the good at least balanced out the bad and that today was at least counts as neutral.

Today, however, isn’t six months ago. It isn’t two months ago. It’s today. Here and now in the present.

Today, one of my favorite quotes comes from Owl City: “Every mushroom cloud has a silver lining.” (Which I think maybe I’ve quoted within the confines of this blog before, but it’s still one of my favorites so I’m going to risk redundancy which isn’t really a risk because I have no shame about repeating myself when I’m safely within the confines of my blog.)

Today, I’m fully capable of laughing softly at the misfortunes of today, of grinning joyfully at the unexpected pleasures of today, and of sending nonsense text messages that have very little to do with anything at all sensical.

Sensical is a word. Because nonsensical is a word. Because I say so.

I found a picture last night of a trio of meerkats, dressed and ready for a wedding. There was an officiating clergyman, wearing spectacles and clasping his bible; a bride, clad in a lovely dress and veil and holding a bouquet of roses in her gloved paws; and a groom, spiffy in his tux and bow tie and carrying a rather too large ring in his mouth. It is one of the odder sights that my phone’s screen has presented, but I find the nonsense of the thing perfectly delightful. It made my night last night, and continues to prompt an idiotic grin from me whenever I catch sight of it.

I haven’t really planned for most of what has gone on in my life recently.

Granted, I planned to come home for the summer.

Hallelujah, I’m home for the summer!

And I planned to spend time with my horse.

One forgets the possibility of being so sore after riding until she quits riding for almost a year and then suddenly resumes it with ferocity…

But I hadn’t really anticipated how much adjustment it would take—on the entire family’s part—for long-absent sister to reintegrate herself into the unique (and sometimes volatile) mixture of personalities and emotions within our household. It’s like a daily experiment, and because I never liked science, I never know which chemicals are going to make the other ones explode. Actually, it’s nothing like science. I just felt like saying that. On the bright side, I think all four siblings are on speaking terms with me at the moment. Unless I’ve missed something. Which is entirely possible—life seems at times nothing more than a mad scramble to try not to step on toes.

I also hadn’t really prepared myself for what an analogy of myself my horse provides. Granted, he always has reflected (quite clearly) all the worst parts of me in his stubborn insistence to do things in his own way and his ability to just barely toe the line while still asserting his control over the situation and other lovely tendencies like that, but so long out of the saddle let me forget what a humbling experience trying to work with a horse is. Particularly a horse whose poor training is entirely upon your own head. This summer is going to be a mad scramble to teach an old horse new tricks. Specifically, how to do some very basic maneuvers without grinding his teeth at me.

I have a confession to make:

Humankind is not as idiotic as I usually assert.

It’s only that most of humankind is totally idiotic.

I just keep meeting the exceptions.

I maintain this position because social media and news headlines are both full of records of people doing stupid, stupid, stupid things. Occasionally even my friends decide to dabble in mainstream idiocy and do stupid things. Me included.

But that’s an exception.

Just like the non-idiots are the exceptions.

Hear me: I’m not definitely calling you an idiot. Just vaguely alluding to it in a way that hopefully won’t offend you but will instead demonstrate my general disgust with the majority of society.

We should all keep ducklings to snuggle with.

Ducklings make everything better.

Except for soup.

Never put ducklings in soup.

That’s just cruel and unusual.

Life doesn’t go exactly as we intend it to. But whether the glass is half full, half empty, or full of idiots, God is good and, if you’re looking, you’re sure to glimpse that.


Watch this if you need a smile. Also, I can sing ALL of it, including the onomatopoeia and the too-fast-for-belief monologue.