Finding Your Happily Ever After

“And they lived happily ever after.  The End.”

Every romance novel seems to end with a heroine triumphantly riding off into the sunset with her knight in shining armor.  If only our lives would mimic the classic fairy tales we all grew up reading.  Instead, our perfect rendition of a happily ever after is an evening of watching the latest episode of Game of Thrones! But, seriously, we long for love.  Our hearts were uniquely designed for this purpose.  Our creator is inviting us to join him on a journey of romance that would rival the famous fairy tales of old.

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“My beloved spoke, and said to me:
“Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away.” ~ Song of Songs

Long ago, before the foundations of the world…

God looked upon your unformed being and was immediately captivated by you (Psalm 139:16).  It was at that precise moment that God made an eternal vow to love you with an everlasting love.  It is a covenant forged out of the very heart of our creator.  A love so deep, that it would compel him to make the ultimate sacrifice known to mankind.  He would step down from heaven to take on human form and eventually embark on a 3 year mission to romance the hearts of the people.

I always imagined love to be a beautiful tapestry of vivid colors that were woven into the fabrics of our hearts.  Some would describe it as an exhilarating high that sets us free the moment we allow it to penetrate our soul.  To be quite honest, I am no expert when it comes to the affairs of the heart.  My own lackluster in this particular department had left me to piece together what I had read in novels and watched on the big screen.  I wanted so badly to be the damsel in distress.  To experience an undying love that would leave me breathless.  I prayed for someone to rescue me from the seemingly dismal life that had no future, no room for a happy ending.   Why was everyone around me getting engaged, married or starting a relationship? I asked the Lord, “what is left for me? Suddenly, something beautiful began to emerge from the ashes and it all started with an invitation.

He called out to me…

My beloved spoke, and said to me:
“Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away.
For lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of singing has come,
And the voice of the turtledove
Is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth her green figs,
And the vines with the tender grapes
Give a good smell.
Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away! ~ Song of Songs 2:10-13

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I’ve had my heart-broken once too many times. I spent many nights spilling thousands of tears over empty promises that robbed me of my “happily ever after.”  Unbeknownst to me, Jesus was extending a hand towards me.  He wanted to romance me in the way he has always intended for his princesses. He gently reminded me through my pain, that the love he has for me, is unfailing.  

I was placing my heart in the wrong hands.  The bible tells us that we should guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23).  My search for love and romance had taken me down a wrong path.  I didn’t need to look for love in someone, in fact, I needed to go straight to the source which was Jesus.  When you totally surrender your life to God, he leads you to discover love through his eyes.  I no longer needed the validation of a person’s love to make me feel complete.  The moment I allowed that nugget of truth to take root deep in my heart, I experienced a new level of love for Christ and in Christ like never before.

Beloved, on the evening of this Valentine’s day, I want you to know that your love story is far from being over.  It hasn’t even begun! Open your heart and allow romance to take hold of you as you explore daily doses of God’s immeasurable love for you.

Let the finger of God rewrite your love story!

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Blessings,

~Melissa

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Thoughtful Thursday

Just a Thought: 

Our monthly ritual of gathering together was met with warm hugs, stories and a good dose of laughter.  As we sat in a semi-circle, one friend shared, “You know, we have to be thankful- thankful that we have a job to pay our rent, purchase food, etc.”  She is absolutely right.  How often do we stop and THANK God?

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I am thankful that I was able to open my eyes and see the snow falling;

I am thankful for hearing the words, “I love you Momma” from my little one;

I am thankful for the tender shoulder from a friend that I can lean on;

I am thankful for a Mom whose faith compelled her to always pray for her children;

I am thankful for being able share the good news of Christ to those around me;

I am thankful for the trials, storms and circumstances, because it has only further cemented my foundation in Christ.

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Friends, we all have something to be eternally grateful for.  Let us begin to offer God sacrifices of praise in all things.  If we can grab hold of this kingdom principle and apply it daily in our walk, it will awaken the spirit of Thanksgiving from deep within.  

“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.”~Hebrews 13:15 (NKJV). 

God Bless!

There and Back Again, a Wayward’s Tale.

December 2016

I’m sitting in church.  The music is roaring.  A man is singing his heart out to God.  I am moved to tears.  The story was about me.  In fact, it is me.  I break down.

11 Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. 13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. ~ Luke 15

The Only Way In

September 2004

I made an unprecedented move that would change the course of my life.

It’s the tale of the wayward child who turned his back on the only family he’d ever known. A biblical story that is all too familiar.  Unlike the prodigal son, I didn’t leave with a trust fund. But, I did inherit a wounded heart and my 8 year-old boy in tow.  And just like him, I ran away believing that starting a new life in a distant land would erase painful memories. A lost childhood. Broken promises. Dead-end opportunities.

Why did he run?

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
But he who heeds counsel is wise. ~ Proverbs 12:15 

The parable doesn’t go into why he chose to leave in the first place.  We are only left to wonder what drove him to leave home.  Did he have something to prove? Did a fight ensue between himself and his brother? Did he get along with his Father?

The 10 year-old in me was ready to bust out of the joint I called home.  But, I never fathomed that my past would collide with my present in such a way that it nearly annihilated my future. When we’re standing at a crossroad, isn’t it just easy to pick up and go? Or maybe if we snap our fingers and *POOF* everything will disappear.  It was settled, I made up my mind and there wasn’t anyone who was going to stop me.  I was headstrong in my decision.  Stubbornness can cause blindness to the truth.  Often times, we harden our hearts when a friend or loved one extends a word of advice or encouragement.

“Don’t go,” my Mamí pleaded.  “Why do you have to go so far away?

I left with a HUGE chip on my shoulder.  

I was the second oldest of the bunch, but felt neglected emotionally.  I craved for any scrapings of attention from my parents, friends, etc.  Nothing could satisfy my insatiable desire for attention.  I felt unworthy of love and incapable of capturing anyone’s affection. My biological father kicked my mother and I out when I was only a year old.  The seeds of rejection were planted into my young heart, and for rest of my adulthood it wickedly teased and taunted me. My Mom eventually married, but the new man in my life who would raise me as his daughter could never fill the void of emptiness in my heart. Something was missing.

June 2016

I pulled into the paved driveway of my apartment complex.  I had a pit in my stomach.  I was expecting a white envelope with “Tenant Apt. C” to receive me when I arrived at my front door.  I reluctantly let myself out of the car and slowly made my way to the entrance of the building.  I stopped mid-way up the stairs, as I caught sight of the wretched white envelope.  I finished the last few steps and walked over to pick it up.  I unlocked the door and let it slam behind me.  With fingers trembling, I ripped it open, …“This letter is to serve notice that you are being evicted from your apartment and you have 30 days to answer…”  12 years of running led up to this moment.  I had lost it all.  I couldn’t finish reading it.  I felt nauseous.  I picked up my cell phone.

17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’ ~ Luke 15

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THE AHA! MOMENT.

The prodigal son had a “AHA!”- moment.  In his own quest to find himself, he actually lost a valuable piece of who he was and who he belonged to.  He allowed the lures and cares of this world to entice him to live outside the will of the father.  It forced him to rise above his present situation and go back to his roots.  I too realized that I left with an inheritance that I neglected for so long.  A spiritual inheritance whose foundation was fortified with faith, hope and love that only comes from Christ.  It wasn’t too late to go back.  Sometimes in life, God needs to bring us back in order for us to move forward.  My healing was going to start where it all began, home.

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring[a] out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry. ~ Luke 15

December 2016

I wiped the tears as I glanced over at my Mom who was sitting next to me, smiling. There was no need for words.  We sat in awe.  It was that night, that the Lord reminded us of His merciful love for all who are lost.  He is, and always will be waiting with open arms, ready to receive his prodigal children.

The world had stopped for a moment as I heard the gentle voice of the Father whisper –

“Welcome Home Melissa.”

 

 

Change. Period.

” I want nothing to change, nothing!”

Those were the words uttered from my 8 year-old daughter when the word change slipped into our conversation.  I chuckled.  I paused to let the word marinate my soul.  Change. Let’s be honest, we pray for it, but are we really open to change? As of late, every sermon, teaching, or book has been echoing the same charge.  Do you sense the Lord speaking to you about change? I believe that He is challenging us for 2017.  A call to action.  The time has come for us to follow through on the changes that we have cried out to the Father.

“Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.” ~ Proverbs 37:5

Change asks you to commit!

One of the areas of my life that I wanted to commit to changing was the fact that I was a serial runner.  When the going got tough, I would run.  At the first sign of any impending doom, I was already secretly plotting a way out.  I lacked the courage to face any person I had conflict with.  I thought everybody was out to get me. It was easier for me to put on my Nike’s and head for the hills.  But, you get to a point in your life, when you have to stop running.  I did it for the last 12 years.  In the words of Forest Gump when he was asked why he stopped running, he responded, “I’m pretty tired… I think I’ll go home now.”  I was tired too.  The moment I asked the Lord to help me, I have sensed peace unlike never before. I can now face and stand against any giant that comes my way because God’s hand is with me.

How do we stay determined and focus to keep the change? 

The word of God teaches us…

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As you say “Yes Lord,” pray and asked that He strengthen you as you embark on the road to change.  Believe me, He will lovingly guide you every step of the way!

Change calls for us to examine the areas of our lives that need tending to.  You are inviting God into your heart to do deep excavating.

Examine me, O Lord, and try me; Test my heart and my mind. ~ Psalm 26:2

We all have areas in our hearts that need some TLC.  It is tainted with old wounds, broken promises, toxic relationships, etc.  Allow yourself to tear off the bandages and expose your wounds to healing.  The enemy will use your afflictions to torment your soul.  He knows your weaknesses and he will come to bring doubt and fear.  He will whisper lies that you will never find complete restoration in Christ.  But, remember what the word of God says,

“Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your healing (restoration, new life) will quickly spring forth; Your righteousness will go before you [leading you to peace and prosperity], The glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.” ~ Isaiah 58:8 (Amp)

Change challenges us to break old habits and create new ones.  It teaches self-discipline.    

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Holding on to old habits never allows for change to occur.  Another word is STUCK.  Sounds familiar? Here’s a thought, bad habits stagnate your growth.  There is no progression.  It’s another strategy that the advesary uses against us.  The moment you accepted Jesus into your life, you closed the door on your past.  You welcomed change into your life.  You said yes to Jesus and yes to a fresh start.  It’s a clean slate which allows us to live a purpose filled life.

It’s never too late for CHANGE!

Friends, as we move forward into the new year, don’t let anything discourage you from the  personal commitments you have declared to God for 2017.  Levi Lusko recently commented, “Be the change that you want to see in the world” (#KeepTheChangeSeries, http://www.freshlife.church).  I believe this statement to be true.  We will have our good days and bad days and our faith will even be tested.  But rest assured, the moment we said yes to the change, is the moment we no longer live but Christ in us which is the hope of glory.

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