Coming into alignment

I have been led astray. I have been lied to.

My identity has been shrouded for most of my life and I never even knew it.

As a young girl, Wonder Woman was the superhero, not me. As a teenager, it was best to just fit in like the rest. As a young woman, Gwen Stefani had it all, I never would. And as an adult, I built a career out of revealing the beauty in other women while I hid from my own.

I kept dreaming about who I was most similar to instead of figuring out who Melinda really is.

I finally get it now.

The darkness was afraid of me.

He was afraid I would find out the truth of who I really am and what noble cause my heart beats for.

My true presence, once identified, would radiate light and defend truth and that was absolutely hideous to him.

I finally see now, how he has been working overtime on me all these years. He’s put in double shifts just to keep me distracted from believing I was someone worth loving, let alone someone worth living for.

Two times in my life I almost believed him enough to do something about it.

I hate to admit that he has done a pretty good job. But not good enough because I’m still here, aren’t I.

I am on to him, now.

I have looked back far enough to see the tactics, I’ve opened my eyes wide enough to be alerted to the strategies, and I have become educated and  empowered to break free from the carrot-on-a-stick routine; I’ve looked within me, dove deep into my delights, desires and anger to discover the powerful life-giving presence I possess.

I open my mouth today to boldly declare: Darkness, you have lost.

I know who I am and you will never be able to tell me otherwise.

I know whose I am and you don’t stand a chance against Him.

I know why I am here, so you can’t confuse me any longer.

And I have found my voice, so I suggest you retreat while you can.

Because of my story: lies will be broken, truth will be set free, blind-eyes will open and broken hearts will be mended.

Because of my presence: no evil will be sustained, fear has no place, oppression will not stand and love will always reign supreme.

Because of my voice, generations will gather, daughters will dream again, sisters will unite and mothers will lead

And because of my participation, families will align, marriages will strengthen, communities will be hopeful and the church will unify.

But you already knew that, didn’t you. This is why you have been on my heels for so long.

Today is the beginning of a new chapter, it’s the one where you don’t play any parts or have any lines.

This chapter is the most glorious yet and I cannot wait to begin writing it.

I am a challenger by nature, so I challenge you, today. Look back, open wide-eyes to distractions, lies and smoke and mirrors that have led you to a wandering of purpose and a wondering of who you truly are.

I believe life is meant to be rich: rich in health, rich in relationships and rich in passion and purpose. But a life of concealed identity is a life of great poverty.

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Messenger

For my friends with overflowing hope:

You, who cannot help but seep out supernatural optimism and light; you, although bombarded with the same heartache as the rest of the world, somehow continue to release expressions of positive possibilities.

Though the storm wages on and wave’s crash around you, your anchor never seems to budge.

This is the gift of hope that resides in your innermost being. This hope is not something you have to dig for because you have learned to remain confident of its unending supply.

Encouraging words come naturally, don’t they? Must be nice, they say.

But it is not always nice, is it. Sometimes it’s discouraging and confusing to realize that your hope is not always welcome.

You have witnessed the tightened jaw, the walls of resistance, and the poverty of hopelessness that attempts to latch itself onto you. You have listened to teachings on hope, while the teachers themselves close their ears and their doors in response to your hope.

You have so much to give, yet so few around you who desire to receive.

You have been uninvited to pity-parties and blacklisted from wallow-fests and most definitely not on the guest list for conferences of complacency.

Sometimes it’s as if the world punishes you for simply having too much hope.

But alas, that is actually true. You have become the enemy simply by telling the truth. But, as you may already know, there is hope for you, still.

From one fledgling of hope to another, may I encourage you today?

We must take heart, and we must take captive the instructions of the hopeless; discerning and discarding any guidance contrary to the belief that our hope was meant to overflow.

Please don’t listen to the hopelessness of the world. Practice the art of shutting out the voices that speak severing sentences; ignoring the impotent words of impasse; and silencing the self-destructive sounds of self-righteousness.

We are voices of hope. Let us never stop using them. Let us steer those empty accusations far away from the sanctuary of our precious treasure.

We must acknowledge the target on our back, my friends. The thief waits for our fortress guards to fall sleepy and weary from the battle, and then he robs us.

When we listen to discouragement, we are looted. When we succumb to the fear of rejection we are swindled. Every dead end that we allow to claim us allows our fortress to be ransacked. We must be courageous and brave.

Let us shake the dust off our feet and extend those strong legs of ours. Let us fix our vision towards a new scene and a fresh setting. Let us take a different route than usual to possibly discover the ones who are looking for us, because truth is, someone somewhere is looking for our hope.

Somewhere, there is a man doubled over in grief of financial distress.
Somewhere, there is a woman curled up in the corner of her child’s hospital room.
Somewhere, there is a son desperate for a future.
Somewhere, there is a daughter who has never learned how to dream.

They need to hear our stories of hope. If we get stuck in the rejection of those around us, we lose out of the adventure of a treasure hunt of souls.

moving mountains

You and I have been through many assaults and have learned the ways of a warrior. Unscathed, we are not; scars and battle wounds, we have many. And somehow, after the storms have passed, here we are with a fountain of hope still pouring out from within.

We may need to exercise our faith and move a few mountains.

Sometimes we only see a mountain as a big trial in front of us, but a mountain can also be an obstacle blocking the light of truth in a situation, or perhaps something standing in the way of us releasing the light of our hope. Sometimes we need to move a mountain in hopes of discovering a space large enough for our songs of hope to be fully released and fully heard.

And when we remove these obstructions, when we carry on in continuing to share our story, we are helping dig a much wider trench, one that allows hope to flood the atmosphere.

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That Girl

The Girl I Once Was
The Girl I Once Was

She wakes in the morning. With a pioneering breath she inhales the days potential.

Strumming the keys of her body, coming in tune with her mindful, free spirit.

Gypsy traveler. Vivid storyteller. Daughter of the earth.

Refueling her verve, she bathes in the elements. Earth, Air, Wind, Fire.

Feet bare, she receives the ground. Sand and water. Rock and pasture. She walks lightly over them all – experiencing every grain, every rhythm, every point.

Present. Awake. Listening.

Performing. Portraying. Dancing.

Chasing not the wind, but a salty breeze.  The air is good, but she knows it is the salt that brings a refreshing outlook. A view whose beauty cannot be ignored. The salt is essential.

Her simple belongings no longer represent poverty or lack, instead marking freedom, independence and abundance of wealth.

The gifts that she gives are words and affections, wrapped in eccentric, bohemian spirit.

Organic, her roots expose natural strength; branches bearing graceful banners of love; leaves giving birth to wild, passion fruit. Delicious and nourishing to all who receive.

Her bohemian fabrics weave together a swing – for the maidens and the breezes – uniting them with purpose as dreams ride in, on beauty’s zephyr.

I saw her today, this girl who once was, she mischievously winks to my spirit- titillation.

“I’ve missed you”, she says, “choose me again. I’m still just a floret – in the forest of your soul. The ferns are sweeping a beckoning sway, don’t you feel them?” she exclaims, “enchantment awaits!”

Curtains pulled back, she calls out my name.

“Melinda!”

The sound of my name rivets a quake. My ears hear her roar, skin radiant and trembling. From deep within I extend a reach, inhaling this effervescent, this essence, of me.  As I breathe her in, citrine fire within my veins, her spice is delightful, nostalgic, even seductive.

Extracting her zeal sends chills up my spine, my posture responds in attention.

“She’s back!”, say my bones, as my heart jumps with joy. Eyes wide with a welcoming embrace,  long lashes salute and my face lifts with wonder.

“I’m back.” I exhale, and never again, will I let her slip below, to the pits built by shame; the darkness, the depths, constructed  with fear. May they remain empty and barren, soon to wither and dry up; relinquishing their space, receding in retreat.

For the girl I one was is coming back to me now; she will need the extra room to stretch out, move and grow. Her flourishing requires an ample arena, for jumping and leaping and bounding some more.

Yes the  girl I once was, is now flitting about. Released and restored she lives among me again.

She knows who she is, where she’s been, where it is that she goes. She stands on the edges, unafraid and unmoved.

Feet planted, she dances, amidst the salt and the breeze.

I love her, this girl, who once never was.

This amazing grace, who was lost and now found.

As this girl I once was, has come back to me now.

XOXOXO

M

“The girls we once were are coming back to us now…”  represents the beauties who live at the intersection of art and faith. The Story Sessions  is part of The Story Unfolding, where writers and artists build community amidst kinship. Maybe you have been looking for us? Welcome. 

 

The Word

One Word
One Word

Sometimes its good to look back for just a few moments before we move forward.

Reflection is healthy. It is sitting behind a glass window, watching our life’s highlights and expressing emotions to release the memory. Letting it go.

The confident “I did real good” smile; the eye rolling “oh brother, what was I thinking”. Perhaps you had the popular “ok, ok, I get it now, I really do” palms in the air exasperation, or how about the head in the hands “goodness, where is the fast forward button”.

Expressing is good. In our house when someone starts to get sick, we say they are “expressing health” because believe it or not, when our bodies shoot out symptoms it means we are alive and well and our bodies are simply communicating with us. We understand that a fever is good, its nature’s way of burning off virus and bacteria, so in our house we don’t immediately suppress the fever, we let it run its course. We know the heat expressed in a fever holds great purpose.

Looking back at my one word for 2013 I realized how truly amazing this year was. My word was nurture. I posted it on the chalkboard on my kitchen cupboard and left it there in full view all year. I received my word. I welcomed the opportunity to shut out the world for a while and focus solely on those immediate things I am responsible for.

Things that had never really been a top priority for me were now going to  get all of me, for the entire year.

Not only did my one word keep me focused on the pulse of my heart, it also gave me clarity on the disciplines necessary for sustaining it. Nurture drew in practices like: comfort, feed, clothe, listen, water, sunlight and fertilize. Yes, fertilize. If you are a good gardener and your plants flourish it is because your soil is nurtured with manure.

My  heart became the soil that was nurtured this year:

  • I learned how to fertilize: embracing grace for effectively facing and confronting conflict and turning it into something good.
  • I learned how to prune: letting go of things that served no purpose or bore no fruit.
  • I learned how to feed: engaging in meaningful relationships and being vulnerable enough to give healthy relationships room to mature.
  • I learned how to water: daily and consistent soaking in the only living water.
  • I learned how to bask in the essential light of the Son.

It has been a good year. Good does not mean it was painless, fancy free and footloose. Good means it was beneficial, cleansing and refining.

A pretty container does not usher in maturity – it is the quality of her soil and robustness of her roots, that enable her to… grow.

Grow. My word for 2014.  It seems fitting and natural, gentle and simple. I was hoping for a word that was beautifully poetic and rhythmically expressive. I immediately went to the thesaurus, searching for a similar word that would identify more with my bohemian nature. Other words felt forced and fake. I sat with it for a few hours; opened up my new day planner to the month of January.

Ah, a fresh clean page with only a few delicately jotted appointments. The ones that were placed there with slow, intentional handwritings with a choice ballpoint pen. A month on paper that has yet to be tainted by little scribbles, crayons and dried out sharpies. And there it was, the quote for the month.

“If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.”  – John Maxwell

This simple word has already expanded my world to consider a continual journey outside of what I know. It’s adventure. It’s risk. It’s thrilling. It’s outrageous.

Its mine.

There is a word that is waiting for you to discover. A word that will lead you and guide you forward and deeper. Ask for your word. Listen for your word. And watch its beauty unfold before you, like a secret whisper, or a breath of hope.

Happy New Year.

XOXOXO

M

p.s. ~ {Do you come alive when you write? Is it time for you to nurture your gifts and talents, growing in your calling with strength, courage and purpose? Join the sisterhood of Story Sessions and  discover the red tent of  all things writerly.}

Voice is breath is life

The lie is that you are alone

the lie that no one would understand what you are going through

the lie is that your feelings are solitary

the lie is that no one other would relate

the lie is that you are apart

this lie, that you are alone, is a lie.

 

This lie isolates

this lie divides

this lie casts shadows

this lie conceals truth

this lie causes decay and rot

this lie deteriorates

that lie, that says you are alone, is a lie.

 

Your voice brings light

light exposes truth

truth attracts

your voice beckons unions

your voice invites harmony

harmony is unity

unity is harmony

unity is from the Father

the Father is light.

 

Light is the absence of dark

light exposes truth

truth is the absence of a lie

your voice releases truth.

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Your voice is a gift

a gift is a present

a present is presence

presence defeats  absence

presence is power

your voice is power

you have a voice

voice is breath

breath is life

life is power

you are full of life

you are full of power

your voice is powerful

You have a voice.