The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Cry

come2Yesterday, I went for a drive in the mountains. I didn’t have a destination in mind or an agenda to follow, I just wanted to drive. See, my car is a sort of sanctuary for me – it’s not pretty, it makes noises that a car isn’t supposed to make, it’s covered with all sorts of scratches and dents, and it’s even missing a few pieces – but it provides me with a space where I can simply be. My car sees me at my best, and at my worst… it sees me when I’m joyfully singing at the top of my lungs, and when I’m ugly crying so hard I can barely see the road. My car offers me a reprieve from a world in which I often feel that I must “hold it together” and “put on a good face.” It’s the place where I can give voice to the parts of myself that I’ve deemed “unacceptable” or “unfit” to be seen by others. Read more

Hope Changes Everything (WSPD ’16)

hope2The other day, I did a quick search for “news” on Google, and that simple search yielded disheartening results; more controversies regarding candidates for the U.S. presidential election, a failed mission to rescue hostages in Afghanistan, a policeman stabbed in France, and a shooting at a High School in Texas. It seems like the news has been filled with stories like this for far too long, an unrelenting string of tragedy and pain.

But there’s something else that you may be seeing on social media today, regarding another tragedy that affects every city, state, and nation throughout the world. It’s something that isn’t talked about much, in fact many would consider it a “taboo” topic, as it carries a vast amount of stigma and shame. You’re probably hearing about it today more than usual, but it’s no less of a reality any other day of the year. Today is World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD).

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Better Days Ahead

Sand and CS LewisAround this time, 7 long years ago, I was packing up my childhood room and counting down the days until I got to move out of my parents’ home and into the college dorms. That day feels like a lifetime ago, but I can still recall the excitement and anticipation that I felt (in fact, for the past week Facebook has been reminding me of how excessively “18-year-old me” used my status updates to count down the days until move-in day). As I sit here now, 7 years later, there are many young adults just beginning to embark on their own college journey. I live just down the street from a University, and this week I have seen an explosion of excited and energetic young people at every local Starbucks and Chipotle… it’s “back to school” season!

As I reflect back on that time in my life, I remember receiving many well-intentioned messages, meant to encourage and inspire me. They were so positive and optimistic, so full of hope and expectation. Maybe you’ve heard them too (or told them to a student heading off to school):

“These will be the best years of your life!”

“The friendships that you will form in college are the ones that will last a lifetime!”

Simple messages that convey the hopes that we have for each of our loved ones as they enter into a new season of life… but what about when those messages that we so eagerly receive don’t turn out to be true? Read more

Created for Community

img_2072About 6 months ago, I showed up to a Life Group launch at my church… just a random Tuesday night in the middle of winter. Leading up to this night, my plan had been to launch my own group at this particular launch, but I felt challenged and convicted by God to join a group instead. So I showed up, looked through the list of available groups, and put a little star next to the ONLY women’s group in my age/location range. With a crazy schedule of school and work, I only had one night available, so I figured that finding a group that worked was going to be a long shot. I walked up to the table corresponding with that ONE group that I had marked on my list and, lo and behold, they met on the ONE night that I had available.

Here’s the thing, I do NOT believe in coincidence or chance… As I elaborated on in one of my recent posts, I believe in a Sovereign God who is often times up to FAR MORE than we know or comprehend.

Let me tell you, this particular group of ladies have been such an incredible blessing in my life, one that could only have been orchestrated by God Himself… and God has worked through this group to teach me so much about community, and through that community, about Himself. Read more

Lessons Learned from a Journey West

It’s July 28th, 2013.

I stuff the last few items into the back of my 1002864_10200272712292265_1516226447_ncar, take a deep breath, and catch one last look at my childhood home in the rearview mirror.

I’ve packed my entire life into my little Hyundai Sonata; anything that doesn’t fit has to stay behind.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve said goodbye to the friends who have walked with me for the past 4 years. I’ve been trying to put on a brave face, all the while choking back tears with each parting hug.

I’ve been dreaming of a grand adventure for years now… but the past few years have taken a toll, and I’m a broken shell of the girl who once dreamed of blazing her own trail in a new land. Read more

The Secret Shame of an Introvert

Quiet.jpgI like to think of myself as a happily introverted person. I’ve always preferred a quiet night at home to loud and crowded environments, and I’ve always been a fan of listening more than talking. I’ve been an avid reader since my childhood, when I discovered a reading program where if you read enough books, you could earn MORE BOOKS (there may have been other prizes involved, but that was the only one I cared about). These days on a Friday night, I’m hoping to get off work early so that I can curl up in bed with the book that’s waiting for me on my bedside table. While friends and co-workers go out to dance, drink, and party, I relish the idea of a quiet night doing laundry, watching Netflix, or organizing my books. Read more

The Only One

IMG_1751-0I have a serious love/hate relationship with writing; it’s something that I love to do, and something that (for some crazy reason) I feel called to do… the part that I hate is where I press the “publish” button. If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you’ve probably noticed that the things I write about are “personal.” I write about my own life, things that are deeply significant to me; the things that weigh heavy on my heart, and the things that keep me up at night. Read more

The Fight of Our Lives

war imageThe other night, I was talking to a friend who has been one of the primary organizers of our upcoming trip to Haiti. He was telling me about a conversation he had with the representative of the organization that we will be working with while we are there. According to this individual, in the places we will be going to distribute these water filters, if you ask the people “if you were to die today, what would be the destination of your soul?” a large portion of them would answer very succinctly, “Hell.”

If that doesn’t give you the chills, then you better check your pulse. Read more

Perfectly Imperfect

My name is Melanie, and I am a perfectionist. 

There have been times in my life where I have worn the badge of perfectionism with pride. It was a sign that I was a motivated, driven, and successful individual, and my self identification as such certainly served me well when it came to school, work, or any competitive endeavor that I undertook. The perfectionist in me drives me to proof read everything from academic papers and blog posts, to 25 word text messages, as if my life depends on it. Looking back through this process of sharing my writing on a blog, I realized that on average each post that I write stays locked away for about 2 months before I finally force myself to press the “publish” button. And earlier this week I spent 10 minutes reading and editing a simple text message to a friend. Read more