Friday, June 4, 2010

MAKING Changes.....MAKING The Decision To Change

How is it possible to live with an unknown?

If you are born in Africa with family members who die of AIDS and starvation, you never know anything aside from dying of AIDS and starvation. A horrific pity, but no surprise.

If you are born in Saudi Arabia, you are born into Islam without freedom of religious choice. Your reality encompasses the knowledge that if you ever steal, you will lose a hand and if you murder, you will be swiftly murdered. The rules are in place and are always applied. Intense, but no surprise.

If you are born in an orphanage in Russia, you never know the experience of family. You watch as teenagers are turned out to live on their own at age sixteen or seventeen and wait for your turn to be that teenager some day. Frightening and terribly unfair, but no surprise.

In contrast to the above scenarios, I was born into a comfortable home, was surrounded by love, was given a wonderful education through the generosity of my parents, and was taught to make my own way in life. I made goals for myself, as a result, and enjoyed working toward achieving them. As an adult, I am a free thinker, an avid reader, and an individual who is unafraid to tackle new things. Within the last twelve months, for instance, I have written several songs with Lydia and had the songs copyrighted, submitted an invention to a "toy making" company, written and published a book about Hopey, and have read over 40 books ranging in subject matter from politics to fiction....thriller to history....God's Holy Word to the Occult.

Point is this: My experience can be summed up in one word....ready for this?

CONTROL!!!!! I set out to do something and do it. Period.

A dear friend of mine, Sarah Hathaway, has been dropping off loaves of bread by our house over the last few weeks. Sarah is a much sweeter version of Martha Stewart but every bit as talented....and better still, she shows love through beautiful acts of service. Understanding that I have been in a funk of epic proportions over the status of my little punkin' head (Hopey), Sarah lovingly leaves the scrumptious loaves of bread at the house with a simple words of wisdom....just a smile. Perfect.

Well, my kids have become hooked on Sarah's bread, and when we don't have a loaf for them to munch on they become complainers: "This bread is not as good as Miss Hathaway's bread!" So, control freak that I am, I went out and bought a bread machine and am teaching myself to make bread.....though it will never measure up to Sarah's in the kids' estimation I am certain.

Total control freak. Guilty.

So, what does a gal who has been able to control her life-circumstances her entire life do when the Lord gives her one of His little angels who has a totally unpredictable heart? A heart that baffles even the most brilliant heart specialists? Answer: She goes nuts.

I can't tell you how much I want to control this situation with Hopey. If there were only a formula I could follow, I would follow it to the letter. Fast for 10 years, only eating raw spinach and water.....yep, I would do that! Pray 10 times a day out loud on my front lawn with a covering over my head wearing no shoes.....yep, I would do that. Travel to the Holy Land and kiss the ground where Jesus walked....become a perfect Sabbath-Keeper....give all my money away to the poor and live in a tent....I would do it all and could do it all! But it would be pointless. You know how I know? Because I have tried more hair-brained religious ideas than you could count over the last five years, believing with all of my heart, faithing with faith much greater than a tiny mustard seed, and Hope's heart continues to get worse.

I can stomp my feet, I can speak in tongues, I can shout "Glory" until my vocal chords give out, but God simply isn't a vending machine needing my pathetic "quarters". Put this in and get this out. Nope, that is way too small minded and feeble for our tremendous God. Those words, friends, can preach an entire lifetime of sermons. They weren't learned in Sunday School or in a good Christian book. They were learned through being smashed into a million pieces and stomped on. Sinful/Carnal Melanie, aka "Control Freak" has reinvented God so many times to make Him fit into what "she" wants. But Almighty, Unchanging, Awesome God is still the same God He has always been. Take Him or leave choice and your choice.

We returned from the beach on Wednesday, and my happiness gauge went straight down to empty. For some reason, the beach has become my escape from reality.....home tends to be a kick back to the real world for me. Anyway, I was going through my library (again, books are my thing) and found a book I read years ago. I thumbed through the worn pages and came to a section that talks about making the decision to change.

That's me.

I am making the decision to change. More specifically, I am making a decision to change my thinking. Over the next week, I will choose to NOT ALLOW myself to dwell on negative thoughts....and if I do find myself getting sucked onto a negative path, I am going to redirect my thinking onto something positive either through a task or through scripture. So, to sum up, whenever I feel afraid of Hope's love balloon (aneurysm) bursting, I am going to redirect the fear and negative thought with positive energy....maybe grabbing Hopey up to go on a ride in the red wagon with Charlie, maybe painting on some canvas with the girls, or even baking bread (ha! ha!) I am going to CHOOSE to do this even though I may not feel it at all.

For one week. Seven days.

It is a baby step, but it is a step.

Who's journey is easier? My journey or the journey of the poor African, the boxed-in Saudi Arabian, or the lonesome orphan? I don't think anyone's journey is ever easy. Each day we battle our minds and the world around us. Food is an issue for the man starving while pornography is just as big an issue to the SEC Executive. Ironic, isn't it? The message, however, is that we will all get through and will cross to the blessed other side, by taking baby steps toward the ONE who beckons for us to simply "Come". He knows the battle is difficult; He warned us it would be. He knew we would try to re-invent Him and make Him to be what we think He should be. But it is in our our realization of our utter need for our cries of pain and sorrow....that He must smile and drink in real hope for humanity.

"Amazing Grace....was blind, but now I see."


  1. I was wondering if you would be willing to share the recipe? Please??

  2. HI, Melanie- it has been a long time since we last spoke/corresponded, but I think of Hope and pray for her/your family often. You have such an incredible way with the written word. I think this very "article" should be published- in a very conspicuous place! You have encouraged me in my walk today. Have you thought about public speaking? I am sure you are too busy for that right now with your little ones. But you should be keeping a file, if you don't already, of little snippets and journaling, and things like this entry, that are good material to share with those in need of a message of God's grace, etc. I would love for you to come and share with our women of the church body sometime if you are ever in the Cincinnati area. Thank you for being so real and vulnerable.