Sunday, January 29, 2012

Blessings and M&Ms

I can't believe January has come and gone. 2012 is speeding by. As I begin to wind down my night, I am caught off guard with the blessings that flood my life. Some instantly bring a smile, a warmth to my heart and a peace that calms my soul. Some sting, and I fight to push back the raw emotions those memories conjure up, yet I am able to see clearly  and stay focused on the work and healing that is being done. And some of those blessings are still in the midst of being found. I know there is thanksgiving to give for those hard situations. In the midst of the loss, in the midst of the illness,  and in the midst of not understanding nor seeing His plan, there is thanksgiving and I am searching. 

And just as I am caught off guard by those blessings, I am reminded of how often I take them all for granted.  How often I don't see. How often I don't take the time. How often my pride gets in the way. How often I don't care. And how often I miss out.

The words of Christ, His teachings, His commands, His promises echo in my mind. The knowledge of grace and truth and forgiveness replay continuously. And tonight, I can't shake the image of thousands of M&Ms pouring out of a bucket. 

I yearn to see more blessings, to see more of His plan. I want to push on and follow no matter the cost. I desire wisdom, a pure heart and eyes to see. And He is waiting . . .He wants that for me too. He is standing there with a bucket over following with M&Ms, with blessings beyond my wildest dreams, yet I'm not ready to receive them. There is so much I still cling to. So much my fist clench tight to. So much I am scared to let go of. And I sit here and I wonder, "When will you remember, Mel?" 

Let go, the blessings will come. Let go, You will see His face. Let go, He will show up. Let go. 

So, for me, for tonight,  wanting is not enough, knowing is not enough, what I've been doing is not enough, but taking a step is, loosing my grip is, and making one small change is. 

One small change. One huge desire. One bold prayer. One Almighty God. 

Tonight I start digging my ditches, and when more of those blessings, those M&M's begin to fall, I'm going to be ready.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

This past weekend, I had the privilege of spending 3 days in NYC. For those of you who don't really know me. I love New York City, and everything about it. I feed off the nonstop energy, off the diverse cultures, and the multitudes of people. I love riding the metro and overhearing conversations in different languages. I love sitting in the quaint bagels shops and observing the streets come to life. I love the music of mediocre musicians, who struggle to make it in a over saturated, talent filled city, fill the streets. I love NYC!
Perhaps, it is where I am currently in life, or that I have escaped the self absorbed years of my youth, but there were things in NYC that I never noticed before. The people. Their faces. Their stories. Their lives. As I rode the metro, I would just stare. I saw faces full of laugher and full of life. To be honest those faces were rare. And my guess is that they belonged to the folks who were just passing through. Who had left their lives and their baggage back wherever they came from, and forgot that it would be waiting there when they returned. Many faces were preoccupied, numb, and lifeless. There were some annoyed faces, some exhausted faces and some faces that I yearned to just hug. This trip, I saw people, I saw God's people. People who are loved. Who have a purpose. Who are desired and cherished. And I saw a lot of people who have no clue of such truths.
One of the coolest things about this trip was being with folks who shared the common bond of faith. Who saw these people too. Who prayed over these people too. Who longed to be used in sharing God's love to these people too.
I would like to say some seeds were planted, that somehow life's were touched by these strange kids from VA, but I don't really know. I just trust that our prayers were heard. Our prayers were felt. And that God will continue to seek after His lost sheep.
NYC was great, and I still have a special bond with that place, but it's not much different than home. Home is a lot quieter, a lot simpler, yet it too is filled with faces, filled with people who don't know how dearly they are loved. I use to dream of living in NYC, and part of me still desires that. But a majority of my heart knows I am exactly where I am called to be. Called to love the people of Powhatan, called to serve the people of Midlothian, and called to share God's grace to the people of Richmond. May my heart's desire never tire of loving those who God loves.

1 John 4:19 "We love because He first loved us."

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I have learned along the way . . .

I have heard folks say that your 30's are the best years of your life. Well, tomorrow, I will officially be in my early 30's. With that being said I am embracing the old wise tale that the next decade of my life is going to be the best, and will live it up remembering all the things I have learned along the way.

1. Be thankful in all things. 
2. Letting go of the past and being willing to start new is liberating.
3. Family will always be there.
4. Living second will bring a life of blessings.
5. Maintaining friendships (and making new ones) is a VERY intentional practice, and worth every second.
6. Shining light into our darkest closets lessens the power of fear.
7. Uncomfortable underwear really can ruin your day.
8. Remember where you came from.
9. Random acts of kindness can never be too small.
10. Weird is the new cool. So, live Weird!
11. Life is full of losses, No matter how hard it is or how little we understand; trust that God will use it for good. Because He will.
12. Actions speak louder than words.
13. Live a generous life. If you do you get more opportunities to see the hand of God.
14. Become the person, the person you want, will want to be with.
15. Get out of your comfort zone. (Lay on the floor in a crowded place, lip sing to a song and share it, etc)
16, Experience Heaven on earth . . . here and now!!
17. Learn to see people's heart and their true worth. It will change how you see the world.
18. Don't be afraid to love.
19. Surround yourself with people that will pour truth into your life.
20. Laugh every day
21. Forgive.
22. Whether you have rhythm or not, turn your kitchen into a dance floor and cut loose.
23. Say I'm sorry.
24. Take off your mask. "Once you are real you can't be ugly."
25. Remember that hurt people cause hurt. Offer them grace when they do.
26. Learn to Enjoy Your Own Company.
27. Do something new often.
28. One person can make a difference.
29. Find a place that is just yours and Gods and don't tell anyone.
30. Read the Bible. It makes a difference.
31. Love hard.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Ministry, Leadership and Doubts

When I started this blog, I was on a journey to discover me . . . the Melissa Cordle that I had somehow lost along the way. A journey to learn about the 'me' I was created to be.  It's bee an amazing journey and have learned so much and have been given more than I expected to find. Not only have I continued  to discover this "new creature," I have found a passion, a purpose, and open doors.

It was evident to me that in being part of a local outreach ministry, God equips the called. I remember the planning of our first Monroe Park day. I think I had sent out more emails in those weeks than I have ever in my entire life. I was looking for answers. What do we do? What do we bring? What works? Will people come? I had listened to a few online sermons of PCC before I ever walked through their doors and will never forget the words of Dennis Green  'Put yourself in a situation where He has to show up' (paraphrased).  And that's where I found myself.  A lot of responses were 'we will help spread the word that you are coming', but no answers to any of my questions. I thought that it would be a major flop, but God showed up. He was there in that park that day doing what He does best--miracles. He built trust, He did some heart transplants and he bonded ties of the most unlikely friends.

This morning in my inbox I had the most encouraging email I think I ever had in my life. Throughout the day I have received multiple texts of encouragement. It's funny because I haven't shared how inadequate I feel in this leadership position. I haven't shared that I feel I'm not doing enough with this ministry, and not speaking into the lives of those who have partnered beside me. But that is what I love about my God. He sees me, He knows me and even when I fail to know what to do with my heavy heart, He still overwhelms me with affirmation and love. 

Being here tonight, in this cold :) and quite house, I could not be more grateful for the reminder of how desperately I need Him and how much He longs for me to walk where He leads. Maybe the doubts creep in when we get a glimpse of the mountain that He is asking us to follow Him to. Perhaps being a leader is learning to push past doubts and continue to walk. Maybe a successful ministry isn't always pictured in a graph up and to the right.  And maybe it's about learning to see the doubts as opportunities where He can show up and receive all the glory. 

Count it all joy!! And that is where I am camping . . .because I know it is in the doubts and in the weakness that He can do amazing works. . .and that is one thing I don't doubt.  HE IS WORKING!!!