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Feb 24, 2011

Life ~ Not What I Thought

Life is just not turning out like what I thought. And I’m not even referring to the big plans I had as a college graduate so many years ago, nor the dreams I had as a young bride ignorant to the realities of marriage to a real life man.

No, I’m talking about plans that I thought were just on the brink of unfolding eighteen months ago.
It’s not that life was smooth sailing in the spring of 2009 but I thought the rough patch our family was going through would eventually smooth out and the road would be level again.
As I, along with a close friend, prepared to begin a women’s ministry, I spent lots of “on my face before God” time in the privacy of my bedroom.

I remember the days of, one by one, giving God every part of me: my dreams, my home, my husband, and each of my children. That last part ~ each of my children, took me several days of “giving over to God” until I knew I really meant it. You see I wanted God more than anything and anyone. But I found that not even that is a protection against bad things happening. In fact, I suspect that when you truly get to that point, it makes you a target.

 If you know our story, then you know what happened in 2009. Our 12 year old son, Andrew, was struck with brain cancer and we buried him less than four months after the diagnosis.

 But I buried more than a son on December 19, 2009.

 Into the ground went my hopes, my dreams and my confidence. And if I'm being totally honest here, some of my confidence in God also went six feet deep. 
Fresh soil was shoveled on top and packed down. It took me many months to revisit the mound of treasure in that grave.

What about you? Do you feel off kilter in your own life?
Do you have major areas that are far from picture perfect?
Do you wonder if God really knows what's happening in your life?
Do you ever wonder if He truly cares?
Do you, in the privacy of your most unguarded moments, ever question whether He will intervene in your desperate circumstances?

(to be continued...)


  1. My husband struggles greatly with this...He admitted a few months back (definitely angry)..'you keep saying pray pray pray..Well I have prayed..and God has done jack squat for me.'...He was referring to the time his sister was run over by a car (Randy was the one that was babysitting her)..He prayed. She died. He said God hasn't been there for him. Praying as a small child, crying out to Him....

    I know he said all this from a place of great despair and hurt from the storms we had been facing these last two years. Losing his job, all our income, our benefits, almost our home, his pension...

    Randy is coming around slowly these days. We are able to talk about God without Randy getting angry again. He is uncertain. Is God here for him? Is he being punished? Does God really care?.....

  2. This blog is for every one of us. When life hits hard, who are we then? I haven't had your kind of sorrows Melanie, and I wonder how I would respond. I know that when God doesn't seem to hear, or things don't change when I pray, that 'all out faith' based on what He has promised, is a lot harder, but in the end... there is no other way. I think His own come back to the truth that HE IS! And then He confirms that to our hearts again.

    Your testimony speaks so loud. The ministry He had for you may have changed from what you first thought, but I KNOW He has so much ahead for you to share, and in it, your faith grows AS you minister.

    Don't stop!!


  3. Melanie, This entry spoke to me. Lately, I have been asking God just to let me live "normal" like I used to feel. We lost jobs, like Angela said about her husband. These last three years have just about extracted my inner joy. I wonder about God hearing my crying. Health issues, money, bills, worry...that has been my life.

  4. I think most of us, if we have lived long at all, eventually find ourselves thinking these very things...soo many hard times in this life. Illness, job loss, money problems, stress, worry and on and on. Goodness knows I too have had my fair share recently and sometimes it is hard to believe ANY one is listening or cares. But I think what Sonja said, " I think His own come back to the truth that HE IS! And then He confirms that to our hearts again." is sooo true. It certainly has been for me anyway. I think the Lord has tremendous ministry intended for you, and will use you mightly. I am looking forward to the continuation of this. HUGS, Debbie

  5. Melanie, I admire you so much for your ability and willingness to turn your kids over to God. I have struggled with that one for years. And, the thing is, they aren't mine even if I can't turn them over. I'm just the caregiver.

    Today in my quiet time I studied about David and how God turned his wailing into dancing. (Psalm 32 I believe). I pray he does the same for you, my friend.

  6. oh sweetie,

    i did NOT know of your tragic loss and can't imagine
    the despair and heartbreak.

    many wise and seasoned lovers of God counsel that
    He is big enough to take our disappointments and

    i just read one of my favorite passages at suzy's
    it must be one of the treasures of the kingdom.

    i am believing for His stooping down to lift you UP!

  7. I just don't get by here often enough. Each time I do, I make a mental note to come again. I so appreciate your authenticity, and the fact that you wake up my musings in a fresh way.

    My life has had any number of unexpected detours; some of them whimsically wonderful, and others disastrously depressing. At 63 now, I can honestly say that God has never failed to see me through, around, over, above and beyond them all.

    Thank you so much for continuing to share your heart with us.


  8. Oh my. I often think of you Melissa. How everything, and everything must've changed for you after Dec 19, 2009. What you said now is something maybe you can elaborate on, because I think you've hit on something. By giving it over and surrendering something, does it become a target? For what, by whom? That stopped me in my tracks when I read it because I wonder if that's something that is holding me back to growing closer in my walk with Him.

    But oh gosh who has it all together? And can I be your friend?! No I'm going through financial crisis and about to move into a new home with a baby on the way next month. Nope. Don't have it all together. In this season of my life I don't question if He cares or if He will intervene because I've seen His hand doing this already involved. No to say that I often wonder why it appears He doesn't intervene or wonder if He would intervene if something else more tragic would happen in my life. But it would surprise me if anyone else that loves and trusts in Him wouldn't have the same thoughts at some time. Not merely thoughts but struggles with it.

    I can imagine it's discouraging to think you're on the path that you think He wants you to be, only to be thwarted or stopped with no answer why. Do you get back on that track again or do you steer you life in a whole new direction? And how can you think of these things at all amidst pain, grief, anger? I don't know.

  9. When you lose a child you question everything, everything in your life. What makes sense, nothing! The thing that you cherish most on this earth is now gone from you, never to hold again. I still ask God everyday why, why ,why! I haven't got the answer yet, nor do I really expect it.

    I know I've never asked for anything in my prayers but the safety of my children. I never bothered God with nonsense or worldly goods, I just wanted my babies to be safe. It seems like my one endless prayer did not get answered. I have been bitter, mad, on the verge of insanity, but I always end up back in the arms of my Father.

    In the end that is all you have,faith, if you don't have that then you are truly lost. It is still something I struggle with, but he knows that.

    Your sister who knows, Mickey

  10. Blessings Melanie... I could have written this but not in the death of a son... but still in grief...
    I may even have to borrow your opening statement in the future...

    Though your heartfelt beginning here leads to a deep soul stirring many emotions and thoughts, and you have shared so openly and beautifully each part, this stands out the most to me:

    "...until I knew I really meant it. You see I wanted God more than anything and anyone. But I found that not even that is a protection against bad things happening. In fact, I suspect that when you truly get to that point, it makes you a target."

    Your faith and strength is admirable. I feel as strongly as you do when you wrote that on that pain staking day, you buried more than your son
    (I totally get that and feel that more than once in my life but I guess the last time is the most poignant).(sigh) Oh, how my heart aches for you but I am watching your journey through this and learning for mine. Your faith is so beautiful and honest. I think and pray often for you when I ache. Today is one of those days.

    I saw this post... but in Google Reader it was all jibberish, so I thought it meant, you're working on it...then I saw the next one and the third one... and I thought "something's wrong here" so I'm so glad I came to check this out.

    I will ponder your questions because I know I've asked myself these and so many others on my face before God and right with a fist to the wall in other times seeking to understand. I guess my answer is an easy "yes" but then I wonder what's buried in that "yes" when things fall apart and you see others suffering so greatly with so much, I hold on to His promises but than my heart and thoughts wander and wonder... does He care? did He care? if He cared...? what if He did not care? what if He...

    It's all in His hands and what I claim I believe, but when times are tough, when all seems buried, can I see His light? does my faith hold me together or do I even question that? I waver and than I return to His strength to keep me pressing on... but than I think...

    Thanks Melanie... moving on in this series.
    Holding on to HOPE and FAITH, sometimes LOVE.

    Life definitely is not what I thought... I'm so glad that God holds you and Andrew so closely.

    Peace, love and JOY as we wait,