Category Archives: Melissa Taylor

Ch-ch-ch-changes…

Now that I have you humming that little tune in your head (and if you’re not, click here and you will be!)…

Change.

Not the twenty-five cent kind of change.

Real change.

Different things.  Different life.  Different schedule.  Different routine.

And so on.

Change.

I’m sure I’ve probably written about this before but the past few weeks/months have brought on a lot of changes for me in many different areas of my life.

I am not a fan of change.

When I get comfy, I like to stay there.

Back in the fall, when I was going through Melissa Taylor’s online Bible study for Unglued, by Lysa TerKeurst, I came unglued. 

Our van of 4+ years had died.  We went out and bought a new van.  In the end, I have everything to be thankful for, nothing to be ungrateful about and yet I’m human and still fall short.  The point of that is, with a new van, came a monthly car payment which meant I somehow needed extra income which came with the idea of keeping a child which leads us to a handsome little man staying with me during the day, five days a week, which means change.

One little event, the death of an automobile, led to a complete change in my life.  I was comfortable.  Olivia and I had a routine.  I was perfectly content with my eleven year old van.  I didn’t need a new one.  I was happy spending day in and day out shopping with my toddler, going wherever the wind took us, lunch dates with friends, etc.

Now, my time is precious.  I have come to realize that all the time we spent doing nothing, was precious time.  Those are moments I will cherish forever because those are the days Olivia and I shared, just the two of us.

Now, don’t get my wrong … this new little guy, he’s great!  Not only is he a super snugglie three month old, but he’s cute to boot.  And to top it off, his mom and dad are pretty cool too.  So, we have this all worked out and I’m sure this is all part of God’s grander plan but my dislike of change has sure stirred up the emotions.

Yesterday, we took this fancy schmancy new van to the dealership to see if some awkward things could be fixed.  The answer was simply ,”No,” which of course led to me whining and ranting over what idiot designed such and such and did they test it before they … blah, blah and then it hit me …

*SMACK*

“Who’s the idiot here?  You’re griping and complaining about a van that YOU picked out, that YOU decided to buy, that YOU thought would be great and that YOU failed to sit in the third row and see how comfy the very badly designed headrests felt.”

Duh, I, amidst the thoughts of anger, frustration, whining and complaining, came to the stark conclusion that I was the idiot.  I have no right to complain.  Who am I to complain?  I have a nice, new van and here I am complaining about it.  I bet my friend Christy, that gave up everything to move to Africa, would be sorely disappointed in my shallow behavior.

So, I realize now that change isn’t always bad.  Sure, my life has changed but along with it, some really great things have happened.  Change has led me to a whole new world of ladies, some from my very own church that until now, I haven’t had the opportunity to get to know.  A large group of us even went to see Anne Graham Lotz together and what an amazing time that was.  I was also invited to a lovely Valentine’s breakfast at a sweet friends home with a wonderful group of ladies and I had another invite to a dear friends church for a great evening of fun, fellowship and food.

And this little guy that has become a part of mine and Olivia’s day, well, I have really enjoyed getting to know him and his family.

I can’t tell you how many good things have come with change and perhaps that is because sometimes, we tend to focus on the bad.  I let the bad things outweigh the good when in fact, if I take the time to stop and look, the good things far outweigh the bad.

How do you handle change?  Does it get the best of you or do you roll with it and seek out the blessings that come from it?

James 1:17 says …

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

For today, I am going to embrace the changes that come my way, finding the joy, the beauty in the changes and I find comfort and peace in knowing that our God is never changing. He is the same today, tomorrow and always.  His promises have withstood time.  His plans for me and for you are always the same.  What more could I ask for?!

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

"Epic" Fail…

Epic is one of those words that becomes totally rad for a little while and then before long, makes you want to barf just thinking you ever used it.  For today, I’m going to embrace it and all of its epicness!

Radical
Gnarly
Hip
Groovy
Totally (before any of the above is just a double dose!)

Right now, epic (along with “Oh snap!” – who taught him that one?!) is spewed constantly by my twelve almost thirteen year old son.  I have to thank blame his youth pastor for that painful ear torture.  Thanks Greg.  It’s okay, we love you anyway!

Epic was fitting for today.  Epic fail was even more fitting.

See, I always have great intentions on blogging every.single.day.  That why I try these month long attempts at some great theme.

Like love.

See where I’m going with this?

My last awesome post on love was on Thursday, February 14th.  Great, right?  Of course that was Valentine’s Day so everyone should be jumping up and down that I made it through the day of love, right?  Wrong!  I didn’t even write that post specifically for the love series – instead, I wrote it for Melissa Taylor’s Bible Study Thursday Blog Hop.

If I had done the smart thing, like many bloggers, I’d have gone with fourteen days of love instead of the whole month.  Sheesh!

Big deal … okay, moving on.

Today is February 22.  I have missed seven, yes, SEVEN days!  But you love me anyway, right?

I have no excuses other than life but that’s life.  Good intentions sometimes lead to failure.  Epic fail on twenty-eight days of love.

I will say, in my defense, even when I haven’t scrounged up the time to write about love, I still managed to love something, someone or sleep.  One of the three, I promise, was accomplished!  HOO-RAY!

So for today, I leave you with no promises of actually completing the next six days – only hope and one of my favorite songs.  Go listen to it.  NOW!

Thank you, Jesus Culture, for reminding me that even in my epic fail, God never fails, never gives up, his love never runs out on me!

“Your Love Never Fails”

 Nothing can separate
Even if I ran away
Your love never fails

I know I still make mistakes
But You have new mercies for me everyday
Your love never fails

You stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
There maybe pain in the night but joy comes in the morning

And when the oceans rage
I don’t have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me

Your love never fails

The wind is strong and the water’s deep
But I’m not alone in these open seas
Cause Your love never fails

The chasm is far too wide
I never thought I’d reach the other side
But Your love never fails

You make, all things, work together for my good. 

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

His Plans Prevail…

It’s time for another blog hop post from Melissa Taylor’s online Bible study group.  We are reading the book Let. It. Go by Karen Ehman.

Through this Bible study, we are learning to let go of the control we grasp so tightly.  In the end, it is God who is control.  Learning to let Him do His job without trying to change it or make it better does not come easy.

For this week’s blog hop choice, I chose:

1. PrevailHave you ever made plans only to have God completely redirect them? Share how His plans blessed your life or the life of those around you. “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” ~ Proverbs 19:21 NIV11

When I read this weeks choices, I knew exactly which one I had to pick! 

This just happens to be one of my favorite stories to tell so buckle your seats belts and get ready …

Our oldest son, Noah, will turn thirteen in May.  After having him, we waited about two years to try for baby #2.  We struggled for quiet some time to get pregnant.  That stirred up a world of emotions but when Noah was 4 years, 4 months old, we were blessed with our second baby boy, Caleb.

We knew we still wanted another baby and after having such a hard time getting pregnant with Caleb, Tony and I had already decided we would start trying right away for baby #3.  We tried for a year or so and then I saw my obgyn.  She put me on Progesterone and Clomid.  Still, no pregnancy.  I don’t think I was even ovulating – and if I was, it wasn’t regular.  After a couple years, my ob said she could recommend some fertility doctors for us to see if we wanted to go that route.

In my mind, as much as I thought I was suppose to have another baby, I just couldn’t see going to a fertility clinic.  After all, we had two healthy, sweet boys.  I thought I should just focus on them and push aside that ache in my heart.

I woke up one morning after having a dream.  Have you ever had one of those dreams that came with full on feelings?  I mean, you seriously woke up thinking and feeling every emotion that could have possibly been stirred up from the dream?  When I was younger, I had them often but they were horrible.  This one was different.  The emotions were wonderful.  They left me wanting more!

In the dream, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.  I can still see her in this dream so vividly.  Every bit of emotion that comes with having a baby poured out in this dream.  She was precious.

Tony and I had already picked out a girls name years before, ya know, in case we did get pregnant.  We had decided on Sarah Grace.  This dreamed changed that.  The beautiful baby girl I loved instantly came with a name.  Her name was Olivia.

The dream later kind of morphed into her being about two years old.  I was walking down a grocery store isle with her in the shopping cart and our boys walking next to me.  I could see her cute little face, pigtails in her light brown hair.  She was perfect.  Her and the boys had aged appropriately.  They were perfect and life was so precious.

When I awoke from the dream, I told Tony all about it.  He said without skipping a beat, “Well, that settles it.  When we have our little girl, we’ll name her Olivia Grace.”

A couple years went by.  We had given up on trying, and I was pushing forward with my photography business.  I had rented a small space in downtown to house my studio.  I was working daily and trying to build my business, putting all my energy into it.  About six months after moving downtown, I was pregnant.  What a blessing and answered prayer.

Right away, the dream came to mind and I just knew it would be a girl.  It had to be.  After all, she already had a name.  There was just no option in my mind that this baby would be anything other than a girl.  This was one of those moments when I knew I needed to lean on God.  I could not make it 20 weeks before finding out for sure.  I just had to know.  I remember being about five weeks pregnant and already going crazy over this.  I laid across our bed and cried out to God for some kind of sign, anything, that would confirm this little girl.  I felt a peace come over me, walked into the living room and the tv just happened to be on A Baby Story.  When I glanced over at it, the mom had just had her baby and they flashed the details on the screen.  It was a girl and her name was … Olivia Grace!  I knew right at that moment that God was answering my prayer.  That was his sign for me.

Throughout the pregnancy I was horribly sick.  I had six different ultrasounds due to her measuring big and having low fluid levels.  Each time, they confirmed for me that she was indeed still a girl :)

On November 9th, exactly one week after my 32nd birthday, we welcome Olivia Grace into the world.  She was perfect, absolutely perfect.  She was my answered prayer, my gift from God.  She was my saving Grace.  While I love my boys with all my heart, there is just something different about the relationship I have with Olivia.  I can’t even begin to express what she has meant to me and to everyone she comes in contact with.  She has never met a stranger.  She lights up the room.  She has such a wonderful personality and is nothing less than an absolute joy.

Caleb and Olivia are 5 years and 2 months apart.  It was never a part of our plan to have children spaced so far apart.  Now, our kids are almost 13, 8 and 3.  I always imagined having them closer but God had other plans.  In the end, this has been the best thing for our family.  I had the opportunity to spend quality time with each of them before the next one came along.  Financially, things will be easier when they start to drive or head off to college.

Sure, I went through moments of doubt and years of anger and frustration.  I thought I knew what was best for us.  I had plans, but God has proven over and over, His plans for my life are perfect.

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” ~ Proverbs 19:21 NIV11

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

WHAT-EVER!

Today is a break from the February love series to bring you a post from Melissa Taylor’s online Bible study group.  We are just starting the book Let. It. Go by Karen Ehman.

Through this Bible study, we are learning to let go of the control we grasp so tightly.  In the end, it is God who is control.  Learning to let Him do His job without trying to change it or make it better does not come easy.

For this week’s blog hop choice, I chose: 

1. WHAT-EVER! – Share simple ways you can live out this week’s reflection verse.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”  Colossians 3:23 NIV84

We pour our hearts into so many things; our children, our jobs, our friends.  We let emotions run rampant over stories we hear, shows we watch, songs we sing along with.

How much of that do we save for God?

How often am I seeking praise and glory from those around me?

Do I question whether I’m following my plans or God’s lead?

Over and over, I have read and heard that God has this grand plan for my life, that He is in control but oh how I try to take the reigns from Him.  Why?  Because I think I can do it better?  HA!

This week, my week has been unpredictable and chaotic.  Most weeks are.

I’m challenged to find time for all the things I want to do as well as the things I need to do.  Yes, there’s a difference in the wants and needs.  I need to read for my small group study coming up on Sunday.  I’m the leader of the group.  It’s our first week.  They are depending on me.  I need to edit pictures for my photography clients and return emails. I need to ensure my kids are fed and bathed.  I need to fulfill commitments with church and such.  

I want to watch movies, take naps, read, snuggle with my little princess, play on my tablet, squeeze in some board games, hang out with the hubby, get ahead on my blog posts.

So, how do I live out this week’s verse?

As I struggle to find time to squeeze in all of these things, the most important thing I need to do is make sure to make God a part of all of it, be it wants or needs, kids or work.  I put aside time to spend with Him, in His word, in prayer.  I consider my actions and words carefully, listening more and speaking less.  When I let Him into every little part of my life, things just flow better.  Time seems to magically expand.  I get things accomplished, both needs and wants.

How thankful I am that God is in control and that when I choose to put Him first, He balances everything for me.  What an awesome God we serve!

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

Lack of Understanding…

This week in Melissa Taylor’s Online Bible Study, from the book, Greater, written by pastor Steven Furtick,  one of the choices of topic to write about was…

1.  For the Good. What are your thoughts on this week’s reflection verse?

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. ~ Romans 8:28 NIV84

Initially, I avoided blogging for this week.  I just couldn’t bring myself to take the time to sit down and write out my thoughts.  My emotions and feelings have been a tangled mess.

27 innocent lives lost.
A 9 year old boy dead after a house fire.

It’s been daunting but I know the feelings I’ve had are nothing compared to the families of those in Connecticut or the mother of that little boy.

I’ve read and read again Romans 8:28 and it’s times like these that make that verse less understandable.

It’s God’s purpose for twenty young children to die?
It’s God’s will for a little boy to suffer?

I’ve watched interviews with some of the parents from Sandy Hook.  They have faith in God.  They believe in Him.  They rest assured their babies are with Him now.

They love God.

“In all things God works for the good of THOSE WHO LOVE HIM”

They LOVE HIM and yet they are left to suffer, tremendous pain, anguish, devastation.

And because I too, love Him, I search and dig, for a deeper understanding because my simple mind just cannot understand this verse when it comes to the tragedies and horror we face.

Then I read…

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  Proverbs 3:5 


God gave us this verse because He knew we would not be able to understand.  His plan, His purpose is far grander than anything we could ever comprehend.  There is no explanation we could come up with to explain the good in any tragedy, especially when innocent children are involved.  

And yet…

We will see the good.  
We are already seeing it.

The parents are speaking out.  They are sharing how perfect their children were and how strong they were.  They are sharing their lives.  Without this, I would never have known of them.  I have had the privilege to learn about 27 people, their courage, their strength, their hopes and dreams.  I have seen their faces, prayed for them and poured out tears for their families.  My life has been changed because of them.  Maybe yours has too?!

And this boy, who went to school with my son, who got lost in the dark, overcome by the fire and perished too soon.  He leaves behind a sister, devastated that she couldn’t save her brother.  He leaves behind a mother, distraught that he’s gone.  He leaves a testimony of happiness, smiles, love and laughter.  I did not know him but all I have heard about him was what a joy he was and how he brightened everyone’s day.  What a blessing to hear his story, to learn about him and to give him a place in my heart.

Just as I can’t understand the reasons why these things happen, there were many things in my own life that left me with these same feelings.  Why was I abused?  Why did my father abandon me?  Why did I spend years filled with anger and depression, just waiting to die?  Why does God love me?  Why would He want to use me?  What good am I?

Even after spending most of my life asking those questions over and over, God has shown me time and time again that His plan is perfect.  Many times I planned my life, I chose my direction and yet, He continued to put stepping stones in my path that led me to a better place, a place filled with joy and light, a way out of the darkness.  Sure, there is still pain and a lack of understanding, but there is also faith, hope and love. 

“To shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”  Luke 1:79

I’m not meant to understand all the things of this earth but it is in Gods plan for me to accept Him, believe in Him and have faith.  I will continue to believe that there is a greater plan than the pain and heartache we see right now.  I have to.  

And that leaves me with…

“…I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:38-39

Not even senseless shootings, fires or our own simple minds and lack of understanding.



© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

Baby Steps…

This week in Melissa Taylor’s Online Bible Study, from the book, Greater, written by pastor Steven Furtick,  one of the choices of topic to write about was…

2.  Baby Steps. What small steps of faith do you feel God is calling you to take? What are some ways you can begin taking those steps?

That moment, when you look across the room and there stands a little figure, leaned against the sofa, arms pulling away and hands raised high above her head, then it happens

One little foot forward and then another…

And another

And soon, you realize, she just took her first steps.  You’ve witnessed what seems like the greatest miracle ever.  You saw it with your own eyes.  Your baby is growing up.  She’s not crawling, but instead, walking … baby steps.

How did she get there?

Patience
Persistence
Practice

And probably a little encouragement, support, and guidance.

I wonder if that is how God sees me.  His little girl, stumbling along the way, bumps, bruises and a few tears but learning and growing, desiring to walk … with Him.  I wonder if He lights up with joy as I began to let go of the safety of the sofa and stretch out my arms, completely trusting in Him, believing it is possible.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Philippians 4:13

We get subtle and sometimes not so subtle nudges from God, leading us in His direction.  Sometimes we don’t recognize it was a gentle push in the right direction from Him until we realize we took two steps backwards, in the wrong direction.

I believe God has a plan for my life.  I have believed that for as long as I can remember.  Even through the years when I turned my back on God and life, I still believed that someday, He would find a purpose for me.

I’m taking baby steps.

Patience.  Persistence.  Practice.

I am patiently waiting for His lead.  I know the path He is leading me on.  I know the direction.  I am waiting patiently for Him to open the doors needed.

I am being persistent.  While I am being patient and waiting, I am still actively searching and working towards His direction for my life.  I am asking questions.  I am seeking guidance.

I am practicing.  I am writing here, in my blog.  I am reading everything I can to prepare myself to someday step out from behind this computer and into a world of public speaking and writing.

I will get there.

With His encouragement, His support and His guidance, I will get there.

He is teaching me to walk, but first … baby steps.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)

I trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. In all my ways I acknowledge Him and He directs my paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

I shall hear a word behind me, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever I turn to the right or the left. (Isaiah 30:21)

I follow Jesus so I shall not walk in darkness, but I have the light of life. (John 8:12)

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com