Today I am desperate…

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; APART FROM ME, YOU CAN DO NOTHING." John 15:5

Pressed but NOT crushed… November 7, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — erinmelby @ 10:23 am

Today feels like a good day to start that novel I’ve always wanted to write! That’s the best way to describe how many thoughts and feelings have overcome me this morning after the result of last night’s election. After months of believing that today would be the end of the disastrous previous 4 years of Obama, we, as a country, have re-elected him to another 4 years. We, as a family, a state (TN), and almost as a majority, did not, but as the law of the land and electoral college votes, he has been re-elected.

I just stood in the middle of my dining room worshiping the King of Kings. Yahweh! It is at his NAME that we move and breath and have LIFE! The lyrics of a great song brings absolute peace;

At your name; the morning breaks in glory, creation sings your story, angels will bow, the earth will rejoice, your people cry out…

No matter what, these are truths! Every day that we have to live on this earth, no matter who sits in the Oval Office or the Senate. No matter who gets up day after day to go to work so that people can continue collecting free hand outs; No matter how many soldiers have died in combat, whose wives and children have mourned their loss; And no matter how many precious unborn babies will never see the goodness of this earth outside their mother’s womb…THESE ARE STILLL TRUTHS! Yahweh Yahweh, we love to shout your name ALWAYS!

We went to bed feeling like we’d been socked in the gut and woke up this morning heartsick for our country. My conclusion about this election is that people voted to support the social issues that this president advocates. Namely, the right for gay people to marry each other and the right for women to kill their unborn children. I believe that by in large, the people who are educated on more than just social issues, are american enough to believe in jobs, appropriate take home pay, education for their children, reasonable prices on everyday things like gas and groceries, honor for our military and for heaven’s sake—HEALTHCARE!!! That is why, I am confident that Obama won this election on social issues. And also why I am confident that now more than ever, we are engaged in a SPIRITUAL BATTLE!

I am thankful that I know where my allegiance lies and that I know who the King of Kings is. My God sits on His throne no matter what and because of saving grace and the sacrifice that my Jesus made on the cross, I get to meet with the King whenever I want. My God is real and He knows my name.

Those are the primary thoughts that I have this morning.

My other thoughts are related to the mortal things of this world. Sure, these things will pass and it’s easy to suggest that because of them, I am longing for my heavenly home, but alas, God has not called me there yet so I will choose to honor God and trust him as long as I am here.

For the past month or so, I’v been in a full out wrestling match with God. I wonder when I’m under the strength of his authority, why I ever choose to fight. I guess I’m as stubborn as they come and God loves me enough to engage in the match. To sum it up, it has become clear to me that God is moving me in the direction of advancing my education. And as if I needed more confirmation, I got it last night.

The result of this election means that Obamacare will become a law to be enforced in this great country. That means a lot of changes for the future of healthcare and depending on who you talk to, I suppose it’s debatable whether those will be positive changes or not. I fear that nurses will be at risk of being laid off, creating an even greater patient safety problem and increasing gap in the shortage for patient care. And I fear that this huge demographic of seniors entering the time of their lives that demands the greatest healthcare need, will be underserved and neglected. And the care that is available to them through primary care doctors will be unaffordable. These are my parents, my husbands parents, my aunts and uncles, my friends parents who loved me like their own growing up, people that I love! And I intend to take care of them!!!

There are many ways to respond when a race doesn’t go in your favor. That’s true in any event in which a winner is declared. Growing up in a sports family, my brother and I were taught the value of being a gracious loser. Nobody ever wins every competition in their lives and in many instances, losing causes you to be an even better competitor in consecutive competitions.

This election feels like a loss to us, to me. But instead of wallowing around blaming and finger pointing at all the reasons that we didn’t win, I am choosing to step up and be responsible for me, my family, my future. It makes me think of the scripture out of 2 Corinthians that says, “we are pressed by not crushed…”! If I lie down and pretend that the result of this election means that I have been stripped of my abilities and my god given talents to continue to make a difference in the people and community around me, then yes, I lose! But choosing to rise up and make the difference that I can as one individual means no matter what, I WIN! It means I’m still American and until my freedoms are stripped from me, I will SURVIVE!

Obamacare is likely to change the trajectory of our healthcare system in irreversible ways. It’s foolish to think that some won’t be well served, or at least have the illusion that they are being well served, but over time, the changes that will take place will change America. They will change the way we live and receive the type of healthcare that has become standard for us. So, instead of trying to toss a pebble into the spokes of this already spinning tire, it’s time for us, as healthcare providers to figure out how to make the best of this grim situation. The future of affordable healthcare is with well trained and qualified advanced practice nurses. I believe this to my core!

When I made the decision to follow my grandma’s and mom’s footsteps into the world of healthcare and nursing, I never dreamed it would lead me here. Over the past 12 years, my passion for the patient has burned and my loathing of the system has run parallel. To all of my nurse and healthcare friends, I say to you that our patients need us more than ever! We became nurses because we love people. But we are about to be even more hindered and bonded to a broken system that will act like a barrier between us and the people that we are here to serve. Every institution that we will ever work in will continue to preach “patients first”, but carrying this out is becoming more and more difficult. I am choosing to take matters into my own hands and stop relying on an ever increasingly cracked and broken system. I will advance my education and my degree to whatever measure that I need to in order to continue serving people effectively. God has not led me down this path in vain. I choose to serve Him first. I cry out to Him to lead me and reveal and use my gifts for His glory, for His people! WE ARE NOT CRUSHED!

Advertisements
 

For my children to know… August 24, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — erinmelby @ 9:41 am

This morning, I’m overcome with this desire to be sure that my children understand and have assurance of some things as they become adult. The idea of them becoming adults seems impossible at this season of life, but if the years keep passing by as quickly as they do, that time will be upon us before I know it.

At their current ages; Alissa-6, Anna-7 and Andrew-9, there are certain truths that I am certain they are exposed to daily. The most important ones being; from whom their security and salvation comes- Christ, Where they will be for eternity- Heaven. Other important things that I know they are learning are things like responsibility and that money isn’t free, you have to work for it.

But this morning, I wonder if they will become adults and know how hard we’ve tried to give them the very best. I mean sure, in theory, we all believe that our parents did everything they could for us as children, but a part of me wants them to know that when they are mom’s and dad’s and they are agonizing over things like being a room mom or working full time, staying put or moving for a job…these are things that we went through too.

Will they finally see that the reason that we delayed vacations year after year wasn’t because we didn’t want to go, it was so that I could be here with them? And by making that choice, our budget is tighter and we have to say no? Will our society be more unkind to them as parents than it is to us as parents? Nothing is free, many things are unaffordable to a single income family and saying “no” makes parents feel that their child will somehow be less than those that say “yes”.

That is my rant. There’s truth there but I also know that there are alternatives and life isn’t so bad. I really do! We’ve employed these alternatives and our hope is that our children understand that sometimes the alternative is better. Purchasing a summer pool pass at the school’s silent auction instead of paying full price (something our close friends did), for example or creating an ice cream sundae bar at home instead of going out for ice cream where you have to pay by the ounce (something we still love to do occasionally).

As an adult looking back on growing up, I don’t ever remember going without. We didn’t. But I sometimes wish my parents had journaled along the way, so that I could have some insight on what they went through to create this environment. It’s true that by definition, we certainly didn’t go without. I am fully aware that children in other societies do go without, truly, but in our social arena, it’s hard to say “no” to our children when everyone else is saying “yes”.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I want to write so that my children can have access to our hearts and minds. Their comprehension of our adult minds is unnecessary and frankly, inappropriate for them as children. But when they become adults, who better to look back at and say, “how did you do this?” than us, their very flesh and blood. This is for my children! Life can be hard, but you are strong, capable individuals. You can do this!

 

Peace August 20, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — erinmelby @ 9:51 am

**Disclaimer** Keeping up with two blogs is harder than you think! This one, it seems, is reserved for things that have a particularly deep impact but are not exactly related to fitness or weight loss.

Last night our 9 year old son came into our bedroom around 9:30pm. The kids had been tucked in for at least an hour because it was a school night. He had already called me into his room once because he was hearing strange noises. I assured him that it was because both the dishwasher and the clothes dryer were running. His bedroom sits just off of the kitchen area so he often hears those things when there is no other extraneous noise. Despite my assurance, he said to me in a quivery voice, “mom, I’m just having thoughts that make me feel unsafe.”

Irrational fears are something that we’ve dealt with since our boy was old enough to talk so this statement was neither surprising or new. We’ve talked at length with him about the power of prayer and I am certain he calls upon it regularly. We’ve read about and discussed how to handle his fears without making him feel that they are not real or important. Because the truth is that they are real to him and they are important to us. But with that said, they can be very frustrating to deal with. The easiest way to describe what I think is going on is that his little mind is capable of thinking about things that his life experience cannot back up or support. Therefore, he is not able to rationalize why, for example, strange noises do not automatically mean something bad is going to happen. Another example is as a 3 year old when our family was shopping at an IKEA store, he could not see the exit door while we were in the warehouse level of the store. All he thought was that we were stuck there forever. He could not rationalize that just cause he couldn’t see the ending to this dilemma, didn’t mean that there wasn’t a solution. We have worked through many many of these “little” things over the past 9 years (though not so much the first year. LOL)!

As he entered our room, the tears just flowed. He said, “Mom, am I going to heaven?”

WHOA! His question caught me completely off guard. Our son entered into his saving relationship with Christ at a particularly young age – 6. He was more ready and understood more truth than many adults do when they make their salvation decision. Interestingly, he understood the deeper truths about salvation, but could it be that we forgot to remind him about his eternal security in Heaven? I’m hoping that it was just a matter of needing reassurance amidst is fears.

As we sat together on our bed; me, Andrew and Eric, the Spirit laid it on my heart that perhaps He (the Holy Spirit) is strong and beautifully alive inside our son and therefore, the enemy is especially threatened by him. And as the enemy so craftily does, he grabs ahold of those vulnerable moments where he knows he can trip Andrew up and cause him to fear and doubt the very basics of his salvation. When I explained this to Andrew, it seemed to resonate with him and as Eric and I held him and prayed over him, he became immediately peaceful.

This is the scripture that Eric prayed over him last night.

My son…Keep sound wisdom and discretion, so that they will be life to your soul and adornment to your neck. The you will walk in your way and your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden fear Nor the onslaught of the wicked when it comes; for the Lord will be your confidence…”an Proverbs 3:21-26

 

For Obedience February 10, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — erinmelby @ 11:28 am

The passage that comes to mind this morning is from Matthew chapter 6.  Here, the discussion revolves around the proper ways to give, pray and fast.  Should we be doing these things so that we receive the praise of those around us?  Should we look so tuckered out from our long hours on our knees or our depriving ourselves of food or whatever else we are fasting from?  Is it appropriate to go around boasting about all that you’ve done to serve the poor?  No! Indeed what Jesus teaches us is that we will be “rewarded for that which is done in secret…”  These principles are important and challenging, but this morning, I’m seeing them a step further.  Slightly out of context, but not unrighteous as it is.

You know the slogan, “when the cats away, the mice will play”?  Today, I had a first hand experience with that very concept and since that particular slogan isn’t exactly scriptural, the idea of what is done in secret came to mind.  I realize that scripture regarding integrity would actually be a bit more fitting, but I am no Bible scholar, able to recall perfect scripture in perfect time.  But God is gracious and I am grateful that the Word that is hidden in my heart is useful.

When I finally emerged from my warm bed this morning, my kids had already been up for a couple hours.  They have the day off of school because of a teacher work day.  I was joyful as I walked through the family room ready for a good morning hug from each of my three kids, until my eyes locked onto the very object of a lesson that I thought had been learned just the night before.  My budding little 7 year old artist loves my box of Sharpie markers.  Yesterday after school she was given specific instructions not once, but twice in the presence of her year-younger sister, that the Sharpies were only allowed to be used at the “art table”.  Their use is limited even at that.  I mean come on…the darn things are permanent and little hands are prone to the dropsies!

This morning, my eyes were drawn to the Sharpie box laid open, both girls poised with a blank piece of paper in front of them right there in front of the T.V. in the family room.  I calmly reminded my sweet little artists of the rule (which by the way, is not a new rule).  Then from the honest (and probably a little devious) mouth of my 6 year old came the truth that we all struggle with in one way or another.  “Anna said that we could use the Sharpies out here because you were still in bed!”  Dun Dun Duh!  Anna was stricken in that moment.  She knew she was caught and she knew she was wrong.  And so goes the saying, “When the cats away, the mice will play.”

Talk about a teachable moment; Anna learned the hard lesson that a rule is a rule even if the enforcer is not present.  To drive home the lesson, she is grounded from using the Sharpies until otherwise notified.

Suddenly, the truth of “what’s done in secret will be rewarded” came to mind.  So if we are rewarded for what is done in secret, will we not also be disciplined for make poor choices in secret?  I believe we will.  And it is my job as a parent to be sure to drive these lessons home while my children are young and teachable with hope that the more difficult, more consequential lessons of life can be observed, but not necessarily experienced later on in life.

 

for purity January 13, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — erinmelby @ 12:43 pm

WHAT!  I like the idea of Glee.  The fun nature of this hit show taps into my inner performer and somehow allows me to escape back to a time that demanded less responsibility and more excitement from me.  Only, now that I’ve used our Netflix subscription to “catch up” (which is to say that I never watch Glee and therefore to catch up would be to spend endless hours watching all the episodes for the first time), I am speechless to say the least.  The time is high school, the attitude is carefree, the setting is safe, the relationships are pure, life is easy! At least it’s supposed to be.  Why is Glee so popular?  What makes the drama that these kids- acting -like -adults engage in so appealing?  I literally sat here and watched 3 episodes and  I was legitimately entertained by the music, but utterly astonished by the content.

 

And it occurs to me that one of the target audiences is obviously the same demographic that is portrayed in the show.  This is less a critique or criticism of the show Glee and more a gut check and a wake up call as a parent and for parents.  Glee has been a primetime favorite for it’s 3 seasons of life.  Some of it’s primary themes are dysfunctional relationships, sex, popularity, sex, homosexuality, sex and sex…oh and then there’s the music!  As I watched these dramas between teenagers play out, I thought to myself, “Am I so naive?  Is this what high school is really like?  Is Glee closer to real life than I choose to realize?”  WAKE UP!

 

This is not a venue for me to tell you about my experience in high school.  I’ll spare you, the details are impressively  boring.  I knew that there were other options for me on weekends.  I knew that some of my classmates were getting stupid drunk.  I knew that a fair amount of illicit drugs passed through the halls of my high school.  I knew it, and I was afraid of it.  Now, as a parent, I have to ask myself, “What makes kids so different?  How do I create a righteous fear in my own children without creating a spirit of judgment?”

 

For everyone who wants to look at me and call me naive and prude, I urge you to cast the first stone.  I feel defensive and almost offended when I get done watching Glee.  I escaped high school without taking a drink and without losing myself to anyone and never once have I wished that it had been different.  It’s so frustrating that if the Glee cast were among the amazing group of students that I graduated with, they would take me down with more thrown stones than most people see in a lifetime.  Why is it okay for a primetime, highly rated, widely watched (mostly by adolescents) television show that wins awards on top of awards to be allowed to influence KIDS with ideas like having sex with whomever, whenever is okay?  Backstabbing your friend by cheating with her boyfriend is adequate revenge?  Teen pregnancy glorified?  Drinking alcohol in high school is a way to “see life”?  WHAT?!  I wish this show was actually about the music!  Honestly, I wish that Glee would put out a montage of only the performances and music so that I could watch it with my musically and performance inclined daughter, but alas, even if that were available (and perhaps it is), I would be at risk of my daughter believing that approval of that, is approval of it all.

 

The conclusion at the end of it all is that socially, the world is becoming so much more tolerant of all things unrighteous and utterly unholy.  I will not raise my children to be judgmental of friends who make different choices, but I will raise my children to think for themselves.  Our primary responsibility as parents is to raise Christ followers.  I’ve said it before and it becomes truer and truer all the time!  It is my goal to allow the Holy Spirit to be THE primary influence on my children and the decisions that they make.  I hope that if my kids ever see an episode of Glee or experience the reality of it in their lives that they will be more disturbed by it than even I was today.  It is neither glamorous or impressive to experience the reality of this kind of drama in life.  It is anything BUT glee!

 

 

To Parent October 31, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — erinmelby @ 10:37 am

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6

I can remember sitting in the parking lot at a local pizza place in our hometown and having a “discussion” with my husband about starting a family.  My sweet husband and I had only been married a year or so.  We were newlyweds and we were enjoying life together. But, I had baby fever!  He said to me, “You do realize that they aren’t little babies forever?  You know that once we conceive a child, they are our responsibility forever?”  I could have been easily offended and I’m sure I was, but he was right to say these things.  It was about then that our little discussion became more of an argument.  I was offended at the idea that I may not have realized these obvious facts when indeed, I needed some reminding.  Not that we weren’t well suited to start a family.  We were!  We just needed to be on the same page.  That has to be one of the most vital pieces of advice to offer a newlywed couple:  BE ON THE SAME PAGE!  That has continued to be true, day after day, week after week and year after year.

Our three children are 5,6 and 8 years old now.  We are able to look back on that parking lot conversation and smile now as we work as a team to parent these children.     Being united on how we parent is the most important thing we can do for our children.  When they know that we agree, they have shown us that they are most likely to believe it themselves.  If they know we are divided, then not only are confused, but they are left to their own devices because if mom and dad can’t agree, then maybe they are both wrong.  Being on the same page is as important now, if not even more than it was when we made our decision to start our family.

Here is an example;  Our middle child has shown a propensity toward all things right brained, creative and artsy.  We are very proud of her and we desire to see her take the talents that God has given her and to use them for His Glory.  It is our job, however to show her that path.  In the world of creative arts, she is most influenced by things that will draw her into anything but a God centered activity.  T.V. shows that showcase teenagers who do anything to get their name in lights, songs that degrade boys, slam friendships and glorify self righteous behavior are all vying for my 6 year old’s attention.

(The one discouraging side note worth mentioning here is the glaring observation of the gap between Preschool cartoons like Dora the Explorer and Tween identified content like iCarly and Victorious.)

This weekend, we had to make a decision and we chose to invite our daughter into that decision so that she could own it and believe it.  The three of us sat down and we explained what lyrics were and why they were important to a song.  And while we might enjoy the feel and the beat of a song, when the lyrics are hurtful or destructive it ruins the whole song and it speaks volumes about the person singing it.  When she read the lyrics without the funky beat and the loud music, she saw immediately what we were talking about.   This song that she had come to know by heart, mostly because she has an exceptional memory, she didn’t even realize was tearing down boys, building up self and had a very angry tone.  I later over heard her explaining to her friend that she wasn’t going to be singing that song anymore and the reasons why.

That night after the kids were in bed and my husband and I were recapping the day, we looked at each other and once again remembered that parking lot conversation about starting a family.  We often shake our heads and say, “Wow, what did we do?”  But, we take joy because we are on the same page and parenting as a team according to God’s Word will produce a harvest of righteousness.  That is our prayer.

 

Church…with a capital “C” (part 1) October 3, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — erinmelby @ 9:48 am

For the past year, it has taken us about 35-40 minutes to get to church on Sunday morning.  Ordinarily, that same drive only takes about 25-30 minutes.  I guess you could call it Sunday morning’s version rush hour traffic.  You see, between our house and church, there are 14 churches.

Fourteen churches all with a unique vision, a unique story, gifted servants, but probably a fairly common mission.  Of those 14 churches, most of them (if not all) are some denomination of the Christian faith at large.  I haven’t taken the time to review all of their doctrine, but what little I do know of them as denominations, I know that they each believe in the inerrant Word of God, they each believe in God the Father, Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit.  As well as many other common basic beliefs.  So, lately my heart is stirred and at unrest and I beg the question, “Why all the division?”

I know that I am not the first person to ask this question or ponder the unrest that this produces in my soul.  Certainly scholars, both religious and non religious, have spent life times studying this subject.  There are walls of books on it.  But, listen, I’m no Bible scholar and I’m not looking for a degree in religious studies, I’M JUST A JESUS GIRL WHO WANTS TO SERVE.

They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

 43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.  (Acts 2:42-47)

When I spend time reading about and considering what the first church must have been like, I don’t think of a building with offices and gyms.  I don’t think of kitchens and massive stages with lighting and sound systems.  I think of people who were so consumed with the fire that Jesus had set ablaze inside them, that they couldn’t stand to not be in fellowship to discuss it.  I imagine that once the Spirit settled in their souls they almost literally had a glow that could not be ignored by passers by.  I believe that what they experienced and lived out, was something that we in Western society, have never witnessed.  We have made church be what we want it to be, even setting and changing rules, standards and doctrine so that it would fit into our worlds.

I do wonder what has happened to God’s Church.  But please don’t misunderstand me.  I understand that there is a place for things like offices, gyms, kitchens and stages.  I get that.  I have been drawn in myself to churches that have enough resources to build these things and listen…They are reaching people with the Gospel message.  Praise God!  I have served joyfully at churches that don’t have buildings, but have resources that are hauled on trailers week after week.   They too, are reaching out to lost souls and drawing them in to receive a little dose of Jesus.  And I have met with God on proverbial mountain tops with nothing but the sound of voices, maybe some instruments, but often silence, right smack in the middle of God’s creation.  No walls, no pews, no stage, no nothin’…No distraction!

Sure, I understand that with no venue, lost souls are less likely to show up!  I’m not suggesting that the walls of every church in America should come tumbling down.  Not literally, anyway.  Figuratively?  Now that’s something to consider…

 

 
%d bloggers like this: