Melissa-I am a 28 year old Pennsylvania native who now resides in Seattle, WA where I live with my wonderful husband, Vernon, and our puppy, Myla. My family is mostly back in Pennsylvania but I'm grateful to have my husband's family nearby. I am self-employed (yay!) as an Interior Designer, working with other designers as well as my own clients. I am obsessed with shoes, love soccer, and a self-proclaimed design nerd.
C-Ha! I love that. Self-proclaimed design nerd ;) ...When would you say your faith moved beyond just knowing God to experiencing God?
Melissa-When I came out to Seattle for school, I was pretty much alone. I knew no one from Seattle and I had never been to the West Coast, except for my visit to the college campus. On top of that, I was struggling with some serious mental and health issues that quickly spiraled out of control when I was a sophomore. It was a blessing (and God's divine way of taking care of me) to get plugged in to a church locally. I met some amazing believers who, at the time I needed it the most, became such true friends. For the first time in my life, I learned to rely fully on the Lord and had the support and encouragement of my dear church friends. This didn't mean that all my problems went away instantly, but it allowed me to be challenged in my faith and forced me to cling to my faith, my relationship with God. This was the start to my understanding of experiencing God instead of just knowing Him.
C-I have also learned that God will ALWAYS bring us back to a place where we have to be completely dependent on Him. Unfortunately, that usually requires trials and difficult situations! What is one thing God has been teaching you this season of your life?
Melissa-In discussions with other friends in my same life stage, career is in the forefront of our lives. It's so easy for me to be consumed with the need to be the best, most successful interior designer that I forget what is ultimately more important. We live in a world that is consumed with success, appearance, superficial things. And yet, when you go back to the Bible, I'm reminded that while it's great to be good at what you do and strive for success, the bigger focus needs to be what I am doing for the Lord. For instance, even if I feel like a failure at my job during the week, when I get to church on Sunday and have the opportunity to lead worship or counsel one of our high school students, I'm excited knowing that work is meaningful and eternal. That's what is important.
C-I wish there was a love button right now. YES. The definition of success according to the world is NOT how success is defined according to the WORD. How do you keep your eyes fixed on God when storms come your way?
Melissa-This is a tough one since I think God is still working with me on this! I tend to immediately think the worst in any situation. But, when I sense I am getting stressed or worried about a situation, I have been working on releasing those anxious thoughts to the Lord immediately in prayer and stepping back to see how He works in the situation. Also, it's so amazing to see how He uses other people, sermons, and music to speak to me at those times, bits of encouragement as I trust God to bring me through the trial or situation, whatever it may be.
C-Yes! You know how passionate I am especially on the subject of true beauty. Thank you! If you could encourage those out there who are fearful of letting go and trusting God, what would you say?
Melissa-Oh boy, those words "letting go" are tough ones for me. I'm a control freak, Type A, slightly OCD, and have very particular ways for how I do things in my life. That's another lesson I had to learn the hard way...For a long period of my life (during high school and college), I tried so hard to be in control of everything I could, but that job is too hard for any human. I sacrificed my physical and mental health in order to bring some control in my life (since other areas were very out of control). And then, I realized that in my quest to control everything, I'd relinquished control of anything! I had to humble myself and allow God to be the center of my life again. And you know what, I am so thankful I'm not controlling everything anymore. God's ways are so much better than ours. And when we allow God to work in us, it is so exciting to see how He moves and works so that His will is done. It's scary, it's not easy, and you have to work on it for a long time (I still have to!), but the reward is knowing you are following the Lord and then seeing what amazing plans He has in store!
C- Thank you so much for sharing your heart, Melissa! I know I personally was so encouraged by your testimony. I know God is not done with you yet! Expect great things from Him <3
3 years ago, God convicted me. I knew he had given me this gift of helping people, teaching people, and encouraging people but I wasn't using it to serve others let alone to glorify HIM. As I mediated on this scripture from 1 Peter chapter 4, I was humbled and so thankful that God didn't give up on me and continued to teach me how I can serve others with what he has blessed me with. Now it's less about me and more about God and others.
It can be SO easy for me to compare myself to the 400,000 other coaches out there and try to filter and alter myself to fit a mold I am not. Not today. Today I will be unapologetically me and that is a follower of Jesus who is passionate about serving others in wellness from the INSIDE out. I know my gifts. Not to brag about them but to brag about how God is using them. God always shows up, friends. But there are times He shows up and shows off...and that is exactly what He has done in my life and business. So what are your gifts and how will you use them?
WARNING: There is a big difference.
You may have heard the saying that:
Living in the past = depression
Living in the future = anxiety
Living in the present = peace
Well, it is VERY true for my life. I have been stuck both living in the past & future and both places can be miserable. In my health / faith journey, however, I have learned that there is a great difference between looking back and turning back.
I have had to look back on my past to study myself:
BUT--and this is the warning--TURNING back is entirely different. It's like doing a 180 and living in your past. It's living in the failure, the weakness, the temptation, the defeat. That will NOT motivate you to move forward. That WILL leave you depressed.
So, dear friend, know the difference. Don't turn back, and don't live in the future. Instead, learn how to peak at your past to study yourself and learn how to be mindful of the future to be a priority planner.
There is a great great difference.
A Bit About ME!
Hey friend! My name is Caren and I am so glad you stopped by! This blog is a bit of my corner on the internet where I share honest thoughts about my faith journey, fitness journey, doctor wife journey, and motherhood journey. ALL of it! The good bad and ugly! I pray that something I share encourages you today!