Melissa: My name is Melissa Flores and I'm 24, turning 25 in 10 days (woo hoo!) I'm a preschool teacher in CT. I've wanted to be a teacher ever since high school and I feel so blessed to be in my 2nd year of teaching. I'm happily married to former Yankees Shortstop Derek Jeter (the whole engagement news was a hoax.) I'm the eldest daughter of two of the most amazing parents, Leonel and Ligia Flores and the older sister to Jonathan.
Some fun facts about me: I love ironing. I never skipped a class in high school. I always count each step when I walk up or down the stairs. I LOVE Disney. I will be a Yankees fan until the day the Lord calls me home.
C: We definitely share the possibly unhealthy love for Disney! So, getting a bit more serious...when would you say your faith moved beyond just knowing God to experiencing God?
Melissa: I have been heavily involved in ministry since I was 13 years old. I've been involved in worship, dance, translating, children's, youth, and women's ministry. I thought my relationship with the Lord was exactly where it needed to be. But it wasn't until I went to college where I realized that I had substituted a relationship with God with involvement in the church. I didn't realized how far I was from God. Those years at college were profoundly formative in my walk with Christ.
C: You said it perfectly...sometimes the ministry becomes the mistress and we lose sight of the intimate relationship itself. What is one thing God has been teaching you this season of your life?
Melissa: I heard the Lord call me to The World Race - and 11 month mission trip to 11 countries - earlier this year. I have never felt my faith being so stretched like I do now. The Lord hasn't only been teaching me about trusting in Him, but He's been showing me how to find joy in the process. It's so easy to get discouraged and fearful, especially when there's a price tag in the mix. But God has shown me how His providing hand is an active one. God is still moving and working even when we don't feel or see it. Trusting, joyfully trusting, has been a major theme in his season in my life.
C: I am SO excited to see how He uses you during the World Race! How do you keep your eyes fixed on God when storms come your way?
Melissa: It's almost comical to think how easy it is for us to get sad or angry vs joyful or peaceful. When I face a storm in my life, I always try to check my heart and ask myself how I am with the Lord. When I fail to do that, I rely solely on me, my abilities, and my knowledge. I tend to get into "I'll fix this" modes. And while I believe that the Lord has given us a mind to reason through things, we are also called to become completely dependent on Him. Trusting in Him with all our hearts and not leaning on our own understanding. Trusting that not only with He bring me through, but that He will make me stronger and wiser because of it. I keep my eyes fixed on Him by being intentional about continually pressing into His presence. That is where I'll find peace and fullness of joy.
C: Amen. God doesn't condemn legitimate concern for things...but it's when we dismiss his presence and let it consume us that it becomes a problem! What are some verses that you often cling to as a reminder of His goodness?
Melissa: “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.””
Zephaniah 3:17 NIV
“But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”
Isaiah 43:1-2 NIV
C: If you could encourage those out there who are fearful of letting go and trusting God, what would you say?
Melissa: The hardest part of entering into a place where you truly trust the Lord is the dealing with the fearful thoughts while sitting in the waiting room. The thing about this particular waiting room is that no one is going to come out with a clipboard and call your name. The Lord called you a loooong time ago. It's up to you to get up and not just take a step of faith, but I urge you take a deep breath and...jump! I'm sure you've imagine how wonderful your life would be like if x, y, or z would happen. And I'm positive that you have dreams and aspirations for your life. Let's just stop and think about this: the most creative, able, and loving being has SO much more for you. More than you could have ever even imagined or dreamed of. That alone gets me SO excited!!!
The book of Matthew begins with the genealogy of Jesus. As I was reading I immediately felt God saying, "It's time to talk about this..." This is one of the most raw and vulnerable videos I have ever created. It's something that only a handful of people knew about and now I am sharing it with YOU. It's time to talk about where I come from; It's time to get personal.
You probably don't know this about me but while I was in graduate school, I actually went to see a therapist. The reason? I couldn't accept failure and I struggled with perfection. If there was ever a possibility of failure, I just did go near that activity, career option, relationship, etc.
I loved counseling. It challenged me to humble myself and confront myself in a new way. Why am I talking about this? Recently I was talking to a good friend of mine and we talked about how sometimes fear of rejection or failure holds us back from moving where God wants us to go. Sometimes we are so content with saying "I'll just keep praying about it" when we KNOW the answer already! So why don't we move?
Here's an analogy for you (If you know me, you know that I could use analogies all day every day). When I go on a road trip or drive somewhere new I am rarely afraid of getting lost because I am confident that even if I make a wrong turn, my GPS will re-calculate and help me find my way back. Remember the days of MapQuest? Yo, if I missed a turn when I had to follow that sheet of paper I would have so much anxiety and feel like I had to start all over to find my way again (first world problems).
What if I told you that God operates similarly to a GPS? You don't have to be afraid of taking a wrong turn while you are trying to follow His leading because He WILL re-direct you if necessary. He will NEVER leave you stranded or lost. Fear has no voice and has no place when our lives are in God's hands. So just as we can confidently go on a road trip with a GPS, we can confidently move with God because we KNOW and BELIEVE that He will guide, direct, and redirect as needed.
No more excuses, no more fear, and no more waiting for the perfect timing...just DO something.
This year has been filled with so many joyous moments. I couldn't help but sit back this past weekend and just reflect on the amazing friendships God has truly blessed me with. These are just SOME of the people in my life that I absolutely adore and can honestly say would not be the same without. Friendship is powerful. It requires vulnerability, effort, and patience. When you commit yourself to it, the result is incredible. You end up with prayer warriors, sisters, brothers, accountability partners....a bigger family. I have more sisters than I ever thought I would and brothers that invest in my husband and quite honestly, also in me. When I say they are brothers, I am not just saying that like it's no big deal. Brothers. I would lay own my life for them and I would like to believe they would do the same for me. I often think about how Jesus chose His 12 disciples and the power of that community. They were his friends. Yes, Jesus had friends. Sure, He could have certainly completed His mission on His own, but He knew the power of friendship and community and chose to invite others along with Him. He invested in them, laughter with them, wept with them, ate with them, and did daily life with them. If Jesus knew the power of friendship, how could we not value it too? Maybe you have a hard time trusting people. Maybe your friends are all over the place and you are isolated. Maybe you prefer being on "your own." Mai I just take a moment and challenge you? I have tried the "independent" and "on my own" road and it led to nowhere but emptiness, pride, and loneliness. As Graham and I are often moving from state to state while he completes the medical school journey, I have learned that it's okay to request that God bring community into our lives; friends. We have found great value in sharing our lives with others, journeying together, and running this race marked out for us together. I don't think marathons would be particularly enjoyable if you were the only one on the race course. There is something motivating and inspiring when you are also watching people running next to you that pushes you to run harder, faster, and with more determination. That is probably one of the biggest reasons I love being a fitness coach, because I can not just invest in my journey, but also partner with other women to do the same and we can share our victories and defeats together while watching each other grow. So, what if you prayed for community, friendships, and a bigger heavenly family and watch God provide that and surpass all of your expectations. He will supply all your needs.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down,one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken-Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Sometimes we forget that even the smallest of details can be an act of worship. Do you see what is being said? If we fix our attention on God...we will be CHANGED and TRANSFORMED from the inside out. So this week I am determined to be more mindful of how I can give God glory in the ordinary. I will give Him glory while:
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!