About Melissa Miller

I help women move from the pain of their past to the purpose in their future. I serve in ministry alongside my husband at Canvas Church in San Diego, CA. In the space between ministry meetings and family dance parties, I write about God's grace and truth.

Posts by Melissa Miller:

Am I Making a Difference?

Am I making a difference?

Isn’t that a question we all ask ourselves from time to time? Does the effort I make really matter? Or is being a couch potato a viable option with equal impact?

I watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” a few years back and ugly cried at the end. George Bailey gets a glimpse into what life would be like if he’d never been born. An angel showed him the impact his life made, even in the small and unexpected ways. Sometimes I feel like asking God for a “It’s A Wonderful Life” moment.

Hey God, can you show me what my  _________ (workplace, church, school, ministry, business, family) would be like if I’d never got started?”

Wouldn’t it be nice along the way if God granted us sneak peeks?

In real life, God doesn’t give us glimpses into alternate realities. However, He does give us His word. Galatians 6:9 says “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

I appreciate this verse, because it reflects God’s patterns in nature. We sow seeds and we don’t see anything happen right away. There is progress, but it’s below the surface, where the eyes can’t see. The seed sprouts, it breaks open, it slowly grows…but it takes a while before it peers into the visible plane. We water the seed and position it for optimal sunlight, but there comes a point when we’ve done all we can do with the seed, and the outcome is in God’s hands. Our job is to keep sowing seeds. We will reap a harvest eventually, only if we don’t give up.

I haven’t posted a blog in a while, partly because I am working on a book. It’s a study on the book of Esther, and how God invites us to trade our broken past for a new family legacy. It’s such a fun project, but it feels a little like planting seeds every day, hoping one day they’ll sprout to the surface. I think sometimes parenting feels this way too...are they really getting it? Are they understanding what I’m teaching them? Are the seeds sprouting? The other day I gave my 9-year-old son a compliment about being much wiser than I was at his age. He said, “Well the credit goes to you and Dad for teaching us Christ.” 

Big exhale for these glorious moments. Some days, God gives us little sprouts like this…moments when we get a fresh wind to keep plowing and planting and trusting God for the increase. No, it’s not a George Bailey-alternate-reality-glimpse, but it’s enough to keep us going. It’s enough to remind us we walk by faith, not by sight, and though we plant and water, it’s God who brings the increase (2 Cor. 5:7, 1 Cor. 3:7).

Maybe you have moments like me, wondering if the work you do makes a difference. Whether it’s the hard work of parenting, or marriage, career, or ministry…don’t grow weary. Keep planting. Keep watering. Don’t give up. Watch and see, your harvest will come.

Prayer:

Lord, I thank you for the reminder today not to grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we don’t give up. I pray you would help us today to stay faithful and grateful for the beautiful work you’ve called us to. I thank you that when we see dirt, you see a harvest in the making. I pray you would help us to lift our eyes up to your higher perspective and help us to have fresh fervency in our labor today. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Better than a Bubble Bath

 

Yesterday, a glorious idea came to me: My kids are getting along great, I’m going to take a bubble bath. For most moms like me, reading a good book in a hot bath is a luxury. I grabbed my book, added faint music and peppermint oil, and felt ready for a peaceful 30 minutes.

The moment my feet touched the warm water, my youngest two children started arguing. I assumed it would end in a minute or so. It kept on. I waited for my oldest to jump in and handle it, but the bickering ensued. I turned the music up a little louder, because good moms do that sometimes, but the kids kept on. My head pounded with the sound of their quarreling. Bath dream over.

After I got dressed, I went downstairs and my youngest daughter asked, “Mommy can I cuddle with you?” Normally, I’d say, “Of course!” But unresolved tension claimed it’s place in the room. I couldn’t shake the feeling if I let her climb into my lap it may appear I was taking her side. I am FOR both of them and FOR unity. What I wanted to say, was “Go make it right with your brother, then come back to me.”

Immediately I thought of Matthew 5:23-24 when Jesus says, So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you,  leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

Peace is elusive when unresolved tension lingers in the house.

I sat both my kids down and shared Romans 15:1-7 from my morning reading. The passage speaks of serving one another, living in harmony, and welcoming each other. After talking to them about their quarrelling, I encouraged them to speak out loud to one another: “I will try my best to serve you, live in harmony with you, and welcome you. Will you please forgive me?” Then I told them to hug it out. Asking for forgiveness requires humility, and hugs crumble walls. The tension lifted like rising steam, while their lips formed subtle smiles. It feels good to be light, free from the heaviness of bitterness.

The weight is lifted. Unity stands at the door of our home, welcoming peace back in. Now, I invite them in my lap, both of them.

That evening I listened to them laugh together, which is music to my ears. This morning, when I woke up, PJ wasn’t in her room. It turns out she snuck into her brothers room last night, creating a makeshift bed right beside his.

The altar represents a place of prayer, offerings, worship – a place to exchange with God. But in the instance of unresolved tension between His children, God says “First go make it right. Then come back.” I understand this verse a little better now. It doesn’t feel quite right if my child sits in my lap while glaring at her brother. Maybe the nudge of the Father’s heart, is not just for my kids this week, but for God’s grown up children too.  

Child of God, go make it right. Then come back. Invite the right kind of house guests; humility, forgiveness, and unity. Pull open the blinds, let the light of peace fill the house of God and the house of your heart. Then climb into your Father’s lap and enjoy living light and free.

I’d say this is better than a bubble bath, any day of the week.

When You’re Not Ready Yet

My son: “Why can’t I have a phone?”

Me: “Because you’re not ready yet.”

Son: “Why can’t I have a job like Dad?”

Me: “Because you aren’t ready yet.

Son: “Why can’t I watch the movie with you guys?”

Me: “Because you aren’t ready yet.”

Maybe you relate to these conversations. A child eager to grow up is like a race horse anticipating the gate flinging open. I remind him adulting is overrated and that most adults wish to be kids again, but he still doesn’t seem to believe me.

I realize the words “because you aren’t ready yet” aren’t the most comforting to hear. But as I look back at most of my childhood, adolescence, and beyond, I realize something: I always felt ready before I was ready. It took loving people in my life to hold me back from what I wasn’t ready for, and times I didn’t listen exposed me to regrets.

I realized recently how much more I’ve learned to embrace those words. Recently, my mentor looked over a book I’m working on and said, “It’s almost ready, but not quite yet.” then she gave me a few things to work on. Then she did that three more times because it still wasn’t ready for our end goal. I cringed a little, because I worked hard only to hear it still wasn’t ready, but it also made me thankful. I’m thankful someone cares enough to fine tune, correct, and share advice to help me grow. I’m thankful because I learned something new every single time she said it.  It shows she believes in me, she wouldn’t waste her time if she didn’t. Someone who doesn’t care tells you you’re ready before you aren’t.

How about you? How do you respond when someone tells you that you aren’t ready yet? Do you pridefully rush ahead, or do you respond with a teachable heart? Do you give up or commit to growth? Do you point blame at others or take personal responsibility?

1 Peter 5:6 tells usHumble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.”

Stay humble. Stay teachable. Be thankful for seasons of preparation and people who want to see fruit ripened in your life. And when someone says “you’re not ready yet,” strap yourself in and commit to growth. One day the gates will fling open and you’ll be off to the races.