Baptism This Sunday!

Hello dear Element,

This Sunday we will do baptism immediately following the gathering! As is our custom, we will fill up our horse trough with the garden hose in the parking lot, next to the shipping container and magnolia trees. In the words of one of our e-kids, Beth Ann: "We're not fancy, but we get the job done!"

I invite you to come and gather tomorrow. Come expectantly. Come believing that God will speak and move and comfort and challenge. Come to give and receive. Come to worship and fellowship. And come to witness the declaration of several of our young Elementers through baptism that they have chosen The Way. Celebrate with them as they declare in the assembly that they love Jesus and will follow him for all of their days. Witness as the old life is symbolically dead and buried under the water, and a new life, defined by His love and forgiveness, is raised up from the grave.

In 2019, in a postmodern culture heading in a post-Christian direction...we still gather. We still assemble, face to face, in a concrete warehouse in east Tampa, FL. We still gather like the first church did: teaching, singing, learning, serving, baptizing. We are followers of Jesus. Together. Gather with us one more time tomorrow, dear church, and bear witness to the beauty of the baptism of a few more precious souls. And remember, now more than ever...

You are loved,

Benjamin

Posted on September 14, 2019 .

Relief

Dearest Element,

I recall a season, not too very long ago, when I was begging God for relief. Being a pastor felt so hard. Being pummeled by my circumstances felt so hard. Being a human felt so hard. And I finally reached the point of telling God that I. Needed. Some. Relief.

But I remember the Spirit speaking to my heart in that prayer: there may not be relief coming. In this moment, in this season, on this costly path of the Jesus Way ... relief might not be right around the corner. But in place of relief, in this moment I will give you strength.

I remember the truth and beauty of this promise from God. Instead of relief, I began to look for strength. I remember telling this to Hannah in the midst of it, and she said the most beautiful thing to me: When you ask Him for strength, it's okay to still ask for relief too; I believe He will bring you both. And she was right. He did. He does.

PSALM 46:1-3 NIV
"God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging."

Today I am asking God for both of these things: relief and strength. For me, for you, for us. For our country. For our world. For the Beloved citizens of the Bahamas whose homes were decimated in the hurricane, and of the Carolinas who are still in its path. May we all find both refuge and strength.

This week, Element has a chance to be a part of the relief efforts for Dorian victims.

We will be supporting the efforts of Agape Flights to help with hurricane relief in the Bahamas. The first wave of their efforts is evacuation and rescue, but they are assembling supplies to take to the evacuation sights on the surrounding islands. We would like to invite Elementers to give new and unopened supplies towards this effort. Please see the list on our facebook page and bring any items to the gathering on Sunday, and we will deliver. Thank you, church.

May you find the refuge and strength of our Father today.

All my love,
Melody

Posted on September 5, 2019 .

New Series: ONE

Hi Element Family,

This Sunday, we are starting a new series, called ONE. It’s based on Jesus’ prayer for unity from John 17:

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

This is a such a revealing prayer from Jesus, and the really amazing thing about it is...he’s praying for us! That we would be as united as he is with the Father. That is quite a thought! A beautiful thought. An outrageous thought. An opposed thought.

We live in a world where lines are drawn to separate, discriminate, exclude, and defend. Many well-meaning people of every conviction and stance unconsciously allow fear to drive their compulsive line-drawing. Idealogical platforms are so often upturned into walls that can’t be breached by discourse and understanding. So many of us presuppose that complete agreement is a prerequisite for unity.

In this series, we are going to ask some tough questions about what it could mean to live into this plea from our Savior that we would be one. I’m asking all of us to show up with open minds, hearts, and imaginations. Let’s explore the possibilities of the way that our unity could express the glory and love of God to the world. See you at the warehouse!

You are loved,

Benjamin

Posted on August 30, 2019 .

Upcoming Events!

Hi Element!
We are giving you the heads up this week on some events coming soon!

Women’s Bible Study: Monday night 6pm at Liza’s! Our long-awaited bread-making class and wrap-up of our summer book “Taste and See.”

Baptism - September 15th
We are overjoyed to announce another baptism in our Element community! Please join us after the gathering to witness and celebrate these beautiful decisions to receive Christ. If you or your kiddos are ready for baptism, please see Pastor Benjamin or Pastor Melody!

Women’s Retreat is coming up! Friday night Sept 27 – Sunday morning Sept 29. We have booked a beautiful house in Kissimmee. Join us as we explore the theme “Fearless.” What would our lives look like if we walked out of fear and fully joined Jesus in a place of power and love? Cost is $100. See details in the Facebook group or talk to Tricia and Liza.

Element Birthday - September 22nd
Join us in celebrating our 11th birthday!!! Send in any pictures or videos from the last year at Element to melody@iamelement.org so we can make our annual compilation video.

Worship Night - October 11th
Invite friends and family to this beautiful night of music, worship, art, community, and beauty as we lift our eyes and our voices and our hearts to Jesus.

Element's Got Talent! - November 8th
Our ekids and element youth will be putting on an extraordinary talent show! Mark your calendars, and plan to bring plenty of friends and family to this fun evening. Kids, please see Melody to sign up with your act to perform in the talent show or email melody@iamelement.org.

Here's the Psalm in my heart today, church. May we meditate on it together, and hear the voice of a Father who calls us Beloved. I'll see you Sunday.

Melody

Psalm 18:16-24, MSG

But me he caught—reached all the way
    from sky to sea; he pulled me out
Of that ocean of hate, that enemy chaos,
    the void in which I was drowning.
They hit me when I was down,
    but God stuck by me.
He stood me up on a wide-open field;
    I stood there saved—surprised to be loved!

God made my life complete
    when I placed all the pieces before him.
When I got my act together,
    he gave me a fresh start.
Now I’m alert to God’s ways;
    I don’t take God for granted.
Every day I review the ways he works;
    I try not to miss a trick.
I feel put back together,
    and I’m watching my step.
God rewrote the text of my life
    when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.

Posted on August 23, 2019 .

Grace in the Transitions

Hi there, Element family!

Well, here we are, transitioning once again. School is in session! Though the heat and humidity will linger on, those summer vibes are winding down (for those of us who teach or have school-aged kids anyway).

This year, we have a lot on our collective plate in the NeSmith family. Erin is back in the classroom, our nonprofit is going strong, and dance and baseball for the kids are in full swing. I'm kind of tired just after typing that sentence! These major transitions are enough to be a little overwhelming, if I'm not careful. When things get busy, my lesser self has a tendency to look out into the future in light of the current overwhelm and forecast how difficult things might be down the stretch. I usually am trying to ensure that I can properly budget my emotional and physical energy for the demands ahead.

But I've learned something in that type of striving over the years...something that I'm still learning, to be sure. I've learned that my forecasting is often times a little more dismal than the reality. I've learned that when I look ahead through the lens of fear of scarcity, of course things appear that way! But when I remember that big transitions require grace, patience, and positivity, I can stay right here in the moment. I can find empathy for others and even myself. I return to being a pretty good team player. I can hold onto the redemptive optimism that Jesus brings into my everyday circumstances. I am free to hope and free to find my joy again.

So, dear family, I am praying for grace in the transitions. For us to allow ourselves to be held in the moment, where life is really lived, in the freedom to hope and the freedom to find joy. If there is any way your pastoral team or elders can serve you, please don't hesitate to ask. After all...

You are loved,

Benjamin

Posted on August 16, 2019 .

A Whole Lotta Change

Dearest Element,

Today as we were driving in the car, my girls had me look up a song from their VBS this summer. It was called Whole Lotta Change, and the lyrics say:

"There's a whole lotta change coming your way
'Cause like it or not, nothing stays the same."

The girls got SO excited and started dancing and singing to this song that they love, and it got me to thinking... look at how they celebrate change! This song unsettles me, but somehow they love it. They aren't afraid of change. They want to dance and sing and celebrate it.

We've been talking a LOT about change in our household recently, as one does when one has two daughters approaching the tween years. Let's just say both of them are pretty excited about becoming young ladies and they are leaning fully into looking and acting as grown up as possible.

As I engage their enthusiasm for the changes that are to come, part of me feels grief and loss. How can they be growing this quickly? Why do we have to rush so fast into the next season of becoming?
But then I see their joy, and I realize that the joy is beautiful. I remember how much I wanted to grow up when I was their age, too. I realize that I would far rather them look upon the future with hope than with despair or dread. Yes, there will be hard things to come. A whole lotta change. But there will also be good things. And right now, they are looking for the good. Praise be to God, they are looking for the good.

It challenged me to do the same, church. We all have a whole lotta change coming. Some of us can see it pretty clearly in our path, and others of us will be surprised with a curve ball before too long... 'cause like it or not, nothing stays the same. And it scares us. As my dad always says, change is always painful, even the good kind.

But what if we look for the good, too? What if we choose to trust our Father to provide for our needs in whatever change is to come? What if we stand in the truth of our Belovedness and believe that it is enough? That's what my kids are doing. They trust their dad and I to help walk them through the changes that are to come in the next season. They know they are loved and that they will be provided for.

I'm longing for that sort of childlike faith as I look at changes that are to come for me. And I'm praying for it for all of us. May we choose trust. May we choose faith. May we choose to dance and sing and celebrate.

I love you so, Element.
Melody

Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.”

Posted on August 8, 2019 .

Grace in the Desert

Dearest Element,
In my scripture reading a couple weeks ago, I came across this passage:

“They found grace out in the desert,
these people who survived the killing.
Israel, out looking for a place to rest,
met God out looking for them!”
God told them, “I’ve never quit loving you and never will.
Expect love, love, and more love!
And so now I’ll start over with you and build you up again,
dear virgin Israel.
You’ll resume your singing,
grabbing tambourines and joining the dance.
You’ll go back to your old work of planting vineyards
on the Samaritan hillsides,
And sit back and enjoy the fruit—
oh, how you’ll enjoy those harvests!
The time’s coming when watchmen will call out
from the hilltops of Ephraim:
‘On your feet! Let’s go to Zion,
go to meet our God!’”
Jeremiah 31:2-6

Something about this passage grasped me, church. There was something so ALIVE in this promise about grace in the desert, about the boundless love of the father, and about singing and rejoicing over the harvests. I know this was a promise God made to the nation of Israel thousands of years ago... but I also know that the same heart of the same father makes the same promise to us today.

So I urge you, dear ones, to grasp this promise for yourselves. To ask God for grace in the desert places of your lives. To believe that as you are out looking for a place to rest, you will meet God out looking for YOU. To embrace the truth that you are Beloved. And to allow the strength and provision of our mighty God to build up the broken places within you, within us.

Let's gather together tomorrow, and resume our singing. Let's continue the good work of planting vineyards. Let's celebrate the harvest that has already flourished, and all that is yet to come.

On your feet, church! Let's go to meet our God.

I love you so.
Melody

Posted on August 3, 2019 .

T.R.A.C. Celebration Sunday!

Hello Element!

I am writing to you from Teen Reach Adventure Camp! At this time, we have only two more days to go! I want you all to know that all of your hard work, prayers, and support have mattered beyond words. We have seen the love of Jesus making a huge difference in the lives of so many teens this week. They have worshiped, laughed, played, and received much encouragement.

I want to make sure that you will all be at the warehouse this Sunday for our T.R.A.C. Celebration. We are inviting all of our campers and their families, along with everyone else, to a Table-style gathering. I'm excited for us to be able to share our breakfast dishes and hospitality as we continue to pour out God's love to these families. And I promise, you will be blessed by the stories, victories, and celebrations, too! I'm really looking forward to it. You are beautiful, Element, and...

You are loved,

Benjamin

Posted on July 25, 2019 .

Resistance

Dearest Element,

Have you noticed that when we choose to pursue the path less taken, or to accomplish a good and healthy thing in our personal lives, or especially to participate in the work of the kingdom, we frequently meet with some resistance?

This week I began training for my second marathon. While it is less intimidating than training for my first, it's still a massive commitment of time and energy and effort and mental fortitude. In fact, in some ways beginning the training program feels more overwhelming this time, because I know exactly what I'm saying yes to. But I also know why I'm saying yes, and that the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual benefits of this journey are worth the price I am about to pay.

So as I began my training this week, I felt ready to succeed, to fight for my health, to win. But do you know what happened on my first run? I got a shoe full of fire ants. UGH!!! Not a great way to begin. I looked like a wild woman out there on the road, flailing my shoe around and then throwing it away from my body so that I could escape the dislodged ants that continued to attack me. It was embarrassing and painful, all at the same time.

The second day of my training, I stepped on a snake and nearly stepped on maggot-infested armadillo carcass. WHAT?!? I know I live in Florida, but still. I don't ever need to come that close to either of those encounters. As I was running home on my second day, I was already feeling the resistance, and hearing it in my head.
This is harder than I remembered.
It's hot, and I'm tired.
Something is already trying to steal my joy.


It reminded me of our kingdom work. This same sort of resistance comes against us every time we say yes to God. In thinking about our church right now, I see the ways we are facing resistance. In many ways, we've been in marathon training for the last few months and we are about to run one together: T.R.A.C. This camp for foster kids is such beautiful and important work, but it has taken and will take a massive outpouring to see it through. I am grateful for all the ways that Element has rallied and given time and talent and energy to make this a reality. But I also see the resistance.

So here is my encouragement to us today: keep pushing through.
"So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith."
- Galatians 6:9-10 MSG

Let's remember why we are saying our yes.
Let's remember that the enemy will not have the final victory.
Let's remember to keep our eyes fixed on the Author of the One True Narrative of Redemption.

Element - you are chosen, blessed, broken, and given. Your lives and your outpouring and your love matters. Thank you for doing good.

All my love,
Melody

Posted on July 17, 2019 .

Capsules and Caves

Hello Element,

Last week we stayed over on the east coast while my son Killian went to Space Camp at Cape Canaveral. On the last day, we were all able to go there and experience the facility and the attractions at the visitor's center. I really enjoyed the Rocket Garden, though at the time I was melting under that Florida summer sun! This is where they display full scale rockets or replicas of rockets from the space program's history.

The thing that impressed me the most was the size...but not how you think. Of course, some of the rockets are pretty large. But I'm talking about how small the capsules are that housed the astronauts at the tip of the rockets. I imagined the astronauts of yesteryear cramming themselves into these small capsules, with not even enough room to stretch their legs. I learned that they usually had to sit it the capsules for hours before a launch. Some of them would orbit for two weeks or so in those cramped, dark capsules without the ability to even stand up. But one day, almost exactly 50 years ago this month, two guys named Neil and Buzz got to leave their capsule and stretch their legs - on the moon!

I suppose that a birth metaphor is probably not lost on you here, and the Bible does use that comparison a few times when speaking of the hard work of waiting in the tension, pain, discomfort, and hardship of our lives. That sounds not unlike those capsules to me. Those spaces in our lives that we feel like are too cramped, too constricting, and definitely scary. Kind of like a cave. The places of waiting, where we don't feel free. I'm writing to you today to remind us to stay patient. To know that those places are temporary. To ask you to consider if what feels like a cave is actually more of a womb. To know that those small spaces are preparing you for the moment that you, like Neil and Buzz, get to step out into a miracle. Redemption says it will be so.

I love watching, waiting, and working for the Redemption that is to come with all of you. I am very much looking forward to gathering with you on Sunday. Brett, one of our elders, will continue in our Character series by discussing everyone's favorite Old Testament superhero: Samson. It's going to be beautiful, so don't miss it! And remember...

You are loved,

Benjamin

Posted on July 13, 2019 .

Endings... And Beginnings

Dearest Element,

I had an encouraging experience this week, and I wanted to share it with you.

My children have been very excited about the release of Toy Story 4, begging to watch it as soon as it came out. We promised to take them, and so we felt it important to catch up on the previous film: Toy Story 3.

But here's the deal with me and Toy Story 3... I had always refused to watch it. I had heard from so many people that Toy Story 3 was terribly sad, and my empath heart just didn't ever have the desire to be so saddened by a children's movie. I imagined that the sadness caused by the film would have something to do with goodbyes and growing up, with releasing attachments and the grief that goes along with it. I refused for years to see the movie because that sort of pain has always been very difficult for me, and I didn't want to have to watch it on the big screen, too.

But my children begged, and I finally agreed. And this is where the encouraging moment happened for me: while I was of course saddened by the film in some respects, I actually felt that the ending was beautiful and and true and uplifting! Yes, there were goodbyes and growing up, and there was a letting go of attachments that tugged on the heartstrings. But what I saw in the midst of those things was redemption. The goodbyes were beautiful and born out of love. The grief was honest. And the release of attachments led to new beginnings.

I was encouraged to remember that we don't have to be afraid of endings, even the sad ones. I was encouraged to remember that in the One True Narrative of redemption, nothing is wasted. And I was encouraged to remember that beginnings hold a certain type of beauty all their own.

In this season where so many of us are facing endings, beginnings, transitions, waiting periods, or the complex combination of all of it ... I just want to remind you that it all belongs. Beloved sons and daughters of God: remember that you are chosen, blessed, broken, and given. And every bit of it offers space for redemption.

I love you, church. I'll see you Sunday for our inbreaking, either at the warehouse or at Oak House. Thank you for all the ways you contribute to this community.

Melody

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NLT
For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
2 A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.

Posted on June 28, 2019 .

New series starts this week!

Hello Element!

This Sunday we will dive into a new series that we're calling Still. It's going to be about stillness, solitude and silence. Sound exciting? I thought so! 

But seriously, this series is going to be an important and necessary look into the ways we engage God - or maybe more accurately, how we allow God to engage us in the quiet. What does it look like to step into that place of being present in His presence? And how do we do it again and again? And as we do this, how might it transform us in new and deeper ways?

Although we will look at some practical ways to do this, these practices are just tools. Tools that we can pick up and use to find God in the stillness. Rest assured, this discussion will be more about being over doing. Author Ruth Haley Barton suggests that being is something that is beyond human effort, and thatlistening is something that is beyond human thought. This is what we mean when we talk about stillness.Being with God in that space, beyond the striving of actions and the limits of language.

And what better way to sit in the truth of our Belovedness? I mean, just look at that word - Beloved. BeLoved. It's that simple. But just because it's simple doesn't mean that it's easy. It's a brave frontier that may not seem appealing to everyone. But I believe that we are called to do this. To be this. And as we learn these truths, we will join a long line of Christ-followers over the centuries who have discovered the transformational power of resting and being still in God's presence. And as always, we'll learn it together. See you at the warehouse!

You are loved,

Benjamin

Posted on April 13, 2018 .

Reflections of the Beloved

Hello Element!

What a beautiful Easter we had together! We brought together our Beloved series with a final word... in addition to being Chosen, Blessed, Broken, and Given... the Beloved children of God are Resurrected. We celebrated the profound truth that while Jesus died and rose again to defeat death, hell, and the grave... the biggest and best reason that he did it wasn't just about defeat... it was about inviting us into the same resurrection life.

His story IS our story. Our story IS His story. That's the whole point of it all.

And so, we are left with an even deeper grasp of our Belovedness, aren't we? I am. I marvel at the truths we have discovered in this series. I rejoice in the ways that my own heart has found new depths of freedom and abundance and joy.

And now... it's time to hear from YOU.

There's something very powerful about taking the truths we have been learning and synthesizing them in a way that can be shared. There's something radically life changing about sharing our stories of struggle and victory in a way that can be a blessing to others. There's something empowering and victorious about taking the ponderings of our heart and putting them into a verbal or written outpouring. When we do this, we embrace all parts of our Belovedness: Chosen, Blessed, Broken, Given, Resurrected.

On Sunday, we are opening the floor to you - to Elementers who want to share a piece of their hearts as a response to our Beloved series. Don't miss this day, guys. These stories will resonate in our hearts deeper than teaching or exposition ever could. These are the poems and prayers from the hearts of our people... these are the songs of the resurrected and redeemed... this are the broken and beautiful legacy of our becoming. Let's celebrate it together.

I love you so, Element.
Melody

Posted on April 6, 2018 .

The Joy Set Before Us

Hello Element!

Can you believe it? It's time for Easter! And we're getting ready to wrap up our Beloved series. We have seen that, just as Jesus took, blessed, broke and gave the bread, we are also Chosen, Blessed, Broken and Given. And so was Jesus.

He was chosen and blessed by the Father. But when He was breaking the bread in the upper room that night, He was preparing Himself and his followers for the harsh reality of His breaking that would come the next day. We don't know exactly what Jesus knew about the future. But I can tell you this: He knew the scriptures. He knew punishment and death were right around the corner.

We focus a lot on the physical aspects of Jesus' breaking. The beatings, the cross. And we should. Meditating and reading and singing about these things rocks me to my core. But we also remember the even deeper anguish He endured. The spotless Lamb of God, tasting the shame and guilt of every type of sin and evil for the first time. And worst of all, He endured the separation from His Father. From all eternity, they had never been apart - until that moment on the cross. Can you even imagine the shattering of His body, spirit and heart all at once? But, consider Hebrews 12:2-3:

"Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

For the joy set before Him. Through it all, Jesus knew that He was being broken so that He could be given. For the joy set before him, He was able to endure all of the breaking. Because He knew what was coming! And then the next verse turns it around to us. We don't have to stay weary and lose heart. Because of the joy set before us. Because we know what is coming! He was broken to be given, so that our brokenness could be redeemed and given too. Thanks be to God!

I can hardly wait to gather with you on Friday night to reflect, worship and meditate on the weight of Jesus' sacrifice together. And then on Sunday we'll gather to celebrate and join in the joy of our very much alive and glorified Savior. In the warehouse, gratitude for this Resurrection life exploding in worship...there's no place I'd rather be.

He is risen!

Benjamin

Posted on March 29, 2018 .

Double Takes

Hello Element!
Last night as I got into my bed, I found a large clump of hair. I could tell it was Kayla's, my 6 year old daughter's, by the light blonde color. It scared me as I wondered where on earth it could have come from, if it had fallen out or was so weak that it was breaking, and what this could mean about her health. She's been sick and has been sleeping in our bed. I tried to not freak out... but it was a lot of hair.

Then this morning I took one look at her and did a double take as I realized... she's cut it. I asked her in shock if indeed she had done the deed, and her sweet little face crumpled as she ran into my arms and wept. I asked her why she would do such a thing, and she mumbled something through her tears about wanting a certain style. Then I asked her what she had done with the hair, thinking she would admit to hiding it in my bed. She proceeded to take me around the house and show me other places where she had hidden clumps of her beautiful blonde hair.

I kept my cool as we got ready this morning, and I put the remaining hair on her head into a strange sort of bun. But once I dropped the kids at school, my heart started turning on itself. What kind of a mother am I, to let this happen? How could I not have noticed it last night? What would her teachers and friends think? What would the other moms think? In my weary and angry place, I took my failure to God. I told Him that every time I look at her now, it's going to be a visible reminder of how I am a BIG FAT FAILURE as a mom.

And then, His kind and gentle voice responded to me.

Is that really what you want to think when you look at her?

Well... no.

What do you want to think about when you look at her? Is she ugly to you now? Do you love her less?

I love her completely. She's beautiful. She will always be beautiful.

What if, instead of letting her hair be a reminder of your own failure, you allow it to be a reminder of your unconditional love for her? And then... maybe you allow it to be a reminder of MY unconditional love for YOU? I don't see you as ugly when you make foolish choices, or when you have a mommy-fail. You're still beautiful to me.

Well by then I was a puddle of tears in my car. I had done a double take on my own perspective. I had almost taken a turn into the land of the cursed, allowing brokenness to dictate my value, to prove the lack of my own worth. But that's not a place for the Beloved children of God to visit, is it? There is blessing. There is blessing even in the broken and ugly places. And those places allow us reminders to see what we have been all along... BELOVED.

I'm grateful today for the double takes. The ones that hurt, that allow us to see our brokenness. When we do, I hope our faces crumble, and that we run, arms open, into the arms of our Father, just as little Kayla did into mine. And in those arms... I hope we receive the unconditional love He offers us.

Be blessed today, church. That is the land where you live.

Melody

Posted on March 22, 2018 .