Guess who's back!?

hi there.

guesswhosback

Happy friday everyone!

After a what seems like a life time of radio since (literally, it's been over a year since my last post), I am SO excited to be finally back with a brand new look! 

There are so many changes that have occurred in my life since my last post. I started school, moved out of the house my family grew up in, had my job location transferred twice and started dating the most amazing guy, Phenix. In some ways, I feel as though my life is completely different.

Change is inevitable in life. Things seem to always be changing. It's really easy to see change as an obstacle in life, but I'm choosing to see it as an opportunity.

This is why I chose to revamp My Beloved, I wanted it to change with me and reflect where I am in life. During my time away, there often were times i hardly gave blogging a second thought, but over the last few months, Jesus has being stirring something fierce in my heart and really reignited the flame in my heart.  I have chosen to switch the focus and make My Beloved more of a personal blog. My heart always has been and always will be to see women empowered, confident and aware of the beauty and power they hold - that will never change. I always want to be genuine, I always want to be honest (even if the truth hurts a little) and I always want love.  I want to give people a glimpse at my dreams, goals and just every day life. I am really excited to continue to share what the Lord is doing in my life and the lives of people are me, but I am also really excited to share other things with you too.

That brings me to what I have created for ya'll, think of it as a "thanks for sticking around and believing in me" present. I love music, I love finding new music and I love finding a good playlist. Over the last few weeks and scrolled through my spotify, searching for a handful of my favourite songs to share with you! Yesterday was my 24th birthday, so here are 24 songs i've been loving lately. There is little bit of everything on the playlist, so I hope you find at least one tune you fall in love with. You can find the playlist here on Spotify or if you don't use Spotify, the list is below.

  1. Haze - Amber Run
  2. Somebody Else - The 1975
  3. Don't Take The Money - Bleachers
  4. American Beauty - Drew Holcomb & The Neighbours 
  5. Jesus, She's a Good Girl - Andy Shauf
  6. Katie Mcleod - Phenix Warren (proud girlfriend moment!!!)
  7. She Was The World To Me - Daniel Romano 
  8. Good Girls - LANY
  9. The Other - Lauv
  10. Ever Since New York - Harry Styles 
  11. Cavalier (The 1975 Remix) - James Vincent McMorrow 
  12. ILYSB - LANY
  13. Killing Me To Love You - Vancouver Sleep Clinic
  14. Miscarriage - Said The Whale 
  15. Jackie and Wilson - Hozier
  16. Morning - William Wild
  17. Smoke - Mosa Wild
  18. Modern New Year - Sam Tudor 
  19. Where You Are (reimagined) - Hillsong Young & Free
  20. Anchor - The Law and the Prophets
  21. Only - RY X
  22. Fool's Errand - Fleet Foxes
  23. So Will I (100 Billion X) - Hillsong United
  24. Anchor - Novo Amor 

I'm excited about the future, I really hope you are too! Turn on the playlist, and stick around for a minute. Read some of my old posts, maybe there will be something you need to hear in your current season of life.

I hope you feel loved today.

          - Mel 

#HerStory - Ariana

Hey strangers!

I’m sorry I've been so M.I.A lately. I have been lacking inspiration and I promised myself I would never write a post out of an obligation to blog. I want what I post to be genuine and inspired. 

I care about you all, and I don’t ever want to be fake with you. 

Today, I’ve got a real treat for you. My sweet girl Ariana is sharing a little piece of her B I G heart with us! 

Ariana blog 1

I’m not exactly sure how she found me on instagram, but she had been following me for a while and was such a loyal follower. She would always like my photos and comment on them. I remember so vividly the moment when I realized who she was. I was hanging out in the bookstore of the school I was going to and a friend of mine was talking to me about this girl that she knew. She told me about her friend, Ariana, from back home that would talk to her about how cool she thought I was and how much she wanted to be my friend. I was so taken back, it was the first time I had a “fan.” Following that conversation, my heart was flooded with love for this girl that I didn’t know. I immediately followed her back and sent her a message. From that day forward she has been such a joy in my life. 

My words will neverdo justice to how incredible Ariana is. She is the biggest cheerleader to the people in her life. No matter what kind of crap she is going through in her personal life, she will always be there for her friends. She literally radiates joy, you cannot look at her and not smile. She is incredibly strong and she perseveres trials like a total boss lady! She's always willing to be vulnerable and share her heart. She is always looking for new ways that she can pursue the King, and she strives to live a life that glorifies Him in all ways. She is the kind of girl you immediately fall in love with. She captured my heart in such a unique way. I never thought that it would be possible to care SO deeply for someone I've never met before. When she hurts, I hurt and when she's happy, I'm happy. She is SO precious. This cutie is living in Ontario, working her magic and kicking butt at a local hair salon. Next year, Ariana is headed to BC (YAY!) where she's going to be taking the OMEGA program at Summit Pacific college (If you've never heard of the OMEGA program, you need to! Its life changing. Check it out!)

Ariana, you are a superstar!

I was SO happy when she agreed to write a piece for you all. It was really encouraging for me and I hope it will do the same for you. 

Take it away girl!

Ariana blog 2

Hey Guys! My name is Ariana!

One of my favourite things to do is adventure, find new things in this world and in people & to share stories of what we've seen, loved and lost. 

When Mel asked me to write something for My Beloved I was filled with excitement and also incredibly overwhelmed. I'd never actually written my story without being hidden in metaphors and illustrations. So I hope, that in reading this, it would inspire you to share your story; it matters. 

Your past does not define you. This world does not define you. No human can define you. These are the hardest lessons I have had to learn. There is nothing that can depict who you are. Who you are going to be. Your past is filled with moments and memories, feelings and experiences that you were meant to live. To remember. To love and learn from. 

I know how hard and ugly that is to swallow at times. It is no ones wish to have heartache. My life has had its trials. To some they may seem small but these are the biggest thing I have had to overcome, and if I'm being totally honest I haven't entirely conquered them yet. But these are my experiences and they have brought me to the person I am now. 

When I was about six years old my parents split up. At that age I didn't fully understand what that meant, and as I grew older I don't think I fully grasped how much that affected me. No, my father was not completely cut out of my life, but not having him in the home, not having the love of a father was something I lost. Because of this I tired to grasp at anything to fill the void in my life. I looked at men to tell me I was beautiful.

When I was in high school I gave myself to a boy I thought wanted all of me. I was wrong. He stole a part of me and when he wasn't satisfied he left me shattered and I realized that is simply all he wanted; to use me. I lost sight of any purpose I thought I had, all of my passions and love for people. I thought that any compliment I received was merely a coo. I believed that I was nothing unless I was performing sexually. I started to think that that was my only purpose. That I was nothing more that a piece of meat. I hid myself from everyone. I became vulnerable, naive and captive to these lies. I became their puppet. Of course beauty and my body was all I had to offer, no one could ever love anything else. I was in this horrible mindset. Going through life thinking I had no value. Wondering if I would ever fill this huge hole in my heart. 

I grew up in the lutheran church but in my fathers world it was only something done on Sunday mornings - It was an obligation not a choice. So when I attended a youth conference and learned that there is so much more of God beyond religion, that there is a relationship here filled with abundant love and care, I wept on my knees until the floor in front of me was soaked and I had no tears left to shed. I did not weep solely because of what I'd done, but because I had never felt so much love. My Father wrapped his arms around me and the chains of lies I'd been believing were broken. I finally heard of all the amazing things God had to say about me. He told me I was beautiful. He told me he loved me. He told me I didn't have to be anything other than who I was. He gave me the strength to say no. To this day I have to continue to run to Him. To let him consume me, because my fight against those lies has not fully ended. But I am loved! I have a purpose, my passions are valuable and I have the power to help others. 

One of the most important things I have leaned in my life is to trust God, even when you cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. To know that He is Hope. That he has a purpose for everything that you are going through. In the midst of it all you may not see any reasoning behind what's happening, but there is so much to learn. I would not be the woman I am without the trials I've faced. I would not be able to help other people in my situation. It was not without fight that I am here now, but my how much more beautiful the world is when God opens your eyes.

God has broken my heart in so many ways but I yearn for women to never have to experience this pain. For women to know their worth and that they are loved. Irregardless of what's missing in their lives or of what people have said to them. Nothing here, in this life, can define you. Your creator defines you. He made you. Wrapped in beauty and filled with love. The love He has for you isn't even comprehendible. And He wants you to share it with others. To empower each other and share your story. So that people know they are not alone, there is someone out there who has fought or is fighting the same battle. Equip each other. Because you are more than enough! Your value doesn't decrease based on someone's in ability to see your worth. 

xoxo 

- Ariana

 

ariana blog 3

See, I told you she was amazing! If what Ariana has shared with us hits home for you, don't be afraid to find her on Instagram and send her a message! I know she would be so excited to hear about how her story has helped you!

 

Stay tuned for the next post, I have something stirring in my heart that I cannot wait so share with you!

Love you all endlessly!

- Mel 

Singleness is NOT a curse

Hey you!

Lately I've been facing some pretty major writers block. I was telling a friend just the other day about how I have all these ideas circling in my head, but none of them seem to be progressing past being an idea. SO FRUSTRATING.

That being said - shoutout to the lady at work that set this idea on fire. 

Being single is a topic of which has been on my heart for quite some time now, but its a hard topic to tackle without seemingly asking for pity. That is NOT the purpose of this post, quite the opposite actually. I want to speak life into the topic, I want to speak life into those who are single, and I want to speak life into those who will be single in the future. So grab a bevy of choice, get cozy and lets dive into this together. 

being single

 

If I'm being honest, over the last few months, I have found myself completely distraught over the fact that I've been single for quite some time now. I hated talking about being single. I forced myself to pretend I was happy being single. I got to the point where I had completely lost hope in ever finding a future spouse. I found myself thinking horrible things about myself - questioning what it might be that has kept me from finding a man, questioning what I needed to change about myself. I put so much focus on how B A D it is that I'm single. There were even times I felt pressure to hate my singleness, in the moments where I considered being single to be a good thing, I felt guilty. What the heck is up with that?! How messed up is our society that we pressure others to hate their own singleness.

When did being single become a curse? When did being single become something that people hated? When did being single become one of the least desirable stages of life in our culture? I want to go back in time and meet the person that started this trend and give them a stern talking to (maybe punch them in face as well tbh). 

For as long as I can remember, being single has had a negative connotation on it. There is pressure coming at us from all angles to find someone to spend our lives with. There is pressure from the media, parents, friends, and sometimes even from random strangers. We do anything to be noticed by someone we are interested in. A lot of us settle for far less than we deserve, we let people use and abuse us - simply so that we aren't alone, simply so that we aren't single. We pity ourselves for being single and we pity others for being single. We question what it is in ourselves and others that cause this singleness. We treat singleness as though it is a disease or a curse.

The idea of being alone terrifies us. 

being single 2

Today at work, a customer asked me if I had a boyfriend. When I told her I didn't, she actually took pity on me. Something in that moment clicked for me. I was furious that this lady actually felt badly for me that I wasn't in a relationship. In that moment, my months of pitying myself for being single became so silly to me. It finally clicked in my head that being single is far from being a bad thing. It is not a curse.

Being single is great! Just like every other stage is great. I don't want people to feel sorry for me, frankly, I don't really want them to feel anything other that proud of where I am at. The idea of not being with someone shouldn't scare us. Being single can be a great opportunity to explore what makes you, YOU. Do things such as travel, or get an education. Really, its a time to do whatever the heck you want.

The fact that you don't have a partner, spouse, fiancé, husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend does not diminish your worth whatsoever. There is a purpose in every season of our lives. Embrace what ever season you are in and love it for all its worth. Don't waste your singleness - do things that set your soul on fire, figure out the depths of who you are. Figure out what you want in life and chase it until it's yours. 

And please, I'm begging you, never settle for less than you deserve. You are so precious and you deserve to be treated as such.

I hope that this spoke to you in the ways it has spoken to me. Today has been such a liberating day for me and I hope that it can be for you as well. I love each and every one of you reading this. You are all beautiful and worthy of being loved. To those of you who are reading this and have already found the loves of your lives - I am SO excited for you, the love I see you all displaying gets me so excited for my future. 

xo 

- Melissa

 

 

The Moment

How is it already 2016!? What the actual heck..

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and had fun ringing in the new year! I know I sure had a good Christmas season. Its crazy how fast time flies! It feels like I just graduated yesterday, I can't believe that was almost 5 years ago now. 

Time is a funny thing, it seems like humans are the only things controlled by time. Our every move is dictated by time. Time in its literal sense being the time on a clock, or time of day, or time of year, season, week. Time comes in so many different forms. We let time either make or break our lives. 

As a culture we are so consumed by wanting to fast forward time, rewind time, pause time. We always want to be somewhere else, be someone else. We hardly ever put our phones down and because we live in a social media driven world, we are constantly comparing our lives to others. We want to rush everything one minute and the next we want to slow everything down. We are completely consumed by time. 

time

My current season of life is a testament to that. I think I am experiencing the slowest, most boring season of my life. I feel like all I do is sleep and work. I have no boyfriend, Im not in school currently, I don't have a clear idea of whats to come in the next few months or years, a lot of my friendships are in a transition phase. I kind of feel like I'm not really living. To make it "worse" I see everyone around me experiencing the life I so desperately want. I see my friends falling in love, getting married, graduating university, starting killer jobs, getting really cool ministry opportunities and opportunities in life. I so badly want this season to end. I feel like some how I've failed. My focus has been on desiring whats ahead of me in an unhealthy way, I just want this season to end, so the next can start.

I have failed to see the work the Lord is doing in my life. I have failed to see the purpose in this season. I have failed to see the growth that comes from difficult seasons. I have failed to live in the present. 

It's so easy to get caught up in our plans and ideals of how and what life should look like that we forget that we serve a God that isn't restricted by time. Time doesn't rule Him, it only rules us. I think that the enemy uses that to his advantage too. When we focus on wanting the slow or rush time, we neglect to focus on the present. We wish we could go back in time to change things or hurry time because the present isn't good enough. We think we know whats best. 

Think about how much richer our lives would be if captured moments in our hearts and held on to them, but didn't allow them to dictate our lives. Or if we stopped wanting to rush time and just enjoyed each minute of each day to its fullest. I think our souls and our hearts are yearning for us to just slow down, take each day as it comes. I wonder if the stress and anxiety in our lives would calm if we started to focus on the present and being content with where we are, who we are and who we are with. 

One of my best friends has the verse Ecclesiastes 3:4 tattooed on her arm, "A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance". Earlier on in Ecclesiastes 3 it talks about how there is a purpose in every season and a time for everything. Jesus doesn't forget about the desires of our hearts. He knows all of our hopes and dreams. When we trust Him with those, and allow Him to grow and develop them, it can be so rewarding. When we let go of our expectations of life, He takes over and trust me, He will blow your mind with what He has prepared for you. 

time2

I think that we do ourselves and the Lord a great injustice when we grow complacent with our lives. When we start having thoughts of wanting to fast forward, rewind, or wanting to be somewhere else or be someone else. I think its similar to spitting on Him, saying what He's given us isn't enough. 

Embrace every season, embrace every moment. 

Now, I don't mean that we shouldn't be excited about our futures, or reflective of the past. I mean that we shouldn't let them control us, we should L I V E in the present. There is a time and place for dreaming for our futures, its good to plan ahead. Its also so good to reflect on the past and learn from it. It just breaks my heart to see SO many of us living in the future or past. 

I want to strive to live a life where I embrace every season. I want to allow Jesus to use my crappy, slow, boring seasons as an opportunity for growth and preparation for what is to come. I want the good seasons to be so full of joy that everyone around me is impacted by what they see in my life. I want to impact people to live their lives to the fullest and embrace every season. I hope my life can be a testament to that - embracing life, living it to it's fullest while building the Kingdom. 


I love you all + I'm believing in big things for 2016

xoxo

- melissa


#HerStory - Bailey

I have a confession, I suck at blogging. I really envy those that are so good at post regularly and on a schedule. That said, I'm going to try to get better, I promise!! Thank you for being patient with me, and cheering me on in this journey! You are all the best.

Its no secret I love instagram and the community it provides. Some people thinks its weird, but I love that it allows me to connect with people and has led to numerous new friendships. Thats the beautiful side of social media. It can be used for as much good as it can be used for bad. I am so thankful for the people that are apart of my life now because of Instagram.

A few month ago, through a series of events, I found this girl @baileymjane on Instagram. I was immediately captivated by her beauty, as well as her vulnerability and ability to see beauty all around her. I knew that I had to follow this girl and become her friend. Soon enough, she followed me back and we instantly connected!

It wasn't any surprise to find out she's one of the coolest people in the whole world. Bailey is one of the strongest people I've ever encountered. She has gone through so much and still has the biggest smile on her face. Bailey is incredibly kind, and soft hearted. She hasn't let the world around her harden or shape her heart. Bailey is FULL of joy, frankly, she radiates joy. She is wise beyond her years. Her heart for the Lord is so intimate and she's daily striving to reach new levels of her relationship with Him. She is talented and creative. She loves to explore the world around her and is always encouraging her friends and women around her! I really love that she uses Instagram as not only a creative platform but also an opportunity to speak truth over people and encourage people. 

 I admire her dearly, and I am so excited for the day she comes to BC and I get to adventure with her! Today we get to see a glimpse of her beautiful heart and I could not be more excited! 

 

Bailey-#herStory

Hi, I'm Bailey and I'm going to talk about the day I fell in love.

I did not want to fall in love the day I did. The day I fell in love I was angry & cold. Why would I once again open my broken, vulnerable heart - only to be hurt again?

The way I desired love can be unhealthy and frightening. I crave to be captivated. My vulnerability became overwhelming. I quickly fell in love with the wrong ones. After a glance, a two hour coffee date, a long relationship, and 2AM talks. I began to give parts of myself - that I wouldn't receive back. Parts of my heart began to belong to boys that left without a care. I believe there are two types of vulnerability. 1) with your body & 2) with your soul and heart. And it was my soul and heart. Little prices belonged to boys who ran when I showed them my big heart.

My heart slowly began to close - and it became hard to trust anyone. I was angry with boys, men. I was angry at anyone and everyone. I was angry at myself - letting people in. And I was angry at God - for teasing me, bringing people into my life only for them to leave.

The day I fell in love, I was angry, cold - I was impatient. My heart had been locked up. Numbness took over. The day before I fell in love I was envious. Everyone standing around me were in love - while I cried out for any kind of love. A love different from the boy who stole from me. Someone different from the ones who lied. But the day I cried out, he never came. The day I fell in love I had finally given up. I thought I wasn't worthy of his love. I thought my sin was too deep. I thought it was too late. But love came down, Love came behind me and hugged my entire being. And I met him - I met love himself. He showed himself to me as he laid before me, crying out to God. He was covered in bruises, blood and thorns - carrying every one of my sins on his shoulders. I finally met him - as my tears flowed and makeup ran while I knelt with a humble heart. And he told me to stand - as he held my shaking hands. He showed me dancing in a field on a sunny day with him, shoeless, while I turned around in a white dress - just how I liked it. He knew me. He knew the the things no one ever did. He knew I loved open feilds & freedom. He knew I loved being barefoot. He knew I've always loved dresses that twirled. He knew me.

Sunday, May 17, 2015 I fell in love with Jesus. I am captivated. I am loved. A love so different, so pure and innocent. Real love. And he wanted nothing from me but my broken, vulnerable heart.

No sin is too deep No heart is too broken No one is unworthy - to fall in love with love himself.

- Bailey

Isn't she lovely?! I am so thankful for her and everything the Lord has done and i currently doing in her life. If any of you were impacted by Baileys story, or you just want to connect with her you can find her on Instgram 

 

I hope you all have an incredible week and that you are enjoying the Christmas season! I am praying for you all especially those that are entering finals and exams over the next few weeks! I want to hear from you too, please, feel free to find me on Instagram, shoot me an email or if you have me on Facebook, lets connect! I want to hear whats happening in your lives. 

 

Love you endlessly,

- Melissa xox

I Am Blameless Before Him

Hello friends! I am really excited about what I have to share today, so excited that moments ago I was texting a dear friend about how excited I am to write this. I think it's something that everyone can relate to - boys and girls. It's something that has been weighing so heavy on my heart for a few weeks now. I hope that it speaks to you the way it did to me, I hope that the Lord starts to transform your heart as you read this. I think theres a lot of power in what I'm about to explore. So lets jump right into it!

blamelessbeforehim


Shame is one of the biggest killers in our world. Shame destroys people, it destroys dreams, it destroys lives, it destroys families. It kills our confidence, it kills our relationships with people and it kills our relationship with Jesus. Shame is a killer. We let our mistakes ruin our lives. We also have a tendency to label others by the mistakes they've made, we won't let them forget about the bad things they've done, the mistakes they've made. We hold their mistakes over their head like a rain cloud. No wonder shame runs so rapid in our culture today. How are we ever supposed to let go of our mistakes, to learn and move past them if we can't forgive ourselves, if we can't let others around us rid themselves of the shame.

I think the greatest travesty is that we have convinced ourselves that our shame removes us from the love of the Father. 

I am no stranger to these thoughts and feelings. Its something that has plagued my life and the lives of so many people around me. A few weeks ago, I was at a youth staff retreat and we took some time to meditate and respond to Colossians 1:15-23 and there is a part that says, "...He has now reconciled in His body of flesh by His death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before Him." This is where this idea sparked. These words hit me like a wall. It was during conversation at that retreat in that moment when it all started to make sense to me.

It's one of the hardest concepts to accept - that He loves us despite our mistakes. In fact, He died, so that He could be in relationship with us even though we are riddled with sin. He died so that he could bridge the gap between a sinful people and His love. He died for us - how stupid is it that we don't get that. He died so He could be in relationship with us, so that He would rid us of our sin. 

We are blameless before Him

There are multiple verses in the New and the Old Testament that talk about us being blameless before the Lord and there can be different interpretations of the word blameless, but I really believe that the Lord sees us as blameless before Him in the simplest form. He saved us from our own sin, He doesn't want us to be paralyzed by shame and guilt. He wants us to learn from our mistakes. He wants to help us avoid those mistakes, but He also knows how imperfect we are. He goes before us, He knows our every move, our every mistake before it even happens and He's already forgiven us for them before we even make them. There is nothing that can separate us from the love the Father has for us.

 Its time we stop shaming ourselves.

Its time that we stop shaming our friends, family and even strangers. 

Its time that we begin to release ourselves from existing shame, and allow the Father to heal our hearts. 

I wonder what our lives, churches and communities would look like if we all really embraced what Jesus did for us on the cross. I wonder how it would effect our relationships with others and most importantly our relationship with Christ. If we really grasped what grace and mercy looks like. I think our churches would be healthier. I think our lives would be richer, I think that we would see a growth in churches and in Christians around the world. Im not saying that we can just abuse grace and that we shouldn't feel some sort of frustration or sadness when we sin. Sin is wrong and there needs to be some sort of negativity attached to it. What I'm saying is that we shouldn't dwell on it, we shouldn't let our sin ruin our lives. There comes a point in which we need to move past it, to heal. We do ourselves and the Father a great injustice when we don't allow grace and mercy to flow in our lives. When we allow shame, sin, mistakes to control our lives and we don't accept the grace the Father has for us, we literally spitting on the foot of the cross, in a sense we are saying what Jesus did for us on that day wasn't good enough. 

I don't know about you, but I want to live a life worthy of what He did for me. I want to be released of shame. I want to live a joyful life, a life that is full of His grace so that others can see how flawed I am, but how He makes me whole again. That because of Him and His grace and mercy, I am blameless. 

I love each and everyone of you, and I am praying that you can forgive yourselves, and that you can really embrace grace of the Father. That you know you are blameless before Him.

you should also listen to this song, I think its an accurate representation of this topic 

- Melissa

#HerStory - Holly

Hi friends!

     When I first started dreaming up My Beloved, one of the things I really wanted to incorporate was the opportunity to have other girls share their experiences and their relationship with the Lord. Testimonies and experiences can be overwhelmingly impacting - We can't deny someone of their story. This is where the series #HerStory came from! 

Today we are lucky enough to have one of my favourite people in the world share on identity and what that has looked like in her life.

Everybody meet Holly

#herstory - Holly

I met Holly at the beginning of my freshman year at Summit Pacific Bible College. We were both freshmen and were both in the same program called Omega - a one year discipleship program focused on serving in the local church and missions. Anyways through a series of events we ended up becoming roomies!

Let me tell you, Holly is by a landslide, one of the coolest girls I have ever met. 

Holly has been one of the most constant people in my life. She is always challenging those around her and is always calling out the good that she sees in those around her. She lives her life fearlessly and is always taking on new opportunities and challenges. She is one of the funniest people I know and I can't go a couple hours without laughing my butt off when I'm around her. Holly has a beautiful, flourishing relationship with Jesus and it is very evident in how she lives her life. Im telling ya, this girl is completely captivated by Him and is figuring out daily, ways to live out His love.  Holly is unique and she really embraces that part of her! She's not afraid to stand out in a crowd and challenge social norms. Holly loves metal music and has the best style! I love that she doesn't chose to wear what everyone else is wearing or whats trendy, but instead she wears what she loves! As cliche as it is, she's one of the most beautiful girls - inside and out (she's also single, if any boys are reading this). I am so thankful that she's apart of my life, let alone one of my best friends. I wouldn't trade her for anything and I'm so excited you guys get to hear from her today!

#herstory - Holly

 

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect”

 

YO. My name is Holly, and I’m PUMPED to chat with you. One of my favorite activities ever is hanging out with my friends while coffee is present. Which it is for me at the moment, so if it is not for you, go grab some coffee, then come back.

 

So, something that I’ve always struggled with is knowing exactly who I am. I went through all the stages you could imagine. I went through my ‘scene’ years in middle school and a bit of high school where I hid myself in dark clothes and watching titanic every night. I had a few years in high school where I tried to act more girly than I actually am.  When I got into the older grades of high school, a lot about my life started becoming hard and fast. Things got really difficult when I was around 15 and then I became even more confused as to who I was. 

 

When I entered into college I got wrapped up in the lie that my confidence came from whether or not a boy was interested in me. This took me a long time to get over, and if I’m being real, I did not get over this idea until recently. There are plenty of reasons I could potentially peg to be the root of this problem, however I believe the reason for the problem is not as important as how I overcame it.

 

Something that is a reality in my life at the moment is that everyone around me is either dating, getting engaged, getting married, or even having babies. Therefore, I began to think that because I was lacking in all of those departments, what did I have going for me if nobody was showing interest in me? This was such an unhealthy outlook on life, and not fun at all! I went through a couple of bad relationships over the past few years; situations that were just not healthy and were not centered on Christ.

 

At the end of a hard semester this past spring, I decided that I was going to hang back on the whole dating thing. I can honestly say that since then, I have genuinely never been happier, as I simply haven’t been living to please anyone other than my homie Jesus Christ. This summer and these past few months have been a time where I focused completely on myself and have been learning what it means to be confident on my own, and I quickly learned that there was no such thing as being confident on my own, but only confident in knowing I am God’s creation. 

 

1 Corinthians 15:10 says “But by the grace of God, I am what I am”. This brought me to the reality that the only thing I need to feel confident in myself is the assurance of grace, in which I am living proof that this has already been given to me. 

 

I have made many mistakes in my life, which my friends and family could attest to, however I know that by the grace and love of God alone, I can be confident in every part of who I am. The fact that I am loved with a relentless love from the Creator of the universe is more than enough reason for me to wake up everyday and feel stoked about the adventures in the life that God gave me! 

 

This summer I learned to love myself in the least annoying way possible, I promise.  I found so much enjoyment in uncovering more layers to the spiritual gifts I feel God has blessed me with, trying to better my musical abilities, and just trying to be a better person all together. What this does not look like is trying to be the best version of myself, rather trying with every fiber of my being to look like Jesus Christ. 

 

I have found so much enjoyment in simply being who I am, strengthening my relationships with friends, deepening my relationship with God, and then getting to pour that out onto my youth students, family, and my friends. 

 

I am definitely not and never will be perfect. Some days I don’t really understand myself. For example, one night I will be crying in front of my TV watching the bachelorette, and another night I will be falling asleep peacefully while listening to heavy metal. I don’t really understand exactly what label I would have, and I have learned that that is okay. Who keeps the labels on things anyways? Aren’t we supposed to throw those things away when we purchase something? God made so many layers to all of His children, and what a privilege it is that we can uncover more about ourselves as we grow up!  

So my advice to you is to fall in love with your life, stay real, and keep God at the center of your life. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

If anything I said today resinated with you and you want to chat about it you can find me on Instagram or you can email me at holly@rossroadcc.ca

 

STAY RAD!

 

Holly


 

 

Nobody Likes a Complainer

I'M BACK!

     You have no idea how good it feels to say that. After what turned out to be a much needed break and reality check, I'm back! During my break, I had a lot of time to think about and reflect on how much this blog really means to me - how much YOU mean to me. I am beyond excited for everything I have planned and even more excited for the things that aren't planned. That being said, lets jump right in!

     This weekend is Thanksgiving here in Canada, and when I begin to think about my life, I have SO much to be thankful for. I think its such an attractive quality in people when they are full of gratitude. When they really have a grasp on how blessed they really are and the don't take things for granted. I want to be that kind of person.

     I used to be a complainer, a big one. If i'm being honest, I still complain more than I should. A while back, a close friend and I were having a very real, raw and honest conversation with each other about our strengths and our weaknesses. This friend pointed out to me (with so much love) that I tend to complain... a lot. At first, I got defensive. Me?! Melissa?! A complainer!? No freaking way. I started to pay close attention to my words and my thoughts - it hit me. I was a complainer. That very moment I started to do something, something that has totally changed my thoughts and my words. Every night before I go to bed (ok, almost every night) I write down in my journal a list of things I'm thankful for. I'm telling you, this has helped me SO much.

    When I think back, and eve think about presently, I have no excuse to complain. I have the best life. I think part of the problem stems from the culture that we exist in. A culture that tells us to never be content with what we have or who we are. A culture that is constantly telling us that we constantly need more. We are always comparing our lives and what we have to the people around us. We never seem to be satisfied. How sad is that, my heart hurts for the culture we live in. How hard is it to look at our lives and burst with gratitude and joy. Even in the hardest of times, we have so much to be thankful for. How much happier would we be as a culture if we stopped comparing, stopped complaining and stop focusing on what we don't have. Instead, we focus of how flippen blessed we are, how many good and beautiful things we have in our life. I think we would be greatly surprised with the results. 

     So this thanksgiving weekend (or this weekend for those reading outside of Canada), I challenge you to rethink your posture. Pay close attention to your words, actions and thoughts. Are you someone that is full of gratitude and thanksgiving, or are you consumed with comparison and complaining. In those moments when you are tempted to complain and compare, do what ever it takes to capture those words and thoughts and use the opportunity to give thanks. Reflect on the good. Your life will be so much richer. I challenge you to start keeping a gratitude journal! I know how much that helped me and has helped a few of my friends as well. You can never be too thankful! To conclude todays post, I thought I would write my own list of things that Im thankful for on this sunday afternoon.

     I am thankful for...

  1. My church, Jesus + the freedom I have to freely worship.
  2. My family
  3. Lattes that are bigger than my face 
  4. Laughter
  5. The fact that the weather has cooled down - fall is the best
  6. New friends + old friends
  7. Big cozy cardigans
  8. My Beloved
  9. YOU - seriously, I am so thankful for all the untold stories and people I have yet to meet, even the ones I already have met. You are so important to me. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone 

- Melissa 

Am I Called?

 

HELLO FRIENDS, I am so sorry I have been MIA, I was really sick, then life got really busy with Easter and life. I am really excited to share with you today about something thats been really on my heart lately. Let me know what you think <3

 



Am I called? This is a question I have tossed around for years. A question that has encouraged me and has also really burdened me. A question of confusion and has left me feel lost. A question that I thought I knew the answer to, but in turn, ended up feeling even more lost and confused. Recently I re-approached the question as I had been really struggling with it again and some of the people in my life were also struggling with. This time I wasn’t going to settle for just any answer, I wanted THE answer. So this week I spent a lot of time in prayer - Lord, am I called? 


This idea of being “called” wasn't really introduced me until my years in bible college. There I have been surrounded by so many incredible people. People that are so obviously captivated by the Lord and following where He leads them. Generally speaking that was some form of pastoral ministry. The word “called” was tossed around so often, everyone seemed to have an idea about what that meant. In conversation people would talk about people being called or what they felt they were being called to. It seemed like everyone I came into contact with was so sure of their “calling.” I felt like everything was being fast forwarded around me, and I was stuck on pause. Why didn’t I have this feeling? Why didn’t I feel called? What was Jesus calling me to? If I didn't feel like I had a calling, was I called? My heart was screaming out to the Lord, what about me God? Am I not called? It got to the point where I let other people around me tell me what my calling was. I was so desperate for this calling that I looked for it in the affirmation of others. I was a bible college student, with a lot of great interpersonal skills, and a lot of people telling me I would make a great pastor, so I ran with that. The affirmation of my peers and what they thought I should do with my life was more important than the plan Jesus had for me. 


Now, bare with me, I'm going to fast forward a bit, I realized that maybe I wasn’t called to pastoral ministry and that Jesus had another plan for my life. This really turned my world upside down even more. If Jesus didn’t want me to be in formal pastoral ministry, surely I am not called. Aren’t callings only ministry based? If I'm not going to pastor, my life surely is meaningless. Nothing I could ever do would ever be as important or worthy as a pastor. These were questions and thoughts that haunted me for a very long time. I still wasn’t sure if I was called or what that looked like for me. My life was still a whirlwind of confusion about what it even meant to be called. I wanted so badly to follow Jesus and the plan He had for me. I wanted to and still do want to serve Him with everything I am and everything I have. 


I was so focused on the idea of wanting to be “called” that I completely missed the fact that I was already called. 


In the Old Testament, the word call in Hebrew has a very similar meaning to the word call in english today. It simply meant to call. Just like we call a friend, or call to God, or call animals. In the Old Testament call also meant to name. To name was to be called and to be called was to be named. Just liked God named Israel, He also names us as His own. Later on in the New Testament the word called was synonymous with salvation. Calling was so obviously and overwhelmingly God calling people to Himself. When the Lord calls people to Himself it is no casual encounter. He is so captivating that the only response we can have is to acknowledge that he is the universal Caller. When we become Christian, we become called. In the New Testament, Jesus calls people to follow him. When He does this, it is also an invitation to other things and tasks: to peace, to fellowship, to eternal life, to suffering, to service and debatably most importantly - discipleship. We, as believers, are called to disciple everyone, everywhere and everything. 


It is so clear to me, that in the bible, a calling is such a crucial, central and complex theme. It would be so easy to consider it a metaphor for the journey of faith in life. When we limit the word to bible college kids, pastoral ministry, so even particular texts or stages of life, I really think we miss the big picture that God has for us. Similarly when we put so much focus on the calling and not the Caller. It would be like walking through a forest and missing it cause you were so focused on one single tree. We are disciples of Jesus and we are CALLED. 


As Christians, there are two obvious callings, one primary and one secondary. Our primary calling is to Christ and Christ alone. We are called by Him, to Him and for Him. Secondarily we are called to to think, speak, live and act for Him. This is where vocational callings come in. We are all so uniquely equipped with various gifts, talents, personality, passions, dreams. These are the heart beat behind what a “calling” could be. Some are called to pastoral ministry, some are called to homemaking and motherhood. Others are called to be teachers, florist, lawyers, dancers. actors, baristas. The list could go on forever. When we are so intimately in tune with the Lord and do our very best to follow the path He has laid for us, and seek Him above all else. Our “callings” happen so natural. When we seek to glorify Him in all we do, and use the skill sets HE has equipped us with, He will do the rest of the handy work. He will mold your heart and give you the strength you need. HE will give you dreams so big you can hardly believe them. HE will lead you down a path towards the life He wants for you. I am so thankful that I serve a God that has CALLED me, and EQUIPPED me for the plans He has for me. 


YOU are CALLED, and you are WORTHY of that call. So start living a life that reflects that. Start walking in the truth that YOU.ARE.CALLED, no matter what you think, He has a plan for your life, and I can guarantee that it is beyond anything you could ever imagine.


I love you all dearly, I want to know your thoughts and what you feel called too <3

#HerStory - Kenzie

Hello Friends!

I don't think i've been so excited for a post since My Beloved started. Today we have the first of many guests on My Beloved - sharing their stories in a series called #HerStory. For our first instalment we have the incredible pleasure of hearing about toxic relationships and how the Lord can truly bring redemption to these sorts of relationships from one of the most incredible women I know, who also happens to be my very dearest, best friend - Meet Kenzie Tanis Sutherland. 

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Kenzie, or Kenz as most of her friends call her, has the biggest, most beautiful heart ever! She fearlessly loves everyone around her, no matter what difficult circumstances she might be facing! Her passion for the Lord radiates from her and she can't help but sing His praises! Thats right, this girl has got PIPES. Kenz is no stranger to difficult times but always faces with the utmost courage and grace - always trusting in God and His greater plan. She is encouraging, hilariously funny, brave, trendy as heck, humble, strong, determined, SASSY, and talented. Always going the extra mile for those she loves and always making the people around her feel extra special. She's actually one of the greatest humans I know. Currently Kenz is living in Calgary, Alberta with her family and is working towards going to school to become a pastor (I know, she just keeps getting cooler and cooler).

- Melissa xox

Take it away Kenz!

Hey Guys! Kenz here, When Melissa first approached me to guest write a post for my beloved on toxic relationships, I admit I was a little bit hesitant. As I considered how to formulate my experience into words, I found myself once again swimming in the anxieties, and deep sadness of walking through a relationship that caused more damage than I will probably ever comprehend. I took a step back, put on some worship music, and prayed into the topic at hand. I recognized that I didn't want to write a post littered with indecent bashing of another person, I didn't want it to be a sad story of a girl who had her heartbroken by a boy, but rather, I felt the Lord gently whisper "Kenz, here's an opportunity for redemption. An opportunity to empower". So that's what I intend to do today. If you want to get cozy, clear your mind, and get real with me for a little while, I'd be more than happy to share my heart with you.

 

This past June I returned home from New Zealand after living there for six months doing a YWAM dts. I spent my time there pressing into The Lord, questioning, learning, growing, praying, worshiping, adventuring, stretching myself and my faith, and spending an awful lot of time asking God to bring me a husband(this sounds ridiculous, but I promised to be real with you, and that is the truth). I left New Zealand with a robust thriving faith in Jesus, a new found trust in my ability to hear his voice, an ability to encounter him radically in worship and intercession, and most of all a new discovery of the beautiful and tangible identity he has given me. My experience there drastically changed me as a woman, even saying that is a bit of an understatement. I knew God in a real and living way, and God knew me. 

 

Lets fast forward a little bit. As I am a bit of a wandering soul, and like to move around a lot, I suddenly found myself getting antsy for new surroundings. I made the decision to move to Vancouver Island, to see what it had to offer me, and what kind of new adventures I would find myself in. Now this is where the thriving, in bloom season I found myself in, started to turn to winter. Upon my arrival there I soon found myself reconnecting with an old friend. He led worship, my family liked him, he wasn't poorly dressed, and at the very top of the list; I immediately fell in love with his family. The first few weeks of our relationship were completely fueled by infatuation, and that 'I never want to leave your side' feeling. About a month into our relationship, he said I love you, he told me The Lord had told him that I was the girl he was going to marry, he immediately started discussing engagement , and he endlessly spoke of having a life with me. He fed me full of everything I had hoped and prayed for since I was a little girl. This is where every thriving promise turned to dust. He began breaking me down with bitter and hurtful words, and bit by bit began to rob me of the identity that Christ had fought so hard to write on my heart. (I'm not going to go into detail of the things that were said, and the bruises that were made, but I trust that if you have experienced a similar season in your life you relate to what I'm saying right now). I soon went from a passionate woman full of life and desire, to a little girl standing in the destructive wake of someone else's dreams. Eventually our relationship dissolved, he eloquently tried to explain to me that everything he had said The Lord told him about our relationship was a fabricated lie, for a lack of better words. I was left in shock with a blurry and warped sense of self, and an even more distorted sense of who God was. I moved back in with my parents in Calgary, and often found myself laying in bed with a deep numbness in my heart. I felt myself grasping and clawing for even one minute in the clarity of the Holy Spirit's presence. I felt myself  begging for him to hit the reset button on my heart, to knit back together the confidant woman that once inhabited my body. I felt as if the weight  that now resided on my shoulders was to much, unbearable. 

 

"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." 

Matthew 11:29 kjv

 

I want to shift gears a little bit, and encourage a heart that feels like it has no more fight left. Listen up. This is where Jesus breaks into the room, and changes the atmosphere of your despair, and your confusion. There was a point in this season of my life where I had the deepest most pure revelation, that the God I knew before this, was the same God that was knocking on my door now. He was asking me to simply invite him into my chaos, and allow him to pull me out of the ocean I was barely staying afloat in. When we admit to ourselves that we can not handle anything without the grace and love of our Father, is when healing happens.(and THANK THE LORD we are not designed to do this alone). He slowly began cleaning me off, polishing my heart, and revealing that Kenzie was still in there. That crazy girl with weird taste in music, and a sense of humor all her own, she was still thriving under the residue that remained. There was clarity, and life after what felt like a dead end. There was healing for my heart, as well as an opportunity to grow more than I could ever fathom, and I promise there is healing for yours. 

 

I have some closing pieces of advice that I'd like to pass onto you...

 

Get into the presence of God. 

Even if it feels like it takes every ounce of strength you have left, fight to be with him, fight for intimacy. Get into his word, listen to worship music, surround yourself with truth. If I know one thing for sure, it's that in the presence of God, all things come into alignment, there is clarity in your suffering, and there is joy amid pain beyond understanding when he enters the scene. Avidly ask God to refine your heart, and to speak identity over you once again. This is when the empowered woman of God rises up, stronger than ever.  

 

Guard. Your. Heart. 

In the aftermath of a damaging relationship I found myself terrified of entering into a relationship again. First of all, If you find yourself trapped in a toxic relationship currently, no matter the consequences, get out now. This is where you need to take a birds of view of the destruction, and resolve to protect your heart. Understand that you hold infinite value,  and someone who does not recognize that, and someone who is willing to disrespect you in anyway is not allowed to have a piece of you. This sounds cliche, I know. but hold out. Hold out for the man that will pursue your heart with the fervor of your heavenly father. Hold out for someone that allows you to be unapologetically yourself, transparent, and honest, silly, and care-free. Someone that doesn't put unrealistic expectations on you, but rather prays for your growth and spiritual maturity. Someone that challenges you, but doesn't tear you down. Don't give up hope, don't lose heart. Do not sell yourself short, but wait it out for the person who is going to see the Jesus within you. 

 

You do you, Girl.

Probably my favourite, and most offered piece of advice. Give yourself permission to be yourself. God made you the way you are, because your are good, and you are lovely in all your ways. You are not to blame for painful things that have happened to you, and most of all you are not defined by the labels other people have tried to stick to you. Don't allow yourself to succumb to an unrealistic ideal of a past relationship. Surround yourself with people that recognize your worth and your beauty. And do the things that make you genuinely happy and enriched. You do not need to change for anyone. You do you.  Holla. Drops mic.  

 

I could probably go on for another nine years on this topic, because it's one that resonate so deeply in my heart. I just want to finish by reminding you that you are going to be okay. You will thrive once again with a heart that is fully intact. Know that I am praying for you, and I am cheering you on with every fiber of my being.  Remember, You are strong and you are courageous. 

 

God is breathing life, and giving healing. Grab hold of his promises today. I dare you. 

 

All of my love and support,

Kenz. 

 

ps. If you want to connect with me, feel free to shoot me an e-mail(kenzie.tanis@hotmail.com), follow me on instagram(@kenzietanis), or facebook message me. I would love to hear from you. xoxo

I am who HE says I am

Hello friends! 

     I have been so overwhelmed by the love and support My Beloved has been getting! I am so grateful for everyone that shared posts and for those that sent me the most encouraging notes, messages and texts! I cannot express how excited I am for this journey and how excited I am to see where the Lord takes My Beloved. I am SO thankful for YOU. 

I will be the first to tell you I have horrible self esteem, and at times it is really really hard for me to see myself in a positive uplifting light. I always see and pay attention to the negative things, the things I see and the things that have been pointed out in my by others. It has been and continues to be my greatest struggle in life and I know that it holds me back from a lot of things in a lot of ways. Because of this, I have always been very influenced by what people say about me. I have continuously let people define me and always in a negative lights. I have always let the bad outweigh the good. 

You’re fat, you're ugly, you're stuck up, you're a goody two-shoes, you're a religious snob, you look like a pregnant horse, you're not good enough, you're not pretty enough, you’re annoying,  you're not popular enough, are you sure you want that candy bar, you've worn that plaid a lot lately maybe you should stop, you need to care more about how you dress, dress more like a girl, the girls here don't like you, people are threatened by you, you're not talented enough - I could go on with the things that people have said to me. 

They stick in my mind like glue. On repeat in mind, never letting me forget. No matter how much positive encouragement I get from the people I love and that love me. 

Recently I was asked to describe myself in 3 words, 3 simple words. Seems pretty simple eh? It was so painful for me. I came up with one word, ONE, and it wasn’t a well received by those listening. My word to describe me - boring. 

That word slapped me in the face. BORING?! The only place this word comes from is the years of being beat down by those around me. Never allowing myself to flourish in self confidence, and really love the woman the Lord has created me to be. Boring. A word that completely neglects to see the vibrancy that I carry. A word that disqualifies me from seeing myself as a unique and beautiful individual. A word that I need to rid my vocabulary of permanently because frankly I am anything but boring. 

 I started to pray from that day forward that the Lord would reveal to me how HE sees. I asked Him to show me how He would describe me. Who is Melissa to Him? I have been completely floored and humbled by His response. I am who HE says I am. 

I am beautiful, I am loved, I am kind, I am compassionate, I am joyful, I am always laughing, I am funny, I have the biggest heart, I have a voice, I put others first, I am thoughtful, I am intelligent, I am crafty, I am talented, I am passionate, I am so full of life, I make people laugh, I always look for the best in others, I have influence, I am going places, I love well, I am sassy, I am adventurous, I uplift, I speak life, I am in love with the Lord and I know that I am His Beloved. 

That is all that matters. No other labels, no other words, His and His alone. They define me, He defines me. 

I am who HE says I am.

Low self esteem and a lack of confidence is something that is SO prevalent in women today. There are very few girls I know that have not struggled with their own self esteem. My hope is that this will help encourage those of you that might struggle with the same thing! The Lord’s heart completely breaks when we see ourselves differently than the way HE see’s us. After all we are created in HIS image, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” Genesis 1:27. He loves each of us so dearly and He desires us to be confident in the women He created us to be. Not the women we have allowed ourselves to believe that we are based off our own thoughts of the things that people have labelled us as. We need to be confident in who He has created us to be. Never becoming prideful of it, but recognizing the words that He is speaking over us, speaking over you. Sometimes we have to press pause on life and take time to listen to His still small voice speaking life over us. Grasping each word He speaks and holding on to it. You are BEAUTIFUL, you are VIBRANT, you are LOVED, you are UNIQUE and you are His BELOVED. 

Praying for all of you this week + I really hope this resinates with you the way it has with me.

- Melissa xox 

Welcome to My Beloved

Hi Ladies!

I cannot begin to explain to you how excited I am that this day has finally come! It has been a long journey of trial and error, but at least My Beloved has launched. My Beloved is a dream the Lord has been growing in me for years now. What started as an ability to connect with girls well, turned into an overwhelming desire to see women come to a place where they genuinely know how valuable they are — Not only to this world, but to the Lord. 

I want to see women recognize their own potential. I want to see women be bold and brave. I want to see women genuinely love their own bodies. I want to see women know that they can do anything they set their hearts to. I want to see women love each other. I want to see women stepping into leadership roles in their jobs, churches and communities. I want to see women being confident in who they are. I want to see women pursuing the Lord and His righteousness. I want to see women come to a clear understanding of how deeply the Lord loves them. I want to see driven and passionate women. I want to see women truly love life — the trials and the good times. 

The Lord wants nothing more than to see His daughters smiling and laughing — full of His joy. He wants nothing more than for His daughters to experience true love and what it feels like to be loved — His true love. His heart for us is that we would be confident in who HE made us to be and that we truly know how beautiful we are. He wants nothing more than for our daily lives to be full of worshipping Him and be examples of Him on a daily basis. He is so passionately in love with you and He wants you to have the most free and abundantly full life possible. 

Not only do I want that for other women, I want that for myself. Unfortunately, more often than not, I see the opposite of this in women and myself. Which completely breaks my heart, so I can only imagine how much the Lords heart breaks for women around the world.

This needs to start to change now! 

I want My Beloved to be apart of that change. A tool for women to hear about different issues and struggles and feel encouraged. A place for women to share their stories with other women. A place where we can talk about fun girly things and also talk about serious things. Most of all I want it to be completely centred  around Christ and His desire and heart for us as Women. 

All my love

- Melissa xo