Something I’ve Never Told Anyone

Hey everyone! I’m Melissa Taylor, Director of Online Bible Studies at Proverbs 31 Ministries. Lysa invited me to guest post on her blog today which is perfect because I’m going to take this opportunity to confess something that I’ve never told anyone.

There have been times I have been invited to something, yet I declined because I couldn’t afford it. To be honest, sometimes I’d rather just not be invited because afterwards I feel like I’m not as good as others. That they are better than me. That I wish I was them. And even though I was included, I feel left out.

There. I said it.

Recently I was invited to go the the spa with some girlfriends to celebrate a friend’s birthday. It would’ve been so much fun, but here was the reality: We had just sent two kids off to college. Another still lives at home. Money is tight. It’s clear this is not in the budget and so, with bitterness in my heart, I declined.

It’s not the first time this has happened. I’ve declined several invitations based on the financial cost it would entail.

I’ve asked God, “Can’t You just bless me with a little more? Why does it seem that everyone else gets to go to these amazing places and do all these fun things and I can’t? I’m missing out on so much!”

If you’re thinking, “Wow, this girl is a spoiled brat!” I’d have to agree with you. Remember, this has been my little secret up ‘til now.

Then Lysa’s book Uninvited came along. At first I thought, “This sounds like a great book, but I don’t think it’s for me personally. I get invited to lots of things!”

Then I read Chapter 1, “I’d Rather Ignore Honesty.” BAM. It hit me hard! I realized that although I may not be rejected, I’m putting myself into the “rejected” category with my self-rejection. No one else thinks I’m a less than, left out loser. Just me.

Rejection has many faces. Sometimes it’s brought on by others, and sometimes we bring it on ourselves. My feeling less than was not due to another’s words or actions. It was my own self-rejection which was rooted in pride — something I needed to deal with.

In Chapter 11, Lysa writes:

This could be an invitation to live in expectation of something else. Today’s disappointment is making room for tomorrow’s appointment.

One thing I’ve failed to acknowledge is the real reason I say “No, thank you.” It’s not because we don’t have enough money. It’s because God has given me an invitation to live in expectation of something else, like: My daughter’s lacrosse game. A date night with my husband. A vacation with my family. Getting my hair done. Taking my dogs to the vet.

Reading Uninvited has helped me realize that today’s disappointment is the reason I can say yes to tomorrow’s appointment. And the next time I need to decline an invitation due to the cost, I don’t need wallow in self-pity. Instead, I need to view it with the expectation of what God has in store for me.

If you can relate on any level, I want to invite you to join me for Proverbs 31 Ministries’ next Online Bible Study of Uninvited, beginning September 6. All you need to participate is the Uninvited book!

You can sign up and find out more about online Bible studies by clicking here.

Lysa and I can’t wait to do this study with you!


3 Things to Remember When It’s Hard to Forgive

The plastic seats were green. The desks a dirty beige. The perfect pale color to make pencil marks easy to read.

That’s how I saw what was making the group of girls in front of me laugh. They looked at me and then added to Jennifer’s desk art: a frizzy-headed stick figure with huge buck teeth and crazed eyes. I knew even before I saw the name scribbled, she’d drawn me. Me. An awful caricature of me.

It’s been years since I sat at that dirty beige desk. But it hasn’t been years since I’ve had those same feelings of rejection and hurt. Of course, they aren’t from girls drawing pictures. But meanness hurts, no matter what age and how it’s delivered.

You can take girls out of middle school but you can’t take the middle school out of some girls.

If you’ve been hurt in this way, you know what I’m talking about. If we’re a stuffer type person, we want to withdraw and get away from the source of our hurt. If we’re more of an exploder person, we want to attack back so they’ll feel as bad as we do.

But here’s where things get a little complicated. Jesus flies in the face of conventional wisdom and says for us to “love our enemies” and “forgive as the Lord forgave us.” Seriously?

Something deep inside us whispers, “Don’t you dare love this person. And certainly don’t forgive them! This situation is the exception.”

Let the internal battle begin.

But what if I were to assure you that Jesus isn’t being cruel or naive in His commands for us to love and forgive? He’s actually showing us how to get free from the long term affects of being hurt. When we’re wounded we have a choice. We can either pursue healing by extending love back, or, we can refuse healing and allow the “rejection infection” to set into our wound.

If you’re wondering how to do this from a godly perspective, I’ve put together a free resource called “3 Things to Remember When It’s Hard to Forgive.” You can download it for FREE by clicking here.


The Best Decision My Parents Made During My Worst Time

Hey everyone! I’m Lysa’s oldest daughter, Hope, and I’m honored to share a bit of my heart with you today.

The teen years can be difficult. I had a season in my late teens that was heartbreaking for those who loved me most.

Though I grew up in a solid Christian environment, some things went haywire for a period of time when my heart grew cold toward God and I was pulled in by friends making unwise decisions. It’s not like I wanted to rebel against my parents. I thought I could stray a little and still be fine.
I was wrong.

When my parents learned about some choices I’d made, they did something I’ll never forget and I’ll forever be grateful for: They pulled me in close.

They didn’t shame me. They didn’t push me away. They didn’t label me.

Yes, they were hurt. Yes, they cried. Yes, they drew hard boundaries in my life to protect me. But they didn’t make me feel like I was the sum total of my mistakes. They quickly admitted how desperately they needed grace; therefore, they would walk with me in grace. They prayed and asked God to give me relief from my unbelief. And they waited and watched for my heart to soften.

Instead of focusing on how bad I’d been, they pointed to all the good they knew I could do. They showed me how the world was big, full of needs and that I had a role to play. I had an assignment in the great plans and purposes of God. They cast a vision for me that was much better and eventually so much more appealing than the poor choices I’d been making.

It started with me working with a precious group of women who grew up on the other side of the world. They moved to the U.S. after their homeland became too dangerous. Several of them had scars from being shot and each one had stories that shocked me.

Working side by side at my dad’s restaurant, I fell in love with them. And watching their love for God and joy in Jesus changed me. A deep and unshakable mercy stirred a passion in me to go to countries where people are hurting.

I’m in my 20s now, happily married, and working full time at Proverbs 31 Ministries. But that passion to help others has never left. Recently, I traveled to India to serve a group of people so rejected in their society that if they drink or eat from a clay dish in public, it has to be broken so others won’t get “tainted by them.” It broke my heart, and made me determined to learn more so I could help!

I watched as others shamed them and pushed them away. I watched as others labeled them the “Untouchables.” And an unrelenting desire rose up in me to pull them close. Just like my parents did when I was at my most desperate time.

I will not push past this need. I will not be okay with them being labeled. I will find a way to help.

That’s what you do when you’ve personally been touched by deep grace and unshakable mercy. That’s what you do when you realize drawing near to those who are brokenhearted is what the Lord did for us, as our key verse says: “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).

And you find ways to pass it on.

Whether it’s your home, a restaurant down the street or in a slum halfway around the world, someone needs to experience the grace of God and a person who loves and believes in them. It changed my life.

This can be hard and we don’t always know what to do. It was hard for my parents, and it’s hard for me when I see people in need. I may not do things perfectly, but with God’s wisdom and strength, I will try.

Lord, give me relief from my unbelief. I don’t know how to change things, but I’m committed to living out Your truth today and being obedient to what You put in front of me today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

If you’d like to learn more about our time in India, watch the video below we filmed while we were there!

My mom is giving away every penny of her earnings from her new book, Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Left Out, Less Than, and Lonely to various Christian ministries around the world. And one of those ministries is using the Bible to teach the women labeled as “Untouchables” to read. So, by purchasing this life changing book for you, you will be changing the life of another. Thank you for your support! Click here to get your copy of Uninvited today. Or purchase wherever books are sold.  

One more thing I wanted to tell you – my mom, my two sisters and I will be doing a Facebook Live together to talk about how to help your kids process rejection through the lens of God’s love. Tune in TONIGHT at 8pm EST on my mom’s Facebook page here.

(Take a quick peek into my life by visiting my website here.)