Who Am I in the Mess?

When things get messy, as they so very often do, who am I?

What are my defense mechanisms?

What do I tend to do?

Ask yourself these questions and answer honestly.

Do I yell or swear? Cry? Run? Avoid? Shut down? Lash out? Dive into a bad habit such as drinking more or over-eating? Spend money recklessly? Sleep all day?

Do I take it out on those around me?

Recognizing these tendencies is the path to growth. The path to change. The path to healing.

My response to stress, confrontation, or pain is flight. I will try to get away from it as fast as I can. I will avoid and hide.

Knowing this about myself doesn’t make it easier to make a different choice in those difficult life situations. It is hard, brutally so, to swim against my natural current and face the situation head on.

It is a weakness of mine.

It doesn’t matter what your defense mechanism is–what negative response you have.

We have a God who says that His power is made perfect in our weakness.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

2 Corinthian 9-10

So who are you in the mess?

When a loved one dies.

When you’re in a decades-long argument with your spouse.

When your child needs a mental health diagnosis.

When a pet gets sick.

When you are waiting for test results.

When you lose a job.

When you’re flat broke and don’t know where the next mortgage payment is going to come from.

When your best friend moves away.

When someone lies about you to others.

When a pandemic hits.

When you are having a panic attack.

When the dishwasher breaks.

When your car won’t start.

When your heart is broken.

When you are in severe emotional or physical pain.

Who are you?

We all have things–moments, heartache, crises–that bring us to our knees. To be human is to suffer. We cannot escape it, no matter how hard we try. But we have a way through.

God’s powerful, life-changing comfort is waiting. His arms are wide open.

He says that His power is made perfect in our weakness.

He turns us around. He changes our hearts and moves mountains in our minds.

Our weakness doesn’t limit God. It proves His might and His perfect timing!

God is doing a thing in you. Let Him work.

Let Him soften your anger and flood you with His forgiveness, so that you can be a vessel of those things for someone else.

In the middle of the mess, little or big, we need to go to Him.

His grace is sufficient for me.

And it is deep and long and wide enough to cover you, too.

Faith in the Mess by Melissa Neeb

Accepting Jesus May Be Easier Than Accepting Ourselves

I accepted Jesus into my heart at a very young age. I knew I was precious to Him and always had a seat at His table as His beloved child and daughter. The unconditional love and forgiveness and grace of God was a gift I could easily accept.

What took much longer to accept, decades perhaps, was myself.

I couldn’t accept my fearfulness. My over-sensitivity. How easily I was embarrassed and cried.

I couldn’t accept my shyness, or my depression and anxiety, or my body.

I couldn’t accept my inability to put on weight, or my awkwardness around guys, or my terror of public speaking.

I couldn’t accept my indecision, my passivity, or my lack of boundaries.

I couldn’t accept that the traumas I had endured had permanently left scars and changed me.

Decades after accepting Jesus into my heart, I was still having a difficult time accepting myself and all my obvious (to me) flaws. I floundered and failed, doubted and rebeled until I reached the very end of myself.

That is when God took over.

He whispered into the recesses of my desensitized heart until I started to feel Him working again and transforming me into who He created me to be. He kept working, challenging my perceptions, and reminding me who HE said I was.

I started repeating His promises to myself all day long. That I am the daughter of the King. That I was loved into being. That Jesus left the 99 to chase down and bring me back into His strong arms. That I was created with a purpose, with a divine calling on my life.

I had to learn how to accept myself and let Him use my weakness to showcase His power.

Friend, if you are unable to accept yourself, please meditate on these affirmations. Say them out loud. Write them down. Put them on your mirror. Insert your name into these verses. Start believing it.

I AM CHOSEN.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)

GOD COVERS ME WITH HIS SHELTER AND PROTECTION.

He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

Psalm 91:4 (NLT)

I AM WONDERFULLY MADE.

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.

Psalm 139:14 (NKJV)

GOD IS WORKING IT OUT FOR MY GOOD.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28 (NIV)

GOD IS FOR ME.

What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?

RomanS 8:31 (NLT)

Let me remind you, precious one, of this truth. If you can accept Jesus into your heart, if you can accept Him as your Savior and Protector and Healer and Friend, if you can accept His boundless grace and mercy, then surely you can accept the being that was created in the image of God, whose body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is beloved beyond measure.

Yourself.

-Faith in the Mess by Melissa Neeb

An Unexpected Angel

The moment I walked through the double doors of a local church for my first Celebrate Recovery meeting, I was greeted by an angel.

Not a wispy, transparent one. An angel in the flesh.

She smiled huge and squeezed my neck in a giant hug, like we were long-lost best friends. I felt seen, welcomed, instantly loved. I was tethered to her warmth and authenticity, bound to her in some inexplicable, anointed way.

God aligned our lives perfectly. We met at the exact point in time that He designed: the exact century, decade, year, minute, and moment that He needed to fulfill His purpose.

And to fill a deep well in me that was achingly dry.

She showed me how to be emotionally present, how to work through past trauma with grace and forgiveness, how to be strong at my weakest points, how to always show up, how to truly listen to people’s pain and give freely of myself.

She showed up for me in a thousand ways, sporting her “Y’all Need Jesus” shirt and a grin that could melt the Arctic. She radiated light from every pore.

No wonder she was my angel.

God had a purpose for us; plans we never could’ve concocted in our wildest dreams. Plans that a pandemic and a move to another state couldn’t interrupt. The miles couldn’t dislodge us, wouldn’t break our soul connection.

God’s plans and partnerships cannot be thwarted. He is so good.

I didn’t expect to walk into that church and find a living, breathing angel. Sometimes God answers our prayers bigger and bolder than we even dare to ask. He sure did for me that day.

Even as we are separated physically, my angel Krista is never far from me.

Because the best angels are always

only a heart whisper away.

Melissa neeb

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Finding God at Rock Bottom

I couldn’t go on like this anymore.

My husband had another relapse, a pile of relapses, years of relapses. Once again I didn’t know where he was. I didn’t know if he had been in a car accident, if he was holed up somewhere waiting out his high or simply hiding from me, or if he had overdosed and died.

Any, ALL of these senarios were possible. I was left to my lowest common denominator, empty and hopeless, waiting for a phone call to solidify my fears.

There were countless night like this. This is the life of loving an addict.

You never know.

This was the last time. It may not have been the last time for him, but it was for me. I was at rock bottom. My heart couldn’t survive this anymore.

I dropped to my knees by the side of the bed, wailing, broken, defeated, desperate. Desperate for change. Desperate for my husband to finally get it. Desperate for our marriage to live up to its potential. Desperate for my husband to live. Yet everything I tried failed. All I had left was to beg for help.

I unleashed all my prayers in one breath and cried out to God. I let it all out: my fears, my frustration, my despair, my agony. And then I felt a wave of calm come over me. I dried my tears, got up, crawled into bed, and fell asleep.

God didn’t answer my prayer the way I thought He would.

See, God’s had a plan bigger and better than mine.

God didn’t change my outside circumstances. Not right away.

Instead, He changed me.

The night that I dropped down on my knees, literally, in the worst emotional and spiritual crisis of my life, God changed my heart.

I began to see my husband with the eyes of God. He was in pain and so was I. We couldn’t do this by ourselves. This disease was too big, too powerful, too cunning, and too full of madness. It was burying us, day by day, one inch, one limb at a time.

I needed saving.

At my weakest point, God asked for my complete surrender and trust.

I am so grateful for the night that I came to the end of myself. That night I hit rock bottom and that was when I truly found God.

What I didn’t realized until that moment was that

He had been there all along.

@faithinthemess by Melissa Neeb