Dashed dreams into reason for hope

The due date anniversary of our first baby, Baby C Sharp, is coming up. We honestly lost the baby so early that, if there was a due date established, I don’t know what it was and I’m pretty confident the Lord made is so for my peace and comfort.

The following is a note from Facebook (the only one I ever wrote back when notes were “in” on Facebook). It perfectly describes my heart to this day regarding the sweet baby we lost. I’m so grateful for a Creator who perfectly orders our lives and then graciously and mercifully walks through the ordained days with us. What divine provision.

“We are rejoicing that Baby Sharp is in Heaven already praising the God of this universe. Praise the Lord this little one did not have to enter this wretched world, but immediately entered life in Eternity with His Savior. How gracious a God to save this sweet child from the evil encountered on this earth. We do not mourn as though we’ve been slighted or cheated, but mourn for the loss we were so expecting to enjoy. His mercies are new each morning and we cling to those mercies daily. We are surrounded by a sweet group of friends and family who have faithfully supported, prayed, and encouraged us. We look forward to the blessings that will come forth from this season, as well as the refinement we are sure to experience. Thank you for loving us and praying with us.

Grace to you-
Melissa & Brady Sharp

Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23”

posted October 23, 2009 due date was May/June

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Sifting Sandpaper

Sometimes the sanctification and brokenness feels as though we’re being stripped of all that is us, but He’s replacing it all with all that is of Him. That’s much more valuable and beneficial than our flesh. -me

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I love my husband. More than any person in my life and second most to my Savior. He has had chronic pain for 15 months now. It started with a 9 day hospital stay, more tests than I can re-cap, and finally a diagnosis that has, so far, only resulted in medication as a fix (for now, hopefully).

The first 3 months I was on pure adrenaline and desperation to find out what was wrong with him and to keep him comfortable. During that time, I became pregnant and was staying home with our 14 month old son. (What a HUGE blessing and provision that I had already been a SAHM! I was able to take care of the most important people in my life without worry of losing my job. Although, they may have wanted to fire me!)

He progressively got better, I progressively got more pregnant and miserable, and our toddler got progressively more busy! Our second son was born in November of the same year that my husband was diagnosed with a thoracic condition.

In January 2013, it had been a year since he first began hurting. Like all seasons ebb and flow, I hit a wall with being a care-giver. I wish I could sugar coat my emotions, but the reality is my meager attempts at managing my emotions revealed my true attempts were just out of my flesh. I needed help and I needed someone to reveal grace and mercy and speak Truth to me. I needed someone to remind me that Jesus doesn’t tell us to “pull yourself up by the boot straps” (that had become my motto). Jesus doesn’t tell us “well, this is just your lot so deal with it.” Truth be told, I knew my life wasn’t hard. I knew my life was pretty spectacular! I was just tired. I was weary. I felt alone. So, I made a call (ok, I made a text!). To a staff wife at our church that I have known and trusted since I was in high school. Her husband, too, deals with chronic pain. I needed some wisdom. I needed some guidance. I knew if I didn’t get some light shed on my heart soon it was going to become bitter.

So we went to get a soda and talked. She is a discerning counselor and had prayed specifically for what the Lord would have her say to me. (By the way, don’t ever seek someone’s counsel who isn’t praying and sensitive to the Spirit-my two cents).

I began to share with her the nitty gritty of my ugly heart right now. I’m tired. I feel selfish. I want to do the things that interest, energize, and refresh me. But there’s no time for it. (This was smack in the middle of a week where my husband was in bed due to a spell of debilitating pain). But the flip side to these emotions::At least my husband is still with me! My husband is still able to work and provide for us! My husband still loves me and our sons with his whole being and ministers to us with an overflowing Jesus love that few people have these days! My husband loves people so much that he wants to burst sometimes and ministers out of the overflow of who Christ is in him! Those are some pretty gigantic positives! The reality of my emotions and truth were waging war in my being. So, here comes her questions and what the Lord led her to ask and speak.

“Melissa, what’s your picture for you life? What do you see, what do you want? Now, what do you think God’s big picture is for you? What does He want? Do those line up?”

Absolutely not. They don’t. I shared with her that I had already been convicted for two weeks before meeting with her that I needed to say no to a lot of things and people, including myself. That is one of the most painful pieces of sandpaper I have ever felt scratch across the surface of my very delicate flesh and selfishness. So I had already started saying no to others and myself. It was hard. It hurt. It felt unfair. Now I could realize the real reason I started realizing my selfishness was coming to the surface was an unfortunate collision of the conviction to say no and now my husband was needing me totally and I didn’t even have the choice to say no now, I had to in order to be available to him. How wretched am I that I’m struggling with selfishness when my family needs me? Well, I can just see it now. We’re all wretched and deceived by our hearts. Thankfully, Jesus can redeem that!

I will give you a few examples. I was having a get together at my home. I LOVE to decorate and make themes. I’m not really good at it, but I enjoy it. I enjoy others’ enjoying my decorations. For this get together, I promised myself my home would be clean, but no extras. I stuck to it. I didn’t like it, but I stuck to it.

I’ve wanted to decorate Drake’s room for a while. And I want to do it on the cheap, but that requires a lot of hand making and creativity. I’ve put that to the side. He doesn’t care. He’s a boy. He loves his bed and that’s all he wants in there. It’s about me and feeling accomplished and impressed with myself (let’s call it what it is) and that’s not worth the time away from my family, the money, or the chance of not meeting their needs.

It was all a bunch of sifting. It still is. That dross that He’s refining out of His gold (me) hasn’t all completely come to the top yet. But He says I’m worth the time it takes to refine. He says I’m so worth it, that He sent His Son to die on the Cross and His Son left us the Holy Spirit to continue working in this sinful heart. He won’t ever be done working on me until I’m in heaven. So this is just one more chapter in the book of my sanctification.

His big picture for me right now?

Wife. My husband came first and comes first out of all of my relationships on earth.

Mom. We prayerfully added little humans into our family and they are our responsibility. The number one priority for our marriage under glorifying the Lord (which covers everything else to come under here) is to provide for and disciple our children. We are and will be held accountable for this area.

Then some. I was called to college ministry before I married my husband. That calling has expanded to ministering to women in all seasons. College, marriage, mommyhood, adult mothers who have college students….this is my calling and I enjoy the moments shared with ladies.

My lot isn’t a place where He resides to give me everything hard. My lot is the place where I come to see who I am in relation to Christ, secure my identity, and walk with Him to continue in ministry and laboring for Him.

Web places that encourage me in these areas::

Finding Joy

Focus on the Family

Dr. James Dobson

Jen Hatmaker

Family Matters

Lysa TerKeurst

Busy Bag Swap for MOPs

Busy Bag Exchange: Preschool Bags from Second Story Window

(Second Story Window post above-click on picture above)

We are about to start preparing and planning for a busy bag at our MOP’s group at The Church at Sheppard. I have compiled a Pinterest Board entitled “Busy Bag Swaps” that you can get to by clicking here.   Below, I have posted more links than you could ever possibly look at to get ideas of some possible busy bags to make for our swap!

Here are the links::::

second story window       growing a jeweled rose         money saving mom           engaging toddler activities          mama says sew       our life styled

Here is how the swap will work!

1. Pick the busy bag you would like to produce multiple times.

2. Email me (Melissa Sharp) at sharp.mrs@gmail.com with your selection (by Monday April 29 to ensure everyone has plenty of time to prepare) and wait for a reply from me with confirmation that your selection hasn’t already been taken by another participant. The email will also contain the final number of bags you need to produce (this number will directly correlate with how many participants we have–everyone gets one of your bags).

3. Make your activities, place in a container such as a Ziploc bag, and include directions for the activity, as well as age appropriateness.

4. Attend MOP’s on May 16 and be prepared to demonstrate your busy bag activity. Bring them in a large bag or tote and bring an extra bag or tote to take your activities home in (do not plan on using the same bag or tote, your activities will remain in the bag or tote while you’re gathering the bags others have made).

5. PLAY WITH YOUR KIDDOS!!!!

If you have questions, please contact me at sharp.mrs@gmail.com and I will help you with whatever I can. I’m looking forward to this fun time and can’t wait to have lots of fun stuff for my babies this summer!

Busy Mind, Deceptive Heart Week 1 Re-cap

college girls

Drawing The Line…Do Not Pass Go…How Far Is TOO Far?…

Boundaries will make or break any relationship. Where you end and others begin is not only something you should define for yourself, but should also be defined in such a way that you are capable and confident to communicate to others. People (even the ones you think are the closest or you would expect to respect you) will challenge and push your boundaries at any given moment. The enemy will prey on your inability to draw those lines for his gain in his efforts to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.)

If you can identify with any of the following statements, you need help setting boundaries.

“I seem to have the hardest time saying no to people I’m in “love” with.”

“When he/she is in a bad mood, I get in a bad mood too. It just ruins my whole day.”

“I’ve noticed that my boyfriends always take advantage of me. I must be picking the wrong guys.”

“I know what’s best for him/her, and I’m determined to change him/her if it’s the last thing I do.”

If you really evaluate each of these statements, you’ll notice they each deal with the matter of responsibility. A boundary means that each person takes responsibility for himself. A boundary problem is a problem of you taking either too much responsibility for someone else, or not enough responsibility for yourself.

Setting clear boundaries helps you know for what you should take responsibility, and helps others know how better to relate to you.

Relational Boundaries

Boundaries define who you are, and they reinforce the idea that you are separate and distinct from others. They describe what you think and feel, as well as what you are willing to do. They define your preferences. They inform you as to where you END and others BEGIN.

Drawing the Lines

 The short answer for how to draw lines would be to let your yes be yes, and let your no be no.  (Matthew 5:37 But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yesor ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.) Here are a few guidelines to keep you grounded and directed in setting boundaries.

  • Your Body Belongs To You

Define what your limits are before you even walk out the door. When you are being pursued, (and if the man in question isn’t pursuing you but you’re thinking you need boundaries in your “relationship” take a step to splitsville because he doesn’t even deserve to know the boundaries if he isn’t investing in you) these boundaries must be defined for yourself before entering a serious relationship. Once you have shared your boundaries (expectations) with a man, you have an immediate and first step in the culling process. If he oversteps the bounds, he has little respect for you. Therefore, you have an immediate strike against him and a red flag. It’s up to you and your integrity to walk away.

If you don’t set your boundaries before there is a need to make a decision, then you won’t stick to them.

You’ve been in a situation where you continually lost a little more and a little more ground in a relationship, whether it’s dating or another personal relationship. But here, we’ll use an example of sexual boundaries with reference to “your body belongs to you”. Most people don’t lose their boundaries overnight. You lose boundaries slowly and sacrifice more and more as you go. Set your boundaries, sexually, before the Brain Relocation Phenomenon takes place. That’s where you begin to reason with your genitals instead of your brain. We will talk more about sex later.

  • Your Emotions Belong to You

Emotions are common to all people. They come and go. They can seem unpredictable and uncontrollable. However, we are each still responsible for our emotions and how we express them. You must know where your emotions end and others’ begin.

Some allow their partner’s to intrude on their lives in such a way that they are actually controlling someone’s emotions. While others do the opposite, stepping in and feeling responsible for their partner. Here are some keys for setting EMOTIONAL BOUNDARIES::

Communicate how you feel to your partner. The ability and willingness to communicate how you feel is probably the single most important factor in promoting intimacy within your relationship. Use “I feel” statements. Don’t do this on a first date, this is direction for relationships moving in a serious direction.

Own your feelings and be able to separate them from your partner’s. If you find that your emotions are sometimes dictated by your partner’s actions or emotions, you are too emotionally connected. So, you are allowing your partner’s emotional atmosphere to determine whether or not you’re going to be in a good/bad mood. Don’t be an emotional chameleon.

  • Your thoughts belong to you.

No one can read your mind. (1 Corinthians 2:11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.) Mental boundaries force you to take ownership of your thoughts, and not expect others to read your mind. Proverbs 23:7 “As he thinks in his heart, so he is”. You are responsible to keep your mind clean and uncluttered. (Philippians 4:8  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.) If your thoughts are condemning or self-defeating prophecies, it is your responsibility to reign that it, not someone else’s job as you meta message and bait them to lift you up. (Romans 8:1 [ Life Through the Spirit ] Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,) Learning how to take control of your thoughts and how to express them will usher you into successful and healthy relationships.

  • Your actions belong to you.

One of the most foolish things we try to do in relationships is change the other person. You will end up changing yourself and being miserable if your goal and focus is to change someone else. Your efforts to change him/her will only bring frustration and misery to yourself. If you don’t like what you see, then move on and continue to be submissive to the Spirit in your own growth all the while building relationships with others. The right friend/boyfriend will come. Example of sacrificing self, trying to change others.

Breaking UP

It’s not a question of “if” one of the parties will be tempted to contact the other, it’s a matter of when. Everyone likes the familiarity and closeness of talking to and spending time with someone who knows you on a more intimate level. The initiator should be chastised the most, but the one who responds gets just as much criticism. It is critical you set up boundaries after a break up for everyone involved.  Think Band-Aid. If you don’t, you’re just extending the pain and adding deeper wounds instead of working towards healing. Pain (and especially immediate, quick pain) brings clarity and clarity brings closure.  Long-lasting pain is a guarantee when you think you can still be friends or hope the dumper will change his/her mind, or sinfully scamming some “I need a quick fix” intimacy off the ditched.

Four LIES about Boundaries

  • Lie #1 Boundaries are Walls

Walls keep people out and isolate. Drawing lines lets other in but with certain parameters for your safety. This actually enhances communication and develops intimacy because boundaries are something very personal and meaningful. When they’re shared and respected, a closeness is developed and built upon in order to further relationship.

  • Lie #2 Boundaries are Selfish

Selfish means being about self. (Philippians 2:2-4 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.) On the contrary, setting boundaries is NOT selfish. It forces you to take responsibility for yourself and your own needs, but doesn’t mean you ignore others’ needs. You serve better when you’re aware of your own boundaries and encounter equally appropriate interaction with others.

  • Lie #3 Boundaries are Controlling and Manipulative

Fearless line drawing liberates people from control and manipulation. Assert your boundaries in relationships, and you can let go of the need to control or the insecurity that lets you be controlled.

  • Lie #4 Boundaries are Insensitive and Rude

We do have an effect on others, and by drawing boundaries, we become even more aware of human nature and our effects on each other. However, we cannot take responsibility for how others feel. That’s why you make boundaries! You keep yourself protected from the temptation (for some) to tip toe around others. If you are breaking a major boundary by not breaking up with someone and know it would be the best, you’re actually being insensitive. You must be sensitive, and remember you aren’t responsible for their emotions. Not breaking up is keeping them moving on and wasting both of your lives.

 

adapted from:

“The Ten Commandments of Dating” “Passion and Purity” and of course, Scripture

 

Sneak Peek:: Busy Mind, Deceptive Heart

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Boundaries will make or break any relationship. Where you end and others begin is not only something you should define for yourself, but should also be defined in such a way that you are capable and confident to communicate to others. People (even the ones you think are the closest or you would expect to respect you) will challenge and push your boundaries at any given moment. The enemy will prey on your inability to draw those lines for his gain in his efforts to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.)

If you can identify with any of the following statements, you need help setting boundaries.

“I seem to have the hardest time saying no to people.”

“When he/she is in a bad mood, I get in a bad mood too. It just ruins my whole day.”

“I’ve noticed that people always take advantage of me. I must be picking the wrong friends/guys/girls.”

“I know what’s best for him/her, and I’m determined to help them see that.”

Busy Mind, Deceptive Heart

A study for single ladies discovering the heart and mind of a woman as she relates to the Lord, in dating relationships and all others. This study dissects the lies so easily believed and the worry that so often captivates as in Hebrews 4:12-13 and Matthew 6:25-34.

For more information Melissa at sharp.mrs@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/events/575696299120686/?fref=ts

Sneak Peek:: Busy Mind, Deceptive Heart

Image

Boundaries will make or break any relationship. Where you end and others begin is not only something you should define for yourself, but should also be defined in such a way that you are capable and confident to communicate to others. People (even the ones you think are the closest or you would expect to respect you) will challenge and push your boundaries at any given moment. The enemy will prey on your inability to draw those lines for his gain in his efforts to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.)

If you can identify with any of the following statements, you need help setting boundaries.

“I seem to have the hardest time saying no to people.”

“When he/she is in a bad mood, I get in a bad mood too. It just ruins my whole day.”

“I’ve noticed that people always take advantage of me. I must be picking the wrong friends/guys/girls.”

“I know what’s best for him/her, and I’m determined to help them see that.”

Busy Mind, Deceptive Heart

A study for single ladies discovering the heart and mind of a woman as she relates to the Lord, in dating relationships and all others. This study dissects the lies so easily believed and the worry that so often captivates as in Hebrews 4:12-13 and Matthew 6:25-34.

For more information Melissa at sharp.mrs@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/events/575696299120686/?fref=ts

Two Hearts, One Flesh

Starting May 29, I will be hosting/teaching a home study for young married ladies. We will be approaching topics that are unique to the marriage relationship as well as topics that are specific to women within the marriage union.

As previously stated, we’ll start Wednesday May 29 and we’ll meet every Wednesday from 8:00-9:15 pm. Please contact me at sharp.mrs@gmail.com if you have any questions!

The following post is an excerpt from a talk I shared with our MOPs group at The Church at Sheppard. It contains a few ideas we will touch on this summer at our home study. Enjoy and leave some feedback.

You married a sinner.

“A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” -Ruth Bell Graham

 

Keep your expectations low. Verbalize needs, not demands. Yes, there are keys and expectations to marriage union—faithfulness, reciprocation, etc. But once you get into preferences, that’s an expectation he may not fulfill. That will relieve you both from disappointment and pressure. He is not there to meet all of your needs, that’s Christ’s role. You both have to seek Him for that and each other for biblical healthiness in your marriage relationship.

 

”No one can go back and change how it started but a new future for any marriage can begin the moment one person begins to invest in it.” -Fawn Weaver

You may have to choose to be that person. Are you going to focus on all the bad or start making small changes to invest in the life of your marriage? The marriage is singular, you are one.

 

It is your one flesh, as a team, seeking to conquer the enemy’s assaults.

“A good marriage is each for the other and two against the world.” -Robert Brault

“Many marriages would be better if the husband and wife clearly understood that they are on the same side.” -Zig Ziglar

While it’s critical to find the truth about issues affecting your marriage, relationship is always more important than issues.  You’re partners, not prosecutors, and that partnership doesn’t end when you discuss sensitive topics. 

 

Major on the majors and not the minors. Like we discussed earlier, the minors are usually preferences and requests. Those can be addressed through conversation and deliberate intention on both spouse’s behalf. The majors are where you need to focus time and hard conversations to be on the same page.

Once you start talking, take deliberate measures to keep the conversation principle-centered.  Don’t ask who’s right.   Ask what’s right.  

 

 

When you find yourself frustrated or disappointed or angry, start by evaluating and searching your own heart and your sin. This will diminish his.

Psalm 139: 23-24

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.

 

 

“Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate, but through being the right mate.” -Barnett R. Brickner

Marriage is not primarily about “finding the right person.”  It’s about being the right person. 

Mr. Glynn DeMoss Wolfe, once said that “Marriage is like stamp collecting.  You keep looking to find that rare one.”  It’s no wonder that Wolfe was married twenty-nine ix times.

Remind yourself of the meaning of love.  Speaking here about the agape love that Jesus demonstrated on the cross and that Paul describes in 1Corinthians 13.  In his classic work, The Art of Loving, Erich Fromm declares, “To love somebody is not just a strong feeling – it is a decision, it is a judgment, it is a promise.  If love were just a feeling, there would be no basis for the promise to love each other forever.”  That’s what agape love is all about.        

 

Peace in your marriage is a forever gift to your children.

 

“Marriage: If you want something to last forever, you treat it differently. You shield it and protect it. You never abuse it. You don’t expose it to the elements. You don’t make it common or ordinary. If it ever becomes tarnished, you lovingly polish it until it gleams like new. It becomes special because you have made it so, and it grows more beautiful and precious as time goes by.” – F. Burton Howard

 

http://www.family.org/couplecheckup/

 

“I got gaps; you got gaps; we fill each other’s gaps.” -Rocky Balboa (Rocky, the movie)

 

Book Suggestions::

 

For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn (Bible Study on Wed. at FBC Family Nights @ First)

A professional survey of hundreds of men showed amazing similarities regarding the way they think. Women who really want to understand their men will benefit from exploring the findings of this study about the inner lives of men. As women realize what men’s heartfelt needs actually are, they will be better able to meet those needs and enhance their most significant relationships.

 

 

Love & Respect by Emerson Eggerichs (Conference coming to FBC April 26-27)

Discover the single greatest secret to a successful marriage!  Psychological studies affirm it, and the Bible has been saying it for ages. Cracking the communication code between husband and wife involves understanding one thing: that unconditional respect is as powerful for him as unconditional love is for her. It’s the secret to marriage that every couple seeks, and yet few couples ever find. Today, you and your mate can start fresh with the ground-breaking guidance that Dr. Emerson Eggerichs provides in this audio book. His revolutionary message, featured on Focus on the Family, is for anyone: those in marital crisis… wanting to stay happily married… who feel lonely. It’s for engaged couples… victims of affairs… pastors and counselors seeking material that can save a marriage.

Marriage Builders by Larry Crabb

Psychologist Larry Crabb cuts to the heart of the biblical view of marriage: the “one-flesh” relationship. He argues convincingly that the deepest needs of human personality–security and significance–ultimately cannot be satisfied by a marriage partner. We need to turn to the Lord, rather than our spouse, to satisfy our needs. This frees both partners for “soul oneness,” a commitment to minister to our spouse’s needs rather than manipulating them to meet our own needs. With “soul oneness” comes renewed “body oneness,” where couples enjoy sexual pleasure as an expression and outgrowth of a personal relationship. The Marriage Builder also identifies three building blocks essential to constructing marriage: the grace of God, true marriage commitment, and acceptance of one’s mate.