This is the second part of a five-part series featuring interviewed testimonies. If you haven’t yet read the first post in Julie’s series, be sure to click here!
I’m so excited to “introduce” my readers to this incredible woman. If you don’t know her already, you’re guaranteed to feel like she’s your best friend by the end of this post! I first met Melissa through Moms in the Making, a faith-based infertility support group based in Dallas, TX. We connected online and then met in person at the MITM Leader’s Retreat, where I was privileged to volunteer with photography and worship.
Melissa has this way about her that makes you feel like you’re the most important person in the room, that there’s nowhere else she needs or wants to be, and no one else she’d rather be spending time with. She is genuine, down to earth, and so relatable. Her blog posts are always on point, hilarious, and highly encouraging. I’m so grateful for her heart and how openly she shares about her faith and the struggles she’s been through along the way. While reading through this post, I must have said, “Thank you, Jesus” at least 50x because I’m just so thankful for my friend. Enjoy, y’all!
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR LIFE BEFORE JESUS?
I was raised in a Christian home and have heard about Jesus for as long as I can remember. I think I officially asked Jesus to be my savior when I was seven. However, I didn’t really understand what that meant until I was much older. I spent most of my childhood believing that Jesus was a ruler whom I had to work to impress. I thought He loved everyone else more than me because everyone worked harder than me. I spent much of my childhood feeling like I wasn’t enough and hiding the ugly parts of my heart. I knew the “right” answers to say in Sunday school, but I didn’t know the truth deep in my heart. I quietly struggled with depression, fear, and anxiety.
HOW DID YOU MEET JESUS? THE HOLY SPIRIT? GOD AS FATHER?
I met Jesus when I was seven, but I started to get to know Jesus when I was seventeen. I will never forget, I was standing at a youth convention filled with hundreds of other teenagers, and I felt like the speaker was speaking only to me. Even though the room was filled with other people, I felt like I was alone. Just me and Jesus. Something about that moment made me feel like I needed to know everything about Him. Everything changed for me when I realized that simply knowing of Jesus isn’t enough, He desires a relationship with me. I feel like every day Jesus reminds me that He loves me for who I am, and not what I can do for Him.
My experience meeting the Holy Spirit was very similar. I grew up knowing about him and seeing him work. However, when I experienced Jesus personally at that youth convention, I realized the Holy Spirit was more than someone working behind the scenes to make sure things go my way. Since that youth convention, my understanding of the Holy Spirit has grown as I have walked in relationship with Him. I have realized there is power in understanding the Holy Spirit’s voice.
Since I have been walking in relationship with Jesus since I was seventeen, I thought I had met God as Father. Then, in 2013, we lost our first baby. I couldn’t understand how a loving Father could take a baby from me. I was angry and felt that if God was my Father, He was abusive at best. That season was one of the darkest in my life, and I spiraled into depression trying to figure out how to serve a God that wasn’t a good Father.
However, when I started digging in and truly getting to know God as Father, I learned His heart was breaking just as much as mine. I learned that God’s perfect design was for me to always be in relationship with Him. His plan was for all His children to live in the Garden of Eden and to be fruitful and multiply. However, when Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, sin entered the world. Now, because of that sin, we live in a broken world. God didn’t take my baby, the enemy stole my baby.
God isn’t a Father who gave me a toy that I had dreamed of for years, only to steal it away from me. He is actually a Father who picks me up and holds me when all the pieces have broken. He is a Father who has promised restoration, and He is better than I ever dreamed. Learning who God is as my Father has helped me find deeper relationships with both Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
HOW DO YOU JOURNAL OR TRACK WHAT THE HOLY SPIRIT IS TEACHING YOU? WHAT DOES YOUR QUIET TIME TYPICALLY LOOK LIKE?
A few years ago I got in the habit of journaling every night. I write at least one or two sentences to describe the day. As the years have passed, I have started to include prayer requests, dreams or anything the Father is speaking to me. Some days I really only write one sentence or two! Other days, I write a couple of pages. It really just depends on what is on my mind that day.
I really like to change up what my quiet time looks like. I like to try new ways to study the Bible. This year I am focusing on reading the Bible cover to cover. So my quiet time looks like reading several chapters and then meditating on how every story ties together and points us back to the character of God and our need for a savior. I am using a study guide on the YouVersion Bible app to help me stay on track, but I find that I keep getting behind the guide as I find stories that I want to meditate on for more than a day!
WHAT SCRIPTURE(S) DO YOU GO BACK TO WHEN YOU’RE STRUGGLING WITH FEELINGS OF ANXIETY, FEAR, WORRY, ETC.? WHAT DO YOU DO TO BUILD YOUR FAITH?
Whenever I am feeling anxious, fearful, or worried, I always try to go to Philippians 4:8.
It says this in the NIV translation:
“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.”
No matter what I am feeling, I get to choose what to think about. For example, if I am getting ready to board a plane, I can spiral out of control thinking of all the terrible possibilities, OR I can run my thoughts through Philippians 4:8. When I am flying, what is true? What is noble? What is right? What is pure? What is lovely? What is admirable? What is excellent or praiseworthy? I guarantee, the plane crashing isn’t on that list!
I admit it is sometimes difficult to remember all the things Philippians 4:8 reminds us to think about. So sometimes I simply just put “In Jesus Name” behind my thoughts. “This plane is going to crash, in Jesus’ name” doesn’t work. However, “This plane will land safely in my destination, in Jesus’ name” does work!
When I recognize that I have negative thinking that doesn’t align with Philippians 4:8, I have another choice. I can choose to let it hang around and drag me down, or I can choose to take it captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) and not think about it anymore. I admit this is easier sometimes than others, and so on the days that are hard, I call in reinforcements. I tell friends how I am feeling and ask them to encourage me, pray for me, and speak life into me. We aren’t meant to face anxiety, fear, and worry alone.
One thing I have done to build my faith is to surround myself with truth. I have written Scripture on note cards and carry them in my purse so they are with me at all times. When I am feeling anxious, fearful or worried, I can pull the scripture note cards out of my purse and read them. Something about having truth on note cards that I can hold in my hand helps me to focus.
Doing this has also helped me hide the Word in my heart. I have always said that I am not the best at memorizing scripture; however, the more I flip through these cards the more I am able to tuck away into my mind!
IF YOU’RE WILLING TO SHARE, WHAT IS ONE OF YOUR MOST MEMORABLE PROPHETIC WORDS SOMEONE HAS GIVEN YOU? HOW ARE YOU STEWARDING THAT PROPHECY?
All of the prophetic words I have received have felt so personal. Often times, when I receive a word I want to almost let it marinate in my heart like a secret between Father and me. However, last year I received a word I just want to shout from the rooftops!
My husband and I have been waiting for a miracle baby for ten years. During our journey with delayed fertility, we have faced so much heartache, but we have also seen God move in such big ways. One of the biggest blessings in my wait has been an infertility ministry called Moms in the Making. This ministry has both encouraged and challenged me! In 2018, I became a Moms in the Making leader and started to lead a support group in my home.
A few months after becoming a leader, I attended a leadership conference for Moms in the Making leaders. The group was small and intimate. I knew God was going to meet me at the conference, but if I am being honest, I arrived extra weary. Not only has our wait been long, but over the last year, I have faced additional health concerns that have complicated our wait. I know in my heart my age does not limit God, but intellectually it’s hard to look at the natural and not feel a bit heartbroken. It appears time is not on our side!
During one of our sessions, each of the leaders was given a prophetic card. The prayer team who wrote these cards was only given our names and that is it. When I opened my card, all I could do was cry.
The Lord draws you near. He holds you in His arms of love and comfort. I hear Him saying, ‘Time is on your side, it is never too late in Him.’ Time cannot stop the plans and purpose of God. The Lord will fulfill His promises to you. Your promise will unfold right on time, the perfect time. You are so dear and precious to Jesus, He loves you so much!
His heart to your heart.”
The prayer warrior who wrote this card had no idea that my husband and I have been waiting for a baby for ten years. She had no idea that we have faced additional health concerns. More than any of that, she had no way of knowing that my heart was feeling weary! To say this word encouraged my heart is an understatement!
To steward this word, I am focusing on Habakkuk 2:2-3, NIV. It says this:
“Then the Lord replied: ‘Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay’.”
I have literally written down, “Time cannot stop the plans and purpose of God.” When I am feeling weary in my wait, I return to that card and read it. Then I remind myself what is true. God has promised that we will have children in our home and He cannot tell a lie. While it feels like the fulfillment of this promise is lingering, our babies will be born right on time!
Another way I am stewarding this word is to prepare for babies! When we find baby items we love, we buy them and store them in a hope chest in preparation for the miracles we know are coming!
JUST A FEW MORE QUESTIONS THAT I’M CURIOUS ABOUT! WHAT SONG DO YOU HAVE ON REPEAT THESE DAYS? WHAT ARE YOU READING THAT IS CHANGING YOU?
Music and books are two of my favorite things! I have had Amanda Cook’s newest album, Awakening, on repeat since it came out. Yes, the entire album! I love every song! I feel like the album is raw and emotional and speaks to who Jesus is in the midst of really tough seasons. This album will encourage you!
MORE ABOUT MELISSA…
Melissa Forster lives in Missouri with her husband, Dan, and their adorable gray cat named Leo. She loves Jesus with her whole heart and loves following Him to a place where her faith is without borders. She collects llamas, t-rexs and grand adventures. Her favorite place to be is tucked in at home with copious amounts of coffee and a great book. Melissa and Dan have been struggling with delayed fertility for ten years and have two precious babies in heaven.
One last thing…I have to shout out my sweet friend Melissa for recently joining the Kingdom Winds team as one of their Collective bloggers. Several of her blog posts have been featured on their site and I’m just beyond proud of my friend!! Check out her featured posts here!
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on juliehills.squarespace.com.