Hi, friends! Today I am thrilled to share with you this beautiful post written by my friend Melissa. Thank you so much for contributing to Strong+Sweet, Melissa! I am truly thankful for you and your story! Love, Bonnie
Hello everyone! My name is Melissa Godinez! I am the mother of three amazing, beautiful, intelligent (okay, I'm biased) children. I also have the distinct honor of being stepmother to two other amazing, beautiful, intelligent children. There was a time that these five human beings were the driving force in my life. They were why I woke up, why I just found it a POSSIBILITY to breath somedays. One day I looked at their little faces and thought, "Wow, what a responsibility you are putting on them!"
I remember the day like it was yesterday. My oldest about seven, my middle child was five, and I had a newborn. It was a summer day and I was exhausted and everyone had sat down for an afternoon snack. I remember thinking, "Please do something to make me feel better. Tell me a joke, give me a baby giggle… something!" It was at that moment it just hit me, "You are making these three little people responsible for your happiness!"
I was newly divorced and I had nowhere to turn. I spent two years searching. I searched every single wrong place. I wasn't even totally sure what it was that I was looking for. I wanted to feel genuinely happy and at peace. Did I need new friends? Maybe it was time to date? Perhaps it was time to change my appearance. Did I need to start going back to church? Maybe a new job? Bottom line, I tried it all. At each and every turn I was hurt. It was around that time that I met my husband. While we were dating, I continuously thought, "Ok this is what I was waiting for and what I needed." I was wrong in that aspect also.
My relationship was fulfilled in so many ways but there was something missing. During our time dating we discussed our faith. We were very much on the same page with our beliefs, but he had been so deeply hurt that he was not ready yet to return to church. For several sundays I looked at a website for a local church. Finally, one very cold morning in January I decided, with or without the man I was dating, I was going to try it out. That was the day I went running back to Jesus. I returned to his house that same day in tears, knowing fully that something big had happened.
The next week was his birthday and he decided to go with me this time - it was at that point he also went running back to Jesus. We had previously stated we would never re-marry, we had both been so deeply wounded from our past relationships. One year later, after deciding to walk fully with Jesus Christ, we decided that our scars were healed and our sins forgiven - that it was time to marry.
What a blessing to be married to your best friend AND to someone fully taking the same walk with you. There was a time when we both thought that there was no chance of finding that again. I thought that I was destined to be alone. Not only did I find that to be untrue, I came to the realization that I had never been alone. God had been with me all along.
After sometime of becoming discouraged with my day to day routine, my husband asked me, "What is it that you want to do everyday?" I said simply, "I want to help people." This is where I began fervent prayer. I went for counsel in my church. I attempted to find places to serve - I just wanted to help! I answered phones, sent postcards to new guests, did follow-up phone calls, folded bulletins, worked in the kitchen, swept the parking lot, plunged the toilet, grilled outside, worked on fundraisers… I could go on! I couldn't seem to find the place that I was doing the most good.
One day I heard about a grandmother that was disabled and had taken custody of her granddaughter. She needed clothing for her. I was able to collect enough to clothe the little girl until the end of the year. I went to sleep that night and slept more soundly that I ever had. When I woke up the next day, I heard a very audible voice saying, "You've found what you are to do." I went to work immediately and formed "Dressed in Blessings". We provide for people who are in immediate need of food, clothing, counsel, or anything that they need to get by. When I explain to them that I want nothing in return, that this is what the Holy Spirit has led me to do, the most amazing thing happens… they come to church! Some for the very first time! This fills me with abundant joy!
I have named 2014 "Growth". I have stepped so far out of my comfort zone so many times since I've started Dressed in Blessings. Those are the places I literally watch the grace of God unfold. There are days it seems supernatural. I am praying for guidance over this year to lead DiB. He must think I'm supernatural because somedays I feel like I have to take notes with all He is telling me! There are so many things on the horizon for DiB, I can't wait to share them with the world!
When I started my walk, I repeatedly heard the verse Romans 8:28...
28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
I live this daily! Hugs & Blessings!