Genesis 5020

My Story for His Glory

God is so Good…or is He? October 11, 2019

Filed under: Melissa's devotions/articles,Uncategorized — Melissa Finnegan @ 4:45 pm
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So many times I have stood in stage as I lead worship and told the congregation that God is good. No matter where you are God is still good. I said this from a place of comfort in my life. Nothing was going on to challenge that…until October 3rd.

My daughter plays volleyball, she has since 5th grade. We have watched her grow from the shortest girl on the team who was easily overlooked to the MVP her sophomore year. From athlete of the week her junior year to securing a position at the collegiate level. Her senior year was supposed to be her year to shine, to build her stats, be captain, maybe even be MVP again.

It all started before the school year. Twins moved to our small town, twins who had already been recruited to a D1 school, twins who are over six feet tall. My daughter is barely 5’7″. She was unsure what that meant for her since one of the girls played her position and the girls kind of changed the dynamic of the team.

She did get voted captain and we were so happy for her. But she sat more then normal this year, no one (not even other parents) understood why.

Then on October 3rd we went to a volleyball game that we were sure would be an easy win. The first set our girls dominated. They started the 2nd set and were winning again. My daughter got set, she went up to spike it, came down and went all they way to the floor.

Initially I thought she hurt her ankle, she had done that the previous year but then I realized it was her knee. My momma heart wanted to run on the court but I let the trainer and coach do their job, hoping she would stand up soon and be fine, but finally the coach motioned us over.

This is still hard to write, it still hurts to relive.

I took her hand, but she wasn’t really crying, so I took that as a good sign. The trainer thought she might have just popped her knee cap out. She recommended a place for us to go the next day.

I laid hands on her knee that night and prayed for a miracle. I was so sure God wouldn’t let it be anything too bad, that He might even heal her instantly or at least by the next morning.

My husband took her to the doctors and the texts started rolling in: “It doesn’t look good.” “Could be anywhere from six weeks to nine months for recovery.” “MRI at one ‘o clock.”

I wanted to just break down and cry. No, I prayed, this shouldn’t be happening.  But I had a room full of a students and had to sub on my conference hour, I couldn’t cry, there was no time

Did I mention homecoming was October 5th?

We got the call around three o’clock that she tore her ACL and meniscus. She would need surgery and possibly take 6-9 months for recovery.

Her high school volleyball season was over.

Musical is questionable.

Her senior year.

I was mad.

I was mad at God.

If He can bring the dead to life, open the eyes of the blind, make the lame walk, why couldn’t he heal my child? A child he “supposedly” loves more than I do? Yes, I was questioning this.

I was finally able to break down and then it was hard to shut it off. I never cried in front of my daughter, I didn’t want her to know how sad I was, or that I was questioning God’s goodness. But I most definitely was…I was questioning everything I knew to be true.

How could He care for her more than me when He allowed this to happened, if I had the power to stop it I would have. I don’t believe He caused it but He didn’t stop it either, He could have stopped it, but he didn’t. Why?

Why?

I asked that question over and over.

I’m better.

I do believe God is good. But on Sunday it was hard to stand on stage and sing those words. How ironic (or not) that I chose that song on Monday, before any of this happened, but God knew it would happen and He knew I would struggle with it. My heart was broken.

My daughter though…she is one strong woman. Her spirits have been pretty good, she has her moments, but she still went to homecoming. The other night during the volleyball game she was an encourager to her teammates. Without this moment I don’t think I would have realized how strong she is.

I keep remembering what this blog is named after: Genesis 5020.

I know the enemy caused this, not God. The enemy wants to harm her but God will use this for good. I don’t know what that is right now. And it’s still hard to believe that good can come from this set back, but if I don’t have God, I have nothing.

Another irony (or not) my son asked me recently what my greatest fear was and without thought I said something bad happening to my kids. I also read recently your greatest fear reveals where you trust God the least…hmmm.

On a long walk Sunday afternoon I surrendered my daughter to Jesus. It wasn’t easy, it was through tears and heartache. But I need to remember He REALLY does love her more than I do and want the best for her.

So is God good?

Yes, He is.

I will continue to say that until I believe it again.

The good news is her recovery is projected for 5-6 months, the college coach still loves her and wants her, she will probably be able to do the musical. All is not lost and I realize it could be so much worse, I know families who have endured far more, my child can still walk and will play volleyball again, she isn’t dead or dying.

She will be fine and who knows, maybe someday she will share her Genesis 5020 on this blog 🙂

Here is the song I had to sing this Sunday, maybe you need to hear it. Click here.

 

Lessons from the Robins: When You Don’t Leave the Nest August 16, 2019

Filed under: Melissa's devotions/articles,Uncategorized — Melissa Finnegan @ 4:58 pm
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luke-brugger-ZWZdoy2hoNE-unsplashA few weeks ago I wrote about the robins leaving the nest. This week a I have less pleasant story.

A couple of weeks after the the baby’s left it was very windy and at some point a dead baby robin landed on our deck.

Yeah. Not very pleasant to see or smell, it had been dead for awhile and I am guessing the wind knocked it out of the tree.

What happened?

I obviously don’t know but here is a reality: There are dead believers in our churches and when the winds of life blow they are going to get knocked down. Maybe you know someone like this, or maybe you have been there?

It was so sad. All the other baby’s had left and were living their lives, probably flying freely, but for whatever reason this baby never left the nest and ended up dying.

We can’t be dead believers, otherwise the wind will knock us down. We have to keep our faith alive and part of that is living beyond the church walls. Being with Jesus beyond the church walls.

God created the birds to fly and He created us to fly with him, to live with Him. So let’s live as He created us to live, let’s not become dead in our faith but alive in Christ.

 

 

Right On Time Christmas Chapters Three and Four November 16, 2018

Filed under: Melissa's writing,Uncategorized — Melissa Finnegan @ 12:03 pm
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Chapter five and six won’t come for a couple of weeks due to Thanksgiving next week, I have a review scheduled for Friday.

Chapter Three

“Yeah, I’m looking forward to you coming here, too.” Stephen moved the phone to his other ear.

“I can’t wait to spend Christmas with your parents. They are always so kind.” Sarah gushed. Was her voice always this annoying? No, he was just tired. He loved Sarah.

“They can’t wait to see you either.” Stephen lied. When he told his parents Sarah  would be coming to spend Christmas with them they didn’t seem overjoyed. Mom had expressed that she didn’t feel like she was the one God had for him. He knew who she thought but it obviously wasn’t God’s plan.

A scraping sound came through the window. He walked over to the front window and pulled the curtain to the side. Caylee stood at her car and scraped her windows.

“Listen, I gotta go. I’ll talk to you later.”

“Oh, okay. I love you.” Sarah sing-songed through the line.

“Love you too.” But for the first time Stephen wondered if he really meant it. Seeing Caylee was messing with his heart even though she didn’t do anything to mess with it, being around her was enough to throw him into chaos.

He threw on his snow gear and headed outside. It was only twenty degrees out. This was not normal Michigan weather this early in the season. Typically this type of weather waited until after Christmas. But you never knew what to expect in Michigan.

He stepped outside and the cold wrapped around him and chilled him. He trudged toward Caylee, she didn’t even looked up, completely concentrating on her windows.   

“What you are doing?” Stephan yelled over his scarf.

“Scraping my windows.” Caylee glanced up, her cheeks a bright red, her eyes sparkled blue.

“Duh. I can see that.” He stepped up beside her, snow up to their knees and still coming down. “Why are you scraping your windows? You know you can’t leave yet.”

“I don’t know. I felt like I should do something to get my car ready to go home. I hope I can be out of your hair by tomorrow.”

He would love to have her in his hair, her fingers dance their way across his scalp. What would it feel like to be that close to her?

“I wouldn’t count on it. Besides, I’d be more concerned about the car starting then the ice on the windows.” Stephen looked down at her and she gazed up at him, her lips wet and red. He wanted to kiss her. He’s wanted to kiss her since he was in sixth grade, if he was honest. He thought there were times when she wanted the same thing but he couldn’t have been more wrong.

“Seriously?”

“Unfortunately, yeah. With the temperatures being so low and your car being buried you’ll be lucky if it will start even when you can get out.”

“Great.” Her shoulders slumped, she must really want to get away from him.

“Sorry. What’s your rush anyway?” Stephen bent down and grabbed a handful of snow. “We could recreate that snowball fight we had when I kicked your butt.”

“If I remember correctly, which I do, I kicked your butt.” Caylee’s gaze landed on the ball of snow in Stephen’s hand. Something sparked in her eye and she bent to get her own.

“How does one decide who wins?” Stephan packed the ball tighter and took few steps back, gearing up. This could be fun.

“Who ever cries for mercy first and it was you.” Caylee unleashed her snowball without warning and landed it right in his face.

Stephen wiped the wetness away. “That wasn’t fair. Now you have declared war.”  He drew back and let his snowball fly. She was quick though and turned, only getting hit in the back. She ran around the other side of the car and ducked.

Fine, he would take cover too. He hid behind the trunk and the snowballs started flying along with the laughs.His gut hurt and tears froze on the rims of his eyes from laughing so hard. When was the last time he laughed like this?

After a few minutes of stillness Stephen decided to sneak around the car and nail her. Her laughter sent flutters in his stomach. Her giggles had always sounded like music to him, although he never told her that and never would.

The snow made his approach quiet..

“Hey, what’s going on?” Her voice rose over the car.

He didn’t answer but snuck around the corner of the car and he found her squatting down with her back to him. Perfect.

“Hey.” He called. She turned and he sent his snowball sailing and landed squarely on her forehead.

“You jerk.” She came after him, tripped and they both fell. For one beautifully awkward moment she laid on him, face to face. So close he could have leaned up and  kissed those gorgeous red lips. But that would be wrong. She made her feelings for him crystal clear years ago.

Although the way her heart pounded against his own he wondered . . . probably from the snowball fight.

Silence filled the space between them and they both seemed speechless, their breath coming out in puffs and mingling.

She was so beautiful, after all this time, she still messed with him by being her. He couldn’t take it. He started tickling her and pushed her off.

“Still ticklish I see.” They both laid on their backs, side by side, heads turned toward the other.

“Unfortunately. And you always knew right where to get me.”

No, the truth was, she always knew where to get him, in the heart. They held each other’s gazes. He needed to break this spell.

“You know it is supposed to warm-up to about fifty tomorrow. Everything should melt so hopefully your car will start and you can go home.” Stephen put up the wall between them again.

Somethings shifted in her eyes. Disappointment?

“Great.” She turned her head to look up at the sky.

“Yep. But it’s cold now so we should head back in.” Stephen stood and offered his hand to her. Even with gloves separating them and the freezing temps the heat that radiated between them was real. He pulled her up and she bumped into his chest.

“Sorry.” She mumbled and looked down. A piece of wet hair stuck to her cheek.

“No problem.” He took off his glove and reached out to move the hair from her cheek and in the process his thumb gently rubbed her cool skin. If possible her cheeks became even more red. She looked at him, her eyes sparkled and searched his face. What was she looking for? Forgiveness? Acceptance? Love?

It would only take a second to pull her close and kiss her but he couldn’t . He wouldn’t put his heart out there for her to trample on again. And with that one thought anger burned in him for all she had done to him.

“You’re freezing. Let’s get back in and get some coffee and those cookies you made earlier.” He forced a smile and swallowed down all the words he wanted to say. How could he desire someone that made him so angry?

“Sounds good.” She gave a shaky smile and stepped away from him.

Give her time and she would continue stepping away from him, that’s what she always did.

 

——-

Melinda dropped the curtain and stepped away from the window. She rushed up the stairs and fell to her knees beside her bed. How many times had she found herself in this position, praying for her kids, for their salvation and futures? And here she was again, but this time with clarity.

“Father, I know you see all things. I trust and believe that. I believe that you are a right on time God, nothing happens by accident. I don’t believe Caylee’s accident was really that, I believe you brought her here for a reason. Please open Stephen’s heart to forgive Caylee for all the times she hurt him. Open Caylee’s heart to see how much Stephen has always cared for her and still does, even though he won’t admit it. This is the time, I can feel it, Lord. You brought Caylee into our yard for such a time at this, right on time this Christmas.”

Melinda leaned back on her heels and sighed. Relief flooded her heart and peace surrounded her. She would keep on praying for those two because she has always believed they belonged together and she still did. Now, if only they would see it before it was too late.

Chapter Four

“We’re going to church, want to go?” Mrs. Meyer smiled up from her morning coffee when Caylee entered the kitchen.

“Oh no, I just got up.” Caylee hadn’t been to church since last Christmas when she went with her parents. When did going to church become a holiday thing? Probably when she started dating guys that didn’t care about church.

“It doesn’t start for an hour and half. You have time.” Mrs. Meyer tone left no room for argument.

“Are the roads clear? I could just go home.” If her car started.

“They’re getting cleared, it’s much warmer today so the snow is melting. But we would love to have you go to church with us before you rush home to that empty house.” Mr. Meyer took his eyes of the paper.

Yeah, but would Stephen be okay with it? She really needed to get away from him. Being around him messed with her head.

“Go on, go find something from Josie’s closet. She’s meeting us at church, she will be so excited to you. You were like the older sister she always wanted.” Mrs. Meyer raised an eyebrow.

“Okay.” Caylee turned and ran upstairs. She found a pair of khakis and a navy blue sweater and got ready for church.

When she made it back down stairs Stephen was at the table eating breakfast by himself.

“Morning.” He set his mug down and studied her. Yesterday she thought he might try to kiss her. In all the years they had known each other he never made a move. She always wondered if he ever really found her attractive. Which was fine if he didn’t since she was always dating someone else. Mostly. Unless there was a dance coming and then for some reason she never had a date dance and always defaulted to Stephen. That probably wasn’t the best idea, it must have given him false hope that she actually like him. She could never think of him as more than a friend in high school. But now that they were older . . . she could definitely think of him as more than a friend.

“I guess I’m going to church with you guys.” Caylee poured a cup of coffee and grabbed a blueberry muffin.

“That’s what mom said.” Stephen took a bite of his muffin. “I started your car. You should be good to go later today.”

“Thanks.” Caylee swallowed. He was in a hurry to get rid of her. He definitely didn’t want to be more than friends now. She couldn’t really blame him. Maybe he was dating somone.

They ate in silence until Mr. and Mrs. Meyer announced it was time to go. Like kids they got in the back of their Edge and road to the church Caylee had grown up attending in the center of town.

Caylee entered the church and memories rushed over her. All the hope that once stirred in her. Her unfaltering faith in God, in His goodness, His plans for her. When did she stop trusting in that?

College.

Not that she went crazy, but she was always looking for affirmation from others and stopped getting it from God. She wanted attention from other people and that took her eyes of the cross. Wow. How come she never saw that before?

“Caylee, I can’t believe it’s you.”

Caylee turned and was swallowed in Josies arms.

“Hey sweetie.” Caylee hugged her back. She had grown up so much, into a beautiful young woman. Sweetie wasn’t the right word to use but she would always be like a little sister.

“Nice outfit.” Josie winked. “You make that sweater look way better than I do.”

“Thanks. But I doubt that, you are a beautiful young woman.” Caylee touched the girl’s light brown hair.

“Looks who’s talking.” Josie wove her arm around Caylee’s.

“Stop hanging on her.” Stephen stepped up beside them.

“Oh, you’re just jealous.” Josie laughed.

Stephen quickly walked away. Was there truth to that? Hmmm, interesting.

“You know he’s never gotten over you.” Josie whispered in her ear. “But now he’s dating this chick named Sarah. She’s even coming here for Christmas. But with you here, who knows.” She gave a Caylee a grin.

Stephen was dating someone. Heaviness pressed down on her chest. Of course he was. He was a great guy, handsome, had a future with a good job. He loved Jesus. He deserved someone.

“I have no intentions of breaking up your brother and his girlfriend.” She forced the words out of her mouth. Why did it feel like he had betrayed her? The way he teased yesterday, touched her face, took her hand. Did she see a depth of caring beyond friendship? Maybe it was her imagination.

“Well, maybe I’ll help you do it.” Josie pulled her into the sanctuary and pushed Caylee into the pew first so she was sitting next to Stephen. This girl was a ball of energy.

The message started with Joy to the World. She loved Christmas music. Then they  moved into some contemporary songs. Some of them she knew others were new to her but each one spoke to her heart, to a hidden place she had covered up and hadn’t looked at in a long time.

The pastor spoke about hope. The hope of Jesus coming to earth and we all know how the story ends. But the people didn’t know, they had to trust.

What did Caylee hope in these days? The next boyfriend? That he would be the one to love her no matter what? Tears filled her eyes as the truth sunk in. She had taken her eyes off of Jesus for so long so forgot what it meant to hope in something that mattered. She desperately needed to get back to real hope and today was the first step.

She sniffed and out of the corner of her eye she saw Stephen turn towards her. Great, he didn’t need to know how far from God she had gotten.

The pastor wrapped up the message and they ended with a couple of more songs that spoke of surrendering to Jesus. Yes, that’s what she needed. As she lifted her voice she lifted her hands and gave herself to Jesus again. She would keep on doing that until she stopped taking her self back from him.

 

Please Don’t Give Up July 27, 2018

Filed under: Melissa's devotions/articles,Uncategorized — Melissa Finnegan @ 2:56 pm
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Last week I started sharing Psalm 119 with you. We talked about being joyful and what that looks like. Click here if you want to revisit that post.

This week we are looking at Psalm 119:5-8

Psalm 119:5-8 New Living Translation (NLT)

Oh, that my actions would consistently
    reflect your decrees!
Then I will not be ashamed
    when I compare my life with your commands.
As I learn your righteous regulations,
    I will thank you by living as I should!
I will obey your decrees.
    Please don’t give up on me!

For me the very first verse grabs me, “Oh, that my actions would CONSISTENTLY reflect your decrees!”

Consistently is a tough one. I like how the first verse is confessing to God that we want our actions to reflect his decrees.

When I think of decrees I think of rules. But I looked up the definition and there is a theological definition and it says:

One of the eternal purposes of God, by which events are foreordained. (Dictionary.com)

May my actions consistently reflect the eternal purposes of God.

Puts a different spin on it doesn’t it? I stirs something within my heart when I restate the verse like that.

And then these verses end with “I will obey your decrees (the eternal purposes of God). Please don’t give up on me!”

I love this heart cry at the end, “Please don’t give up on me!”

The psalmist knew he would screw up, stumble and fall but his heart’s desire is to obey the eternal purposes of God and he cries out “Don’t give up on me when I mess up.”

Also, notice verse six says we are to compare our lives with God’s commands. How many of us try to compare ourselves to other people? Yeah, we can look a lot better or worse compared to other people but we are to compare ourselves to God’s Word. Not to make us feel bad but to give us hope. God’s Word is life, a promise. If the Word says we can live according to God’s eternal purposes we can. Every day we move and grow in that direction.

My prayer every morning this week has been: Let my actions rconsistently reflect your decrees. Honestly, I have sucked at it but I am asking God: Please don’t give up on me.

Even when you stumble and fail remember God will not give up on you so don’t give up on Him and His Word.

 

Joyful are . . . July 20, 2018

Filed under: Melissa's devotions/articles,Uncategorized — Melissa Finnegan @ 3:30 pm
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I read something this week (I can’t remember what) that made me take a look at Psalm 119 and felt compelled to really study it. Each day I am looking at a new verse, writing it down and reflecting.

The beginning of this chapter talks about those who are joyful. Read below.

Psalm 119 NLV

Joyful are people of integrity,
    who follow the instructions of the Lord.
Joyful are those who obey his laws
    and search for him with all their hearts.
They do not compromise with evil,
    and they walk only in his paths.
You have charged us
    to keep your commandments carefully.

So basically Joyful people are people with integrity, follow God instructions, obey his law, search for him with all your heart, don’t compromise with evil and walk in his paths.

Joy all boils down to following God. Hearing what he says and doing it.

Here is the crazy thing. Since I have been studying these verse I have been dealing with a lot of anger. I am getting angry and irritated very easily, mostly with my children. I’m not sure where this anger is coming from, it’s so no like me but I feel it rise up and I don’t know what to do with it. I have to leave the room before I say things I will later regret.

This tells me I am on to something the enemy doesn’t want me to figure out.

The enemy doesn’t want us to figure out the key to joy, but it’s right here in Psalm 119.

Yes, this all seems like a tall order, to follow what these verses say, but let’s not write it off because it seems hard. Let’s make it our goal, what we strive for, or even fight for when need be.

Let’s be people of integrity, who do the right thing even when no one else will see or hear us, let’s follow God’s instructions and seek him with all our hearts. Let’s not compromise with evil, even in our thoughts, which honestly is the most dangerous place to do so.

I hope you’ll embark with me on this journey into Psalm 119 and discover what God has for us.

 

How Is Your Fear Level? June 29, 2018

Filed under: Melissa's Genesis 5020,Uncategorized — Melissa Finnegan @ 12:30 pm
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Yesterday I got in my car to drive somewhere I really didn’t want to go. As soon as I turned up K-Love this song started playing that I had never heard. They never said the name of the song but I was sure I would remember enough to figure it out.

I didn’t. But I really needed to hear it again. It spoke about getting rid of fear and the place I was driving could easily lead me down a path of fear.

The song I didn’t know was quickly followed by “Whom Shall I Fear.” Which I know well. I sang along loud and proud.

But when I got home I wanted to hear the first song. Thank goodness for Google. I remembered partial lyrics and I got it!

It’s called “The Breakup Song” by Francesca Battistelli. Love it!

Eventually I will share where I was driving and why these songs where so important. But I don’t have all the answers yet. When I do have a complete story I will share.

In the meantime, how is your fear level? Is there something you are fearing? Do you struggle with fear regularly?

Listen to this song.

Then if you still need some more reminders I will link some other great songs to strengthen you. Remember God has this. We are His.

The Breakup Song

Whom Shall I Fear

No Longer Slaves

Fear Is A Liar If you have never watched this video do it, have a tissue with you. Wow.

 

Restore To Me February 2, 2018

Filed under: Melissa's devotions/articles,Uncategorized — Melissa Finnegan @ 12:08 pm
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Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Psalm 51:12 NIV

I have shared over the last few months how I have struggled to find joy. If I’m being honest I never really found it, I mean I know it comes from Jesus, but I wasn’t feeling it.

On Monday I was dreading another week of teaching and musical rehearsals. I wasn’t enjoying my job at all and I have a good one. So I just prayed, “Lord, restore to me the joy of Your salvation.”

That was it, my simple prayer.

My Monday ended really horribly with a voicemail from an angry parent who said somethings that I perceived as threatening. To the point I forwarded it to my principle and recorded it on my phone for proof of this ominous message.

This normally would have ruined my day and week. But something shifted on Tuesday.

I felt this overwhelming joy and peace as I taught all day. I talked to the girl whose mother called me and cleared up some things and felt peace. I had the best day I have had all year, taught with energy and purpose and the rest of my week followed suit. Even when my keyboard died in the middle of teaching a choir class . . . yeah, not good.

Oh well, I shrugged, I can still teach. And I did.

I saw that voicemail for the evil it was. the enemy did  not want the joy of the Lord to sustain me, but it did. The voicemail dripped with the enemy’s voice and threats. I laugh now because it is so obvious to me.

This week the joy of the Lord’s salvation has been restored to me, at long last. If you find yourself dreading your days make this verse your simple prayer. Just keep saying it all day, week, month, year long until you feel His joy fill you and sustain you. He will answer.