(LAURA): Hey, it’s 9:00, it’s time for our Love Fast Broadcast. Let me add my friend to see if we can figure this out.
I am excited because tonight we are going to talk to my author friend Melanie. We’re going to test out the sound, last time I did this the sound wasn’t working right. Hey! Am I choppy?
(MELANIE): Hi my friend! No, not right now!
(LAURA): It’s a miracle! I’m actually at my mom’s house and her internet is, I’m hesitant to say, more superior than mine. Apparently it is.
(MELANIE): I mean, so far so good.
(LAURA): Ok, I was kind of nervous because I was like, “Hey mom, can I test this out?” So she actually set me up on my dad’s hotspot in her office, and my kids are still not asleep.
But I was like, “Hey, I just need 10 minutes to talk to my friend.” Do you want to roll with this? Or do you want to start over?
(MELANIE): Let’s roll girl
(LAURA): Honestly, I still have my swimsuit on from the beach.
(MELANIE): I love it.
(LAURA): In your introduction, which I am going to do in just a second, I even mention that you are a survivor of the Texas “Snowmageddon,” and then I’m sitting here living the beach life.
I got roasted today, I don’t think you can see my sunburn, but I am so red. Do I look like a lobster to you?
(MELANIE): I mean your shoulders do look red, that looks painful. I’m sorry!
(LAURA): You look beautiful!
(MELANIE): Well thank you, I am wearing my pajama pants on the bottom, it’s like the standard 2021 uniform. I was like, “Why do I have jeans on?? Who cares?”
(LAURA): I’m all about it. And I do love that we’re just sitting here having a casual conversation. Because my friends will know, for sure, that I’m just going to talk with people without being super professional.
But to remind everyone why we’re here, two weeks ago we launched this Love Fast Broadcast. And prior to that I had been feeling really icky when I would scroll through social media.
For a short period of time I like all of my friend’s posts, and then I start feeling drained. And then I feel like I’m squeezed. And then I get into this comparison trap. And then 30, 45 minutes, an hour later, I log off of social media feeling less of me than when I started.
So then I was like, “oh my goodness, I have this problem.” And I am sure we can all relate to the constant addiction to social media. I wanted to be a part of the solution, rather than contribute to the mindless scroll.
I was like, “How about I ride this Love Fast wave, and figure out how I can help people leave social media feeling more full than when they came in.” So I was like, “What if we started a mini movement of feeling like we can leave social media, whether they watch it live or tomorrow, feeling inspired to put love into action, and to think of other people before themselves?”
And how opposite that might feel on social media. Because on social media, we are taught to put ourselves on the highlight reel, make sure we get the most applause, the most comments, likes, and the most validation.
I reached out to you, Melanie, because I thought, first and foremost, wow this girl loves very well. And I’m going to talk to my audience really quick about who you are and how I even know you. I met Melanie because we are both aspiring writers.
We were a part of Lysa TerKeurst’s book proposal book camp last semester. And it was incredible that I met so many likeminded women who felt like they were called to share words of encouragement and compose it into a book of some fashion.
So we met there, and it’s been a wild ride. You’re a mom of three, how old are your kids again?
(MELANIE): Six, four and two. Everybody has had birthdays, so when I started bootcamp they were five, three, and one. Mine are little.
(LAURA): Yeah, so you’re oldest is six?
(MELANIE): Yeah, he just turned six. And the middle girl just turned four, and then the baby just turned two.
(LAURA): Oh bless! So cute! Melanie, ours are eight, six and three. Which, you know, when I say eight, it does sound older. But I still feel like I’m still in the young mom phase.
I mean I have a three year old! They’re still babies. They occupy so much of my time, they need so much of me. I’m still in that place.
(MELANIE): It’s really slow, I feel like, to shift out of the baby years, you know.
(LAURA): Yeah, there’s a lot going on. Especially since this is the year we transitioned to homeschool for the first time. That’s been a major change.
(MELANIE): Yeah, that’s huge. That’s a big shift for any family.
(LAURA): But I invited you here because Love Fast Broadcast is all about inspiring people to put love into action in practical ways, not like in an abstract way.
Not in the future, but in the trenches, as a mom, as a writer, as a worship leader, as people who go through spontaneous crises. What does that look like?
So, without further ado, I want to ask you our first question for tonight, because I know we have already used up too much time.
Melanie, tell me a little bit about your love story with God, how it started, how’s it going, where it’s going?
(MELANIE): I love that question, I just thought it was sweet! So I was raised in the church. I have loved the Lord my whole life.
We just went to Colorado last week for spring break, and it was my grandparent’s home when I was growing up. And the summer I was three years old, I prayed and asked Jesus into my heart after a bad dream.
I was in the bunk bed on the left side of the kid’s room. So we went there, and I was telling all of the kids, “Guys, this bunk bed is where I asked Jesus into my heart, the summer that I was three.”
Like I still remember parts of it, you know? Very special. So I have loved the Lord my whole life, and I have had times where that’s looked very different. But I will fast forward majorly and just tell you that a huge part of my life testimony is feeling entitled to God doing things for me because I have loved Him my whole life.
And I have followed His ways. And I have fallen a million times, but I have gotten back up again. And I just keep pressing in. And I had an entitlement that God would do things for me, because one plus one must equal two.
And as I have gotten into adulthood, I have encountered far more suffering, so much more suffering, than I ever thought I would. And I have had to completely do an overhaul on my theology.
So I have walked with the Lord but the depths that I have gone to in the last 10 or 15 years is just unlike anything I ever thought I would. And I have gone from being so disappointed in God and so offended at Him.
Which is such a scary thing to say. And so many people are afraid to come out and say it, but I am just over that because it’s just my story and that’s where I was. And how God has just brought me through that, and done so much in my heart.
So I won’t go too much in there, but where we are now is that He is my lifeline, He is everything. I can’t make it a day without Jesus.
(LAURA): I just love that, so how old were you?? And you remember?
(MELANIE): The summer I was three, right before I turned four.
(LAURA): Melanie, my daughter is three! And I go through the thoughts of “Does my eight year old really even know what sin is?
Does my six year old understand the significance of Jesus?” And I just love how God just reached down and said ‘Melanie, you are my girl. I got plans for you.’
(MELANIE): Yes! And it’s a spectrum, right? There’s a growth pattern. I think it’s the same thing as when did you fall in love with your husband? I can point to the day when he asked me to be his girlfriend.
And I can point to the day when he asked me to be his wife. And I can point to the day when I made a covenant in front of witnesses to be by his side. But the heart churning, it’s such a slow process.
And you know, I remember being so genuine and so sincere on that day. I remember thinking it was a bad dream, and my mom prayed with me, and thinking, ‘yeah, I want to go to heaven’, and ‘yeah, I want this peace that I feel’, yeah I want that. But did I really get it when I was three? No.
(LAURA): But I love that. You have that stop and pause moment of knowing this Jesus that you’re talking about, and feeling him, and the faith of children, that is just so magical and powerful.
I am just moved by that because I pray that the lord will move in my kid’s hearts. And I think it’s just such a personal relationship between them and the Lord, that I can’t see directly into that.
But I just trust that God will be moving at whatever age they’re in. Ok, next question is more current, I would like to know, in the trenches, in your daily life, we’re all busy, we’re all unfortunately spinning a lot of plates based on what the Lord has given you the responsibility to be a steward for, where are you feeling like you’re putting love into action?
Maybe something recently, or something ongoing, or just a single instance. What is something you can share with those who will listen, how they can love first?
(MELANIE): I love that question too. I really love these questions, they really made me think. I didn’t have as much time to sit down and prepare as I wanted.
So I was literally on my way to school pickup for my son this afternoon and I was like, “Holy Spirit, I just have all these thoughts, I could go here, I could go there, I don’t know. I really stink at this.”
And the Holy Spirit was like, “Talk about how you celebrate people.” So first of all, disclaimer, I’m an enneagram seven, so I love to party. I love to celebrate. I love excitement.
I love joy. I love people. I love friends. I love marking moments and making life fun. But it’s so much deeper than that. I feel like a huge mark of something that the Word has put on my heart and in my life is taking time to intentionally celebrate people.
And making them feel seen and valued and loved, right where they’re at. And I’m a stay at home mom of three small children, and my sphere is not majorly big right now. I don’t go off to some professional job, or teach at some ten million member church.
I’m just right here right now. And Heidi Baker is one of my mentors from afar, she always talks about loving the one that is right in front of you and that’s how you grow the kingdom. It’s just loving the one in front of you.
So who are the ones in front of me? It’s the girls in my bible study groups. It’s the moms on the soccer team. It’s my son’s kindergarten teacher. It’s my husband. It’s my children.
And so I practically love just celebrating. So I really look for things to celebrate. So one of the things that we do in our family is celebrate half birthdays, as well as whole birthdays.
We grew up doing that and we just carried that tradition over to our family. Where we don’t only celebrate someone on their birthday, we say you are special, and you are worth paying attention to, and you are worth loving and thinking about, and crafting a day that’s going to bless you.
We’re not only going to do that on your birthday, but we’re going to do it on your half birthday too. Because once a year is just not enough.
And so we have always celebrated our half birthdays. I mean we don’t throw a party, but it’s as much of a to do as a real birthday is.
(LAURA): Wait, but you said that your kids all had birthdays recently. So they all have birthdays pretty close together?
(LAURA): Ok, so you do all of that back to back, as well as the holidays? Because our boot camp was over the holidays.
(MELANIE): Yeah, it was nuts. My birthday is in the middle of October, my son’s is a week later, my daughter is three weeks later, and then we have Thanksgiving.
Then we have my husband’s birthday, and then we have Christmas. And it’s all within a 12-week span.
(LAURA): So you’re talking about real birthdays, but the half birthdays?
(MELANIE): The half birthdays, that’s springtime. Springtime is fun. So they’re all coming up in April and May.
(LAURA): Got it, that makes more sense to me. I was like, “Oh my gosh, you have to celebrate half birthdays.” But no, their legit birthdays are holiday season.
So everyone’s half birthday gives you an even greater reason to celebrate in the spring. I love it!
(MELANIE): But it’s so much more to it, there are so many ways of thinking. Like last year when we were in the thick of quarantine, I had a friend who dropped a beautiful little package off at my front door.
And she said you’ve been love bombed and I just loved that. And I was like I’m rolling with this. So you know I’m the kind of person where if I’m going to do it, I’m going to overdo it.
So I laid out eight different gifts and just asked, “Holy Spirit, who am I supposed to do the love bomb for?” And I just made beautiful little packages and then drove all around the Metroplex and delivered all these love bombs to my friends.
And it gave me so much joy to just remind them that you are seen, and you are loved, and you are cherished, and you are valued, right where you are at. And you are worthy of being celebrated today, just right where you are at.
And you don’t have to do anything to earn it, and it’s not about you performing for it, or deserving it, or anything. It’s just your birthright. It’s who you are as a daughter and a son of God.
And I grew up with a mom and dad that modeled that so well. They are the biggest servants and celebrators in the world. I also love to make meals for people. It’s so funny, I actually brought a meal to a friend today, just because.
Which is so random because I haven’t done that in a long time. But I was like, “Of course God, it would be today.” I super don’t want to be braggadocious at all! And you told me that in the beginning.
(LAURA): Yes! Time out. By the way everybody, she is not bragging. This is a forced answer. I was like, “I will twist your arm, I will call you out, and I will make up some elaborate story.”
But I need people to be courageous enough to share their servant heart because I want people to know. So you’re not bragging, this is a humble share. So thank you, moving on.
(MELANIE): I know, I was like, “It is really uncomfortable to be like ‘I do this really well.’” So just making meals for people and dropping them off, just because.
We do that when people have a baby, but I haven’t really had a friend who’s had a baby in a long time. And I just want to bring a homemade dinner to someone, just to bless them, just because.
(LAURA): So is this a fun fact about you? Do you like to cook?
(MELANIE): Hah, well I used to love to cook. Toddlers beat it out of me. But in theory, yes, I enjoy being in the kitchen, I do.
(LAURA): So when I provide meals for people, I Uber it. I am like where is Door Dash? Me and you are BFF. Are you like a home-cooked meal girl?
(MELANIE): I mean not exactly from scratch. Some things I will. But my version is like cornbread: get the box, add the butter and the egg, mix it up, and throw it in the oven. Not scratch, but you know.
(LAURA): I mean that’s more fresh than mine. I’m sorry, if I’ve ever provided food for you it’s not been in my kitchen.
But it’s been the effort of my heart to hit a couple buttons. Especially when I had Covid this past December, I had so many friends reach out and be like, “Hey, can we bring food?”
And I was like, “Oh my gosh, is this still a thing? I feel the love of the church right now, I feel the love of community!” And then some people, when they would bring rotisserie chicken, I was like, “This is amazing!” And then they would bring homemade taco soup, and I’m like, “People still cook?”
I mean, I cook at home with my kids, but I am not confident enough to provide food for anyone else. So I think that’s really cool.
(MELANIE): Well thank you, it’s fun. So those are just some little ways where I just want people to feel seen, and celebrated, and valued just for who they are.
(LAURA): I really love that. So this is longer than ten minutes because I adore you so much. We could talk for hours, but we won’t, so nobody be concerned about that. I’m excited to see you in June, by the way.
(MELANIE): Yes! Me too, I can’t wait!
(LAURA): So Mel and I have never met in person. And we have just solidified a girl’s weekend in June with some of our other boot camp writer girls. I am so excited.
We are going to the virtual conference She Speaks together as aspiring writers. So I’m excited about that.
Speaking of vacation, and girl’s getaway, my third question for you, I said it was going to be more spontaneous and fun, I want to know your ideal day. What fills your cup? When you’re feeling like you need a break, and you can’t do anymore, and you’re just burned out.
What makes you recharge? Like if you had to plug your Melanie outlet into a wall, what would that look like? I know that you shared that you’re an enneagram seven, so I’m interested in what this answer might be.
(MELANIE): I love the thought of just crafting a day. I mean gosh, when has anyone ever been able to do that?
Ok, I would sleep in until my body tells me I’m done sleeping. Every mom of young children feels that so deeply. I would sleep in until I decide to arouse. I would go for a really long walk or run in the sunshine, and then I would take a hot shower and have like a spa time.
I like makeup and stuff, but I am way more into skincare, and facials, and hair treatments, and leave in stuff. I would just get dolled up to the nines, not really with makeup but just take care of myself.
Like take time to shave my legs and wash my hair. And then I would probably just invite all of my favorite girls to a restaurant with a fabulous patio, and have some alfresco drinks and dinner.
And just laugh the night away, and just talk and talk. With a sunset. And probably on the beach.
(LAURA): I am here for that. You know, ironically Melanie, that sounds kind of like what we might do in June together.
The house that you rented is within walking distance to the downtown area that I am familiar with, so we have a lot of fun in store.
(MELANIE): I cannot wait. No alarm clocks allowed.
(LAURA): Wait, does the conference start early?
(MELANIE): No, at like 10:00.
(LAURA): Oh ok, then I will be sleeping in for ages. Thank you so much for joining me! I think that it was super fun to just get to know you a little bit more.
I feel like through typing a lot you can get to know somebody, but when you are face to face it brings you to a whole new level, and then when you are sharing your roof with somebody, you’re going to get to the next level.
And I admire you. I love what you are doing. I am rooting for you. And I can’t wait to read everything that you publish and everything you put out. And I love what you are doing on your instagram page, so follow Melanie. She loves Jesus. She is surrendered to His call and what He is trying to do and speak through her.
So if you are interested in someone who will talk openly and honestly about what it means to be real, and as she mentioned at the beginning in a very vulnerable way, somebody who has felt offended by God because what she visualized her life to look like is different than how it has panned out, she is your girl.
And she knows what that’s like and she’s lived to tell. Again, I’m like one of your fangirls. I adore you. I really appreciate your time. And I think that’s it, I think we’ve had enough fun tonight. I think we can take it offline now.