Author: Melissa Bradley

Are You Ready to be a Pastor?

“Are you ready to be a pastor?” That’s the question Corey asked me when I walked into his office 4 years ago to sign my contract. I was officially accepting the role of Preschool Pastor and stepping into the world of vocational ministry. I was so excited to be leading a ministry I had been serving in for the past 6 years. I love working with kids and was looking forward to the opportunity to use my education experience in a church environment. However, I wasn’t expecting that question from Corey and it threw me for a loop. I tried not to let it show on the outside, but those of you who know me know that my face doesn’t lie. “Ummm… no. A pastor? I didn’t graduate from Bible college. I don’t hold a degree from seminary. I don’t know what to say to people at funeral homes. I’m not even really good at memorizing scripture.” Some of that was internal monolog, but other parts I said out loud to him. I kind of …

Do You Despise Waiting? Learn to be Content.

I spend a lot of time waiting. I wait for the coffee to stop dripping every morning. I wait for the washing machine to finish so I can move the clothes to the dryer. I wait for my kids in the pick-up line after school. I wait a lot. Since I spend so much time waiting, you’d think I’d be quite good at it. But the truth is, I’m not. I’m terrible at waiting. The worst part is I can’t just be still while I’m waiting. I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about the process of waiting as our family is currently in a “season” of waiting. Since February, we’ve been waiting to become approved as foster parents. I’m waiting for the state of Georgia to ask me to take temporary custody of someone else’s child. It’s a strange feeling as I’m essentially waiting for the worst day of someone’s life to happen. And as I wait, I am overcome by the desire to “do something.” Surely there’s someone I can call or email …

Three Steps to Faithful Obedience

A few years ago, I read a parenting book entitled “Don’t Make Me Count to Three” by Ginger Hubbard. My boys were entering their toddler years and “NO!” had become their favorite word. I could give them a specific direction and they would literally look straight at me and do the complete opposite. It didn’t take me long to realize that I needed some Biblical advice on handling disobedience. Now, before you click over to Amazon and order your own copy of the book, please don’t believe I’m saying that it cured my sons’ disobedience. It did not. However, it gave me tools that have equipped me to see past the outward behavior of my kids and into the heart issues that are the root of their disobedience. And even more importantly, it’s caused me to take a deeper look at my own tendencies to disobey. This past Sunday, Shannon defined disobedience as unbelief. When we believe what someone is telling us, we obey. When we don’t believe them, we disobey. It doesn’t matter how …

Give Grace As You Have Received It

Have you ever studied the book of Leviticus? Yeah, me neither. At least, not until a few months ago. I have to admit I wasn’t too excited when I realized that was the next book in the reading plan I’ve been following. I even found it funny that the study guide introduced Leviticus with the fun fact that it is one of the least read books in the Bible. It covers an array of topics including personal health, sexual relationships, childbirth, diseases, skin rashes, mold infestations, and even baldness. Sounds riveting, doesn’t it? I remember thinking as I started the study, “How can this possibly relate to my life right now?”  The entire book is literally word after word, page after page of instructions to the Israelites concerning the rules and regulations that God required for a life of holiness. And some of it is just plain gross… blood, guts, discharges… TMI for sure! But seriously, when I look back on studying that overlooked book in the Old Testament, I become overwhelmed thinking about what …

God Can Write His Own Stories

This past Sunday, Shannon spoke about how once you have accepted Christ, you are officially adopted into His family. As a result of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ we become sons and daughters of the Most High God. What an amazing, wonderful, and overwhelming truth to celebrate! So, that awesome news has to mean that the rest of our lives will be smooth sailing, right?! Unfortunately… no. In fact, James 1:2-4 puts it this way: Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. I have been a follower of Christ for over twenty years now and I have always struggled with this verse. Notice that it doesn’t say “if troubles of any kind come your way…,” but when. It even goes on to say that when you do experience trials you should …

Are You Ready For What God Has For You?

A few months ago, the Lord placed our family on a new journey. It was just a typical Sunday morning in September. So typical in fact, that I can’t really remember any other details about that day. Honestly, it was one fleeting moment out of the entire twenty-four hours when the Lord initiated His plan. Have you ever read the story of how the Lord appeared to the prophet Elijah in I Kings 19:11-12? “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. I was standing in the preschool building welcoming children to church just like I have done for …

Parenting For the Good

Recently I noticed a shirt advertised on social media emblazoned with the quote “Mommin’ Ain’t Easy.” The first time I saw it I laughed out loud, because I can totally relate. Being a mom is not easy for a million different reasons. Some of those reasons are funny and others are much more serious. The underlying commonality behind those reasons is that they all must be endured. When you’re a parent, quitting isn’t exactly an option. A few months ago I ran my first half-marathon. It required a lot of mental and physical endurance. I had to endure heat, fatigue, and physical pain. It was hard! However, one of the things that helped the most was to focus on the end. I was going to finish one way or another even though at times it seemed like I may not ever see that finish line. Isn’t parenting like that? We know there’s a goal… a finish line so to speak. But oh my goodness, when you’re trying to convince your toddler that his burrito is not “too …

Your First 5 Minutes

How do you spend the first five minutes of your day? My alarm (which is also my phone) goes off at 6:00 each morning. The first thing I do is reach to turn it off… or hit snooze… and then I lay in bed a little bit longer to browse Facebook, Pinterest, or check emails. And you know what?? It is such a HUGE waste of time! The embarrassing thing is that even though I realize what a bad habit it is, it’s my routine… so I just do it anyway. Or at least I did. A few months ago, I was listening to the radio on my drive to work when the morning show host started talking about a new app. The First 5 is a free app created to encourage women to spend the first five minutes of their day in God’s Word. I instantly felt convicted about how I spent my first few minutes each morning. I downloaded the app and began using it the next morning. My alarm went off as usual (and I …

Your Kid Isn’t Perfect

I have been a mom for all of 5 years, 10 months, and 21 days. I graduated from college in less time than that, so you’d think I would have learned quite a bit by now. The truth is, in the time I’ve been a parent all I’ve really learned is that I still have no idea what I’m doing. Before I had children, I remember talking with a good friend about her own children. She said something that has always stuck with me: I don’t need my children to be the smartest or most popular kid in their class. I’m ok if they don’t make the honor roll or win awards. I just want them to love others and be kind. That was such a profound statement and I decided that I wanted to believe that statement for my own children one day. Now that I actually do have children…it’s MUCH easier said than done. In his Bible study “Raising Children Without Raising Your Blood Pressure,” pastor Rick Warren makes the statement: Kids are not things to be …

Obedience Requires Sacrifice

I have always been a rule-follower. As a child I never required harsh punishments from my parents. Just knowing I had done something to cause disappointment was enough to correct my behavior. It was important to me to know that I had the approval of my parents, teachers, and other adult role models. It didn’t take me long to figure out that if I was obedient, if I followed the advice of others and lived up to their expectations, they would like me. My parents encouraged me to a pursue a degree in the medical field and in the fall of 1999 I entered Brenau University’s Occupational Therapy program. I loved it. I enjoyed reading, studying, memorizing, and even dissecting a cadaver. My grades were top-notch and I took on leadership positions in my field of study as well as in extracurricular groups on campus. My “obedience” was bringing me a lot of success. However, as I progressed further in my studies and clinical experiences, I began to realize that occupational therapy wasn’t what I wanted to do for …