Dressing To Go To Church

I just finished listening to A Word Fitly Spoken’s 3 part series on modesty. I love the way that Amy and Michelle handled the topic, soundly and firmly, and gracefully.

Part 3 brought up some painful memories for me. They discussed being careful when discerning personal convictions (such as women should always wear dresses, etc.) and Biblical truth.

When I was 19, I was living with my mom. My dad had left the year before, and finances were awful. Mom and I had started going back to church, and I began visiting a church a little ways from my house, providing there was enough gas money to get there. I always wore jeans everywhere I went, but when I went to church, I wore my “good” jeans. I’m not sure at that point of there was much difference, because I didn’t have many pairs. If it was winter, I wore a turtleneck and sweater; summer was usually a nicer t-shirt and jeans (never ever ever wore shorts to church).

I knew the pastor and family well and when his wife asked me to come by the parsonage one day after church because she had something for me, it didn’t raise any red flags. So I went. She asked me to come upstairs. When I stepped into the bedroom, there were dresses, skirts and blouses spread out all over the bed. I was confused. Then she said it.

“I was cleaning out my closet and I thought you could use some of these things. You don’t really dress well enough for church.”

Looking back, I know I wasn’t even saved then. I had anger issues. I had built up frustration over my parent’s situation/divorce. I was mad. I was hurt.

And this didn’t help.

She was a strict “women should only wear dresses to church” follower. I wasn’t. I didn’t even know at that point if that was a personal conviction or a Biblical issue. I wore the best I had. I was covered up. I was clean. I was looking for Jesus and ended up getting judged for not wearing a dress.

I left in tears. She never apologized. I didn’t go to church there anymore. She and her husband left not long after that. But I did stay in church, and I found places where people were glad I was seeking the Lord and helped me grow. I went off to college and ended up in many debates about the subject of women only wearing dresses. I dont know if my story helped anyone, but I shared. And I still share it, especially when I sing the song I wrote “The Man On The Middle Cross”.

See, what could have happened that day was that I could have thought that was Jesus. And if I had, I could have walked away. What a time in my life for that to happen! My heart was broken from the home situation, and I turned to the church. But I didn’t think that was Him. And it wasn’t Him.

So I say all that to say this: always allow your words to be filtered through His grace.

And I encorage you to listen to Amy and Michelle at: awordfitlyspoken.life

Thanks for reading.

A Fish Out Of Water

I had been feeling like this fish, the one out of the bowl, for quite a long time. Something was missing. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but it should have been obvious. Sometimes the obvious things are the ones it takes us a long time to see. The things right in front of our faces get blurred by the things that, in the long run, don’t matter.

What magnificent event occurred that opened my eyes to why I was gasping for air? I went to church. For the first time in a year. I didn’t watch online, I didn’t have a study at home…I got up, got dressed, drove to the building and went to church! It was like someone took this dying fish in the picture and dropped her back into the water. Life giving, life sustaining oxygen for the lungs!

But this was spiritual…life giving, life sustaining Spirit for the soul! The life that only the Holy Spirit can give, through a solid, Bible believing, Bible teaching, Bible preaching church. The fellowship that only true believers in Jesus Christ can experience! Hugs, love, words of encouragement…and most importantly, Words of Scripture preached! God’s Word, God’s house, and God’s people worshipping the true God!

No wonder life had been sideways and even backwards at times. I was trying to live life without the oxygen that is required to breathe. Staying away from church caused more problems than I can even list. Satan likes it when we don’t go to church, when we aren’t with our family, when we don’t hear solid teaching and preaching…he gets us in that place where we are open to suggestion…”Did God really say?”

So that opens us up to false teachings, to the world and to idle hands (minds). We fill our time with busyness…and I often wonder why we are afraid to be quiet, and still, and listen? To read/study God’s Word and know the Truth. To know that we need to be with believers, sitting under solid teaching?

We have such a problem of avoidance of what is good: how many times have you said you were too busy to go to church? To study God’s Word? But you had time to go shopping, or sit mindlessly in front of a television for hours…sisters, we need to prioritize our lives, and it starts with God.

Hebrews 10: 24-25 says: “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching”.

Ladies, time is short. False teachers are abundant. Churches are riding the fence on Scriptural Truth – as I say that, I realize some of them have completely fallen off the path. How can we know the Truth?

Church. Study. Fellowship. Accountability. I dont know about you, but I am starving for these things.

But I hit the buffet on Sunday! (Leave it to a Baptist to bring in the buffet). You might be sitting there thinking, “Now wait a minute, Melissa. I went to church Sunday, but I didn’t get any of that.” Well, maybe it’s time for you and your family to really examine what you believe and measure it against what you are being taught.

I know that this fish is glad to be back in the water of God’s Word, God’s people, and God’s plan. If you have questions about anything, please reach out to me and if I can’t answer it, I have resources that can help. But don’t go it alone. We need each other, and together we can grow.

Winter thoughts

It’s funny about winter. When you’re younger, you pray for snow – I mean, no school, sleigh riding, snowman building, and snowball fights, right? When you’re an adult, you pray for no snow – I mean, you gotta go to work and get things done, right?

I’m in a weird position at this phase in life. I’m disabled, so no work. As long as we have groceries, I really don’t have anywhere I have to be. The boys are homeschooled, so our schedule is flexible with that as well. Doctor’s appointments are few, because unless I’m having an issue, I just have check ups now.

The past few years has been like an extended winter for me. I can’t do what I used to, and there’s really nowhere I have to be. Each day has been it’s own, and I have had my own personal revival/reformation. I have been placed in situations that are foreign to me, but God has led and God has provided.

After finding some solid women’s Bible teachers and friends through social media, and being part of an amazing church plant (www.popupchurchva.com), I’ve had my eyes opened to how my personal ministry (Traveling The True Journey) needed to be fine tuned. I previously posted about some of the changes that were happening, and now I have some more good news.

I have approached several of the ladies that God has used in my life and asked if they would be willing to share their stories, testimonies and ministries with all of us via some social media interviews. Several have already agreed, and I am in the process of working through the logistics so that these interviews will be available to each one of you.

So many times, we become conditioned to what we are taught in church, so much so that we forget that we should be studying for ourselves, and asking questions. We take as Gospel what someone tells us, and we don’t even know if it’s Scriptural. Ladies, this is wrong. We must know God’s Word, and where it is being taught incorrectly, we must say something. How do we know we are being taught incorrectly? By studying the Word ourselves! Book by book, verse by verse, and word by word.

I challenge you to stick with me through this – I know, we don’t like to have our idols challenged. But there is so much out there that we accept as good teaching, when in fact, it’s wrong.

So stay tuned as I schedule interviews and continue to share information regarding solid Bible teaching.

You won’t regret it.

Life happens.

So, yesterday evening, Steven and I went out to the store. On the way home, we noticed the beautiful sunset, and while we were looking at the sunset, a bazillion birds flew out of some trees and covered the sky.

They made perfect shades of gray and different shapes as they flew together, gliding with the wind. Steven and I started trying to guess how many there were, how cool it was that they were flying together in those patterns, especially against the beautiful backdrop of the sunset.

Then it happened.

SPLAT.

Four big, messy wads of bird poop on my windshield. The picture above is one of them.

Isn’t that just like life? You’re driving along, enjoying the view, admiring creation and its beauty…and splat.

You’re healthy, able to work, make a good living and provide for your family…and splat.

Life happens. Nobody promised you or me a rose garden. Nobody said it was fair. In fact, Jesus even told us to expect trials.

It’s called life. The boys were playing Batman and Robin yesterday, and I overheard Steven say, “Life doesn’t give you seatbelts”. How true is that?

Times are tough. Life is tough. There’s turmoil in our country that we’ve never experienced before. But in the world, many people experience worse every day.

As we travel this journey together, this life journey, I want to share with you the help we are promised when we are Christ followers. So as we enter this new year, I will be posting more and trying to be as real as I can, sharing Scripture as the compass to guide the way.

Life happens. But it’s easier together. And it’s amazing with Jesus.

Come along with me, on the True Journey!

Life happens.

So, yesterday evening, Steven and I went out to the store. On the way home, we noticed the beautiful sunset, and while we were looking at the sunset, a bazillion birds flew out of some trees and covered the sky.

They made perfect shades of gray and different shapes as they flew together, gliding with the wind. Steven and I started trying to guess how many there were, how cool it was that they were flying together in those patterns, especially against the beautiful backdrop of the sunset.

Then it happened.

SPLAT.

Four big, messy wads of bird poop on my windshield. The picture above is one of them.

Isn’t that just like life? You’re driving along, enjoying the view, admiring creation and its beauty…and splat.

You’re healthy, able to work, make a good living and provide for your family…and splat.

Life happens. Nobody promised you or me a rose garden. Nobody said it was fair. In fact, Jesus even told us to expect trials.

It’s called life. The boys were playing Batman and Robin yesterday, and I overheard Steven say, “Life doesn’t give you seatbelts”. How true is that?

Times are tough. Life is tough. There’s turmoil in our country that we’ve never experienced before. But in the world, many people experience worse every day.

As we travel this journey together, this life journey, I want to share with you the help we are promised when we are Christ followers. So as we enter this new year, I will be posting more and trying to be as real as I can, sharing Scripture as the compass to guide the way.

Life happens. But it’s easier together. And it’s amazing with Jesus.

Come along with me, on the True Journey!

How My Life Changed In An Instant

Early the other morning, I shared on Twitter what a messy and nerve wracking time I was having due to all of my health issues ganging up on me at once. I shared about how people think I’m so strong and they tell me they would never think anything was wrong with me because I’m always smiling and laughing.

It was then that I realized that I have met some of you, online and in person, since my illness and that y’all may not know my story. So, in a series of blog posts, I want to share with all of you the past 8 years of my life and how God works.

Up until 2012, I was a long term care/hospice social worker, along with doing some music and speaking ministry stuff. 2012 was a year of loss for my family, and in July, we all stood at the third funeral of close family in a matter of 5 months. I made the comment that no one else in our family was allowed to get sick or die for the rest of the year. We all laughed about it to make things a little lighter.

2 weeks to the day, I was in an ambulance on my way to the hospital with severe abdominal pain and a fever of 104. I was 42 years old and had never had any serious health issues. I’d never been in the hospital. I was admitted to the hospital with diverticulitis w/abscess and severe infection. The plan was to heal me up and get me home. Worst case scenario was surgery to drain the abscess or a temporary colostomy.

Well, when I do stuff, I do it big. Two days into my hospital stay, my bowel perforated and I was rushed to emergency surgery. I woke up with a colostomy. I spent 10 days in the hospital on IV antibiotics, and came home on 7 more days of IV antibiotics.

My hospital stay is another testimony in itself, and I will save that for another entry. Today I just want to outline the past 8 years. I was supposed to have a resection in January of 2013, but after prayer and careful consideration of the risks, my surgeon and I made the decision to wait. I tried to work, going back in October of 2012 and tried up until March of 2013. It was then that I was referred to the rheumatologist who diagnosed me with osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia.

I went from working 10-12 hours a day some days and making good money, to not being able to do much of anything for myself for awhile, and then not being able to work. I fought disability for 3.5 years before I finally got approved. When I got my back pay, people said “What are you gonna do with all that money?”

I laughed. “All that money” for 3.5 years was less than I made working in one year. You don’t get your salary – you get what you would have drawn if you were retired. All that money got me a van and paid back my mom for a bunch of things she did for me while I had no income.

I went from a career with my own money, insurance, benefits, etc. to nothing. I couldn’t even bathe myself for awhile. Or bend over to pick anything up. I sold everything I could sell to have money to pay my bills and buy medicine and ostomy supplies.

I went from independence to dependence. I ended up with all of the cards in the picture at the heading of this post.

I lost my ability to provide for myself, and to care for myself. I lost every ounce of pride I ever had when I sat down at that social workers desk to apply for food stamps. Thank God for a great mother who took care of me, or I could have been homeless on top of everything else. I was at the bottom and the only place I could look was up.

The year prior to that, I had prayed for God to truly allow me to understand what it meant to say that Jesus was all I needed. Talk is cheap.

Until Jesus was all I had.

Stay tuned as I share more about this journey I have been on: revival/ministry in my hospital room; my mom being diagnosed with cancer during all this; and how I realized that through my infirmity, God has used me.

Another New Start
Welcome back! We left off a couple of months ago with the 2nd chapter of James. To be honest, I lost my passion. It became more of a chore for me than a love of God’s Word. Thankfully, He has restored that love and I am back, sharing His Word.


Since our last video session, I have obtained some additional study material, including the Archaeology Study Bible and the Reformation Study Bible.
The material included in these works is amazing, and trustworthy – this doesn’t mean you still shouldn’t study on your own and make sure what you are reading stands in line with Scripture.
The resources that I use for this study are not by any means fru-fru. They are not part of what I recently called on Twitter a collection of “cliché t-shirt, coffee mug Christianity pushed by fru-fru women’s conferences/ministries”. I am ready for Scriptural women’s teaching where the rubber meets the road, and my soul meets Jesus. I don’t want to be coddled; I want to be knocked off my horse by the power of God, and transformed into the woman that He says I should be in His Word.


Leaving aside false teachers, I have found Scriptural teachers who call out those who tend to insert their own thoughts and words into their teaching, making a hodge podge of false claims and while trying to wax poetic, and end up promoting their own words and ideas in the place of the Word of God.
I will share resources. I will share Godly, Biblical teachers. I will unapologetically share God’s Word.
While we are continuing our study in James as our main text, I will also be sharing from time to time other things that God lays on my heart. I have been trying to do this daily on the Facebook page for Traveling The True Journey.

There are several ways to get content from this ministry:
Facebook: Traveling The True Journey
Facebook Group: Journey Through Scripture (for women only)
Twitter: @wholelottaJesus and @true_traveling
Instagram: @wholelottaJesus
Blog: tttjblog.wordpress.com
YouTube: Melissa Leigh Morris


I know, this seems like a lot of places to share; however, most of those will guide you back to the blog/YouTube for the Journey Through Scripture studies.
You will also notice a name change. Women in the Word just didn’t sound right anymore, and there are also other groups out there with the same name. In following the theme of the name of the ministry, women’s Bible study is now “Journey Through Scripture”.


I also believe I should share my testimony as part of this ministry. That goes way back and has a lot of roads: that’s why this ministry is called Traveling The True Journey. The tagline I use explains a lot:
What is The True Journey? Walking away from tradition toward the Truth, and knowing the difference.

God has taken me on paths I never thought I’d be on, and as we travel together, I will share some of those with you.


Growing up on the fringes of the Bible belt, I learned how quickly traditions can be worshipped instead of Jesus. “My granddaddy built this church, this is my church”; church splits over who runs the kitchen committee and what color the new carpet will be; being considered the “upper echelon” in the church hierarchy because of who your family is, how much money they give, or because you were on the “cradle roll”; and most of all, failure to preach the Word of God for fear of offending those who financially support the church.
I’ve seen it all. I’ve done most of it. What really stopped me in my tracks was being asked to serve on a committee for our local Association. What was it?
The Committee on Boards and Committees.
Give me a break. Some denominations have “committeed” themselves out of serving the Lord. I agree there must be organization to avoid chaos, but good grief.
Some of the terminology I use will clue some of you in on what denomination I have served in and worshipped in over the years.
Understand this: I am not against the church. The Church is the Bride of Christ and He will be returning soon to take His Bride with Him back to the Father. My problem is with those who have turned the church into something God never created it to be, in order to get personal attention and personal gain.
I also have a problem with the modern Pharisees who put their own legalism and rules into effect and basically ignore God’s grace.
If you’ve read this far and you’re still with me, welcome to this Journey. We will travel together through the hills and valleys called life, toward our ultimate destination: eternity with God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. And along the way, we will share His Word with those around us in hopes of them joining us.
I don’t know about y’all, but I’m ready to go!

What Would You Do To Get To Jesus?

We have a bazillion squirrels at our house. And that’s being conservative. When we decided to plant a garden this year, we were concerned that the squirrels would invade (along with the deer, rabbits, possums, raccoons, and occasional bear).

When we pick tomatoes that aren’t quite ready, we put them in the window sill to finish ripening. So, one morning, I went in the kitchen and was fixing the coffee pot, when I felt like someone or something was watching me. I looked up, and out of the window, I saw a squirrel perched on the corner of the deck rail, stretching as far as he could towards the window. I didn’t know what he was up to, so I fixed the coffee and went on about my day.

Later that evening, I went into the kitchen and happened to glance out of the window, and I saw this huge hole in the screen! Needless to say, my first thought was, “How in the world did the boys manage to do this?”. Then I realized what had happened.

That squirrel had been reaching for the window to get to that tomato! It was a good 5 feet from where he was to the tomato – he must have sailed himself over there and torn the screen when he tried to grab on. With the size of the hole and the window being up, we were lucky he didn’t come in the house (which would have been another whole story in itself)! That squirrel was determined to get to that tomato!

Are you that determined to get to Jesus? To follow Jesus? Let’s look at this passage:

Mark 2: 1-12 (ESV): And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”he said to the paralytic “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

Wow! These men wanted to get their friend to Jesus! When they couldn’t get to Him by going into the house through the door, they came up with another plan. They tore off the roof and lowered their friend down to Jesus. They did whatever they had to in order to get to Jesus.

Will we do whatever it takes to get to Jesus? Will you sacrifice self to have the most precious Gift ever given? These men in this passage did everything they could to get their friend to Jesus – would you do that for someone else? For yourself?

The squirrel failed at his attempt to get that tomato. Our attempts at worldly things fail, but I guarantee you one thing: your sincere attempts to get to Jesus will always be successful. He’s not out of reach.

 Philippians 3: 14-21 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained. Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.  For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Do whatever it takes, friends. You won’t regret it! If you don’t have a saving knowledge of or faith in Jesus Christ, talk to someone you know who does. If you do have that knowledge and faith, but you feel like you’ve given up, talk to someone who will help pick you up. Email me at tttjourney@gmail.com and we can make plans to chat. But don’t ignore this message. Love to all of you til next time!