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Cultivate Book Club

Cultivate Book Club

So What’s Next?

You know when an amazing experience is coming to an end — maybe polishing off a delicious steak (sorry, vegetarians … tofu?), the last scene of an awesome movie, or when you’re boarding the plane after a relaxing vacation — and you get that happy/sad feeling of, “This was so great and I don’t want it to end!”?

That’s how I feel when each season of Book Club comes to an end. For the last nine weeks, we have experienced such sweet times of worship and community while also soaking in the life-changing truths of this book and God’s Word together. It has been awesome.

And now we ask ourselves — what’s next?

The truth is some of us welcome the season of summer when many of our routines change and slow down somewhat. Others of us may feel anxious and nervous about the change, and we often run to activity to help fill in the gaps of our downtime.

Before any of us do anything, here’s my challenge. Stop. Breathe. Pause.

And then ask yourself two questions:

  1. How am I going to cultivate communion with God?
  1. How am I going to cultivate community with others?

Friends, in order for us to live the life God wants us to live — the abundant life that is full of His goodness — I am convinced these two things must be the top priorities in our lives.

Communion with God

Communion with God will look different for everyone, but the common ingredient is consistency. Making time each week to consistently commune, to meet with and hear from God, is vital in becoming more like Him.

Some practical tips:

Set a CWG (commune with God) alarm on your phone. Maybe it’s 10 to 15 minutes before your family gets up in the morning. Maybe it’s in the afternoon while your littles are sleeping or maybe it’s at night, before you decide to turn in. Figure out the time of day when you can be most focused and make it happen.

Download the YouVersion app on your smartphone. YouVersion is free and in addition to having every Bible translation there is, it is packed with devotionals and Bible plans for every season of life and spiritual growth.

Community with Others

Book Club is structured the way it is so you can experience the richness and beauty of spiritual connection through small groups. Living in community is vital to your spiritual health because God didn’t design us to lead lives of isolation. He wants us and invites us to live in relationship. Life is hard. And it’s even harder when we are facing it alone. The good news is you don’t have to.

Some practical tips:

Continue meeting as a small group with the women you’ve connected with through Book Club. This is an awesome way to stay connected, and we have resources and tools available to help make your group as successful as possible.

Start a community group. Maybe you’re feeling a nudge from the Holy Spirit to take what you’ve experienced in your group this season and share it with others. Maybe you have friends, neighbors or co-workers who desperately need to know more about Jesus; a community group can be a great environment to help them learn and grow while continuing to grow yourself. We can help you do this, too! You’re not alone. 🙂

Join a women’s group. If your group isn’t going to continue meeting, and you don’t feel ready to start your own group, then let us help you get connected with another women’s community group. We have several women’s groups, and we are committed to helping you find a place to plug in.

Here’s what I know. God wants you to know you. And God wants to use you. The question is — will you let yourself be known and will you let yourself be used?

I hope so. The greatest life you can live is a life committed to loving God and loving people.

So, what’s next for you? We can’t wait to celebrate that with you.


Embracing the journey,

Melody 💗

Cultivate Book Club

Why Not Me?

I didn’t go to many sleepovers growing up, but I do remember one at my best friend Shannon’s house. I was so excited!  As we drove up the street of her neighborhood I felt like I’d stepped into a different world. The trees stood a little taller and a little greener. And the houses were definitely larger.

When we crossed over the gated entry of her home, I was in awe. Her house was huge. I mean like mansion type huge. Shannon gave me the grand tour including an introduction to her personal maid but not before a quick stop to show me where the elevator was. I had literally stepped into an experience so grand, so different from what I knew. And then something happened. I was completely blindsided by this emotion that I could feel rising up in me.

I was so stinking jealous! Like really, really jealous!

It was in this moment I realized she had something I didn’t have but desperately wanted. When I went back to my home the next day you can imagine the way in which I now viewed my possessions. Although my home was just perfect the day before, this day was different because I now saw it all through the lens of comparison.

Jealousy is down right ugly and most of us struggle with it somewhere in our lives. It’s dismissed, often hidden, and not talked about much. Jealousy is an unholy craving for something we do not have. Whether it’s status, personality, talents, or a relationship…at its core it is destructive. It robs us of the good in front of us while leading to an ungrateful heart.

James chapter 3 says, “Wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.”

Jealousy is the enemy of unity. It divides. It isolates. It chokes out gratitude.

Tragically, jealousy prevents us from celebrating another’s ‘moment’ because we selfishly crave our own. Jealousy asks the questions, What about me? Where’s mine? When is it my turn? Or even worse…Why her or him? Jealousy speaks the lie that says, “There’s not enough to go around! And when God was handing out looks, personality, gifts, favor, noses, whatever…He ran out of the good stuff and gave the leftovers to you.” Ugh! It’s ugly!

It gets worse because jealousy and insecurity are partners in crime. If jealousy is craving what we don’t have then insecurity is devaluing what has been given and entrusted to us. And what we do possess is never ‘good enough’ compared to someone else and so we minimize ourselves.

This is the place where the battle is real and there is so much at stake! Insecurity leads us to feel small and insignificant. It leads us to shrink back and shut down. Our enemy is victorious if he can divide through jealousy and immobilize through insecurity.

A couple of years ago, I was battling jealousy and insecurity…again. Discouraged and frustrated I went in my backyard to pray. I pulled out my journal to pour out all of the injustices I was feeling. I started writing feverishly. This entry was different from my others and became a confession. A confession of how I see myself when I don’t fully embrace who I am. It was time to speak truth to the jealousy and insecurity. I don’t make a habit of sharing my journal entries with others (like ever) but, I feel led to with this one because maybe these words are for you too. Maybe they’ll help nudge you to take a step of imperfect progress towards being free from your chains of jealousy and insecurity. Maybe they’ll help you see clearer how beautifully made you are and that God didn’t leave out a thing. Here goes…

The sunset and stars make their way into evenings light

Birds sing a final chorus to the days song as frogs pick up where they left off

I’m surrounded by peace as creation just does their thing

That which You’ve made them to be

Why not me?

Does the sun wish it was the ocean?

Does a star really dream about falling to the earth?

As the rocks cry out in silent praise do they envy the dazzling moon?

I don’t think so!

They get what they are and how wonderfully they’ve been made

Their special job in bringing You praise

So why do WE just a little lower than Thee whimper, whine and complain?

Why do WE question the value of that which You’ve made?

To the right and to the left we look; Comparison our navigating friend

Screaming out lies and slandering the Wise One who has made US to contend!

Insecurity rises to silence the Almighty’s plans

Attempts to satisfy insatiable cravings lead us right into Destruction’s hands

Why do we want what others have?

The glory; the fame; the looks; the car; the man who prays or stays?

Oh, eyes lift up higher and shift your desire towards all that’s been granted your way!

There’s enough to go around…HEAR ME SAY, THERE IS ENOUGH TO GO AROUND!

So stop grabbing, lusting, stop warring for nothing

It’s not yours; never was…leave it be!

Instead…treasure today what Majesty has made and display it with honor and humility


May you discover where jealousy and insecurity reside in your heart and allow the Lord to lead you to a place of being free and firmly rooted in His love.




There’s no easy prescription for overcoming jealousy and insecurity, but this week in Unglued Chapters 9 & 10, we were given some helpful tools to help retrain our minds and hearts when we begin to feel jealous and insecure.

  1. Saturate ourselves in God’s word

This is where we let the truth of God penetrate deep within us to remind us that we are made uniquely, with special gifts given to us as means to build up one another.

  1. Surround ourselves with life givers

We develop relationships in our lives where honor, encouragement, and love are core values.

2. Pray for those we feel jealous towards

Oh, this one is hard! But praying and blessing another person is helpful when we’re harboring jealousy towards someone. We retrain our heart and mind how to respond in love.

3. Practice being grateful as we carry our own loads

The bottom line is this… God has entrusted each of us with something to carry and steward that is uniquely for us. When we want what someone else and overlook what’s been given to us we become ungratefully stuck on the sidelines of our own lives with longings that will never be satisfied.


Cultivate Book Club

Broken is Beautiful

It had been a long day.

I was tired and it was only 3:00pm.

It had been a day full of errands, doctor’s appointments and home study – home study happens at our house twice a week. It is a school day, but my kids are not on campus. They are assigned school work to complete at home which means I get to be their teacher…I am going to let you decide how you think I feel about that as we approach the end of the school year.


As 3:00pm rolled around, I realized that I hadn’t thought about dinner, I had a worship team rehearsal to lead in a few hours, there was a sibling argument happening over a video game AND my kids hadn’t finished their school work which was due the next day. I lost my crap all over the place.

Hi. My name is Melody. And I am an exploder who shames others.

In my explosion, I yelled at my kids. I threw stuff around, sent a snippy text to my husband and slammed my bedroom door shut. And you know what? None of that made me feel any better. In fact, I felt awful. The look on my son’s face told me that I had made him feel awful too. This would have been a great time to heed Lysa’s words that “feelings are indicators, not dictators.”

Ugh. Total mom fail.

Reading through chapters 5 and 6 of “Unglued” didn’t reveal to me that I am an exploder. I already knew that. It revealed to me how my exploding is affecting those closest to me–mainly my family – and even more, how God feels about it. Because the more I read, the more convinced I became that my exploding is actually just an outworking of a deeper sin issue:

Pride. Pride is the birthplace of all sin and pride is what fuels the Stuffer to harbor resentment and the Exploder to launch attacks.

I spent some time this week studying pride and what God says about it and here is the simple definition of pride that I came up with: Choosing self over surrender.

In my explosion last week, I chose myself – my feelings, my desires and my plans – over everyone else. And even though I did need time to prepare for my rehearsal, figure out a plan for dinner and get home study done, there was a healthy way to do those things had I chosen humility instead of allowing my pride to rear its ugly head and bite off the heads of my children.

I Peter 5:5 says, ”God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” I did a little digging and the word “opposes” in the Greek literally means “to wage war against.” I don’t like to think about God waging war against me and my pride. But pride is a big deal to him. And I think it’s a big deal to Him because He knows how it will ultimately affect us.

Pride destroys. Pride mocks. Pride steals. Pride kills.

Whether you’re a stuffer or an exploder (or a combination of both…yeah, me too) the sin that we have to oppose – wage war against – is pride. Because if we don’t, than we will never actually mature in our faith to become women who are controlled by the Holy Spirit. So, I think it is time that we get real about our pride. And here’s how we are going to do that:

1. Ask it.

This week, sit down with those closest to you and ask them how your exploding/stuffing has affected them. Listen to their words. I did this with my family. It wasn’t easy but it was so important for me to hear what they had to say.

2. Own it.

Once they have shared, in a posture of humility, own it. Don’t make excuses or justify it, just accept what they have to say.

3. Confess it.

Be willing to be vulnerable. Ask for their forgiveness and then get alone with God. Confess your pride to Him and ask Him to forgive you.

Here’s the deal: pride is sin and God hates sin. He hates it. But He loves us.

Look at these words in Psalm 34:17-18: “Is anyone crying for help? God is listening ready to rescue you. If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there.”

Believing that we sin isn’t the same as being broken over our sin. There is a huge difference. But if our sin breaks our hearts, than God promises to be right there, ready to rescue, heal and forgive us. I believe that our brokenness over our sin is the gateway to becoming beautiful daughters of His grace, because once we recognize what we have been forgiven of, than we become the avid fighters for grace and forgiveness in this broken and messed up world.

And His beauty – what has drawn us to Him – becomes what is also beautiful in us.

And listen, we aren’t going to get this right every time. We are celebrating imperfect progress, remember? But the most important thing we can do as we learn more about ourselves and what our struggles are is to lean into Jesus with all that we are. He invites us into a relationship with Him where we are seen, known AND loved. And His love is the most beautiful thing of all.

Embracing the journey,


Cultivate Book Club

Heart Hoarding: Week 4

“Your feelings are neither right or wrong. They just are!” Has someone ever said this to you?

They can be comforting words to me when I’m in the middle of feeling bad about feeling bad for what I feel. But my negative raw emotions are NEVER a landing spot. They’re usually a launching pad that with high velocity propels my unglued self somewhere.

In Chapter 4 this week, Lysa helps us to identify how our unfiltered and unchecked emotions can ooze out of us and onto others causing unnecessary damage. We were given the option of identifying what type of Unglued we can become. Are we an Exploder or Stuffer? Are we both based on the scenario and people surrounding it?

For me, I can be an Exploder with people that I feel really close to…specifically my husband who vowed before God and man that he had to love me till death do us part. My kids have experienced it too and I find I escalate on them much easier than I would a friend. However, at my core I’m a Stuffer that builds barriers. And when I am not in an emotionally healthy place, I’m tempted to run to that response. This is what it looks like for me…

I have a safe zone in life. It’s called my Bunker. It’s the place I go when I feel the need to self protect. It’s my refuge when I’ve finally had enough of someone or something. If I’ve been hurt badly or repeatedly it’s where I go to hide to heal. It’s a lonely place but it’s what I know. I control who and what comes in and out. It’s where I decide not to be found. Here, I process and stew over my raw emotions which leads to mini explosions inside of me. Sadly, I have the shrapnel scars to prove it!

I know this Bunker Mentality is incredibly unhealthy, but it served a purpose for me in years past when I should have been protected but wasn’t. I got good at being my own line of defense and in doing so, I crowded out my Defender and others!

Introspection and doing the hard work of being real with ourselves is challenging and painfully convicting at times but a necessary inward investment if we want to grow in emotional and spiritual maturity.  We don’t do this alone! I love how this chapter leads us to identify what’s going on inside so we can bring it under the healing authority of Jesus where there is truth.

Knowing where our raw emotions take us is vital but will be in vain if we don’t also identify from where they’ve come. Look at these passages of scripture…

You desire honesty from my heart, so you can teach me to be wise in my inmost being.”  Psalm 52:6

“Search me, O God and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139:23-24

It deeply matters to God what we think and how we respond. He desires real, unabashed, naked honesty from within us.

Recently, God spoke to me through the most unusual circumstance to drive this truth deep inside. I was carrying a load of laundry into my garage and I tripped over my sons baseball gear he had so carelessly thrown in there the night before. After I caught my balance, I spewed out some frustrated comments loudly into the atmosphere. I put the clothes in the washer and was in awe of what I saw as I turned around. It shouldn’t have surprised me. I’m in the garage multiple times a day, but this day was different. My garage was an absolute disaster! It was filled with trash, bags of clothes to donate, broken furniture, piles of books from 15 years of homeschooling, old bed frames, Christmas decorations that didn’t quite make it in a storage container, dozens of blankets, old toys and legos that hadn’t been played with in years, boxes of 23 years of life with my husband and kids, but mostly clutter…clutter…and more more clutter!

I stood there all alone and yelled, “How did my garage get like this? It used to be such an organized and functional space! What happened?”

It was in that moment I heard God speak to me…

“Your heart gets like this sometimes. Ignored. Dirty. Overwhelmed. And definitely cluttered. You store things in there that you say you’ll clean out later, but you don’t come back. You hold onto stuff you think you need because it reminds you of the past, but it’s a new season and time to let that go. There are boxes filled with doubts, disappointments and dreams unfulfilled. So many boxes. I want to abundantly give to you new gifts and treasures but your heart can’t fit one more thing.”

It’s amazing what God uses to get our attention! I’d become a heart hoarder and I didn’t even know it. Like my garage, I’d kept shoving, piling and stacking up on the inside. And just like a garage door sensor goes off when the space is overflowing, I explode or run to my bunker when something deep in me gets triggered. My raw emotions come out of an unclean and overstuffed heart.

In this, I’m learning that I always have a choice when my negative feelings rise up that try to enslave me. I can run to my bunker where my voice is the only one that reverberates off the walls of self protection I’ve built, OR…I can run to the God of protection. He’s my hiding place and help in time of need. I can ask him to steady me and reveal truth into any situation. He knows and sees every nook and cranny and still unconditionally loves. And in this second choice I grow in the discipline of responding with emotional and spiritual maturity!

There was no condemnation or shame from God in my messy garage moment. Only grace and  invitation. He extends that to all of us. So, here’s the question I’d like to ask you,

If our raw emotions take us to a destination containing baggage from a place we’ve already traveled what are you carrying around that God is asking you to release?

Before you answer that, perhaps pray this first…

“Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence. Don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and make me willing to obey You.” Psalm 51:10-12

What is the condition of your heart today? As you begin to pray this scripture over your life I believe wholeheartedly that God will begin the cleaning, renewing and restoring! Would you open up the door and welcome Him in? He has so much to give to you! Are you ready and willing to make the necessary room to receive it?

Let the cleaning begin!




Reflection Questions:

As we do the hard work of introspection and grow in being real with ourselves, that will always lead us into being real with God and others. Here are a few questions to help you process.

  1. Is my heart a hospitable place for Jesus or has it become cluttered and unwelcoming?
  2. What am I hoarding in my heart that needs to be cleaned out, renewed or restored by HIm?
  3. Who am I willing to be real with this week regarding my emotions and the condition of my heart?