My Brave Story- Melissa Moss

This woman just beams with the goodness and glory of God. When I first met Melissa we were at a woman's conference for our church called, Arise! While we were leading worship and looking out as people were worshipping, she stood out to me as she was singing her heart out to Jesus, looking like she was so caught up in the glory of God. She has a smile that is contagious and a heart that is filled with passion for Jesus. She is a mother of two beautiful girls and a wife to her husband Jared. Melissa's story is one that has it's ups and downs, but when she reached out and took a hold of what God had for her personally and in her marriage, she had breakthrough! I'm excited for you all to read her "Brave Story" and tap into the real love and freedom that our daddy, Jesus Christ brings! 

My name is Melissa Moss. I am a 28 year old mother of two beautiful girls, Raegan {7} and Taylor {4}. I am married to Jared, a man who keeps me laughing and always on my toes. There is never a dull moment anytime you are around him. He keeps life fun! We live in Liberty,Texas, a little country town where the biggest thing to do is go to the nearest Walmart. I moved from a town about 10 minutes away, and Jared was raised here in Liberty.  I love that our girls will grow up in a town where they will get to hear about all the funny, wild things their daddy did in school, and the memories people have on his side of the family. 

So, what is my story? Let’s begin. I grew up in church until I was thirteen. I remember some moments of summer camp, church plays, and the way it was always so cold in church, but when you are thirteen, you are still trying to make sense of everything. My parents got divorced and we really didn’t ever go back. From ages thirteen to twenty-one, I had done things that no child should even be exposed to, but with being so independent, I put myself into situations that on some days, I wish could take back. I had lost people who meant everything to me, lived in situations that were toxic, and partied constantly. I was so lost in life, but did not know where to even begin. I would get off work, go get alcohol and then get wasted at a party. This was my life pretty much from eighteen to twenty-one. When I was twenty-one, I met Jared. He was like no one I have ever met before. He kept me laughing with his silly dance moves at parties; he was always so happy and chill; he made the entire room a better place. At this time, we were not together, but he took up for me in ways no one has ever done before. He made sure I was okay even in playing beer pong. I never met anyone like him, and I just wanted to be around him. I felt safe when I was with him. I can’t say his handsome looks weren’t an attraction either. We began dating, and immediately I was pregnant. What is crazy is, I didn’t know until later that my mother was praying for God to send someone to help me. I was partying so bad, that she was thinking about putting me in rehab. When I had told her I was pregnant, she joked and said, “I should have prayed more specifically!” The pregnancy was an adventure in itself. Jared was nineteen and me twenty-one. At this time, people are just going off to college and experiencing their next level in life. We moved into my parent’s house, and I had to be put on bed-rest almost immediately. My body was treating the baby like an infection and was trying to get rid of it. I feel I got so depressed. I had lost all my “friends” when I couldn’t party anymore. It was like I was living on another planet, but at the same time, couldn’t wait to pour myself into someone who would never leave me. I couldn’t wait for someone to love all of me, and me all of them. I was going to have a daughter, and she would be my world. One morning at 4:00 a.m., I went into labor. All your fears of your first child experience set in, but one bigger came with this experience. She was six weeks too soon. We rushed to the hospital forty-five minutes away; the hospital I was supposed to tour and attend birthing classes that weekend. I remember the ride over there like it was yesterday. My mom was driving, Jared in the front; the way mom was scared to pass any slow vehicle; the way she would honk and flick her blinker every time a contraction would set in, but I couldn’t yell at her because I knew she was trying to help. We didn’t take an ambulance because we thought it was just a false alarm. When we finally got to the hospital, I had Raegan in thirty minutes. But that’s not when the nightmare stopped. That’s when it started.  Raegan was so tiny. She was six weeks premature, her lungs weren’t developed all the way, and she had jaundice, and was rushed to the NICU. I couldn’t touch my baby for three days. I only could look at her through the NICU incubator. When we got to go home, we left Raegan there.  It was such a horrible experience that I never would wish on anyone. When your most exciting moments turn into nightmares, it leaves a place in your heart that it’s so hard to revisit. We finally got to bring her home, and I never put her down, like ever. I couldn’t get passed how perfect she was. How much love I was going to give to her. I felt like I had a purpose in life now, to be her mom. 

Since everything happened so fast with Jared and me, we agreed we didn’t want to just get married because I was pregnant, keep in mind, we weren’t in church to know how Jesus wanted things, and this would come later. The next couple of years were a nightmare. We were trying to do everything on our own, in our own knowledge, and our own strength. Jared and I fought and broke up every other weekend. It was a mess. Trying to figure out how to be parents, a couple, where to live, how to live, when to party because we still did at times, how to not just fall apart, it was exhausting. We had broken up so many times, I was so numb. Here I thought a precious baby would fix the hole in my heart, this aching I always felt, but never could explain, as perfect as she was, it wouldn’t go away. 

Fast forward two years later, Jared and I decided to get married. We were still trying to figure everything out, but I knew I wanted to marry him and really start this family. We decided to get married in March 2011, and in December 2010 we found out I was pregnant again. On our wedding day, I was three months pregnant. I was terrified that a repeat of what happened to Raegan would happen this time around. I don’t know if I could have gone through that again.  Sure enough, my body went into trying to get rid of the baby. The high-risk doctor I was seeing stated that I was RH-Negative. RH-Negative is when your body produces antibodies to an Rh-positive baby. Your body may respond as if it were allergic to the baby. Your body may make antibodies to the Rh antigens in the baby’s blood. This means you have become sensitized and your antibodies can cross the placenta and attack your baby’s blood. I had to start taking shots to stop from going into labor. I was also informed that Raegan’s early delivery may have been caused by intercourse during that pregnancy. With that being said, I was TERRIFIED to even touch Jared for the entire pregnancy (this is relevant in my story to come). During the pregnancy, mine and Jared’s relationship resembled that of roommates more than a married couple.  As I was focused on Raegan and keeping Taylor safe, I forgot to be a wife and uplift my husband. As I was living in fear without even knowing it, my husband became lonely. We hadn't built a foundation of communication for me to even begin to see or ask how HE was doing. His eyes began to wonder, but I didn’t know it yet. We had a beautiful baby girl in October and I thought everything was beautiful, but I still had this aching in my heart I couldn’t ever explain or even try to. I thought this was just life.This is all you get. I loved everything I had, but had this emptiness still. I couldn’t shake it. 

It was December and not only was the weather changing outside, I had no idea how much my life was about to take a complete spin. We somehow heard about a church in Dayton. I cannot remember why we walked into Dayton Christian Center, how we got there, but I remember a different feeling that came over me as I walked into the door. People I never met were so happy to see me. It was a feeling like I was being welcomed home or to my favorite cousin’s house.  There was a guest speaker that Sunday morning, but it was like everything he was saying, he was talking right to me. We went a couple times on and off, and in January I felt like it was time to just give everything to this Jesus. I always knew about God even when I was partying and being wild, but I just thought it was what you did like yeah, I am a Christian and you’re a sophomore in high school. I didn’t know He was real at this time, but I was willing to just “try it out, all in” to see what it was all about. 

Now in January, I was sitting at work and not looking for anything, I had no reason to, and I remember stumbling across messages to other women from Jared’s Facebook. I can’t even remember why I was even looking. I just remember signing on under his name, scandalous I know, but just to see. I never expected to stumble across something that would rock me. Simple messages saying, “You are beautiful.” “You’re so pretty.” “You’re gorgeous.” Just words on a screen, but they were like daggers in my soul. I’m not letting you know this to put my husband down. To hurt his image. To make him look bad or feel guilty. I’m telling you this because this was the game changer for everything.

When I saw this, we were three weeks shy of our one year anniversary. I was distraught. The questions of, “How could he do this? How could he want to see other women? Am I not enough?!” began to play on repeat in my mind. I couldn’t or wouldn’t live this way! I filed for divorce. I didn’t want to be with a “cheater” all my life. I was so hurt and lost. The next couple of months I felt relieved, angry, disgusted, that turned into confused, lost, hurt. In this time, just a Facebook friend reached out to me. We can’t recall how she knew to reach out, how she reached out, did she message me, get my number, text me, or even the conversation leading up to the meeting for the first time and lunch at Chili’s. Who knew that Facebook friend would become my best friend, who would help me get to Jesus.

We met on my lunch break, and she began to listen to my story. She suggested to come to a class at Dayton Christian Center, just for me. She gave me a book and a challenge. As I walked into the church for a chance of hope and answers, I saw him. Jared was sitting in the back. I was so angry. “This was my church!” I thought. We all started watching a series called Marriage on the Rock by Jimmy Evans.  Now knowing what I know, God is so amazing.  He is hilarious as well. He knew we needed that, that very moment! That first class I can’t recall anything the speaker was saying, I couldn’t believe Jared would try and corrupt MY church. (So mature, Melissa! This is me speaking now, 2016.) As we continued throughout the weeks watching Jimmy speak, I began wanting to seek what else was out there for answers. “What should I do? Do I want the girls to live with a new mom one day? How will this affect them? Is this what I want? Could I forgive him?” Jared apologized many times during this timeframe. I couldn’t forgive him. I was so confused on what to do.  One day, I was heading to the doctor for my six week postpartum exam, I popped in a CD on which David Hilton was preaching. As I began to listen in hopes that God would give me an answer on what to do, but still not even knowing if it was all “real”, I heard it. David said,” As one can put 1,000 to flight, two can put 10,000 to flight.” I know that may not sound like trumpets going off as the Lord came down on a cloud and delivered a message, but when I heard it, I HEARD IT. My heart began to leap out of my chest, I began to cry and knew not to give up. I remember calling Keshia Hilton, my beautiful Facebook friend, in Walmart parking lot bawling my eyes out. She said,“If God gave you an ounce of hope that this can be fixed in your heart, than trust He can fix it.” So, without letting Jared know any of the above, I began trusting this God I heard about. As he started sitting in the back of the church and I in the front in the beginning of the six week class, we were now sitting beside each other mid-way through. By the end of it, we have decided to give it another chance. We decided to fully commit to finding out what this lifestyle was all about. 

After months of going to Dayton Christian Center, I was taking in every word that was spoken. I was the mascara running, tear slinging, snot dripping girl in church every Sunday. I just wanted to be new again. I wanted this emptiness gone. I just wanted to start my life over. I was disgusted and angry with myself for the hurt I caused other people, the dumb decisions I made that could have landed me in jail, rehab or worse. I was so sickened with shame. I had so many realizations of how big of a mess I was it was almost overtaking, and not by the pastor or anyone there. It was like I was walking around blinded my entire life, and now I could truly see how to live successfully. Every Sunday that we came, I fell more in love with the people around me. There was so much love surrounding me.  Even when my past mistakes overwhelmed me with guilt and shame, I had people there to uplift me and help me through all of it.  They were there for me trying to figure out who I was, and who God called me to be. I knew we had found our home church. I couldn’t imagine trying to do it without them or where to even begin. With shame still holding me in chains, I was invited to a women’s ministry event called S.F.L. (Sisters. Faith. Life.), where the speaker happened to be preaching on unworthiness. Of course, I had no idea that this was the topic of the night. I just knew I had to get there; I had to hear everything. At this time I was so desperate for a change in me that I would try and see everything possible. I was completely in. Every part of me was surrendering to God, I wanted to feel Him near me. I wanted to be overtaken with who He was. I needed to know He was real. I can remember Tayler Murray preaching and she just said the title of her message and I think I started crying. (Something you’ll have to know about me is I cry a lot. Like a lot a lot. I cry when I’m mad, sad, happy, my friends are crying, cry when my heart takes off in excitement, I cry.) “Unworthiness”, she said. That word alone was everything to me. That emptiness that I had been feeling since I was a child, it had a name. I felt so unworthy of, well being me. I don’t know where it originated from, but it hung around my neck my entire life. I was always in comparison to others, always feeling different, overthinking everything, in a state of exhaustion of who I was or was supposed to be, what I was supposed to be doing in life.  This was me. This is who I took on being, unworthy. I remember her message like I wrote it myself. I felt I was the only one in the room that night as God Himself was talking right to me. They asked if anyone had been feeling like they were unworthy to come get prayer. I was the first and I think the only one out of my seat and what felt like running to the alter. That moment was everything. I had never felt God. I never knew He was actually real, until this moment. My heart started beating like never before. I wasn’t scared or nervous, so this feeling couldn’t have been from that. It was the sense of exhilaration that overtook my entire body, but started in my heart. I felt free. I felt like He was right there with me showing me who He was. He didn’t just stop there, as we stood there with the presence of God all around me, a song began to play. A song I had been playing nonstop for months, David Crowder, How He Loves Us. I broke. I knew it couldn’t just be a coincidence. This song is years old, a million songs the girls could have picked for this meeting, and they chose this one. One that was burning in my mind day after day, God showed up and wrecked the scene. I left there with the I-cried-so-much-my-head-hurt-cry feeling, but felt a million times better. A weight had been lifted. I finally knew God was real. He wasn’t just a feeling or something you did or dressed up to pretend with. He is real and alive and cares enough for me to show up that night and show me that He loves me. The next day, I couldn’t contain myself.  I had to find out everything and who all He was. I started digging in and never stopped. I was now starting to see myself in a different perspective. Over time, I gained confidence and was starting to be proud of who I was. I started seeing that all my flaws and the mistakes I made were going to change a life one day. That God could and would use all my biggest regrets to help others not make them. To help people know how good God is.  Even if it was one person who was set free or who was able to stop in making a life altering decision, I would die happy. To think that God would use my story to help others get to know who He is, and how I have seen His goodness since saying yes, makes my heart leap in excitement. 

My first decision I had to make was I was going to seek Jesus first in everything. After knowing He is real and for me, I was all in, full-body-jumping-in-head-first in. I wanted to know Him like I knew my best friend. I wanted to know more and more in every way. I just had to learn how to retrain my over-thinking self not to over analyze everything, but to seek Him first. I was still trying to learn how to hear from Him and not question if it was me or Him. I had heard later on that we are of Him. We are created in His image so everything we are is of Him. Our thoughts, our heartbeat, our breath, our love, and every good thing comes from Him. When I heard from Him, I would get more and more familiar with His voice. I began to know when our father was speaking, and it was beautiful. I already was so in love with Him right off the bat. I knew He was for me immediately. What kind of God takes that much time into detail of knowing a favorite song or showing up just when you need Him in a time of breaking?! What kind of God does this!?? Our God that’s who! My heart almost explodes with the love I have for Him.  I can’t imagine going back to a Melissa Deville state of mind. He makes all things new and I love that I can walk around confidently in knowing I am called for a purpose and that I am His. He calls us His beloved, so I choose to be loved by Him with everything I have.  His goodness never fails and He is forever here with me. How could you not love a God that good?

During this amazing new journey, my biggest fear was to let Him down. I was so terrified that I would disappoint Him in not doing something the right way. Because of my lack of knowledge and trying to learn how to be successful as an adult, wife, and mother, I was scared I would fail, I would fail Him. God is so good that He began to work on that with me. He showed me in many different ways as in a sermon, a friend, a Facebook post, a word on the radio, a dream, a thought in the middle of the day, that He is not a God of fear, confusion, or a God of pain. As long as I am seeking and loving Him, I will never be able to fail Him. He is for me and sees me as He created me to be. His grace is sufficient and He knows I am walking this out seeing who His heart is, and with that I cannot fail. That my friends is called freedom. Free to know I can walk this out and not be perfect. The goal is progress over perfection in the eyes of the Lord our God. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect when coming to Him, He knows we can’t be. What freedom in knowing I can bring my hot mess self to the feet of Jesus and He can help me work out this thing called life. His goodness makes me crazy happy. I think I may have said I love Him a time or two. 

The goal is progress over perfection in the eyes of the Lord our God. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect when coming to Him, He knows we can’t be.

My life has changed so much these past four years. Looking back now my head spins in excitement and thankfulness. God has shown me so much of who He is and how amazing His love is for not only me, but for everyone. Every person I see is a face of God; if we are created in His image, we are all a different side of God’s face. I already love people so much, but to know each face you look into is a side of God’s, how fascinating is that?! I love that I have relationships that are so pure. I never knew I could have people for me, running the same race as me, eye on the same prize, fighting beside while encouraging and lifting me up. I never knew a marriage could look this beautiful. He has shown me His goodness in knowing two people could fight for each other until death, against all odds, all disasters, all opinions, all hurts or mistakes, all trials, is such a beautiful story. To know two little girls are going to see their parents together at basketball games, cheer practices, graduations, around the dinner table, laughing, arguing then making up, loving each other, praising Jesus together, pushing through the tough and the easy. To know two little girls are going to know who Jesus is and who He says they are, and the love He has for them is more precious than diamonds. To know a girl could walk out her mistakes and regrets and gain a confidence and worthiness because of who Jesus says she is. To know perfection is a lie and fear is not from a place of love; to know a girl can help others in their pain because of her pain, to help love people through the same mistakes or help people prevent mistakes, to know a girl can help bring people to Jesus’s heart to show His love for them because He has shown His love to her. I have a passion for the nations to let them know who God is such a captivating feeling. I love that I can reach out at any given time and He is there. I am so thankful that the God of the universe loved me that much to send His child to die so I could get to be free in pursing God’s own heart and to enter into His presence. I am seeking His face with everything I have. His goodness makes my heart flutter in knowing He is for me and even though trials arise, because we all know they do, that I am not alone. I am not alone in the chaos of life. That no matter what comes, He is for me. He is fighting my battles and loving me through them. To know that He is with me always, makes me brave. That I can conquer all things because He is with me. To know in all my weaknesses, He is my confidence. In every broken place He is my righteousness. That He has given us authority over all things coming against us we just have to have the faith and the power to speak out against it. We just have to have the GODfidence to do so! To know I am just not a woman, a mom, a wife, a friend, a girl with a story. I am a significant part of God’s amazingly, beautiful plan. To know His love is pure and His promises remain. To know His goodness is just and never ending. To know He loves us this much is everything.

I may be a recovering over analyzer, a girl with a jacked up past, and someone who cries way too much, but I’m loving people and Jesus with everything I have, and today, I can say I’m proud to be me. I don’t have it all figured out, but if I keep knocking, He will keep answering. I was and remained forever changed in a moment God Himself stepped in and changed the story. With all my heart God, I give you all the glory. Your love is my heartbeat.

I will sing of all You've done. I'll remember how far You carried me. From beginning until the end. You are faithful, faithful to the end.” Bethel Music, Hannah McClure & Paul McClure