Subscription Lists

Girl Meets God

    by Melissa Mathews

July 22, 2007
Drudgery is the touchstone to character… learn to live in the domain of drudgery by the power of God… Oswald Chambers

It was late Thursday night. (Well, it was late if you're a first grader.) Grant and I were sitting on the couch studying for his spelling test. When one can hardly read his spelling words, writing them correctly on a test can be especially challenging. Grant had to write each spelling word four times: once in all capital letters, once in crayon, once in pencil, and once in marker. If you're in first grade, this much writing seems akin to a 10-page…  ( Click for more )

Thank Him in advance for what the future holds, for He is already there. --Elizabeth Elliot

"How are we looking this month?" Scott said one Saturday in August (2005) on our way home from my sister's house.

"Not good," I said.

We had just come out of summer- the first summer I hadn't worked in several years. I had resigned my job in Spring, and in May, Scott hired someone to take my place as worship leader for our church plant.

"The ends aren't going to meet this month."

"Ughhh." He groaned.

We…  ( Click for more )

As I looked across the table at my oldest son Max, he put a smile on his red-freckled face. It was Friday evening. I had had the worst day of school on record and wasn't about to cook, so we were on the patio of a Mexican restaurant along the banks of the Sacramento River.

I don't remember what we were talking about, but something had made Max smile. And when he did, I couldn't help but notice the dimple high on his left check. When he laughs it gets deep, then it blends back in with the reddish-brown spots that make him look like my child.

He only has the one dimple, because…  ( Click for more )

I had been chasing this girl down for several class periods.

It was D-day at Inderkum High School-- literally for some students. It was F-day for others. Semester tests were over, and semester grades were going on the books. I was sitting at my desk, pouring over my on-line grade book. I had roughly an hour and a half to make sure every grade was "as it should be." At 3:30 the grades rolled over to "historical" and became the final word on a student's performance. At 3:30, credit was given or summer school certain.

The girl of whom I am speaking, Miss…  ( Click for more )

May 6, 2007
That what you would have the man become, That you must train the child to be. -Charlotte Mason

I got my mother's day gift early. I'm sure Mark didn't even know he'd given it to me. It wasn't wrapped, and how much it cost is hard to guess. But I was so moved I had trouble controlling my tears in the electronics department.

Our family of six was snaking its way through our always overcrowded Wal-Mart. Daddy Scott led, then baby-7-year-old Grant. Slim and serious Mark was next, then me. I was hoping that the two following, 12-year-old Max, and wanderer Jackson were still behind…  ( Click for more )

April 29, 2007
She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. Proverbs 31:27-28

I didn't know if I would be able to get up. I was down on the floor, head under my desk, looking for the envelope to an Easter card that I needed to send to Asfaw (our little World Vision girl in Ethiopia).

You're picturing spacious leg room under a standard desk. But you're picturing wrong. My desk is an old library table, the kind with the board that is about 10 inches from the floor.…  ( Click for more )

"those who trust in the Lord…will soar on wings like Eagles" Is 40:31

Some people just don't know when to quit.

Such was the case with this little boy that went with my son to Environmental Education Camp a couple years ago. (He will remain un-named for many reasons.)

He was a precious boy- tall and thin, dark hair, half Asian and half Caucasian. I think he might have a mild case of cerebral palsy. But I don't think he knows it- which is one of the reasons he will remain anonymous. His long, right leg turns in just a bit, and he seems like he might have…  ( Click for more )

March 18, 2007
"Self-preoccupation, self-broodings, self-interest, self-love--these are the reasons we jar each other. Learn to give and not to take, to drown your own hungry wants in the happiness of lending yourself to fulfill the interest of those nearest and dearest." --Strength and Joy.

Friday morning when I was spray painting the boys hair for school, I remembered a lesson that my sister and I learned in high school.

Our dad was a preacher, and his salary didn't allow us to jump in the car and run to Memphis to spend $300 dollars on prom dresses. So mom sewed them…  ( Click for more )

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. John 1:9-10

One of my boys (and I'll never tell which one, so don't even ask) often gets into these confessional moods. He slips into the laundry room while I'm folding clothes, or he comes and stands quietly over my arm while I'm at the computer. He gently places his hand on me, then he starts:

"Mom, I have something I need to tell you."…  ( Click for more )

February 18, 2007

"Lord, You have assigned me my portion and my cup, you have made my lot secure." Psalm 16:5

It was every girl's dream. I was being held tightly in the arms of one man while fourothers fought and wrestled for me.

Well, that's the romance novel version. What really happened sounds a little different. We took our boys to a snow park in the Sierra a few years ago. My husband Scott was holding me for ransom on the side of a steep, snow-covered hill. He would only release me to the first Mathews Brother who could get to the top of the hill and give me a kiss.…  ( Click for more )

February 11, 2007

The mere fact that you are just now, on February 4th, getting my column about my 2007 New Year’s resolution suggests that I have already failed. But really, this time my lateness can all be blamed on technology. Really.

My New Year's resolution for 2007 is today. Procrastination is my biggest fault that o'ershadows all others (as Shakespeare would say). But in 2007, if I want to procrastinate about something- like going on a diet or picking up my house- I will procrastinate tomorrow. For today, I’m going to have the discipline to do whatever needs to be done-- today.…  ( Click for more )

February 4, 2007

An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips. Proverbs 24:26

I'm not a liar. I never have been, and I never will be. But sometimes, my husband accuses me of it.

Well, not really. But, he does accuse me of leaving out vital information. I'm sure you've heard it too.

"I asked you to pick up the boys after school." "You never said that!" "I asked you to call Myrna!" "You never said that!" "I told you I had plans that night!" "You never said that!"

One Saturday at about 4:00 o'clock, I decided to run…  ( Click for more )

January 28, 2007
I would love to write some short, pithy column today that with surety states my new focus for 2007. I would love to trumpet loudly the new Melissa you will see one year from today. But sadly, I’m not able to do that. The older I get, the more certain I am that change is the most uncertain bird on earth.

The Lord knows I have desired change. In fact, there are a few attributes about myself that I have wanted to amend since I was old enough to form thoughts and opinions. And yet, looking at the last 20 years, those attributes have showed some minor improvement, but not the dramatic…  ( Click for more )

January 7, 2007

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day

to the last syllable of recorded time..”

~William Shakespeare in Macbeth

I would love to write some short, pithy column today that with surety states my new focus for 2007. I would love to trumpet loudly the new Melissa you will see one year from today. But sadly, I’m not able to do that. The older I get, the more certain I am that change is the most uncertain bird on earth.

The Lord knows I have desired change. In fact, there are a few attributes about myself…  ( Click for more )

December 23, 2006

I was visiting with a 6th hour student on Thursday, and heard something that took me about 3 hours to process. I teach 12th grade English at a local high school, and have been thrilled to find out that seniors are real people who can have genuine conversation. I’m really not being sarcastic.

“What’s up Jobin?” I asked as he sort of slumped in his chair. He wasn’t completely down, but he certainly wasn’t Mr. Jolly either.

“Huuh,” I think was his reply. He always has this very nondescript expression that makes it hard…  ( Click for more )

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. John 1:14 NIV

On Wednesday this week, Scott picked me up from school, and we went on one of our mini-dates to Starbucks. Three dollars for a cup of coffee is pretty expensive, but when that's all you're paying for a date, it sounds pretty cheap.

We were just in time to get front row parking. As Scott carefully maneuvered our big, green Suburban into the tiny parking space, a dark-headed woman wearing no makeup came out of the store and snaked her way past our car. She looked vaguely familiar,…  ( Click for more )

November 26, 2006

He will always give you all you need from day to day if you will make the Kingdom of God your primary concern." Luke 12:31, The Living Bible

I couldn't believe I had fallen for it yet again!!!

I spent last week at an environmental education program with my oldest son Max. In other words, we went to camp. Thin mattress, long hikes, bugs, tall trees- the usual. We had a great time. Any week where someone else cooks and washes the dishes is a great week.

One of the best days was the day we did the high challenge course- where you get to…  ( Click for more )

November 12, 2006

"Beware of little sins. Mosquitoes drink more blood than lions…" E.P. Brown

This week, I have another one of those gross stories that stems from having all boys. So if you're not ready to be grossed out, you should move away from the computer now, before it gets ugly.

I found myself playing doctor this week to a bummed-up big toe. One of the boys (who will, of course, go unnamed) had lost one of his football cleats, and had been wearing two different size cleats to football practice. The left shoe fit nicely, the right shoe was much too small.…  ( Click for more )

November 5, 2006

I had high hopes as I grabbed the bag of Halloween candy off the floor. I was straightening up the house today, the Saturday after Halloween--the only Saturday we've been home in years. I mean months. Football season is almost over, which is evidenced by the mess in my house. Toward the end, we always wonder if we will survive the busy-ness. We also try our hardest not to pray the boys lose so the season will hurry up and get over.

The bag was a clear, orange plastic that looked half full of candy. I was really hoping there would be something good left—dark…  ( Click for more )

October 29, 2006

"Fatal sentence: 'Oh, it doesn't matter just this once!' Charlotte Mason

While I was on vacation in Missouri, I went to work with my mother one day. She is the one who helps everyone with their "freshman twenty" at Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Missouri. She is the dessert cook.

We didn't have much work to do, if you're used to this kind of work. We bagged peanut butter cookies, made rice krispy squares, and dished up apple and cherry cobbler for 300 people. We did all this while trying to keep the floor clean so the boy who mopped…  ( Click for more )

October 15, 2006

Some things you see make quite an impression. Like the little Cougar cheerleader at one of my boy's football games, who stood all alone on the 50-yard line, cheering her heart out.

She acted like she was in front of her grandmother's quilting club, instead of the opposing team. She did a cheer, an entire dance, a few jumps, and a kick while we all stared with our mouths open.

Where was the rest of her squad? Did she cheer alone every week? Was she not nervous at all? Her smile said "No."

She reminded me of the times I've felt alone in unfamiliar…  ( Click for more )

For the life of me, I don't know why I didn't spit it out. It's not like it was even that good. Yet still, I swirled the blazing bite of food around in my mouth like it was a Mexican jumping bean.

It was Thursday evening. I had gotten home from school at about 5:15, and was hungry. Since my mother spoiled me rotten with good food growing up, I often feel like I haven't eaten unless the food is warm. The boys were heading out to football practice, and my schedule that night allowed no time for cooking. The only potential "warm" dinner to be had was…  ( Click for more )

September 24, 2006

"When we are weak, then are we strong. When most empty of self, we are most full of God." -Charles Hodge, Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians

He reached out and touched my arm as I was walking away from the ATM machine. Of course, my first response was to be a little jumpy. I turned around and noticed that he was pushing a crinkled envelope towards me and saying something I couldn't understand.

I looked up and saw that he was an older Asian man—no one to fear, so I could relax and try to figure out what he was saying. I listened a…  ( Click for more )

September 10, 2006

I really have gotten much better. Really. My Starbuck's visits are down to just one or two a week. Forgive me if I don't look at my bank account records to confirm or deny that, but it certainly feels like I've cut back. The need to be on time to school because I don't have first hour prep has certainly helped.

So, you might imagine my pleasant surprise when Julie (the barista at Starbucks) still remembered the precision of my drink. My husband thinks I do it (triple grande, three pump toffee nut, percent with whip latte) just to be a coffee snob,…  ( Click for more )

September 3, 2006

One poor son in our home had been stuck cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms way too long, so we re-assigned chores at our house this month.

It would be nice if children came with innate knowledge of proper chore procedure, but they don't. Being the excellent parents that we are, we usually wait until they mess up, then we give them the instruction they should have had before they started the job. Grant and I spent 3 hours last month taking apart the vacuum because one son (who will go unnamed) didn't know that vacuums don't like water.

So last week,…  ( Click for more )

Got Something to Share? is always looking for new writers. Whether it is a daily devotional or a weekly article, if you desire to encourage others to know Him better, then signup to become a contributor.