1 Additional Week Later

1 Additional Week Later is 3 of 3 conversations.

1 Hour Later
1 Week Later
1 Additional Week Later
following the blog written 15 Years Ago Today.

1 Additional Week Later
Sequence 3 of 3...

"In all my excitement after 
1 Hour Later
I immediately sat down to journal what
that moment had brought about."
Those were the words I penned back on November 6, 2013.

I can't say so much this time around.
It has been 5 months since writing 1 Hour Later.
It has been 3 months since writing 1 Week Later. 
And now it has been 9 months since November 2013, since I blogged 
15 Years Ago Today. 
(written in August of 2014...finally posting in September)

9 months +.
 Why has it taken me so long.
I could use many excuses.
I could say I'm busy raising a family of 5.
I could just say I've been busy
and I'm sure some of you would get that and understand 
and even have some empathy. Maybe ? Or not. That's o.k. too.
But if I went that direction
I would only be speaking those words with partial truth.
And if you've read my writings or know me 
partial truth has never sat well with me.

9 months.
I've had 5 children so 9 months is really nothing to me.

9 months.
Some say your pregnant 40 weeks which is really
10 months
so again that many months is really nothing to me.

9 months of being pregnant.
Your body goes through a lot changes.
I won't get into them.
One reason being
you probably know most of them
and if you don't 
I don't want to gross you out by any means.

It has taken me 
9 months 
to write this blog
I had to go through some things.

 I didn't know I had.

I didn't know how to respond to.

I didn't know were still there.

I didn't know I had.

I didn't know was there.

I didn't know I still needed.

So I say all that to say
God is always at work
giving us only what He knows we can handle
and helping us stretch and grow in such  
gracious and merciful ways.

So let's begin:

The specialty coffee was brewing and the pastries ready to serve.
My stomach turned and twisted inside of me 
all because by this time the Elders were 20 minutes past their scheduled time.

"Had they forgotten?"
"Did they purposely plan not to show?"
"Was this not part of God's plan?"
The many thoughts that went through my mind.

"Where was my peace?"
"God why do I not feel your peace?"
Then the vehicle pulled in the driveway.
It was ever so present.
It was ever so calming.
It was ever so God.

My husband (Mike) and I welcomed them in.
They made no eye contact and proceeded to take off their shoes.
They shook Mikes hand but not mine.

I introduced myself and Mike introduced himself
and we asked them to come in and sit down.
I offered coffee and pastries.
They refused.

They wanted to get right down to business.

"Why have you asked us here Melissa?"

"Well for a couple reasons." I proceeded.
"One, I wanted to address a topic that is mentioned in the tract that was left here a couple weeks ago, and to share a couple of scriptures with you."

"Well let me just start off by saying this", the Elder continued.
"Just like you and I defecate differently, so we are different when it comes to scripture."

"Excuse me, WHAT ?" I said perplexed.

"Just like you and I urinate differently, so we are different when it comes to scripture."

"I'm sorry I don't know what you are getting at!" 
I said with a great questioning look on my face.

Emotions I didn't know I had.

Mike jumps in and says
"Honey basically your not going to agree on the things you want to discuss."

"Well why on earth didn't you just say that Brother M-------?"
 Saying with great gumption.

"Melissa what is your point in having us here?"

"Well, I want to share some things with you that I have found in scripture through out the years."

"Not on my dime you won't."

"Excuse me?"

"Look Melissa if you are trying to share your points on the bible
 those things we will not discuss
now if you want to talk about coming back to the organization 
and what scripture has to say about that
 then we will gladly discuss those things in the bible with you."

"Well I will not be coming back
 I will not become a Jehovah's Witness again.
And regarding 1 Corinthians 5:10-13 the scripture you use to back up 
disfellowshipping a.k.a. shunning 
this is referring to people who have left following 
the true gospel of Jesus His truth and His ways
 and while I was one of Jehovah's Witnesses
 I was never taught the truth about who Jesus really was 
so there for, that scripture does not apply to me according to God's word, because I have just found out who Jesus really is, and the truth of who He is.
So technically I'm not disfellowshipped."

"Oh, how convenient for you now isn't it, in the way you interpret that scripture."

After 2 hours of scripture ping-pong
We stumbled
came to 
Matthew 18:15-16.
I shared with tears
how I knew even as a child and as a young teen
not to present my case 
based off of this scripture.
I knew the "Two Witness Rule."
I knew not to "Bring reproach on Jehovah's Organization."
I knew that "Perhaps Satan planted those thoughts in my mind and I wasn't serving Jehovah enough."
Even though my abusers were not within the congregation
I knew that my sexual abuse cases were hopeless cases.
For I knew what I would be told
and what I would be denied.
No reports made to authorities.
No action taken.
Leave it in Jehovah's hand. He will avenge in due time.
And a mother who said:
"Well you must of done something
 for them to do those things to you."

Hurts I didn't know were still there.

My fate living a life in shame.
As the final moments came winding down to a finish
 of those moments of my life
Tears were shed by both Elders
"I'm sorry's" were said.
Something I never expected to happen.

Realities I didn't know how to respond to.

As conversation went back and forth about my disfellowshipping at 18 and how matters were handled.
Yet more apologizes were given.
Sincerity. Yes. There was great sincerity in their voices and faces.

Realities I didn't know how to respond to.

As our conversation came to the final closing 20 minutes
  I explained 
who I am now
 a born again believer in Christ Jesus 
and that He is my Lord and Savior
 and that I wanted to share with them the hope that I have 
and how I have discovered that Jesus is truly God....

The Elder self-righteously interrupted 
"Are you asking me to say that Jesus is God?
If that is what you are trying to get at

I said, "Well you believe we will all stand before God one day, right?"


"And you believe we will all have to give an account for our life here on earth, right?"


"So what if by chance, I'm using my imagination here Brother M-------, what if God replays this very moment before our very eyes. Then what? What if today is your only day to be given the chance to accept Jesus."

Boldness I didn't know I had.


Compassion I didn't know was there,  for a people that in their minds
think I am of the enemy.

"Well thank you both for coming, I appreciate your time."

I was given both of their cell numbers to contact them in the future if I had any questions about returning to the organization or their doctrine.

came when analogies were given in such disgusting ways.

that this really was once my life and "God is using
what was intended to harm me and is making it for good 
all for the saving of many lives." Genesis 50:20

that I still felt on how my mother handled my abuse situations.

to speak scripture in truth and love and without compromise.
(My husband saying; "Honey I've never seen you flip through scripture like that and know just where to go. You were so bold. In all honesty after we closed the door, I turned to him first and asked "Did I even pull out my bible, I felt like I was all over the place.")

when they denied Christ 
I thought about their souls and my moms soul.
A heart, my heart broken in great compassion 
for a nation of people that don't even know they are lost.

another piece of healing came when they apologized 
on how the abuses in my life were handled in the organization.

comes from God.

is a Decision.

is a Choice
one you have to make.

is taking Responsibility for your Life.

Takes Time.

is Work.

is a long road but one we must NEVER stop walking.

"Don't Go It Alone."

takes Faith.

brings Soundness of Mind.

is Redemption.

is Complete in Jesus.

Healing is 

brings Compassion.

makes you Whole.

And I want you Whole.
And Jesus wants you Healed and Whole.

1 Week Later

November 13, 2013 at 12:00 p.m.

1 Week Later is 1 of 3 conversations.

1 Hour Later
1 Week Later
1 Additional Week Later
following the blog written 15 Years Ago Today.

1 Week Later
Sequence 2 of 3...

In all my excitement after 
1 Hour Later
I immediately sat down to journal what
that moment had brought about. 
 So when I received the text 
I'm here and have our table.”
I felt terrible having completely forgotten a lunch date
with a dear friend.
My text
 "I'm running late be there soon, about 20 minutes."
In ALL she had waited 40 minutes for me to arrive.

If you know me 

As I arrived I apologized for the inconvenience I had caused her
feeling awful for being a terrible friend.
Yet feeling excited to share with her what God had just done.
Read blog 1 Hour Later.

In my exuberance I shared that
 the Ministerial Servant and his wife 
would return 
1 Week Later
I couldn't help but tear up thinking how far God has brought me.

I had one week to pray.
I had one week to seek God 
What would next week would bring?

Of course in all my humanness I started to create a plan.
I thought
This couple doesn't know me! 
They are from another congregation!
They don't know my maiden name!
I can stay undercover for awhile!
I could “pretend” I knew nothing
and ask the 'typical' questions 
and see where they would take this!
I could ask all the questions most people ask!

I would 
Start from the beginning.

"Why do you call yourselves Jehovah's Witnesses?"
"Why do you believe you are the one true religion?"
"How is it that you came to the conclusion that you are God's remnant and not Israel?"
"Why don't you celebrate Birthdays or Christmas?"
"What is that memorial thing you do each year?"
"Oh and by the way, the tract that was left about the dead
On and on and on I would go.”
That's it I will be undercover
 for however long God will allow......

How far have a I come....Not that far...
if I am still coming up with MY plan.
As time would tell and needless to say 
God had other plans
and He was not going to allow me 
and my own workings to play out.

One week later.

The door bell rang. I peeked out the window.
NOT the Ministerial Servant and his wife.
I see my plan deflating right before my eyes.

I already knew the words that would be spoken.
I could predict the outcome.

All in a split second
I knew then and there
God had a bigger plan.

Two women.
From the 'West Side' congregation.
I grew up going to the ' East Side' congregation.
Two women I knew.
Two women that I remember going door to door with.
Two women I remember sitting around bonfires with.

No more undercover.
MY plan wasn't happening.
NOTE TO SELF (once again):
It never does Melissa, it never does.
Kinda like a V8 moment with the knock between the eyeballs.
God's plan Melissa, God's design Melissa.
 His will. His way.
Oh Lord help me!

As I welcomed them in
I wondered how long it would take for them to recognize me.
The funny thing is they didn't recognize me.
Did I still toy with the idea of being undercover.
I didn't toy.
I must admit the thought entered but I took it captive
I chose to surrender and follow God's plan.

They offered a basic greeting.
Hello, sorry the gentleman and his wife from last week couldn't make it.
They are from a “different” Kingdom Hall.
After reviewing our territories
you and your home are actually in our district
the 'West Side' Kingdom Hall Congregation."

"Sure I understand."
(I realize and know all to well
 what is happening, as I am now chuckling in my spirit with God.)

So they mentioned you wanted a return visit
to discuss a tract that they left you, this one
Can the dead really live again?”

“Yes, yes I did. 
However I have to be honest with you.
I'm Melissa, and we know each other.”

As they both pressed in and really took notice of who was standing before them
their potential 'householder' deflating before their eyes.
Now making direct eye contact with me
 they both recognized me fully and completely.

The usual banter took place, a reminiscing of sorts.
Then in a split second the words that I knew would be spoken
the outcome I predicted.

The sting.
The piercing.


'Put Out.'
'Do not talk to or with this kind.'
I can't ask questions
They can't give me answers.
Because I'm no longer one of them.
'I'm the one who chose to leave
so there for I pay the price.'


We can send the Elders to talk to you if you would like?”

Honestly at first
I did say “No.”
But then my spirit stirred
and my quick
turned to a

Melissa, you must understand
things have really changed in regards to people like you.”

Really, then explain to me why my mom still shuns me
I'm sure that hasn't changed.”

"Well you do know what Corinthians has to say about that REMEMBER."

I thanked them for coming and said it was nice to see them again.
We set up another time

1 Additional Week Later

for me to meet with
two Elders

from the 'West Side' Congregation.

"... In the spiritual world as we fight a spiritual war. 
God can do a lot with a little. 
Our numbers may not be large, but our God is all-powerful. 
And as we go forward in His strength, we can make a difference.
~Pastor Greg Laurie

Please hear my prayer. 
I am not much and only have little to offer.
Trying to create MY own plan is just another example of that.  
Please forgive me.
Please take my little and make it yours and all that you want it to be.
Please take my heart and use it how You see fit.


1 Hour Later

November 6, 2013 at 10:23 a.m.

1 Hour Later is 1 of 3 conversations.

1 Hour Later
1 Week Later
1 Additional Week Later 
following the blog written 15 Years Ago Today.

1 Hour Later 
Sequence 1 of 3... 

It was the anniversary of the day my dad died 
and I was absorbed in writing a blog in his memory.
(15 Years Ago Today) November 6, 2013 at 10:23 a.m.
After finishing the final details, 
I leaned back in the chair, 
closing my eyes to the words on the screen and stretching my shoulders. 
At that moment the doorbell rang.

I made my way to the door without much thought. 
Thinking back, 
I suppose I assumed it was the neighbor lady;
 she was prone to popping in. But it wasn’t her. 
A sneak peek out my front window revealed a young gentleman. 
Everything about him unveiled his identity – Jehovah Witness
The exception being that this man had come alone, 
no partner; the way I had always done it.

This moment in time felt different as I opened the door. 

Something in his demeanor struck me. 
Old and painful memories 
suddenly settled in the pit of my stomach. 
A looking-in-the-mirror kind of moment came over me as I gazed in his eyes.

Hi there,” I said as I managed to swallow the lump in my throat.

Hello,” he said in formal response.
 I noticed he had a tract in his hand as he extended his arm toward me. 
“I am here today to give this to you.”

Sure. What is it?” I asked.

Well, each of us knows someone dear to us who has passed away. 
That can be a very difficult time in anyone’s life. 
This tract: Can the Dead Really Live Again,
will give you some comfort in knowing what the bible teaches.”

The words of his presentation 
sounded familiar and normal 
but it was his nervousness that struck me. 
He didn’t want to talk or engage. 
He only wanted to get this tract in my hands as quickly as possible and scurry off.

It may have been 
the tone of his voice or the shakiness of his hand 
on the tract as he passed it to me. 
But mostly I think it was the look on his face that made me think of the mirror again.

 I remember being where he was;
 that moment of not wanting this anymore. 
That sense of not wanting to be a part of it anymore;
 going through the motions and emotions because ‘they’ were watching from the car. 
The hypocrisy of doing what I was told to do while not doing what I wanted to do.

Okay. Thanks,” I said as I reached my hand out to take the tract. 
“And your name is…?”

My voice seemed to shake him out of his trance. 
“Brandon. And yours is…?”

We shook hands as he passed me half a smile. I gave him a full, engaging smile and said, “Thank you Brandon. I will definitely look at this.”

He shifted his bag, presumably full of more of the same tracts.
“Ok, you have a good day.”

My heart went out to him. “I will Brandon, you as well.”

Years ago I would have doubted in this moment; wrestling with the idea that this might be a Jehovah-appointed time to return to the role of Jehovah's Witness. 
Those old questions coming back to the surface to haunt me… 
Did I really leave "the truth"? 
Did I really mess it all up?

But now there were no doubts, I knew it was a divine intervention. 

To think an hour ago I had written the words, 
Dad, I'm going back to get 'em."
But they had come to me! It was time to do something different, 
something radical; 
time to step out and do what I never thought I would ever be able to do.

As I waited for the car to work its way through the neighborhood, 
I started asking myself why. 
Why would I walk to the middle of the street? 
Why wouldn’t I just let them pass by? 
But every why was met with the same answer; 
because my heart is breaking for people like Brandon.

Brandon appeared to be someone working his way back; doing the things necessary to earn back some kind of salvation. 
He was on a time table to see how well he would do. 
Would he measure up? 
Would he ever be good enough? 
Would he ever meet the requirement of proving himself to mere men?

God reveals things to you, when you ask Him, and that day He showed me that Brandon was questioning his faith. 
He’d been nervous at my door, questioning if he had "the truth." 
I could sense in my spirit that Brandon just wanted to get out of there. 
I remember that feeling; 
not wanting to do what a Jehovah’s Witness was told to do. 
I remember putting my finger to the doorbell; 
pretending to press the button, while never actually ringing the bell.

There’d been so much weariness; exhaustion from trying to earn the hope of maybe making it through Armageddon; tired of never measuring up or being good enough. 
I’d never have enough hours in the Kingdom work. 
I’d never have enough return visits or bible studies. 
I’d never have enough gestures when I gave my talks on Thursdays. 
It would never, ever be enough.

As I reflected on these things I found myself praying, 
“Lord, I can do this. I am no longer afraid.
 I can march right out there and ask them to come back.”

As I waited in the driveway to put my youngest son on the bus, I purposely took the tract with me so they could see that I was looking at it. 
I waited and waited for the car to work its way through the neighborhood. 
But as it finally circled its way back to the house across the street from mine, a keen sense of nausea rose up in me. 
Calling to God again, 
“Oh Lord, what have I done? 
What was I thinking? 
I don’t know if I can do this! I am so weak!” 
I knew my window of opportunity was closing 
and I felt like Peter, not wanting the rooster to crow.

But in my moment of fear, the Spirit of God rose up in me and said, 
"Melissa you know how to be obedient to Me. 
Go and be obedient again."

And as the car approached the end of my driveway, 
I found myself walking out to the middle of the street. 
I wanted to talk to Brandon and ask him to come back and talk some more. 
But as I approached the car, it was obvious Brandon was not in charge. 
He sat in the passenger seat; timid, unsure, not wanting to make eye contact. 
I noticed two women in the backseat, also reluctant to engage.
I approached the driver, the ministerial servant in the car, and asked if Brandon might be able to come back at another time for a more in-depth discussion of the tract he had given me. 
He told me they were out on a campaign and that Brandon was not from the area.

Noticing his eyes flit to the tract I was holding in my hands, I seized the opportunity to open a conversation. 
I told him about the blog I had just written concerning my dad’s passing 15 years ago followed by the prompt delivery of this tract: Can the Dead Really Live Again?

Isn’t it interesting how God works sometimes,” he responded.

My whole-hearted agreement brought the discussion back to the idea of a follow-up meeting. The ministerial servant told me that Brandon would not be able to return but he and his wife would come back next week and answer any of my questions. He assured me they would not take more than an hour or so of my time and would not charge a fee.

Oh! I never would have thought you’d charge me a fee,” 
I said with surprise.

His eyebrows shot up. “Really? 
Most people think we charge a fee.”

The thought never crossed my mind,” I said.

The conversation was nearing its end. 
I gave him a warm farewell 
and told him I was looking forward to speaking with him again. 

Before I could depart from the car, the gentleman said,
 “I just want you to know that we hardly ever receive this kind of treatment.” 
When I asked him to explain, he went on to say, “You have been ever so kind and nice; so very cordial with us. Thank you. It has been very refreshing talking to you today.”

Well thank you,” I said. “And let me just say I am sorry and would like to apologize on behalf of those that may have mistreated you in the past.”

Thank you,” he said. “We will see you soon.”

As I walked back to my house I processed those words: obedient, kind, nice, cordial. 
I smiled as I realized that the four people in that car had seen Jesus that day. 
They’d seen Him in me. That is how the Holy Spirit works and how I know that He is alive and active, in me. For I in my flesh would act all together different, 
but submitted to The Holy Spirit, I know and believe 
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.*

And now I will continue to pray as I dissect their tract and await their return next week...
*Phillipians 4:13

Writing- Edited by Amy Heidenreich

Images from-Google Images