Out of Place – Melissa’s Story
As a young girl, I understood that belonging with others felt normal and very safe. However, to really belong, I realized you needed to be known and loved. More than someone just knowing your name; it’s that feeling when someone you know gets excited to see you and runs up to ask, “How are you?” and then they eagerly wait to find out. This excitement to be known and loved by others is part of a good life. What happens when you don’t have this? Well, I was struggling to find out. These last couple of years since returning to Atlanta, Georgia have felt like a strange paradox of trying to fit back in, but instead of fitting in, often I have felt the opposite: invisible.
God can use ordinary things to get our attention. Belonging is something I have always wanted, and thought would happen naturally as I became an adult. When this season hit, I Corinthians 1:27 ESV spoke to me, “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong“. The apostle Paul is speaking to the Corinthian believers to remind them of their standing in Christ. He reminds them they are to be setting aside differences, not causing divisions among their fellow believers, and are not to take part in fighting or quarrels. This exhortation is to help them remember their message and to understand their life is to boast of Christ and very little else. In this boasting of Christ, all other things fade into the background. The last part of this passage spoke to me, reminding me that even in my invisible state, I can still boast of Christ. Much like my circumstances this season in my life, feeling invisible has felt like me fading into the background.
God’s faithful provision
Following God closely, in my experience, can be like this charge that Paul is giving to the church at Corinth. My flesh does not always bow easily to setting my needs aside. Especially when I feel invisible. However, in God’s faithfulness during these last 4 years, he began to provide for my need of belonging. Before I returned to Atlanta 4 years ago, I knew I wanted to serve with my friend Victoria’s ministry. I contacted Victoria almost immediately upon returning and began serving with her. To know Victoria Teague is to experience the joy and the love of Christ. Her ministry, Victoria’s Friends, seeks to give encouragement and assistance to ladies who are working in the adult entertainment industry. She offers a support group for dancers with the love and good news of Christ at the center of it. God radically changed her life many years ago, brought her through trauma and out of the adult entertainment industry. His redemption in her life is evident in how she cares for and loves and blesses others.
Quarterly, I volunteer to help deliver our baskets of love to the clubs. In these baskets we have gifts, devotional books, Bibles and goodies to make them feel special. Oftentimes, when we go to the clubs, we are able to pray with ladies and let them know we are dropping off a gift, so they know how special they are to us and to God. We always have a team of ladies praying for us from their homes as we go in to fulfill our mission. Victoria’s Friends just celebrated 20 years of loving and serving ladies who might otherwise feel invisible.
In my need, God gave me opportunity by deepening my friendship with Victoria and allowing me to serve others. He is amazing and faithful! And through serving, I am greatly fulfilled. I’m continuing to learn he is trustworthy in all things, even my deep personal need to belong.
If you’ve ever felt like you don’t belong, this series is for you! Every Monday, we’ll hear from someone who has also struggled to belong. Be sure to subscribe below to get The Scoop so you never miss a post! As a thank you, you’ll receive access to belonging-themed scripture cards and adult coloring pages in the free for you library!
Meet Melissa Schneider
Melissa is happily married to her best friend, Bruce – almost 30 years. She has been a foster parent, and has many nieces and nephews to love on. She also has 5 wonderful sisters who keep her in check with their sense of humor! Her heart is in serving other ladies. For fun, she enjoys cooking from scratch, exercise and a good cup of coffee. She also works in the legal field and enjoys reading and writing about hopeful things in life. You can connect with Melissa on Facebook and on Instagram.
*Featured Photo by Semina Psichogiopoulou on Unsplash