Melissa Clemons | Her Story, Unraveled
We are lucky enough to call Melissa Clemons a lifelong friend. When she won the Unraveled Giveaway last year and got a free ticket to the retreat in Utah in May 2018, we were beyond stoked to have her. She was grateful and hopeful and willing to spend her weekend with us which was more than we could ever ask for. What we didn’t know was how much she needed it.
Needless to say, as we started to plan our retreat Giveaway for this upcoming year, we asked Melissa to share her story in hopes that it would not only inspire others to enter the Giveaway but also to know that there are people out there, like us and Melissa, and our community members, ready and willing to welcome you and save a seat at their table for you.
So without further ado, here is Melissa’s story + the sweetest words we could ever read.
Oh, and for your chance to ENTER the 2019 RETREAT GIVEAWAY, go HERE.
I had been fretting for weeks over what to say to ya'll when I actually met you, and when I could finally introduce myself to you all at the retreat. It played over in my head perfectly, and then ... with everyone's beautiful stories intertwined with tears and hugging, laughter and joy, I just couldn't get my words out. I couldn't get through the ugly crying. The utter joy I felt for being the one chosen to win, from my story then, to my story now. I am so thankful I was sitting next to Kevin, who literally saved me in that messy intro, his tender touch and hugs just covered me with grace, and made me feel it was all so perfectly meant to be.
I truly know, and have experienced all throughout my life, that God is true, God is right, and God is real. I know God had His hand on my life ever since I was a little girl. Back when I was just 8 or 9 years old, I found a family at a park near my home. Literally. I watched them from a distance at first, and admired them fiercely. I wanted what they had. So, one day I began speaking to them, and soon, followed them home. They became my safe place, when what I had as a family was all falling apart. I learned so much from them: what it is to be a family, how to love, and how to live respectfully in grace. I just know, that throughout all of that, God had clearly written that path for me. I truly feel that just like when I was a little girl and I found that family, I found you all similarly.
I had been admiring you all from a distance for year's now, and some for longer. And now being a part of Unraveled Academy, I know, you are my family. It just feels so perfectly like home. You all have become my safe place.
I had an accident over a year ago last August where I chopped off over 1/2 my thumb off. It was quite traumatic. I didn't work for 8 weeks. We lost time and money. Stress settled in something fierce and has really not left since. We are self employed, so that loss was huge. I never, ever wanted to have children, unless I could be home with them. It was something I prayed for as a child. That if I ever did have children, I would never leave them home alone, like my mother did. I would be at home. I am SO thankful for the chance to be here, self employed and being a mama to 2 amazing kiddos, although it is very tough at times. Last winter I knew I had to step up my game and try again at photography. I saw an ad for Unraveled on FB, and just felt a strong need to be a part of it. I was scared to ask my hubby as the funds were just not there. He immediately, without a doubt said, "yes. Go for it. You need to do this. We will figure it out."
I began learning and gleaning from you all. Being encouraged all along the way. I am sorta an extroverted introvert, or an introverted extrovert! whatever you wanna call it! I love chatting with some people and yet sorta hate the awkwardness of chatting with some! It ebbs and flows, I guess. This retreat is something that I would have never EVER thought about doing or attending on my own. It was not in my mind at all. And then, good golly, I won! Thinking about that night that I found out just makes my heart sing. Still. I will forever be so grateful to you for choosing me. Man, that was such a blessing. You don't even know. I cried so hard that night and I still get teary thinking about what a blessing that was. Traveling to you all was SO amazing! I hadn't flown in SOOO long, we don't vacation, so this whole trip was just a dream come true. Meeting you all, for real, in person, after knowing some of you through the years, just through the internet, was such a trip!! Indescribable!
Co Hodges, your hugs are simply the best. You make everybody feel so precious and adored and important. Sarah Driscoll, you are a so down to earth and real and raw and just a gift to everyone at Unraveled. You two together are just the perfect pair. Elise Meader, I will never forget the drive up that mountain!! Holy Shnikey's!! That was a hoot! You crack me up girl! Kevin Lowery, thank you for reaching out and being so dang caring when I needed it most. BIG HUGS to ALL of you. I am SO grateful for the experience ya'll gave me. AND I hope to someday afford to meet ya'll again.
I need to continue being so thankful and grateful for where I am right now, knowing that I am blessed to be a part of Unraveled. It may continue to be a tough road, but I know I am a DAMN good mother and I am raising kids that will benefit greatly by me being here with them. We ALL have stories to tell. And I feel, being a part of Unraveled has just made mine SO much more special, and I just needed to share it with ya'll. I love you all dearly.
For your chance to ENTER the 2019 RETREAT GIVEAWAY, go HERE.
and we love you right back Melissa.
Here is some of her beautiful work: