My name is Melana Cummings (aka MooseMama…story to come). I live in Sheridan Wyoming. I have been married to Tim Cummings for 32 years. We met through a letter and he asked me to marry him in a letter. (It’s a very long story, but oh so sweet and God designed!) The first time we kissed was when he put the engagement ring on my finger. It’s not a common way to start out a life together, but we were best friends who got married. He’s still one of the dorkiest people I know. He makes me laugh. He makes me shake my head. He has always said that if I ever leave him, he’s coming with me. We have a 26 year old daughter Sarah, a 16 year old daughter Emily, and a grandson, Jensen, who is 3. I have worked for the State of Wyoming for 28 years, and have a degree in psychology from the only university in the state. I was raised in the Lutheran church but had no idea what a personal relationship with Christ was. When I was 21, Christ sought me out, and I prayed to receive Him. From that day forward JESUS HAS BEEN MY LIFE!
In 2006, I prayed that I would grow even more in my faith and in Christ. About a week later a snippet of video was played about the Bible study, Believing God by Beth Moore (never heard of her!) that would be starting soon. A prayer answered!
A few months later this Beth Moore was going to be in Salt Lake City with Living Proof Live, so myself and 5 friends drove to see her. She taught from Ephesians 3…how wide, how long, how high, and how deep is the love of Christ….to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. One phrase she said “All excess is a result of emptiness”, hit me hard. As a woman who has been overweight all my life, all I could think was “nuh-uh”!
That one Bible Study and Living Proof Live event were the beginning of many more Bible Studies and live events through the last 9 years. My prayers for growth were being answered! I loved reading Beth’s blog and made a lifelong friend through it: Adrienne Hudson (aka Fuzzytop in Tennessee) and I became online friends. In 2008 a friend and I drove from Wyoming to San Antonio Texas for the Living Proof Live, and “Siesta Fiesta”, where I finally got to meet Adrienne face-to-face. I wish I could name all of the Siestas I have met over the years! They have become so dear to my heart and really, an integral part of my life in Christ! Honestly, the kindness, love, support and joy these women have brought to my life is no small miracle.
The most hilarious part of that trip was a stuffed Moose with a Wyoming bandana on his neck. It was my intention to give the moose to Beth as a gift. Well, we started to take pictures of “Miesta Moose” (Miesta is a male Siesta), along the trip. The pictures got posted on a secondary blog that a couple of Siestas had started, which was all about the Fiesta. By the time we arrived in San Antonio, Miesta Moose had become somewhat of a celebrity. And so it began. I took him to every Beth Moore event I went to. He would even end up in recap pictures, and then Siestas from all around the country, most of whom, I had never met, asked me to send him to them so they could take him to the event in their area. He has been kissed and carried by some of the most wonderful women! Around his neck, he wears the wristbands from the events he has attended. I became MooseMama. He became so recognizable, that women asked to have their pictures taken with him. It pleased me that he showed up at tapings and book signings that Beth was doing.
In 2009, I felt God really was telling me that I could be more of what He wanted for me if I lost that excess weight and fill the emptiness with Him. I lost 120 lbs. in a year’s time. I was leading Bible Studies. I was teaching Sunday School. I even went on a mission trip to Africa with my church. Something I never would have tried when I was so overweight. Prayers answered!
The year 2011 brought with it a season of severe loss and struggle. A heart attack altered the health of my husband, my oldest daughter became a widow at 22. Two weeks following her husband’s death she discovered she was expecting our grandson Jensen. I grew steadily depressed with these changes and gained back all the weight I had lost. I felt like I was trying to hold everything from flying apart. I was exhausted. We stopped going to church. But God…
We returned to church last year, and God is showing me how He used Jensen to redeem these past few years. His faithfulness to me never faltered. This verse has never meant more to me, than now. Today it is my verse to memorize:
Romans 8:38-39 NIV
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.