For those who are different and want to make a difference.
April 5, 2023

Change: Going Viral on TikTok: Melissa Hughes and Her Unexpected Journey

Change: Going Viral on TikTok: Melissa Hughes and Her Unexpected Journey
Apple Podcasts podcast player badge
Spotify podcast player badge
Google Podcasts podcast player badge
Castro podcast player badge
RSS Feed podcast player badge

Despite being faced with the hardships of COVID-19 and the uncertainty of her future, Melissa Hughes never expected that a simple video of her kids' sledding would spark an unexpected journey of spreading hope and connection to millions of people. How did Melissa's simple act of sharing her story lead her to such an extraordinary journey?

In this episode, you will be able to:

1. Discover Melissa Hughes' unexpected path to TikTok stardom and the lessons she learned along the way.

2. Navigate the hurdles and culture shock of living abroad with resilience and adaptability.

3. Embrace vulnerability and faith in times of adversity to foster personal growth.

4. Utilize social media as a powerful tool to create connections and fight loneliness.

5. Delve into diverse religious perspectives and traditions during Holy Week for a richer understanding.

My special guest is Melissa Hughes.

If you're feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and disheartened by your attempts to connect and create meaningful relationships, then you are not alone!

Have you heard the myths that social media has no positive impact, or that it can actually increase loneliness? Or that it is impossible to use social media responsibly? Parents who seek connection and inspiration, don't miss out on this opportunity to hear the truth from Melissa Hughes about harnessing social media for positive impact and combating loneliness.

The key moments in this episode are:

00:00:00 - Introduction

00:03:39 - Accidentally Going Viral on TikTok,

00:05:54 - Coping with Culture Shock,

00:11:08 - Coping with Unexpected Challenges

00:13:55 - Wrestling with Faith

00:15:20 - Faith and Testing,

00:16:37 - Nashville School Shooting

00:21:38 - God and Suffering,

00:25:13 - Walking Through Suffering,

00:27:04 - Using TikTok for Good,

00:30:30 - Using social media for good,

00:32:55 - Engaging with followers,

00:36:19 - Overcoming mental hurdles,

00:41:01 - Traditions and teaching kids,

00:43:23 - Holding lament and positivity,

00:46:12 - Welcome and Invitation,

00:47:24 - Commemorating Holy Week,

00:48:16 - Exclusive Patreon Episode,

00:49:37 - Invitation to Patreon,

00:50:08 - Closing Remarks,

Coping with Unexpected Challenges

Life can often present unexpected challenges, and it's crucial to learn how to cope with these situations. Developing resilience and adaptability can help individuals navigate challenging times more effectively. Embracing vulnerability, accepting one's emotions, and finding support from others can go a long way in overcoming adversity. By understanding that setbacks and hardships are a part of life and can often be the catalyst for personal growth, individuals can move forward with an optimistic and empowered mindset. In the discussion with Melissa Hughes, she shares her personal experience of coping with adversity during her time living abroad in the UK with her family. Facing challenges such as a car accident, adjusting to a new culture, and trying to maintain her faith amidst difficulties, Melissa highlights the importance of giving oneself permission to feel a wide range of emotions and seek support. Through these experiences, Melissa ultimately grows stronger and more confident in her ability to navigate life's challenges.

"Mountaintop experiences are for sights and inspiration, but the fruit grows in the valleys." - Melissa Hughes

"Create content that sets your soul on fire." - Melissa Hughes

"I feel like Jesus would be on TikTok. He'd be praying for people through the screen." - Melissa Hughes

Melissa Hughes is a TikTok influencer, international speaker, and best-selling author.

She has been booked twice on The Kelly Clarkson Show and featured for the New York Times Best Seller “Primal Scream” on NBC. She has over 240,000 followers on TikTok with over 11 million likes. She is also a best-selling author of the book She Can Laugh along with a children’s book called, “Mommy Loves You When”. She has also done missionary work in the UK for several years with her husband and two children.

In this episode, you will be able to: Discover Melissa Hughes' unexpected path to TikTok stardom and the lessons she learned along the way. Navigate the hurdles and culture shock of living abroad with resilience and adaptability. Embrace vulnerability and faith in times of adversity to foster personal growth. Utilize social media as a powerful tool to create connections and fight loneliness. Delve into diverse religious perspectives and traditions during Holy Week for a richer understanding.

God and Suffering The question of why suffering exists and how it relates to one's faith in God is a deeply complex and personal issue for many. Understanding that suffering can lead to personal growth and finding solace in knowing that God is compassionate and supportive through difficult times can bring a sense of peace and help individuals navigate their experiences. During her conversation with Lori Adams-Brown, Melissa Hughes reflects on her experience with suffering and the impact on her faith. Melissa discusses a passage from the book of James that helped her realize that God is present during times of suffering, and He is big enough to help her through her struggles. Melissa's story of grappling with the issue of God and suffering offers insight and encouragement to others on their journey to make sense of their own experiences.

Wrestling with Faith Faith can be a great source of comfort and guidance, but it can also be the source of doubt or uncertainty. Struggling with one's faith is normal, and questioning one's beliefs can often lead to a deeper relationship with one's spirituality. It's essential to be honest with oneself and explore these thoughts and feelings, as this can help individuals find meaning and direction in their spiritual journey. Melissa Hughes shares her experience of wrestling with her faith, particularly during challenging times. She openly discusses the doubts and questions she faced and how it felt like she was betraying God by doubting Him. Melissa's honesty and vulnerability highlight the importance of remaining true to oneself and being willing to ask difficult questions on one's faith journey, even if the answers aren't immediately clear.

Using TikTok for Good TikTok is a popular social media platform that has the potential for making a positive impact on people's lives when used responsibly and thoughtfully. Creators have the opportunity to connect with a wide audience, share ideas, and spread positivity. By focusing on creating content that is authentic, relatable, and meaningful, individuals can utilize this platform successfully to make a difference. Melissa Hughes's experience as a TikTok influencer, with over 240,000 followers on the platform, demonstrates how the platform can be utilized for good. Initially sharing content related to motherhood, Melissa now strives to inspire and uplift moms, in particular, mompreneurs, by helping them find joy and energy in their daily lives. Melissa emphasizes the importance of staying true to oneself, creating content that speaks to one's passions, and focusing on making a positive impact.

Find Melissa on:

TikTok: @Mhughes79

For those who are different and want to make a difference


Become a patron of this podcast, and enjoy free merch. Join other patrons of this podcast at Patreon.


The A World of Difference Podcast is brought to you in partnership with Missio Alliance.

Join us to discuss this episode, previous episodes or for other thoughtful conversations at our Facebook group. We'd love to have you stop by and share your perspective.

Stay In Touch: Connect on Facebook and Instagram with thoughts, questions, and feedback.

Rate, review and share this podcast with anyone that would love to listen.  

Find Us Online:

@aworldof.difference on Instagram

A World of Difference on Facebook,


on Twitter at @loriadbr


Loved this episode? Leave us a review and rating. Click here to review

Become a patron of this podcast, and enjoy free merch. Join other patrons of this podcast at Patreon.

Mentioned in this episode:

Please consider sharing this EPS, rating us and giving us a review

You can make a difference by inviting others to this table. Giving us a review, a rating, and sharing this episode with a friend helps us bring more perspectives to the table. We make a difference in the best way when we bring in as many perspectives as possible. Thanks for making a difference where ever you are.

Want more? Join us in our Patreon Community

We'd love to have you and your perspective as we go deeper into exclusive episodes at

Shout Out to Patrons

I want to personally thank a few of our Patreon supporters by name.


Join the conversation in our Patreon Community

You are welcome to join us in the Patreon community where we go deeper into the episodes and the conversation. Join for as little as $5 a month at

This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis:

Chartable -
Podtrac -


00:00:00 Welcome to the a world of difference podcast. I'm Lori Adams Brown, and this is. A podcast for those who are different and want to make a difference. Today we have a very special guest on the show that I met at Podfest in Orlando in January.

00:00:17 She was speaking on being a TikTok influencer. So today we get to welcome Melissa Hughes to the show. An international speaker and a bestselling author, she's been booked twice on The Kelly Clarkson Show and featured for the New. York Times bestseller Primal Scream on NBC. She has 240,000 followers on TikTok with.

00:00:36 Over 11 million likes. She's also a bestselling author of a book, she Can Laugh, along with a children's book called Mommy Loves You When. She's done missionary work in the UK for several years with her husband and two children, where they worked in church planting. And now she lives somewhere very cold and snowy with her kids, which is kind of what landed her into this. Unexpected world of TikTok influencer.

00:01:00 But she comes to the show today to talk about her journey to that which was very unexpected, and her tips. On any of you who are wanting. To be a content creator and how she can help you to work that out through TikTok, if you're interested in her influencer skills. And then also, she brings her faith into everything she does, both as a mom, as a TikTok influencer, as an author, and a speaker. And so I hope you really enjoy what she has to say today.

00:01:31 A very, very warm welcome to Melissa Hughes to the show today.

00:01:41 Hi, Melissa. How are you doing today? I'm good, Lori. How are you? I'm good.

00:01:47 It's so nice to see your smiling face on this beautiful, sunny day in California. I'm not sure what kind of weather you're experiencing, but you live somewhere cold, right? Unfortunately, yeah. I live in Michigan, so right now I'm looking at bear trees and clouds. I'm so sad.

00:02:07 Well, I know a lot of your TikTok followers love seeing your kids in the snow, so there are some perks to that, at least. It's beautiful and kids like to play in it. My kids love the snow as well. We like to go up to Tahoe, which, incidentally, has gotten so much snow this year that my husband's 50th birthday bash with our microchurch got completely sabotaged because all roads were closed going into Tahoe. We were literally at the edge of it, watching the snow come down and with our kids in the car and everything, and all these news cameras from all these TV stations were there, and we're like, what is happening?

00:02:40 And they're like, you can't go to Tahoe. We're like, no. Anyway. But we live in a place where we can drive to snow and leave it behind, which does have its advantages, as opposed to you probably get snow days and snowed in and that kind. Of thing we do, which the kids love.

00:02:57 And it is pretty around Christmas time. But then there comes a point, like now it's like, it's April 3. Let's move on, right? For sure. It should be springtime.

00:03:09 Well, I would love for you to give a little bit about your background, who you are and how you even got started in being a TikTok influencer for those who don't know you yet. Yeah, so I say that I accidentally went viral, which I guess everybody does. It was never my plan. I wasn't on the platform. What had happened was I actually had moved home from church planting in the UK with my husband.

00:03:39 We came home right before COVID I got a job, and then COVID hit and I lost my job, and then we were trying to buy a house, so I took a job working in Childcare and I was dropping my kids off at one end of the building and going looking after someone else's, which it was just not the dream. And so I was really just praying, like, God, what's the next step? I have no idea. We've come home from church planting and now it's a shutdown, like, what should I do? I don't want to be working in Childcare.

00:04:12 And it was in January of 2021, god just started speaking to me about posting videos on social media and it was really odd and out of left field and really strange. And I remember talking to my husband about it being like, I feel like I'm supposed to do this. And he was like, what would you talk about? I'm like, I don't know.

00:04:34 And then I posted my first video, which was just a video of my kids sledding on TikTok, which I was not on. And the next morning I woke up, it had gotten 22 million views and I ended up on The Kelly Clarkson Show. So I felt like that was confirmation. Yes. And then I just continued posting videos in my car while working my childcare job, grew my account that year and then was actually able to leave a year later because I replaced my income.

00:05:05 It's just such a wild, bizarre situation that would really only happen in the last few years, where these things have even become like a job and a possibility and it's a strange, unpredictable turn of events. But I do want to dig a little bit into your experience and time of living abroad, because so many of our audience today, listening has moved countries before, maybe currently living abroad themselves, and have definitely gone through things such as the good old culture shock. Did you experience any culture shock when you moved abroad? And if so, how did you cope with that? Yeah, so we moved to the UK and my husband's originally from there.

00:05:54 Since I've been on like a little girl, I've always wanted to travel there, and then when we had the opportunity to live there, I was just a big fat yes. So I would say our experience I didn't experience anything like culture shock, but what did happen was a month after moving there, my husband got into a horrible car accident. And so when you feel like God's called you to a place and you have all these hopes and dreams of obviously selling everything and moving across country and then getting there and then your husband into a bad car accident. And at that point, we had no house, no car, no jobs, no furniture, no place to live. And so the only place that would rent to us was a funeral home in the Valley of Wales.

00:06:43 So we lived in a valley on top of a funeral home, and then after that, we found a place that would rent to us and it was on a cemetery.

00:06:53 So I would say I loved like, I feel like I I'm so American, but I just I'm like, I just I'm super friendly. Anyway, so, like, new experiences like that, I just, like, slid right in. But I will I will say what was shocking was what worked in America, what didn't work in the UK. So I think if we were just going to live, I didn't experience any type of shock. I just loved it, I soaked it in.

00:07:21 But as far as figuring out what the Holy Spirit was doing and what God was doing in that area, I was just totally going in with the same blueprint of what we had done in the States and figured out quickly that it's a different people, it's a different culture, they don't receive the same way. And so that was what was very surprising. Yeah, that's just the gig, right? And I think it might be more shocking in a place where even just the physical features of the bodies look the same, the language is supposedly the same, right? And so you don't expect it as much in a place like where it's like, I don't know, maybe your ancestors came from that area, so you kind of look like you're from there, you speak English, but the accent is a little bit different, but it can throw you off even more.

00:08:06 I think we expect culture shot more. Like, for example, me when I moved all the way to Asia and lived in Indonesia, ten years, or Singapore ten years. Certainly people looked at me and didn't expect me to get it. Even growing up in Latin America, there. Was a little bit of that as.

00:08:21 Well, but certainly it can be a little more shocking. I've heard people often say out of the UK, sometimes Americans can come across even just like we tend to want to compliment people early on, especially women. I feel like we're just really big. On complimenting people, but sometimes it can come across as maybe even disingenuous or that you're trying to flatter. And so people are like, Wait, can I trust this person?

00:08:50 Why are they complimenting me? Like they question it a little bit. Did you ever face anything like that? What I realized was I am like the classic stereotypical American girl because I have blonde hair, I'm really friendly, I'm super smiley, and it's normal. That is really truly who I am.

00:09:14 But I guess I didn't realize that I was like that stereotypical American girl and I was homecoming queen in high school. They just loved all of that. So I loved everybody. I don't know if they thought I was disingenuous. If they did, I never knew about it.

00:09:36 And I'm blissfully unaware.

00:09:40 That'S better.

00:09:44 Love the food in the UK. Specifically, though, I do find that they are much more closed off on the surface. But once you're in with them, they'll go deep and they are loyal. And so I love that. Yeah, that is so beautiful.

00:10:03 And I'm glad that you got to experience that living there. And I know that many of us who move overseas have these hopes and dreams. Sometimes they're a bit grandiose, but that's what motivates us to do it, because it takes a lot of courage to move across the world and start all over with your life. And however you do it, whether you take a crate full of furniture or you just go with your suitcases or whatever situation you're in, it's a hard thing to do. So sometimes we have to have those big dreams, that whole American dream people talk about that brings people to these borders, but also the same reason we go to live abroad and do the same things that we do, but at the same time, those dreams being dashed can be so heartbreaking, especially experiencing what you did.

00:10:48 And so as you experienced your husband having this car accident so soon, and you had to walk through this not only culture shock, but shock and awe of the dream, being kind of not realized. How did you sort of cope with that? Being overseas, away from your family and all that? What are some tips? Because people face those kinds of things too.

00:11:08 This question is probably one of my most favorite questions because it was so transformative for me. But in all honesty, as like a Christian and as a believer for a year and a half, this blows my mind, but for a year and a half to two years, my confession was, it's okay, we're going to get God's good, we're going to just get through it. It's going to be fine. And if I was struggling at all, which I was, but I wasn't talking about it and I wasn't opening up about it and I wasn't real about it, especially in my relationship with God, I absolutely pretended I wouldn't have said that. I would have just said, I have faith.

00:11:51 But the truth was I was just so discouraged and so disappointed. It wasn't just the accident. There were so many other things that actually happened to us during that time that are just so unusual. It was unusual. You know, I'm not saying everything you touch turns to gold.

00:12:09 It was the opposite. It was like everything we touched just, like, turned to crap. And I'm not saying there wasn't good things that happened during that time, and we met amazing people, and the church did good, but it was a season of truly being in a valley, spiritually and physically. But I remember a friend calling me up from back home, and she was like, hey, Melissa, how are you doing? And I was like, you know, we've had some challenges, but God's good.

00:12:36 We're going to get through it. It doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. And she was like, Melissa, you know, it's okay just to say that things are really hard right now. And I, Lori, could not even allow myself to experience that emotion or experience really what I was feeling, because it would have been the unraveling of me. And it was.

00:13:00 And so I took that. I actually had to take time to say that, to acknowledge that, to experience that, because as a church leader who's leading people who just gave up everything to do this, it wasn't just like, oh, we're having a hard time. I actually was really questioning, is God good? I felt Him call me to do this. I felt so betrayed.

00:13:27 But I can't show that I can't actually process that. But it was really, truly giving myself permission to be unraveled and totally a mess, which I was. I was struggling horribly with insomnia and anxiety. Like, I allowed myself, which almost it was so scary. Yeah, it was like, that was where I was at.

00:13:55 And I had to wrestle with God, and he didn't pull me out. I had to really wrestle with these feelings and these questions and even acknowledging, like, wow, God was good because my life was good, but is God still good when life's not good? And so we lived in a valley, on a cemetery, and I'm these questions, and I wrestled that question for a couple of years. And I'll never forget walking around this beautiful park that was right by our house with two children, again, just being like, God, I just feel like I feel like a mess. I feel like these bare trees that just feel so lifeless and fruitless on the outside.

00:14:42 And I just said, God, how could anything good come from this? And I truly felt like he bent down and whispered into such, like, a tender part of my heart, and he just said, Melissa, mountaintop experiences are for sights and inspiration, but the fruit grows in the valleys. And he totally like, you know when you just get a download? But I just realized that this was not a season of external goodness, of external fruit. This was a season of God producing something else in me on the inside.

00:15:20 There's a scripture in the Bible that says that your faith will be tested which will be proven of greater worth than gold. It's in James. And it was a season where God was producing greater worth than gold of really, truly. Do you believe me? Is it just when I'm good or do you have faith in who I am?

00:15:42 And he just flipped the script on me and I realized that this was a season of fruitfulness on the inside and he changes my perspective and really started to minister to my heart. And so then things I mean, I'll be honest, it wasn't then sunshine and rainbows, but it was like the beginning of starting to be like, wow. And really starting to study. Like when David was spent a lot of times in caves, moses spent so much time in the wilderness. I know none of us like those seasons.

00:16:13 Jesus hung on a cross, but sometimes those are necessary. As a believer, I just wanted to. Take a minute to pause and lament and give us a little space to just grieve. I think around the world, people have heard the news that happened here in the United States. Just days ago in Nashville, we had another school shooting.

00:16:37 This has happened more than once in America, obviously over the years. It's not the first one to happen in an elementary school, but it is something that we want to every single time take a chance to reflect on what we can do and how we can be a part of helping bring change. But at the same time, to just grieve and lament and sit in that pain for a little bit anytime innocent children aren't safe in their schools. And certainly when life has been lost in such a tragic way, we cry out, this is not right. And I don't have the answers all by myself.

00:17:24 And I grieve that this Christian school where I know people who attended and our family lived for a period of time about eight minutes away from where that happened, it just hits a little bit close to home for us right now because we know people that were involved and that were affected. And so if you're one of those and you are listening to this, I just want to say I am so heartbroken with you. I'm so sad that this happened to people that you know and care for, and I am just sitting in that pain with you is hard. And we want to make a difference. And so I would love and welcome any conversation around how we can move forward together by not being silent, bystanders by saying enough is enough.

00:18:09 And we may not have all the outcomes and the answers formulated, but our diversity of brains around this problem, I hope can come together to make a difference. So just know that we are about more than thoughts and prayers here, although we're certainly about that. But we certainly want to bring our brains around this and say how can we say this is not okay and we don't have to throw our hands up in the air and we don't have to be people who just accept this. And as a mom, I'm part of a group of moms that say we are demanding action. We don't want to settle for the fact that our kids just have to not be safe at school.

00:18:51 My own son was in a lockdown just a couple of weeks before this happened. And even though he came out without any scars and was able to come home to us and I was able to hug him tightly and kiss him on the cheek and was so grateful to see my boy just those 4 hours he sat in the dark and locked down and holding a burrito that. He couldn't even eat. That entire time was enough to just be its own, even small level of trauma that no child or student should have to walk through. And yet so many have and have not come home to their mommies and daddies.

00:19:22 And so yeah, I don't have the answers, but I just want to hold space in this place to open that conversation and would welcome any of your ideas about how we can move forward and how we can overcome these obstacles together. And wherever you are in the world, you are welcome to join into that conversation. So I'm going to be talking a little bit about this with our guests today at the end in our Patreon community and I'd love for you to join us there for that conversation. But you can also DM me on any of my socials and you can also reach out on our World of Difference podcast. Community group on Facebook would love to hear from you.

00:19:58 Let's get back to the show. So rich and so deep because I think sometimes we preach this theology in some of our churches and I see this a lot here in the United States in the three years I've been back here. We want to market our Christianity in a way that makes God so small and makes what Jesus did for us so minimized. But if we can't suffer, if we don't know jesus was referred to in a fulfillment of an Old Testament Scripture a man of sorrow is acquainted with grief. And if we can't walk through Holy Week and understand Good Friday and Monday, Thursday and even the betrayal after Palm Sunday that happened so fast and so quick, this praise that was quickly gone from palm leaves and hosanna to crucify him just days later.

00:20:55 The fickleness of our humanity and the ways that we want things to be right. If we can't understand a God who helps us walk through the valley of the shadow of death and not fear evil and trust that he'll prepare a table before us in the presence of our enemies, we have such a shallow faith and we're packaging it wrong because people walk through hard times. Like, that's a gig. That's life, that's humanity. Tsunamis happen, earthquakes happen, husbands get into car accidents.

00:21:24 People walk through depression. Our bodies are every day aging and changing. And so if our God can't be. Big enough to help us walk through. Those times, then who is God, really, right?

00:21:38 So I commend you for your bravery. It takes such courage to allow yourself to go into what is no longer a cheap grace, but a very rich, beautiful, deep grace. But a lot of people never go there because it is so scary that you're just going to slide off into the abyss. And so thank you for sharing that. That's a very tender and beautiful experience.

00:22:01 If somebody is sort of in that kind of moment right now, what kind of advice I mean, your friend came to you and just said it's okay. What kind of advice would you have for somebody who might be afraid to take that step right now, to even consider that? Yeah, I feel like I'm becoming more and more passionate about this. And this has been like I feel like even now, something that I'm learning is really, truly being honest with God and knowing that he's big enough to take us on. Like, you know, I'm a mom and I know my children, but when they're naughty, like, they're five and six, when they're naughty, sometimes they try to pretend like they weren't.

00:22:45 But I know. I know when they're lying to me. I know when they're trying to be sneaky. I know when they're trying to do stuff. And does that make me love them any less?

00:22:56 No. But our own sin, our own struggle, our own stuff, we think in our heads that God doesn't know, or I'm not going to tell Him. I'm not going to tell Him, actually, this is how I'm really feeling, or this is what I'm really struggling with. Because we just almost think, like, he's not going to be there for us. But when you can have a real intimate relationship with God, there's a script in the Bible says, come to me.

00:23:26 Right? Approach the throne of grace with confidence so that you can receive mercy in your time of need. How many of us need mercy in a time of need? But so often we don't come to Him. We try to perform for Him.

00:23:41 And I would just encourage any person that's really, truly having doubts, questioning, is God good? Is he real? Is he faithful? Don't be afraid of those things. Don't be afraid to acknowledge that you're feeling that way.

00:23:57 And you're not a bad Christian for feeling that or for wondering. I think that you're a human being that needs a savior. And it is a one time thing of receiving Christ, but it is a journey of walking out our salvation with fear and trembling. And so just knowing that God's big enough to take you on. And being really honest with him, as scary as it is, and letting him speak to you in your place of vulnerability is just priceless, and it's honestly a gift.

00:24:30 I know it sounds weird to say that, but for God to entrust that to you and know that you can see the underbelly of things, I think is incredible. It is incredible. I went through my own journey a couple of years ago, walking through spiritual abuse in the aftermath of all that that meant. And I was reading Job at the time when it happened, which is a beautiful book if anybody is walking through suffering, just the narrative of what Job experienced, because there's a lot of stuff left hanging and a lot of questions you're left with. But then I just dug deep into the Psalms right after, and the Psalms of Lament just came alive to me in ways that it never had.

00:25:13 And I've been reading in Jeremiah lately, there's a lot of hard stuff that goes on there, but the theme for me throughout, whether you're reading Old Testament or New Testament, is that God is always on the side of the oppressed. And so if you're feeling pushed down and almost destroyed and everything's just not turning to gold, it's the opposite. Like, God's on your side. God sees and lifts up the lowly. That was Mary's song when she found out she was pregnant with Jesus, was, wow, I've been this lowly person, but I've been lifted up.

00:25:43 Right? And so there's so much in whether you're a Jewish person who understands and reads those scriptures, whether you identify as Christian, if you're a Muslim. These scriptures are also a part of your tradition. These are just the understanding we have of God and how God works. And I know there's elements of that also in other religions as well.

00:26:06 But I find that in the hardest of times, some people are afraid they will lose their faith. But my experience has been, in those hard times, if I'm honest with the honest questions, my faith has only grown deeper because I found that I can trust that God is good, even when I have the question, if he still is. So thank you for sharing that. And I know that you are on TikTok by accident, but you're there, right? And there's a lot on TikTok.

00:26:35 I mean, as a mom, I'm like, should I have let my daughter have TikTok? Now? I just questioned whether that was a good thing ever, but it was the pandemic, and she was like, I'm 14, let me have it. Anyway, there's a lot of trash on TikTok, but you are doing something good and you're trying to make a difference on there. The stereotype for a lot of people is that there's just girls shaking their butts on there, or people preying on the mental health of Gen Z girls and their body image struggles and trying to make a buck off of it.

00:27:04 What is your message on TikTok and how have you crafted that that's so good? So for different platforms, I guess I kind of have different messages because I've discovered I have different audiences on TikTok and Instagram, whatever. On TikTok, my account, it was really geared towards motherhood. And at the time when that took off so it was two years ago, my kids were three and four, and I was working in Childcare and I love children. And so a lot of this stuff and I have a whole story of how I never wanted to be a mom, but a lot of my content was just about how to enjoy motherhood and not be angry all the time.

00:27:49 I never thought you could be a happy mom. So I had no idea people would honestly find value in it. But I'd be like, this is how you can connect with your children. And you'll be like, that's so good. A lot of it is like, oh, wow, I didn't realize doing a video saying you walk past your kid and you just ruffle their hair and say, I love you, is super valuable for people.

00:28:11 But I just realized a lot of moms aren't enjoying motherhood. They don't know how to really connect with their children. There's a lot of mom guilt. So that's kind of how I grew. And what I'm doing now on there is I'm really rather than giving tips on how to help your kids calm down during a toddler tantrum because my kids are getting older, I'm wanting to help moms enjoy it more.

00:28:42 Have more energy and also because I'm a mompreneur now, if that's something that they want to do, find stuff that brings them joy and not just put themselves on the back burner all through motherhood before you really start pursuing the thing that is in your heart to do.

00:28:59 I'm adding that in there now, too. I love it. Yeah. Motherhood can be such a lonely experience.

00:29:07 It can be so isolating, especially when kids are young. And it's one of those ways we can use social media. Forget I live in Silicon Valley, and I work in a tech company, actually. And the technology we've created out of here could either be used for bad or for good. It could be used to make, like we said, gen Z girls who are struggling with body image.

00:29:32 It can make them feel worse about themselves in order to sell yourself to them. Or it could be used in a way to help people who are lonely, not feel lonely, but in the very best of ways, like what you're doing. What advice would you have for someone who's considering starting out on TikTok and wants to build a community that makes a difference? Yeah, I think create content that sets your soul on fire.

00:29:59 Somebody asked me the other day, they're like, if you could pause planet Earth and. Tell everyone a message, what would it be? And so think about that question and then start creating content. I think the thing that I just am so excited about is, and I always say this, is you just never know who's on the other side of the screen. And so I could create a piece of content in my home and it goes out to hundreds, thousands, maybe millions of people and it could be life changing.

00:30:30 And that's not just for me. That's for any person has the possibility right now to do that with this. And so I think in the past we've always thought of platforms as a stage, but this is a platform that everybody is responsible for and everybody has the opportunity to leverage for good. And I think as believers and as Christians, we are actually commissioned to go out into all the world and make disciples of all nations. Now, I understand discipleship is more than posting a video.

00:31:04 I understand its relationship. But the opportunity to go out into all the world and connect with people through your phone to me, I'm like, I feel like Jesus would be on TikTok.

00:31:18 He'd be praying for people through the screen. He'd be being like, I love you, have a good day. Yes. And then he'd have the whole, like, hey, this is me flipping the tables because this is wrong. And that would go viral.

00:31:33 Yeah, he'd have a couple of things to say, probably on some social justice issues.

00:31:40 That's funny to imagine, actually, in some ways. Yeah. I love what you're doing. You are taking an opportunity, you're using a technology that's new in this generation and you're using it for good. And that's what the task is of every generation.

00:31:59 And you've been given this opportunity and you're doing it well. How do you engage? Because some people struggle with the whole engagement of followers. So how have you approached that, building a community around your content? Through engaging with the followers.

00:32:15 Yeah, so I honestly am really diligent. I reply to almost every comment, which probably feels like overwhelming for some people. And I'm not saying I haven't missed them, but I literally think I'm like, wow, this is a person, this isn't like a username. This is a person with a family, with hopes and dreams and thoughts and opinions and experience that just took the time to comment on my video and ask me a question or say something like, that means a lot to me. So I do try to reply to comments and I try to just provide value.

00:32:55 I think if you want to grow on social media, you have to be service driven, you have to solve a problem, you have to lead with value. And I will say for Christians, and I really struggled with this because we don't want to, it's almost like we think it's prideful. Like people have been like, oh, you're a social media influencer. It sounds prideful and vain. Like I even feel that sometimes people say that about me.

00:33:21 But this is the truth is we are commissioned to go out into all the world and it shouldn't even be about us. Like if God is calling us to be the light of the world and to use our voice to share our God giving gifts talents with the world, I think that we should get over ourselves and start spreading seed. I feel cringey showing up on camera. I get nervous about what are people going to think, what I'm saying? I overthink and I honestly have to die to myself all the time and be like, it's not about me, I'm just going to post it, I'm going to share because I know it could help somebody.

00:34:01 So I just think coming at it from a service mentality rather than look at me and look at my life and look at how great I am, it's very a shift and I guess it's all dependent upon the person's heart, but that's what I would say. Yeah, that's so good. I feel like as women and probably white evangelical Christianity in particular, we can be some of the worst about this type of thing where we say servant leadership, really what we mean is often women serve, men lead. I don't know, that's been sort of the tone sometimes and we always have to over explain ourselves as women. Look, no, I'm not being prideful.

00:34:41 This is not I'm just using a God given gift. And if your God given gift revolves around being a good communicator or being able to create content for people in a learning and development way to help, which is part of both spreading love around the world, loving your neighbors through social media, your particular bent on how that happens for you is not prideful. But if we hide our gift and don't let our light shine, we sing that little song. Right? Hide it under a bush.

00:35:16 No, I'm going to let it shine. And if you don't let your light shine, it's actually being in my perspective, it's being not only negligent of your gift, it's quenching the Holy Spirit in yourself and it's not honoring what God gave you. I'm in Joe Saxton's leadership coaching and she wrote a book that actually started me on my journey with her, Ready to Rise. And she talks about if there's these presents under the tree of the Christmas tree that you never open and you keep walking past them and they just collect dust under there. It's sad, like open the gift and use what you were given and so that's how it feels.

00:35:55 Sometimes we have to over explain why we're using our gifts if they look like they're kind of out there for public consumption or production in that way. But I love how you worded that. And I think that there's probably many women listening to this that struggle with the same thing. What would you say to someone who's struggling with using their gift because it. Might come across as prideful?

00:36:19 Yeah, I would say this has probably been one of my biggest you have to overcome mental hurdles or mental blocks. And I think when I started showing up online because you feel so exposed, obviously, that was like a big thing that I struggled with, was I was like, what are people going to think? Are they going to think, oh, Melissa thinks she's so great. Look at her. There she goes again, posting a video about what she thinks, like, all of that stuff.

00:36:45 And I really, really had to shut that because the enemy this is the thing. Let's wise up. The enemy would love nothing more than to shut your mouth. He would. And so we have to start to realize and that's what I started to realize, is I was like, of course, God.

00:37:04 And the enemy doesn't want me on there. And even if you're not going on there saying Jesus loves you, come into a relationship with Him and you're just using your gifts. He doesn't want that. He doesn't want us to bring glory to God in any way. And so for any woman right now, that's like, feeling like she should create content, whether it's video or blog or podcast, just be aware that the enemy does not want you to take ground for the kingdom, and that your gifts, talents, and abilities bring the kingdom of heaven into the Earth, and they are valuable.

00:37:44 And so just be a wise steward and don't allow the enemy to silence you. Yeah. I don't know if I answered your question. No, you did. It's beautiful.

00:37:55 It's wonderful. We're all a part of this work together. That's the thing that God invites us into right on Earth as it is in heaven. Well, for those who celebrate this coming week of celebrating leading up to the resurrection of Jesus, and also the death, which we like to skip over, because that's the hard part of lamenting and the pain and the grief, and probably even skipping over the Mondi Thursday of washing feet. Nobody likes that party either, to be honest.

00:38:26 What are your family traditions or what's special to you about this week? Oh, my gosh. I did a video just yesterday, actually, talking about how somebody did a post talking about this week. And I was sitting at breakfast with my family, and I was like, oh, guys, it's Easter this week. And so I started explaining to them about Jesus and how he came in and the palm branches, and they shouted, Hosanna.

00:38:56 And then I was like, and you guys, you know how he came? He came in on a donkey. And for whatever reason, I just started to cry because it was just so like, he's so humble. And they were like, mom, why are you crying? And I was like, Guys, because it's so amazing.

00:39:13 Why is it amazing? So I got to tell them, say everyone was expecting this king. What does a king look like? He looks royal and noble and full of jewels and on a horse. But Jesus didn't come in like that, even though he had every right to.

00:39:29 And so anyway, it just opened up this conversation. But I think that as far as, like, traditions, obviously we go to church and we do do the Easter Bunny thing. And to be honest, that's just because I'm a child.

00:39:45 But we talk about Jesus, and I think our kids need to see us as moms, excited about the story. What he did, like, his whole life culminated up to this week. So, I don't know, just talking about it and creating those conversations that are real and letting them see us encounter God in our home and whatever it is that we're doing. Yeah, I love it. We can go to church and do the devotionals and all of those things are good, but they can become dead works if they're not alive to us.

00:40:27 So what's alive? And I think as adults and parents, we just need to think about that and make sure that that's what we're communicating to our kids. Yeah, that's right. And as they get older, like my teens are, it's this beautiful opportunity that we have to help them see when we struggle, when we have doubts. I think when they're younger, it's a little harder to open up about some of those things because it can feel overwhelming for their little minds.

00:41:01 But teenagers struggle with a lot of things. And so our opportunity as parents has been really beautiful to say, you know what? There's some hard things going on in the church in America, and there are some churches that are scary to walk into. And I'm not sure that Jesus even would maybe flip tables in this particular one right now. But to know that there is a beautiful community of the global church that stood for 2000 years and is celebrated this week and all the hard parts of it and the good parts.

00:41:37 Yeah, it's a beautiful thing. Absolutely. You're so right about that. Yeah. Well, as we're finishing up here, I know that several people may be new to you and who you are.

00:41:54 And so as they're getting introduced to you now, wherever they are at in the world, is there anything that would be helpful for them to know in terms of where to find you? I know you have a couple of. You'Ve written some books, a book, more than one book, I can't remember exactly. And how can people find you in your writing and your content that you're producing? Yeah.

00:42:15 So I have a website. Instagram. Melissa Lee Hughes. TikTok Melissa Lee Hughes. I just launched a podcast called she Can Share all about helping women entrepreneurs grow their business and their message through social media and sharing.

00:42:35 And then I do have two books. The first one is she Can Laugh, which is about more like, geared towards health, spirit, soul, and body. And then my kids book, which is called Mommy Loves You When, which was a video that I did of words that we should say to our kids every day that went viral, and a kids book company turned it into a kids book. I love that. Yeah.

00:43:00 So fun. I love just the positive messages that you're sharing, but how it's not toxic positivity. But there's the opportunity for holding that lament, holding the suffering, sitting in the pain instead of glossing over it. And our body keeps the score. And when we walk through trauma, we could pretend it's not happening, but our body lets us know.

00:43:23 And so the sooner we get honest with our bodies and our experiences, the better. And then the positivity is real. It can be deeper and real fruit. Yeah. That's so good.

00:43:35 And I want to echo you on that. It's so scary. It's like when you have a cut and your mom goes to address it. It's so scary to go to that tender spot. And emotionally, that is something that's so easy to pretend like it's not happening because it's not as visible.

00:43:56 It is something we can stuff away, and that, for sure, is my tendency. But just being honest with God is so important. So thanks for saying that. You're welcome. Thanks for being on Today, and I wish you all the best with your new podcast and as you continue to grow and be an influencer, making a difference around the world.

00:44:18 Thanks for being on today, Melissa. You, too. Thank you so much, Lori. You're welcome. Bye.

00:44:25 Well, to those of you who are listening in and just heard everything Melissa Hughes was saying and are processing some of that both, maybe as somebody who lives in the US in a cold place like she does or somebody who lives in a very warm culture where it's all tropical and you cannot at all relate to the snowy scene of her dragging her children, the snow, and having fun with them and becoming a TikTok influencer overnight. Or if you just can relate to being a parent and how lonely that can be at times and how isolating that can feel. Whatever you're processing today about what she shared, I hope that you do check out her content. She is trying to bring a lot of authenticity to the work that she does. I can say that she's very much the same person I met in person at Podfest and our interactions there and who she was today in the interview, and then just how she talks about herself in her TikTok videos and on Instagram.

00:45:32 I hope that you can find some value in what she's putting out there, both as an author and a speaker and a social media content creator. And also check out her new podcast. I'm really excited to what she's going to be doing there and helping people in the entrepreneurial world to get some handles and some tools on that. I do just think it's so wonderful when I see people of all different faith backgrounds feeling free to share who they are, just very authentically, whatever your faith background and beliefs are. And I just appreciate that she doesn't kind of compartmentalize that part of herself, but she just kind of puts it out there.

00:46:12 So whether you're listening as a Muslim, as a person of the Jewish faith, if you're Buddhist or Hindu, if you identify as atheist or agnostic or a Sikh or whatever your faith background is, or maybe you're just kind of in an exploration phase or a deconstruction phase from Christianity, or you have identified as Christian all the way back through many generations. Everyone here can join in this conversation. And I would love to hear your. Thoughts about this particular episode today. What resonated with you, what challenged you, what inspired you, what confused you or didn't sit right with you?

00:46:54 Any of it? I'd love to hear your perspective because all of our diversity of perspectives around these conversations are why this podcast exists. And if you are out there celebrating Holy Week this week, simona Santa for those of you Spanish speakers or you're curious about it, I just would invite you to find a way to dig into that space this week. There's a lot of information available. Always feel free to reach out to me.

00:47:24 I love to talk about why this week means a whole lot to me. And yeah, we will be in our family doing some little special traditions that we have around Easter, but also Good Friday and Monday, Thursday, which is kind of a favorite in the family in some ways. And if you don't know what any of these things are, especially some of the things that go on on Saturday which may not be a part of your tradition, there was a lot of silence and waiting on that Saturday. And it's been something that's meant a whole lot more to my husband and I of what that can look like to feel the silence of the Saturday. So, yeah, as you're celebrating and commemorating and digging into all these parts of many of our faith backgrounds this week, I just hope you have a great celebration and commemoration and however you celebrate.

00:48:16 That and commemorate it in all your. Different cultures around the world, in the global church. And like I said, if you're curious about any of it, I'm always here to share at least my perspective on it, for whatever that's worth to you. And in the meantime, I would love. For you to stick around and hang out for what we end up uploading.

00:48:37 In our podcast interview. At the end, she's going to be on with our Patreon supporters, so if you're a patron, you can check us out on the Worldofdifference. And we will be uploading an exclusive episode just with Melissa Hughes, where I ask her to go a little more deep into what her perspective is as a mom of little kids, as an American on the recent shootings. That happened at a Christian school in Nashville, where both one of the workers. And three of the children and one.

00:49:07 Of the Janitors lost their lives in a tragic, horrible, awful school shooting that happened just days ago. And how she's processing that, both as a mom with her family, as a Christian and as an American. This is a hard conversation, and so she digs in and shares a little bit of rawness about her perspective. And so I'd love for you to check us out on to hear what she has to say about that. And thank you to all of you who support us at the World of Difference podcast through Patreon.

00:49:37 It means a great deal to me. And helps us offset the cost of this podcast. But also, it just allows us to have a little bit of a deeper conversation, which I'm all about, deep conversations. So if you want to dig a little deeper, check us out there. And we've got also free merch, which I think is so fun.

00:49:52 And I enjoy getting coffee mugs and t shirts out to people. Also, just a shout out to every one of you who already supports us because we're having a lot of fun over there in the Patreon community. So you're welcome. You're warmly welcome. Consider this your personal invite and have a great Easter week.

00:50:08 To all of you who celebrate and keep making a difference wherever you are.