Thursday, January 31, 2013

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

"I praise You, 
for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  
Wonderful are your works; 
my soul knows it very well."
(Psalm 139:14)

I don't know why, but I always thought of these two sentences as totally unrelated.  

"Wonderful are your works," could never, after all, be talking about me.  My soul knows that the Lord's works are wonderful, but my soul does not include myself in those works.

Why, though?

Why is it that I see the Lord working through so many around me, and yet, I cannot see it in myself?  

I can certainly see the sanctifying process going on.  I can certainly feel conviction.  I certainly know that I need work.  I certainly know that He's working on me and in me... But through me?

I suppose it's silly to think that everyone else is able to change the course of history, but Emily is unable to.

I suppose it's silly to think that there is beauty in every other person, but not in Emily.

I suppose it's silly to love and admire the people around me, and then completely ignore them when they pay me a compliment.

I didn't think I was a particularly vain person, until I understood what vanity really is.  See, I don't sit around admiring myself, I sit around criticizing myself.  But I'm still thinking of myself.

C.S. Lewis so wisely said,

"Humility is not thinking less of yourself, 
but thinking of yourself less."

There is such a dreadfully small line we must walk, between one side of vanity and the other.  On one side is pride and self-worship, on the other is feeling of failure and self-loathing.  Right in the middle is humility.

Oh!  To be able to humbly accept a compliment!  To not brush it off, but to truly thank people, without letting it get to my head!  To understand that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, beautiful in God's image, and to know that I have nothing to do with that.

I am often so fearful of the prideful side of vanity, that I stray much too far into the other side of it.

But it is vanity, nonetheless.

I think the perfect balance is found in this quote:

"When people come up and give me a compliment, 
I take each remark as if it were a flower. 
 At the end of each day I lift up the bouquet of flowers 
I have gathered throughout the day and say, 
'Here You are, Lord, it is all Yours.'"
(Corrie Ten Boom)

Over and out,


P.S. I've been fighting colds on and off since Thanksgiving... and I'm pretty tired of being sick.  Prayer would be lovely! 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Struggles and the Knowledge of Glory

Okay, I'm going to be honest here.  I have been struggling quite a bit lately with insecurity and comparing myself with others.  I feel weak, purposeless, frivolous, depressed.

And then I feel so happy and encouraged and joyful.

And then I feel weak...

I've never had mood swings like this before.  Yes, I'm female, I do get emotional from time to time, but never like this.  Never do I cry multiple times a day for some reason I can't figure out.  Never have I had such a hard time taking a compliment. Never have I been unable to organize my thoughts like this.  Never have I beat myself up over each individual, tiny, minute failing.

I have had this tight, suffocating feeling before, though.  I have felt a panic rise in my chest and cling to every inch of my body before.  Distrust.  Doubt.  Insecurity.  Anxiety.

This is not from the Lord.

Why is it all hitting me again now?  And why so often?  I used to feel this way once or twice a month, sometimes even less.  Now it's a fight not to feel this way on and off every day.

I am fighting, though, and many people around me are fighting as well, in prayer.

I've discovered that right now, thinking of myself just isn't the best idea.  There are times in my life when I really have needed to just sit down and look at all of the things that I'm needing to improve in myself.  Right now really isn't one of those times.  I'm working on things, but I can't sit and ponder where I am right now too much.  It only invites those discouraging thoughts.

So I think on the Lord, instead.

A few nights ago I read from 2 Corinthians 4, and verse six really struck me.

"For God, Who said, 
"Let light shine out of darkness," 
has shone in our hearts to give the light of 
the knowledge of the glory of God 
in the face of Jesus Christ."

I don't know exactly how to connect this verse to how I've been struggling lately, but the Lord somehow used it to comfort me and bring such joy that night.

I guess if I had to boil down what God taught me through that verse I would bring up a few, "What ifs."

What if I really don't have any talents?  What if I am entirely un-gifted?  What if I am ugly?  What if I really don't have anything to contribute to anything?  What if all of my doubts, all of my insecure feelings, all of my self-worth worries... what if they are all true?

So what.

Even if they are all true, the God of the universe still shone the knowledge of His glory into my heart.

And that gives me worth.  That gives me purpose.  That gives me security.  That gives me beauty.  That gives me something to contribute.  That gives be something to trust in with no doubts.

When I sit and ponder all of my failings, I become useless to the Lord, because He uses followers who are focused on Him, not on themselves.

So I will think on Him instead, for He has blessed me with sweet, glorious knowledge.

Over and out,


P.S.  Please spread the love!  Pin posts you enjoyed or were touched by.  The more you pin, the more people will read.  Blessings! ~Em

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Talent or Two

"For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants 
and entrusted to them his property.  To one he gave five talents, 
to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability.  
Then he went away.  He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, 
and he made five talents more.  So also he who had the two talents made two talents more.  
But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money.  
(Matthew 25:14-18) 

This past week I looked at the people I love and saw them singing, dancing, acting, sewing, painting, drawing, sculpting, playing instruments, cooking, baking, playing sports, being patient, loving, gentle, organized, motivated and moving forward in their callings.  I then looked at myself through insecurity's distorted glasses, and thought I saw nothing.

What gifts do I have?  
What could I possibly contribute to anything?  
Everyone else is going places, 
and then there's me...

Oh, what a very human view of things!

I spent one morning this week praying and studying the parable of the talents, and something that struck me was that the talents did not belong to the servants.  The master divided His money among His servants as He saw fit, and expected them to multiply it.  And yes, the parable is speaking about talents meaning money, but I believe its lessons apply to gifts and skills as well.

What if we were to view our talents and gifts in the same way?  What if, rather than trying to improve my writing skills in order to be successful, gain approval or feel important in some way, I were to use the writing skills the Lord has blessed me with to further His kingdom, and give Him glory?  Or, what if, rather than wishing I'd been given five talents, rather than one, I acknowledged that, as James 1:17 says,

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, 
coming down from the Father of lights 
with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change."

What if I viewed my life as a time to serve the Lord, instead of working to bring praise to myself?  What if I stopped trying to compete with those who have been gifted in different ways than I have been?

"For by the grace given to me
 I say to everyone among you not to think of himself 
more highly than he ought to think, 
but to think with sober judgment, 
each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.  
For as in one body we have many members, 
and the members do not all have the same function,  
so we, though many, are one body in Christ, 
and individually members one of another.  
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, 
let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith;  
if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching;  
the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; 
the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness."
(Romans 12:3-8 emphasis added)

Having differing gifts is not a negative thing here.  It doesn't matter in which ways we are gifted, "Let us use them," to the glory of God.

I may not be an artist.  I may not be a fantastic cook.  I may not be the most organized person.  I may not be able to sing particularly well. That's fine.  The Lord doesn't ask me to be or do any of those things.  He simply asks me to obey His word, look to Him, and use what gifts He has given me, no matter how few or small, to bring Him glory and honor.

So many lessons lately.  Thank you, Father.

Over and out,


P.S. I pulled a muscle in my leg the other day while working out... Prayers would be lovely.  Blessings to you all!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

It's Been Awhile...

I had no intention to leave this blog dormant for so long, but life took off and left me scrambling.  For not posting, I apologize.  For not posting while I wasn't thinking quite straight, you're welcome.

Wow.  Thinking through all the adventures I've had since I last posted takes me through so many memories.  So much has happened; where do I begin?

Shortly before Nationals in June a young man started to show interest in me.  I was entirely unprepared and unsure of what to do with the wide range of emotions I was feeling.  I was charting unknown territory.  It was good, but it was unknown nonetheless.

I met him about five years ago through speech club, but had never really formed a friendship, or spent much time with him.  Soon after Josh died in May my family started attending his church, and I grew closer to many people, including this young man and his family.

Through a comedy of errors, many tears, and much happiness, Aaron and I started our courtship on August fifth, his twenty-first birthday.

We have learned so much individually and together since then.  God is so gracious!  From a surprise Nerf attack and breakfast on my birthday, to roses and lots of coffee, poems and songs, dancing, reading the Bible, praying, singing, waiting out in the cold to see the Hobbit at midnight, snowshoeing, ice-skating, teasing on Christmas Eve and cooking... These have been the most beautiful five months of my life.

I was trying to think of how I could possibly boil it all down to one lesson, and I don't know if I'll be able to do that effectively, but I'll try.

Through being the recipient of a godly man's love for these months, and having him care for me in innumerable ways I have seen a shadow of what God's love for me looks like.  I have seen a man giving me his love and energy and gentleness and care.  I've seen him give and give and give and give, and while I try, there are times when I've been sick or feeling down and I cannot give back.  I've been served when I've been unable to serve him.

He doesn't do this out of duty or necessity.  He does it out of love that I could never deserve.

How very like our King!  And this love that I am so in awe of is only a shadow of the sort of love God has for His people!

"How precious is your steadfast love, O God!  
The children of mankind take refuge 
in the shadow of your wings."
(Psalm 36:7)

Photo Credit: Gabrielle Photography

It's good to be back.  I'm not sure how often I'll be able to post, or what I'll be writing about, but it is a joy to write again.  We'll see what the Lord does!

Blessings on you all!

Over and out,


P.S. Isn't he SO handsome?!