Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I've been struggling with this feeling lately. It's like when you come home from vacation, and you have a GIANT stack of mail waiting for you.
Some good mail, some bad mail.
All you REALLY want to do is toss every single piece of it in the garbage, and walk away.
It would be so much easier.
It would take so much less time.
It wouldn't be frustrating or hard to just throw the mail away. But you know you'd be missing out on some good stuff if you tossed it all out. Because with the bad comes good.
It's true.
I know it's true.
But the place where I get stuck is just feeling so overwhelmed by all of it.
Where do I start?
How do I know which piece to look at first?
Do I pull from the middle of the pile, or the top?
There's just so much... and even though I know the good stuff is in there, all I can see is the bad and hard and messy mail.
And it's discouraging.
That's been the struggle lately... facing my mail. One piece at a time.
Some pieces are harder than others, but I know that with the bad comes good. With the pain comes healing.

Photo source

Monday, June 27, 2011


Viewing God as my father has always been a struggle for me. The lens I view a father through is a dysfunctional, painful one. A lens with a lot of hurt and a lot of confusion. So when I cry out to God as his daughter, there is an immediate distortion, followed by an immediate hesitation. I begin to pile on to God all of the attributes of my biological father. His short temper and impatience with me. His lack of compassion and love and tenderness. His indifference. His passivity. His lack of interest.
These are the things I unfairly associate with a father, and therefore, with God.
Last night, there was a call for prayer at the end of our 6:00 gathering at the Stirring. Derrick called forward people who felt they had a skewed view of the Father, and who needed to hear they were the Beloved Child of God. The longer I stood there, the clearer it was that I needed to have a specific leader pray for me. Stubbornly, I took my time but did eventually make it over to Sean. I gave him a brief summary of what was going on with me, and his response was simple. "Emily, you wouldn't be the person you are today if your dad was your only Father. You are who you are today because God is your Father first."
Such a simple truth, but something I'd never given much thought to.
Without God, I would not be where I am. I would not have the job that I have, the passions that I have, the family that I have... I would be a completely different person. It is clear that I am the Beloved daughter of the King because of the way he has transformed my life. And while I'm sure it will be an ongoing struggle for me to see clearly through the "God-Is-My-Father" lens, I know that I am deeply loved by my Father. And that's a start, right?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

30 Days of Celebration

A few things I love:
-Grape flavored bubble gum
-Sticky notes
-Valentine's Day
-Fresh flowers
-Coffee. Always coffee.
-Mistletoe :)
-Love notes
-Love letters
-Love stories
-Bright colors
-Giving gifts
-Kisses from kids I love the most
-Learning something new

Today I'm celebrating some of the little things in my life that make me the most happy.

Friday, June 17, 2011

30 Days of Celebration

Last Sunday, Aaron brought an incredible word about how we SHOUT with our stories. Our stories shout where we've been, who we're becoming, what we stand for, how we've been hurt and how we've been healed. Our stories should shout the loudest. God has given me a story to shout. He's still adding to it. Sometimes it's hard. And it hurts. But I know that I get to choose to hide my story or shout my story. I choose to shout it every time. Sure it's a long story, sure it's messy and parts of it are hard to hear, but it's a story about a life changed. About God rescuing one of his children. It's a story full of hope. And people need to hear stories full of hope and God's mighty love. That's why I shout my story. And that's what I'm celebrating today. My shout.

Monday, June 13, 2011

30 Days of Celebration

I've been keeping a little list in my notebook of the things I want to include in my blog everyday. Things that I find myself celebrating throughout the day. Here are a few of them:
-Music. I love music. I love the way a song can bring back such vivid memories, it's almost like you're reliving a moment. And the way the lyrics of a song seem to connect with a piece of your heart in a way nothing else can. Music is powerful and important and changes everything.
-Compliments. Have you ever watched a person receive a compliment from a stranger? There's something so wonderful about the way a few kind words can bring someone to life. I always try to be generous with my compliments.
-Encouragement. It's along the same lines as compliments, but encouragement is different. It speaks to the soul of a person. It speaks courage into the deepest parts of a person. I love to encourage others. I love to see what they're good at, or the ways God has gifted them and remind them of it as frequently as possible. Life is too short to be bashful. If I see something special in a person, chances are I'm going to tell them about it. Remind them about it as often as I can. I've found that nine times out of ten, it's exactly what that person needed to hear. An encouraging word goes a long way. And I've noticed that the more I encourage, the more encouraged and alive I feel. It's really a fantastic feeling!
-Passion. There's something so contagious about a person who is passionate. I recently went to this show where a band was playing. They're style of music was far from anything I'd choose to listen to, but the strangest thing happened: As they continued to play, I began to fall in love with them. Not because I loved their music, buy because of the passion they possessed and the way they poured every ounce of that passion into their music. Isn't it so inspiring to meet someone who is absolutely enthralled and passionate about their job or their hobby or their children or their loved one? You can't help but want to be part of what they're part of.

That's all I've got for today. I can't wait to see what celebrations tomorrow brings!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

30 Days of Celebration

So I've fallen behind a little bit. Don't judge me. :) If you're just reading my blog for the first time in a while, check out this blog to see what I'm up to.
Here are the things I'm celebrating today:
1. Dancing: I can't really dance to save my life. I love it. It makes me laugh and smile and have a great time but I look like a goof doing it... which is the best part :)
2. Girlfriends: I love piling into the car, blasting some Taylor Swift, driving around town and laughing uncontrollably. We have fun.
3. Good books: I love reading. I love finding a good book that I can't put down. I love FINISHING a good book and moving on to the next one. I love that I have time to read!

4. Seasons: The great thing about the winter is that it's followed by the spring, when flowers bloom and beauty sweeps over the earth. We all go through our winter seasons, but the most beautiful times ALWAYS follow the winter.
5. Mondays: They are my sabbath. I get to sleep in, sip coffee, read books, and altogether relax on Mondays. They are my day to recharge, recenter, and rest. Hooray for Mondays.

(Image source)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Day 6

Today, I have a lot to celebrate. Yesterday was one of those days. Where you can't see around the junk. Where you can't remember why you're celebrating in the first place. I had a bad day yesterday. But today, today is a different story. My heart is full of joy. My step is full of bounce, my eyes are full of excitement. Today is a good day. Here's what I'm celebrating today:
1. The hard days. Sometimes, you have to take a moment and cheer, shout, clap, remember, honor and embrace the hard days. Yesterday was a hard day but today I celebrate it because today is a lovely day. And I want to remember the celebration more than the hardness of the day.
2. Simple pleasures. I'm a pretty simple girl. It doesn't take much to get me super jazzed about life. I love the simple things in life. Like eating lunch in the park with your friends. And driving around with the sunroof open and the windows down singing Taylor Swift at the top of your lungs. And making a new friend. And doing something for the very first time. And surprising a friend with a sweet little gift. I love the simple things in life.
3. Over coming fears. I hate trains. Hate them. And feet. Yuck. But there's something so wonderful about overcoming fears, no matter how small. Like when I see a train and don't immediately want to throw up and scream and cry all at the same time. Or like when someone accidentally brushes me with their feet and I don't noticeably shutter. These are things to celebrate!
4. Jokes. I love jokes. People don't tell jokes enough. Do people EVER tell jokes? I love jokes and I celebrate them. ALL the time. At one point, we had a HUGE bowl of Laffy Taffys in the office, and I took the time to daily read at least 4 of the Laffy Taffy jokes. So good. I think I like cheesy jokes the best. I also like Chuck Norris jokes. It's true. Whenever I hear a good joke, I like to celebrate it. Anybody have a good joke for me?
5. New goals. I like to set goals for myself. I love it when I find a new goal to set. I've found one. Maybe one day I'll share it with you. :) :)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Days 4 and 5

I didn't get a chance to post yesterday, so here are my 5 celebrations from the past two days:

1. I'm celebrating my singleness. This one deserves all 5 of my celebrations for the day! I have so many conversations with people about this topic. Yes, I'm 26. Yes, I'm single. Yes, I run the Stirring Kids and am not married nor do I have children of my own. It's a constant tension in my life. Of course I long to fall in love. Of course I long to stand in front of my friends and family and vow to love and cherish an amazing man of God... but I choose to find joy and celebration in the season I'm in now- as a single 26 year old girl who God is constantly refining and shaping and drawing nearer to Him. I'm not content, no. I don't have a total peaceful happiness about my singleness, but I choose to celebrate it. I choose to find joy in it. I choose to continue living my life and allowing God to do the hard work in me that He is while I'm in this season.

2. I'm celebrating family. It's a hard topic for me. For a number of reasons. But I'm celebrating the family I grew up in AND the family God has given me here in Redding. Both are worthy of celebration. Both have shaped me into the person I am today.

3. I'm celebrating trials. Romans 5:3-4 says it so well... "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation."
Our trials remind us of the Hope we have in Jesus. Do we really need more of a reason to celebrate them? Didn't think so.

4. I'm celebrating flaws. We all have them. There isn't a single person who is perfect. I find there's something so unique about a person who's real and honest about their flaws. I know that I'm a sensitive and emotional person. It's the way God made me. Sure, it's not the best characteristic. Sure, sometimes I cry for just about no reason. Sure, I get my feelings hurt more in one day than most people do in an entire lifetime. But that's what makes me, me. I've embraced it. You should too :)

5. I'm celebrating my scars. The best thing about scars is they mean you've healed. They tell a story of your past, and give you strength for the present and future. They remind you of the things you've survived, and of the ways God has showed up in powerful ways in your life. When I share my story, I share it scars and all. There's really no other way to share it.

I'd love to hear the things YOU are celebrating today :) Don't be shy, go ahead and leave a comment!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

30 Days of Celebration: Day 3

The 30 Days of Celebration continues. Today's been a weird day. I don't feel much like celebrating, but that's the point of this challenge: To find things to celebrate even when I don't want to. So, here we go:
I'm celebrating...
1. Psalm 139- it's my favorite and has gotten me through some pretty rough times. One day, I'll have it tattooed on ever-growing full sleeve in one form or another.
2. My tattoo. It has a lot of meaning. You should ask me about it someday. I'd love to tell you.
3. The nearness of God. Psalm 34 says he is near to the brokenhearted. I'm always so thankful for that. His nearness should ALWAYS be celebrated.
4. The joy that comes each morning. Regardless of the sorrow or pain or struggles or trials that come through the day and each night, there is joy and refreshing in the morning. That's good news.
5. Vulnerability. I've had a friend of mine tell me over and over again that God calls some to be more vulnerable than others... and that clearly he's called me to share some of the hard parts of my story because he wants to use that vulnerability to reach others.

This was a hard day of celebration for me. Here's to hoping tomorrow is better!

Friday, June 3, 2011

30 Days of Celebration: Day 2

30 days of Celebration: Day 2
If you have no idea what I'm talking about, read my post from yesterday- it explains it all. I had someone ask me yesterday "What's the difference between your 30 days of Thanks and your 30 days of Celebration? Isn't thankfulness and celebration kind of the same thing?" To which, I reply a big, huge, giant NO. Thankfulness is a thought. An emotion. A feeling. Celebration is an action. It's an outward expression. The two are not the same. And I'm taking the time, over the next month, to outwardly celebrate things in my life. 5 things a day, to be exact. Here are my 5 celebrations for today:
1. I'm celebrating laughter. How easy it is to laugh and rejoice and be happy. There were times where it wasn't always easy. I'm celebrating that today.
2. I'm celebrating the fact that I am pain free. 3 years ago, I had back surgery. The surgeon told me I would never be able to run again. He was wrong. I run at least 3 times a week. I'm celebrating that today.
3. I'm celebrating new friendships that feel like they've been around a lifetime. God seems to give you exactly the right friends in the difficult seasons. I'm extremely thankful for a few new friends who have been extra great to me lately. I'd be lost without them. It's true.
4. I'm celebrating food. (Remind me to explain this one another time).
5. I'm celebrating blogging. It's become a way for me to cope and express myself. A way for me to put on "paper" all of the thoughts and worries and struggles that are rolling around in my head. It's been a way for me to relate with people and share bits and pieces of my story. It's become a huge part of who I am.

So that's it for day two. 5 more things I'm celebrating today. Cheers.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

30 Days of Celebration

I want my life to be marked by celebration. I want to be known for celebrating in the hardest of times as well as in the most wonderful of times. I want to face every obstacle and struggle with a posture and attitude of celebration. There's a song that says " the sun and rain my life celebrates..." and I want that to be what my life looks like. Sun shine or rain, I want to celebrate. I've talked about this before... but I've recently been inspired. Back in November, I joined with a friend to take on what I named the "Gratitude Challenge" where we wrote a blog every day for the entire month of November stating one or more thing that we were thankful for. I've decided to take up this challenge again, but this time I'm going to blog daily about the things I'm celebrating, about the victories in my life.
I told a friend of mine about this, and he challenged me to blog about at least 5 things everyday that I'm celebrating. At first I was kind of bugged. This was my idea, after all. I didn't ask for input... but I soon realized he was right. One thing is easy, but 5 things.... that's really challenging myself to search for the hidden victories I'm celebrating. And I never say no to a challenge... So, although I'm starting a day late, today marks the first day of my 30 days of Celebration.
Today, I'm celebrating:
1. The fact that I have a new life. "This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!" 2 Cor 5:17. I'm celebrating that my old life, my old choices, my old thoughts and actions do NOT define me anymore. That I am a new creation because I belong to Christ.
2. That I have a story worth telling. It may be difficult at parts, but I'm celebrating my story- scars and all.
3. The fact that the extremely difficult thoughts and fears that used to occupy my mind daily are now nothing but a distant memory. They have no power over me anymore. Sure, there are days where I struggle, but I'm celebrating that I've come such a long way and that the progress will only continue.
4. That I'm not in this alone.
5. That it's okay to celebrate even in the hard times. It may not always feel right, but something happens when we choose to celebrate in the face of pain and heartbreak and sadness. God uses a willing heart.

It's so easy, especially in the difficult seasons of life, to dwell on the negative. To think only about the difficulties in life. To focus only on how unfair life is... but I love what Philippians 4:8 says "...Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise."
Shouldn't this be our posture instead? Thinking of only things that are worthy of praise? That's my goal with this challenge.
So, what are the things you're celebrating today? What are the victories you're praising God for in this season?
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