Tuesday, September 27, 2011


I got a new tattoo.
It's a beautiful anchor with waves
There's a banner at the bottom that reads Deuteronomy 31:8
The colors are vibrant
The artwork is breathtaking
The meaning behind it is even better
The last year of my life has been a crazy-hard season
So much pain, so much refinement, so much breakthrough
During this year, the Lord would faithfully speak Deuteronomy 31:8 to me. I would cry out to him, and he would answer me with this verse... "Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged. The Lord himself goes before you. He will never leave you nor forsake you."
Without fail, God would respond to my cries with these words. And not as a reminder. Not telling me, REMEMBER Emily, I haven't left you. I won't forsake you.
But instead, as a promise. A promise for the days to come. Because He knew I needed to push forward, not look behind me. He was telling me that I could make it, that he wouldn't ever leave me. He was making a promise to me, just as Moses was making a promise to Joshua.
The meaning behind the anchor is simple; anchors symbolize hope. This verse was my source of hope in the darkest days. My hope that God was still with me, that I didn't need to be afraid.
Also, a wise man tells me often that I am an anchor to those around me. And his words carry a lot of weight in my life.
My tattoo is beautiful, yes. It is an AMAZING work of art. But it has so much meaning to me. I look at it, and my eyes fill with tears. God brought me through those painful, dark days just as he promised. And he never once left my side.
I am every so thankful for my great God who fulfills his promises.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I'm bringing back Thankful Thursday.
One day during the busy week to pause, reflect, and give thanks. Sounds like perfection to me.
Today, I know exactly what I'm thankful for.
Today is an easy one.
I was uploading pictures to my computer from my phone. I hadn't done this in a WHILE, so there were a lot. As I began to scroll through them, I found myself in tears. In this collection of random pictures (many, okay MOSTLY of children) I kept running across pictures of the Stirring building in various stages of the process. A picture of the Kids hallway before the ceiling was up and the counter top was installed. A shot of one of my Stirring Kids girls painting the girl's bathroom. Another one of a crew putting together a bazillion IKEA cabinets. A picture of our move-out day from the Eureka Way campus where Sean is sprawled out in the Storage Room (who knew there was actually carpet in that room?! I sure didn't!). A picture of each classroom on our last Sunday at that campus. A great shot of the classrooms prior to opening Sunday in the new building. Then there is picture after picture of the kids flooding the hallway of the Kids wing.
I am so thankful for the process. For the road. For the journey.
I remember the hard work of setting up and tearing down Sunday after Sunday at the Eureka Way campus. I remember transforming ordinary classrooms into extraordinary places for kids to encounter God. I remember how difficult it was trying to prepare and organize the new space and make sense of ACTUALLY having our "own house." It was hard to go from living out of a suitcase (so to speak) to actually having a closet... The endless hours of cleaning and sorting and organizing and building and answering questions and building teams. It was a tireless couple of weeks.
But then I also remember the look of awe and excitement in the eyes of the kids as they came busting into the Stirring Kids hallway. I remember overhearing parents telling each other of how their kids were up HOURS early, getting ready to come to the NEW Church. I remember the wonder on the faces of those kids as they saw their classrooms for the very first time.
I wouldn't change the process for anything. Without the sacrifice and the hard work, the reward wouldn't be nearly as beautiful.
Don't forget to be thankful for the process. Even if it's hard and difficult and tiresome. Don't forget to be thankful for the process.  (Here are all of the pictures... well, not ALL of them, but some of my FAVES.... enjoy!!!)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

When I don't understand...

I've been listening to the new album lately. It's a couple that were signed to the Jesus Culture label, and let me tell you, their music is incredible. One song in particular really speaks to me. At one point in this song, the lyrics are so simple but extremely profound to me: "When I don't understand, I will choose you..."
That's it.
That's all she says.
Over and over.
And each time I hear this song, I am in tears.
When I don't understand, do I choose to believe? Or do I choose to control?
That's been my prayer, to choose God, even when I don't understand.
Because there are SO many things in my life that I don't understand.
Why am I still single? At the age of 26. Why haven't I fallen in love, and started a family? It's one of the greatest desires of my heart. So why hasn't it happened yet?
Why is my past peppered with such pain and heart break and destruction and trauma and tragedy?
Why do I still struggle with things God has given me freedom from?
Will I ALWAYS struggle?
And the list goes on... there are so many things I don't understand. But I want to be known as a woman who trusts God, and chooses him when I don't understand. I want to be known for celebrating in the times when I don't understand. I want to choose God and choose celebration, even when things don't make a ton of sense to me.
So, instead of trying to control the things in my life that don't make sense or that I don't understand, I am choosing God. Trusting that his way is better than mine. That his plan is greater than mine. That he is good, ALL of the time. That there isn't one single detail he has overlooked. Psalm 139 is one of my very favorites. It always remind me and center me. Verse 16 is one that I love, and that makes a lot of sense to me right now... "You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed." Not just the easy moments. Every moment. And so, even in the moments that I don't totally get it, and I don't totally understand, I will choose God.
Images by Freepik