year in review

as another birthday comes around, another year passing, I like to take a look at the year I’m leaving behind me, the year closing, and see how I’ve grown, how God has been working in my life.

last year’s.

this past year has been, well, a roller coaster ride.  last summer was good (to be perfectly honest it always seems to me like the summers are just an amazing blur filled with so many fun days and other days that are…. well let’s just say less fun), and the end of the summer was just spectacular (we went out west to see some friends). the fall was pretty rough, and I know that God was using it to teach me lots of things. the winter was a lot better, and I find when you look back at something it’s a lot easier to see how you’ve grown through it and the difference between where you are and where you were.

once again, I thank the LORD that I read 1000 gifts because I have truly discovered in my life that when I am off track, the best way to get on track is simply to spend more time with God, and count your blessings. this spring has mostly been lovely. {I say mostly, and what I mean by that is that it has indeed been lovely, but there are days here and there, which are not so much, ya know?} I know that I can look back over the past year and see that God has had a plan to work in my life, and there were things that hurt, and while I was in them I wished I didn’t have to, but now when I look back I see how much closer to God I have grown and I can say honestly that I am okay with it all. but only because God’s got a plan and He works in my life, and He worked through that.

some things God has been teaching me this year include but are not limited to:
1. biggest thing. God will work in every little detail of your life. everything that God brings you into He will bring you through and out of, and if you use that as an “excuse” to run to Him, He will bring you out of it closer to Him.
2. contentment (if you read this blog at all you probably already know that haha!). there are some things in your life you can change. go out and change those if you don’t like them! …but there are lots of things you can’t change -and so why would I want to waste all that time wishing for something I didn’t have? time is precious people! make the most of what you’ve got!
3. living on your own power is just. so. exhausting. when I don’t start my day with the LORD, and “stop in” a few times a day, I do stupid things and by the end of the day I’m a mess. yes.

some books I read this year that helped me grow that I would totally recommend to others:
1. A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman. you have a life to live. you can make art where you are now. you don’t need to be a painter or a musician or anything like that to make art. to make art with your life is to glorify God.
2. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. this book is great!!! it’s pretty deep and a little confusing at times, but it’s written in a way that is so easy to read… I have learned a lot of great things from this book.
3. The In-Between: Embracing the Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing by Jeff Goins. I will admit that while I did read the first part of the book I only skimmed the second part… but I liked this book. did you know we spend a crazy whack of time waiting in our lives? (at the grocery store, the doctor’s, etc, or for bigger things like university acceptances, or a baby etc) and I know that I tend to think of waiting as a waste of time, but God has given us this time for a purpose and we’ve got to use it too!

a few songs that God has used in my life this year:

my favourite hymn-y-worship-y song lately: Crown Him (Chris Tomlin & Kari Jobe)

I need Him. Oh, yes! Every hour, every millisecond, whether I realize it or not!  Lord, I Need You – Matt Maher

Holy Spirit -Francesca Battistelli (honestly, I am so loving her entire new album!)
“Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for / To be overcome by Your presence, Lord”

I also made a youtube playlist with ‘just a few’ of the many many songs that I loved this year. (those that I remembered yesterday anyways lol)

 

this year I spent a lot of time in the Psalms, Isaiah, Philippians and a few other epistles. some verses (&passages) that have meant a lot to me:
(if I didn’t put the passage there is a link)

Isaiah 58

Isaiah 55:9-11

Isaiah 46:4

Isaiah 44:22-23
I have swept away your offenses like a cloud,
    your sins like the morning mist.
Return to me,
    for I have redeemed you.”
23 Sing for joy, you heavens, for the Lord has done this;
    shout aloud, you earth beneath.
Burst into song, you mountains,
    you forests and all your trees,
for the Lord has redeemed Jacob,
    he displays his glory in Israel.

Psalm 25: 12-13

Psalm 27:4

Psalm 27:13-14
I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.

Psalm 34:8

Psalm 37:4, 23

Psalm 51:10-12

John 6:35
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

2 Corinthians 12:9a,10b
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Philippians honest to goodness, I so love this book! picking a few favourite passages was very hard, please go and read it yourself. slowly. over and over and over again.

Philippians 1:6
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:9-11

Philippians 2:5-11

Philippians 2:15b-16

Philippians 4:4
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:11-13

Philippians 4:19

Colossians 3:17, 23

God has got a glorious plan for our lives, so that we might be part of the beautiful tapestry He is weaving for His glory. I pray that I would never forget that. We worship and great and Almighty God, who has loved us wayy beyond what we can comprehend. I pray that we would live like we know it!
I hope that you got something out of this mumbo-jumbo ;)

love Em

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taste and see

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Psalm 34:8

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please note that this verse says ‘that’, not ‘if’. once you have tasted, there is no choice. the LORD IS good. this is an absolute truth, not a preference thing. God, whose glory extends beyond time, and beyond the scope of our minds and imaginations, IS good, and what you feel about that doesn’t make a speck of difference in the matter. to those who believe that they have tasted and found that God was not good…. all I can say is that you must not have truly tasted. there must have been something sinful, something of the flesh that you were keeping between you and the God. and I earnestly pray that you would truly taste and experience the LORD, for you will find that He is good. it is simply impossible to find otherwise. God is good beyond our experiences and our world, and just because you may have had a bad time in life DOES NOT mean that God is not good.

I know personally, that there are certainly times when you’ve got to work at it, but I can also tell you, without a doubt, that when you have tasted the LORD and found shelter in Him, there is NOTHING that can compare.

bless you, friends.
~em

carpe diem!

some mornings, when I wake up, I do some exercise. sometimes running, sometimes biking, usually some pushups, squats, situps and other ab stuff. obviously running and biking are most efficient when you go fast; but sometimes it bothers me that most of the other exercises mentioned above work best when you go slow. it is a fight for me to slow down. my tendency is to go as fast as I can: get this thing done and move onto the next. but I realized that when I do that, I miss out. I’m not fully there.

the other night I was lying in bed reading a story to a young child. as habit would go, I was going as fast as I could (while still making the words understandable and sort of maintaining a ‘bed-time-ish-atmosphere’), in an effort to finish this task and get on to the ones at hand. but then it struck me. this moment ain’t gonna be here forever. she’ll be grown someday – soon even passing the time for bedtime stories – and that might not be part of my life anymore. whatever happened to the here & now? living in this moment?

PEOPLE, WHEN YOU LIVE FAST, YOU DO NOT LIVE NOW. (I believe there are exceptions to that statement, like if you are running a marathon, or you’re in any kind of race, or playing most sports, etc, but in general that is true.) when you live fast, to get the most things done, you lose out on all those things. we can’t have both quantity and quality: what will you pick?

this year, The Nester, and Blair over at Wild and Precious are both choosing SLOW as their word for 2014, and the more I’ve been thinking about it, the more I see that we really want the same thing. sure, we chose two different ways of saying it, but what we really want is to live fully, to be fully present in this moment. we don’t want to be rushing through our days trying to do as many meaningless things as possible: we want to give as much meaning as possible to our days. do less, be more. (that doesn’t work when you’re going fast.)  (While this is how it appears to me, sorry to Myquillyn and/or Blair if I have attached meaning to their word other than they have intended!)

DSC_0440 (2)

I want every breath to proclaim the glory of my God and King! you miss the little things when you’re going fast; so take a deep breath, slow down, and enjoy that story you’re reading to a young one. or that meal you’re making. don’t be in such a hurry to go wherever you’re going that you miss the gorgeous sunset that God put there – JUST FOR US! open your eyes to each moment and thank God for it!

blessings upon your day!~em

2014: one word

Happy New Years!! :)

I’d heard about this one word new years resolution thingy for a while, from a few places and decided to do it this year. soooo….

mine is a bit more than one word… but here it is:

2014: the year of Here & Now. to live in this moment. right where I am. I can’t get any of this back [none of us can, you know], and I want to make the most of each second, of each moment, hour, day, week, month. the only way to really do that is to be present, here and now.

also three other small(ish) things:

confidence in the LORD. so many of my favourite verses lately have had that word confidence in them. it’s like those words lavish, and abundance. it’s not “just” we think, or we know, or we hope, WE HAVE CONFIDENCE! {it’s like a complete hope, which also ties into….}

the LORD is all I need. (possibly my new soundtrack) satisfy me LORD this year (and always), be my desire, fill me up! contentment

…and last but by no means least…

gratitude. gotta keep on counting those blessings, being thankful for each and every moment I’m in (Here & Now folks, Here & Now!), that the LORD will fill me… for everything.

may God richly bless you in this new and beautiful year!
em

preparation

“Every experience God give us is the perfect preparation for a future only He can see.” Thus saith Corrie ten Boom in her book, The Hiding Place; where, as you journey through the lives of the ten Boom family, you cannot help but see that this is true. There are many lessons to be learned in this wonderful book but it seems to me that this is the thread that ties them all together.

In any book, whether it is fiction or a true story, it becomes clear to the reader throughout the account, but especially at the end, that all of the events fit together in such a way so that the characters end up where they are supposed to be. The same is true with our lives. Each of our lives here on earth has an endpoint, and only God knows when and where that is, and what it holds. We can only see the events in our lives as we go through them, and then as we look back upon them. As we look back on our lives, often we can begin to see how certain circumstances will fit together, leading us to where we are today. This is valuable; but think that as finite humans, how limited our view of all that is in comparison to our infinite God. He can see the whole of our story, and not just that but everyone in the history of the universe’s story – those in the past, present, and the future – and how they all fit gloriously together to point to the greatness of our God. Life is like a tapestry, from the bottom we can see nothing orderly, nothing beautiful; only tangled up threads. But from God’s vantage point, He can see how it all fits gloriously together into an image, as Corrie once said “Only heaven will reveal the top side of God’s tapestry.”

Pain hurts. But pain with a purpose can allow us to hope. Oftentimes when we are going through a hard situation, when we are feeling hurt, it feels as if it is pointless.  But the Bible promises that this is not so! In Romans chapter five verses three and four Paul writes: “Not only so, but let us also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Another similar passage is James 1:2-3, which says “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” Clearly, suffering and pain is not meaningless. We will grow through our hard times, making us more mature and prepared for what God has planned for us down the road…which will then prepare us more yet again for what comes after. Corrie also says “Our wise Father in heaven knows when we’re going to need things too. Don’t run out ahead of Him.”

We cannot see the future – but God does. We cannot possibly know what we will need when we get there, or even how we will get there, but He does. That encourages me a great deal, knowing that if I am walking in God’s will for my life that He will give me everything that I will need in the future.  Even if it means going through hard times; if it is where He wants me to be, then that is where I want to be, because “when a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.” (Corrie ten Boom) God is the engineer. Even when life doesn’t go the way that I think it should, I can rest assured that God knows where I need to be going and He will get me there. There is nothing that can happen to me that He does not allow, and He will use all of it to prepare me for what He has in store for my life, to bring Him glory.

Peace to the brothers and sisters, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love. (Eph 6:23-24)
Blessings!
~em

whatever you do

I do not even know how many times this song has been played at my house the last few weeks. (of course, it helps that the music video is borderline creepy the first few times you watch it (come on, yes? and that part where there is three of him?) although it just gets funny after that) I just love. this. song. it is catchy, and it has an extremely important and encouraging message that I think applies to, well, everyone.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. ~1 Corinthians 10:31
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. ~Colossians 3:17
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. ~Colossians 3:23-24

it also reminds me of what Emily at Chatting at the Sky has been talking about recently. whatever you do, it all matters. whatever you do, it is art. whatever you do, do it for the LORD. WHATEVER!! when you are feeling down about whatever it is that you do; whether you are a SAHM, or a doctor in the emergency room, or a student, who someone who works at Dollarama – it all matters when you do it to the glory of God! how does this work, you may say? does God really care about what I do? is it even worth it? the answer is YES! so give it your all, God gave all for you, shouldn’t we give him our all in all things too? on top of that, when we believe that we are doing doesn’t matter, we are not giving God the chance to work through us (not that He can’t, because He can (and He will sometimes) but that is a different post for a different day ;)) in that situation. Satan really truly wants us to believe that what we do matters little or not at all. please tell me if you know where in the Bible it says that little things don’t count?

in conclusion; be encouraged. there is nothing you can do (except for sin) that does not bring God glory when you do it. you were created for it! strive for excellence! it matters! you are working for God, and not for another man.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)
~em

connections

the more I learn, the more I see that everything is seriously connected.

right now, I am really dealing with contentment. (favourite blogs writing about contentment for 31 Days in Oct: Sarah Writes  and Cassidy Robinson :)) don’t we all say to ourselves – ‘I’ll be content when _______’ (fill in the blank for yourself), but I know for a fact that when I get there I will then be saying ‘I’ll be content when ______’ about the next step in my life, and this will keep going until I die unless somewhere along the line I learn to be content right where I am. so why not start now?

I am seeing that the key to being content is 3ish things, all of which are connected.

God’s presence. His character. who He is. dwelling on this y’all. Our God is the God of love, He is just, He is sovereign, He is good, He is best, besides a million other things that I don’t have the brainpower or time to list this morning. when we think, really think, when we soak in who our AMAZING God is – how are we not content? He loved us so much that He sent His only Son to die on the cross so that we could have life??? *mindblown* our God truly is good, which leads me to my next point:

His promises. (favourite blog about His glorious goodness this Oct: With Love, From Here). there are many, many promises in the Bible (just googled it quickly and results varied from 1500-3000). when we know who our God is, and that He will not let us down, His promises have a lot of worth. we can hope in them, trust in them, and we can be content.

gratitude. (Ann Voskamp’s blog A Holy Experience has truly spoken God’s words to me during hard times in my life) I truly believe this is key to contentment. discontent stems from thanklessness. when we are not thankful for what we have, where and who we are, then what we don’t have looks better than what we do have, and this is discontent. when we give thanks for all things, we are accepting God’s plan for our lives. we are showing Him that we truly believe that He does not make mistakes and that He really does know best. when we neglect to give thanks we are telling God that we know better than Him what we need right now. and ummm, I’m sorry, but we don’t. contentment in each moment stems from gratitude in each moment. I could go on and on about giving thanks but considering this is just supposed to be an overview of some of the things that I feel are related to contentment I will save all that for another post ;).

other things related to contentment:

hope. (Sweetwater blog) sometimes I have trouble with this one because I feel like when I’m hoping for something, that makes me less content with where I am/what I have. but I think that when that happens to me, I am not hoping in the true sense of the word. hope should encourage us that God is good and what He has for us is good. we can hope for specific things and that is not wrong, but we can take it in the wrong direction and become discontent when we feel that God is not moving fast enough.

yearning and desire. right now one of my prayers is that the LORD would be my first desire. admission, often, He is not. :( and this makes me sad.

trust. in order for any of this to be of any worth to me I need to trust in God’s character, His promises, hope etc.

sometimes it is necessary for us to ‘fake it til we make it‘: go through the motions even when we don’t feel like it, and the feeling will follow along. maybe not for a long time; but it will. I promise. if we waited for the right feeling to be content/joyful/thankful/hopeful, it would never happen – at least not really and not for the long term. we need to choose contentment.

I don’t want to make any promises about what I’m going to post on next, but right now I have this idea of maybe going a little deeper into each of those sections that I’ve mentioned above. we’ll see if it lasts long enough to actually make the posts ;)

May the LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you; the LORD turn His face toward you and give you peace. (Num. 6:24-26)

love em