{on} beauty

 “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”
1 Peter 3:3-4

beauty. that’s what this verse is all about. there are those who use this passage to say that godly women ought not spend time, energy, or money on hair, makeup, jewelry or nice clothes. I don’t believe that. think of Esther, who underwent beauty preparation for 12 months before she went to see the king. there is nothing wrong with doing your hair nicely, or wearing jewelry, or having nice clothes. what I believe this verse is saying is that that is not what is important. that is not where our focus should be, it is not how we should decide if a woman is beautiful.

true beauty is that of the inner self. I know we hear it all the time, it’s pounded into your head if you grow up in the church, ‘man looks at the outside, but God looks at the heart. it’s what’s inside that really counts.’ but have you really let it sink into your soul?

when people spend fortunes on trying to stay looking young – what does that tell us? outer beauty is temporary. it fades. but your inner beauty, it is unfading. it will last as long as you spend your time working on it.

what is inner beauty? this passage tells us that it is a gentle and quiet spirit. it’s the way you hold yourself, the way you reflect the LORD. you don’t always need to be the center of attention, because you know you are loved by the One who created all.

we are beautiful for two reasons. one being that we are made in the image of God. the second is this: He loves us. don’t you think that the more you come to know and understand and feel that love, the more beautiful you would be?

I believe in trying to look nice. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with nice clothes, hair, makeup or jewelry. to a point. it should not become our obsession, and it is important that we know it is not what matters most. do you spend more time working on your outer beauty, or your inner beauty?

I challenge you to cultivate a gentle and quiet spirit – for that is beauty that will not fade.

blessings on your day :)
love em

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

it’s the miracle {of the moment}

 

right now I’m feelin like this song is almost the epitome of my “one word” for this year.

And He has given us a treasure called right now
And this is the only moment we can do anything about

And if it brings you tears
Then taste them as they fall
And let them soften your heart
And if it brings you laughter
Then throw your head back
And let it go, let it go

So breathe it in and breathe it out
Listen to your heartbeat
There’s a wonder in the here and now
It’s right there in front of you
And I don’t want you to miss
The miracle of the moment

read those lyrics – I believe that every one of those words is true. and I want to live like it!
today, don’t forget that each moment is a miracle. embrace it, live in wonder of it. thank the LORD for it!

blessings upon your day!
love em

joy in the frustrating

you know those days. the ones where everything is going wrong and it all JUST DRIVES YOU CRAZY!

whatever your frustrating is, whether it is that grumpy, clingy toddler who insists on being carried around all day, and the kids who bicker almost constantly, and the house that is a mess; or something else: we all have that something. and today I challenge you to find the joy in it.

that toddler won’t be young forever, and someday ~soon!!~ she will not want you to carry her around at all. YOU WILL MISS THIS. do not take it for granted now. those children? this is an opportunity for you to teach them about love & kindness. so what if it’s the millionth time you’ve tried? maybe today will be the day it hits home. or maybe it won’t. how often does our Heavenly Father try and teach us things and we refuse to understand, to listen, to apply it?

there is always beauty in each and every day. look for it. maybe it is the way the sun is shining on the floor (dirty or not), or maybe it is an impromptu hug or a loving and encouraging word.

today, look for the joy in the frustrating. if you look hard enough: you will find it!

blessings,
~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

with my head and not my heart

*sigh*

this week I’ve attempted any number of times to make a post. I think and think about something to write about, and then I start it. usually I have a whole bunch of half formed ideas rolling around in my head on that subject, and when I try and spit them out, they end up all jumbled and messy and not really what I think I’m trying to say. so I just left all of them to be finished at a later date when those thoughts become more fully formed.

I wasn’t exactly sure why I was having this problem, but as I was talking to my dear friend last night, I was saying that my walk with God (and much of how I’ve been going through life lately) felt very much right now like I was doing it with my head and not my heart. I’ve been faithful at reading the Bible, and mostly faithful at praying, I have lovely blogs that I follow, I’ve been going to church, I have praise music on almost all the time, so it’s not like I’ve ‘taken a break’ from any of those activities. I just feel like it’s all so ‘half-there’. it’s so much easier for me to just read my chapter or two of the Bible for the day then it is to journal, and even praying feels sort of fake. I’ve tried crying out to God, asking Him to let this be more real again, let me feel it. and nothing happens. this isn’t a case of my not believing anything about Him, I truly believe that He is there, and He loves us, and “all that”. I just don’t feel it. I’m sure that it’s something going on on my side (after all He’s not left me, or anything, He’s still where He was), but I DON’T KNOW HOW TO GET OUT OF IT!!

but then I was thinking about it. and I realized that it’s what we do when we don’t feel like it, that’s what makes us grow. it’s easy to follow Christ when you feel like it, when there’s depth in your relationship, when everything is going good. but it’s when it’s not so easy to follow Him that we show what we’re made of, and how strong is that grace that saved us.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~Romans 8:38-39

I can’t wait until I start moving through life with God with my heart again! but right now I’m going to be faithfully walking with my head. if you are going through a similar experience, keep plugging away! if we all waited until we felt like it to do anything, we wouldn’t do anything! rather, at some point, the feelings will follow the actions. prayin for y’all!

love 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