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

Year in Review

Being that today is my birthday, and I am beginning a new year in my life, I decided that yesterday was a good day to kinda ‘take stock’ of the old one; look at what I’ve done, and what God has been teaching me.

When I look back at where I was last year, well, I’m not sure exactly what I think. I was just nearing the end of a rough year of homeschooling (I wanted to go to school so badly!). In general, my life was good, I just had bad days sometimes (I would get the Monday blues for the first time in my life… I had always loved Mondays!). I went to church and youth group and I did read my Bible, just not consistently.

The summer was both weird and great at the same time. Yep.

School started up again and in my longing I tried to make it as much like school as possible – which made me hate it even more. We were still looking for houses, living with half our stuff in a storage unit…

A few years ago I read Ann Voskamp’s 1000 Gifts, and I follow her blog. She sent out this 100 Days thing to help you make good habits. On September 10, 2012 I started, my three habits to make being to read my Bible, count my gifts (see Ann’s book), and to exercise. Life was good. I was still a little down. I started to rise out of it. I discovered that in my longing for school, I was trying to fit homeschooling into the same shape and it wasn’t working. Once I decided to embrace homeschooling I started to enjoy it. If I were given the choice I think I might still go to school, but I am happy where God has me.

I think there are several things that God has been (trying to) teach(ing) me this year.
1. give thanks. all the time, and for all things. when was the last time you thanked God for the sound of birds chirping outside for window? (for more on the giving thanks thing, see Ann Voskamp’s book, or her blog. life changing!)
2. don’t fear. Like I said here, I have been looking at all the fear-nots in the Bible. what I am learning is just. so. cool.
3. trust God. this one is overlapping of both of the others and is so much more. we cannot fathom all that He is. all He does. just rest in Him.

I think this song really sums up where I am right now. Especially the bridge: ‘I don’t know, I don’t know, what tomorrow may hold; but I know, but I know, that You’re holding it all, so no matter what may come….’

This song has also meant a lot to me this past year.

I was looking through my little notebook and found some verses/passages that I had written down as important to me, since September. (btw if I didn’t put the passage there is a link)

Job 37

John 16:33
I have told you these things so that in me you will have peace. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world.

Isaiah 43:1-3
But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God,  the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

Jeremiah 32:27 

2 Thessalonians 3:3 

Isaiah 40:28-31 

Jeremiah 17:7-8
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.  It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

Psalm 81:10

Jeremiah 29:11-13

Lamentations 3:21-25

 Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: 22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,for his compassions never fail.23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;therefore I will wait for him.” 25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.
Three amazing books I would recommend reading:
Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis (wow. what an inspiring story with amazing lessons to be discovered as you journey along with Katie. couldn’t put it down.)
Heaven by Randy Alcorn (while learning about Heaven I learned so much more about God too. what an awesome Saviour we have people!)
1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp (see the rest of this post. this is where my journey began and keeps going.)
If you are in tough spot, I would encourage you to hope. I would encourage you first and foremost to read your Bible, even in the days you don’t feel like it, because it will be worth it. If you wait until a day when you feel better you will never start. If you start today you will feel better. Read Ann’s book, make a gratitude list. Live in every moment. Trust God, be still, and soak in who He is. I just want to encourage you. I’m not trying to make last year look really bad, because to be honest, it wasn’t all bad. But I do know that last year, I was in a bit of a low spot, and this year, I have risen out of it! With God’s grace, you can too!
 
love Em
 
wow. that was long. ;)