Wednesday, March 19, 2014

...trusting ...even when the Red Sea doesn't part

A friend of mine asked the question "Would we still trust even if the Red Sea didn't part" in regard to our desire to see miracles happen, often missing the miracle that is normalcy.

great question, huh?

Several posts have inspired this pondering today.  I won't go into it, but it has caused me to think back on a time when the "Red Sea" didn't part and I, in response, questioned the goodness of our amazing Father God.

We had just come off of a year of redemption in many ways.  The city we had loved and left was given back to us.  We loved being back in Boston.  We returned with two small children after four years of being barren.  The job Gavin loved and found favor in was given back to him in the form of a new company and new responsibilities.  We bought the cutest 4 bedroom home in Cambridge, MA and attended worship at Cambridge Vineyard, experiencing worship in its fullness as we never had before.... or have experienced since.  Friendships left behind were restored and new friendships were made that continue to shape and influence our lives today. wasn't the easiest of years but it felt good.  It felt very Job-ish. :)

To our surprise that Job season was much shorter than we had anticipated.

We were being called elsewhere.  ....we were very clearly being called outside of our comfort zone.  The calling was to move to Fort Thomas, KY to help start a community-based church with Vineyard affiliation, and with friends we had known during our previous time in Boston (Marblehead, to be specific).  After months of trying to figure out how to make this work, sale our home, and jokingly try to convince Father and the team that we should really be doing this in New England...preferably Cambridge :) ....we said yes and made preparations to move.

Our home didn't sell.  Gavin left his job and began his own business consulting company.  We had two littles at the time.  Boy, was this going to be an adventure!  We knew the Lord would provide.  He had made it very clear that He was asking us to do this now, without the house selling.  We left Job behind and now were stepping into Abraham's shoes...

This story is already way too long, but to sum it up quickly.  There were months when we didn't have the rent on time for the ugly 2 bedroom apartment ...that was decorated back in the 70s ...and never updated.  There were months when we couldn't pay our mortgage on our Cambridge home.  Our home went into foreclosure, our credit was ruined, and I wondered why in the world the Lord would have called us out to this place and not provide for our needs!!!  I was more than a little jaded.  I was pretty much pissed off.

We had been obedient!  Now everything was supposed to be smooth sailing!  We were careful with our money, very open-handed with all we had and loved to share what we were given.  We were doing everything the way we were supposed to...!  (I still get a knot in my stomach when I remember how dumbfounded I was in that confusion.  ....still trying to figure out if He really was ...good.)

....the reality was far from smooth.  The "Red Sea" didn't part. least not the "Red Sea" I was looking at...

I've become a child always on the look-out for Redemption!
My sweet Father has conditioned me this way,
and He loves to surprise me!

Had we sold our home in Cambridge, we would have bought a home in KY, but that was not Father's plan.  He knew that our time in KY was important, but also short.  After a year and a half, Gavin felt led to accept a position in D.C. - totally out of left field for me.  I was sure it was a mistake! wasn't a mistake at all.  It was exactly what our family needed and where we were called to be.

Had we sold our home in Cambridge, we would have bought a home in VA, but that was not Father's plan, either.  He had a house prepared for us to rent ...way bigger than anything we would have ever considered, with a plan ...way bigger than anything we would have ever dreamed. (...saved for another post)

About a year after moving to VA, I was enlightened with this truth:

good credit is not a Need.

I was still processing the previous two years and the reality of our Cambridge home being in foreclosure again, when He opened my eyes to His provision.

The truth is, we never went hungry.
We had way more clothes than we needed.
We never lost our home in Cambridge.
The rent may have been late, but was always paid.
Every single need .....n.e.e.d..... was provided.

As soon as I realized this was true credit score has no value in my Father's world - good or bad
...I was free!  ....the sound of chains falling to the ground.
The "Red Sea" parted for me and I saw how good ....really good... is my Dad.

He is good.  He is a good Father.  He always provides what we need
...and so often abundantly more than what we need.

(Our home in Cambridge sold shortly after that revelation......... He's got a great sense of humor:))

I must say:
We learned so many invaluable lessons during that Abrahamic season in KY that I wouldn't trade for the best credit score attainable.  I'm abundantly thankful for our time there.  We are blessed with deep friendships that have changed our lives and continue to bless us beyond words. The community there is still thriving and we regularly visit, as well as, host many from that beloved community in our home.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Betrayal...the sting meant to kill

Betrayal has left a trail of great pain and heart ache throughout my journey of faith, beginning my junior year in high school.  Someone close to me started a rumor in my school that I had had sex with my boyfriend.

I was a very outspoken, bold and, more frequently than I would have liked, judgmental and arrogant Christian.  The problem was that I was also very flirtatious and sexual in my nature, having been exposed early in my life to sexual abuse and pornography.  Ashamedly, this lie was not hard to believe by those close to me.  It was a lie.  I had not had sex with my boyfriend, in any form, but I was certainly and sadly not beyond reproach.  I lost most of my friends that year.  My reputation was trashed.

Of course, the Lord is faithful and provided some sweet, sweet friends from my youth group that stood by me, comforted me, believed in me, and were a great source of fun and laughter.  Even though the sting of that betrayal hurt and was a sad time for me, I can look back on that experience with much gratitude.  That began a season of me getting serious about my faith.  My boyfriend and I were too physical, and breaking up with him was the first time I experienced denying myself to follow Jesus.  I was spared from the party scene because my only friends were in my youth group.  Even though I had accepted Jesus as my Savior when I was five years old, my faith was in the baby stages of becoming my own.

I look back and see beauty from something meant to destroy me.

Betrayal hurts.  it stings.  ...It's meant to do so.'s meant to kill.
It causes you to question everything around you
....who you are
....who your friends are
....what is truth?
...what is real?

...because betrayal can only come from someone you love and trust.        ...devastating.

...haven't we all our own stories and history with betrayal?  ...the sting that is meant to kill? 

Certainly our Savior knows betrayal better than me, better than any of us.  However, Judas' betrayal did not kill our Savior.... He willing laid down His life.  He did not defend himself against the lies and accusations....not even against the betrayal itself.

Perhaps the power of the effects of betrayal is in our hands. Of course it is!  We control whether or not that sting succeeds or fails in killing us.  It is a decision we make every day - to choose life (truth) or death (lies).  The enemy has no control over me.  I am a new creation, covered in the life-blood of Jesus.  I don't have to let betrayal's sting bring death to my spirit.  It is my choice.

...some days are easier than others.

Some days I need my Dad to help me; to remind me who I am; to remind me who my betrayer is - in His eyes; and to remember ....over and over again... that our battle has nothing to do with men and women.  We all have one common enemy, and he is already defeated.

So, as I'm having a day where the sting is hurting a little more than usual... I battle feelings of depression.. I run through memory after painful memory still trying to make sense of it all... I take time to rest in You, my Comforter...
I struggle to turn my eyes to you, Father.  I trust You.  I know You are good.  I know You are faithful and will never leave me.  I know that You are for me...You will never forsake me in my weakness.  I bless Your name.  You are worthy of all praise and honor and glory.  I choose to hear Your truth.

Sing over me...

Friday, March 14, 2014

another slice of humble pie, please?

I just took a walk through memory lane and read some previous posts..... Can I say how embarrassed I am? I immediately think of high school - yikes! I remember those days, much like I feel when I read these previous posts, with great embarrassment at my bold arrogance. I'm not interested in being less bold, but what I want to be known for certainly seems to have shifted. I can feel the angst in those previous posts.

I want to be known for how I love, not who I vote for. I can't say I won't engage in political banter again, but I hope if/when I do it will be with much more humility and less arrogance. Lord, have mercy...:) My opinions around President Obama haven't changed. He hasn't done everything I hoped and has done things I don't like, but that's true of every president that has come before him and every one that is yet to come. I am thankful for our President.  I respect and love his heart and his family.

 However, I do repent for my disdain and disrespect toward Mrs. Palin and Mr. McCain. ...those were words from an arrogant little girl who spoke of things she did not know. I repent.

I hope this will be a place where the Lover of my soul is revealed and glorified... the One that has won my heart and continues to woe my will...

I still find myself fighting that overwhelming struggle that Paul spoke of - doing what I do not want to do, and not doing what I want and know to do.  ...Lord have mercy.  I repent.

I still desire, more than ever before, that He be glorified in me and I disappear...  sometimes that gets twisted and I just want to disappear...  it's been a sad year.

So I count my blessings.  I count my blessings and my spirit is lifted.  I know the One that works all things together for my good, and the good of those I love, is faithful.  the Great Redeemer ...nothing is beyond His redemption ...even this body that feels impossible to change.

and I remember that "forgiveness is the air [I] breath".

One day at a time ....this day.  ...this moment.  
One step at a time  ....this step.

Lord have mercy.

Hi! My name is Emily, and yours?

I haven't even looked to see when I last posted, but I know it's at least been more than a year. say so much has changed would be a gross understatement. It would be impossible to catch up so I'm starting fresh.

I'm sure, as my Father continues to bring healing over this last season and I I always do - verbally, that details of the past year+ will be revealed. There is a lot to process.

*disclaimer - This is a medium I choose to use for processing what I'm experiencing and hearing from my Father. It's also an amateur training ground for writing....something I want to do more of. If you're encouraged, I'm blessed....but that's not expected. I have no motive other than transparent processing - an online journal, or sorts. To God be the Glory for this glorious mess.....

This is a song that Father brought me just before the season of death began for me. I knew that when I was praying (singing - same, same) these words it was really just an acknowledgement of something to come. I wanted it....whatever He had for me. I still do. I'm still in the storm.

...there is peace in His Savior hands.
...Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
...take me deeper than my feet could ever wander. . faith is made stronger in Your presence...

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Year in Review 2011

Wow! I can't believe it's been a year since I added an entry here. Since this is a personal journal - of sorts - I couldn't let a year go by without a single word... Here is my humble attempt to sum up a very eventful year.

The year began with our second semester of my first year of homeschooling. The girls did great on their end of year testing and I took a huge sigh of relief. I was finally honest with myself and admitted that I hated homeschooling. After evaluating all that we were doing I realized that the I knew for sure the Lord had called me to homeschool...but maybe he hadn't called me to piano lessons, horseback riding lessons, dance, a weekly co-op meeting, art and gymnastics...and lead a women's bible study group..? Ya think?

As I re-evaluated the year I heard clearly from Father that I needed to let it all go and trust that He would meet my needs and, especially the girls' needs. We began the new school year in September with a new curriculum and a clear schedule. We're using My Father's World and I LOVE it. I love the time I have with the girls and all of the amazing conversations that are spurred on by the things we are studying together. The girls and I are all loving homeschooling this year.

In the mean time the families we had living with us have all moved on to bigger and better. The single mom and children were reconciled with dad, and family restored. There is still a long road of counseling ahead, but we are all so thrilled to see the God-glorifying progress that is taking place.

The young couple moved into their own apartment just in time to welcome their first child into their family. She is ADORABLE!! I love her:) They are still doing wonderfully and adjusting to parenthood with grace, just as we all expected.

The single guy got married to one of my precious friends and they are experiencing an amazing first year of marriage. They are a power couple, if ever there was one!! gifted and talented. ...wouldn't be surprised to see their name in lights some day.

Father began to lay on our hearts early in the year that we would no longer be taking in families, but instead focus more on being a discipleship house for young singles. We also had a real desire to host weekend retreats for families or couples. He continued to confirm this through several outside instances and in late July of this year it became official. We found out that we had unknowingly been violating a housing code for Fairfax county by having more than one family in our single family home......doesn't matter that we have seven bedrooms and could easily fit everyone in our home - it was a violation to have more than two unrelated SINGLE adults living with us.

Though this news was difficult to swallow and brought up all kinds of rage about the injustice of it all....we couldn't deny that it was further confirmation of what Father had already been telling us. After living life together for over 13 months our home was empty within 30 days (other than our family of six, of course). We weren't sure how it would all work out, but knew that Father had a plan, and that it was a really, really good one...we just hadn't thought of yet!!:) Of course, the Lord provided (see previous paragraphs...) and did so in typical form...Amazing.

Within that next month we were surprised and blessed to have a full house again!

Jenny, my amazing sister, moved back home - she was a free-be in the head count for housing because she was related and SINGLE (if she were married they would be constituted as another family and, therefore, a violation of the housing code). Next was Sara, a missionary with AIM (Adventures in Missions) who works from home doing marketing for AIM - that's #1. Then came Jeremiah, fresh from the mission field with AIM and looking to be discipled as he seeks the Lord's guidance on what is next - that's #2. We also, temporarily, have Julie. She was on the World Race with Jenny, through AIM a few years ago and has been following wherever the Lord led ever since. She is currently interviewing for med school and looking into some schools in SC. She's with us for a few months while she awaits decisions from prospective schools.

The fact that we have these dear sisters and brother is further confirmation...we certainly didn't go looking for anyone. The Lord brought them to us, as He has for the past 5 years.

We've also held a weekend retreat for a couple that was experiencing a difficult time in their marriage. It was a beautifully productive weekend, and we all benefited from our time together. ...sweet times of conversation, laughing, crying and sharing life together. It truly is an unbelievable blessing to walk alongside our brothers and sisters through the many seasons of life.

There were several priceless visits had, either by friends (new and old) coming to stay with us for a time, or us going to stay with them: Henderson's, AIM Training Camp, trip to Boston, Ryan's, Derington's, trip to Cinci to visit Ft. Thomas crew...
Finally got to see U2 in concert!!! Two trips to NYC: Anniversary trip with Gavin, and milestone birthday trip with Rae!! Mommy trip to Avalon, NJ for a long weekend away at the beach! celebrated lots of "Russ is Awesome" days..:) Too many to count Blake family dates...:)

The Lord truly is amazing. I would never have imagined the way our home would change within this year! His plans are better than ours. We are changed, refined, challenged, blessed by all of those we share life with. Each person brings a different dynamic to our lives and our home. We are the better for it. We don't have any idea how long this season will last, but I so appreciate it and feel blessed to experience it while we have it.

Those are, at least, the highlights of 2011. I'm looking forward to seeing what 2012 will bring us. To God be the glory! ...much love, dear friends.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Your Girl

...that would be *posterity* ....:)

I wrote this song after going to a Women's Ministry event at Reston Bible Church. Donna Winship, with Jesus in the Qur'an, was speaking about our identities in Christ, Kingdom living and living our dreams.

I was so inspired that I wrote this song the next day. The truth is, I'm really not a song-writer. I really believe Father gave this song to me. I'm so blessed by it.

My sister asked why I was smiling so much in the video. ....well partly because I really mean every word I'm singing, the other part is that what you can't see is Sutton coming to me and trying to hand me gifts from the toy kitchen I was sitting beside.

Raegan ran the video from my iphone. She did a great job and took a lot of pride in the job she did:) We had to get it under 2min. or wouldn't be able to post it on there you have it.

I hope you are blessed by the song: Your Girl

much love,

Grace vs. Works

John 14:15 reads: If you love me, keep my commands. NIV
or in the Message translation: If you love me, show it by doing what I've told you.

My grace-oriented friends would say to put too much of an emphasis on this verse would lead to a works-driven faith. I disagree, respectfully.

This verse has taken on new meaning now that I am a parent. After having a discussion with my newly four year old daughter tonight about this very topic, I had a bit of a revelation....

Elle is precious, precocious, amazing, creative, immature, witty, brilliant.....and all good children are:) For the past few days she has been going through the "let's test our boundaries" phase. That's okay. I'm used to it. It happens every year or so, with each one getting a little farther apart the older they get.

At the end of the night, Elle and I had a talk. I explained to her that no matter what she did or how she chose I would always love her, but her actions over the past few days had shown me a clear picture of what she thought about me.... "The way you show your love for me, is to do what I ask you to do, be quick to obey. Hearing the words I love you are always sweet to hear, but I need to see your love in action." I re-iterate that her actions haven't changed my love for her; I will always love her, but I am hurt by her choices.

She was very remorseful and went to bed in tears after a hug from me.

I was lying in bed just now rethinking that conversation - as many other mom's are doing, as well. ...should I have said it that way? Was I too harsh? Am I giving her a clear picture of God's love for her? Am I setting her up for a works-mentality toward faith?

The words came back to me: "If YOU love ME, you will obey my commands". The verse doesn't read: if you want me to love you, you will obey my commands. He loves us regardless of our choices. He is always hoping we will make the right choices, but it doesn't change his love for us when we don't. Seeing the scripture this way clearly shows that this verse has nothing to do with earning your salvation or God's love.

It has everything to do with revealing where our hearts are!

Do I believe that Eliot loves me even though she has acted in rebellion toward me for days? Of course, she does. But I also know that Elle was not caring what I thought, or wanted, or needed when she chose to lie to me about feeding her dinner to the dog, or going to dress up instead of coming down for dinner like I asked, to name a few. Her choices also revealed that she didn't trust me. She didn't trust that the plans I had for her were better than the plans she had for herself. She cared about what SHE wanted or didn't want. Her decisions had absolutely NOTHING to do with me. ...therein is the problem.

When we have been bought with a price and are no longer our own - dead to ourselves and alive in Him - making decisions without any care for what our Father, Savior, Redeemer would want, or is asking, is to act without love for Him. That doesn't change His love for us, but certainly does reveal where our love is for Him.

This verse, and others like it throughout scripture, especially the NT, do not indicate that our "works" or "deeds" can earn our salvation. Rather they help us understand that our actions reveal our heart.

Prov 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Friday, December 17, 2010


Gavin and I are so blessed to be away - by ourselves - in the Poconos this week. (Thank you Jenny for keeping the girls for us! Thank you Blakes for helping Jenny keep the girls for us. Thank you Mom for the use of one of your timeshare weeks!)

This has been a sweet time of reflection, rest and renewal. We had Sunday through Wednesday to ourselves to sleep in, stay in, stay in pj's all day. It was just what we needed. Our friends, the Ryan's, joined us on Wednesday night for the remainder of the week. We've prayed together and worshiped - it's been just what we needed. (We still stayed in our pj's for most of the day....:))

What I've been learning and what has been confirmed: God is definitely ushering us into a new season of ministry. We've known this for over a year and a half, but it's becoming increasingly clear that the new season is upon us and will most likely roll out within the coming year. He's had me in the book of Job for the past few weeks. I see that God wants us to love, follow and trust Him, not because we'll be successful or get good things (and therefore, avoid bad things) if we do, but just because loving Him and being loved by Him is enough.

This is a constant theme over the past few months - even up to the last year. The question He has posed to me has been: Am I enough? ...just me? Is My love enough? Am I worth more than your comfort? Am I worth more than your rights? Am I worth more than stability or security? Do I matter more than your children, your family, your friends? Am I worth it even if you never see a single dream come true? Am I enough?

It has taken me months, and many tests and layers, but my answer has been, and is: Yes! All to you I surrender - every thing, every part of me, all of my dreams, all of me - I surrender. You are enough. I trust You and I know that You are Good! You are a good Father. My hope is in You, Lord!

I'm also realizing that if I had a true understanding of God's holiness the answer to these questions would be a resounding - no-brainer - YES! Reading Job was uncomfortable. It's such a fascinating book. many themes. God's holiness was certainly one theme that screamed out to me. The Lord now has me reading Isaiah...are you picking up on a theme?! God is really wanting me to grasp His holiness. ...well, here we go!

much love to you, my precious friends. I covet your prayers, thoughts, concern and love. I love to hear from you. (the girls love homeschooling - I'm starting to:) It's definitely been a journey of refining my character, and is certainly an act of obedience. I'm still in the thick of it. Prayers, advice, thoughts are always welcomed. I'll talk more about homeschooling soon. ...when my head comes above water:)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Up in the Middle of the NIght's 4:38 and I've been awake for an hour... Always when this happens, because it is rare, I start a little conversation with the Lord. (He's always wide awake:))

"Is there someone I should be praying for?" "Thank you for this day and all the blessings you have poured out on me, Gavin, the girls, and those I love."

I start counting my blessings, and I lift up those I know are hurting.

....those that are hurting. There are so many so close to my heart... I feel helpless. What do you want for them, Lord? I know you want the best for them, but what do you want for them in [this]?

My faith grows as I remember all You have done. I remember the long history from which we come. I remember the impossible made possible. I know that You are good!

I'm so hungry to see Your Spirit set free here in Northern Virginia. I'm hungry to see lives truly changed and set free to be what you have designed us to be. Marriages healed. Lives restored. Justice and Peace. ...your Kingdom.

I don't know what is ahead. I don't really care, I trust you... I do want to cherish this day, this season, this place, these people. Please help me.

I feel so blessed. You are what is special about me. ...and I do feel special.

My cup overflows and my hope is in You.