Sunday, December 19, 2010
As I sit here in this bed... and look around me... tears fill my eyes. I've struggled so much with this idea of change. With the fracture that has been placed where my family once was. The idea and virtue of patience is a rather simple one for me, I can wait. Change on the other hand, it terrifies me. It terrifies me so much, that I have been failing to let it happen. I have failed to allow time to do what it does; to shape me, to grow me and to most importantly age me with life. When I was a teenager (not SO long ago) I always wanted to be older. I never understood why people freaked out when they turned 28 or 43. I just though it would be cool to be older. As I continue to get older, I don't necessary have that young naive mindset. I know that getting older, inevitably means change. I change, the people I love change, my family changes, even my dogs change. Easily, I can get stuck here. I can get stuck in this sad place of what was, and what I miss. I can hang on and grip so tightly to the memories that haunt me, the good memories that bring me only tears. I dread the days to come, because I fear that something will be wrong and someone will be hurting, dying or walking the wrong road. I always hear people say, "The only thing that never changes in this life is the fact that everything will keep changing." Huh. So if this is true, which I believe it is, that means if I fight continue fighting this idea of change in my life I will forever be in turmoil, in angst over something that I have absolutely no control over. It's freeing kind of, when I think of it that way.
God designed me to trust him, to praise him, and to obey what his word says. Do I question this? Yes, with the most immature and unknowing mind, and the most yearning heart. There is power in "The Blood"- Freedom in "The Blood." When I think of the current placing of my family at this very moment, it overwhelms me. How are we here? How did it all happen so fast? How does "The Blood" makes us free- how does our little crazy, loud and hysterical family fit into the family of God when we are just messed up sinners, trying to feel something in this life. In this moment, I know deep in my soul that there is a God- the Only God- who made us each so different and unique that we fit together perfectly. That because we are crazy messed up sinners, we are like all of the others in the family of God. Imperfect, undeserving, unworthy- yet LOVED. I don't know how many years ago Jesus was born, or if it was in October or December that he was laid down into a manger with animals all around him. All that I know- and all that I believe is that he was- and he did. He was born- he did in fact live a life of perfection because we are sinners, undeserving- yet hungry for what this Christmas season represents. Christ being born, to come into the world so that our sins could be washed away by The Blood. That's how we fit it, that's how I belong to Jesus.
I don't like change, and I'll avoid it and fight it at all costs. God reminds me that through change and through the darkness, his Glory is here in it and the light on the other side of the dark night is so sweet... The small reminder of this precious baby sleeping next to me, or my little brother punching me so hard in the arm I felt like we were kids again because I was so mad at him--- making Christmas cookies with my mom and sister again. Even though change has stolen some of my most fondest memories, God is making all things new in this family, and in my life. I will praise him with a thankful heart for bringing me this far.
Merry Christmas. Emily.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
I didn't mean for my last blog to be a sob fest, and make anyone who read it think that I've had it and I'm done. Not the case. Every day is a different adventure. Everyday, God gives me grace, and I either choose to accept it or I pick back up what I laid down at his feet the night before and in those days I find myself lost. Being able to lay it all down and leave it there is a talent, I have yet to acquire.
Saturday we leave for Michigan! I'm so excited to go home. It's been almost three months! Holy smokes. I can't believe it. I feel like Grant will be 3 feet taller and Braylon is going to be talking. Where does the time go? Another reminder that God gave us life, to love him, love people- and enjoy the blessings he has given us. I think the spirit of Gratitude can get us a long way.
Thanks for playing!
Monday, December 13, 2010
In one week, I will be back in the place where I was a year ago. Back in the place where I packed everything I had, stuffed it in the Alero that I still drive, and hit the road to Texas. I can't believe a year has gone by. I find myself still waiting to feel normal, or waiting to feel like I thought I was going to feel by now. Waiting to be that person I thought I was going to be by now. Here's the thing- that person is me. It's whoever I am right now. It's the person who is writing this, who is sitting here with a ton of bricks on her chest for no real reason, the person who stubbed her toe on the footstool in the living room and found herself laying on the floor sobbing because not only did my toe hurt... but I still don't feel normal.
It's frightening thing... growing up. It was so much easier when I could at least pretend like I had it all together. When my dreams were all laid out in front of me, the ones I never thought would get here and now they are here. I don't think it's coincidence that each night the devotional book I read is referring to hard time, talking about being in a weird dark place, or talking about struggling. Today it said, " don't give up," "don't be afraid." Those are words I needed to hear. Wherever you are on this journey, whether it's super awesome, or super hard... just don't give up. Some days I want to...most days, as a matter of fact, it would be easier it seems. Here is something I can't understand, but know to be true. God's "plan" isn't just for our lives individually- it's for a whole universe. I honestly don't even know what that means, but it is a lot more than just my life. Rest in the fact that the plan goes beyond your lifetime, and beyond my lifetime. I just pray that my role is significant, and that God will tell me well done.
Rest in the Peace of the Holy Spirit tonight--- I'll try.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
A few nights ago a person that I went to high school with randomly IM'd me on Facebook. I typically don't chat on there because I feel guilty for how much time I spend on there in the first place. This person was one I didn't know well in high school, but I most definitely knew this person existed, who their family was, where they lived and all of that general information. In high school though, I was just as self-conscious as the next person and I didn't think that people always wanted to talk to me, I didn't even think that anyone really liked me. This person was expressing to me how they were surprised that I even knew they existed and said that because of the people I was associated with, I couldn't possibly care about this persons life or feelings. Man. That hit me deep. In high school I guess I was a part of that so called " popular" crowd- OMG I hate that I even just put myself in that category, or that that category even exists. The funny part is, the girls in that social network hated me, and did everything possible to make my life miserable. People didn't know it and probably still don't but wow, I was so lost and I just wanted to be liked like everyone else. I knew I believed in Jesus and I knew that being 'popular' did not matter at all. I wanted to, and I know this sounds so cliche', but I wanted to be friends with everyone. I remember thinking that the friends that I had in choir class where the friends I wish I had outside of choir. Those girls were so cool and they were actually good friends to each other. If you read this- you know who you are. Anyways, the whole point to this is that in high school we don't know anything. We don't know how hard life really is and we don't know that what we say, do and how we look at people can hurt them and affect them for the rest of their lives. The Wreckers, a country band, sings a song called "Stand Still Look Pretty." In high school this was my anthem. I struggled deeply with depression. I cried myself to sleep probably every night. This person probably never would have thought that because I was an athlete, the Homecoming Queen and voted "Best Dressed" our senior year. This song says basically that you can't tell whats going on inside, my iron smile made it impossible for people to understand that just because I was an athlete and did my hair pretty and wore too much make-up didn't mean that my life was better. I guess the whole point of this is so that people know, any age, that you really cannot judge a book by it's cover. Maybe this person felt like I didn't care about them in High School, and that is terrible, I should have said Hi, I should have asked them how their day was going I should I have said something. I was young and stupid. I'm old enough now, and high school was long ago enough now to understand that we all have been through something different. Each person I went to High School with had a different high school experience. I hated high school. You couldn't pay me enough money to go back. But I guess I just wish that I could go back and hang out with those people who I didn't hang out with, and love the ones who have to this day never felt one ounce of love anywhere. It really grinds me gears to know that I missed my chance, I missed my chance to love and to allow Jesus to shine through my every word and action. That's what I'm here for. To love, to talk and listen, to sacrifice and serve. Gosh, why can't I just get that through my head.
My prayer tonight is that all of those people who I didn't smile at, or didn't talk to - all of the people who I didn't express any interest towards because my own bad decisions were consuming my life- I pray that they would feel love and that they would sense God's presence and desire for them. Gosh, I just want to be so real. Jesus knows us better than we know ourselves, take a minute today to tell the outcast around you that you like their shoes, or bring them a cup of coffee or something- just notice them. You never know who's life God will allow you to change for the kingdom.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Yesterday, God kind showed me in an indirect way how he was providing for me and he was in charge of my every step. About two months ago I was offered a new position at the school/company I work for in a different department than I was currently in. I accepted the position and have been enjoying it. The old position that I left, was eliminated as of yesterday. I would be out of a job right now. God was so gracious to me and protected me from that stress and chaos before it even happened. My heart was really heavy yesterday for my co-workers who had the bear that hard news, and I hope for them all the best. I have been quick to fear and doubt and this has shown me that God's will in my life is for good.
It was chilly in Austin yesterday! It made me feel like I was home, and it was fall. I wasn't home though, I was here in Austin. This past month I have been working really hard to live in Austin. God has planted me here. I need to bloom. I need to grow. I want to love it here. God why is it so far away from my family? I get scared that I will never live near them again and that all of my love for them doesn't matter any more- because it's my lot in life to live far. I don't care how many people do it or like to do it, I don't like it. I don't want to live overseas or across the country. If that is what God has for me- I will do it and I'm sure it will be great. My prayer is that at some point I will be in driving distance from my family again. I hope it's not a selfish prayer- that has all of the wrong intentions. I desire for my family to know Jesus and understand what it means to fear the Lord and desire eternity with him. I want to see it and be a part of it, not just hear about life through the phone. Sometimes Josh and I can't seem to see this in the same way. He will go anywhere. Live anywhere. Do anything. He has an adventurous soul. He wants to leave a footprint and touch the lives of many. I do too, but I still want to be able to hug my parents and hang out with my sister and bro. I know I worry too much about the future, it just seems so short sometimes. This- is why I struggle to bloom here. So this is my shot today, to wake up and smell the fresh 70 degree air outside- TRUST GOD and just be here, live here, grow here, bloom here- where God has planted me.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Last time I was here, Grant was hittin' the field for his 1st Varsity football game. That day came and went, and I was able to watch him play on Homecoming. Josh and I flew home October 7,8,9,10 and got to hang out with family all weekend. We spent time at his parents and a lot of time with my mom, abby, braylon and grant. Being home in Michigan for fall was awesome, the colors of the trees made me never want to leave, and the weather was enough to take my breath away. I could sit in my moms front yard all day and be perfectly content. I don't know what it is, but I find some kind of peace there. Watching Braylon play and the dogs lay in the yard, and just being on the front steps seems to feel really good. I know I won't be saying this when all of that snow comes, but I think I'll even miss that a little.
I have a devotional book that I read out of every night before I go to bed. It's called, Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman. If you are looking for a good one, I highly recommend this. It's awesome and every night I read it, God speaks to me and I find myself nodding my head. Unfortunately, I have really been struggling in my faith recently. The ups and downs of life have gotten me into a bad frame of mind, and God is allowing this time of struggle in my life. I shared a bit of my testimony with a small group of people at church this morning, and I was reminded of how much I have been through as a 22 year old. Not that much compared to probably most people in the world, but to me it was a lot. Looking back now, life is/should be good. For some reason though, now is when my faith is tested to the limit. Now is when doubt, fear, anxiety and bitterness have latched on and won't let go. The Word says that we will face trials of many kinds, we will be persecuted and pushed to the limit. I, in my head, thought that my limit had come and gone. How much more could I take? Moving to Austin was exciting, an adventure, and the next big thing in my life. My love was here, and I felt like God had more for me to do here than he did anywhere else.
Moving right along, the devotion I read tonight was delightful. I'm doubting God left and right, I'm finding myself in tears because I am literally just scared of everything and I am becoming frustrated, bitter and angry and I have no idea why. Clearly, I want this to stop. So, reading, listening, writing in my journal, counseling and constatnely praying for Gods voice, or presence or something- ANYTHING! Day by day I have just been learning perseverance and patients. So often, I don't feel better, I don't feel healed.
"We should never give ourselves the freedom to doubt God or his eternal love and faithfulness towards us in everything."
"Then as we stand firm, refusing to doubt, the Holy Spirit will come to your aid giving us the faith of God and crowing us with His victory."
Let us "count it all joy" when we cannot feel one emotion of happiness. Let us rejoice by faith, by resolution, by reckoning, and we shall surely find that God will make the reckoning real. --Selected
Thursday, August 26, 2010
I have a lot of mixed emotions and feelings about this. Since before I can remember, going to watch Grant play sports of any kind has been such a joy to me. I loved going with my parents to baseball or basketball tournaments, and I loved watching Grant play football- even when he was so young and such a baby!!! Through out college, I would go home every possible chance (every week) during football season to watch this kid play football. I was always, and still am, SO proud of him.
I have been trying to prepare myself for tomorrow for a long time. I don't think anyone really understands how bad I want to be there. Like- I would have done anything to be there. Why though, does God allow that to not happen? It doesn't seem like there is a very good reason for it- but there has to be. God is using this, or will use this to teach me something or grow a different part of me.
I'll probably cry tomorrow, like I did today and the day before, just thinking about all the games I have watched Grant play, and now.. his big Varsity debut... I miss. Geez- I sound pretty depressing don't I? It's very hard for me not to be there. "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understandings, in all of your ways acknowledge him and he will keep your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6. I need to do this. My faith is so weak and little. I know what is truth, but I struggle to live it. I know what is life, but I struggle to find it. I know where my help comes from... I just have to let it.
I know tomorrow night at 7pm when Grant marches out there on the field in Blue and Gold withe the rest of the Birch Run Panthers, a new era begins in his life. I did get the privilege to drop him off a football camp this last time I was home. I know it sounds crazy- and I'm not his mom- but it felt like I had just let one of my own go! I cried rather heavily as I drove away recounting all of the times I dropped him off to football practice every summer in years past.
My brother and sister are my best friends. There is not anything that has ever come between us. We have been through thick and thin, through the best of times and the worst of times and we are still standing. I am so thankful and so blessed to be called their sister- and I hope they know every day, no matter how far away from them I am- how deeply I love them.
I always wondered where I would be when Grant started playing Varsity football. I never thought I'd miss it. I never thought I'd be here. I never knew the day would come... but it's here!
Grant- #20! I'm so proud of you and I can't wait to see you play. I love you so much!
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
I was able to tour the school before work this morning because Wednesday's are days when I work from 11am -8pm. SICK. I hate working those hours. I seriously think I am going to go crazy when I'm there that late some time. One new development since the last blog post... I got a new job! Starting September 7, 2010 I will be a Financial Aid Officer for The Art Institute of Austin. I'm pretty excited about it. It's a new challenge, something to get my wheels turning again in my mind.
Tomorrow marks 8 months from the day I pulled out of my moms driveway and left for Texas. I can still see her, Braylon and Grant in the review mirrors. As hard as that is to think about, I know it was the right decision. I forget so often how the Lord brought me here. I forget that God is never going to bring me to a place and just leave me there. When I was at camp this last month, my cousin Kelly encouraged me to, " grow where you are planted." I have had a hard time forgetting that. God has planted me in Austin, Texas with Josh Rickard. We are surrounded by people who love us, care about us, and who would do anything for us. I feel so guilty because I have been so unfaithful in doubting that God has a plan for me, for my life and for my future with Josh and my family.
I have a busy weekend coming up, and a lot to look forward too. This weekend is jam packed with a night out downtown with Josh for a going away party :), working all day Saturday and catching up with a great mentor and friend Jenn, and then church and Chelsea's lingerie shower on Sunday [[which I am cooking all of the food for... YIKES]].
A week from tomorrow- Abby and Braylon fly in!! Wow- I can say that my level of excitement is through the roof. I am so excited to have them all to myself.
I'm so blessed, and my prayer is that I would not forget that. That we would all count our blessings and know that our life is to be lived for the Glory of God, and everything else will fall into place... it always does.
Friday, August 6, 2010
Of course, since I am in this wedding, I am home in Michigan again. Last week I was home for Simpson Park Camp for about 5 days. It was nice to be at my moms for a while and then to get to spend some time in Romeo, MI with the other half of the family. As you can imagine, 2 trips from Texas to Michigan in the last week have been a bit tiring. I love it though. I really needed this time to be with my family and be "home" for a while. Austin is becoming more and more like "my" home- but it will never be home. Coming to Birch Run and being around my family and just in the cool Michigan weather is a unmistakable feeling that nothing can replace. I feel as though for the first time in a long time, I enjoy being here. As I sit here and watch Grant playing video games in his room-- I am reminded again at how much time has passed. I feel like I'm 18 still- but then that would make him 10 and we all know that he is not 10. He is 5'8 and solid muscle weighing in at 130lbs- ON VARSITY FOOTBALL. My word- wasn't he just learning how to ride a bike in our front yard while I laid on the grass trying to figure out what the clouds looked like that day? More recently- it has scared me how quickly the time goes. For so long I "couldn't wait" for so many things. I am not at the point where I just want to slow it all down. If you know me, you know I would never say something like that. Every day though, I have to face the reality that life is going to keep going. Things are going to keep changing and I, as well as everyone around me, is going to keep getting older. It can be fun though-- I just have to let it be!
Tomorrow is the big day for Becky. Makes me wonder what it will feel like when it's my big day. Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves though- I think I'll just go finish my homework for now. ;) Pictures of Becky's wedding- to come!
Have a great weekend- whoever you are.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
If you read this- I hope you are encouraged. I feel as though many of my friends and family, myself included, are in the midst of troubled times. This verse has been my glue- the words, inspired by God, to hold me together. I'm often presented with the idea that we as human beings "can't do this anymore." Awesome, but not true. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" Philippians 4:13. You can't wake up another day, to face another hard miserable day? You can. The relationship that Christ wants to have with you is an intimate one. Every morning- ask God for his hand in the day. Knowing that we don't have to rely only on ourselves for anything is something hard to grasp. It's cool though, because if you let it happen and you trust in the word of the Lord, the hard times will still be there... but your holding the hand of Jesus this time- and you're ok.
Monday, July 12, 2010
It's a good thing that God see's us through our storms. Sometimes I forget. More recently I have just not been able to understand. With a lack of understanding comes a lack of control- and I really hate that. Who doesn't though, right? After living in Texas for about 6.5 months, I think God is totally making me new, and allowing me to see life from a different set of eyes. I've realized more in the last month or two than I have probably in my whole life. It's almost like I've had a mid-life/quarter life crisis and epiphany all at the same time. I'm at a place where God is doing awesome things, and performing miracles in my life daily- but I have felt to consumed with reality and fear to notice. I have been praying to God for help and for comfort, when all along I just had to believe. I think I was/am having a difficult time with that because I don't understand. Faith- believing in what you do not see- in what you do not understand. God did not ask me to understand. He asked me to have faith. Sometimes, I feel as though my fear and anxiety literally takes over my life. The point that it got to recently, really showed me how much I rely on myself and other people way to much- and I don't rely on God nearly enough. Talking with Mary last night, we both came to the conclusion that it was almost like God was saying, " You say that you believe in me and that you believe in what I can do- but do you really?" Ouch. I just moved out of my apartment that I was living in by myself, in with one of my close friends here in Austin, Mary. It has honestly been such a blessing, even in the 3 days i've been here. God knew that I needed to live with someone, and he provided a girl take over my lease within a matter of minutes of my asking. Amazing. The move was smooth, and although I am not unpacked, I feel great about being here. It is hard when you go from having 6 roommates to 0. Even in the storms, and the confusion, God has provided for me. Mary has said numerous times that the one thing getting her through lifes storm right now is the ways that "God has shown up- in big and small ways." She is dead on. As I am getting a bit older now, God is teaching me about myself and about who I am moving forward. God is teaching me who He really is- and although it's going to be beautiful- it's not easy. Psalm 121- I life my eyes to the hills- my help comes from the Lord.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Saturday, June 19, 2010
After spending too much money at the dress for less place, I made my way over to my friends house who was having people over for dinner. My heart was warm tonight as I left as well. Dinner was amazing, and the company was fantastic. I realized something as I sat around my friends dinner table, drinking a lovely cocktail and talking with two outstanding women about people, faith, Jesus and hardship. I realized that I like where I live. It has been a process of trying to figure out what I am feeling right now- but God really showed me tonight that friends, and community and laughter are the things that make life rich and full. Although in Michigan, I had all of those things, God wanted to give me more. He wants to always give us more. I was so blessed by the people at the house tonight. My friend who's house we were at is going through a divorce. Her house needed to be put back together and 3 couples who are dear friends to her all were there. They were there picking up the pieces, holding her hand, making her dinner, helping her laugh and loving on her like I've never seen. In that moment of seeing these people moving furniture, cooking dinner, fixing ceiling fans and keeping normalcy-- I felt at peace. It was almost like the Lord had said, "Emily it is okay to be here- I love you and I am keeping you." I've always struggled with guilt. I felt guilty for leaving my family, my friends, my HOUSE that i grew up in, my dogs... my hometown. Feeling guilty keeps us from being happy. Feeling guilty is not what God has laid out for us, and it's not how he wants us to live. I feel like I have been holding myself back from experiencing the emotion of joy and happiness for years now. Even though the Lord has and is continuing to bless me, I find myself not able to rejoice in fear of making other people feel bad because of where they are at in life. If we go through life, never rejoicing in what the Lord has done, no one will see what He can and will do. [[Lightbulb goes off]]. I love where I live, I love my boyfriend, I love these people that God surrounds me with wherever I go. It is only because of his love that I am where I am right at this moment.