The Importance of Marriage: Reflecting God’s Love to the World
September 25, 2014
“I’m asking you to pray with me that God would awaken love in our marriages, so that this world would awaken to God’s love.”
– Pastor Kyle Idleman
This prayer request is the heartbeat behind the new film The Song, which is inspired by the life of King Solomon and the Biblical book, The Song of Solomon. Kyle Idleman is not only a best-selling author and a teaching pastor of the fourth largest church in America, but the executive producer of this upcoming Christian film which opens tomorrow, September 26th throughout theaters in America.
Idleman says, “The Song film is a great date night movie that will point you to God who has the power to awaken love in your relationship.”
As I began to read more about the film and listen to some of the songs featured in the movie (which are based on scripture found in the Bible), my heart became so stirred and excited to hear that the powerful message found in the Song of Solomon, and many other books of the Bible, will be released to a world in such desperate need of God’s amazing love. The creators of this film may or may not realize that this timeless story goes so much deeper than the importance of a strong and healthy marriage relationship between a man and a woman, but sheds light on the kind of relationship that Jesus wants to have with His Church.
The Song of Solomon has been a book of the Bible that many Christians have avoided because of its poetic nature and seemingly sexual terminology. I know this because I was one of those Christians. I remember the first time I opened my Teen Study Bible to its pages and saw the words “You are tall like a palm tree and your breasts are like its fruit. I will climb that palm tree and grab ahold of its fruit” (Song of Solomon 7:7-8a paraphrased). Of course, at 16 years old, giggles ensued after reading it.
That was stamped on my mind for many years and I didn’t open up that book again until I was 26 years old. The Lord put it on my heart to enroll in a ten-week in-depth study of this mysterious book that I basically brushed aside and ignored for ten years.
Over the course of those ten weeks, my relationship with the Lord went to a completely different level. I saw God’s love for me in an entirely new light- casting down wrong ideology that I had embraced for many years living in performance-driven Christianity. Each verse in those short eight chapters were jam-packed with so much deep meaning, especially the intensity of how much God loves me and how He sees me when I stand in my position in Christ. I may feel dark and like a failure, but God sees me as lovely when I stand in Christ and in the shadow of the Cross (Song of Solomon 1:5).
Embracing the work of the Cross, opened my eyes to the depth of God’s love for me. John 3:16 wasn’t just a children’s church verse that I had memorized, but it became reality to me.
God loves me.
So much so, that He gave His only Son’s life for me to live with Him in eternity.
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13, NKJV).
Receiving this kind of love from what Jesus did for you, laying down His life for you, will change the way you love others, including your spouse. The charge that the apostle Paul gives us in Ephesians 5:22-33 as husbands and wives is not difficult when we fully understand and embrace Christ’s sacrificial love for us.
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself, for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband” (NKJV).
We are able to love because God loved us first, but we cannot give away what we do not choose to receive.
I have to ask, is this why our marriages here in America are falling apart?
I know the answer is “yes” for those who have not accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, but what about His Church?
There is much debate regarding the actual percentage of divorce in the Church vs. the world, so I will not cite any findings or studies because frankly, the numbers aren’t the sole issue. The sole issue is that Christian marriages ARE falling apart and divorce IS tearing apart Christian homes. I personally know many believers whose lives have been impacted by the tragedy of divorce. Too often, you hear the husband and/or wife that is contemplating ending their marriage whether it be through separation, divorce, or even adultery say, “I just don’t love them anymore.”
How does that happen?
I believe when we take God out of any environment, situation, or relationship, we take love with it because God is Love (1 John 4:8). Marriage here on earth is God’s way of showing us how much Jesus loves His Church and how much The Father loves the world. The love shown between a husband and wife is a direct reflection of God’s love for them that John 3:16 teaches us about.
Are we as believers truly accepting that love? Is it penetrating the very depths of our soul or is it just head knowledge?
Are we embracing God’s limitless, unconditional love above all other pleasures and relationships of this life, truly allowing it to flow through our limited, conditional human heart?
These are questions that I pray people begin to ask themselves, especially after seeing The Song. I also pray that this film ignites a fiery passion in marriages shining so bright with Christ’s love so that through them the world will fully receive God’s all-consuming love.
After all, that’s the only true love that even exists.
How I Met My Hubs, Our First Date, and A New Romantic Movie for You to Go See!
January 12, 2018
Last year, while shopping for a wedding gift, I found the cutest piece of decor for my home that helped remind me where our little (growing) family began.
I couldn’t help myself, I just really NEEDED it in our home.
Well, maybe not “needed…”
…but you get my point!
“Every love story is beautiful, but ours is my favorite.”
Every time that I see those words in our living room, surrounded by photos of my husband and I and our little boy (and pretty soon, photos our second bundle of joy), I can’t help but get overwhelmed by how blessed I am to have such a beautiful love story that continues to unfold in such a sweet and precious way.
But where did our love story begin?
Well, in the summer of 2008, I attended a church service for the first time in three years at a church my mom had found out about through their TV ministry. It was a pivotal moment for me in my walk with the Lord (that’s another story for another time…), and I absolutely fell into love with people there. Within a couple months, I started to make some new friends. One of my new friends who worked for the church introduced me to a young man name Paul. She and Paul both were raised in that church and grew up together. In the Fall, they had tons of events for young adults and families to attend and my family took advantage of them and made great memories. One in particular was a bonfire and hayride at a local pumpkin patch where Paul and I had our first conversation. Little did I know, he called the church earlier that day to find out if me or my family signed up to attend the event because he wanted a chance to spend some time getting to know me.
Later that weekend after the church service ended, he approached me and my mom.
“A few of us were going to the movies after the hay-ride the other night and no one had your number to see if you wanted to go,” he nervously told me. “So um…um…”
“Would you like it?” I asked with a smirk.
“Uh…yeah. That’d be great.”
I handed him my business card with my head-shot on the front. Emily Rose Mollet- Actress. Singer. Dancer. I was so full of myself and had serious identity
problems, but the Lord was working on me, as I slowly let Him. Paul thanked me and told me to have a good night. I looked at my mom and squealed.
Later that week, I volunteered to chaperone for a field trip with the youth group and was paired up with Paul. (I’m pretty sure he had somehow arranged that) We didn’t do a good job chaperoning because we spent the entire night talking to each other and ignored the rest of the group. He asked me to go out to dinner with him that weekend so we could get to know each other better.
That first date lasted over ten hours!
It was obvious there was a connection between us. He had an amazing sense of humor, and I could tell that he had a huge heart for God and His Kingdom. At about one in the morning, he dropped me off at my car. We hugged good-night and said we would see each other in the morning at church. He took me out to lunch after the service the next day, and we spent the entire afternoon talking and getting to know each other even more. We sat in his car talking about the sermon, and I shared my heart with him about where I was before I came back to the Lord.
He had a completely different experience than me because all he knew was the house of God and being in fellowship with the Lord. I discovered that the very same ministry he had served in since he was seven years old was the one God used to bring me to him. He had served in the TV department at the church running cameras and assistant-producing the program that my mom would watch on Sunday mornings. I was beginning to see God’s hand in this whole story even though it had just begun. At one moment our eyes locked and he reached for my hand.
“I have something to ask you,” he said.
“Yes…?” I respond with my heart beating faster.
“Everyone else in your life has always stolen kisses from you, and I wanted to ask
you for one this time. Emily, can I kiss you?” he gently asked me.
I nodded my head, and he leaned in and kissed me. I had kissed so many men at this point I my life, but this one could not ever be compared to any of them at all. It will forever be marked on my heart and mind. I was completely smitten by this boy (yes, he was a boy at only 18 years old, actually 8 months younger than my little brother! haha). After the evening service that night at church, he began introducing me to his family and friends. He couldn’t stop smiling because his friends had been telling him that he had absolutely no chance with me because he was so much younger than me. He by no means behaved like any 18-year-old I knew, so I didn’t even notice the age difference.
Later that night, he took me to the park by the church, and we sat on a bench with his arm around me. I laid my head on his shoulder and looked up at the stars,wondering how someone like me, someone with such a dark and messy past, could possibly end up with someone like him. We walked to the car with our arms around each other; I fit perfectly under his arm.
Paul looked at me and said, “I’ve never felt this way about anyone before.”
“Me either. This is different. I know we haven’t known each other that long, but I want to be with you for the rest of my life.”
“Me too. Emily, I want to grow old with you.”
That night there was no doubt in either of our minds or hearts that we were supposed to get married. We just trusted God would work out all of the details, and we would follow His leading.
And in October of this year, we will have been walking hand in hand, following God’s leading, for ten years together! It’s been a beautiful story to watch unfold, with God as the author of it all!
Our love story is, of course, my favorite, but like my little sign in my living room reminds me, every love story is absolutely beautiful!
That’s why I am thrilled for the release of the upcoming romantic film, Forever My Girl, that tells of another beautiful love story.
This new film will begin showing in theaters on January 19th…just in time for Valentine’s Day too!
Synopsis: Forever My Girl tells the story of music super-star Liam Page (Alex Roe) who left his bride, Josie (Jessica Rothe), at the altar choosing fame and fortune instead. However, Liam never got over Josie, his one true love, nor did he ever forget his Southern roots in the small community where he was born and raised. When he unexpectedly returns to his hometown for the funeral of his high school best friend, Liam is suddenly faced with the consequences of all that he left behind. Forever My Girl is an uplifting romantic film about second chances.
Watch the trailer below:
Not only does the story line draw me in, but the music soundtrack includes some of country music’s favorites such as CMA New Artist of the Year nominee Lauren Alaina, and Travis Tritt!
Be sure to make plans with your gal pals or your honey next weekend to go see this movie! I’m sure it will be a beautifully sweet one!
Expecting: What will be birthed through me in 2018?
January 5, 2018
January 4th, 2018.
4 days into the new year. How’s 2018 going so far for you?
For me, it seems like I am finally finding time to write down goals/dreams and be still to listen with more clarity to what God wants to do in and through me this year.
Some people use the end of the year to reflect upon the past year and look forward to what is ahead when the clock strikes midnight on December 31st.
I’d like to say that I had ample time to do some mega reflecting, soul searching, and waiting on the Lord for direction and vision for 2018 at the end of December, but like so many other people because of the rush of the holiday season, my life was pretty full, frantic, and fast-paced for much of the month of December.
Aside from birthday celebrations, my wedding anniversary, Christmas, and New Years, (and oh yeah, GROWING A HUMAN!), December truly was just the culmination of much hard work for probably 6 months, especially regarding completing tons of writing deadlines, serving on a team at the Gateway House of Prayer as a singer, and one specific Kingdom assignment- writing, producing, and directing a Christmas production for my church! Although that assignment is now complete, I know there is still much Kingdom work to do that God is calling me to!
All of this was a huge change of pace for me, considering I was in a “season of rest” and “pressing pause” on many responsibilities for like…um…2.5 years!
Instead of merely reflecting on 2017, God really has been highlighting a period of time where He had to intervene before the train completely derailed, and I ended up in a padded room somewhere.
No, instead of focusing on 2017, I feel like I need to reflect and give God glory for this last extended season of the soul because I am truly no longer the same woman.
I sit here and also reflect upon the fact that I am about to give birth to my second child within the next month, after months and months of growth and development of a life inside of me, experiencing a change in my appetite and a major change in the way I walk.
Just like my second baby boy that is about to be born soon, I believe God is going to “birth” something through me this year that has taken more preparation, growth, and change in me than a mere 40 weeks, I can tell you that much…how about a spiritual pregnancy that has probably lasted over 3 years!
Ironically enough, all of this preparation, growth, and change in appetite and change in my walk started when my son was born, on October 11th, 2014- the day I became a mom.
Because I thought that I could go on with “life as usual,” I was seriously shaken by the fact that life would never be the same, that I would never be the same.
Things that I thought I had overcome reared its ugly head and began taunting me.
Rejection. Depression. Anxiety. Fits of anger and rage.
Just a few months into motherhood, I heard God whisper that I needed to learn how to “just be,” but it was so completely foreign to me that I just kept trying to run full speed ahead (especially regarding the many leadership hats I wore at my church, my writing ministry, and the release and promotion of my book in 2015- radio and TV interviews and networking with ministry leaders filling up my schedule and my focus). I was seriously running on fumes from utter stress and mega sleep deprivation (because my son refused to sleep until I was holding him or laying next to him), and then trying to get high off of the fumes from my accomplishments and productivity, thinking that (and coffee) would fix everything.
It all caught up to me, and I started to severely struggle in my physical and mental health in ways that I never had before.
More anxiety. More depression. More panic attacks. Weird physical symptoms like restless leg syndrome, insomnia, chronic ulcers in my mouth, and eventually an irregular cycle that would lead to a chemical pregnancy later on.
I felt like the air was being sucked from my lungs.
I felt so completely broken, but I would have no choice but to continue to stand on the promise that God would bring restoration to my life!
Little did I know that I wouldn’t see that promise start to come to fruition for another 2 years…in 2017!
Within that span of time, God told us to sell our house and move back to the county, step down from ALL leadership at our church home of 4.5 years and transition us and prepare our hearts into searching for a new church home (which all sadly came with much wounds from rejection and abandonment from ministry friends- but praise be to God for healing this area of our hearts over time), all while completely deconstructing every single Christian ideology/theology Paul and I stood upon in our marriage. We truly learned (and are continuing to learn) why we believed what we believed for the first time in either of our lives, immersing ourselves in the scriptures for ourselves and not clinging to what our upbringing, our pastor, or TV preacher told us was truth.
We became like the Bereans discussed in Acts 17:
The brothers[b] immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so (10-11, ESV).
In January 2016, after months of wrestling with all of these changes and realizing many doors were going to stay closed for me for a long time, I finally embraced the call the “just be” and rest. I finally surrendered to God as He stripped me of any title that I tried to find my identity in.
So much happened in me from January 2016 into Spring 2017. I learned how to simply be “Beloved” and “Daughter,” and learned how to find my rest in God alone.
It was from that place of rest that I would eventually find healing and restoration- physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually- truly learning how to become a vessel for God’s glory- spirit, soul, and body.
That process did not come without resistance and struggle though, and there would be countless opportunities to become discouraged, as we began dealing with Isaiah’s nightly wakings again- every night, 3-5 times a night for almost six months, all while I was trying to serve on a night-watch prayer team for two 10 week terms back to back, and hold down a part-time retail job in customer service at the height of the holiday season. Yep, all of that will definitely try your faith!
But we held onto HOPE the best we could!
Eventually, we experienced such great breakthrough with Isaiah’s sleep because of our church community’s willingness to stand with us in intense prayer…for that I will be forever thankful!
Then on Resurrection Sunday 2017, I realized God had been so faithful to bring restoration and resurrection life in so many areas of my life. That morning, one of my pastors approached me during soundcheck on my first Sunday leading worship at our new church home (after not standing in that role for a year and a half by that point) and told me that the Lord had put me on his heart recently during prayer and kept hearing the word “restoration.”
“Does that mean anything to you?” he asked.
Yes, yes it did! He was restoring my joy again, just like He promised!
And the restoration continued throughout 2017:
- Where we had issues conceiving, I found out I was pregnant shortly after Mother’s Day. Timely… 🙂
- God restored my writing and teaching ministry- countless articles written, reaching and encouraging readers from all over the globe that email me constantly, more networking connections made and freelance job opportunities, and being able to continue to lead a group of precious women through the Bible at Diane’s House (Teen Challenge St. Louis).
- God restored and breathed new life into my creative outlets with singing at the House of Prayer here in St. Louis and brought theater back into my life with the assignment of writing and directing the Christmas production.
- God restored the assignment of testifying for Him and sharing more about my book with my church community where my book is given out to visitors for free! More reached for Christ!
- God restored and strengthened relationship after relationship, bringing genuine friendship into my life, as we learned how to encourage and pray for each other in our struggles and trials. I have some of the closest relationships with godly women in my life right now- it seriously overwhelms me with so much JOY to even think about it! An answer to a prayer that I have believed and ask for MANY YEARS!
- God restored and strengthened my marriage on such a deep level as we survived the first 3 years as parents and learned how to always fight to hang onto loving and forgiving each other, no matter how difficult it may get. I don’t know where I would be without the support of my best friend who works so incredibly hard for our family (yay for TWO promotions in ONE YEAR!). Super huuuuuuuuubbbbbssss!!
- God even restored and is restoring relationships within my family that I thought would be impossible to ever see reconciliation.
For over 2 years, all I knew to do was to keep breathing, even though I had to fight for air so many times.
But God gave me my breathe back. The air is back in my lungs, and I can run without growing weary because of how He has taught me to wait and rest upon Him (Isaiah 40: 28-31), one of the hardest lessons I have had to learn to date, let me tell you!
So what does all of this mean for me for 2018? What is going to be birthed through me this year?
Well aside from another baby boy, obviously, I don’t know exactly what will all transpire this year, but I can tell you that I am expectant!
The Lord has already been giving me specific instructions as to what He wants me to focus on this year as He strengthens me and gives me courage to face all that is ahead in this new year and new season (STRENGTH and COURAGE being my words for 2018).
I feel like since 2017 gave me the breath back in my lungs, I have gained the momentum to hit the ground running into 2018. I’m starting this year in wholeness, not brokenness.
Some of you had a really difficult 2017, experiencing so many trials, storms, disappointments, and setbacks. Feeling broken and bruised, your faith really took a beating.
That wasn’t really the case for me this last year.
I don’t share that to rub it in your face, beloved. My faith has definitely taken a beating in the past, and I have experienced those times of trials and storms and disappointments just like what I shared with you in this blog post and through so many other blog posts I have written over the last three years on this journey to restoration.
Those storms, trials, and setbacks are not the end of your story, my friends! Just like they were not the end of mine!
Hope is on the way! Joy is on the way! Peace that passes all understanding is on the way! No matter what, God has good in store for you! Don’t give up, don’t give in! He’s going to turn it all around…just wait and see! He is so incredibly faithful!
I pray that this year, I will be able to continue to lead and encourage many more people as the Lord infuses me with His strength and courage! I want to help you get your breath back so I can see you run alongside of me and help others on their journey to complete wholeness, as we learn to give God all the glory with every fiber of our being!
Blessings to you in this new year! Expect your miracle…expect your breakthrough…expect restoration and healing! Expect, expect, expect!
Forever My Girl-New Film Releasing in January 2018!
November 8, 2017
I don’t know about you, but I am a total sucker for romantic movies, and when they have music interwoven in them, they are even better! And maybe it’s just my small town, southern Illinois roots, but I have a sweet spot for country music love songs. That’s why I am extremely excited about an upcoming film called FOREVER MY GIRL that is coming to theaters about a month before Valentine’s Day 2018!
Not only does the story line draw me in, but the music soundtrack includes some of country music’s favorites such as CMA New Artist of the Year nominee Lauren Alaina, Travis Tritt, and Alex Roe who stars in the film as country star “Liam Page.”
FOREVER MY GIRL tells the story of country music super-star Liam Page (Alex Roe) who left his bride, Josie (Jessica Rothe), at the altar choosing fame and fortune instead. However, Liam never got over Josie, his one true love, nor did he ever forget his Southern roots in the small community where he was born and raised. When he unexpectedly returns to his hometown for the funeral of his high school best friend, Liam is suddenly faced with the consequences of all that he left behind. -From Roadside Attractions
FOREVER MY GIRL releases in theaters on January 19, 2018, so be sure to mark your calendars and make it a girls’ night out or a date night!
Watch the trailer below!
Destroying Mis-Identifications, Finding True Identity, and Understanding Purpose: Part 1
August 15, 2017
I woke up this morning with an overwhelming desire to write, to share something on my heart. I haven’t had that desire in awhile, and quite frankly, I haven’t had a lot of other desires besides eating and sleeping.
Growing a human will kind of do that to ya…
…oh yeah, I don’t think I officially announced that on my blog yet, have I?
Oh well, I will just blame that on pregnancy/mom brain! Trust me, it’s a VERY real thing!
Anyway back in April, before I got pregnant, I had a stirring within my spirit believing that the winds of change were blowing upon my circumstances and that God would be bringing restoration to many areas of my life and resurrecting joy within me. In fact, it seemed as if that season was already upon me, or at least I had hoped it was.
But somewhere between May and August, that hope seemed to fizzle and fade. Perhaps it was the unexpected struggles of mega morning sickness (that wasn’t just bound to morning, but morning, noon, and night and everywhere in between) that seemed to last FOOORRRRRRREEEEEEVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEEERRRRR.
Yes, I’m pretty sure that has been my TKO (Total Knock Out- and now I am having flashbacks of playing Mortal Kombat on Playstation with my brother…hahaha) over these last few months. Since I didn’t really deal with the constant exhaustion, nausea, and vomiting with my last pregnancy, it was difficult to focus on much of anything else besides breathing, eating, and trying not to upchuck what I just ate. I was just praying that there would be an end in sight because I did not feel like myself whatsoever. Three months of feeling like junk definitely gave me a lot of more sympathy for those who suffer from chronic pain and illness. It’s definitely a challenge to hold onto your joy in the midst of issues in your body.
But thankfully the end has finally come; I have made it into the glorious second trimester and those miserable symptoms have faded! Hallelujah to the Lamb!
And although I have had my days here and there with the fun of raising a growing toddler (yay for potty-training and constipation!), I am beginning to gain more clarity and focus regarding what God has for me in this next season, especially the short time I have left before baby #2 comes and keeping another tiny human alive (and my sanity) becomes my central focus once again. 🙂
Okay, enough of the Emily-update and onto what I believe the Lord has put on my heart to share with you all today! Thanks to all of you who have stayed with me thus far! 😉
Since I have been sensing my season of rest coming to an end and hearing the Lord’s beckoning to come run with Him in ministry once again, I have been asking Him on and off these last few months for more clarity regarding my purpose and destiny. Now having finally grasped the fact that a huge part of my purpose on this earth has much to do with my role as a mom and raising my children in the admonition of the Lord, I also believe God has placed gifts within me that reach beyond just my very own family, although I completely understand that my family is my primary ministry, right after my marriage, of course.
Through dreams and times of prayer, God has been (slowly) unveiling more and more of my purpose to me.
One of the questions I have had though is “why does it feel like it has taken so long for me to have solid understanding of my purpose, Lord?”
I believe I got an answer to that this morning…
…I needed to understand my identity FIRST.
And like much of what God does in our hearts, understanding my identity has been a process- a process on the Great Potter’s wheel.
- Before I could even fully understand my identity and who I am in Christ, I had to first acknowledge my mis-identification and ask the Lord to help me dismantle it. When I wrote about this process back in December 2016, I finally admitted that I wasn’t sure who I was apart from doing, accomplishing, productivity, or even using my gifts for Him:
Although I would have told you straight to your face that my identity is not in what I do, I don’t know if I whole-heartedly believed that.
And that is why I think the Lord has had to strip me down where I do none of those things, with absolutely no opportunities in sight to even attempt them, or having very little desire or passion left in me to attempt doing any of those things at all and not much grace to accomplish them.
Looking back, I realize God began talking to me about learning how to just be and detach my worth from all the doing shortly after giving birth to Isaiah. I wrestled with God for many, many months, asking Him why I felt so stuck. It took me two years to finally yield to the hands of the Potter and give him every label and title I have ever held onto and see Him smash them to smithereens with is mallet, y’all. That’s a long time to wrestle with God, but thankfully, as He always does, He won that match!
- Once God stripped me of all of those wrong labels that I was trying to identify myself with by completely removing me from activities, ministry positions, and even removing certain desires and passions, I entered a time of formlessness.
This is usually the time on the Potter’s wheel where your world is spinning and nothing is familiar, not even yourself, because His hands are forming a masterpiece that only the Creator could create.
Who am I? becomes a question you ask a lot. God was teaching me to be still and know that He is God, even though I had no idea what He was doing. Telling a do-er to be still and rest was one of the hardest lessons I have ever tried to receive and live out.
Suddenly doors that were open, were now shut to me. I lost interest and passion in things that used to bring me such enjoyment (I know now that this was only for but a season as God worked on my heart). Leadership roles and responsibilities were now gone, and because of issues with Isaiah’s sleeping for many, many months, I could no longer write because of the lack of mental clarity and focus.
Even in the midst of motherhood, it felt like I was doing a whole lot of nothing.
There were times that I felt like I had lost myself.
But through the process of losing myself, just like Jesus tells us, I found myself all over again.
He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it (Matthew 10:39, NKJV).
In the moment of formlessness, I had to learn how to take my eyes off of the life that was familiar and the life I used to identifying with, and fix my gaze upon the Potter and see His hands gently, yet firmly and securely holding me, believing that He was molding me more and more into the likeness of His Son, and I would find the life I was meant to live, all for His glory. No matter what, even if I didn’t fully understand everything that was going on, I had to trust God and trust that the process was for my good. God had good in store for me.
In my next blog, I will discuss the next steps that the Potter took as I discovered what it truly means to be IN CHRIST, how that helped me learn to simply be God’s daughter, and how that revelation is leading me into further understanding my purpose.
Until next time, friends. 🙂
Here Comes the Sun
March 28, 2017
I have decided to say “No!” to depression. Not to sound too…well, depressing, but since December, I have felt its noose slowly begin to tighten around my neck, and I was passively allowing it.
I believe it was a combination of the effects of stress and bad eating choices, winter blues, extended sleep deprivation, and just lies bombarding me from the enemy. I was also in the midst of working Christmas retail chaos for the first time in my life, so I guess you could say I was a tad overwhelmed and a little disappointed with the lack of creative outlet in my life.
But the clouds are parting and I’m beginning to experience the sun again!
I have felt in my spirit for quite some time that I am approaching transition into new territory. Like I wrote in my last post, I have been holding onto that hope with all of my might. I have been in survival mode for far too long, and I am ready for my life to thrive again. And not just for me but for the sake of those God has entrusted to me and who He is now sending my way.
The Bible verse that has been on my heart lately comes from Isaiah 60:1:
For your light has come!
And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you (NKJV).
This verse is displayed in my son’s room because it is one of my favorites found in the book of Isaiah.
What it says to me is that there is an action required for me to see the glory of the Lord rise upon me and that is I MUST ARISE! I can’t just sit there passively and let the devil continue to beat me up with his stinkin’ lies! I must rise up! I must stand up and most importantly, stand upon God’s truth and promises!
*Edit 4/4/2017- Shortly after I wrote the words above, a decision was unexpectedly made for me regarding my current evening schedule. God pretty much closed a door for me in an area of my life that was causing strife, stress, and strain in my marriage. Ha! How about that alliteration for ya?!
What seemed like something the Lord had asked me to do for quite some time, turned out to be a very short season for me in the end. Eight months later (8 symbolizes “new beginnings” in the Bible), I’m finding myself facing another “new beginning” in my life. Suddenly all this unnecessary weight I was carrying has been lifted off of my shoulders, and even though I could sense God’s grace carrying me through this last season, I still feel lighter in some way.
And now that my physical circumstances have rearranged to help alleviate stress and tension, I know that I still must hold onto hope and stand upon God’s truth because the enemy isn’t going to stop his dumb tactics to steal my peace and joy. This new change will require trusting God in a greater way regarding our physical needs because it has taken some of the control out of our hands and we have no choice but to trust that God will provide no matter what.
I just love how God cares about all aspects of our life instead of just our spiritual health. He will move on our behalf so that we can experience the life Jesus died for us to have. The more we look to Him to fulfill and satisfy, the more we discover how great a Father He is to us. He never disappoints!
Even if you can’t see it, He is working behind the scenes always. Even if you don’t feel the sunshine just yet, know that the clouds are going to part. Hold on! Stand up! Trust and believe!
Holding Onto Hope
March 17, 2017
“Hold onto hope!” were some of the last few words I wrote in my journal as I reflected over my current circumstances.
I had no idea how much the word “hope” would become even more tangible to me as it has bubbled up inside of me these last few weeks while Paul and I have been discussing our future.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).
Now, I understand that many Bible scholars and Bible thumpers HATE when people quote this particular verse to apply it towards any given circumstance in life. Many agree that it is widely taken out of context.
I understand that the Lord is talking to Israel through His prophet Jeremiah in this passage, and I also understand that the Israelites would have to endure seventy years of captivity in Babylon before they began to see God’s promise of a great future come to pass.
But does that mean that God’s plans towards us are not good or that we should not remain hopeful of a glorious future ahead?
Of course not!
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28, NKJV).
God’s character has not changed and He loves us just as He loves His chosen people, Israel.
Yet, we definitely need to remember that our definition of good and God’s definition of good could be two completely different things and those plans could possibly involve some suffering and challenges on our way to that glorious future.
And the Lord knows Paul and I have endured some of those challenges and suffering over the last few years that have tested our faith and shaken our hope in the Lord’s promises to us, especially as it concerns our desire for debt freedom- a dream we have had since very early on in our marriage, which has always been accompanied by very limited time together from all of the jobs we have had to take on to see that dream become a reality.
Although those difficult and sometimes painful experiences seem to have loomed over our heads these last two years, they have most definitely become more intensified these last six months or so.
Our son Isaiah has always seemed to have sleeping issues since he was born, but in late September until early February, he was waking up every single night (no exaggeration), multiple times, into the early morning hours. This just so happened to be around the same time I started my new part-time job in retail where for almost three months (well over 20 hours a week) I wouldn’t get home until close to one o’clock in the morning (thanks to those lovely extended holiday hours). All I wanted to do was sleep during the day, and I dreaded having to do it all over again that night, not to mention hating all the time I was missing out on with my family and friends on the weekends as well.
I didn’t know how quickly this would all catch up to me- my health definitely took a turn for the worse, which was difficult for me to experience since I was in the best shape of my life after working out for an entire year straight, eating clean, and taking supplements. But in December, I began experiencing severe bloating, fatigue, and issues with my menstrual cycle that culminated in a chemical pregnancy, which is a type of early miscarriage, because my hormones were extremely imbalanced from all of the added stress. I was having panic attacks in the middle of the night and arguments increased between Paul and I because of the sleep deprivation and utter exhaustion from dealing with a child who would inconsolably scream for hours through the night. Did I mention we live in an apartment complex? I’m sure our neighbors just adore us. 🙂
But thanks be to God…and to friends who have been praying for us continually!
We have seen great improvement in Isaiah’s sleep and in my health this last month! I have had no choice but to hold onto hope. I have had no choice but to fight to hold onto my peace and joy and to fight for my marriage.
I’ve held onto it all with a death-grip, really.
I refuse to sink. I refuse to let the enemy win because frankly, he’s a loser and has already lost the battle.
My Jesus has already won the war!
I know this sounds kinda cheesy, but it has such a deep truth:
I don’t know what my future holds, but I know Who holds my future.
God does.I will hold onto the hope that God is holding onto me. Click To Tweet
Whatever you are facing today, know that God is holding you. He’s got this and He’s not going to let you down. His thoughts and ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9) and His plans are greater than you could ever ask, think, or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
HOLD ONTO HOPE IN JESUS TODAY, FRIEND! He is your anchor and won’t let you sink!
I’m holding on to hope
I’m holding on to grace
I’m fully letting go
I’m surrendered to Your ways
The anchor for my soul
Father You will never change
I love You, I love You
–From “Anchor” by Bethel Music
Casting Down Lies
August 30, 2016
A few months ago, my eyes were opened to the stark reality that I was struggling with an area of my past.
I found myself getting easily offended and constantly upset from discussions with my husband to people that I didn’t even know on Facebook.
I would make great assumptions and I began to believe lies of how others were perceiving me.
I finally felt lead to call the spade a spade…
…it was the spirit of rejection.
I began reading Joyce Meyer’s book, The Root of Rejection, which I was able to take home a copy while I worked at the ministry, not having any idea how much the topic would affect me later. I then created a group on Facebook called “Rejecting Rejection” to take others through the book as well as offer a safe space for others to share their struggles and stories. A couple months later, I was even asked to discuss this nasty spirit on a Christian radio show with a dear friend of mine as the host.
You would think that after months of searching and meditating on the truth of my acceptance in Christ and uncovering the lies of the enemy’s old trickery with the spirit of rejection I wouldn’t fall prey any longer.
It continues to be a battle, yet I realize that healing and deliverance from this spirit is a partnership and most definitely, a process. Thankfully, I am not alone in this fight.
One thing for sure is that the Lord fights for me and the Holy Spirit guides me into all truth, illuminating and highlighting lies that I was believing that are rooted in rejection.
Lies that were spoken over me.
Lies that I told myself based on others’ actions.
These lies became strongholds in my life created by the spirit of rejection.
The Holy Spirit has been revealing these strongholds and it has been my job to cast them down.
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled (2 Corinthians 10:4-6, NKJV).
One way that I have been pulling down these strongholds is acknowledging the lie, repenting for believing the lie, and receiving God’s truth and love, not only with my mind, but receiving it fully with my heart.
I had a mighty encounter with God’s love a few weeks ago when my husband and I were praying. He whispered in my ear, “Nothing you could ever do would make me stop loving you.”
I broke down crying and I know that the lie that I had to hide my bad decisions and sin was broken off of me. My husband’s words pierced right through my heart, and I felt God’s love envelope me in that moment.
I believed that if I made wrong choices or mistakes that I had to hide them for fear of disappointment from others, including God. The lie I believed was that I would be rejected if my sin or wrong-doing was discovered. Therefore, I chose to either keep silent or tell a lie myself to keep my secret hidden so that I wouldn’t be a disappointment.
That lifestyle was keeping me from being fully transparent and honest with my husband and most importantly, with God. I believe this is why 1 John 1 reminds us of the importance of confessing our sin:
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us (1 John 1:8-10, NKJV).
Hiding our sin causes us to hide from God, very similarly to Adam and Eve when the first sin entered the world- they felt shameful and shame made them feel rejected. Because of Jesus and the finished work of the Cross, we are forever made righteous in our position as we stand before the Father and are forever forgiven, yet when we sin, it causes our fellowship with God to be hindered, and then we can very easily stray from Him. God’s love toward me never changes when I sin, yet I may still experience consequences and correction for my disobedience. Repentance, as a believer, is for our benefit to keep fellowship with our Father open and unhindered.
Although Paul was the one who spoke those words of love and acceptance over me, I received them as if God Himself said them to me.
And it turns out He did say it to me in His Word through the Apostle Paul:
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8: 38-39, NKJV).
The next lie that the Holy Spirit revealed to me that was keeping me from total freedom from the spirit of rejection was that I was “too much.”
There are two instances in my life that are still very vivid in my mind where I was told I was “too much.”
You think too much. You talk too much. You are just too much, Emily! I just can’t do this anymore.
Both situations were from break-ups from young men who I had given my heart and body to. Because I had tied so much of my self-worth to how others accepted me and loved me, this crushed me completely. This caused me to become a people pleas-er, and I did whatever I needed to do to get people to accept me.
I approached all relationships terrified that I would be told I was “too much.” I was always hesitant to fully be myself around others and when I felt like I was being “too much,” I would constantly apologize for my “too much”-ness. If I became over-zealous in a new relationship, I just knew they were going to reject me. I struggled with that mindset in my marriage for a long time and God helped me tremendously in that area to let go and be myself around Paul. One of his favorite things about me is that I am passionate.
Oh my, that was a whole different story! If it wasn’t because of my fear of being “too much,” it was my fear that the relationship would only be temporary because so many of my friends (and even some family members) had moved away and our communication became scarce because of the distance. That fear created a hesitancy to even become vulnerable around others enough to let them in to build a relationship with them. If they were going to leave me anyway what was the point of even trying? I thought constantly.
Needless to say, I have always had difficulty with friendships. That difficulty caused a breeding ground for the spirit of rejection to continue to thrive.
I’m calling out that lie that I am “too much” and casting it down! I refuse to apologize for how God created me. I also refuse to live in fear that all of my friendships will be temporary and trust that God’s timing is perfect. He knows who needs to be in my life and for how long. If the relationship is only supposed to be seasonal, then I appreciate the time spent together, memories made, and lessons learned, but I will not become co-dependent upon others to validate me or make me feel accepted or like I belong.
Only Jesus can do that and I should never expect anyone else to fulfill that.
But like I said, healing from rejection is a process. Thankfully, God hasn’t given up on me!
He won’t give up on you either! If you find yourself struggling with the fear of rejection, do not hesitate to reach out to me. I believe there is power in numbers and that if God has brought us through something, it is now our job to help others with their struggles. Contact me if you would like to be added to my “Rejecting Rejection” Facebook group! You will be in great company!
Spiritual Unity: Studying the Bible with Your Spouse
July 26, 2016
I have been a Christian for almost fifteen years and my husband has been a Christian for over twenty years. In December, we will have been married for seven years.
Throughout the many years of wedded bliss, I have always longed for the days when Paul and I would enjoy deep times of Bible study and prayer. Although we don’t pray together as often as I would like to, we still do pray together about important issues that rise up in our marriage and we both find it important to cover our son in prayer consistently.
One thing that we never really ever took the time to cultivate in our marriage is studying God’s Word together.
Sure, we listen to sermons together and discuss scripture, and maybe even read our own Bibles while laying next to each other in bed, but we have never had a Bible study together as a married couple.
Until last night.
I don’t know why it took us so long to actually sit down and do it. I could make a list of reasons why I think we just didn’t have the time to and some of them would be really logical reasons, but they would be excuses nonetheless.
Instead of wondering why we waited to enjoy this beautiful area of marriage, I’m going to be so utterly grateful that we have started the journey together.
I could sense the Father’s pleasure as He looked down upon us last night as we read scripture that truly seemed as fresh as it did the first time we laid our eyes on the words on the pages of the Holy Book.
It must have been such a wonderful sight- two of His children who have been made one through the beauty of marriage longing to seek Truth together and their eyes becoming illuminated with revelation straight from heaven!
I guess I tell you all of this, not to make it sound like we are perfect or have it all together, but to encourage you to fight for this absolutely amazing honor within your marriage! I can almost guarantee that the enemy does not want you to read the Bible with your spouse. He will throw every distraction and obstacle your way so that you never make this a priority in your life together as a couple.
It is so utterly important for you to seek God’s Word on your own spiritual journey for yourself, but how much more crucial is it to see your spiritual health be strengthened as a couple since you and your spouse have been unified as one:
But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’[a] 7 ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh’; [b] so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate (Mark 10:6-9, NKJV).
Knowing that you and your spouse has been made a team in this life, reading and studying the scriptures is also like spiritually preparing and exercising for those moments when the devil will inevitably send attacks your way. Instead of the enemy trying to advance towards you individually, trying to find weakness if your armor, he won’t be able to withstand two children of God with two swords of the Spirit ready to cut down his lies! You both have the Word of Truth sown into your hearts because you have taken the time to meditate and discuss out loud so you’ve gained wisdom and understanding of God’s great and precious promises. The devil doesn’t stand a chance against you both! And with Jesus in the middle of your marriage, he is severely out-numbered!
I know life can get busy and if you have children, there never seems to be enough hours in the day! But I urge you, make the time to study God’s Word together! I’m so excited to see what God is going to do in my marriage now that Paul and I have decided to incorporate this into our life together. Just like the day we said “I do,” the spiritual union we are continue to build seeking God’s Truth will be a beautiful reminder to Him that His children say “yes” to a life pursuing Him together every single day!
Father, I lift up marriages to You today, asking that You would give these precious men and women a fresh hunger for seeking Your truth- both individually and as a couple. If they have never tried studying the Bible together, I pray they start today. Reveal to them just how incredible the experience of gaining wisdom and understanding of Your Word really is and how much it will strengthen their walk with You as a couple. I pray marriages will become divorce-proof and will stand so mighty against the fiery darts of the enemy! In Jesus’ name, Amen!
When God Changes Your Desires
June 21, 2016
I’ve been through this before.
The Great Potter placing me on His miraculously transforming wheel.
Life as I know it, spinning all around me, causing blurred vision.
Why am I experiencing confusion? I have asked myself several times.
If God was working in my life, this shouldn’t cause confusion or make me feel anxious for loss of control.
For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints (1 Corinthians 14:33 NKJV).
Then today it hit me.
If I would just take my eyes off of my surroundings and what was going on all around me, and fix my gaze upon the Potter and see His hands gently, yet firmly and securely holding me, my vision would not be blurry or cause anxiety, but become clear again. I will receive clarity.
And His peace comes.When I fix my eyes upon the Lord, His peace comes. Every single time. Click To Tweet
Because of this lack of clarity, I haven’t been able to write. I guess I was experiencing writer’s block and didn’t want to address it.
I just assumed that I didn’t have time because my focus was on other things, good things, helpful things, productive things, but things the enemy was using as a tool to distract nonetheless.
Distraction from my writing. Distraction from my marriage and son. And most importantly, distraction from my time with the Lord.
I have heard Him speak, and have continued to keep up with my Bible reading, but my ear has not been pressed to His heart or leaned in to hear every soft whisper.
When you are anointed of the Lord and you know that you are called and most definitely, chosen, you can’t go on living like that for very long without feeling like something is missing.
It didn’t take long for me to notice that God was working in my heart even if I wasn’t asking Him to at the moment.
I’ve prayed many times before for Him to mold me, to change me from the inside out, and to use me for His glory as His vessel to flow through.
Disclaimer: If you are going to pray a bold prayer like that, you better be prepared for God to answer you whenever He wants to and however often He wants to!
Certain hobbies, passions, and interests just don’t seem as interesting anymore. I can’t explain to you why that is except that God is changing my desires.
I don’t really know how it happens, but I do believe it happens when our eyes start to stray from the Lord and become fixated and overly concerned with other people, activities, places.
If you are a child of God, He will let you know when you have lifted up your soul to an idol.
You can of course ignore that nudge or heart check, but I would much rather be by God’s side than off alone on my own!
For me, that nudge came from simple convictions during discussion times at my church community group and during Sundays’ sermons. God uses His Word and other people to get messages to us.
He used both to really drive home the point that my priorities were seriously out of order and that I was dangerously close to worshiping other passions instead of Him.
Sometimes if you still can’t put Him first, He will close doors or He will begin to change your heart towards that particular potential idol in your life. Apparently I didn’t do a great job seeking Him first after the initial conviction to re-order things so that’s exactly what the Lord did in my life and heart.
Now here I am again. Standing still and asking God what really has to go and what I should continue to pursue all for His glory.
Ask and you shall know. Seek and you shall find.
He has sent people my way to get me back on track to my true calling, as a solider in the army of God and a daughter in His Kingdom. I haven’t stopped longing to give God glory in all that I say and do, but I believe I have started to pursue an inferior purpose.
Sometimes it’s easier to pursue “callings” that you are able to control the outcome, but that doesn’t take much faith or trust in God. For me, I need to stay as far away from those pursuits as possible, even if they make me feel accomplished and comfortable. As a struggling control freak and recovering perfectionist, I can become my worst enemy in this case.
When God calls you to do something for Him, it requires faith and trusting in Him to see it unfold in your life. This means there are a lot of unknowns and surrender of your control. There is no fast-track formula to success when you are following God’s plan for your life.You have to have faith in God. You have that trust that He knows what He is doing. Click To Tweet
Instead of allowing the fear of rejection and the feeling of inadequacy to hold me back, I’m staring at that calling and trusting God to make a way for me to walk it out. I’m completely relying on HIS ability and strength.
I do the possible and He does the impossible, and there will be so much grace to accompany me in the process.
If my dream or calling can be accomplished in my own ability, it probably isn’t a dream God is calling me to pursue for His glory, but my own.
And that is how I can test myself to see if I am walking in God’s will or not.
I want God’s grace by humbly declaring my weakness more than the pride I receive from my accomplishments in my own strength.
And that is how I know God has been changing my desires.
Thank you for joining me on this journey as I chase God’s dream that He has for me to do. One heart check after the other.
I’m a work in progress and I’m thankful I’m not the one doing all the work!
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2: 10 NKJV).