Refiner’s Fire- A Poem
October 17, 2017
Refine me like gold.
Purify me until I shine like the Son.
Purge my heart of all that does not belong…all that doesn’t look like You.
Take me through the fire and consume me with Your love.
Refine me like gold.
Gold is a symbol of Your divine character.
When I am refined like gold,
I am shining with Your divine nature, Your glory.
Pure and spotless
Like Your Church
Like Your Bride.
You will return soon
coming on clouds with fire
Your Bride will meet You
And we will reign with You forever.
We must be refined individually
as members of Your Body,
Your Church, Your Bride first
before we shine as a whole.
So stir up a desire in all of us
to be pure
Refine us like gold.
Cleanse us with Your Blood
until we shine like You.
(written on 8/6/2012)
GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN- Movie Review
October 12, 2017
Like thousands of other children, I grew up within the wonder and awe of the magical world of Winnie the Pooh. From books to VHS tapes of the classic movies and cartoons to stuffed animals and t-shirts, Winnie the Pooh was just a staple in my childhood, just like it was for my mom when she was a little girl. So when I found I was pregnant several years ago, Winnie the Pooh was an obvious choice for the nursery theme.
And just like that, when my son was born, he was quickly introduced to “Pooh bear” and all of his friends in the 100 Acre Wood.
My little boy joined those thousands of other children who have been captivated by the classic stories of the adventures of Winnie the Pooh for nearly 90 years.
How can a children’s fictional character become so impactful and iconic for (literally) generations?
I think that question can be better answered by understanding how the stories of Winnie the Pooh came to be, and Fox Searchlight Pictures’ film GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN does just that by giving the viewer a glimpse into the life of the author of the Winnie the Pooh books, A.A. Milne, and the rest of his family, including his son, the real Christopher Robin.
I was selected to view a special online screening of the film recently and I can say that its presentation of the this true story moved me so deeply that it brought tears to my eyes.
As a writer and creative person myself, I understand that a piece of who you are is put into your masterpiece. A.A. Milne (played by Domhnall Gleeson in the film) not only put his heart and soul into his work as an author, but put his very own son’s life within the pages of the books of the adventures of Winnie the Pooh, as he observed Christopher Robin aka “Billy Moon” (played by the adorably, dimpled Will Tilston in the film) interact and play with his stuffed animals- creating his very own fantasy world with Winnie, Tigger, Kanga and Roo, Owl, Eeyore, and Piglet too.
Because A.A. Milne was already a successful London playwright, before writing the classic children’s tales and after he returned home from WWI, he was very well-off financially and was also married to an often spoiled and selfish woman (played by Margot Robbie) whose family seems to have also been very wealthy.
Talent and riches come with a price, and we see as the movie unfolds, that it had a devastating impact on poor little Billy Moon who was raised by a (precious and loving) nanny from birth into the early years of his life. With the instant fame of the Winnie the Pooh books, one would think Billy Moon would have everything a child could ever want, but as we see the demands of promoting the books and the further neglect from his parents, this little boy who thousands of children admired and adored, often felt utterly alone and just wanted to be shown genuine love from his parents. This longing for acceptance seems to follow Billy into his late teens and early 20s.
Like I said before, this film moved me to tears because there was such pain within the Milne family, such a juxtaposition to the sweet and happy stories of Winnie the Pooh. A man who brought such happiness during a time where nations were torn because of war and financial crisis, wrestled with his imperfections as a husband and father and was utterly haunted by his experiences in the war, causing a lot of mental anguish and delusion.
If you can endure the heaviness and disappointments (that seem to never let up) to the end, you will eventually find hope and a message that restoration and reconciliation are possible, even in the most seemingly impossible of circumstances. I like to hang onto that message of the movie because it reminds me of the goodness of God within our messy lives. He can take our ashes and make something beautiful out of it.
And in the case of Mr. A.A. Milne, decades later, we have the beauty of Winnie the Pooh, which is considered the most beloved children’s book of all time, that came from the ashes of his life at home that have brought joy to so many.
GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN opens in select theaters, tomorrow, October 13th.
Here is a beautiful clip from the film of the brief moments of A.A. Milne spending quality time with his son, Christopher Robin, as we see the beginnings of Winnie the Pooh coming to life:
The Man Who Invented Christmas- New Film Coming November 2017!
September 8, 2017
With summer fading away and the cooler temps breezing into the Midwest, I am getting extremely excited for the season ahead, enjoying Fall festivals and parties, Thanksgiving, and….
Of course, Christmas is one of my favorite holidays because it is when us Christians get to joyfully celebrate and remember when our Savior King left His throne, came down to earth, and became Emmanuel, God with us!
My family and I also enjoy all the rest of the typical Christmas traditions such as decorating a tree, gift giving, and tons of yummy food with family.
Another favorite thing we always do is pull out all of the wonderful Christmas movies and reminisce over all the past holiday seasons throughout the years.
Elf, Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Story, A Charlie Brown Christmas…the classics!
And I am thrilled to hear that another Christmas classic is hitting the Big Screen this November…A Christmas Carol!
Well, maybe not exactly another film adaptation of A Christmas Carol, but the story behind the creation of A Christmas Carol and it’s author, Charles Dickens’!
THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS is a delightful family film that will hit theaters on Friday, November 22 – just in time for this holiday season! Actor Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey, Beauty and the Beast) brings beloved author Charles Dickens to life as we follow the inspiration that helped him craft one of the most cherished novels of all time. Some of the others cast in the film include, Jonathan Pryce (Pirates of the Carribean, Miss Saigon) and screen legend Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music, A Beautiful Mind).
Watch the trailer below and mark your calendars for Friday, November 22nd! Another fun Christmas activity for the whole family to enjoy!
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. 🙂
Guest Post- 5 Bible Verses When You Feel Stressed
July 31, 2017
A few weeks ago, Marcus from Psysci.co, reached out to me and asked if he would be able to share some encouragement on emilyrosemassey.com for my readers, especially regarding his expertise in psychology. He decided to write a blog about 5 Bible verses when you are feeling stressed out. Please welcome Marcus!
Whether you consider yourself to be religious or not, Bible verses hold basic humanistic truths that apply to various situations. The following Bible verses are especially comforting in times of stress and remind us that being anxious and worrying about things will do nothing to put you in a better state mentally, physically or spiritually.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 4:6-7, ESV]
This verse is a constant reminder that the peace of God is freely accessible to everyone and can be so easily obtained through a simple prayer devoting your worries to God. To let your requests be made known to God through thanksgiving is a way to humble yourself and realize that God is bigger than any stressful situation that you might be going through. Keeping a gratitude journal is also a great exercise to help you reflect on the things in your life for which you are thankful.
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” [Psalm 55:22, ESV]
By casting your burden on the Lord, you are transferring anxiety, stress and worry from the shoulders of a mere mortal to the hand of God that can hold an infinite amount of burdens without beckoning under the weight.
“When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.” [Psalm 34:17-19, ESV]
The righteous are afflicted – this notion is not uncommon to the world in which we live. In fact, it forms the basis of every good versus evil battle that is represented in the movies we watch, the books we read, the conversations we have and even the relationships we form with those around us. Heartbreak, affliction, sadness, hurt and other stress-inducing emotions are impartial in the sense that everyone will experience these at some point throughout their lives. This Bible verse offers a glimmer of hope and the promise of the ultimate hero to save us when we are in distress, all through God’s great grace and mercy.
“Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” [Isaiah 40:30-31, ESV]
Often, a state of distress and worry will urge an unhealthy desire to intervene in situations out of our own strength with disastrous results. Patience is a virtue for a reason and by devoting time to praying and hearing God’s voice and His desire for you to be peaceful and achieve success in whatever you do, you are sure to be renewed in spirit. God’s divine intervention is on His perfect timing, not yours – distract yourself from stress by doing exercise, meditating or doing something that you enjoy and trust that God will bring you a new sense of calm.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” [Matthew 6:34, ESV]
This last Bible verse speaks directly to the crux of stressful situations. There will always be something to worry about but by worrying, you are not adding a single moment to your life – in fact, you’re doing the opposite! The articles found here, here and here detail the effects of stress and worry on both your physical and mental states of health. Focus on one thing at a time to avoid reaching a point of breakdown and take time in your day to address the problems that continually cause stress and anxiety. Be confident in your ability to overcome and remind yourself of these inspiring Bible verses whenever you are stressed.
About the Author: Marcus has a degree in psychology, a master’s degree in health psychology and has worked within the NHS as well as private organisations. Marcus started psysci a psychology and science blog in order to disseminate research into bitesize, meaningful and helpful resources.
A Wrinkle in Time: The Age Old Story of Good vs. Evil
July 18, 2017
Did you happen to read Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time” in grade-school? I don’t remember too many details of the book, but I do remember it impacting my little heart now decades ago.
And if you haven’t heard the news yet, Disney’s movie adaptation will be released in Spring 2018 and the teaser trailer has already been creating a buzz online. The stellar cast (Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, and Mindy Kaling to name a few), awe-inspring special effects, and vividly colorful costumes and make-up definitely drew me into the promo clip and got me excited for the release of the retelling of this children’s classic.
Although the book is not considered a Christian piece, L’Engle, who actually used to teach Sunday school at her church and wrote a devotional on grace later on in her life, wove Christian truths throughout the book. There are actually many scriptures quoted throughout the novel as well as mention of Jesus being a “great warrior of light.” Ultimately, this book is about the powerful force of good over evil and love triumphing in the end, a message believers proclaim and live by.
“What if we are here for a reason? What if we are apart of something truly divine?”
A Wrinkle In Time opens in US theatres March 9, 2018.
Catch the teaser trailer below:
Guest Post- The Connection Between Insomnia And Depression
July 5, 2017
Sarah from sleepydeep.com reached out to me a few weeks ago asking if she would be able to submit a guest blog post for emilyrosemassey.com regarding sleeping problems and depression. Since I have experiences with these issues and have shared a lot on my blog how insomnia and depression has affected my life, I was extremely excited to have Sarah share! Please welcome Sarah!
The Connection Between Insomnia And Depression
We all have had sleepless nights. We’ve all had dips in our emotional state. Insomnia and depression are different from your run of the mill all-nighter or post break up blues. They are actual psychological disorders. You may have heard that a symptom of depression is sleeping a lot, and you heard that correctly. But did you realize that there is actually a correlation between insomnia and depression?
Insomnia is a serious sleep disorder that negatively affects your life. WebMD defines insomnia as: “a sleep disorder that is characterized by difficulty falling and/or staying asleep.” A study performed by the University of North Texas on the Epidemiology of insomnia, depression, and anxiety found that people with insomnia are 10x more likely to develop depression.
When you have insomnia, you might feel tired but are unable to settle down and go to sleep. Trying to sleep when you want to, but can’t, can be mind-numbingly frustrating. I personally believe it’s best to just get out of bed and do something else. You aren’t doing yourself any favors by lying in bed in the dark anyway. You might as well get up and drink some tea or read an uplifting book. Try to do a relaxing activity to get your mind off how badly you need to rest before you have to get up early the next morning.
The Vicious Cycle of Insomnia and Depression
Insomnia and depression can become a vicious cycle that is hard to break out of; each causing the effects of the other to worsen. To say that a lack of sleep can have negative effects on your mood is barely scratching the surface. Not to mention that when you have a mood disorder such as depression, this in turn, can have a negative effects on your natural sleeping rhythm.
Feeling down for a prolonged period of time can have detrimental effects on all of your daily activities. An unfortunate symptom of depression causes us to have racing negative thoughts. These are bombarding us constantly at night while we’re trying to lay down and fall asleep. Even though we’re exhausted this can severely inhibit our sleeping patterns.
Racing Thoughts Make For An Uncomfortable Bed
I know that when I went through a bout of depression a few years ago, I began to procrastinate going to bed at night. I dreaded the thought of being trapped alone with these racing thoughts in the dark quiet of my room. I would distract myself with television or play games and surf the web on my tablet before bed. The blue light emitted from these devices causes your brain to halt the process of producing melatonin, the hormone that tells your mind and body it is time to sleep.
Poor Sleep = Poor Performance
Insomnia may cause you to sleep late and miss out on the morning time; which can be a great time of day to sit in quiet meditation or a quick morning workout to get your endorphins pumping. It’s hard to feel good about yourself if you don’t get out of bed until 12 noon every day. If you are waking up too late and missing work or your appointments, this can add to the list of frustrations and grievances you have with yourself, contributing to this self-sabotaging cycle of insomnia and depression.
REM Sleep Promotes Optimal Mental Health
At night, we go through different stages of sleep, it has become common knowledge that when we dream, we are in our deepest stage of REM sleep (rapid eye movement). Anecdotally, it is believed that dreaming can help our subconscious mind deal with our daily reality, helping us to sort through some of our depression without us having to do anything at all, but simply go to sleep.
In a research study on Depression and sleep: pathophysiology and treatment, doctors found that REM sleep helps to increase your brain’s functional release of serotonin and other “feel-good” hormones. Anti-depressants are thought to work by inhibiting your brain’s serotonin reuptake receptors. So, if you can regulate your serotonin levels by getting quality deep sleep, then all the better, right?
This Too, Shall Pass
Although both depression and insomnia are serious disorders of the mind, it is helpful to note that it won’t last forever. However you choose to deal with your depression, make sure you have someone to talk to. Even if it’s just a supportive internet forum, sharing your thoughts and feelings in a safe environment makes a huge difference. If this advice seems cliché that is because clichés, like sarcasm, have a ring of truth to them.
Disclaimer – I am not saying that if you cure your insomnia, your symptoms of depression will automatically be cured. Please make sure you always talk with your physician and therapist about new decisions, and never stop taking your medication without speaking to your doctor first.
Have you ever battled with depression or insomnia? Did you ever correlate the two together or did you, like me, believe these were separate entities? Do you think that this information will help you to manage your emotional state going forward, making high quality rest a priority?
Red Nose Day: An Opportunity to Lend to the Lord
May 23, 2017
One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord,
And He will repay him for his [l]good deed (Proverbs 19:17, NASB).
Like I talked about in my last post, Red Nose Day is quickly approaching! This campaign is such a great opportunity as believers to support a cause that is so near to the Lord’s heart, as we find in Proverbs 19, being gracious and lending a hand to the poor and needy, not for our name’s sake but for His.
The organization behind Red Nose Day is Comic Relief Inc. Although Comic Relief is not a faith-based organization, plenty of faith-based and Christian organizations are partnering with them, longing to do their part to see child poverty erased. Comic Relief’s strategy to make this goal a reality is to provide grants to organizations that keep children healthy, safe and educated in the USA and around the world such as Save the Children, Boys & Girls Club, and Children’s Health Fund.
I had the privilege of chatting with Comic Relief’s Vice President of Grants and Philanthropy in the United States, Rick Scott, last week. I was able to hear a little more about his journey with the organization, which started in the UK over 20 years ago, and his mission to see Red Nose Day expand in the US.
Since Red Nose Day launched in the US in 2015, they have seen growth in the involvement and awareness by at least 60%. In Comic Relief Inc.’s first two years in the United States, they have raised over $60 million. Globally, Red Nose Day has raised over $1 billion since its launch in the UK in 1988! I love seeing that kind of money put to a great cause such as helping children!
Between the funds of the red noses that you can purchase at Walgreens or Duane Reade and the donations and grants of organizations, Comic Relief is seeing more and more people, both regular Joe’s and major influential people such as Bill Gates, join the cause behind Red Nose Day.
One of the reasons I believe Comic Relief’s clever idea behind Red Nose Day is catching momentum around the world is the mere fact that comedy is a universal language. Everyone smiles and laughs, no matter what age you are, what part of the world you are from, or how much money you have in your pocket.
“When you put on a red nose, you get a reaction (a laugh) and people want to know more,” Scott said.
You put on this red nose, the walls come down, and we can now start a conversation about the heartbeat behind “the nose,” helping children trapped in poverty.
And since we are all created in the image of God, I don’t think many can escape the great tug on your heart when you see someone in need, especially a child.
So will you join me in bringing awareness- whether that is promoting this great organization so that those who are able to give, find the perfect place for their money, or if you don’t have thousands of dollars at your disposal that you are able to donate, consider at least buying a red nose at your local Walgreens or Duaine Reade?
Consider it a loan to the Lord. It will not go unnoticed to Him.
And most importantly, don’t forget to tune in on Thursday May 25 at 8/7c for a night of Red Nose Day — only on NBC.