Emily Shares…….

how to PIONEER CHANGE today!

Category: Change Challenge (page 1 of 2)

Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.

Swami Sivananda

Change Challenge: The one that got away…

Do you remember the one that got away? Stop and write down whatever came to mind when you read those words…”The one that got away…” Really. Do it. Don’t just think it, ink it as my mentor always says.

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Did you write down a name of a person, a house you always wanted, a job opportunity you were afraid to take, a dream of opening your own business, a ticket to travel the world, following your calling or passions? What is that one thing you feel like slipped away from you?

Now reflect on this. Why? Why did it slip away?

Was it a decision you made? Was it because of fear? Was it a lack of faith? Was it someone else’s opinion influencing you? Was it because you weren’t being true to yourself?  Why did this person, opportunity or dream slip away?

Now we can’t change the past but we can take hold of the present by learning and growing from our past and the good news is its not too late! We CAN change our direction!

How?

  1. Identify the one thing that got away…now there may be more than one but let’s start with one.
  2. Identify the why.
  3. What 3 actions can you take to bring that person, opportunity, dream back into your life?

Ok here is the challenge. Which of those 3 things can you do in the next 24 hours? Make the call, book the flight, hire a coach…I don’t know what it is for you, but I am here to encourage you and help you advance into action!

 

Comment below with your next action step! If there is one thing I have learned is accountability is power!

 

The best way to empower others is to empower yourself,

Emily

 

 

Alive and Active

It’s the day before my 34th birthday and if I’m completely honest I write from a “stuck” place. So my hope in this blog is to get “unstuck” through my favorite outlet of external processing. Lately I’ve been feeling like a lion stuck in a cage, but don’t let me fool you this is a cage I have put on myself. The cage has been built with a thick layer of self sabotage and its time to break the walls down. It is time. Enough is enough.

Lately my questions has been full of “why?” “Why God?” “Why me?” “But why now?” “Why this?” In fact I sound like a two-year old who drives their mom crazy by asking, “why,” “why,” but “why,” “why,”….moms you get me. These “whys” have nothing to do with anything traumatic or bad though, they have everything to do with using my gift of faith to follow hard after Him so He will be glorified. You might ask your own “why,” sounding like “Why is that so hard? That sounds awesome!” ” Wish I heard from God that way.” Make no mistake, the gift I have been given is miraculous, wonderful and undeserving and I’m ashamed to admit that more often than not I self sabotage it, in fear of a lot of things.  Forgetting that it is impossible to fear at the same time as being grateful.  So that is exactly what I am going to do.  The fight between fear and truth is just that, a fight.   Welcome to the arena. I’m glad you came!

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Fear says: Your faith and love for God is dangerous and risky. It is not safe.

Truth says: Your right. Your faith and love for Me IS dangerous and risky. It is not safe. This is why I will be glorified through it. Keep trusting.

“My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. ” Proverbs 3: 1-5

Fear says: The gifts you have been given are going to break up your family as you know it.

Truth says: You are right. The gifts you have been given are going to break up your family as you know it because I LOVE you too much to leave you this way. Use your gifts. Reach as many as you can.

“Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” Genesis 28:14

Fear says: What you are hearing from God makes you look foolish to others.

Truth says. You are right. To those who do not know My voice you do look foolish. Keep listening.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

Fear says: People aren’t going to follow you because you didn’t go to bible college.

Truth says: Your right. People aren’t going to follow you because you didn’t go to bible college, people are going to follow you because you are a living witness to MY grace and mercy. You were once lost and now found. You were once Saul and now Paul. You fail and get back up. You turn to me.

“And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.” Acts 14:27

Fear says: You can’t do all that you have vision for.

Truth says: Your right. YOU can’t, but I can.

“But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”” Matthew 19:26

 Fear says: It’s going to take a lot of work and energy and will be exhausting to you and your family.
Truth says: Your right. It is going to take a lot of work and energy and will be exhausting to you and your family but in ME you will find rest.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11: 28-30
“Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest. In plowing time and in harvest you shall rest.” Exodus 34:21

“For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.” Jeremiah 31:25

You see TRUTH always wins. “For the word of God is alive and active.” Hebrews 4:12.

The same power that defeated death lives right inside each one of us. It is up to us to accept it, receive it and DO something with it! If your ready to fight the good fight with me, let me know.

Unstuck,

Emily

 

 

 

Seeing beauty in the broken.

My daughter Brinlee taught me a very important lesson this past week while on vacation in Cape San Blas, Florida. The lesson? There is so much beauty, excitement and wonder in the broken. The statement that our children teach us far more than we teach them is so true and that is exactly what Brinlee taught me once again. Every other year thanks to my mom and step dad we travel to Cape San Blas for a week of family, fun and BEACH. They rent us a house that holds all 23 of us for the week and our only responsibility is to get ourselves down there and back home safely…(this part was the miracle for the whole trip). Well we made it back to our home safely so sorry to ruin it for you but now you know how it ends. This blog  is not to tell you about our wonderful vacation in the fun and the sun but IS for my husband on Father’s day.

The world is a very different place through the eyes of our children who are 22, 4, 2 (almost 3) and 1.5 than it is for us and I strive more and more to see it like they do. While walking on the beach the first night on the pan handle Brinlee goes running to a large broken shell. “Look mommy an angel wing!” She runs to the next one. “Mom, another angel wing, and another!” “Mommy, there were a lot of angels here today!” As she collected “angel wing, after angel wing” I watched her excitement grow. We put them all in a bucket so we could bring them back to the beach house..she had a plan. In this moment I was amazed and it hit me. She sees beauty in the broken. I praised God that very moment for the lesson He was teaching me through my daughter that night on the beach and the lesson that would hold me together through the next 8 days.

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My mom is an artist and has been her whole life. She is a writer, a dreamer, a visionary and incredible. She shows my girls the beauty in the little things and is the one who taught by girls to paint shells. When Brinlee found the “angel wing” she knew exactly what she would do with it. She was going to paint it…and not only was she going to paint one ,she was going to paint every angel wing she found and give to someone she loves. I think she painted at least 50 over the week! Brian, she has so much of you inside of her. She is thoughtful, loving and meaningful in her gifts and see God’s work in the small things. This is so you and for that I am thankful. This activity also gave us a 30 minute break from the constant demands of having 3 children under the age of 4 without screaming, yelling, fighting, slapping, pinching, peeing, pooping, eating or crying and for that I am very thankful as well!

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Brian, this shell represents where our relationship currently is in this journey. It is colorful…there are days when we see every shade of life in front of us and when up close it feels very cloudy but when you take a step back and look you can see the beauty. It is strong because it is made by the hands of God. Our relationship was hand picked by Him because He saw the beauty in the broken. When I remember where we were when God brought us together I am in awe of what He has created. It has another half that makes it whole. It is tossed about in the waves and the storms and eventually is brought to shore to rest. You always told me that God can make the best out of the worst and that is exactly what He has done over the last 8 years, though we may have been broken separately we were made one through Him. Today I am thankful to be the one who was chosen to be your wife. Never has there been a man (besides God) who was strong enough to love me the way that you do.  In every way I have grown over the last 8 years there is a part of you. You are in my words, in my actions, in my dreams and visions, in my patience, in my generosity, and most importantly in my love.

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This life we have been incredibly blessed with is not always easy. This past week as proved that, but I am thankful that I have you by my side for the 24 hour car rides, the marker drawing, tantrum throwing, 100 “I need a snack” saying, no napping, smart mouthing days. Without a doubt you are stronger than you think you are and others see it. God gives us those people in our lives who come up to us just when we think we can’t do it anymore to say things like, “you must be a saint” or “you are the most patient person I know” or “I hear you have an extraordinary wife”…..sorry had to throw that one in there because it’s just too good…and yes people that really happened today lol! Our life is not perfect and at times feels very broken in the chaos but never forget that God knows exactly what He is doing and is taking the broken pieces and is making them into something so beautiful. I have already begun to see it!

 
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One of my favorite things to do is walk into the unknown with you. Right now I feel like our toes are at the edge of the water and we are about to jump in. I look at the last time we jumped two feet in and moved to Yorkville to start YPAC and am amazed by the many blessings we received because of it. I look at the day we stopped everything to spend an entire day in prayer together and am amazed at what we saw and are still seeing and learning because of that day. We are now at a place again where it is time to jump and trust in God’s plan. Whatever will come from it I know it will challenge us, it will stretch us and it will grow us in ways we can not see but isn’t that the fun of jumping in?

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Thank you for being the most beautiful father to our four kids. Thank you for loving me in a way no other man can and seeing the beauty in the broken but most of all thank you for showing me what loving God looks like and becoming more and more like Jesus everyday.  I am so blessed to be your wife!

I don’t have a card, or a fancy dinner, or anything really relaxing for you today, but I have words, me and three crazy post vacation children. Words are your love language so I hope this helps fill your tank!

Happy Father’s Day sweetheart! I love you,

Em

8 Thanksgivings a story of hope.

Last night I sat on the couch and watched my husband dance with our 2 daughters and our son play on the floor and immediately the last 8 thanksgivings flashed before my eyes. I am not sure why 8 but it was definitely 8.  I share this for a multitude of reasons but mainly for anyone hurting this Thanksgiving, I know first hand it is not easy watching everyone around share their thankfulness when inside you are hurting but if I can give you anything it is this, the struggle you are in today is developing the strength you will use to inspire others.

2006: 6 days prior to Thanksgiving I admitted myself into Linden Oaks for an 11 year struggle with an eating disorder. I was tired, lonely, afraid and ready to break down the wall of perfectionism that I and I alone had worked day in and day out to build. Each day I would wake up and begin two full time jobs at the same time. My real job using the gifts God had given me and then my self-proclaimed “carpentry” job with a specialty in building false appearances. My life was a lot like the set designs you see on tv or movies. On the outside they look strong and sturdy built with a strong foundation, but get up real close and look behind the door and you will find there isn’t much behind it and it is a facade of sorts. Yep.  That is where I was when I walked through the sliding glass doors, I remember the chill in the air, the smell of the lobby, hugging and kissing my mom and husband at the time goodbye unsure of when I would be able to see them again and wondering what lie ahead of me.  After an intense week of impatient care, I was released on “black wednesday” and able to spend thanksgiving with my family. I was both thankful and anxious at the same time. The mixed emotions consumed me and I remember feeling guilty that I wasn’t more thankful at the time.  Looking back, I reflect  with a thankfulness that far over compensates for the lack of thankfulness I had on that day 8 years ago. I am thankful for the men and women who tirelessly and selflessly serve the E.D. unit at Linden Oaks and Edwards Medical Center, I am thankful for my support system and my family during this very tough realization and exposure in our lives, I am thankful for the dear friend that I met who is still in my life today and I am thankful that each day I have a God who tells me I am enough. Just the way He made me.

2007: Just one year had past but a lot of life. I think that will be a part of my eulogy one day. She lived about 10 years of life in each year of her life. Thanksgiving 2007 brings hope. I smile as I type remembering the night. Thanksgiving night 2007 I told my friend that I had fallen in love with him and our friendship had become so much more to me. We sat and talked on my couch in front of a fire place talking and sharing our feelings and wonders on whether or not  we should allow ourselves to feel what we felt. We had both just come out of broken marriages and honestly the odds were completely against us. Each time we questioned if we should give it more time we came back to the same thing and that was that we enjoyed each others company and just felt as though it was worth it. For us, 2007 was a roller coaster  filled with new beginnings, healing, hope and love. I am thankful God put this man smack in my face and made him so wonderfully. It takes a very special person willing to stand up for love against all odds and 2007 thanksgiving changed my life.

2008: Just one year later I married my friend in our home with our immediate family on Thanksgiving weekend.  I know everyone thought we were crazy and I admit we were but we always had an underlying belief and faith that God brought us together for amazing things. We celebrated and laughed and enjoyed each and every minute with our friends that evening and look back each year on our anniversary with beautiful memories and stories. We can bring it to life as if it were yesterday and that is a gift I am thankful for.

2009: Black Wednesday, I hit rock bottom. I fell off a bar stool, flat on my face, drunk while Brian was singing on stage. This is me being transparent. It is not easy for me to tell this story and admit that at times I have tried to forget it even happened. Leading up to this day we had spent a full year going through in vitro. We went through 2 rounds of shots and hormones only to have the cycle cancelled at time of transfer. We wanted to try again. Third round was great. We got past the point of cancellation and were scheduled for the transfer. Everything was going going great! We had 2 beautiful embryos and a hope that filled our hearts. We were going to be parents and we couldn’t wait to spend our anniversary dreaming of our life as parents of twins. Monday of that week we found out that we lost both babies. I’m not sure I had ever experienced a pain like that before. I instantly went in to a state of depression and instead of allowing myself to feel the pain and process the pain, I took on the old role of “carpenter” and instantly built the wall of “I’m fine.” Well in the coming days that wall would be torn down. I wasn’t fine. I masked the pain with liquor and ended up hitting the wall so hard in broke into a million pieces..in front of hundreds of people. Rock bottom. I realized that God was the only person who would heal my heart and if it was in His will for us to have children, He would provide. I laid it all at His feet, my brokenness, my hopes, my fears, my desires, my selfish wants…everything. I laid it down.  I am thankful for grace and mercy, Lord knew I needed it. We all need it.

2010: I am 36 weeks pregnant and contracting like crazy. Our miracle Brinlee is about to make her debut into the world. God blessed us with the news that we were pregnant on Easter Sunday 2010. We were in complete shock as we had been told that we would most likely never get pregnant naturally. She was a gift and a reminder that God is in control and the giver of life. Little did we know that in exactly one week Brinlee would be here. She was born December 2, 2010 on a Thursday afternoon at 3:32 pm.  A beautiful thanksgiving full of warmth, excitement, love. I was very big and uncomfortable but I didn’t mind. In just one year, God had turned my life upside down and I was humbled. I had given my life to Him and he had given life to me. I could never be more thankful.

2011: I am 5 weeks pregnant. Yes, I couldn’t make this up. Brinlee is 11 months old and we are a month pregnant with our new baby. I am exhausted and overwhelmed but thankful.  Haven was a gift for listening to God’s calling and following. Just 2 days earlier I had met with our pastor  John to tell him where God was leading us and that we felt called to Yorkville to start a performing arts center. He had been praying for God to grow us in generosity during a series called the ladder and felt as if God said that the arts center would be the instrument through which we would be generous. This thanksgiving was filled with sharing the vision we had been giving with our immediate family and asking for prayer. This would involve a lot of transition for our family and we knew prayer was a necessity.

2012: Is a bit of a whirlwind for me. I now have an almost 2 year old and a 4.5 month old in a new house with 6 acres of land that is covered in leaves. What I do know is that we are blessed. We are surrounded by a new community of friends from our Church who love on us each and every day. The best part of this thanksgiving though is we had our Nikki home with us and she was able to meet Haven for the very first time. I am overwhelmed by the love and blessings and know we are on the right path to something so great.

2013: I am 4.5 months pregnant. I know, I know, I know what you are thinking. We are 4.5 months pregnant with an almost 3 year old, a 1.5 year old and a new business that is almost 3 months old! We are preparing to light our 60 ft christmas tree in front of our home for our first annual Light the Tree Festival for YPAC (Yorkville Performing Arts Center). Yes we followed God’s will and built the center. It has been a thanksgiving full of thanks and praise, community and celebration.

2014: Today. I am sharing my struggle from the past eight years because that struggle developed the strength I have today to share it with you and hopefully inspire you to turn your adversities into your victories.. I think a lot of people assume that I have always had my act together and the truth is just the opposite. Today, I am thankful for YOU. Yes, you. The one who took the time to read this, the one who shares in my trials and my triumphs, the one who recognizes a little bit of your story in mine. As, we go about our day whether we are at the height of happiness or the depths of darkness, remember you are loved. Your journey and your story is purposeful. Don’t be afraid to share it. If you find yourself feeling down, give it its time and then be thankful for it knowing it is part of your story. What are you thankful for?  Please share with me!

Sharing with you in hopes you will share with others,

Emily

 

 

Check your Filter

Check Your FilterFilter. What comes to mind for you? An air filter in your furnace or car, a water filter, a coffee filter (if your like me you depend on these), the filter through which an idea enters your brain and comes out your mouth? There are a million different filters we could encounter in our lifetime. My question to you is what happens when you do not maintain this filter? I’ll tell you, it gets dirty, clouded, clogged and eventually breaks down its machine. Those of you who know me and know my writing style know where I am going with this one.

Over this past week, on several occasions I have praised God for the gift of communication. Let me back up, I haven’t always recognized this gift inside myself. I realized this gift about 2.5 years ago during a study called Strengths Finder 2.0, if you haven’t read this book and finished this study, DO IT! It is amazing what you can do with the knowledge of your true strengths. In today’s generation communication is not only a gift it is an absolute necessity and here is why, the most important thing about communication is to hear what is being said. I didn’t say “like” what is being said, I said HEAR what is being said. Our ears need to be a filter.  We are living in a generation where everyone is communicating (loudly) but no one is listening. Instead of listening to understand we have become a culture that listens to reply. This is a problem. I began to reflect on why this is happening more today than ever before and my conclusion is that our filter is long over due for a change. We are filtering all of our communications through a cloudy, dirty, overused screen, so no wonder our outpour and our reaction is a result of that.

Think about it and this is as much for me as for you and the reason why I blog! Through which filter is your husband receiving your greeting at 5:30pm when the kids are hungry and tired and you are hungry and tired and thinking about the whole list you have to do after everyone is asleep? Through which filter is your child receiving your attention after a day of non stop go, go, go and all you want is two minutes to yourself? Through which filter is the cashier at Target or customer service person at AT&T receiving your over scheduled, impatient,  dissatisfied self? Through which filter are your colleagues, employees, friends, and family receiving your heart? That’s a big one. And the most important, through which filter is God receiving your presence? Yea. I know tough stuff.  I write this to bring awareness, to inspire change, but most of all to shower you with grace.  God filters each one of our actions, our words, our thoughts through a filter weaved with love, mercy and grace and He loves us exactly where we are, dirty filter and all! Again I question, why can’t we do the same? I know in the back of your head you are saying, “but they hurt me,” “I give and give and give and they take and take and take” “I’m tired of going to them, they need to come to me”, “well that is their problem, they can deal with it”, “i’m tired of fighting” and so on….or you filter it through experiences from the past, ‘I don’t want to go through that again”, “it’s in my genes”, “I’ve been burned once, I won’t be burnt again.” You get the picture. Well here is what I have to say to that.  Change your filter, change your life. Period. You control your thoughts. You allow yourself to think one way or the other. Filter everything through one of love, mercy and grace and notice how different the atmosphere is around you.

My final thought comes to you from my beautiful mentor. She gave me  Mathew 9:17. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.

When you begin anything new, do not filter through your old past. This will lead you astray. Filter your new changes, your new outlook, your new relationship through your new filter and everything will be brighter, even on the cloudy days.

Inspiring you to be a pioneer of change first in YOU, then in the world around you,

Emily

The Growth Spurt

Growth Spurt: A period of rapid growth. I have witnessed growth spurts in my dancers for years and over the last 3 years have watched my own children go through the growing pains of them. I don’t know about you, but in our household growth spurts = the need for extreme patience. My 3 year old turns from sweet and loving to mean and aggressive in 2.2 seconds, my 2 year old doesn’t sleep and screams at the top of her very big lungs and holds her legs and both of them say “Mom, I want a snack” what seems like every 5 minutes on a day when the pantry is empty and I should have gone grocery shopping 2 days prior. Yes extreme patience is needed. In these moments, I have to remind myself to take a deep breath knowing that this is necessary for their development and is beyond their understanding.

Then it hit me today. I myself am in the middle of a growth spurt and I am acting like my 3 year old because of the growing pains and I know better. I picture God with His big blackboard and my name is written in chalk at the top. Emily Weber. Underneath would say GrowthSpurt = the need for extreme patience. Although my growth spurt has nothing to dowith my height of 5’2.5’’, it does however have everything to do with where God is leading me. If you read Our Story, you would have read that we ignored God’s calling to Yorkville for about 3 years and finally listened and followed. Knowing now what He revealed to us in the property, community of people, experiences, arts center and additions to our family you would think I would learn to listen and obey as soon as He calls. Nope, I am just like my children when they don’t listen and follow and we know how what that looks like. “Brinlee, it’s time to go to bed.” “I want to watch a show.” “Brinlee, it’s time to go to bed.” “Ok, let me grab my lovie.” When we hit the top of the stairs and are headed to the bedroom she says, “Wait! I need to get a drinky.” Down the stairs she runs. “Brinlee, it’s time for bed.” We head back upstairs and get into the bedroom where we read a book and get tucked in and say our prayers. “ Mommy, the blankets aren’t nice, can you make them nice?” “Yes” I say as I make the blankets nice and lay next to her for a minute and sing her our goodnight song. As I finish the last chorus of our goodnight song she says, “Wait, I have to go potty!” The nicely laid blankets go flying onto the floor and she goes running into the bathroom flipping on the hallway lights and waking up her 2 year old sister who had just settled down herself (that’s a whole separate blog).  From here, we usually have 10 more excuses as to why we cannot go to bed as I had asked her to do 30 minutes ago. As I type this I imagine God shaking His head with His arms crossed saying,“See! Now you know what I deal with.” Truth is though, God doesn’t do this. He sits and waits patiently, with His arms lovingly open and makes gentle soft reminders until we choose to hear Him. I need to start praying for the kind of patience God has with me for the kind of patience I have with my children because the situations are just the same.

Which leads me to my last 3-year stint of not listening. For the last 3 years God has been encouraging me to lean in, to fast from distractions and listen for His still small voice. Well I tried a few times to “fast” from distractions, I even did an amazing study called 7:An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, by Jen Hatmaker. I didn’t lean in to this project, I merely just shifted my weight. My eyes were opened to a lot of things I believe God wanted me to see and I did grow from the experience don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t a growth spurt by any means. 13 days ago I heard it. I heard it while I was sitting in a small café in LaGuardia airport. “Lean in Emily, lean in.” That was it. A 5 word statement.  13 days ago my growth spurt began and I knew it would involve growing pains but I also have experienced enough of God’s callings to know that the promise far outweighs the pain. After I heard the still small voice I turned to Brian and told him I felt like God was asking me to do a 30 day fast from a distraction in our life, immediately Brian said ok, let’s do it. “Wait, what? No questions, no push back,” I thought. Brian was on board and actually feeling the same calling and I knew without a doubt we were about to embark on something really big and I was excited, little did I know confirmation was right around the corner. Right after we made our commitment to fast for the next 30 days we emailed our friends to cover us in prayer knowing that this fast was going to take a community of people circling us in prayer. After asking our friends to pray for us I also messaged my friend Amber Nichols about sponsoring a child in Haiti through Compassion International and she told me she had 3 children left to be sponsored. She sent me the picture cards and there she was. Our little Wislore, and do you know what? She was born the exact same day as our Brinlee. December 2, 2010. Over 400 children were sponsored that day but God saved her knowing she was our next blessing.  Wislore, was no coincidence. She was a gift for listening and obeying.

Well that was the beginning of my growth spurt and here I am just 12 days later. I have been soaring on the wings of eagles in one moment and hanging off the edge of a cliff in another but you know what. I cling to the fact that I know I am not alone and that makes all the difference. That gives me the strength to pull myself up and stand on top of the mountain and look at the beauty God has created right in front of me. The road blocks, the red lights, the traffic (literally if you live in Kendall County you can agree with me), the honking horns, the green lights, the back roads and the free ways of life are all gifts, we just need to see them through God’s eyes and if we ask I know He will give them to us. When you look back at the marks inside the pantry door that have marked the height of your kids over the last year you will see the growth spurts, the same goes for your growth spurts in life. When I look back at the last 12 days, and mostly in the last 12 years I am amazed in the ways I have grown and the growth spurts along the way and I am thankful for God’s grace and unconditional love during them. So I end with this, a challenge. I mean come on who doesn’t love a good old challenge.  If you haven’t had a growth spurt in life in awhile, I challenge you to lean in and ask God for one. WARNING this type of prayer is not for the weak, but my guess is if you have made it to the end of this blog YOU my friend are not weak and remember growth spurts are necessary for our development even if it is beyond our own understanding. Now is the time. What are you waiting for? I am circling you in prayer tonight and I hope to one day hear where this growth spurt took you and if you want accountability for an area of life you need a growth spurt in comment here or message me!

In love and prayer,

Emily

Phillipians4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

When Your Tantrum is bigger than your toddler’s!

When your tantrum is worse than your toddlers…..

What do your thoughts look like? Are they happy, sad, imaginative, colorful, pensive, complex, dark and twisty (forgive me a huge Grey’s Anatomy fan)? I’d venture to guess we all at some point or another have all of these kinds of thoughts. Anyways, do you ever fear being alone with your own thoughts? I’ll be honest. I do, more times than I’d like to admit.Here’s the deal; I am rarely alone. I surround myself with people all day long and I am going non-stop all day long so usually I can focus on the good and imaginative ones, but what happens on the rare occasion that I can only hear the dark ones and I know I am going to be alone? I freak out and panic mode sets in. Tonight is the perfect example.

For any of you who have read my blogs before you know that I struggled for eleven years with an eating disorder and went for treatment 7 years ago.  7 years ago…weird to say that out loud or type for that matter. Seems like another lifetime to me. With treatment comes the understanding that you are not instantly fixed and that parts of the disorder live with you, but it is a daily choice on what you choose to do with it. Some days I wake up ready to take on the world, most days I wake up knowing it’s going to be one heck of a fight, and few days where the fight seems like too much, I’d rather just stay in bed.  Yep. This is me. Transparent.

Well today was one of those days where I knew it would be one heck of a fight. I thought I was ready, but truth is today got the best of me. I have an incredibly distorted body image, I know this and one of my honest prayers every morning when I wake up is “God give me the eyes to see me the way you see me.” Some days I pray this 1000 times or more and some days like today, I tune God out for a while and allow satan to take my mind for a spin. I really should know better. When I do this it not only affects me, but everyone around me. Tonight the poor target just happened to be Brian.

Long story short, Brian and I have spent the last two nights together, so essentially two date nights in a row, one at home and one in the city. Tonight seemed like a good night to go and support his boss’s son who is an incredible musician and also catch a bit of the hockey game.  Have a bit of a guys night. After all the man deserves one! In my right mind this would have been fine from the get go, but considering I was not in my right mind I start crying hysterically like I was never going to see the man again. Poor Brian. I told you instant panic mode. Of course he has no idea why I would be freaking out like our dramatic 3 year old when I tell her for the 6th time she can’t have any more treats and honestly in that moment I have no idea and can’t explain why my tantrum is worse than our toddlers. Ugh. I annoy myself typing this. Somewhere in the back of my mind I know I will sort this out so I reassure him that I will be fine and to go and have a good time.  Then I go there. To my own thoughts. It wasn’t all roses to start. Sorting through the rubbish can sometimes take a bit, but eventually you will come to the truth. Why was that whole scenario necessary? For this. For realization that it is ok to be alone with your thoughts, even the dark ones. Give them to God. Pray for clarity. Pray for wisdom and discernment. Pray for peace. Thankfully, my prayers were answered almost instantly. Thank you God for never leaving and reminding me that even if I am physically alone,you are always with me. So my challenge is to spend some time alone, with your thoughts and with God. What He reveals could change the course of your path for the day which could change the course of your path for your entire life.

Comparer’s Anonymous

Comparer’s Anonymous

Warning: Confession ahead. I need to go to C.A. (Comparer’s Anonymous) and quick before I let this ugly thing rob me anymore. Comparing is such a selfish act as someone reminded me this morning and you see I am on this journey to become someone who is selfless not selfish yet my actions in the way of comparing have steered me in the wrong direction, so my friends it is time to re-route. Sometimes I picture God banging His head against a wall when my name pops up, thinking “how many times will she be shown before she gets it.”  I’m exhausting, I get that, my husband gets that and guess what…I own it and I am thankful that the God I serve has grace and mercy that covers me and loves me far to much to leave me the way that I am.    So hang with me I promise I have been given some insight on this issue/struggle I have and I’m guessing if we are all honest we all can say we all have.
So this morning’s message finished our our series at church called “I Quit” and today was “I Quit Comparing.” Reflecting on this message this evening and how I can directly apply it to my life (and the realization that I should google C.A.) inspired me to think on how I could help other’s apply it to their lives and immediately I thought of my students and future students of the arts center but first this thought applies in anyone’s life, young or old in my opinion. So many people today (me included) compare rather than recognize. And friends let me tell you there is a HUGE difference between comparing and recognizing. When we compare ourselves to lady in front of us at the grocery store we are chipping away a part of who were were created to be. When we compare our children to our neighbor’s children we are chipping away a part of who they were created to be. When we compare our husbands to our friend’s husband who just left her we are chipping away at our marriage as pride is a deal breaker. Are we on the same page yet? Here is where this thought gets me as I type. I think about the amount of time I have spent comparing myself and my loved ones and how much chipping and damage I have done to the person God created me to be. Woah. Ok. Deep breath.
 So what can we do about it. We can recognize. Recognize first that comparing is incredible destructive on every level, large or small. We can recognize that we are a beautiful work in progress and God loves us right where we are. We can recognize that other people are also a beautiful work in progress and God loves them right where they are at. We can recognize that each day is a new day to learn, a new day to be challenged, a new day to grow and a new day to love ourselves just as it is intended to be.
This realization is also something so important for me as a leader of young people in the arts. Competition can do one of two things. It can challenge you or it can destroy you and I think the difference here is recognition vs comparison. When we recognize someone else’s talents we can appreciate them and find the fire within ourselves to be challenged, to learn, and to grow. When we compare our talents with someone else’s talents we are filling ourselves with envy and honestly ugliness. I am a firm believer that it comes from the top so if we ourselves are comparing each other and our children to other children then our children will learn to do the same and teach the same in turn creating this awful vicious cycle. This breaks my heart people and I am recognizing that I have been a part of this vicious epidemic in our society and I will not stand for it anymore. This is me loving myself where I am at. Incredibly flawed. Filled with humility. Forever thankful. I hope you will join me in a feverish effort to quit comparing. Now I am on board with you that this quit comparing thing will not be easy but I promise it will be a game changer.

The Crayon Project

The Crayon Project

I went to Target.  By myself. It felt like a vacation. I know there are many moms out there smiling as they read this because you know how awesome a trip to Target is by yourself. What I also need to mention is I went while I was fasting from consumerism…don’t ask why, I think I secretly like to torture myself. Anyhow, I was lingering, I mean shopping and came across the cutest Easter bunny baking molds in the Easter aisle and I knew exactly what I would use them for.  Please picture me standing there debating whether or not I should buy them and putting them in and taking them out of my cart 10 times. I wish I was exaggerating like I tend to do, but I’m not.  I must have looked so silly.  I justified these 9.99 molds in my head because I had the perfect use for them and it would involve spending some quality craft time with my toddler, an area I am working on growing in.  So done deal, they were in the cart and staying in there and Brin and I were going to do the crayon project.

I’m a perfectionist, type A, over achiever who desperately craves to live a simple old-fashioned life.  And by old fashioned I don’t mean finding something on pinterest that looks old fashioned then spending all of your time and resources figuring out how you are going to make it, only to feel defeated because it looks nothing like the picture, then guilty because you aren’t like those “other moms” who probably can whip it up in no time while cooking a 3 course meal and humming a tune like Julie Andrews.  As you can see I know this conversation WAY to well because I have had it with myself and my husband one too many times.  I know my beginning sentence is an oxymoron but hey I know this about me and I accept this about me. Wow it is amazing to me the feeling I get when I type that.  I accept this about me. I have struggled for 20 years with the idea of being accepted.  In my past I have searched for it in all the wrong places and I have covered up the pain with my perfectionism in hopes that no one would see the real me, the broken me, because I was certain no one would accept “her”. The real truth is I never gave myself the acceptance I deserved and thankfully by the grace of God, He ended my search this past Sunday when He revealed this truth to me.  God used our pastor Aaron and my girlfriend Jill who prayed for me to speak to me last Sunday knowing how truly powerful it was going to be and I am humble that He is so relentless when it comes to having a relationship with me.  I so badly want to be this relentless in love in all my relationships, truth is I’m not there yet, but I’m seeking to be and first I’m starting with myself.

So the crayon project (pinterest project) was not only successful it was the inspiration for this blog.  God speaks to me so clearly sometimes in the simplest ways, so here is what He said to me in the crayon project.  Peeling away the wrapper from the broken pieces is the first step.  Uncover what you have been hiding and uncover your brokenness and allow people to see you for who you are created to be. Take the broken pieces and place them in the mold in the oven.  Take your brokenness and place it at my feet, I will be your source of strength, warmth and comfort.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Give your thoughts some space and breath and most importantly give yourself grace. Pop out of mold a brand new, full of color, newly shaped crayon!  God said to me, “I have taken your brokenness and made it beautiful and new in Me; you are newly shaped, full of color and serve a very big purpose.”

I still cry when I type this.  I honestly don’t have many words left, but Thank you Lord. Thank you for this clarity, thank you for answering my prayers about clarity, thank you for guiding my life and being so relentless. Thank you for loving me so much, I do not deserve it.  Thank you for your discipline and for your patience.  Thank you for this community you brought me to.  Thank you for the crayon project.

I love you,

Emily

What is distracting you?

1.   dis·trac·tion /disˈtrakSHən/

1.    A thing that prevents someone from giving full attention to something else.

2.    A diversion or recreation.

Last night I sat down and reflected over the last month and this is the word that has played over and over in my head.  Distraction.  As the definition says it is something that prevents someone from giving full attention to something else.  As a wife and a mother, I feel this all too often and if I am not careful I can let it consume me.  The voice of Fear, the voice of Doubt, the voice of Guilt, the voice of Shame, the voice of Pride and many more I am sure I am forgetting can creep into my routine and create a very destructive distraction for me. Each of these looks like this, “What if…”, “You can’t…”, “You should be…”, “You shouldn’t have…”, “Pat yourself on the back…”  Do you hear these phrases in your thoughts? I do. Maybe you have other ones that you connect with you on a different level, either way these thoughts are distractions.  They prevent us from being the person we were designed to be and from doing the things we were designed to do.

I can’t say what this looks like for you but for me it looks a little like this…. (Insert vulnerability here).  I am a perfectionist.  I crave control. Five years ago I would have called the phrases above my best friends and friends that I needed and counted on. When I live in the very “black and white” world of perfectionism these phrases have no problem sweeping in to save me like old friends do but by save me I mean distract me. They have the potential to do a lot of damage. They keep me from giving my all to my husband, to my children, to my family, to my friends, to my community, to my business and most importantly to my God.  I can miss out on opportunities that would bless others because I am being selfish.  Ewe even as I type that word I cringe.  This is not how we were designed.  We were not designed to think of ourselves first and others second.  We were designed for community and to serve others above serving ourselves.  There are parts of me that would absolutely love to live communally, where everyone uses their gifts and talents to serve one another and share life doing so and a few of my friends will laugh because I have mentioned this very idea to them.

As I was reflecting and praying, I was reminded it is not about me and whew what a relief I was given.  My work here on this earth is about growth not about perfectionism.  I am in tears.  I have to type that again for myself and maybe for you too.  My work here on this earth is about growth not about perfectionism.  Grow each day.  Please whatever you do, DO NOT bury your head in the sand and place blame. Placing blame is just as distracting and destroying as anything else.  Take control of you what you can take control of and give the rest to God.  He can handle it.  Again for me, He CAN handle it.

Let me encourage you to get vulnerable and dig deep.  Get honest with yourself and ask “What is distracting me?” Let someone know and ask them to hold you accountable to getting rid of these things.

Praying for all those that read this,

Emily

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