Hello, August | #MonthlyGold #Currently

Monday, August 8, 2016

So...I did surprisingly well in June! Ready to surprise myself even more in July...

Monthly Goal Linkup

Looking back at my June goals...

Blogging Goals

//one// Write a post AT LEAST one day a week. Aim for more, but don't beat myself up too much if it doesn't happen.  YEP! I did that! And in particular, I wrote a post that was a long time coming. A testimony of triumph that you can read RIGHT HERE!!

//two// Learn how to better manage my blogging social media accounts. Well, I kinda sorta made some progress. I still need to keep more on top of that, though. Still learning.

//three// Be active on the blogging Facebook groups I'm part of. Really get to know and befriend other bloggers. I'm gonna count this as a success! I've recently been put in contact with another blogger in my niche through a project called Solidarity Sisters. I'm excited to learn from her, and make a new friend who loves this writing thing as much as I do!

Personal Goals

//one// Clean up my room. I'm seriously embarrassed to say it. I've let my poor living space go for way too long without cleaning it. So much so, that it feels so overwhelming to just start...but I have to just start. I'm seriously proud of this! Not only did I clean my room {so shocking! I can actually MOVE around it!}, but I reorganized my entire walk-in closet, and even got rid of a few things! This shouldn't be such a big deal, but it was a huge undertaking for me, and I'm so happy it got done!

//two// Read one book. I just finished a book by Emily P. Freeman in June that I will write about in another entry, and I'm ready to start another one of hers this month. Unfortunately I just didn't get to it. I plan to this month though!

//three// Set a wedding date. Putting it off is only going to bring about more and more anxiety, and that's what we are trying to avoid throughout this wedding planning process. Oh it's set! It's set for August 5th, 2017!!!

//four// Start writing down my prayers. If only because I so struggle with articulating them out loud, or even in my mind. And also so that I can go back to look through them, remember, and see evidence of God's responses. I'm not sure why I didn't start doing that. I think this is the goal that I kinda forgot about. I'm gonna try again.

//five// Lose 5-7 pounds. Okay so this wasn't a total flop. I may not have lost 5-7 pounds...but I DID lose 4! And I'll take that!

Goals for August

Blogging Goals

//one// Write and publish 10 posts here. Yes. TEN.

//two// Fix all the glitches on my blog. They are numerous...I don't even know how to fix them. So I guess the goal is to ask someone who does know!

//three// Participate in at least 3 other link-ups. This is what helps grow a blog. 

Personal Goals

//one// Use my planner regularly. I officially have too many things going on to keep it all straight. Too many lists going, too many events to remember, too many tasks to complete. I have the nicest planner! I should be using it!

//two// Actually read the book I wanted to read last month.

//three// Reconnect with my cousins on a deeper level.

//four// Lose at least 3 more pounds.

and currently...

hearting. all things Anne of Green Gables at the moment! I've been watching the movies again to get inspiration for my wedding.

watching. Parenthood. Again :)) It's just so good! And since I've seen it, I can have it on in the background while I'm getting other things done. Like right now.

exploring. new blogs. Gaining new inspiration.

creating. choreography for Christmas performances...already! 

eating. meals that are on the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan. I do intend to write more about THM at some point soon. I didn't even remember what it felt like to be healthy until I decided to start this plan. CLICK HERE! 

You Don't Know Me || #BehindTheBlogger

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

You don't know me AT ALL...

...if you think my sweet, innocent, "girl next door" exterior means I am unaware, naive, or too "meak".

...if you think I'll say that I like something just to make YOU like ME. I won't put up with something I dislike just to impress someone else.

...if you don't know that I would drop anything and everything just to be there for someone if they asked me to.

...if you think that I expect that everyone's brain is wired the same way as mine.

...if you haven't yet heard my story about recovering from an eating disorder {read about that HERE!!}.

...if you haven't figured out that I am more easily distracted than Dory! And if you think that it means I don't care about things. I really try hard to stay focused on one task, but that's one of many reasons why I'm not a Type A personality. And I'm okay with that.

...if you don't know my primary love language...which is GIFTS! And not because I'm super materialistic and love "stuff", but because when I receive a gift, it shows that you know me well enough to know what I would like. It tells me that something reminded you of me, and you put thought into picking it out. That means the world to me!

...if you don't know that I get incredibly tense and stressed out when I am being micromanaged or controlled.

...if you don't know that I don't do well in the mundane. I try to find new joys in the "same old, same old" routine, but I need variety in my life!

...if you ask me for a long term plan. Most of the time I don't know what I'm doing TOMORROW! My brain is constantly floating around and I'm always changing my mind. That's just how my personality is, and I LIKE change!

...if you don't know that I suffer from SERIOUS F.O.M.O {fear of missing out}!

...if you aren't aware that I feel emotions very deeply, both happy & excited emotions as well as sad emotions...and I appreciate when people accept and validate my feelings.

...if you think that the reason I dress up all the time is for anyone other than MYSELF.

...if you think I'm not sorry every. single. time I finish a sentence for someone or talk over someone accidentally. My mouth moves faster than my brain sometimes. I'm a talker. I don't mean for it to happen.

...if you think I notice details. I don't. I walk into a room and I see the room. It would be completely terrible if I were asked by the guys on Criminal Minds to close my eyes and remember details. Guarantee you I would not recall a thing. It's just not what I'm looking at.

...if you forget that I hate saying no to people, but at the same time get super overwhelmed by having too much going on!

...if you don't know that I need people around me when I'm feeling down. People make me feel better.

...if you think I'm capable of forgetting anything ever said to me...either positive or negative.

...if you think that me wanting to get to know you means I want your favorite color. No, I want to know your HEART. Give me the good stuff!

And most importantly, you definitely don't know me...

...if you think you CAN'T or SHOULDN'T get to know me. I am an open book! I'll tell you anything you want to know! Happy to! :))
{Oh yeah...and I like using "smileys" and "frownies"}

#BehindTheBlogger Sidebar Button

Thank you for reading a story from #BehindTheBlogger Hop. Every 2 weeks a group of bloggers is given a writing prompt. These prompts are very open ended, so our bloggers can write about whatever they desire. The main rule is that their blog post directly relates to the topic of that week. The point of this hop is for our readers to get to know us on a personal level.  Please hop along and read all of the blog posts in this weeks hop. Just click the links below. If you want real and raw emotion, then you will find it here. After you read each post, please comment and share. We want to get to know you too!

The Time is Now

Monday, July 25, 2016

I truly do not believe there was just one thing that ultimately caused the problem.
I don't think it was any one hurtful comment from someone. It wasn't just one occurrence or event that changed my entire thought process.
There is no one and nothing to blame, not even myself.
I am human, and we all struggle with something in our lives. For me, if it hadn't been this, it probably would have been something else…

I can very easily recall the days of being in ballet class, in front of full length mirrors, wearing a leotard and tights that allowed everything to be SEEN…particularly flaws. No matter how many times I was told that I “looked like a ballerina”, I just didn't see it. Instead of focusing on my technique during class, I spent that time being embarrassed by my body. I knew that every single girl in that class was hard on themselves for any extra cellulite on their legs, or any amount of cushioning on their ribs and hips. Meanwhile, all I could think was that I just wanted to look like THEM…and also feeling quite certain that if they were that disgusted with their own bodies, surely they were looking at me and feeling grateful that, at least they did NOT look like me.

I had fallen into this insecurity pit very early on, though. It definitely did not start in ballet  class.

I remember being so afraid to make a mistake, no matter where I was, for fear that I would either be reprimanded or laughed at for it.

I remember auditioning for various solos or roles in productions, and when they went to someone else, I was sure it was because the director did not like me, and/or that I was not pretty enough to be showcased on a stage.

I remember being reminded semester after semester that I was not listed among my many, obviously better, classmates in the newspaper for making the honor roll.

Plenty of other little things happened as well. Like I said, there was no “one thing”. The poor self-esteem built overtime…


The day came that I was told, point blank, that weight was a big deal. That men liked to be attracted to the women they are with. That thinness was important to them. And by that point, I had put on some of the weight that college students typically do. So, of course, I took this very personally, feeling very much the opposite of beautiful or even worthy of any kind of positive attention. 

{By the way…I look back on this now and I get it. My mother, when she said those things, was holding onto a lot of shame and insecurities herself. I don't blame her for anything I'm going to talk about next.}

I floated very aimlessly through college, and questioned every choice I made, so full of uncertainty at all times. Everything I did was because someone else had a certain expectation of me. I didn't have a clue who I actually was…only that I wanted people to like me. So I molded and re-molded myself, never happy with the results. I tried to be good at everything, but I didn't think I WAS good at anything…even things I already knew I was good at. I tried to be so in control, but I didn't feel like I could control anything. 

So I focused on the one thing I knew that I could control, and the one flaw that I had always found to be the worst. My weight. 

I began to go through cycles of total restriction and massive binges. I would go a few days in a row eating next to nothing, or at the very least keeping my calories between 300-500 a day. Eventually I would be so hungry I couldn't stand it, so I would eat anything I could get my hands on. The feeling of delicious food was a sort of euphoria in a way. But it wouldn't be long before the shame of what I had just done would hit me. I would think, just like in school, just like in ballet, just like in music, I’m not even good at THIS. Then I'd get so scared of weight gain and start the restricting again. It was an awful cycle that I just couldn't get out of. And that continued for a very long time. 

My final semester of college came, and I was a total wreck of anxiety, panic attacks, and depression. I was in bed for days at a time. I felt no purpose. I was sure that I was not going to make it through the end of the semester. My fear of failure and mistakes kept me from going to classes, which caused even more guilt and shame on top of that which I was already carrying inside. This put me into another vicious cycle. And along with all of this came a loss of appetite. The anxiety caused very bad stomach aches, and I didn't even have a desire to eat. Nothing tasted good. But believe it or not, I thought this to be a good thing. At least I wasn't binging, and if I wasn't eating at all, think of how much weight I would be losing!

Of course, the weight loss was incredibly noticeable. The compliments {“Emily, you look so good!”} went straight through to my core, and I found my identity in these affirmations just as much as I'd found them in the many criticisms I'd heard over all of those years. And in my mind, losing weight was something I was actually good at…finally! After my appetite started coming back, I figured I'd better still keep this weight loss thing going.

The restriction and binge rotation cycles started again…only with an even more unhealthy addition. This time, if I felt guilty enough about overeating, I would get rid of it. I did not purge regularly, but just doing it once was enough for my downward spiral to continue a lot more quickly. Soon enough, I began to stick with my counting of calories, never allowing myself to go over 800 a day. I felt weak in ballet class and made no progress. I was way too exhausted all the time for teaching my dance classes, and I couldn't put my heart and soul into it the way I wanted to. I just didn't have it in me. I let down a lot of people in my life because I couldn't follow through on so many commitments. Physically, I just wasn't strong enough. And all of this was just reconfirming in my mind that I was not good at ANYTHING…except staying thin.

I was so very sick. Anorexia had completely taken over my life.

About three years ago, almost to the day, I spent an entire day lying in my bed in extreme pain. I had just gone a full 48 hours without a bite to eat. I could literally feel my body shutting down.

That was my defining moment.
I had no desire to ever feel this way again. I had to eat.
Had I not made that choice, my illness easily could have killed me within weeks.

Now, for the past three years I've continued to struggle on and off with my distorted perception and low self image. I never had a healthy relationship with food. I still kept a lot of pain buried deep inside of me. Pretty soon I had gone the opposite extreme and began overeating on a regular basis in order to deal with pretty much anything that brought up negative feelings. But the binging itself brought up even more negativity! Especially with the inevitable weight gain. Again I was caught in a vicious cycle of guilt and food! And I was so convinced that I would never be able to stop it. I didn't have enough discipline. Every time I tried to go on a new meal plan and tell myself I was going to stick to it this time around, I failed miserably, and went back to the old unhealthy eating habits.

My whole life, it seems, has centered around TRYING HARDER. DOING MORE.
Change this. Fix that. Check all the items off your list. Follow these steps.
Be a better Christian. Pray more. Read the Bible more. Figure out how to improve my spiritual life.
Do all of this and everything will get better.

No. No. And did I mention NO?

I’ll tell you what has healed me. I'll tell you why I'm no longer bound by shame, anxiety, depression, and food struggles. And it's not what you expect…

I made a choice. One choice. A choice to be filled with, and to walk in the Spirit of God.
And because of that, the desires given to me by the Holy Spirit are stronger than the desires of my own flesh. I don't struggle with food anymore because God goes with me into the grocery store. He goes with me into the kitchen when I'm cooking. He gives me energy I never had before, and excitement to try new recipes {part of a new eating plan that I will talk about at another time}. And none of it requires discipline or anything I have to muster up myself. He's just taking me through it. Because I let Him.

What?! You mean there's no 5 step {or whatever} process you went through to recover?

I'm sorry friends {although kind of not really}, I sort of wish I could offer you a more practical way to just “fix” whatever your struggle is! I wish I could tell you that the decision I made was easy. It was NOT. It was the hardest thing I've ever done. It requires total vulnerability, and total exposure when you ask God to break down the walls around your heart and invite His spirit inside you. And that is ridiculously scary!

But the fact is that everything that I tried to fix by myself, I ended up falling short and messing up. Every “goal”that  I just tried harder, or with a different approach every time, to meet, I would never accomplish. But once I invited God’s spirit inside of me, it was no longer about what I had to DO. It was all about what HE could do. He is limitless!

Will I still have bad days? Of course! I'm still human! Yes I'm saved and I'm free, but I'm not perfect, nor will I ever be on this earth! That is not my claim! Will I still struggle with feeling depressed and discouraged? You can pretty much count on that. But I am no longer bound by that. It does not have to bury me anymore. And as long as I continue walking in the Spirit, it won't.

The Holy Spirit is not talked about very much, and is often overlooked. I've only recently been learning about who exactly the Holy Spirit is and what he does. And I'm still “getting there”. But I've discovered a great deal and it's so beautiful! I will be writing more about it over the next several weeks, as part of a new series I'll be doing on this blog about the Fruit of the Spirit {found in Galatians 5}. And I hope that these upcoming posts will be an encouragement to you, as I have been so encouraged by those who have been teaching ME lately.

I have been hesitant to share all of this because I did not know how it would be received. People usually want something practical. Something concrete. A step by step process to follow. In other words, something natural. But there is nothing natural about my experience, and the change in my heart and in my life. I did not beat anorexia naturally. It is completely and utterly SUPERNATURAL! I take no credit for it.

I didn't think this kind of freedom existed. It does!

This World || #BehindTheBlogger

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

"If I find myself with a desire nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."
~ C.S. Lewis

It's been difficult to watch the world go by recently hasn't it?
So much darkness and hatred. 
Division is the enemy's ultimate goal...and he's getting exactly what he wants.

I try to stay out of the arguments and debates that float around Facebook on a DAILY BASIS. But then I kind of have to reevaluate the real reason why I keep my mouth shut. I'd like to think that it's just because I know that everyone has their own personal views, and that I'm just not the type of person to try and contradict what someone else believes. And yes that is true of me. But I think the real reason is that I just want to be liked by everyone. If I have an opposing view to someone else, I'm just afraid they'll think I am opposed to THEM...that I hate them...and then, in turn, that they will hate me.

My biggest fear my whole life has always been that I am unlovable. Why would I feed that? Why would I do something that would just increase that fear?

But, you know, it's not just me. This is what life has become.

A difference of opinion must be a sign of hatred.

But really, if people don't know me well enough to understand that my having a view that may differ from theirs does NOT mean that I dislike them...well...they don't know me at all. 

The division in this world is scary. Not just all the attacking through social media, but all of the attacks, and all of the death we've seen all over the news. From shootings to bombings, there is something else happening every day that is enough to scare all of us even more. But that's what I think drives the hatred...FEAR. But see, if you allow yourself to remove the hatred, you then have to deal with the fear. And that's painful. We continue to stuff down our pain, and allow it to feed our bitterness and the darkness within us grows. Pretty soon it just becomes a part of us.

I know that there is freedom from darkness. I wish EVERYONE knew! 
I wish everyone could take hold of the hope that, no matter how bad things get in our world, or how scary things are, we have HOPE! A hope that this world is not our home. A hope that this pain is not eternal. 

I have always struggled with figuring out my place in the world. I have asked the question, "Where do I belong," over and over. I felt the sting of abandonment so many times. I've questioned whether or not I am loved, even by members of my own family. I never felt like I fit into a particular "group" while I was growing up. And right now, in this time we are in, all I can think is, What can I do? I am just one person. And I've never done anything significant. How could I help? That's when I cry out to the Lord and exclaim of how painful this is for me to watch! And I just say, "Help me to love well! That is all I want. Just help me to love well...how YOU would love." And I decide that wherever He wants me, and whatever He wants me to do, that is what I will do. 

I leave you with a song. A song that brings me hope during these troubled times...

"All I know is I'm not home yet.
This is not where I belong.
Take this world and give me Jesus.
This is not where I belong."

#BehindTheBlogger Sidebar Button
 Thank you for reading a story from #BehindTheBlogger Hop. Every 2 weeks a group of bloggers is given a writing prompt. These prompts are very open ended, so our bloggers can write about whatever they desire. The main rule is that their blog post directly relates to the topic of that week. The point of this hop is for our readers to get to know us on a personal level.  Please hop along and read all of the blog posts in this weeks hop. Just click the links below. If you want real and raw emotion, then you will find it here. After you read each post, please comment and share. We want to get to know you too!

Hello July || #MonthlyGold

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The word "GOALS" has always had a huge intimidation factor for me.
Whether they have been big or small, short term or long term goals I've set for myself, fear and lack of self-esteem have always prevented me from reaching them...or even taking the first small steps in reaching them.

Even now, writing these words, I have no reason to believe that any of these goals are going to come to fruition...except for one thing that is different...

This time, I'm taking God with me on each step. I'm not going to have the mindset of "work harder, try harder" that I've had my whole life. I've always tried to accomplish everything on my own merit, relying on my own limited mind, all the while knowing that I serve a LIMITLESS God {a subject I'll expand upon at another time}. That mentality has always resulted in disappointment and guilt over not being able to set out and do what I hoped to do. It's time to allow the Lord to go before me, beside me, and behind me.

Monthly Goal Linkup
{Linking up with Autumn}


Blogging Goals

//one// Write a post AT LEAST one day a week. Aim for more, but don't beat myself up too much if it doesn't happen.

//two// Learn how to better manage my blogging social media accounts.

//three// Be active on the blogging Facebook groups I'm part of. Really get to know and befriend other bloggers.

Personal Goals

//one// Clean up my room. I'm seriously embarrassed to say it. I've let my poor living space go for way too long without cleaning it. So much so, that it feels so overwhelming to just start...but I have to just start.

//two// Read one book. I just finished a book by Emily P. Freeman in June that I will write about in another entry, and I'm ready to start another one of hers this month.

//three// Set a wedding date. Putting it off is only going to bring about more and more anxiety, and that's what we are trying to avoid throughout this wedding planning process.

//four// Start writing down my prayers. If only because I so struggle with articulating them out loud, or even in my mind. And also so that I can go back to look through them, remember, and see evidence of God's responses.

//five// Lose 5-7 pounds.


loving. Warm weather and sunshine. 
needing. Summer recital music ideas for my dance classes, particularly the younger groups {my theme this summer is music from movies & musicals}.
wanting.  more time...more time to spend time with the all the people in my life, more time to read books, more time to invest in other things I want to do. 
writing. All the blog posts! A lot has happened recently that has inspired a lot of writing! Can't. Stop. Writing.  
reading. Another Emily P. Freeman book. Finished Grace for the Good Girl, and now starting A Million Little Ways.
watching. Way too many shows! LOL 
listening. Keeping up with all the latest Christian music mostly {cannot wait for the World Pulse Festival in a couple weeks!}  
wishing. That I could be with all of my cousins. 
feeling. Thankful that I had the opportunity to grow up so close to my cousins and relatives. 
craving. Old musicals! There's going to be a showing of Singin' in the Rain this coming weekend in the local movie theater!! GAAAAHHHHH!!!! 
eating. Desperately trying to eat healthy.
drinking. Iced caramel macchiatos from Starbucks...All. The. Time.
smelling. The delightful floral scented shampoo in my hair.
working on. Choreography. And choreography. That's pretty much my summer in a nutshell.
contemplating. Everything. I contemplate by nature.

What are YOUR July Goals?
Do you have a "Currently" post I should check out?
I'd love to hear from you in the comments!

Finding my "Inner Nerd" || #BehindTheBlogger

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


The word “NERD” is associated with several common stereotypes.
And I certainly don't identify with any of them.

I’ve never enjoyed science, and even the simplest math gives me horrible anxiety!
I have no desire to spend a day playing video games.
I strongly dislike sci-fi and comic book related things…both books and movies {Star wars? Batman? Forget it! I'm out!}
I have zero understanding of what it is people like about Anime or Manga!
I'm not socially inept by any means.
And I'm definitely nothing like Urkel from Family Matters…

BUT…MY inner nerd…is something I'm actually kind of proud of!
So while I wouldn't spend an entire day “gaming”, or standing in a mile long line waiting for a comic book convention while wearing a costume, there are several things that I WOULD devote a whole day to if I had the opportunity…

Listening to oldies…
I am more familiar with songs from the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s than I am with any of the music today. In fact, any music from the last 10 years, my “liking” of it is very selective. Personally, I just think music from the generations before mine was so much better!

Reading Classic literature…
Give me Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Anne of Green Gables, Little Women…or anything even remotely similar…any day! All of the main characters are so identifiable even today. I think I enjoy the fact that women so long ago were still struggling with a lot of the same problems we struggle with today. Back in the civil war era, the Victorian era, and even before all of that…someone understood! And I love that! Besides that, I just love the way they talked and acted, and the clothing they wore in those times. I often wish we could go back to that. Added bonus...old books are just really beautiful to me.

Or just reading books in general, really…
I can be really picky about books that I like, especially if they are more contemporary…but I have an entire list on Goodreads! And if I had a whole day, oh believe me I would read the books from my list!

Watching Disney movies…
I'm fairly certain I had every line and lyric of Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, and all the other classic princess movies memorized by the time I was 10 years old. I was pretty much obsessed! And still am. Nowadays I have pretty much memorized every single Disney movie in existence {well okay…with a few exceptions maybe}, because I have an auditory memory that I take a lot of pride in :)). And I still could watch them all over and over and never really get sick of them. Plus if I could go to Disney World all the time, I totally would! And if that makes me “childish” I'm absolutely fine with that! I'll use the verse in Matthew 18, where we are called to be like little children, to justify that ;))

Listening to Broadway Soundtracks…
I think this qualifies me to be a Musical Theatre nerd, and I'll take that label! Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Rent, Hairspray, Mamma Mia, Lion King, Sound of Music…Give me all of them and then more! If musicals were my only given option for something to listen to for the day, I'd be incredibly content with that. I'd have so much to choose from and endless enjoyment from it!

Antique Shopping…
Just let me buy all the pretty Victorian and turn of the century things!! All the beautiful tea sets, old typewriters, phones, and floral home décor!

Attending the symphony, the opera, or the ballet…
…before I would go to any other concert or performance, this is what I would pick! And I would be wide-eyed and on the edge my my seat, enjoying every last note, and every last step.

Correcting people's grammar...
"Grammar nerd" is what I would be called here.
So maybe I wouldn't spend the entire day doing this, and mostly because I'm too nice {ha!}. But I certainly do see a lot of very poor sentence structure throughout the day all over social media that I just wish I could correct people on! Let me just say this people...punctuation is your friend. It helps the rest of us so we don't have to just guess where the end of your sentence is. Dictionaries are also your friend. Correct spelling is a happy thing. And with that, I'll end this passive aggressive soap box moment :))


Okay so there may be one thing that would definitely put me in the stereotypes of “nerdiness”…

And that is that I do love Renaissance fairs! Now I may not geek out enough to go dressed in full costume like a princess {although I might even still do that!} but I get really excited about them, and I get so fascinated by what I find there. And at the very least I'll wear a flower crown like this one here…

So what about you? Can you identify with any of these things I've listed here? I'd love to know what we have in common!
Or maybe you identify with a different “nerd type” ;))
I'd love to hear about you too!

Thank you for reading a story from #BehindTheBlogger Hop. Every 2 weeks a group of bloggers is given a writing prompt. These prompts are very open ended, so our bloggers can write about whatever they desire. The main rule is that their blog post directly relates to the topic of that week. The point of this hop is for our readers to get to know us on a personal level.  Please hop along and read all of the blog posts in this weeks hop. Just click the links below. If you want real and raw emotion, then you will find it here. After you read each post, please comment and share. We want to get to know you too!

Grieving the Living || #BehindTheBlogger

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

A Letter to my friend who has disappeared...

Remember when I used to spend every single weekend at your house?

Remember all the inside jokes we had...and the millions of things we laughed about that nobody else ever understood?

Remember when you would be the first person I would call for every...little...thing? Something wonderful happened and you were the first to know. Something terrible happened and you were the first to know. Something not even that significant happened and you were still the first to know. 

Remember when you were the one who knew me better than anyone else?

I do miss you. I really really do. 
It's been so weird starting to plan my wedding without you. I didn't even call you when I got engaged. I just didn't know how to tell you. I always thought that you would be the one by my side, helping me plan everything...standing up next to me when I got married...tearing up the dance floor with me. But it's not turning out that way. And that's sad for me. 

And even more so, it's been very sad to not be able to share with you all of the other incredibly exciting things happening in my life. The confidence I've obtained, and the competitions and auditions I've partaken in as a result of that newfound confidence. The newfound freedom I've discovered, and unspeakable joy that truly does exist...and that I wish, more than anything, you could find too.

I don't want to tell you things anymore, because I am afraid of making you feel worse. Even though you would be the first one to tell me that I should never minimize my own happiness!

See, my life is so different now. But I really miss having you in it. It has been so very difficult knowing that you are still in such darkness, and that I STILL cannot do anything about it. I STILL cannot help you. And oh, if I could only share with you how beautiful and sweet the taste of freedom is! If I could only help you take that step of allowing the walls around your heart to come down, and allowing God to invade every space and take full ownership of your broken heart. If you could only know what that is like...to come out of the dark and into the light! Oh, it exists! It's the most beautiful,  indescribable experience! But I just fear that even if I tried to share all of this with you, you would still believe that you are too far gone...too broken...too long in the depths to believe the Truth. So I struggle to pick up the phone and call, even though I've learned to recognize God's promptings, and He's been putting you back on my heart more and more. Still my heart hurts too much to see you right now, so I've been ignoring His knocks and His whispers of, "Pick up that phone." It's still too hard, although I'm kind of ashamed to admit it, to be around you right now. 

Honestly, I still wait for the day that I'll get a phone call telling me that you're gone...that you've given up. And I imagine the grief I would experience...the kind of grief that I could never see going away. But see, the thing is, I'm already grieving. Because in a way, I've already lost you. I've lost what used to be the greatest friendship. I miss you so much, but I'm just scared that if I call you or try to see you, you'll just say no because you're feeling too badly. And that's going to make me hurt...again. I know very well that it would be an act of obedience to the Lord if I tried to reconnect with you. But I have to confess that I have doubts that it's going to do any good at all. 

I hope that I can allow God to change my heart towards this situation. He's changed my heart in so many other ways. But right now I continue to hold onto the pain I associate with you and our past relationship. 

Remember when we were the absolute best of friends? Because I do. And I grieve that time. I grieve you, this person who is alive, yet still gone. I hope you'll come back. Come out of this darkness, into His marvelous light. And I hope I'll be brave enough to reach out again, and help you get there. 

But here's the hardest part of this to admit...I'm scared that you think I'm just another person who has left you. I didn't tell you some of the most important experiences I've had recently, and I wonder if maybe you think it's because I don't care anymore. That I've forgotten you. I wish I could convey how untrue that it. But there...there's the real reason I'm afraid to call.

Memories are everywhere. Songs we used to sing and dance to together come on the radio. Dialogue in movies and tv shows that we used to make fun of. Even the simplest thing that a completely random person could say or do will remind me of a joke between the two of us...and yet I can't laugh about it because no one else could understand but you. So I just smile internally at all these things and remember when...

That's grief. Grief for a living human being.

I miss you. 
I love you. 

Thank you for reading a story from #BehindTheBlogger Hop. Every 2 weeks a group of bloggers is given a writing prompt. These prompts are very open ended, so our bloggers can write about whatever they desire. The main rule is that their blog post directly relates to the topic of that week. The point of this hop is for our readers to get to know us on a personal level.  Please hop along and read all of the blog posts in this weeks hop. Just click the links below. If you want real and raw emotion, then you will find it here. After you read each post, please comment and share. We want to get to know you too!

Mega-Church Myths

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Before I started attending Granger Community Church, I was very skeptical about it.
I had spent my whole life in a smaller church. It still used contemporary praise music, which I enjoyed very much…and it was very casual as far as dress. As much as I loved wearing dresses {and still do} there was no rule that said I had to, so I along with the other ladies in the church felt free to wear jeans to our Sunday morning services. Communion was served regularly, I went to Sunday school as a child AND as an adult, I was in youth group through jr. high and high school, and my entire family was very actively involved with our small group. The sermons were very well done and always left me with something to think about for the upcoming week.

My church experience was very…NORMAL.

I'm grateful to have grown up in the church. But it was very difficult trying to leave the church I called my home. I had a hard time finding one I liked in college. I began to just count on coming home on weekends as often as I could, and staying as involved in my church there as often as possible. But after finishing college and then starting to live on my own, I knew I had to find somewhere new to go. It was tough. I just didn't think any other place would compare to the church I loved and missed so much. For months, while living by myself, I didn't go anywhere at all. I had too much anxiety about just walking through the door on my own. And I didn't have any desire to try to find somewhere new to “fit into”. And what if I never found it? But because of this lack of community and fellowship {among other things}, my life was very empty.

Finally, after recognizing how lonely I was, a dear friend of mine invited me to GCC. Like I said before, I was skeptical. In my mind it was the furthest thing from a traditional or “normal” church. I just wasn't sure I would like it.

“It's definitely not for everybody. If you don't like it, my feelings will not be at all hurt.”

It was encouraging to hear my friend say that. And I was very relieved that I would not be going alone.

After attending a couple of times, all of the things I'd heard or believed about mega churches went right out the window. For about a year before I met John-David I continued to go, and ever since he and I met we have gone together {turned out that he had been attending already and we never knew!}.

Now that I've experienced a mega church, and understand what it's all about, I don't think I could ever go back. I wish I had attended first and THEN drawn my own conclusion, before believing the rather subjective opinions I'd heard from other people.

Before I continue, I just want to say this…To each, their own.
Just as my good friend said to me, I will say to you, mega churches are not for everybody.
I am not trying to sway you in one way or another. I am not trying to get you to leave the church you call home and join a mega church. My main objective here is to provide some insight for why anyone would CHOOSE to join a mega church. So the next time you hear someone say, “Oh yeah, my church is a mega church,” you can start thinking of the positives rather than the negatives.  We live in a world where someone always has something to say about what another person does. We are always quick to criticize what others do, then completely lose it if someone tries to critique OUR choices.

Well, I'm hear to share with you a few myths that have been debunked about mega churches, and that I've definitely debunked since my time attending one.

Myth one: The music in the worship service is all about “entertainment”, and it's all for show.

I can easily agree that the music is incredibly entertaining, and can make the worshiping through music experience a whole lot more fun. But the people up on that stage are not doing what they do for SHOW. They are striving for excellence. Scripture tells us “whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart.” And in Proverbs 31, a virtuous woman is described as someone who is skilled in all kinds of arts and activities. She is praised because she creates beautiful things with a great attitude and work ethic, while glorifying the Lord to those around her. God has given her talents to use productively, to further the Kingdom of God. God is pleased with her. And the women AND men I see up on that stage every weekend are all Kingdom Seekers, worshipping and magnifying the name of God. They work very hard at what they do, and their level of professionalism is top notch, but they are not just up there to entertain.

Myth two: Mega churches are too big, and it's impossible to have a sense of community.
It's true that you probably will never know every single person in the congregations. Even people on staff don't know everyone. But there are so many options for ways to get involved and build the community you're looking for. Volunteers are always needed in so many departments. There are needs everywhere that you've probably never even thought of. And my  church, like most others, has an abundance of small groups to sign up for! There's pretty much no way you couldn't find at least one that would fit your schedule to join!

Myth three: Mega churches don't focus on spiritual growth, or theological depth.
This doesn't take much explanation. All I will say is that I've never heard so many incredibly deep, meaningful, thought-provoking sermons in one place, from multiple pastors and speakers who are all so completely different.

Myth four: Mega churches are not diverse.
Yeah... I thought that was the case too before I started attending one. People from all ethnic AND economic backgrounds attend.

Myth five: Mega churches are “in their own little world” and don't focus on outreach.
I don't even think I could count on two hands the ways GCC {and so many other mega churches} reaches out to help and have an impact on the surrounding communities! Our church partners with an incredible community center right in the center of a very low income, inner city area. There, lives are being renewed and transformed all the time! They offer programs for youth and adults alike, and truly display the definition of “love thy neighbor.” And this community center is only ONE of the many ways that the church branches outsides of its doors to share the love of the Lord with the community and the world!


I totally and completely get it if you walk through the door of our church, or any other mega church you may try out, and say, “This just isn't my cup of tea.” It's typically the music that gets people. The music can be hard to identify with for some people. For me personally, it's super important that I love the music because that's how I best connect with God. But if that's not for you, it's not my job to persuade you to stay! That's not my goal here. But next time you jump to a conclusion about what a mega church is really like, let it be an informed conclusion that you've come to yourself. Don't just assume, or believe all the things you may have heard, and create your own version of what is true.

A Breakthrough...& a Proposal!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Friends! I am ENGAGED!!!

Yeah! I know, right?!?!

It's still amazing and wonderful, and although I AM starting to come back down to earth so that I can focus on everything I NEED to get prepared for this summer, I am still floating :))

The proposal happened on Sunday, and I'll get to that. But first, a little story...

The past few weeks leading up to this have been something you might describe using the cliche term "roller coaster".  But looking back on it, I can't believe how evident God's hand was! He was preparing me for this moment the whole time. But my blinders were on, and I couldn't have possibly been aware. 

Let me start off telling you that...yes, I was THAT girl who actually dictated when her boyfriend was going to propose. I'm not someone who typically likes to be surprised. I like to know what is happening. I like to know what is coming. I like to be "prepared" for any big, life changing things {Read: CONTROL!}. So of course, we had been discussing when we planned to get engaged for awhile. He was respectful of the fact that I didn't really want to be surprised. He wanted to make sure I was comfortable. Which I appreciated. HOWEVER...........

The closer it got, the more restless I became. I started to ask myself a lot of questions, and began to overthink every little thing, wondering if any of this was right. And what did right even mean? 
A little over two weeks ago, my anxiety started to build so much that I felt physically sick. My stomach hurt so badly and my appetite was completely gone. I had to force myself to eat. Every muscle in my body was in high levels of pain, so much so that no matter how much Aleve I took, I found no relief. I had to fight off panic attacks, which was the hardest part to deal with. I haven't had a panic attack in over two years! I didn't understand what was wrong with me. I had known for awhile that I did want to get engaged, and that I did want to be married. So what was making me feel so awful?? What was bringing that ultimate highest level of anxiety back that I hadn't experienced in years??

And because my brain works in such extremes {thank you, mental illness for rearing your ugly head again}, I began to wonder if maybe this meant that I was wrong....about everything.

Well, praise the Lord {and I mean, really!} that I have friends who know how to talk me down when I work myself up this much. 
After talking to a very trusted friend about how I was feeling, she helped me realize that trying to micromanage when the proposal would happen is NOT my job. I was spending all my time anticipating the moment because I knew it was coming...and I'm not supposed to see it coming! It's supposed to be a surprise, and it's supposed to be exciting! And it's HIS job, not mine. My only job would be to say yes or no.
After putting everything into this new perspective, I felt a whole lot better. More relaxed. I talked to John-David about this, and I told him, "You propose when you want to propose." And I made up my mind that my answer would be YES.  
THEN...I finally prayed and offered the whole situation up to God, which I had not done yet {my other mistake...again, read: CONTROL}. And that brought me more peace and comfort than ever. My anxiety was gone. My appetite came back. I was no longer in what felt like endless pain. My guard came way down, and I was open to whatever God wanted. No fear. {Yeah, that's what I said...whoa!} I even found myself experiencing bursts of excitement that lasted longer than just a fleeting moment...and that wasn't normal either. Suddenly, I couldn't wait to be engaged!

Fast forward to Sunday morning...

After a great week, filled with joy and peace that only God could provide, I was in church on Sunday morning, listening to an excellent sermon. It was just the icing on the cake! And at the end, the speaker did a "listening prayer" with us, which I talked a little bit about in this post
He gave us an opportunity to hear from God directly, which is the way I've been leaning how to pray lately. He asked very specific questions, and allowed us a time of quiet and stillness to hear from God. And for the first time ever, I HEARD. I heard, and it was not seasoned with doubts and questions. No opposing inner voice was trying harder to silence God's voice. The joy and fullness I felt was overwhelming! It was so new, but it was the BEST new! I didn't even know it was possible!

Annnnndddd, fast forward to Sunday night...

It had been a lazy Sunday. My favorite kind. I read in the sunshine all afternoon.
John-David's family had planned a game night with a family friend, which is pretty much a staple in that house. It was nothing out of the ordinary. Now if any of you have played the game Settlers of Catan, you know how complex it can get. It requires asking questions of the other players and trading cards and game pieces and whatnot. Soooo...we're playing the game and everything is normal. John-David finishes his turn, and then he says, "Okay, and I have one more question to ask." Next thing I know he's up from his chair and then back down again, this time on one knee, asking me to marry him. Nothing fancy. Nothing spectacular. I didn't need that. All I needed was, "Emily, will you marry me?" And all I needed to say was, "YES!"

God. Is. Great. He was preparing my heart and I didn't even know it!
Just a reminder, He sees the bigger picture!