Wednesday, 30 July 2014

summer update :)

this week has been super amazing and super crazy and super exhausting so far! I'm volunteering at our VBS camp, which is called OASIS, and runs ALL day, so I'm there from 8-5, and we have swimming and stuff in the afternoon. :)

I have a bunch of 4-6 yos in my morning group and then 3 of them are my kids in the afternoon - they are so sweet! thankfully most of them are good listeners, but they sure need a lot of love and attention!!

next week I'm heading away to CYWAL, so there probably won't be a post later in the week, but I am hoping to get a Tunes Tuesday post scheduled :)

Are you doing any camps or VBSes this summer?

emma xoxo

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Tunes Tuesday :: camp edition

VBS camp is this week and one of the songs that we're asingin' that I'm alovin' is Forever Reign {camp version} and {regular version}.

This is one of my {many many many many many lol} favourite songs.... and on one of those days when I feel like everything is just out of my control and I can't deal I will put this song on, close my eyes, and let the truth sink into my soul as I run to His arms. I love that how it reminds my heart of the steadfastness of His character, He is good {when there's nothing good in me}, He is light {when the darkness closes in}, He is everything that I need and when I run to Him I am made whole.

I'm alookin' {don't ask me. I don't know why the language is acomin' out this way. ha} at last week's post, and realizing that there is a similarity. I guess that right now I'm just seeking the assurance of who God is, and that He will always be right by me. It doesn't matter what's going on, or how I feel:  He is still peace, He is still true, He is still joy, and He is here. I so need that right now. Anyone with me?

You are good, You are good
When there's nothing good in me
You are love, You are love
On display for all to see
You are light, You are light
When the darkness closes in
You are hope, You are hope
You have covered all my sin

You are peace, You are peace
When my fear is crippling
You are true, You are true
Even in my wandering
You are joy, You are joy
You're the reason that I sing
You are life, You are life,
In You death has lost its sting

Oh, I'm running to Your arms,
I'm running to Your arms.
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

You are more, You are more
Than my words will ever say
You are Lord, You are Lord
All creation will proclaim
You are here, You are here
In Your presence I'm made whole
You are God, You are God
Of all else I'm letting go

Oh, I'm running to Your arms
I'm running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

My heart will sing
no other Name
Jesus, Jesus
Oh, I'm running to Your arms
I'm running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough

know this, my friends, for it is true and always will be.
love emma xoxo

Linking up with Chantel and Elizabeth today :)

Friday, 25 July 2014

*sigh* debriefing the July challenge

So remember that challenge I gave myself? way back at the beginning of July?

well I failed. big time.

as in, I only did it one day, and then half of the next. and then I completely dropped it. and not only that, but that list I had at least been making at the end of the day? well I pretty much stopped doing that too.

the last almost two weeks (?) have been full of those days where they're not horrible and they're not great. I just kinda make my way through them, and unless it's somehow 'unmissable' I don't see the beauty, God's little graces, His gifts to me.

one thing that I have realized, is that when I am fixing my eyes upon Jesus, everything else seems to sort of fall into place. not that it's all simple, or easy, cuz it's not... but when I'm looking around at all the things down here, everything gets all mixed up, and I don't have the clarity or strength to sort out what's good or not, so it all just kinda gets jumbled up inside me and I can't figure it out.

it's super easy to be focused on God during quiet time in the morning, but it's all throughout the day that I need it, and that's where lately, it's super hard to remember.

I also have to admit that up to the last few days, reading my Bible has also not exactly been at the top of my list. and that makes me sad. because I know it is life-giving. and it is what I need to make it through the day.

the last few days I have been more disciplined at getting up early and spending time with God. yesterday morning I went on a romp through the woods, and I sang loud for only my LORD, lots of praise songs as I wandered in and wondered at the woods.

but it's in the middle of the craziness that I forget... anyone got any tips?

some things that I need to remember:
  •  Hebrews 12: 1b-2a
    "Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
    fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith."
  •  to look to God all throughout my day, to turn to Him with every little bit, it should {will?} change the way I think and the way I do everything
  • Philippians 4:6-7
    "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
 vbs camp next week!!! so excited! would appreciate any and all prayers :)



Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Tunes Tuesday :: the constant :: late edition

 I was working on this post Monday and yesterday, but of course I was interrupted several times and didn't manage to post it. So here it is late :) {better late than never, right? ;)}

For me, as you may be able to tell by the number of posts which include music on this blog, including this post, music is very important in my life. It is very powerful, and for me, it has the power to work with the Holy Spirit to transform my day, or my outlook on a situation. While I do love a little bit of my country music, I listen mostly to Christian music because I know the impact music has on my life.

So my goal here, is to share a song and why it's special to me, every Tuesday :)

This week, it's I See You by Love and the Outcome {yes, this album is still playing frequently! ;)}

 I see You, yeah

I've seen the view up on a mountain
Where trouble seems a million miles away
And I know the lonely of the valley
When sorrow is close enough to taste

I've had my share of suffering
I know the pain that life can bring
I've gone through some things
I may never understand (never understand)
But You've been good when life was not
Through battles won and battles lost
And when I look back
On everything I've been through
I see You (I see You)

I know that all things work together
For those of us who choose to call Him God
He might use calm, He might use chaos
He'll use whatever leads us to the cross

I've had my share of suffering
I know the pain that life can bring
I've gone through some things
I may never understand (never understand)
But You've been good when life was not
Through battles won and battles lost
And when I look back
On everything I've been through
I see You (I see You)

So now when heartache comes around
Surrounds me like a cloud
I know, I know You're standing next to me right here
I'm gonna hold Your hand right where I am
Yeah, yeah, yeah

I've had my share of suffering
I know the pain that life can bring
I've gone through some things
I may never understand (never understand)
But You've been good when life was not
Through battles won and battles lost
And when I look back
On everything I've been through
I see You
Standing next to me (I see You)
Standing next to me (I see You)
I see You

I don't know what it is, but lately I've been in a reminiscent sort of mood. And as I look back on my {albeit short}life, I can see that there is one thing that is the same all throughout. God. Sometimes when you're in the middle of life, in the moment it's hard to feel God's presence with you. I know this to be true! But when I look back, without a doubt, I can see God. That He has been with me, I have no doubt.

I'm not talking about how I can see Him working at weaving my story {although I can. mostly. there are still a few things... :P}, I am talking about the fact that His presence is the greatest most amazing thing I can have, and I have had it with me my whole life. I am talking about the fact that He is with me whether or not I feel it - which is hard to grasp sometimes, in my heart and mind.

And because He is God, He is also with each and every one of us. He has been with you throughout your whole life and is with you now, whether or not you see it. I challenge you to take some time, and ponder, reminisce, and see how the LORD has been with you. If you can see Him, thank Him. If you can't - take some time to pray, ask Him to show you, and He will. It's not always easy, but He will come through!

blessings on your day!!
love emma

Linking up with Chantel over at A Harvest of Blessing :)

Friday, 18 July 2014

the wasteland-bush and the tree by the stream

Jeremiah 17:5-8
This is what the Lord says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh, and whose heart turns away from the Lord.That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes. They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.
But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.  It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
This is one of my favourite passages. Well, the second half is. The first half I like, and I included it here as a contrast, and while I wouldn't say it's a favourite, it is certainly has several points we can learn from.
Here are a few things that we can draw from each part of the passage, to contrast with each other.
  • Cursed
  • Trusts in man
  • Bush in wastelands
  • Desert, wasteland, salt land (Dt. 29:23)
  • Parched
  • No prosperity
  • Strength from man
  • Turns away from God
  • Blessed
  • Trusts in the LORD
  • Confidence in the lord
  • Tree by water
  • Roots by the stream
  • No fear of heat
  • No worries of drought
  • Always bearing fruit
Think about that word picture, of the two ways of life. You get your strength from yourself, and you and your life are just a bush in the wastelands. Wastelands - what images does that word bring to your mind? A barren land, with not a lot of plants, no water, a lonely place, it has no way of sustaining life. Now think of being in the desert without water - think even of being really thirsty on a hot day, then multiply that, you are parched. You are cursed, and whether you realize it or not, you turn away from God. You may even think you are still walking with God - and truly you are never too far from Him, all you need to do is turn - but you cannot be walking by both your strength and His. When you walk by yours you are rejecting Him, or turning away from Him. You are a bush in the wasteland. 

 Now let's look at the promises that we have to hold to when we are getting our strength from God. We are a tree by the water, our roots are by the stream. Even if the land goes dry, we will still have our source of water, and our leaves will still be green. We can have confidence in the LORD. Confidence! Think about it, what a powerful word. We will be blessed. We don't need to fear and worry about heat or drought coming, because our water supply won't disappear on us. We also don't need to fear or worry if we are in the middle of one of those seasons. If we are, maybe we're not getting our strength from God, and that's something to pray about and really work on! 

And the last few months, this has been the part of the verse that I have really clung to, that has been powerful in my life. "and never fails to bear fruit." If I am getting my strength from the LORD, there is no promise that life will be easy, all lollipops and sunshine, it won't even always be hard work that makes you feel good-tired at the end of the day. It will be messy, and we will have troubles (John 16:33). But what we can hold to, is that even in a season of drought, or heat, or whatever it may be - we will not stop bearing fruit. That's because we're not the ones doing it anyway, and He who does, is not affected by the seasons. 

If your strength comes from the LORD, rest assured, that even if you don't feel like it, you are bearing fruit.

May God bless you richly this day, as you seek to walk in His strength!

Linking up with Elizabeth over at Oak and Oats today :)

Monday, 14 July 2014

my fortress {unshakeable}

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. 
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
Psalm 62:1-2

The other morning I had 'finished' my Bible reading for that time, and was flipping through the Psalms, when I came to Psalm 62. I quickly read verses one and two, then read them again {several times}. There are a few amazing things I found in this verse that I thought I would share. 

The first part, my soul finds rest. Rest. Something my soul yearns for, and needs. There are days when my soul does not get its rest, and I feel oh so weary as a result. But there is something important to note. My soul finds rest in God, alone. No where else will my soul be satisfied so. When I need rest, there is one place I need to run to, and one place only. 

My salvation comes from Him. Salvation, to be saved. Saved from sin, from hell and Satan, from myself. 
It comes from God. I cannot save myself. It doesn't matter how strong or brave or anything I am. Salvation is only from the LORD.

He is my rock. That is, a firm, solid place which cannot be moved. A solid foundation to place my trust in.

He is my fortress. This reminds me of other verses which refer to God as a refuge, such as Psalm 46:1-3. A fortress is a place we can run to and it will keep us safe.

And now we get to my personal favourite part of this verse: what a promise we have here! I will never be shaken! I. Will. Never. Be. Shaken. When I am in the fortress, there is nothing that can shake me.

To 'sum' up this verse in one word, I would like to say secure. God is a secure rock and fortress for us, and in Him, we are secure.

blessings, friends!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

{challenge 1} {in which I compare my spiritual life to a plant}

Every year it goes the same way. Winter.... my spiritual life is often similar to plant life at that time of year: underground, cold/half frozen, sleepy, yet still alive. But as spring comes, I can feel it stirring in me. My soul says, don't leave me here, and I yearn for growth, and as the days get longer, warmer, my heart thaws, and I can feel life rising in me.

Typically springtime is amazing. Enter July. When I get to July I usually feel like I'm just trying to make it through the days that drag, and then the weeks fly by faster than light, and that really really bothers me because that's not how summer is supposed to be! {and all of a sudden I'm wondering, should this post really be about expectations and how discontent comes when they don't get met... maybe that's what my problem really is.}

Summer is such a beautiful time. And so often I miss it.

I'm in the habit of getting to the end of my day, and writing down a few things I'm thankful for about that day. I'm thankful for that habit. But I'm feeling like it's not enough to get to the end and scratch down a couple things like 'fun in the pool', or 'great run'. It's 'better than nothing' - but I want to be looking for the beauty in each moment, not thinking back on them later. I want to live in wonder and awe.

And so my challenge for myself this week of July {will you join me? :) } is to search for the beauty, and then document it. In either a photograph, or a written sketch. My goal for this week is at least two photos or written sketches per day. {and hopefully many more beautiful moments that are just captured by a word or two}

I want to love life. I want to live it fully, totally amazed by the awesomeness of what God has given us.
blessings on your day!

linking up with Chantel over at A Harvest of Blessing

this post by Ellen, and this one by Marian, were among the many things swirling around inside my head that resulted in this post.

Monday, 7 July 2014

soundtrack of my life {lately}

quite a while ago, I read this post on (in)courage by the Nester, and ever since then I've been meaning to write this.

I have found that it is so true, that music can take you right back. A song can hold you during a certain time in your life, or you could just love hanging out with it, until there comes a time when you are about ready for a new one - but if you go and play the old one, after you've moved on, it still has the power to bring you right back to where you were.

And so I've been thinking about the songs that have been on my life's soundtrack the last year or so. I'm writing this to keep track of it for myself, and also to share some really awesome music with y'all :)

I'm very much an 'album' person (and what I mean by that is I will listen to an entire album over and over again for a long time.) Most of the music on this year's 'soundtrack' is like a whole album, or at least selections from an artist. There are a few special individual songs that I have held close :)

Without further ado, let me begin...

Last summer, Chris Tomlin's newest album, Burning Lights was being played over and over and over and over (and over). Pretty much from the end of WonderJAM until we went to Alberta last summer (and even after), this was definitely my favourite thing to listen to.

After Alberta, my two favourite songs from that album were Crown Him (Majesty) and Sovereign. (Sovereign especially) (another song that was special to me at that time was Taylor Swift - Enchanted)

As fall deepened, and winter came, the most played names on my list were probably Natalie Grant (the album Love Revolution and radio singles), and Mandisa (radio singles, Overcomer, Stronger, etc)

During the winter, and beginning of spring, I listened to a lot of worship music, Matt Maher (Lord, I Need You is a favourite), and Matt Redman (don't think I can pick a favourite ;))

April definitely had me listening to Frozen music (of course ;) haha!), and once Francesca Battistelli's newest album, If We're Honest, came out April 22, I pretty much listened to that non-stop until the end of May, when Love and the Outcome's album took its place.

Currently, the theme music for right now is still Love and the Outcome, as well as Rend Collective, the Art of Celebration.(this playlist on youtube)

I need the reminder that God truly is, bigger than any battle I'm facing, and better than ANYTHING I've been chasing.

What's the theme song for your life right now? :)

Friday, 4 July 2014

welcome :)

welcome to my little space here :) I hope you will find a little encouragement!

I had a blog on wordpress before, but they changed formats and it was confusing me so I switched over to here (as well as an older private blog). please excuse any problems with organization or pictures or videos not showing up... still trying to figure it out :)

please follow, read back, and leave comments :)