Beauty for Ashes

These days leading up to New Year are ones that I relish.

I enjoy the time to reflect on what has happened over the year, and to pray and seek God for the coming year. Jon and I have always done this both separately and then together, it has become a very special and Holy time in our home. It fills us with hope and vision, and gives us precious promises to look back on and strengthen us as the year unfolds.

You see as much as we can have vision, and hope and expectation. We cannot control our circumstances. This coming year things you hope for may very well come to pass….but also things will happen, good and bad, that you could never have anticipated.

But hope is an anchor in those times.

This year however has been an exception. I feel like my heart has lost hope before I have even made it to the New Year. It’s inexplicable in many ways, not based in circumstances, just a general weariness…and well, loss of heart over the last couple of months, it’s kind of crept up on me.

Anyone who knows me well will know I am not a hopeless person, I’m actually an extraordinarily optimistic person. I enter a competition along with a million other people and I think I’m gonna win! I’m naturally a happy kinda girl…I just don’t know myself recently.

I actually told Jon the other day to just pray and seek God for vision on his own this year,I genuinely believed he would be better off without me participating, that in my weakness I would somehow hold him back. In my heart I was withdrawing, from him, from God, from everybody…..

I think a mixture of exhaustion, hormones and warfare are to blame, along with some disappointment mixed in for good measure.

But alone with my children today, I knew as always I had a choice, to continue to allow my life to be robbed from me, or to press on and try and grab a hold of the truth. To throw the anchor of hope back over in prayer and humility and get it to dig in firmly.

I didn’t want to share it, to be honest, it feels raw and I feel exposed….my heart wants to withdraw and protect itself.

But I choose instead to offer what I have, to Jon, my family, my friends and my writing. It’s not much…but it’s real.

Tonight we are going to come together and pray, there will be tears I’m sure….but as I bring my ashes to God tonight, I know He will have beauty waiting in return…because He is faithful and it His Word is never changing, no matter how I feel.

This New Year, I encourage you to carve out time to just be with Jesus. However busy you are, whatever state you are in, full of hope or not…you need Him……and He is waiting, full of mercy and love with open arms

Happy New Year!

Love Emma x x

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Freedom

I came across this photo of our eldest son this morning. It’s a photo of him when he went wild camping with Jon last year. They had a wonderful adventure together, hiking to a hidden beach, sharing laughter, a roaring fire and late night hot chocolate watching the stars

A time of fun, adventure and freedom.

As I look at this photo of Isaac he looks completely free and full of joy. He is physically manifesting what I long for deep in my soul.

I long to be free.

Free to be myself. Free to love others with abandon and wholeheartedness. Free to let go of control and to trust God. Free to follow my dreams.

I long to be free in the deep places of my heart and mind.

I am learning that this deep freedom only comes as I become more fully surrendered to God. It something I am actively pursuing, but I also know I have along way to go.

It comes as I learn to walk closely with God to his voice and his leading.

It comes as I choose between 1000 tiny decisions of right and wrong every day. When to speak and when to shut my mouth. When to pursue an idea and when to lay it down. When to fight for something or simply let it go.

As I raise my family I know they will live with the fruit of these choices I make every day. The choice I make to pursue freedom will better position them to pursue it for themselves.

Don’t you long to be free and at peace in your heart?

This Christmas amidst the chaos, the demands, the duties and the present buying, I challenge you to look at the Christmas story afresh.

Look at the lengths Christ went to, to come here and set you free.

Look at Mary fleeing Herod

Look at God, who created everything, who spoke it all into being, coming here to die, so we could be free…….

Then ponder it, and chase it and pray for more of that freedom

Because it’s yours!

Have a truly happy, wonderful festive season with your families

Love Emma x

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