Catch the wind

It’s been months since I’ve written on here.

Come to think of it, it’s been months since I’ve written anything. 

As I’m sure many of you are aware in July our family made the move from Cornwall to Scotland. It’s been such an interesting and emotion filled time loaded with highs and lows for all of us. Full of joy filled glorious moments as we build our little church community, and lows as we settle into this new season.

I was prepared to leave Cornwall, I knew I would miss our friends and family, I knew it would be a big upheaval for the kids.

But I was not prepared for how hard it would be as a parent to watch our children suffer. To see them cry as family left, to leave them at the school gates looking lost, to watch them be overlooked at the park and to gaze over at them as they withdrew into a book or a film not wanting to tell us how there day has been….it’s been brutal on our hearts as parents.

Yet it has produced good fruit. Beautiful, diverse, lasting faith and hope filled fruit. We’ve prayed with more passion for them. We’ve taken time to listen to them individually and love them with more intention. In difficult moments when I don’t have any words to bring comfort I’ve sought God for wisdom of what to do or say. We’ve been teaching them about God being their refuge and in those times at school when we can’t physically be there for them, they are learning for themselves that God is always with them. In our little church community, and out and about I watch them be kind and inclusive as they seek to make others welcome.

The fruit is as beautiful as the process has been brutal. The beautiful exchange as we give God what is hard and painful He transforms it into something good and lasting. 

As hard as it is, the fire really does refine, and in parenting there is always opportunity to this played out.

For me personally I’ve been driving deeper into who God is and what that means to me as a daughter and a follower of Him. I’ve found massive inspiration and challenge through Melissa Helser’s story. (Check out some of her testimony on YouTube) Rarely a day goes by when I’m not declaring the lyrics from their new album over our household.

My feelings have been all over the place and I’m trying (and failing often) to make good choices with my thoughts and my words despite the circumstances or how I might feel. Eventually peace and joy are found at the end of a good choice.

The other thing that has really helped and boosted my soul is intentionally seeking out the beauty and good in my everyday life. It’s a habit the kids are learning too. 

Autumn has been glorious here in East Lothian, and as I drive and walk about from one thing to the next I take time to breathe in the fresh air, to notice the array of changing colours in the leaves or point out birds to the kids…..

Despite the stories on the news, the illness of friends, the difficult circumstances, the loss and loneliness we can all feel…..good can always be found, and our souls need it.

Look for the beauty today, and catch the wind!

Em x

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Is ‘Wellness’ a choice?

I’ve been on the most incredible journey with my health over the last 7 weeks, and it’s rocked almost everything I thought I knew about Wellbeing.

First of all what is Wellbeing? According to the dictionary ‘ it’s the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort.’ I think that’s a pretty short but decent definition, although I would have to add in the word soul to that.

7 weeks ago I took my young son for a haircut and stood facing the mirror for a good 20 minutes. I looked and felt awful, spotty skin, dark eyes, lank hair. I felt grumpy, lethargic and worn out in every way. I was exercising, but I wasn’t sleeping well or eating well or thinking well. My prayer life was almost non existent and soon as I got the kids in bed all I wanted to do was sit with my iPad eating junk food and zoning out….and whenever that was possible, thats what I would choose.

Long story short I decided enough was enough, and I did a 14 day eating plan where I cut out junk food and sugar ( and I’m still going in many ways). Lots of areas of my life were a mess but I chose food because I became aware that it was impacting every part of my Wellbeing….let me explain.

John Eldredge from Ransomed Heart often talks about the difference between restoration and relief. Life is busy and full of circumstances and challenges we can’t control, in the middle of that God is always waiting and inviting us to go to Him to be restored. However often instead of turning to Him, to truth, to Life, we seek relief instead. zoning out to the tv, scrolling through social media, eating comfort food…fill in the blank…

so choosing to tackle my eating habits first, although seemingly non-spiritual was actually a spiritual choice. Food had become something in my life that it was never meant to be. The chocolate in the fridge became where I turned when I was bored, frustrated, exhausted or stressed. God wasn’t getting a look in, except occasionally maybe when I would listen to a teach online…while I was eating!

God created us to journey through life with Him. He created food for us to be nourished and sustained, enjoyed with friends. He gave us free will to choose and to think. He gave us a body and a mind to live in and asked us to care for it.

I lay before you life and death….now choose life – God.

As a man thinks in his heart, so is he – Soloman, Proverbs.

When I started eating better, using food to nourish me instead of comfort me…it created space for me to turn to God instead. I got more energy and became more productive. I found myself more awake and alert, praying and worshipping more. I was a nicer person to be around ( especially at home with my kids and husband) with more patience and kindness because I was more connected to God. 

I look better, I feel better and I’m thinking better quite simply because I made a choice. Then I carried on making that choice every day. Has it been easy? No. Has it been worth it? Yes.

We can’t control the things that come against us in the forms of sickness and disease, we can’t control our DNA. But we can choose to think good thoughts, forgive, eat good food, exercise, sleep enough, rest enough, drink enough water, and this will give us the best opportunity for health.

We can choose restoration instead of relief and everytime we do that we choose wellness. Whether we are fighting fit or in the midst of a health battle we can choose wellness. For me it started with choosing well with my food and it then seeped into every part of my life. What is it for you? Do you need to stop criticising others? Or get outside more? Or choose hope over despair? Or go to bed earlier?

Why not pray and ask the Holy Spirit if there is a choice you can make to move you towards wellness

So is wellness a choice?
Yes.

Will you choose it?

Love Emma x

Pls check out Dr Caroline Leaf….think and eat yourself smart it’s a great resource and explains in so much depth how our thought choices and food choices affect our brains and our health.

Finish the exercise!

  
As most of you know I recently qualified as a Pilates instructor, even though I hold the qualification I am only at the beginning of learning all there is to learn. I choose to still train twice a week with a great instructor much further down the road than me, this helps and inspires me greatly.
At my session this week she observed that I never finish each repetition fully, I’m always rushing on to the next one. Often in the final parts of the exercise is where the benefits are found. I joked in response that I am like that in life so it’s no surprise it floods into this part of my world too.
See I’ve always been a great starter….not so good with the finishing! Like so many of us I struggle to keep the momentum going once the excitement has passed. 
So it’s funny really that I have fallen in love Pilates, because in Pilates there are no short cuts. There is no rushing to the next thing. There is no winging it! There’s only discipline, commitment and concentration. 
I love how the natural reflects the spiritual. When we invite God into everything we do he speaks to us. For me Pilates is something that has exposed so much of my character flaws and given me a great opportunity to deal with them. As I face them in the physical I find myself dealing with similar things in the spiritual.
All around my life are half finished projects, piles of not quite sorted paperwork, half completed books and studies…eating plans I started but never finished and it leaves me feeling disappointed and wasting the gifts and opportunities I’ve been blessed with.
Children learn from example not from what we tell them. Now this doesn’t mean we have to strive for perfection and be guilt ridden at every mistake, but actually once something has been revealed to us we have an opportunity and a responsibility to try, and to overcome things is a beautiful thing.
So for me, I will be trying to slow down and finish what I’ve started, whether that be a leg circle, an eating plan or a book.
Being open to listen and learn from our day to day life is invaluable. At my church small group at the moment I feel like a sponge to soaking it all in, hungry to listen and learn. The realisation that I have far to go, and much to learn is one that brings excitement and expectation into my heart.
Sometimes we hide from our flaws or feel condemned by them, but that’s not how Jesus sees it. He is always ready to help us and sustain us and walk with us through it all. Life is an incredible journey and by valuing and humbling ourselves we make the journey that much richer and more fruitful.       
So maybe your crazy busy like me with kids and general life and you don’t have much time to stop, listen and consider….maybe try intentionally praying and asking God to speak to you through all areas of your life….
That’s a prayer you will definitely get an answer to!
I’d love to hear from you if you do post a comment to encourage others
Love Emma x 

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Pilates, Peppa Pig and PMT

What a crazy few months it’s been!

As the title suggests, I’ve been desperately tying to juggle studying Pilates and family life, while my hormones have been going crazy. I’m not gonna lie it’s been tough.

Trying to practise my exercise while the kids clamber all over me, studying anatomy with my flash cards while waiting at the school run. Keeping going through horrificly painful periods, it’s challenged me in every way.

I’ve noticed a pattern in my life than when I get very busy another very important ‘P’ goes out the window….

Prayer

It seems the busier I get, the more I struggle spiritually. I try hard not to let it happen but at the end of the day it just loses it’s priority in my life. As stresses come we learn a lot about who we are and what our lives are built upon. For me it nearly always takes a crisis to reevaluate how I live my day to day life.

Chatting to God in the car on the way to work last week, I realised quickly that it had been a while…a while since I just hung out with Jesus, just because I wanted to and because I love him. I mean I sent plenty and one liners up there, and I’ve prayed for other people….but to just be, with no agenda….I’ve no idea how long that had been.

Life is always busy in the world we love in today, and stresses, demands, schedules, illness, challenges…there not gonna stop. I was chatting to someone in the street the other day, they had noticed how worn down I was looking, they gave me some advice which I’ve really tried to take on board.

 This person said to me, ‘ the difficult hormones and migraines are probably caused by stress, you need to take it easy.’ I replied, ‘oh I will, as soon as these exams are out of the way, it will calm down, then I will do less.’ They smiled a knowing smile, ‘that’s what stressed people always say. When your exam finishes there will be something else ready to take its place’

Busted.

I realise I may have been making that excuse a lot recently, oh, as soon as this finishes it will calm down, as soon as so and so starts sleeping through the night, as soon as my period is finished. There is always something…..

So we have to choose right now, what our priorities are, how we spend our time, how much we give to God, our families etc. because otherwise tomorrow never comes and we become people we don’t want to be, living lives we don’t want to live.

This photo below was taken a couple of weeks ago just before I left to teach, I don’t think the make up hides the exhaustion and the banging headache, I didn’t feel myself that day.

Nothing has changed outwardly. I’m still practising til I’m bruised, I’m dreading my next period and that peppa pig song is still driving me crazy. 

But I have changed inwardly. 

Just in a small, probably unnoticeable way to anyone else. But in my heart, my priorities are reordered and prayer  is back, helping me and guiding me along the way.

How are you doing? Do you even know? Maybe take a minute to be quiet and ask the Holy Spirit

Thanks for reading, I hope it helps at least one person

Love Emma x 

 

Your love breaks down my prison

  

I love how God can speak to us in and through all circumstances. I’m a person who loves to be outside in creation and I go there to connect with God and refresh my soul whenever I can. But the reality of my everyday life is that most of my time I’m looking after children, cooking, cleaning, working and running around after everyone.

Monday morning was its normal beautiful chaos, and as we all ready for school and work and my heart and mind were in a bad place. I’d been struggling for a couple of weeks. Drowning it to do lists and anxious thoughts I was starting to panic, as I bent down to clean the toilet I prayed a quick prayer of help to God and I heard His loving responce 

‘You have a choice here, to keep spiralling in anxiety or find your way back to me’

I was tempted to choose to spiral if I’m honest, I just couldn’t find the strength, time or the inclination to come back to Him…it was easier to wallow and attack my to do list. I tried to just pray on my own on the way to work but the slightest things kept setting me off. In the end I called a friend who knows my heart and my story. She prayed and spoke truth into my heart and together we dispelled the lies I has been believing and I realigned with truth.

It was simple, powerful and beautiful. 

We were created to live in community, to share our struggles, and to love and strengthen one another. It’s ok to need help sometimes.

It all starts with a choice.

Leaning over cleaning my toilet I could have chosen to ignore God, shove it all down, ‘put my best foot forward’ attack my day and be panicking and spiralling down inside. Outwardly no one would know, things would get done….not with love really though and I would be snapping at those I care about the most as I struggled in my own strength.

Gods love breaks down our prisons. The ones that build up in our hearts and minds. There are lots of theories about the battles that go on in our minds. Whether it’s hormones, emotional, spiritual, circumstantial or some sort of combination, to be honest it doesn’t matter.

If it’s a lie…just don’t partner with it. 

Your thoughts are where it all begins. As we walk with God he promises us freedom, but we still have to choose it every single day. (Read Ephesians 6:10-20)

Sometimes we are walking on the cliff tops in the sunshine, sometimes we are cleaning the toilet. God speaks to us everywhere. We can always choose Him, we can always choose truth.

I just spent about half an hour listening to Jonathan Helser singing East from West, drowning my soul in truth. Sometimes we just need to seek out and marinate in His love for us.

I’m smiling and peaceful as I sit here because HE IS GOOD and  Monday morning I chose well. 

I love this journey with God I find myself on, I’m praying that someone out there will find freedom today from this.

His love breaks down my prison…..

Love Emma 

How to boil the perfect egg

I was chatting with my mother in law recently when she told me the method to boil a perfect egg. As soon as she started talking I paid attention. Their was just something in the way she spoke that made me really listen. When she first heard the technique she was dubious but having tried it 3 times herself she now knows it’s foolproof. 

Her experience instantly validated her words. It’s hard to argue or disbelieve people’s personal experiences, they hold so much more weight than theory does. I left the conversation convinced of its truth, when someone experiences something firsthand, it shines through in their words and their whole countenance…it causes you to pay attention.

I experienced something so tangible in my walk with God last night I wanted to share it. I experienced the theory coming to life…and I just need to share it.

The bible teaches that God walks close to us in difficult times. It also teaches that God brings peace when we turn to Him in a storm. 

Well last night alone in my living room there was a storm. This storm was in my heart and mind. 

I found myself nursing old wounds, battling with familiar struggles and my thoughts were spiralling out of control. 

I absentmindedly tried a few methods of numbing my feelings. Several trips to the fridge to nibble on chocolate, endless flicking through the internet and TV, I even just lay and tried to sleep….it was horrible. The thoughts were swarming and I was close to tears.

I knew God was whispering ‘come to me’ not audibly but somewhere deep in my heart. But I didn’t want to come. I knew some of the thoughts I was battling with were rooted in bitterness and I didn’t want to repent and let them go. I felt justified in them…I wanted to stew.

But eventually I knew I just had to. I put an awesome worship song on, got my bible and lay on he floor. I asked God to help me, I repented and I let the truth of his love wash over me. 

It was instant.

The knot in my stomach dissolved, tears flowed, truth overshadowed the lies, and a sweet warmth filled the room. It was amazing. 

I have had experiences similar to this countless times over the years, you think I would learn to go to God quicker….but I can be a stubborn old thing!

These small tangible experiences are worth 10 x the theory. They bring a  light to my eyes and a confidence to my words. I know about 50% of the people who read this don’t have a faith in Jesus, so I try to be careful not to offend or say things too strongly. But I had to tell this story just as it happened.

Before I became a Christian, my mind was where I really battled, I could never let anything go. Scenarios would just replay over and over in my mind. I still battle with it now….but so much less, and giving it over to God in prayer is the ONLY thing that has made the slightest difference. It’s a freedom and a truth I just can’t keep quiet about.

Just like the egg boiling method….it works every time and still leaves me amazed.

God is there. Not just my bible tells me this, my heart, mind and experience do too.

This morning I awoke with a message on my Facebook from a friend, she had been praying for me. The message contained a link to the worship song I had turned to last night….of all the songs, logically how could she have known? But with faith these things are possible. It was just another small kiss from heaven. God is so with me in my mess.

Oh and in case your wondering, this is how you boil the perfect egg….

You cover the egg 2/3 with boiling water, put a lid on the pan and boil for exactly 5 minutes. You then take the egg out and put in straight in cold water for a few seconds….perfection!

Emma x

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Service or Repair?

After an ongoing nightmare with our last vehicle we finally have a new one. We tried our best when choosing to pick wisely, the one we went for in the end was from a good garage and it had a full service history. As we were leaving the mechanic really recommended keeping on top of the services and not scrimping. What he said next has stuck with me and I have been pondering it ever since, he said;

‘I have two kinds of customers, those who come in for services and the others who come in for repairs’. In other words if you look after your vehicle in a preventative way, there are less repairs that you need to do. My job as a fitness instructor has taught me exactly the same principle, their are people who look after their health with proper nutrition and exercise, and their are people constantly medicating and dieting to try and fix their ill health.

Now of course there are exceptions you can become very ill or your car can break however well you look after yourself or your possessions, but we do have a integral role to play in looking after what God has entrusted to us.

More important than your physical possessions and body is the health of your heart and mind. Take a moment to ponder and pray, when it comes to your internal world are you more of a service or repair kinda girl?

Do negative, critical, judgemental thoughts just swim around your mind out of control until they come out of your mouth and do damage and something/someone needs repairing? Or do you take the time to notice them, repent, speak scripture and truth over them preventing the damage?

Do you believe lies about yourself that your no good, never gonna change, inferior to other people…allowing shame to come in and batter you down? Or do you fight those thoughts with the truth that Jesus says about you, that you’ve been made perfect in His sight, that He chose you and you have an important role to play in His kingdom.

I guess I’m a bit of both, but I’m choosing more to take the time to service my heart and mind by regularly taking the time to check in with God and asking Him to search my heart. We are all so busy and the hardest person to fight for is yourself. I am learning that I just don’t have the time not do the this. The repairs I need to do from letting rubbish build up on my mind and heart are much more costly and time consuming than the time it takes to give myself a regular spiritual service. 

The beautiful, redemptive truth of the gospel is so awesome that when we do become overwhelmed and unwell emotionally God always helps us with the repair work, whether it be to ourselves or those we have hurt so their is no condemnation here. We are all on a journey and we all will get it wrong sometimes.

From the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks…..and don’t we know it!

Let’s be women who know their worth and invest in our spiritual Wellbeing, the fruit is so good not just for us but for everyone in our world. Let’s choose life.

How about you?

Could you do with a service?

Thanks for taking the time to read this, I hope and pray it’s helpful to you

Love Emma

 

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