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

 

Will you come with me?

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I’ve been trying to slowly sort out our bedroom/dumping ground recently. It always ends up a complete tip because I shove stuff up there out of the way when I’m rushing! and then when it comes to tidying it up there is too much to do so I ram stuff under the bed and in the cupboards etc so it at least looks ok on the surface! Because it’s the room that no one really sees, and it only affects me and Jon, it gets the least attention (sorry Jon!)

The picture above is of me starting to sort it all out, sometimes to clean things properly the process makes a bigger mess than if you just left it alone! You have to start pulling out all the stuff you rammed away with no thought or care, it takes forever and I always end up thinking….why didn’t I just sort it properly in the first place!

As I looked at the rubbish piled on my bed I felt the Holy Spirit whisper to me…you need to do this in the spiritual as well, have a good old sort out.

Just like in the natural world we can put our needs last because everything/everyone else is clamouring for our attention….the only problem is when we are living in a mess in our internal world it has a negative impact on the people we love and our external world.

A bit of self care isn’t selfish, if we are supposed love others as ourselves we will struggle if we don’t deal with our own issues. If your harsh to yourself…you will end up treating others that way, or thinking about them critically as a minimum, even if you keep it all looking good on the surface.

Not processing and dealing with all the mess that comes our way. The hurts, the offences and the disappointments. Our own mistakes, words and negative thoughts

We get away with it for a while by ramming them away out of sight but before long the mess starts spilling out through angry outbursts, snappy overreactions and feelings of insecurity, hurt or offence.

The problem is once you start to deal with it all….it makes a bit of a mess and it’s not always pretty to look at your inside world in the cold light of day.

But it essential if we want the freedom that Jesus wants us to have. If we want to walk in the fruits of the spirit, do all He is asking us to do and deal with all that life throws our way.

I feel like Jesus is saying ‘will you come with me into your messy room, and let me help you sort it out.’

The kind of mess in your room will look different to mine….but unless you are Jesus, I can guarantee you there will some mess in there! Depending on how deep you have buried it and for how long (to put on the appearance of tidiness, order and control) will affect how big a mess it is to sort out.

So if you want to take Jesus up on his offer and go with Him, I will leave you with a couple of questions to help you tidy up! You might find some irrelevant but hopefully at least one will trigger at some truth for you;

Jesus what do I hide away so no one will see?

Am I offended at or jealous of anyone? Why?

When I speak to …… Why do I always feel like that?

Have I been agreeing with critical thoughts about myself and listening to shame telling me I’m not worthy or deserving of good things?

This is kind of a big subject area and I’ve only really scratched the surface. I’m no expert or any kind of counsellor …but I am someone who is just giving it a go, and trying in all my mess to just come to God and say….’yes please, I will come with you…..can you help me tidy up a bit, so I can be more truly me and more truly free, even if makes a bit of a mess at first’

How about you?

Love Emma xx.

P.s if this has touched a bit of a nerve with you and want someone to stand with you in prayer inbox me on Facebook and I will pray for you x

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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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