Monday, September 29, 2008

A Portion of the Weight

I have been so low lately.

First of all, I threw my back out. NOT FUN!! Let me just give a little bit of good advice, don't wear high heels two nights in a row without sitting down at least periodically throughout your events!...and a shot in the back isn't too fun either!

Secondly, my very good friend is moving away, far away. Every time I think about it, I just lose it! I have been reminiscing in my mind of so many special times that we have shared; our engagements, our weddings (which were only two weeks apart), the births of our babies. Rarely, do you meet another couple and all just click. From day one, the four of us immediately had a connection. I would venture to say that Joe has never had a closer friend. It's not too often that two young men can be crazy-silly and have tons of fun together and also pray and worship our Lord together without being afraid of becoming demacho-anized (like my new word? I just made it up!). My friendship with her is something that is just plain irreplaceable! She is my sound board, my confidant, my prayer warrior, and the most humble, wonderful role model of a wife, mother and Christian woman that I could ever think of (and I'm not being overly dramatic despite all of my emotions, it's the truth!). I know that there are emails and texts and phone calls, but I am going to miss seeing them!

So, I have been wallowing in a pool of self-pity for days now. During one of my broken moments, a crazy thought strayed into my little head. Maybe, instead of swimming in the waters of self-indulgent sorrow, I should lift up my friend and her family in prayer. Every moment that I feel the sadness start to creep up into my heart, PRAY! For goodness sakes, they have a lot more to be concerned with right now. The stress of moving your whole family, selling a house, starting a new job, starting a new life for that matter! Maybe, instead of half-heartedly dropping a few lines into my bedtime prayers, I could really start to intervene on their behalf. Maybe I shouldn't be so concerned with the physical loss of my wonderful friend, but instead pray for God to bless her with godly and true and loving friendships on her new journey! Most importantly, maybe I should start to pray that some of their burden would be dispersed on me, so I can help carry a portion of the weight!

Galatians 2:6 (NASB)
Bear one another's burdens and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


School is in full swing. My sweet little Jonah is already in 2nd grade and growing up way too fast!

So, Jonah has always gravitated toward weapons. Why? I'm not sure. My mom would say it is because I let him watch Star Wars at much too young of an age, but I don't know. Maybe. When Jonah was three, he made the play-banana into a gun at church in the toddler room. A friend of ours was helping out in there and let Jonah know that it was not a gun, but a banana. The very next week, Jonah holds it up and points the piece of play fruit directly at our friend's chest and says, "This is not a gun, it is a banana." Our poor three year old was lectured over and over again about the horrific and deadly results of gun use. I think this increased his fettish all the more. Micah has taken the whole weapon obsession to a whole new level. He makes anything and everything into a lightsaber. Hockey sticks, baseball bats, pvc piping, cable cords (there is a permanent reminder on our flat panel lcd tv of that one)... You name it! This weapon usage has bothered me some, to say the least, as a mom. Unlike my dad who is a member of the NRA and proud of it, I don't like guns and never have! Thank God Joe is not too fond of hunting, because I don't think that I would let him keep one in, or anywhere near, the house, garage or yard that my little treasures play in.

So, last night I come home from work, and on the table is a really detailed drawing of a scarecrow. But this was not your typical If-I-only-had-a-brain scarecrow.

I asked Joe, "What is this?"

He nonchalantly responds, "Oh, that's a gangster scarecrow."


You see, Jonah's scarecrow was hanging there with his decked out gangster outfit on and sunglasses with a hat turned to the side and patches with the word "YO" on one. There were bags of cash surrounding the bottom of the scene and little bunches of dynamite with their wicks lit and to top it all off, the scarecrow was holding a gun in each hand, with bullets exploding from their ends. I felt like I was going to throw up! My sweet, innocent child is being exposed to so much more than I thought he would ever be at his young age. The Star Wars, everything's a light saber thing, bothers me a little bit, but we always remind the boys how it's just make believe and not real. This whole gangster thing is REAL and for some reason,
Jonah thought it was cool. Oh, I was brewing last night. Jonah was already asleep and I so badly wanted to wake him up and give him a lecture. I waited until first thing this morning as soon as I heard his little feet hit the ladder of his bunk bed. I had a talk with him about how Jesus wants us to love gangsters and pray for them, but we don't want to be gangsters. I followed up with another graphic gun conversation, much like the one we had when he was a toddler, going on and on about how guns hurt and kill people, etc, etc, etc... Jonah jumps up and runs downstairs, crinkles up the picture and throws the paper in the garbage all the while apologizing over and over. He is so dramatic and I just don't know where he gets it from!

Jonah definitely has many characteristics of a leader but he yearns for people to like him and think he's cool. As I was observing Jonah, I started thinking about my own life and how he is a lot like me. I want to put on my cool clothes, (my church clothes). I want to wear my cool make-up, I want it to cover-up the real me, the exposed me, the ashamed me. I'm am so afraid to wash off the thick pancake, got-it-all-together look! Why? I think maybe because I'm afraid people will judge me like I have been judging them. I tend to get hung up on their outward sinfulness instead of displaying the unconditional love and forgiveness of Christ. This whole gangster thing has motivated me to turn on the faucet and splash some water onto my made up face, so hopefully as the make-up begins to melt away, my skin will become a little bit more transparent!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Young Love

Fifteen years ago, half of my life ago, I spotted my future husband on a yellow school bus. I had no idea of marriage in my young 15 year old mind. I was just a girl with a crush on a cute boy!

Eleven years ago, I desperately wanted to get married. Joe was still in college and I was working full time, but I didn't have benefits through work. We got engaged but planned a long engagement. One year and ten months. We were so worried about pleasing our parents. They were supportive but there were also some concerns about Joey not finishing college, financial stability, etc. etc..... We were only 19 and 20... I worked strictly on commission, so there was no precise way of figuring out a budget, but with God's prompting, I believe, we decided to push up the wedding. I am a pleaser so you can imagine how difficult this was. I remember feeling very insecure, constantly worrying about others opinions. I recall so many people commenting on how young we were. Some people would tell me their stories of how young they got married and how it didn't work out. But as worried as I was, the plans were in place.

We rented a little one bedroom, four hundred dollar-a-month apartment. Joe moved in a few months before the wedding. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that every piece of furniture we had was given to us (I take that back, I bought a coffee table from TJ Maxx). We didn't care, we just wanted to be together!

On September 11, 1998 I said "I do" to my sweet Joey. Three weeks later, our apartment building caught on fire. We woke up to another tenant pounding on our door, yelling at us to get out! You really don't think to grab anything when you are in that kind of danger. We quickly threw some clothes on and ran down the stairs and outside. We watched as huge flames engulfed the bookstore we lived above. Joey and I held on to each other and I remember thanking God that he and I were okay. All of our things had soot damage and we had to move into my parents basement for a few weeks while they cleaned everything. Thankfully we had just purchased renters insurance (for eight dollars a month, no joke). We moved back into the apartment, but the horrible stench from the fire still radiated throughout the place and God opened the doors for us to buy our first house.

Ten years, two houses and three babies later, we celebrate our ten years of marriage. I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father for all of the undeserving blessings he has bestowed upon us. Our life together is not always easy. We have our quarrels. But I have to say that I know my husband inside and out, and he knows me better than I know myself. Throughout the years we have grown up together and changed together. I know getting married young isn't for everyone, but I am so happy we did! Looking back on our youthful love I can remember all of the butterflies and excitement. The chills that ran down my spine when we had our first kiss. That teenage love has grown into something much different, more of a mature love, a love that requires a little bit more give than take, but a love that is real.

Thank you God for my sweet husband and our wonderful life together!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


He's finally home. THANK GOD!!!! Friday, I was in heaven. I was so thankful to have my wonderful other half back! I slept in on Saturday and it felt so good. I went and had a massage and it was amazing!! We had a great labor day weekend together. Joe and the kids played and I kicked back and sucked up all of the free time. Unfortunately, slowly, I began to get irritated at my sweet husband who just days earlier, I was longing for and missing terribly. He started to annoy me. Little things, like disciplining the kids or loading up the laundry room with all of his clothes were just getting on my nerves. You see, for a whole month, I was in complete and utter control over the household affairs and the punishment of the kids and even the laundry room!! Even though I complained and felt so sorry for myself, I kind of enjoyed the power. For those of you who know me, I know this is a huge shock! Me? Emily, likes to control the roost? Try not to LOL!! Joey has been a little stressed out about the new job too but I surely have not been living out Philip Yancey's "What's So Amazing About Grace?" book that I admire and tell everyone they need to read!!

I started thinking about how hard it is to show love to my own husband and how convicting it is that Jesus calls us to love not only those who love us but even more those who hate us. The red words of Christ boldy state to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us!! How sad it is that I have such a hard time displaying love to my husband whom I claim to love more than anyone else on this earth! Luke 6:27-36 boldy states,

But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on
one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as you Father is merciful.

I am so conditional sometimes. It seems as though so much of the time, I give my love expecting something in return. I want my love to be reciprocated. I want to take and then give. Christ is very clear on the complete opposite. He instructs us NOT to expect anything in return!! He commands me to be gracious to the ungracious. He commands me to be love to the unlovely. He commands me to pray for those who harm me. He commands me to give to anyone who asks and not to want it back!

Oh what powerful and convicting words are the red words of Christ!

Again in my spoiled, selfish, lazy life I inhale my savior's teachings and soak up his forgiveness for my inexcusable, sinful, unjustified attitude. I am not capable of demonstrating Christ's love without divine intervention and that's all there is to it. I am not copping out and making excuses, but I am praying for the Holy Spirit to guide and direct my responses and my attitude.

...Oh to grace how great a debtor, daily I'm constrained to be....(Come Thou Fount)