Going on ’17…

Is anyone else out there plagued by introspection? 

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I can’t seem to escape it. Whether I am walking my dog, cleaning up around the house, or even having a conversation with someone (sorry!), my mind is constantly running diagnostics in the background.

“Let’s sum up in a few statements every (EVERY) decision that has led me up to this point, shall we? What kind of story arc do I see? What are the repeating patterns? Is this a narrative I’m proud of? Ashamed of? What adjustments need to be made? What patterns should be interrupted or perpetuated? How is this impacting others?”

I’m not kidding. I’ve never tried to articulate these thoughts, but they’re there. Constantly. Throw in culturally introspective milestones like birthdays, holidays that involve family and food, the NEW YEAR, and I’m practically a basket case.

No? Just me then? Cool. Cool.

For me, 2016 was a year of stretching. My trust was stretched as I stepped WAY out of my comfort zone and into new assignments. My heart was stretched as I opened the door for more healing work to be done. My emotions were stretched as I navigated mountaintop highs and crushing lows. My faith was stretched as I leaned into a possible future and began to make preparations. My hope and patience were stretched as we sought healing and answers for my son.

Stretched and grown. Like a girl on a rack in a torture chamber…er,  I mean… it was amazing. 😉

Kurt and I stepped out of youth ministry and into leading worship on Saturday nights.

Can I just say, the authors of articles condemning “performance-oriented, megachurch worship productions” haven’t met the worship leaders at Lifegate. Those critics obviously haven’t seen me and my friends stand on the platform in total spiritual nakedness and vulnerability and pour out our hearts on the altar of praise in front of people who are being invited to either participate or judge/criticize/condemn. They don’t know the spiritual battle, the accountability, the depth of love, the preparation and sacrifice… (But I digress)

It has been our honor and privilege to lead the Saturday night teams. And it’s super duper scary sometimes.

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I watched my last baby turn one, and we dedicated her to the Lord on Mother’s Day. My heart leaned into what it looks like to be finished with the childbearing season of my life. I grieved and then allowed myself to dream about the future without factoring in the possibility of pregnancy and a newborn.

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Kurt and I led a team to Serbia where God tore my heart wide open in a million different ways. (I’ve already written a whole, whole bunch about this, so I won’t expound here.) We dreamed and planned and decided to launch toward a seemingly impossible future. I began to write more and dared to craft a platform to better share our crazy adventures and my personal God-led journey.

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We prayed and fasted for the healing of my son tortured by Tourette Syndrome, and we found an amazing new specialist at a Tourette Clinic in Kansas City. We received understanding, validation, and new hope for the first time in a LONG time.

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I faced another season of depression like I haven’t experienced for a long time. I leaned into some new healing work, which was heart-wrenching and difficult and frustrating. Old symptoms resurfaced (nightmares, flashbacks, waking up in Mound City, etc.) and I clung desperately to the Truth while my amazing community helped buoy me until I found solid ground. God is so faithful. I trust him completely. Also Complex PTSD sucks.

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We got a dog!! This family who managed to stay pet-less for well over a decade now includes both a bunny named Snowflake and a dog named Leo, whom we love very much.

Oh and so much more.

Truthfully, 2017 looks pretty frightening. Frightening and amazing – like grabbing a backpack, trusting there is a parachute inside, and jumping out of an airplane. I’ll be pretty relieved when that chute opens.

Thank God for His grace. When my mind tires from trying to find the hidden picture in the cacophony of my intricately complicated and beautiful life, I just fall into the arms of my Abba – Creator of the Universe and Lover of my soul – and listen for his still and calming voice lighting the path directly in front of me. 

When I look ahead to 2017, I see some certainties and a whole lot of canvas to be painted. None of us know the details of what is in store for us this year. (I believe that’s a mercy in a lot of ways.) All we can do is get to know the One with every answer, and then take each step forward with no fear of failure or success, hand in hand with the Lord who loves us best.

Praying for an extra measure of grace, provision, tangible love, renewed energy, and protection for everyone reading this post. Love you all. ❤

Spirit, lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters – wherever you would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, so my faith would be made stronger in the presence of my Savior…

4 thoughts on “Going on ’17…

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  1. It’s so hard to be stretched, isn’t it, Emily? I’m so sorry you have PTSD and your son has Tourette’s. Have you ever seen the movie Front of the Class? A young man with Tourette’s defies all odds to become a gifted teacher. I’m sorry, too, that your way of worship is condemned. I was deeply troubled by that article. Only God knows where our hearts are! Thank you for sharing openly and vulnerably and for reminding me of that song. I long for that to go deeper with Jesus where my trust is without borders. Have a year filled with Jesus’ unconditional love and boundless, all-sufficient grace! Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was beautiful, Emily. Thank you so much for writing it…I really needed to read it right here and right now 🙂 What a gift to see Leo pictured,as well! Sending lots of love to you and your family and looking forward to a 2017 in which I get to know all of you guys better!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ohh my dear friend. Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful!!! It’s refreshing to hear God’s faithfulness to you in your reflection on this year! Your family is so precious to me!!! Love you so much! 😘

    Liked by 1 person

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