// a day for eucharisteo //

Remember when I defined eucharisteo in my first “1,000 reasons” post?

If not, here’s a refresher:

Eucharisteo – yoo-khar-is-teh’-o. Verb. Greek.

Definition: To be grateful; to give thanks.

It’s the word that’s been most prominent in my mind today, on this day of national giving thanks. Because if there’s anything I’ve learned since last Thanksgiving, it’s that thanksgiving isn’t a holiday.

Why do we limit our gratitude to one day, over turkey and a piece of pie?

True thankfulness– eucharisteo– is not a murmured prayer every November with family around a food-laden table. It’s living every day with hands outstretched and a song of praise on our lips. It’s seeking and finding God in the pretty and the plain.

That’s probably what made me so excited to celebrate Thanksgiving this year– going into it with the knowledge that my gratitude doesn’t have to end when I go to bed tonight. God never intended for it to. Every day is a celebration of thanks and blessings for those who love Him. Isn’t that amazing?

Now would probably be a good time to get caught up on my reasons for eucharisteo list, but I’m currently sitting downstairs, snug in the living room, and quite frankly I’m too lazy to go upstairs and retrieve my journal to copy the list. So instead I shall end this post by saying: Today, like so many other people, I’m thankful.

For my family and friends, the best a girl could ever hope to have.

For times of plentiful food and laughter (because that can be thanksgiving too).

For those who actually take time to read this little blog.

For all the loveliness shining amidst this broken world we live in.

For my Savior, my everything.

{love, em}

// one of those matters I can’t keep quiet about //

(I said I wasn’t going to post in November, but I feel as if this warrants it. I recently read God Less America by Todd Starnes, and ever since my heart’s been filled with this burning desire to speak up about this matter.)

We hear the stories.
Stories of Christians being persecuted, all over the globe. Church-burnings, imprisonments, even deaths.
We hear the horror stories and we breathe a prayer of thanks that we live here, in America, the land of the free.
We don’t even realise that we’re facing persecution too.
No, it isn’t violent; American society is too smart for that. It’s subtle– wrapped up in a gift of “acceptance” and “civil rights”, tied up with the ostentatious ribbon of “tolerance”.
So subtle, in fact, that many Christians around our county don’t even know it’s happening. Perhaps that’s why we’re so frustratingly complacent.
Do we even care that religious liberty is slipping from our fingers like shifting sands?
Or are we too wrapped up in our coffee shop Bible studies, our John 3:16s and Jeremiah 29:11s, our youth groups that have become more social functions than actual church?

There are things that we’ve all heard about.
A&E’s temporary suspension of Phil Robertson for sharing his opinion on homosexuality when he was asked in an interview.
The Chickfila fiasco.
The Hobby Lobby lawsuit because the company refused to fund employees’ abortions.
The German homeschooling family seeking refuge in America that the Obama administration wanted to deport back to Germany, where they would get in severe trouble for wishing to school their children the way God was calling them to. People seeking religious freedom being turned away from an allegedly free country.

In all these situations, Christians have flocked together in furious defiance– and won— because together, we are a blazing inferno, a kingdom that cannot be shaken.

But what about the stories we don’t hear, the ones that don’t make mainstream news?
Like the schools who tell their chorus students that they can’t sing traditional Christmas carols for fear of “offending anyone”, the banning of Christmas trees and Santa decorations for that same reason.
Like a college who boasts of open-mindedness and then insists that a student remove her cross necklace.
Like the military firing noble men who dare to profess Christianity because “there is no place for religion here”.
Like an anti-bullying lecture at a public school where a gay speaker proceeds to (ironically) make fun of Christians with very offensive language, causing believing students to stand up and walk out of the room in a state of disbelief and fury at being thus attacked.
Like the college students who are told that they must make a choice between science and faith– and when the brave few choose faith, they are ridiculed.
Like the way anyone who dares to say that homosexuality is wrong are immediately attacked, by the very people who preach “tolerance” vehemently.
Like the way Christ-followers are portrayed in the media as ridiculous, uptight hypocrites with no sense of modern culture.
Like the way a Muslim man can haul a prayer mat out whenever he wants, but set up a cross anywhere and society gnashes its teeth.
Like the many, many times where people have been told that, for whatever reason, they are not permitted to speak the name of Jesus.

…but isn’t this supposed to be America, the country where freedom rings?
It seems as if the religious liberty bells are being silenced– for Christ-followers, anyway.
Friends, this should make us angry. This should make the flame of righteous indignation burn in our souls.
Because if it doesn’t, our presence will be removed from this country before you have the chance to process it.
If it doesn’t, we will eventually become one of those nations where churches are burned and people are killed.

We can’t let that happen. We must rise. We must not sit cushioned in our comfortable Bible-belt bubbles any longer. It’s time to act.
For society can try and bury the workmen, but the work will go on.
For they can silence our voices, but they can’t stop our song.
For they can drown us in water, but they can’t snuff out our flame.
For they can take the entire world away from us, but they can’t take our Jesus.

It breaks my heart to hear these stories, to see similar ones in my own community, and it’s one of those things that it’s physically impossible for me to keep silent about.
Christians, it’s time for us to stand. It’s time to let our voices be heard.
Who’s with me?

Romans 1:16.
I am not ashamed of the Gospel….

{love, Em}

// a temporary adieu //

For the next month, I shall quite figuratively fall off the face of the earth.

For NaNoWriMo begins at midnight tonight– in the first moments of November– and I shall be participating for the very first time.

I’ve got my chapter outlines, my characters, my first seven chapters (shh).

I’m so ready for this.

But the only way I’m going to possibly accomplish my NaNo goals this year is to focus on Ignite— which means I’ll have to put other writing endeavors aside, lovely they may be. (And that will be a feat in itself, considering I have a short story assignment to work on for AP English in addition to Ignite… but I digress.) Blogging and short stories shall be put on hold for a little while.

And so, with that, I bid my goodbyes until December– until I am sweet seventeen.

May the Lord bless you and keep you… May He make His face shine on you and be gracious to you… May He turn His face toward you and give you peace. {Numbers 6:24-26}

You are loved and prayed for, dear heart, and I’m beyond grateful for you.

{love always, Em}