// you were born to bloom. //

“Just keep believing, you’ll see a new season soon

You’re turning into something amazing

Baby, you were born to bloom, bloom, bloom.”

// Moriah Peters / “Bloom” //


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{See that shy little half-open bud in the left corner? Remember it; it’s kind of important.}

For the past month, roughly, we’ve been keeping flowers in our upstairs bathroom in preparation for showing and selling our house. Now, to many of you, this doesn’t seem like a big deal at all, and you’ve got flowers in your house all the time, and I just need to chill.

Well, I share my bathroom with my younger brother. Flowers are a very big deal.

So, flowers. I’ve been watering them off and on to keep them alive, going on errands to pick up fresh ones, that sort of thing. And I’ve also been admiring their beauty while going through my daily and nightly routines of brushing teeth and hair. (Disclaimer: I do indeed wash my face as well. But I do not admire flowers while washing my face, because I am not wearing my glasses and cannot see the flowers well enough to properly admire them. Rest assured that I am indeed hygienic.)

This week’s vase of flowers has been particularly lovely and joy-inducing, and I’m probably giving way too much philosophical thought to flowers seeing as I am writing a blog post around them, but in my defense I had these thoughts after midnight. (I get particularly big-picture-thinking at night, when I don’t have Life and Busyness to distract me.)

Remember the shy little half-open flower bud that’s sort of hiding behind the other fully-bloomed flowers? I told you it would be important.

The other flowers were already in full bloom when I bought this bouquet on Monday– all the flowers except for this one and another.

Two little closed buds, on the fringes of the bouquet, not welcome to the flower-party.

For the past few days, I’ve been watching them, curious to see if they’ll bloom, and that curiosity morphed into wishing they’d bloom because that would be lovely.

(Once I even caught myself saying, “C’mon, you can do it!” and promptly had a good laugh at myself and how invested I was in this.)

And yesterday, while I was out in Real Life and Taking Care of Things, this bud finally opened.

So when I came in to get ready for bed, I was naturally excited because I was getting to watch a bloom in action, and that was pretty cool.

And like I said, it was just after midnight, so I was a bit sleepy and poetical, and I started thinking.

Yes, this flower-bud was rather shy, and certainly was taking its time to bloom (it still is), but here I was excited over it, and thinking to myself that it’s so much lovelier than its kindred flowers who have bloomed already.

Not every flower blooms at once. Life would be a lot less interesting if they did.

But the flowers that take their time and work to be brave and bloom, they’re every bit as beautiful as the bold, cheery ones who bloom early on.

And they are definitely worth the wait.

Don’t feel obligated to bloom before your time.

Trust in God’s timing, and you’ll grow and bloom more than you could’ve ever imagined.

And it will be beautiful.

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{See? Look how lovely the little bud is now. It is doing its own thing. You do you, and don’t worry about the timing of your blooming. It’s all in the Gardener’s hands anyway.}

{love always, Em}

// conviction. (again.) //

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“ ‘When you painted on earth– at least in your earlier days– it was because you caught glimpses of Heaven in the earthly landscape. The success of your painting was that it enabled others to see the glimpses too. But here you are having the thing itself. It is from here that the messages came. There is no good telling us about this country, for we see it already. In fact we see it better than you do.’

‘Then there’s never going to be any point in painting here?’

‘I don’t say that. When you’ve grown into a Person (it’s alright, we all had to do it) there’ll be some things which you’ll see better than anyone else. One of the things you’ll want to do will be to tell us about them. But not yet. At present your business is to see. Come and see. He is endless. Come and feed.’

There was a little pause. ‘That will be delightful,’ said the Ghost presently in a rather dull voice.

‘Come, then,’ said the Spirit, offering it his arm.

‘How soon do you think I could begin painting?’ it asked.

The Spirit broke into laughter. ‘Don’t you see you’ll never paint at all if that’s what you’re thinking about?’ he said.

‘What do you mean?’ asked the Ghost.

‘Why, if you are interested in the country only for the sake of painting it, you’ll never learn to see the country.’

‘But that’s just how a real artist is interested in the country.’

‘No. You’re forgetting,’ said the Spirit. ‘That was not how you began. Light itself was your first love; you loved paint only as a means of telling about light.’

‘Oh, that’s ages ago,’ said the Ghost. ‘One grows out of that. Of course, you haven’t seen any of my later works. One becomes more and more interested in paint for its own sake.’

‘One does, indeed. I also have had to recover from that. It was all a snare. Ink and catgut and paint were necessary down there, but they are also dangerous stimulants. Every poet and musician and artist, but for Grace, is drawn away from the love of the thing he tells, to the love of the telling till, down in Deep Hell, they cannot be interested in God at all but only in what they say about Him. For it doesn’t stop at being interested in paint, you know. They sink lower– become interested in their own personalities and then in nothing but their own reputation.’ ”

// C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce //


The Great Divorce is a thought-provoking commentary on moral relativity and how we cannot have both the glory of Heaven and the human nature of Hell– as he writes, “If we insist on keeping Hell (or even earth) we shall not see Heaven: if we accept Heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell.”— but the above passage about a conversation between a former artist and his friend who’s already in heaven is the message in this book that’s been the most convicting to me. When I first read it, I had to close the book for a moment there and think, because change the words ‘artist’ to ‘writer’ and ‘painting’ to ‘storytelling’, and there you have me.

Not that I have reached the point where the painter is, where all I want to do in Heaven is write. When I meet God face to face, and get my first glimpse of Heaven, I’m pretty sure the last thing I will want to do is tune everything out and create a world of my own.

But the thing is– while I’m here, I’m still in danger of reaching that point, if I am not careful. You fellow writers know what I mean; it’s so, so easy for us to get wrapped up in the technicalities of writing, and in the words we want to say, and in our desire to get published someday, and in sharing our writings with others– and before we know it we lose sight of why we wanted to write in the first place. {You could say that of any work or hobby or creative project, I know, but I’m going to keep relating it to writing because that’s where I was convicted. Feel free to insert your own life’s work, if that helps you relate to Lewis’s points better.}


To be honest with you– and I hate admitting this– but I’m way too self-centered, especially when it comes to writing.

I want my voice to be heard. I want my ideas to come together perfectly. I want my stories to be sent out and widely read. I want my name to be recognized. I want my writing to be praised.

Have any of you noticed that when you are too wrapped up in yourself and your writing, that’s when you have to push yourself to think and type because the words just aren’t coming? But then the more time you spend with Jesus, the more inspired and motivated you are to write?

The words flow best when my heart is right with Jesus. That’s what I’ve learned. (What I still have to teach myself quite often.)

And when my eyes are fixed on Jesus and not what I want, that’s when the tug on my heart grows stronger: “Tell the Truth. Write of love and grace and redemption and light. I’ve given you this love of words so that you can use them to point others towards Me. Never lose sight of your purpose and your love for Me.”

I don’t want to idolize the gift of words, or the stories themselves, because then that will lead to idolizing myself. Been there, done that, I’d rather not go back. No, my love is forever for the Author of the Greatest Story of all– the One from whom all creativity begins. Everything else fades in comparison to Him, even the stories that tell about Him. And that’s how it should be, us loving Him above all else.



// Andrew Peterson (one of my favorite authors + musicians) //

The above quote is one of my favorites. This is why I write, and I never want to forget.

May everything I write point to Jesus.

All the glory and honor to the Lord, always.

{love always, Em}

// astonishing. //

“There’s a life
That I am meant to lead
A life like nothing I have known
I can feel it
And it’s far from here
I’ve got to find it on my own…

There must be somewhere I can be
I’ll find my way
I’ll find it far away
I’ll find it in unexpected and unknown
I’ll find my life in my own way
Here I go
And there’s no turning back
My great adventure has begun
I may be small
But I’ve got giant plans
To shine as brightly as the sun
I will blaze until I find my time and place…

I’ll be astonishing at last.”

// Sutton Foster as Jo March / Little Women (the musical) //


I’m that girl who feels the tug on her heart to do something wonderful and brave, but has no idea what that will look like in her life yet.

What I do know is that I don’t want a life of complacency. I don’t want to reach the end of my days only to look back and realize that I don’t have a legacy to leave behind, that I haven’t impacted anyone’s life, that I somehow missed out on the abundant life that God called me to. Frankly, that is a terrifying thought.

My dad reminded me this morning, by way of encouragement, that Jesus didn’t heal or call people until after they gave an expression of belief. You take that first step of faith and following His will, and then He does mighty things with that one step, with your belief and obedience.

And well, right now I’m just taking one step at a time. Following God’s will in the day-to-day and in preparing to go to Liberty.

My heart still yearns for more. For finding my purpose– my ministry– a project I can begin and grow and love people with. I have a few small, vague ideas taking up space in my heart, but God hasn’t shown me a specific dream to take off running with yet.

And maybe that’s okay. Maybe that something wonderful is waiting for me at Liberty. Maybe this ache in my heart is God preparing me to walk fearlessly into the unknown when He finally shows me what He’s calling me to do. By nature I’m a very cautious person. I like having a plan. But the beauty of following Christ is that when we let go of our need to control, He calls us to do crazy wonderful things that are so much bigger than ourselves. And He will make us brave, if we let Him.

In the meantime, I will keep walking in faith, step by step, following His will. And I will love people with all my heart and seek adventures in the everyday. And I will keep writing and reading and praying. And I will keep studying scripture and psychology and apologetics and social justice– all things that my heart loves to dive into. Maybe the things that get my heart all fired up are the catalysts for the something wonderful that is yet to come.

And when it does come, when God says “Alright, Em, it’s time”… I don’t know what it will look like, but I do know that it will be astonishing. And all the glory will go to Him, always.

{love, the girl who wants “to set the world on fire with all the quiet and beautiful things she does” [hannah brencher]}

// reasons for eucharisteo: to the brokenhearted //

This is an interlude of sorts; I know I haven’t posted one of my usual eucharisteo lists in awhile, and I’ll get back to those soon, but this idea came to me while I was on a walk this evening, and I think it needs saying.

Because there are reasons to be thankful, even when we’re hurting and confused:

-It pushes you closer to the Lord. You’re reminded that He is truly the only One whom you can always depend on, who will never walk away or let you go or shut you out. When you fix your eyes on Him, you find a joy and peace that’s greater than any you could ever have if that friend had stayed in your life. With Him, you’re home, and your heart is safe.

-You get really good at self-examination. If you realize you’ve done something wrong, you ask forgiveness. And if you can’t for the life of you figure out why they’re acting the way they are, well, you still resolve to be a better friend in the future anyway. Because when you’re examining your own heart and actions, you always find other areas in need of character improvement too.

-You’re more appreciative of the people who have stayed, who haven’t broken the trust that you don’t give easily but have given them. Yes, you know that realistically they’ll let you down at some point, because they’re human, but you know they’ll love you no matter what. You can trust them with your real self and know they won’t cast you aside. Family, best friends. {Guys– you know who you are. Thank you for everything. I’m even more grateful for you than ever. You make me smile. I love y’all!}

-You learn to let go. Again. And again. And again, pretty much every day until you find yourself not thinking about it anymore. There comes a point where you have to save your own heart from breaking. You can’t beg. You won’t beg. But you also can’t hold onto the hurt and let it morph into bitterness. That’s not good for the soul, y’know. Learning what God is teaching you from it, then letting go and moving on and looking for lovely? That’s what a hurting soul needs.

-It fosters wisdom in you. You’re more careful about who you really trust, and you’re more self-aware. And then there’s the most important piece of wisdom– in Christ alone.

-The world keeps turning. Life keeps happening. God keeps making beautiful things. Hurt isn’t the end. It’s only for a season, and there is still sunshine amidst the storm.

-When you let go, you learn that you can still forgive. And even if that person was, as my lovely mom would say, a chapter in your story and not a storybook friend for life, that chapter is still important to your life-story, and even though it might be over, it was still good. And that friend might return in another chapter someday. And if that happens, you’ll be there.

-Sometimes, going to Starbucks with your Bible and a journal and a good book is the perfect recipe for letting go of sadness. If, y’know, that’s one of your (hopefully many) happy places. If it’s not, then find your happy place and go there when the hurt gets to be too much. It’s okay to give yourself a little sunshine when you need it.

-Hugs. Hugs are so important. This isn’t as deep as the others, but I wanted to end on a happy note. Because hugs. ^_^

God is good, and He makes beautiful things out of dust and ash.

My Comforter, my All in All, here in the love of Christ I’ll stand.

It is well with my soul.

{love, Em}