May 4, 2009

The Recession in my Heart.

gratuitous kiddo shot. just cuz.

I have recently come to the life-jarring realization that what the Bible says is actually true and that when jesus says things like "sell your possessions and give to the poor" he is not speaking in cute little parables, or making off the cuff statements for only the uber-spiritual, or speaking in some sort of martian code. He is saying "Hello! You there! SELL YOUR JUNK and give to those who have nothing!"

As middle class American citizens, my husband and I make 100 times more money than the average person on the planet earth. And yet we have the audacity to walk around feeling like and complaining about the fact that we "have no money".

We cling to our 'debt' as reason enough to not live lives of generosity.

"When I'm less in debt, THEN I'll be a generous person, mmmm kay?"


I'm ready to simplify.

I'm ready to downsize, to sell the excess, to unplug a bit and be more generous with my time.

When I get overwhelmed thinking about all of this, God reminds me that He, too, can be simple. He is asking me to take steps towards generosity. One foot in front of the other.

He asks me to make a meal for my elderly neighbor who is sick with cancer.


He asks me to invite over the recently divorced single mother across the way.


He's got me where I am at for a reason. It almost feels like, at this point, it would be taking the easy road to flee from this place He's planted me... in the name of 'helping the poor'. There are poor all around me! Poor in spirit. Poor in health. Poor in community. People who are lonely, heartbroken, desperate.

Anywhere you go, there are the poor and needy. In affluent gated communities? Yes. In the homeless shelter downtown? Yes. In the house I can see outside my front window? YES.

One day, I will be stand before God alllllll by myself and give account for the life I lived on earth. I'm afraid that my current path would lead me to hear these words from His mouth on that day:

"I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat,
I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,
I was a stranger and you did not invite me in,
I needed clothes and you did not clothe me,
I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me...

I tell you the truth,
whatever you did NOT do for one of the least of these,
you did not do for Me."
-Mt 25:42-45

This passage is... unsettling at best. How does one "fancy footwork" their way around a statement like that? I've been trying to do just that- to fancify my footwork around all sides of these words... figuring out how it doesn't quite fully completely actually apply to ME necessarily per say- but I keep tripping. And landing on my face.

Sooo... my new game plan is as follows:

Step one: Fall madly in love with God whilst learning to give from all that He's given me. (from my money, my time, my giftings, my home, etc.)
Step Two: Live a life that is truly RICH from a heart that is wealthy.

I'm so very in. There is only one thing that satisfies in this life, and I'm not willing to waste another moment chasing after anything else. Stick a fork in me. I'm done.


Thoughts inspired and provoked by the book 'Crazy Love' by Francis Chan.
Read. It.


mrs boo radley said...


Putting the book on the "to read" list, and asking God to help me serve with a selfless heart.

anna joy said...

emery!! how do you always write about exactly what i'm going through!? thats just uncanny. i think we really need to show people (um and ourselves) Who our treasure is, whether in 'plenty' or in 'want'. thanks for the inspiration :) :) ps did i ever tell you that the email you wrote me last year about this time helped changed the next year of my life? into the most amazing year of my life with JEsus?! yeah. where you said 'let go'... you were one of three people (plus Jesus) who was telling me the same thing and I trusted and let go of that big thing and my life has never been the same. Thank you for being obedient to what the Lord had for you to tell me! <333xoxoox

praying for maren said...

great thoughts and i want to read the book now! thanks!

Outnumbered by 3 Stooges!! said...


Anonymous said...

Do you believe that at the moment you stand before God he is going to chastise you for being the person he created? Who made decisions based on your beautiful ability to CHOOSE who and what you wanted to be? That He wouldn't understand that you would inevitably stumble and fall but always pick yourself up and make your way back to Him?
Emery, You are what HE created and by voicing your desire to be the best and most gracious person you can, you ARE fulfilling His plan.

kim said...

wow. thank you for being so honest with yourself, letting that reality get to your heart, and then sharing it with us so vulnerably so that we too are prompted to have a real good look at our own hearts.

my husband and i have been struggling over this issue. when we are praying that God will just keep our heads financially above water, it has been difficult to find the courage to give.

i wonder if you would mind giving my blog a quick look. i have written about an opportunity to give (consequently) just a minute or 2 before reading your blog.

thanks again for being instrumental to the Lord.

Emery Jo said...


Are you asking if I believe in grace? Yes I do! If you read any of my other posts I've written here, you will see that I do.

And no... I am not being the person He created me to be by simply VOICING my desire to be more like Him. I am being the person He created me to be by ACTING on my desire to be more like Him.

I do have the freedom to choose. We all do. But I will have to give an account for what I did with that freedom.

So I am choosing to do what He asks me to do. To obey.

I'd rather be found erring on the side of "gave too much" than "hardly gave at all".

You know?

molly june. said...

i'm in too. thank you for the sweet reminder!

Talia said...

so I have been a horrible commenter lately, but I've been reading everything you've written lately, and it's been inspiring and convicting and beautiful and wonderful. You have been given such a gift with words, and you have a beautiful heart... and the Lord is using both of these things in so many people's lives, I think. thank you for sharing these amazing insights and beautiful thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Do you believe that where you stand now is "hardly gave at all"? When I read your blog I see a person who is constantly giving of herself and giving in big ways. I don't feel I am wrong in that opinion. My intention certainly isn't to challenge your beliefs or put you on the defensive, on the contrary, I am very curious about what you believe and why because it differs so greatly from my own. That was the real purpose of my comment. Not to offend or frustrate.

misguided mommy said...

I'm doing the envelope system but I'm still trying to find a way to donate. It's weird I feel happier living with less now!

I'm doing a give away make sure to enter, I'll be giving away a local (to you) prize, and if you win I could even donate it for you if you want

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your honest words and sharing your heart. I am just a friend of a friend of a friend, who found your blog via a link.....but your subject matter struck such a deep chord within my soul and brought me to tears. They were just what I needed to hear and be challanged by. Thank you!

Emery Jo said...


oh! i'm so sorry if I sounded defensive or frustrated! i was neither of these things at all, though reading back my reply i can see how i sounded that way! so sorry. chalk it up to passion. heh.

I appreciate your input. I'm realizing more and more that I can always find people who give more than i do, and i can always find people who give less than i do, so I'm asking myself what it would look like if I only compared myself to what Jesus actually said, instead of others.

And it's somewhat terrifying, because I'm also realizing how tightly I have been clinging to my "stuff". And justifying my lack of generosity. so eye opening!!

Katy said...

Dear Emery... I love your heart. You are such an inspiration. I feel like we have a lot in common with our thoughts about this right now.

I leave for Africa in 2 days for a 12 day mission trip. I have felt so convicted that "here I am-- going to a different country to help people in need, when I don't even help my next door neighbor, or the girls that I lived next door to for 8 months in my dorm room.. that I SHARED A BATHROOM WITH!"

I feel like I can never do enough.I have such a heart for Africa and those in need all around me. I can see you have that same convicting heart.

God is doing amazing things in your life-- I can tell.

Keep drawing close to Him.



Curdie said...

I've read the book. You've said it beautifully.

Anonymous said...

so i'm kind of a 17 year old girl/e-stalker... heh heh... and i've been following your blog for about a year now (or longer, I don't really know). this past summer I would stay up and read your thoughts and would keep saying "okay, just one more page..." and end up reading for another hour or so...

all of that creepy-ness to say THANK YOU. You have NO IDEA what it means to me and my walk with God to see you out there, ACTUALLY DOING IT! While I do have Christian influences around me, it's been life changing to hear from your honest point of view. I've always been scared that when I grow up, i'll be this plastic shell of a person just going to work, working at home, going to work, working at home, etc... and there's this real fear that i'll become this robot who can't recognize God's voice. But I can't even begin to tell you how reassuring it is to see you out there, LIVING IT, and really meeting each day just as you are. It'd be cheesy to say you're an inspiration, but whatever, I actually mean it. You make me excited to become the woman God wants me to be, and even though i'll probably stay in the e-shadows of e-anonymity (haha i'll stop) I hope you know that you're doing MORE than just blogging - you're encouraging me to keep on keepin on!


Kari said...

Thanks for the reminder, and for the book recommendation!

Curdie said...

Have you seen this amazing video about a doula in the inner city? An L&D nurse's blog linked to it.

It's about an hour long but it is so inspiring. This woman gives and gives and gives.

lorieloo said...

I have LOVED reading your heart lately. What is it about bringing new life in this world that makes the writer in you resurface in a new and deeper and even more challenging (if that's even possible) way? Seriously. Loving all this.

jo emery said...

Given we have the same name, I have been loosely following your blog. You seem to be having a good life. However, I do worry about the crazy religious comments. It is good to have some faith, but sometimes you sound like one of those ranting religious zealots. You need to be careful that you dont turn into an extremest.
Regards, Jo.

Emery Jo said...


Actually, my first name is not Jo. My first name is Emery.

emery josephine clark.

I believe in God, and I have always voiced my beliefs here. You don't need to worry about me, or keep reading if it troubles you. We just have different beliefs. (And different names.)


anywho- hope you're well.


jo emery said...

Firstly, apologies about the name mistake.
Perhaps I was a little abrupt with my last message. Of course, you have every right to your beliefs. Your public blog does not trouble me, nor do I worry about you. If you wish to broadcast your life for public scrutiny, then you can expect all kinds of feedback.
ps you talk of 'Him' why can't it be 'Her'?

Emery Jo said...

oh of course. any and all feedback is welcome here!

And I believe God can be 'Her' just as easily as he can be 'Him'.

I don't believe he is limited by gender in any way.

sometimes God feels more like a mother to me, and sometimes he feels more like a father.

Him... Her... both are fine by me!

Emery Jo said...

oh- and curdie... that documentary was awesome!! thanks for sharing!

Shawna Herring Photography said...

Hey Emory, wanna hear something intersting? I host a college cell group at my house on Wed. and we just finished the book tonight. We all asked ourselves this question...(end of the book) when you arrive in heaven and God asks you, "What did you do with what I gave you?" what do you hope to say? and if you can't say it now...what is holding you back? So we spent some time identifying those things called excuses and named them outloud. One person thought we were being negative, as some of your commenters do, and insisted that whatever we were doing at the moment should be 'good enough.' But the truth is, we all have excuses, fears, or vain imaginations that hold us back from really loving better. That's the whole point. Love. It's a GOOD thing to ask yourself, 'am I loving as well as i could?' We get one shot at this, and in the end i hope it will be said of me that i was one who persued LOVE. Not comfort, or gain, or self, but more than anything, she persued LOVE.

You go for it, Em. Sell that extra stuff, give it away, be radically generous to the point that people think your crazy, and when they ask you, you can tell them, 'That's what LOVE does to you.'

A big hug to you, my friend. You rock!

stina said...

i know everyone sees things differently, and things can be taken differently by people when we're just reading and not actually having vocal conversations, but i read all these comments and someone said something like you seem like a "religious zealot" and i JUST want to give my opinion and definitely don't want to sound offensive or argumentative...i've never thought your writing portrayed that. instead, i've appreciated how you seem to have a healthy balance and ability to communicate your beliefs and what God is doing in your life without coming across as close minded or a zealot-in-the-negative-way....
just sayin.