March 10, 2013


After EIGHT YEARS of blogging in this space, I've decided to try something new.

Click on over to to find my new writing place!  I'm sure it will be evolving and changing over the next few months, but for now, me likey.

Thank you all so much for taking the time to make your way over there! I appreciate you muy mucho.


February 8, 2013

And So She Flies.

There is a story in the bible (Genesis 16) of a woman named Hagar, whose name means "flight".

She is a maidservant in the home of Abram.  Abram and Sarai mistreat her and things get awful and hard and so... she flies.  She runs away into the desert, trying to make her way back to the only other home she's ever known, to Egypt.

Things go from bad to worse as this pregnant woman, all alone in a hostile ancient world, picks her way back west through the desert wilderness.  The journey ahead is impossible, yet it is impossible to go back.  She finds herself helpless and hopeless, beside a spring near the road leading to Shur, all alone and scared.

God visits her there and tells her to go back and submit to Abram and Sarai.  He promises to bless her and increase her there if she does.  He promises to care for her, He lets her know that He sees her.

Yes, Hagar's name means flight, and am I really so different?  Everything in me pulls against where God has sovereignly placed me at times, and instead of submitting and serving in the chaos and difficulties that come my way, my natural instinct is always to flee.  To turn tail and run, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. I withdraw into myself where I think no one can see me or find me and I wait... alone and scared, sure that I am unseen and unpursued and past all hope.  I nurse my wounds and justify my reasons and try to pick my way back to something or somewhere that feels more like home, but it's impossible to go back.  Rock. Me. Hard place.  And it's no one's fault but my own that I am there.

These past few weeks have been full of grumbling and fighting against the responsibilities of this place that God has sovereignly, in all wisdom and knowledge, put me. My home. These children. Those dishes. That mountain of laundry.  That food that needs to be bought and cooked so that I can do some more dishes and buy some more food to cook and do some more dishes and buy some more food and on and on and on.  It gets to the point where all I can think about is fleeing! Running! Hiding! Retreating until it gets easier and I can come back!

Hagar was a maidservant and am I really so different? ha! I feel like a maidservant sometimes.  (Meaning........ always. heh.)

When I get myself into this mindset, my eyes all cast down on dirty clothes and plates, I begin to feel very unseen.  I begin to feel like my identity is 'chore-do-er' and it's all I'll ever be until the day that I die.  Oh, how I pity myself then.  Poor, wretched little CinderEmery.  Unseen and all covered in soot!  Woe is...

And then, a light!  Blinding, searing, holy.  God comes to find me there- all alone in the desert wilderness beside the spring.  Go back!  Be fully there. Submit to the place I've placed you.  Humble yourself and serve Me, knowing I am good and that every dirty dish and every load of laundry is for your good!  Love sacrificially, because I have loved you sacrificially!  You do not serve a human master, an Abram or a Sarai or a Chris or an Ezra or a Myer or a Truman! You serve ME! The Living God Who Sees You! Go back. And I will increase you.

Oh, I could use me some of that increase.

Hagar sees God seeing her and so she leaps to her feet and names that well that she has collapsed by Beer Lahai Roi; The well of the Living One who sees me.  She drinks deeply her fill and turns back to the place where God has called her, swallowing her pride and identity and expectations and entitlements.  She goes back to the hard season, knowing in hope that God will keep His promises to her.

And God does.  He increases her and protects her and kings and nations come from that child inside of her.

Love is sacrifice.  It does not give up when things feel daunting.  And the only way to love like that is to BE LOVED like that.  To know the love that God has poured out upon ME.  And the only way to know that love is to fully understand the depths of what he did for me in Jesus.  Jesus is the Living Water from the well that won't ever ever ever run dry.  When I serve and submit to my family and my calling of motherhood out of knowing His great love for me, I increase!  I overflow!  I spill out to those around me and my joy is found in HIM, who never runs dry.

Joy that never runs dry.

Every single time I pull up my bucket- it's full.

Yes, Lord.  I need to drink deeply from that well.  I need to believe that You see me. That I am not just another face in the crowd to You.  I need to believe that you have placed me exactly where I am for exactly such a time as this.  This life and this family are no accident or chance of fate!  Increase my faith.  Empower my work. Your eyes are on me just as intently when I am scrubbing my floor as they are when I am singing on a Sunday... help me glorify you in both equally and all in between. Thank you for always coming to find me in the driest places and faithfully opening my eyes to see your true Well, right beside me, again and again and again.

January 17, 2013


The words that used to spring forth so easily are now a slow drip... drip... drip.  They are an echo in a cave and I feel so... quiet.

It's not the first time this cease of flow has happened in my life.  When I was little, all I wanted to do was hole up in my room and tap away my my gray electric typewriter-- writing God knows what, but feeling like if I didn't fill up some blank papers with ink, my heart would explode.  Words brought me life and joy and I proudly told everyone I knew I was going to be a poet.

Somewhere in the trenches of middle school and high school, though, the words ceased.  Over the years, I kind of forgot about writing.  I remembered my dreams of poetry and would giggle at the silly little person I used to be.  I was a grown-up now.  I was going to be... I dunno... a journalist? How does my hair look and why hasn't Chris called me exactly when he said he would?  And does anyone have any gum?

All it took was a little wrenching heartbreak to squeeze the words back out again.  We broke up and got back together and broke up and got back together and broke up and got engaged and broke up and got back together.  The words that got squished out of that chaos were raw and often had some music to accompany them- only to add melancholy to melancholy, you understand.  Spiral ring notebooks saved my life then.  I had to fill those blank pages with ink or my heart was going to explode.  And God met me there in between those blue and pink lines.  Those old notebooks are still my most prized possessions, because the ink preserved there literally brought me back to life.

But again, the words dried all up.  I was a married woman. A rescued woman.  And I'm supposed to cook food EVERY SINGLE DAY NOW?!  I should probably buy a pan.  I hate the grocery store.  Also, can we have some babies?

We had Ezra and moved halfway across the country to a place where we only knew one person.  I was a new mom in a new place and my family was now 20 hours away.  It wasn't until a painful and lonely YEAR went by out here in Oklahoma that I remembered what writing could do for my sad, overwhelmed heart.

This blog was born that year.  And once again, the therapy of writing saw me through, reminded me to laugh, and helped me sort myself out in a way that nothing else has every been able to do for me.  The community and support I found here are a huge reason why I made it through those beginning years of motherhood.

And now?  Now I am in a season of quiet, yet again.  But this time, I am aware of the void.  I am aware of what I am missing, and I feel it.  I have been wrestling with God about the sudden lack... is it just time to lay it down until He calls me back to it?  Do I struggle against the silence and force out words, even if there is no heart behind them?  (Please, Lord... anything but that.  Forced words for content alone make my skin crawl...)  I want the heart!  I want the joy! I want the words!

So, I pray for them.  And I wait.  Waiting on God is so very anti-cultural these days, yes?  Maybe He is doing a new thing in me.  Maybe I'm just strapped for time and energy at the end of a day of caring for three kids.  Maybe this season of contentment and bliss makes for bad writing.  Maybe I've said all the good things I had to say.

Maybe not.

These last few months have been some of the best of my life.  I am in a new home, out in the country, and I still have NO IDEA why God brought us out here.  But I do know one thing: He brought us out here.  And in these last few months I have come to know Him in a way I never dreamed possible.  There is straight-up revival surging through my heart and how do I even begin to wrap words around such a thing?  I don't understand it.  I don't know when it began and I don't know how it continues day in and day out, but I am a very different person than I was even back in June.

Things are changing vocationally for my husband.  Dreams are coming true.  Heart dreams, yes, but also DREAM dreams.  Like, dreams we had while we were sleeping.  Dreams that made no sense at the time, but now do.  I've been studying the book of Genesis weekly through an organization called Bible Study Fellowship (BSF), and it is flipping my whole world upside down.  I feel like I keep getting saved all over again and when no one is looking I tend to dance around in my living room like a total goon.  Because if I don't... my heart will explode.

GOD is becoming real to me, and everything else just seems to be taking a backseat to that for now.  And although I long for the words to return, I am not afraid.  I know that they will return, someday, somehow.  They always have.  What a sweet gift they have been in my life.  What a source of healing and help in suffering and joy.  I thank God for them, and I want nothing more than to honor Him through them, for all the days of my life.

ps. you can follow some of our more recent journeys via images on instagram- I post little snapshots there almost daily.  my user name is emeryjo.