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living for more than this world...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Little Thoughts of Family

I was created to be in a family. I was created to be around families. I see in myself a genuine joy when I spend time knowing people and knowing them well. I love to have pointless fights and long talks about our maker. My mom and dad are serving the Lord in the Middle East for this season and I am over whelmed with peace about their obedience to His calling.
Tonight I talked with two of my close friends about where we want to be in 5 or 10 years- close to family? I sometimes think I want to be international to avoid being an average selfish American and then other times I want to live in Ohio where there is stability. The thing is....I can't make that call right now. God is the One who will guide my feet and direct my path. Thank goodness I don't have to come up with the best recipe for God-fearing children and a well rounded marriage. It's out of my hands and I am at peace.
I have family. My family is living in Dubai, in Grand Rapids, Calvin College, New Albany Ohio, Dublin Ohio, the dorms, off campus housing, Canal Winchester, Dover, and Big Walnut. I love my family whether we are related by blood or by Christ's blood. I rejoice in them. Paul never ceased to pray for the faithful followers and I want to be in constant prayer for my family.
God is good all the time. All the time He is good. When I fail and when people turn on each other. When I am hurting and when I am growing. God is good.
I was created to be apart of a family and I have family in abundance.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I guess I'm home now....

I'm home. Whew, when did THAT happen? To be exact it happened 7 and a half weeks ago. I should be use to it by now, shouldn't I? Yes, I really should. Adjusting to an unchanged Ohio was harder than adjusting to the middle east and I wish I could say I handled the shift well. I did not. I cried and felt alone for the first several weeks. I sat around wondering what on earth I'm suppose to do and where did my best friend go? Oh, she lives at her own home now.
Sometimes I feel like someone is playing Barbie's with my life. When I was little my childhood best friend and I would play Barbie's for hours. (I've come to a point in my life where I'm no longer ashamed to admit that....it's who I was at the ripe age of 5 and I accept that.) Those Barbie's went through a lot of changes in their small plastic lives- living in campers, mansions, airplanes, with relatives, on the staircase, in the attic, underwater, on the play set and the list goes on and on. We created new lives for them in each location.
Indiana Wesleyan= margie Dubai= my mom, dad and anna. Home= mom, brother, no dad, no anna and a dog. college will be a sister, cousins, anna, dan, alex and thousands of college students. Someone is playing Barbi's with my life.
Thank goodness I'm not made of plastic (most days) and the one picking me up and placing me in different places with different people is NOT a 5 year old. I had no reason for moving Barbi and her family to a cruise ship before moving to the backyard, they never learned important life lessons or discovered how to better relate with one another. Good news, MY GOD HAS A PLAN! yes, He does teach me things and show me how to love the people who He's placed in my life but ultimately He's showing me that His glory is the reason for ALL THINGS. So even when I feel like people and places are fading in and out I know that one thing remains, the Word of the Lord. He brought me up out of sin and then adopted me into His family. Without His hands in my life I would still be dead in my sin and hurting for a savior. Praise God for His mysterious and glorious plan, the plan of salvation.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Desert Dust and Christmas Songs

Yesterday I drove Bethany's car to the church to pick up a forgotten item. It was 104 degrees outside, ouch. I woke up at 8a.m. and it was already 92! When i got in Bethany's car I checked the CD player for music and there was a WOW Christmas CD in...not sure why but I pumped up the volume and sang (no, belted) White Christmas on a desert dusted road. Almost got stuck in a hole but thankfully I was going a bit fast so I didn't get stuck! Ah, the desert life.
I'm not sure why but Dubai doesn't sparkle like it use to. Maybe it's because I know workers who are underpaid and over-worked. Maybe it's because materialism makes my stomach hurt. Maybe it's because I simply miss the trees and cornfields of Ohio. I bet it's because I know Dubai now and it isn't as big as it once was. We've conquered Dubai. It was unknown and huge when we first arrived and now I have an understanding of life here, how it works and who it works for. I asked myself EVERYDAY what it would be like to live in the Middle East and now I know; it's a man-made heaven in the middle of a desert. But every man made heaven has a flaw, it's made by man. What is made by man is also destroyed by man and what can be destroyed by man will not exist in glory.
So pray for the Middle East. Pray that those who are investing in Glory will reap what they sow. Pray that the destruction of a man-made heaven will also cause a destruction of pride and an understanding of sin.
But I must say, I will miss Dubai SO very much. I will miss all the different kinds of people, walking to the beach, hoses in the washrooms, and indoor skiing to name a few. What a crazy and unexpected experience this semester has been, I wouldn't trade it for anything.
It's going to be so great to stumble out of the airport onto green grass. I simply can't wait.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sour longings

I don't know exactly where i belong right now. I like to think that there is a place for me and I'm neither complete nor is that place complete until I'm there. It very well may not work that way but I often hope it does. I think that we are born with a longing for a place to fit. Why else would preteen boys scream stupid things at people in public? Why else would children feel a need to have a BEST friend? Why else would teenage girls run into the arms of a not-so-considerate-guy? Why else would someone jump out of a FAMILY raft at a water park? p.s. that last one isn't made up...i did that about a month ago for a laugh and i'm still healing from it (both my knee and my pride). We do these things to feel like we're accepted and loved. We do it to belong. Did i prove myself part of the group when I jumped out of the raft and couldn't get back in? not really but I had a false sense of acceptance and that was good enough for the time being.

it's okay....you can laugh

I see people I love grasping to things that aren't grasping back and that breaks my heart. I sometimes feel a desperate desire to grab those girls (my little cousins, girls from youth group or girls from high school who are getting ready for college) and hold them tight. "You belong. Christ has calls you His own." I worry that if i were to do that, it would freak them out...so i try avoid overbearing moments such as these :)
I guess insecurity rears is ugly head through all stages of life. I'm extremely anxious about next semester. What will I do? Where will I go? Will I be accepted?
I am called. I am chosen. There is a place for me in God's kingdom (both on earth and in Heaven) and I will go where He wants me. So stop it, Emma. Loosen your grip and shake off the anxiety. It's not of God.

whew. I feel better already.

I went away to camp in Arkansas for 2 weeks when i was much younger -don't ask me why, i still don't understand my reasoning. I really hated most of it. I hated that girls would gather every day to shave their legs together and I hated that the counselor picked favorites. Every night I wrote a pathetic letter home and mumbled to myself before bed, "I want to go home". Two weeks went by and I lived to make it home to Ohio. shocker. What's strange is that even when I finally got home I still mumbled, "I want to go home" most nights before bed.
Home. Heaven is my true home. it's the ultimate belonging. I can't explain why else I still felt a sour desire to go home. That's the best I can figure but now I try not to get depressed about home, I try to rejoice in it instead! Someday we'll be home.
So maybe next time I think it's cool to be 19 years old and jump out of a family raft I'll ask myself, "Am I doing this for acceptance? If not then go ahead and be an idiot, if you please. just don't get caught. or hurt. or deported."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bed time story

So I'm tucking Emma (little Emma) into bed, I kiss her on the forehead and she says...
"Did you eat eggs?"
"Well you smell like eggs."
"Hm. Okay Goodnight."
"You've smelled like eggs all night."
"Uh Sorry. Sleep well, Emma"

Friday, April 10, 2009

Easter Weekend

I feel as though this church has blessed me even further than i am able to understand at this point in my life. Last night we had our weekly Bible study for adults which means we (children's ministry folk) provide a service for the little ones aswell. My group includes ages 4-10 and I have been so touched in my time with these kids. Last night we talked about the crucifixion and I decided to read straight from the Bible rather than tell the story in my own words. They were silent the entire time (partially due to the "special occation cookies" i strategically provided) but also partly due to the fact that the Word of God needs no embellishment. The word has no need for someone to dumb it down because children will understand what God reveals to them. After reading we talked about the scripture a bit and they were the most serious i've ever seen them, there wasn't even a hint of silliness. It was pretty shocking to me. Before class we taped sins to a paper person and after our discussion we moved the sins from the person to the cross. God is so good. They had amazing questions- questions I never thought to ask at that age.
This morning I sat in on a class for the 5 year old's and i was nearly in tears hearing a child explain the sacrifice of Christ. He basically walked through salvation with me. At one point he said "God turned His back on Jesus and that's why everything got dark- it was that bad." What a cutie!
How precious it is to see salvation in a new way. Like John said this morning, do you understand the weight of this good news? Christ died and rose again, this news is beyond good, it's life saving. Anna, being the dear friend that she is, often attend early service with me and after a powerful message we sang "In Christ Alone" which happens to be her favorite song. I accidentally laughed a few times because of the immense joy welling up. How blessed i am to stand next to a friend, who has become more like a sister, and sing about the sweet taste of salvation. How blessed i am to learn from children and their sincere thirst for understanding. It's all by the grace of God.
(for Anna)
...This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev'ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow'r of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Before our ski lesson, Maddie and I got lunch together in the food court at Mall of the Emirates (which we have come to call MOE). We lifted our small paper cups filled with coke and i said, "What shall we drink to, Miss Maddie? Skiiing? Dancing?" She said nothing. I asked again, "What should we drink to?" After a short pause she said, louder than i would have prefered, "ME!" then bumped her cup to mine and took a big swig.
So here's to Maddie. She doesn't mind toasting to herself every now and again. Sometimes I want to toast to myself too. I want to give myself a pat on the back when I win those secret victories like not falling when I get off the ski lift. Good job, Emma- you're doing great.
I've been looking back through my journals and noticed that most of my prayers start with. "What is the matter with me? I fail at everything. Help me get it right." Well today I'm going to celebrate my little victories and forget about my lame..ness.
So here's to taking a shower this morning even though I didn't feel like it. Here's to tipping the taxi driver an appropriate amount (I usually tip way too much). Here's to talking to people about things I'm nervous talking about (religion and relationships). Here's to holding my tongue when I really want to kick and scream.
Here's to making silly movies. Here's to good friends and great talks. Here's to Bible studies and beach time. Here's to skype. Here's to God and the many little victories He has throughout each day.
And here's to you for reading this blog. I know it wasn't easy...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Monday, March 2, 2009

"We're having a deep conversation...can I borrow some face wash?"

What an amazing weekend! Friday morning started out normal enough, church, children’s church, lunch, swimming…a nice Friday. The FOCUS conference was suppose to start at 5 but everyone is late in this country so we showed up around 7 right when things started picking up. We thought maybe we were too late but it was really quite perfect. At this point I had few expectations and very few ideas of how the weekend would end.
“Find your small group leader for dinner!” Small groups? Aw dang it. I hate breaking up into small groups. I always get stuck with people who don’t want to talk. The 5 of us were from very different places; Egypt, France, Africa, Iraq, and of course buckeye country. I can’t help but smile when I think about how we all have such different lives and yet we’re all sitting around a table in Dubai searching the scriptures. Our group talked on and on about the mysteries of the scripture and we had a hard time keeping to the question. “times up” Aw dang it. I hate leaving my small group.
We stayed up late Friday night playing taboo. can you picture a group of girls, many whom speak English as a second or third language, tryin to explain a word without using several helpful words? ha ha loads of fun. At one point Kathrine came in and told us of her deep conversation with katie and then in the smae breath asked for face wash. She seemed to be high or half asleep...maybe both. It cracked us up! It may not be as funny to you but it gave us a tickle :)

The speaker. Stirring. Overwhelming. Wonderful. His name is Thabitti, originally from the Bible belt but is now serving the Lord in the Cayman Islands. He preached the Word purely and powerfully. I could have listened to Him preach for hours….we very well may have…I don’t actually know. My concept of time went out the window 
The weekend was about the promises God made in the OT and the promises kept in the NT. I love how He reveals things to us by His grace. It is by His power that He opens our eyes and hearts to His Truth. I’m telling you, this week God opened my eyes to some wonderful things. Christ is in ALL scripture. Anna and I are learning that as we read together and find Jesus in all things, big and small. Everything is about Him and His plan. Where can I go from your Spirit? If I go to the heavens You are there. If I make my bed in the depths you are there.
I sometimes hurt for reasons I don’t fully understand. I won’t let myself dwell in selfishness. It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about The Lord and His glory. Where can I serve you, Spirit? You are in all things so help me to find you and do Your good work.
It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about the Glory of God.
I fail. Others fail. Pride puffs up and will eventually deflate. What then? Only the Word of the Lord will remain…

Sunday, February 8, 2009

My Victory Won

Dubai has forced me to think through my emotions more than usual. Anna and I hung out with some people who challenged us to be more bold and intentional about sharing our faith. My attitude was one of mockery and I'm now ashamed for that. My gut reaction was 'I'm doing just fine, thank you very much; I will share my faith with someone when I'm good and ready.' As i was walking home it was dark and the city lights were reflecting in the water. I stopped on the bridge and thought of the hymn Be Thou My Vision. I'm not doing just fine. All the things I've always been good at have not been my strengths recently.
I do fail. I'd be foolish to think otherwise.
When I was standing on the bridge God reminded me that I asked Him to stretch me this semester. I might as well let Him stretch me however and with whoever He chooses, even if its not the way I would have picked myself.
Anna's great. She strikes up conversation with anyone and everyone. She plays frisbee as often as possible and is always wanting to do something different. What would I do without her? My dad is doing well especially when i consider the stress he's under with his job. My mom is learning her way around Dubai's insane road system and doing occupational thearapy whenever she can.
I'm learning to find victory in my savior. that's where true victory lies anyway.

Be Thou my battle-shield, sword for my fight,
Be Thou my dignity, Thou my delight.
Thou my soul's shelter, Thou my high tower.
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

High King of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heav'ns Son!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my vision, O ruler of all.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

trips and falls

Today was an outstanding day! I'm working at the church Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday which leaves Sunday (a work day, remember?) and Wednesday free. Well I've been eager to occupy those days and today was my first day watching Maddie. Sweet, wonderful Maddie!
We started off our day of fun with breakfast at a cute little tea room. While waiting for our crepes (Maddie ordered for the both of us) my little friend spotted a shelf of books on the other side of the room. She walked over and, with care, picked out two books and brought them back to our table. For her own reading pleasure she chose a book about a family of owls. And for me....ancient people. To be honest...I wanted to read about the exciting journey of the owl family but I guess Maddie didn't think it was age-appropriate. I guess I should grow up and read boring things...i just don't wanna.
Next we walked out to the parking lot and it was then when I experienced the first fall of the day. Wet step. SMACK. Maddie thought it was funny.
Ski Dubai was the most thrilling part of the day. We, with much trouble, put on all our skiing gear and waited for the instructor. I forgot what cold weather feels like. Walking into that life-sized snow globe was a bit shocking! I'm becoming a warm weather wimp. We learned how to do the basics and then got on the conveyer belt ski lift thing and as soon as I reached the top I took a tumble. Again, Maddie thought it was funny. Not a good start.
"pull yourself together, woman. A child can get off this crazy thing with no problem!"
First time down the hill...i'm out in 5 seconds. give or take. maddie thought it was funny.
First time going down the higher hill...out in 3 seconds. give or take. maddie thought it was funny.
Over all it was AMAZING! If you can believe it we both did better than expected. I'm looking forward to going back and taking a few more spills down the only skiing slope in the desert.
At lunch maddie realized she took the key to the mens room at our dads office. It may have been an interesting day at work :/
Window shopping.
Work out.
First thing Maddie said when we got in the car with Jane was, "Emma. FALL! ha ha ha". I pretended like there was one time during the day when I had a little stumble.
When out walking with the family (this means anna too) i tripped over the pavement.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Almost in a routine

What on earth are we doing here? We've been here for about 2 weeks and I know one thing for sure, this is an amazing place to be.
I met with the pastor of the church I hope to intern with. He terrified me, to be perfectly honest! I walked out of that interview with one thought that stuck out more than the others, "I gotta step it up" I need to be pushing myself to grow and learn and be in the Word constantly.
I hate laziness.
I hate selfishness.
These things keep me from growing and understanding. These things keep me from change. I have a lot to learn from the staff members of the church, I can tell already.
Anna is going to class every afternoon and comes home each night with great stories. She is experiencing college in a whole new way with people who view the world in a whole new light.
We go to the beach often and walk around the marina. We work out and watch people play tennis from the balcony (it's a bit creepy). We've been to a college group where we met some really nice students.
My dad loves his work and my mom hasn't been afraid to jump right in and start driving around a strange city. Things are going great so i can't figure out why i sometimes feel a little sad. Maybe i feel guilty. maybe it's just the reality of change.
either way...i'm blessed

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

my good shepherd

We just ended our third day in Dubai. Almost a week ago we were heading to the airport unsure of how our day to day lives would look like. i'm still not sure what our life will be like exactly but the picture is much more clear. We're in a beautiful apartment with a view of the city which still blows my mind. The other night i was feeling a little low and i went out on to our balcony. it was windy and the city lights reflected in the water of the channel. i started to wisper a few of my favorite hymns and soon i was well restored. It's beautiful out there.

Anna and I are sharing a room with a big window overlooking the tennis courts and other buildings under construction. We sit there and watch the men working. It's the funnies thing. Everyday the men take naps after lunch; they just lay down near the edges and sleep. One time a guy tried to wake up the others and they started smacking each other a little and his hard hat fell 4 stories. SO FUNNY!

We've been working out, playing tennis, and taking walks. Today we went to the beach and saw a man riding camels along the beach offering rides to tourists. random. Tomorrow I'm going with Anna to her school to register because i have nothing else to do. Tomorrow night we're going to a game night at the church so i can meet with the church staff and set up a time to do an interview.

There are things going on here which are troubling. People are crying out for a savior. We just watched a video about a man who works in Lebanon as a shepherd. He said some really beautiful things. He said that if a sheep were to get lost he would call for it because the sheep know its master's voice. The sheep would cry out for its shepherd until it was found. It cries out...

There are a lot of beautiful things here but i need to be careful that i don't get caught up. There are hurting people. I had forgotton my desire and need for God until i went out on the balcony and found Him in the silence. I cry out for my God even when i don't recognize it.

"For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd;

he will lead them to springs of living water.

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes" Rev. 7:17

Sunday, January 4, 2009


We had a wonderful group of people see us off at the airport (mostly anna's family) plus margie, christi and mama meer! leaving is hard. there is really no doubt about that. but going somewhere new is wonderful. I tend to get very attached to people. a lot of the flight was spent thinking about missing those people at the airport. i felt sick in my heart for them. I have to remember that i'll be back soon. there are people who always stay the same. not that they don't grow and change preferences but there are just those kinds of people who are solid. they are the kind of people who weather the storms with you. They are still there even if it's been a while.

Change is sweet and sour. For me, the sour rips me apart so it's esecially important to focus on the sweet.
The sweet side:
We arrived in London early on Jan. 2nd and wasted no time at all. We got on a big red bus and started touring London. We saw Big Ben, the Tower of London, the Tower Bridge, we ate fish and chips, and many other things. Our room was crazy...nothing worked.
Anna: "remember when we were in America and things work when you turned them on?" those days are long gone.

Me: "Mom, what time are we meeting you in the lobby?"
Mom: "7:30"
Me: "that's impossible...it's 8:45 right now"
Mom: "oh. Then...9"

Man: "where are you staying?"
Anna: "...London"
We met some crazy men at a bus stop who wanted to get married. i freaked out but anna laughed. Anna almost died on the escalator. and i have a secret to keep from Margie already :)

Wicked was amazing! I have thought often about how glad i am to have a friend here with me. this experience would have been so much different without a good friend to share it with. We just arrived in Dubai only a few hours ago and to be honest...it's frightening to think about living here for the next few months. Our apartment is unbelievable. I feel very spoiled and a little guilty. Mama meer corrected me and said i'm just very blessed. she's right.

Tim (he and his wife, Tiff, are wonderful!) told me to pray for opportunities. so i'm going to try really hard to see with eyes which are not mine. i want to see things differently this time around. How can i be a blessing? I want to learn how to truly love people.