16 We know full well that we don’t receive God’s
perfect righteousness as a reward for keeping the law,
but by the faith of Jesus, the Messiah! His faithfulness, not ours,
has saved us, and we have received God’s perfect righteousness.
Now we know that God accepts no one by the keeping of religious laws!
A few weeks ago, I had another one of those I need change right now moments. Naturally, that means I go get a haircut, get my ears pierced, change my wardrobe. This change, however, didn’t come from a place of impulse as it typically would in the past. This time I needed something drastic.
I needed immediate change.
I’ve abruptly come to the end of my yes road.
Saying yes is something I am good at. I have always prided myself in being able to “handle it”. I come from a long line of doers, people that can and will make it happen. It’s what we do.
I don’t know about you, but this yes road has brought me to a place of disgust with myself: an echoing emptiness in my chest that is louder than anything on this planet.
I can officially say with lungs that feel as though they are taking their first deep breath in ages – I’ve come to the end of that road.
At some point all of those yes’s start costing you something. When you say yes to one thing, you’re ultimately saying no to something else. In my case, this meant saying no to genuine connection to my husband, wonderful little in-between giggles with my child, and quiet moments with the Lord.
I wept the moment that I realized that my addiction to busyness willingly kept me from the beautiful, restorative rest that time with Jesus brings.
Yeshua, I need You! I’m sorry for choosing other things over You!
I’ve heard so many times that the dishes or the vacuuming or the laundry can wait, but my identity has been rooted in accomplishing so long that I chose not to listen.
But hearing my husband say something along the lines of, “having the dishes pile up is worth having you whole!” broke me.
At the end of this road, I had recently found myself in a place of neglect. I wasn’t giving my body or my soul the care it needed, let alone the care my loved ones needed.
My journal entries looked something like:
Lord – I feel so unstable and empty!
My emotions are unmanageable, my mind is clouded, my spirit is suppressed and beat down. I need a revelation of the Father’s love!
Luckily, when a voice shouts in an empty room, it echoes.
“Beloved, look at all of the things we get to do together!”
His words in my heart absolutely broke me.
You mean, You want to do things with me, Lord?
This life isn’t just me doing things for You?
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
And suddenly the classic Psalm 23 made sense...
When we can’t stop doing and moving and making it happen, He will make us lie down! This isn’t a forceful break-your-leg-type of thing, this is a I’m going to let her get completely sick of herself outside of Me until she gives it up-type of thing.
It took until writing this post to realize that you first have to come to the end of yourself, the end of doing the law in search of righteousness like Galatians 2 says, so that the restoration of Psalm 23:3 can happen.
Once you allow the Lord to lead you beside still waters, there is where He has permission to begin restoring the soul that you’ve emptied out before everyone and everything else. You cannot find the “path of righteousness” apart from His leading; it has to start beside the still waters.
Why Galations 2:16?
Religion tells you that you have to do, do, do, be, be, be enough by your works!
You’re never enough, so keep pushing and doing and trying harder!
I truly believe that this “religion” is the belief system that stems from not knowing who we belong to, who our Father is.
For so long I have functioned out of the place of saying yes to everyone so that I can look accomplished, like I have it all together, like I’m somebody.
But in all honesty, the fear of being disliked and rejected – the fear of disappointing anyone, at all - was the true driving force in my heart to never saying no.
If I make sure everyone is pleased with me, then I will feel loved and accepted!
18 Love never brings fear, for fear is always related to punishment.
But love’s perfection drives the fear of punishment far from our hearts.
Whoever walks constantly afraid of punishment has not reached love’s perfection.
1 John 4:18
To reach that place of being loved, of just being okay in our own skin,
we need to know who our Father is.
Yahweh isn’t a lofty, distant God who lets the chaos play out in hopes that we will all be okay one day.
He is a very involved Father who absolutely adores us!
7 How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!
Therefore the children of men put their trust
under the shadow of Your wings.
8 They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house,
And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.
17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with You.
We weren’t meant to do this alone.
Every chore, every errand, ever life-changing decision-
we were meant to do it with our Father.
So this is what the end of my yes road looks like:
At the edge of His river.
This is where I begin to slowly, sometimes painfully, say no to things that pull me from what He has called me to do.
And this is where I joyfully, clumsily, awkwardly begin to say yes to doing everything with Him.
14 “You are the light of the world.
A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket,
but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men,
that they may see your good works
and glorify your Father in heaven.
The passion for creating has always been a significant driving force in my life. I could never have a career with a purpose outside of physically making something. This led me into the culinary world, chasing a degree and the title of sous chef. Still never enough, my mind never stopped. My free time was spent writing or baking or designing. The need to create, build, develop is an insatiable drive inside of me.
At first, I saw the endless movement as striving in my own strength, an endless push outside of God’s design for my life.
Until it hit me –
Isn’t it cool that our God is the ultimate Creator?
While man can often overlook or distort the arts, we have a beautiful and patient God who paints the evening skies, molds the earth’s ever-changing seascape. This God breathed His very breath into our clay-sculpted bodies and thought it was good.
When the Lord puts a passion in our hearts, I rarely find that it’s just for us.
Matthew 5 is pretty clear about how Jesus feels about His kids displaying their “good works” for the sake of His glory!
Even King Solomon, the man known for his wisdom, has something to say about what we do with our hands:
If you are uniquely gifted in your work,
you will rise and be promoted.
You won’t be held back –
you’ll stand before kings!
This is Seeds for Sparrows:
Raw Emily and Jesus moments displayed out in the open!
In February 2020 I was sitting in our prayer room, intently focused on the Lord. I felt the story in Luke 5 bubble up in me.
On one occasion, Jesus was preaching to the crowds on the shore of Lake Galilee. There was a vast multitude of people pushing to get close to Jesus to hear the word of God. He noticed two fishing boats at the water’s edge, with the fishermen nearby, rinsing their nets. Jesus climbed into the boat belonging to Simon Peter and asked him, “Let me use your boat. Push it off a short distance away from the shore so I can speak to the crowds.” Jesus sat down and taught the people from the boat. When he had finished, he said to Peter, “Now row out to deep water to cast your nets and you will have a great catch.” “Master,” Peter replied, “we’ve just come back from fishing all night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you insist, we’ll go out again and let down our nets because of your word.” When they pulled up their nets, they were shocked to see a huge catch of fish, so much that their nets were ready to burst!
“Cast the net again.”
Yes, Lord! But… what do You even mean by that?!
Before I could spend time seeking answers, the pandemic hit our nation.
It took me until August for the shock of the shutdown to wear off so that I could come back to this question.
Show me how to build my net!
I immediately felt the name Seeds for Sparrows come out of me like it was launched from a trebuchet!
Still, Emily has to be Emily and ask approximately one million and five questions, beginning with:
But, what does this even mean, Lord?!
After asking Google, I found that sparrows are an incredibly underrated bird. Although seen as common because they’re always just, there, they have an important job to do. Through their foraging for food, they spread precious seeds that propagate plant growth. (animals.mom.com)
So, this blog is my “net” and my “sparrow”.
I’ve tried many other endeavors in the arts and in the working world, but mostly all have been my ideas. But in this instance, His voice was loud and clear.
“Launch out into the deep and let out your nets for a catch.”
Into the deep, I go.
Into His deep.
It’s not going to be entirely professional or politically correct, nor will it always make sense to every reader. Quite frankly, I’m okay with that because that’s me.
This is Seeds for Sparrows.
This is my journey into the depths of knowing Him!
Wife to Christopher, mommy to Elisha and Adelaide, owner of two huskies, two cats, six chickens and approximately a million rabbits. Every aspect of my life is filled with babies, food and prayer. Join me as I search out the heights and depths of this God we call King!