Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Guest Post || Emily from Ember Grey

Today Emily from Ember Grey is taking over.  I love her heart and how she writes it out in her space.   I started following her blog a couple months back and am so glad I found her.  Once you read this post, check out her space...I promise you'll love it! 

Hello, Set Free readers! :) I'm Emily and I blog over at Ember Grey, a faith-based "lifestyle" (aka: it's a little bit of everything) blog. I felt so honored when Amy asked if I would guest post today and I'm excited to share a part of my life's journey with you. Thanks so much, Amy, and I hope you're enjoying your vacation!  

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  
2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)

My first day of Kindergarten started out a bit rough. My mom came to pick me up after the first day of school and my teacher said to her, "Emily may have a difficult time in school." Surprised, my mom asked her, "Why?" My teacher replied, "Because she thinks that everyone likes her." My mom, being the ever protective mama bear, gave her a stern look and said, "And why is that a problem?" The teacher said, "Well because not everyone likes everyone." I'd been standing right there in front of her as she said all of this and just remember thinking, "Wait. Who doesn't like me?!" As harsh as that may have been for a Kindergarten teacher to say, that mean ol' lady was right, and this would turn into a hard lesson for me to learn in the years to come.

In high school, I was constantly worried about people liking me or not. I became so concerned with how I thought others perceived me to be that it pretty much consumed and controlled those four, long years. In college, I was less concerned with how others saw me and more worried about always being "that girl" who had the "perfect" boyfriend. I became somewhat of a serial dater - obsessed with maintaining a serious relationship and when one would end, I made it my job to find my next one. This ultimately led to an engagement after only 6 months of dating, which led to a marriage and then a divorce. All of this before the age of 25. I had made some pretty poor choices in those short years and now- now that I had this new label of a "divorcee" - I can't even begin to tell you how terrified I was of people now judging me for this. I quickly learned who my true friends were and also learned in that time how important family is and that mine would always be there for me- to lift me up, and yes- to remind me that my identity was not in any mistake I'd made, not in my last name, and certainly not in the heartbreak. While those things may have been hard lessons learned and may have helped shape me into the person I am today, ultimately, I would finally learn and accept that my identity was in something so much bigger, better, and everlasting.

It would take me awhile to learn this though and I will tell you- it was a painful and beautiful journey. As cliche as it sounds, I found myself the minute I gave it all to God; I found myself in Him. And wouldn't you know that when I realized my identity was deep down, in the heart of Jesus, I breathed deeper than I ever had before, and my eyes were then opened to the blessings He'd had in store all along. One of these blessings would be a partner - a man who saw beyond all of the insecurities, past previous mistakes made, and showed me unconditional love. And so I did what you do in a situation such as that- I took my time, dated him for THREE YEARS and then married him ;)

What (or who) gives you your identity?

I think, sometimes, for women especially - this can be tough. Deep down we know our identity doesn't lie in our relationships, our last names, or any materialistic things we may become accustomed to over the years... but it's so easy to get wrapped up in those things and to start to feel like the moment we don't "have it all together" (and I mean, honestly, who does??) or the second we find out we're not loved by another person, that surely this means we've lost ourselves. Don't get me wrong, I think some of those things can definitely help shape us and add some flair. My friends know that I hate to be late and rarely am, I'm someone who would drop anything in a second if someone needed a shoulder to cry on, I'm a gal who sure does love her martinis, and I am "that friend" who has been known to bust some pretty sweet moves on the dance floor (typically only after consuming those said martinis). But truly, those things aren't what gives me me my identity deep down.

As a blogger, I hope that I'm not only known as "that girl with the lifestyle blog who loves Michael Bolton" ;) I hope that current readers and new readers know that when they visit my space, they can be reminded of just how loved they are by Him. (And if they are ever in doubt, I hope they know they can reach out to me directly and I will tell them all of the ways.)

I hope that at the end of my life, it wasn't about my career, my home, or even about my marriage. I pray that it wasn't about how many people liked me or honored me or even loved me. I pray that it wasn't about what I was able to control and how well MY plans turned out. At the end of it all, I hope that it was never about me. I pray that it was always about Him, that my identity was someone who always sided with Jesus. I pray that I wasn't just kind to people and showed them my love, but that I showed them the kindness and love of Him

And do I fail miserably in this? In always remembering all of this and its truth? Um, yeah. Quite often, actually. But you know? Every single day I'm reminded of His grace. That it's never too late, and to try again. And so, I do. And it becomes less about me and my plans, and more about a God who loves and saves and heals and blesses and redeems and comforts - and gives us the best identity we could ever imagine. And all because the Creator of the universe, was and is and will always love me. And He will always love you

[heart image via we heart it]

Thanks so much for hangin' out with me today! Come by and say hi! 


Amy @Set Free said...

This is so beautiful, Emily! Thank you for sharing. Life just isn't worth it if we aren't sharing our lessons with one another.

Amy @Set Free said...

Thanks so much, sweet friend! :) You're exactly right... learning with one another is what it's about!

Amy @Set Free said...

Lovely writing and wonderful thoughts - Emily, I always think of you as a faith-filled writer, so on my part you're conveying exactly what you want to be! Keep up the faith and sharing the grace :) XO

Ember Grey. said...

:) this makes my heart happy. Thanks, Rebecca XO!!