I don't know what season you are in right now, but as for me and my house, we are right in the thick of transition. For the last few months, we have taken steps of faith down a road that seems uncertain, in obedience to three specific words from the Lord.
“What sorrow awaits my rebellious children,” says the LORD. “You make plans that are contrary to mine. You make alliances not directed by my Spirit, thus piling up your sins. For without consulting me, you have gone down to Egypt for help. You have put your trust in Pharaoh’s protection. You have tried to hide in his shade. But by trusting Pharaoh, you will be humiliated, and by depending on him, you will be disgraced. For though his power extends to Zoan and his officials have arrived in Hanes, all who trust in him will be ashamed. He will not help you. Instead, he will disgrace you.” (Isaiah 30:1-5 NLT)
Beware of making your own plans without consulting God; trusting in the help of a leader instead of the right hand of the Lord. Make God your strength. Consult Him for your plans. Seek His path.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. (Proverbs 3:5, 6 NLT)
Emonne Markland Leave Your Beauty Mark
In life, we often experience things that we don't understand. There seems to be no purpose for the pain we suffer, especially when referring to rejection. Rejection hurts. There is no pain like it, especially when it comes from someone that did (or should) love you. It pierces to the depths of the soul. Rejection can draw you to anger, depression, insecurity, low self-esteem and leave you feeling empty. If you are reading this post, there's a great chance that you've experienced the pain of rejection first hand.
You’ve prayed. You’ve praised. You’ve sown seeds. You’ve kept the faith. You’ve stood on the promises in the Word. You know that God is able to answer your request, but you haven’t seen your harvest yet. I want to encourage you today that you have not been denied. Your prayer has not gone unheard and lost in the masses of prayers that go up before the Lord. It’s just a matter of time.
A few Sundays ago, while walking with my daughter, I came across a field of beautiful sunflowers. I’ve always loved this unique type of flower and was so excited to get a snapshot up close, which is pictured above. I gazed at how beautifully they stand tall and erect, facing high to the sky. Later that evening, I decided to post one of my photos to Instagram and include a fun fact about sunflowers. As I began to review various facts, I was fascinated by the interesting characteristics of this beautiful creation. It is believed that the name “sunflower” is connected to both it’s look and behavior. When you look at a sunflower, you can see how it resembles the sun: a large, circular head and bright, yellow petals (which are actually individual flowers) encircling the center. However, the most fascinating fact about the sunflower is found in a process called heliotropism.
Heliotropism is the process in which a sunflower follows and faces the sun’s position in the sky. In the morning when the sun comes up, its head points East towards to sunrise. During the day, there are cells in the stem of the sunflower that cause its stem to tilt the sunflower’s head to receive the maximum amount of sunlight, tracking the movement of the sun throughout the day. At evening time, the sunflower’s head faces West towards the sunset, causing the sunflower to follow a 180 degree turn every day from sunrise to sunset. In the evening after the sun goes down, the sunflower goes back to its original position facing the East, awaiting the rising of the sun and is ready to follow the sun’s path again. After going into full bloom, the sunflower ceases its heliotropism behavior and stays in an East-facing position.
For the Lord God is a Sun and Shield; the Lord bestows [present] grace and favor and [future] glory (honor, splendor, and heavenly bliss)! No good thing would He withhold from those who walk uprightly. (Psalm 84:11 AMP)
They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed. (Psalm 34:5 NKJV)
Truly the light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to behold the sun. (Ecclesiastes 11:7 NKJV)
As children of the Light, we can learn so much from the beautiful sunflower as she silently teaches us to follow her example. Just as the sunflower follows and faces the sun from sunrise to sunset, we must constantly keep our focus on the Son and follow His path. As we do this, we receive the power and energy from on high to continue to grow and bloom into all that God has for us. This past Spring, I did a post entitled "Bloom" and another entitled "The Whisper of Spring" where I discussed the beauty of Springtime and how God is bringing us into a season of freshness, beauty, high achievement and development. This summer, let's be encouraged by the story of the sunflower, a beautiful summer blossom, and continue to allow our lives to bloom. Let's follow the example of the sunflower and become flowers of the Son, Sonflowers who constantly keep our eyes fixed on Him and are empowered in His presence. When we look to Him, we are able to throw off the head-lowering countenance of shame and lift our heads high as we reflect the beautiful light of the Son and shine brightly in a dark world.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2 NIV)
Leave Your Beauty Mark
P.S. Have you entered the 1 year blogiversary giveaway? A Stabucks or MAC gift card is up for grabs! Enter here! The winner will be announced next week!
At various seasons, we must take time to DTR: define the relationships in our lives. When God is taking you from one season to another, and from one level to another, not every person will go with you. In some cases, people who were in your life from the past can only see you as who you used to be. When God starts growing you and changing you into a new creation in Christ, those people are so familiar with who you once were that they cannot accept the new you and therefore will not transition into the next level with you. It’s important to know who’s who in your life and understand where each relationship stands when your seasons change. Some relationships may always be in your life, but some may be just for a season. God designed them that way.
Selecting a spouse is one of the most important decisions that we can make in our lives. That one decision has a ripple effect, pouring into all areas of life: physical, mental and spiritual. Many different factors come into play when selecting a spouse, but what should be the top priorities? For many people, physical attraction is the number one factor, and sometimes even the deciding factor. But as believers, should our standards be the same? Should physical attraction be the top priority and deciding factor when selecting a spouse? I’ve asked this question of myself and others, and have searched the scriptures for biblical examples and answers to this poignant question. Here is what I believe to be an informed answer:
Good evening, ladies. I couldn't pass up this day without sharing with you how meaningful this date is to me. Today is the 5 year anniversary of my surgery. I cannot even explain how thankful I am to be alive. God gave me a second chance on life and today I remember His faithfulness to see me through the darkest day of my life. Not only did I survive cancer, but I was able to get married, reproduce and give birth to my daughter Grace. A few weeks ago, I had an extensive physical exam and received a great report from my doctor from all the test results. "Thank you" just can't seem to express all of my gratitude. I pray that my life will bring Him glory and that when it is my time to go, I will have emptied out all that He's placed inside of me, leaving my beauty mark on the world.
Emonne Markland Leave Your Beauty Mark
For a number of years now, Spring has been a season of new beginnings in my life. As many of you know, I had a health trial in April 2007 where I had to undergo and recover from major lung surgery to remove a malignant mass. It was quite a storm, but looking back I know that it was the catalyst to many of the blessings that were to come in my life. Then, fast forward two years later, I married my husband in April of 2009, a special sign of redemption and love from the Lord that brought and still brings me great joy. Now, fast forward another two years to April 2011, the month that I gave birth to my gorgeous daughter Grace, once again showing the great victory that we have in Jesus and His ability to give us double for our trouble. So, as you can see, Spring has a great connotation to me personally and brings me great joy. The following scripture passage was in my wedding program and beautifully expresses the joy and abundance of this lovely season:
Song of Solomon 2:10-13
“My beloved spoke and said to me:
‘Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
For lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grapes
Give a good smell.
Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.’ ”
As the Spring blossoms appear all throughout the country, I believe that there is a whisper of change being proclaimed to those that have ears to hear and eyes to see. Not just in the physical, but in the spiritual as well. Seeds that were sown in times of darkness, quietness and uncertainty that once were dead are springing forth in our lives, giving evidence to the faithfulness of our God and His ability to make all things new. The season of cold, difficult, laboring, toiling winter is coming to an end and a new season of joy, peace and rest is arising. God is calling us to rise up, shaking off the guilt of the past and forgetting the things which are behind. Come out from the shadows and chains of sins and grab hold of our freedom in Christ. He is calling us to shine forth in our God-given beauty, referring to us as His “fair ones”, fair meaning beautiful, lovely, clean, pure, fine, pleasing to the eye or mind especially because of fresh, charming or flawless quality. It’s time to embrace who we are in Christ, not necessarily because we deserve to be called fair or even feel fair, but because that is how our Father sees us. Lastly, He is calling us to come away with Him. Come to Him and away from the world. Draw near to Him and allow Him to draw near to us. Get lost in His presence. Make time for Him and go deeper in intimacy with Him, silencing the noise of our busy schedules and tuning our ears to the voice of heaven. As we surrender our plans and our agendas to set aside this special time with Him, we will begin to bloom.
Father, I thank you so much for your Word, that beautifully restores my soul and uplifts me in my time of need. I thank you for the season of Spring, as buds form and bloom throughout the earth as a sign to your children of the new things ahead. As we take time to come away in your presence and meditate on your Word, I ask that you reveal Yourself to us in a new way. Open our spiritual eyes to see and our spiritual ears to hear your voice through this season. Enlighten us by your Word. Captivate us in your presence. Illuminate us with your glory. I pray right now, Father, in Jesus’ Name, that you will help us to keep our focus on you. That we will begin a new season of devotion and commitment to you as we prepare to celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Just like a seed, He died, was planted in the earth and rose again on the third day, springing forth as a majestic, eternal bloom, bearing the seeds of generational salvation for many to come. We thank you and praise you for your mighty works, God. To you be all the glory and honor and praise, both now and forever. Amen.
Leave Your Beauty Mark
P.S. I encourage you to study and meditate on Song of Solomon 2:10-13 this week. Allow this passage to get into your spirit and spring forth new revelation. I personally have found profound revelation on these scriptures from the commentaries of Matthew Henry, Scofield’s reference notes (1917 edition), Wesley’s explanatory notes and Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, all of which can be found within the free Bible Study Tools app. In these references, Song of Solomon 2:10-13 is explained as a metaphor of turning away from sin and the law and the beauty and newness of Christ’s coming, bringing a wonderful season of joy to those that receive Him. I highly recommend reviewing those commentaries, as they are rich with truth. As you study, please feel free to come back to this post and share your thoughts on what the Lord is revealing to you through this passage.
The door that never opened. The job offer that fell through. The relationship that you've been forcing to work even though it's not. The house deal that flopped. Whatever the situation may be in your life. Maybe, just maybe, God has it sealed for your protection. Don't force it open. You may find yourself opening a can of worms.
Friends, I really believe this to be true. So many doors have closed in my face over the years, some even opened, allowed me in, and then pushed me back out! I used to get mad, disappointed and even a little depressed a few times. Now, I know that I don't even have to worry about it. If something doesn't work out my way, I trust that God has something even better on the way.
This year, we are all expecting great things and I believe that great things are coming! That being said, we must keep in mind that things may happen much differently than we expect them to. You may be focusing on and preparing for door A and God's will for you in 2012 may be door Y. Trust Him no matter what. He's in control. And His plan is always better than ours. Be blessed and have a joy-filled weekend.
Emonne Markland Leave YOUR Beauty Mark
Today, as I took some time to quiet myself before God, I asked Him to search my heart and show me what I need to do and where to improve. As I read though the scriptures and sat in reflection, I heard my Father speak two simple words to my heart: Be still. I then saw a vision of a situation that I have faced numerous times over the last few weeks: me trying to clean my daughter's nose. I know this may sound strange, but if you're a mom you've experienced the struggle of trying to clean out your child's nose with a nasal aspirator. Not fun at all. My daughter screams, kicks, whips her hair back and forth and basically freaks out. Over and over again, I look her in the eyes and calmly tell her, "Grace, be still." Frantically, she disregards my instruction for a few more minutes and finally stays still long enough for me to help her by cleaning out her nose. You see, she'd been sick for about two weeks or so and as her mother, I knew that she couldn't blow her nose on her own & needed a clear nasal passage to help her breathe better and get well. I didn't want to take much of her time, but the more that she resisted me, the longer it took for me to help her.
Friends, God wants to help us. He wants to heal our hearts. He wants to bless us. He wants us to breathe easy. But the more that we resist Him, and the temporary discomfort of the process, the longer it will take for us to get well. Be still. Relax. Allow Him to do what He needs to do. Trust that He has your best interest at heart and doesn't mean you any harm. I know the situation that you're facing is very uncomfortable, but it's being used for your benefit. Let go. Be still. Take a chill pill, if you will. ;)
I believe that God showed me this scenario to reveal to me my own situation but I feel that this is for you too. I was watching the First Conference live from Gateway Church on Daystar tonight and the associate pastor gave the same word: Be Still. It was a confirmation to my heart and I know that God is speaking to you and me in this moment with this word.
"Be still, and know that I am God..."(Psalm 46:10 NKJV)
Emonne Markland Leave YOUR Beauty Mark
This morning, I was getting my husband a breakfast burrito and smoothie from the grocery store and at the checkout I realized that I didn't have my debit card in my hand or pocket. I searched frantically as the 5 million people in line behind me that were probably in a rush to get to work on time waited patiently for this young mom to find her money to pay for her order. I couldn't find the card anywhere so I hurried and just payed with cash. After getting my order, I sat off to the side and continued to search for the card. Still, nothing. I went back to the line that I ordered from and asked if the clerk had found my card by chance. The lady behind me in line said that someone in the bakery department found a card and was asking everyone if it was theirs and was headed to customer service to drop it off. I thanked the lady & zoomed to the customer service desk. While I waited to be helped, another woman was coming to clock in for work and stopped to talk to Grace, my 7 month old daughter, and me. We got to talking about kids and she began to share with me the importance of praying for your children. She told me that she is standing in faith for her adult children that are away from the Lord right now, but that she knows they will come back into relationship with Him. I shared with her that my mom just wrote a book on prayer and handed her a business card to get more information on the book. She seemed very excited, and we said goodbye, shook hands and exchanged smiles. She said that God sent us her way this morning & that she really needed a smile. She told me that her name is Patty & that she works in the floral department and would love for me to visit her sometime. I assured her that I would as I walked away with a smile, thankful that what seemed to be an inconvenience and set back of my time was really a set up for me to be a blessing and blessed in return! I dropped off my husband's breakfast & smoothie, went back to the store for another burrito (they just looked too good to pass up!) and then headed home on my usual route. As I approached the stop light near my home, my heart sank as I saw a number of emergency lights flickering in the distance. When I got closer, I saw that two cars had crashed and two others had gone into the ditch and it didn't look good at all. Fire trucks were everywhere, one of which I captured quickly on my phone as you can see above. As I drove past the scene and headed home, I realized that my inconvenience was even more than a blessing, it was a means of protection. My baby girl & I could have very well been involved in that accident as we were headed home today. Thank you, Jesus, for your hand at work in my life, keeping my daughter and me safe from hurt, harm and danger. Thank you for intervening in my day, even though I thought I was being held up by losing my card. I know that it wasn't just a coincidence. I also thank you for protecting and caring for those that were in the accident. Be with them and give them peace. Allow them to see your hand in the midst of this situation. And bless Patti, Lord. May her children come to know You in a real and powerful way this week. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.
Today, allow God to arrange (and rearrange) your schedule. He may be setting you up for a blessing, and protecting you from harm.
Emonne Markland Leave YOUR Beauty Mark
If you're reading this post right now, you have a testimony. God has brought you through the storms of life time and time again. He was with you on the operating table. He was with you at the isle. He was with you in the wilderness. He was with you at the highest mountain. And in all that you've been through, God wants you to know that HE is the one that brought you to where you are today and that all of the things that you've been through have built the tools and weapons that you need to withstand through the trials and tests of life. When the enemy comes to accuse you and condemn you, bringing up your past and telling you that God is not going to come through for you this time, you can stretch back your faith to all of the times that God WAS there and when He DID bring you through. You can stand strong with your head held high, look your accuser square in the face and say, "There is NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus! I am more than a conqueror through Christ. NO WEAPON formed against me shall prosper!" This week, stand strong in your testimony. Know that you are redeemed through the Blood of Jesus. That you are justified, "just-as-if-I'd" never done it. Don't allow the enemy to keep beating you up and oppressing you with your circumstances, past mistakes & failures. Enough is enough! The enemy is under your feet! Speak the Word and hold fast to your freedom in Christ! And remember this: Your greatest test gave birth to your greatest testimony. You. Have. The. Victory.
Last night, I was captivated by the 9/11 documentaries that flooded the TV stations. Stories of sorrow, heroism, bravery and hope played over and over again. The images of that horrific day pierced my heart to the core. Like many other Americans, I can remember exactly where I was when I heard the news of the attacks. On September 11th, 2001, I was a freshman in high school sitting in my first period class when an announcement was made over the PA system from our principal stating that something bad happened in New York City. When that class concluded, I went to my next period and watched the TV with my teacher and classmates in disbelief. The images of people running through the streets of New York City covered in white ash seemed like something out of a movie. Watching an airplane go through the second building and seeing both buildings fall to the ground was utterly unimaginable. What began as a normal school day turned into a day of mourning and desperation, and an attempt to have class as usual was completely out of the question as we all tried to wrap our minds around what was happening.
How can people be so evil? Why did this horrible event happen to so many good people? What is going on in the world? These were all of the questions that ran through my mind all throughout the rest of my school day as I longed to be at home with my family that I love so dear. After what seemed like an eternity, I finally finished out my school day and watched more coverage of the attack at home with my parents and brother. I believe that these questions, and many others like them, have gone through all of our minds in the wake of the terrorist attack on 9/11, and only God truly knows the answers.
If you are reading this today, there’s a great chance that you or someone you know was directly affected by this horrible act of terrorism. If you personally lost a friend or loved one on 9/11, I cannot begin to imagine how you feel and I am so sorry for your loss. The thought of losing a loved one in such an evil way is inconceivable to me. It’s been said that time heals all wounds, but I don’t believe that to be true. Even though it has been 10 years since 9/11, I’m sure that the hurt still remains in many hearts. Although there are many things that I don’t know or understand about this tragedy, I do know this without a shadow of a doubt: that there is hope in Jesus Christ and that God specializes in bringing good things out of hopeless situations. In Isaiah 61, the Word of God tells us that Jesus came to “console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:3-4 NKJV)
As we take time today to reflect on the events of 9/11, I believe that we must make a conscious effort to see the beauty in the ashes. To remember all of the brave fireman, policeman and every day Americans that risked their lives for their fellow Americans as they exemplified the greatest commandment in loving their neighbor as themselves. May we be thankful for the lives that were spared and rejoice in the great stories of triumph and the will to survive in the face of death. May we give to God our questions, concerns, sorrow, mourning and ashes from this tragic event and receive joy, beauty and praise instead.
God Bless America.
Emonne Markland: Leave YOUR Beauty Mark
1 Peter 3:3-4
Hey ladies! I have had so many post ideas in my mind over the past week or so that I decided to do a vlog for now and give you a chance to see me in person! I always love when other bloggers do that so I figured I'd give it a try too :). (By the way, do you have any topics or post ideas that you would like me to address? Let me know if you do!)
In this video, I share the purpose of this blog, as well as my testimony...and introduce you to my baby girl! Hopefully you will find my story encouraging and see the heart behind my passion for women's ministry and re-defining beauty according to God's Word. Thank you for stopping by and I look forward to sharing with you again soon!
Emonne Markland: Leave YOUR Beauty Mark!
Hello beautiful ladies!! Today has been a fairly relaxing day. I've been at home with the baby and my mom stopped by to visit for a bit. This morning I took some time to study in preparation for my trip to Oklahoma this weekend for The Pink Lid purity conference. It will be my first time preaching as a momma! My perspective on life has changed so much and my passion for young women knowing the truth about beauty and purity has intensified as a result. I'm delivering a message of freedom based on Isaiah 61 and various other scriptures. As women of God that have accepted the free gift of salvation, we are entitled to the freedom that Jesus died to give us!
Isaiah 61:1-3 tells us that God equipped Jesus with anointing and the Holy Spirit in order to preach good news to the poor, set the captives free, proclaim the year of Jubilee (see Leviticus 25:8-17), heal the brokenhearted, comfort those who mourn, and to give us BEAUTY for ashes! He has also given us the oil of joy in place of mourning and a garment of praise in place of heaviness that we may be called the trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord that He may be glorified!
I have shared this message numerous times over the past 2 years and every time it is such a joy to deliver. Thank you, Jesus for the freedom that you died to give us! May we stand fast in this freedom and never go back to our former life of bondage (see Galatians 5:1)
This week I encourage you to take time to study Isaiah 61 and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal this message to your spirit like never before. May every weight, every burden and every chain that has held you down from your past be broken THIS WEEK in Jesus' Name! May you receive the freedom and beauty that Christ came to give you & may He be glorified in your walk of freedom!
Be sure to come back and share what God has spoken to you as you read and meditate on this message of freedom!
Emonne Markland: Leave YOUR Beauty Mark
Beauty Marked is a phrase that expresses who we are as women. Every woman on this planet, regardless of the color of her skin, her past mistakes, her body shape or her geographical location, has been beautifully created, fashioned and marked by God. We are beautiful women made in the image of a beautiful God. We are called to do extraordinary things. We are destined for greatness. According to the Oxford American Dictionary, the word "marked" means "to make a visual impression or stain on". I believe that the unique beauty that God has marked every woman with is a visual impression from our Creator and a reflection of who He is. The purpose of this blog is to encourage women to discover their inward beauty and to confidently express it outwardly as we reflect our beautiful God. As a new mom and a fairly new wife of two years, I'm getting a personal crash-course on rediscovering myself amidst the fast-paced life of motherhood. I want to go on a journey with you as I share tips on how to strengthen your inward and outward beauty. This blog is open for moms especially, but is also for women anywhere from the studious college fashionista to the single, career woman that is passionately pursuing her dream. Let's walk together as we journey through the daily joys and challenges of life and learn to unveil the beauty in every situation.