Why I decided to end my unofficial blogging hiatus.
Have you ever been in a dark place?
A place where you can't see your way around or understand the purpose of your journey? The darkness isn't evil, yet it prohibits your sight and makes it difficult to move forward. What I've come to realize is that life will hand you seasons and situations that cause you to walk in the dark and question everything you've seen in the light...
Yesterday, it rained. All day.
My husband and I made use of the rainy weather by staying inside and cleaning up our home. Later in the day, I faced the rain and went out to Starbucks for some quiet time and reading. (By the way, I tried a pumpkin chai tea latte as suggested by the barista and it was delicious!) I decided not to take my laptop, which I usually never go to Starbucks without, and simply brought my bible and favorite book: Beauty Will Save the World by Brian Zahnd. In chapter 2, “The Greatest Wonder of All,” he shares a glorious moment he had atop a mountain. As he took a moment to breathe and bask in the beauty that surrounded him, a deer came alongside him and his antlers formed a perfect frame to the sunset. It was a moment of glorious wonder that he said he will never forget.
As I read the story, I could only image how beautiful that sight must have been. My imagination ran wild as I tried to place myself in his viewpoint, visualizing a mountaintop sunset framed by brown antlers. What a sight that must have been. After I finished reading, I headed home and noticed that there was a festival going on in my city. A large ferris wheel was going round and round and the tents covered the street to keep the goods dry. Amidst the rain, the contrast of flashing lights from the fair rides was an interesting contrast to behold. Is this my “wonder moment”? I thought. I parked alongside the festival gate and snapped a few photos of the scene with my iPhone. I used various filters on Instagram to enhance the shots, but didn’t care for the mood that was captured.
I continued home and prepared to go out again to the grocery store with my family. After about an hour and lots of team work, my husband and I completed our shopping trip and headed outside. As we looked into the sky, we were captivated by the most beautiful, bright, full rainbow we had ever seen. We gasped as we beheld this unexpected display of glorious wonder amidst an ordinary Sunday afternoon. Customers all throughout the parking lot were taking photos and gazing into the sky, grocery carts pushed aside as the priorities of the evening were delayed in this moment of divine beauty. THIS was my wonder moment.
As I beheld the rainbow, this thought entered my heart:
The promise is worth the rain.
Every rain drop that fell from the sky throughout the day was worth the display of the magnificent rainbow. I want you to know that the rain in your life will be worth the rainbow that’s coming. Although storms seem to last forever, and there seems to be no end in sight, there is a promise on the other side of your storm.
Hebrews 6:13-14 tells us that God gave Abraham a promise and swore by Himself, because there was nothing higher to swear by, saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you and multiplying I will multiply you.” Psalm 12:6-7 tells us that the words of the Lord are pure, like silver tried in a furnace purified seven times and that He will keep His words and preserve them forever. We all have received promises from God, spoken directly to our hearts and found within His word. God is not a man that He should lie, and He’s not toying with our emotions. If He said He'll do it, He will do it! The question is, are we willing to wait? There’s that gap of time between when God spoke and when the promise manifests when we must trust God and not allow impatience and murmuring delay the process. Hebrews 6:15 tells us that after Abraham patiently endured he received the promise.
In Psalm 27, titled An Exuberant Declaration of Faith, David proclaims,
I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord! (vs. 16-17).
My encouragement to you (and myself) today is not to lose heart! Don’t try to make a “wonder moment” happen by creating your own promise in a time of impatience, as I did with the ferris wheel photo. God is bringing your promise in His timing. A promise that will be worth every teardrop of rain we’ve cried and every loud roaring storm that we’ve endured. In the meantime, our job is to stand firm by faith, patiently endure and wait for God. The promise is coming. The rainbow is worth the rain.
Leave Your Beauty Mark
Bloom: a state or time of beauty, freshness and vigor; a state of high development or achievement; to mature into achievement of one's potential; to flourish in youthful beauty, freshness or excellence; to shine out; glow
A number of weeks ago, the word “bloom” sprang up in my heart. Given the fact that I absolutely love doing word studies, I immediately began to search high and low for the various definitions of bloom and the scriptures associated with it. I even preached a message on it at my church! Over the last few weeks, a new joy and hope for this Spring began to rise up in my heart. As you know from my previous post, I absolutely love Spring. But this study of the word "bloom" and what the Bible has to say about Spring has given me a new-found love for the season. There is so much goodness packed into this five-letter word that is rarely used outside of Springtime and often overlooked. I truly believe that our Heavenly Father is speaking in the midst of this season, and through this simple yet profound word. My sisters, my friends, it is officially time to bloom. It’s time to arise from our sleep, as a seed rests in the darkness of winter below the ground, and spring forth into the newness that God has for us.
“For as the earth bursts with spring wildflowers, and as a garden cascades with blossoms, So the Master, God, brings righteousness into full bloom and puts praise on display before the nations.” Is. 61:11 MSG
This past weekend, we celebrated the beautiful sacrifice of Jesus' death on the cross and His glorious resurrection. As a result of His life, death and resurrection, righteousness and praise have sprung forth throughout the world as people of all nations have received Him by faith. In other words, because He rose, we can arise! Because He bloomed, we can bloom!
This Spring, I am full of expectation for God to move in a great way in our lives and resurrect some things that have lay dormant. As my mom says in her book, Pray-ers Bear Fruit, "without a death, there can be no resurrection". Maybe you have been in a dry season for a while and it seems like God's voice has been a faint whisper, or maybe even silent. Maybe you've experienced the death of a dream and feel like there is no hope for a new beginning. Maybe you're in a relationship that is struggling to survive and you feel like the love is long gone. Oh, my sister, Jesus is about to resurrect your situation. He is fully aware of and well able to raise up that dead situation in your life and breathe a new life into it this season. Encourage yourself in the Lord. Build your faith through the Word. Don't believe the enemy's report. Believe the report of the Lord! He has positioned you for a miracle this season! We are about to see things that we've never seen before, do things we've never done before and go places we've never gone before.
Get ready to shine. Get ready to spring forth. Get ready to glow. Get ready to bloom.
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.
Often times, when we take our eyes off of God and focus on our situation, we begin to experience fear. We freeze up at the thought of what "could" happen. We stop progressing in our walk with God as we place matters into our own hands instead of looking to God for help in our time of need. I know that things get rough. I know the problem is big. But God is bigger. He is greater than your circumstance. And He is in control, even when it doesn't seem like it. Consider Job. He went through some major let downs. All of his children died, all that he owned was destroyed and even his health was attacked! His wife told him to curse God and die and his friends all came up with judgements on why he was suffering so badly. But did you know that Bible scholars believe that his trial was only about 9 months long? It was temporary! A short season, considering the fact that he lived to see his children's children all the way to the 4th generation! (God blessed him with more children after the season of trouble subsided. See Job 42:10-16). Be encouraged and know that God is in control! Release your desire to be the potter in your life and let Him get back to work on your behalf. Know that He is the Potter and you are the clay. Trust Him. Walk on the water. Remember this as you go: Fear paralyzes. Faith mobilizes. Don't be afraid to walk by faith.
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
Ever since I was in college I have been posting scriptures all throughout my living space. It began as a necessity when I was struggling through a difficult season of my life where the negative thoughts in my mind were so troubling that I had to physically surround myself with the Word in order to make it through each day. I remember friends and acquaintances coming into my dorm and saying, "What's up with the scriptures all over the walls?" I would try to explain to them my reasonings but they usually just shrugged their shoulders or laughed a little to themselves. Nevertheless, I kept myself surrounded by the Word of God and always knew where to turn when I was going through a personal battle in my life.
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.