About the Author

Robin is the author of For All Who Wander, her relatable memoir about wrestling with doubt that reads much like a conversation with a friend. She's as Southern as sugar-shocked tea, married to her college sweetheart, and has three children. An empty nester with a full life, she's determined to...

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  1. From my blog:

    5/4/2012

    the wisteria blooms in concert

    many tears were shed over the loss of this great wisteria in the spring of twenty ten. Watched did I as the flood waters began to swamp it’s roots and water the ground from which the wisteria did stand. Months did it take to wrangle the dead so life would be present again. My children and neighbors watched as this life I tried to save. To cry over a tree is me.
    the wisteria blooms in concert with an apple tree and amazed are we in the sight of their song. So very tangled and free like you and me.

    Today I write in a third person Challenge

    she found the bronzed topped covered box, tightly wrapped. She wondered of the contents as she ran her fingers gently over the twine. The threads began to lose shape as unwrap did she. Finally, she exhaled as the light of day entered the darkness. The contents reveled the heart of her youngest daughter. The daughter who rebelled against the Mother from the womb. The daughter she so wanted to deliver on her birthday. But, NO … this child would be born one day to soon.

    The secrets of the box reveled scraps of gently folded papers and she though to what we owe is this? As she unfolded them each one by one, the poetry formed a song unsung. A continuous concert on stiffen cloth. For much time did she read the words of the daughter. The instant brew now cold to the taste. The cigarette ash now a stream. As the youngest daughter walks in. Caught is she. Caught in the reading of the poetry of thought. She tried to explain, but little could not hear. The youngest daughter could only fear … the unfolded thoughts … scattered about and free … free, for any and ALL to see.

  2. I am really loving this book & the discussions! Ok…time to get brave…my childhood dreams. I had 2, I wanted to be an artist & a teacher (as a kid I always viewed them separately). Anyway, in 2nd grade we had to do some kind of project for homework. I went home & made a very elaborate (albeit somewhat abstract

  3. Sorry…here’s the rest: so when I handed th drawing in the next day, my teacher took one look at it & said “Get this piece of garbage outb of my site!” She proceeded to crumple it up & throw it away. I was, at 7 yrs. old, totally crushed. I vowed never to do art again because I believed her & thought I was horrible at it. I had a renewed interest in art in high school, but deep down still thought I would never measure up. Once I graduated college & started working, I decided to take a few art classes at night in a local, prestigious art school. I loved it! With the help of some amazing teachers who believed in my work, I started to flourish. But, it was just a hoppy. Fast forward 20 (!!) years later, with the urging of my amazing husband, I went back to school to get a Master’s Degree in Art Education & have been an art teacher (my 2 dreams combined!) for inner city middle school kids. What an enormous blessing this job is! Everyday I have kids tell me they “can’t draw” & how cool that I get to show them & help them discover the exact opposite! I never let a kid believe they cannot do art.

    God is truly amazing & I am so blessed He has directed my path in this way. Dreams may be sidelined or deferred, but with hope, faith & determination, they can be fulfilled!
    Thanks for letting me share her! Keep up the great job, ladies!

    • What a wonderful story, Patricia! I wonder how many of us walk around with the wounds of our youth; how incredible that an ill-tamed word can tear our heart so deeply our ears believe a lie as truth :(.

      Yaaaeee to your happy ending, truly. “Dreams may be sidelined or deferred, but with hope, faith & determination, they can be fulfilled!” I was shouting in my head, “YES!!”

  4. WOW – these chapters are so enriching and penetrating to my soul…speaking right to my core…as I child my dream was just to be heard. Not that I had anything too profound to say, but just wanted to add to the conversations and feel like I was being heard. Didn’t matter where I was, whether at the dinner table, in the living room, in the car, anywhere., I struggled and felt I didn’t belong or feel part of the family. I was and still am shy and an introvert of sorts.. I had so many siblings around me chatting it up, that I struggled just adding words to conversations. I developed the ME TOO answer to everything. I could get it out quickly and feel that the others heard and even responded. I WAS ACKNOWLEGED, even if most of the time my two older siblings did not want me joining in their adventures and the ME TOO was often squashed. 40 years has gone by and i know now that God was with me then, at the dinner table, holding my hand telling me He loved me and would stay by my side…was guiding me through my shyness and cherishing me, placing precious people in my life for growth opportunities, in my marriage, in the birth of my three children, even through the pain and anguish of losing my mom, GOD was still there providing, developing my character…giving me strength, helping me….With three children grown and off on their own, 1 married with a baby girl, I realize I am becoming all that God was grooming me for. I have arrived at a place where we are in a new town, hubby retired (early at 52) and we are finding our places here. I am developing a church community of friends, was offered an admin position at my church and have taken leadership roles I never thought I could. I appreciate in others the ability to speak, I also cherish the ones that do a lot of listening..each is. A gift. I also know in the world I am one, but to THE ONE I am the world.

    • “I appreciate in others the ability to speak, I also cherish the ones that do a lot of listening..each is. A gift. I also know in the world I am one, but to THE ONE I am the world.”

      I’m inclined to believe your earlier years shaped your grown-up ears to hear really, really well. A gift, friend.

  5. These questions are just so good. I only read through Rescue so far, but I can quickly answer question #2 because I did my ‘morning pages’ basically answering that question yesterday.

    When I was a little girl I was a latchkey kid from about the time I was 8 years old. I was an only child and grew up since the age of 2 in a single-mom household. I had a great childhood but always *always* wanted a dog to share my time with, I’d always loved animals. I would make art collages of cut-out magazine clippings of dogs and religious figures all the time (my childish wish of praying–from a Catholic family) and hide them in a secret place in my room. I never stopped asking for a dog for birthdays and Christmas, even into my teens. I never got one. My mom would get all sorts of plush dogs, even a robot dog that ‘walked’, but never the real deal. She felt she could barely be home enough for me, how could we take care of a dog, too?

    Anyway, I always loved friends’ dogs and knew someday I’d have one. I got older, went to college, got married, and within our first year of marriage this happened: On or near my birthday my husband picked me up from my job, and thinking we were going out to dinner, I was in a great mood to celebrate. I noticed some kibble on the floor of the car and asked him what it was for and he told me to turn around. There in his own little swaddled sweatshirt, was an 8 week old chocolate lab, my very favorite type of dog. He was as cute as could be. All I can remember after picking him up was repeating over and over to my husband, “this better not be a joke!” because I couldn’t possibly believe we could keep him, after so many years of wanting something so badly, here he was. It sounds silly, maybe, to talk about a dog like this (it’s just a dog!). But it was more than that. It was a childhood dream of companionship that I never had, and my husband saw that, and healed me with a precious gift. It was the best gift I’ve ever gotten, aside from my engagement ring! 😉

    How does this play out in my life? I see it all the time, and I wonder what the future holds. We went on to have two dogs, who were so fun to care for. We housed people from our church’s dogs while they went on vacation (if anyone has ever had to kennel a dog, they know how expensive it is, and how confined the animal is), we walked people’s dogs for them when they couldn’t, we met all our neighbors in every neighborhood we lived in by walking around with our dogs and chatting, helping our friends train their dogs, and currently we take care of two dogs when their owners are out of town. We do this for free because we see it as a blessing, both to the people who need the help, and to us. We currently can’t have a dog in our rental situation, and we lost our two pups a few years ago, 9 months apart. We also see dog-training for the visually impaired in our future. It’s a bucket list item, or life goal, to pass along trained dogs to those who need them. We can’t wait for that.

    I know we’ll have a dog again soon, and although this whole story might sound silly (so many times I wanted to dismiss it as small or unimportant) but I really think that these things have been around in our lives for a reason. It seems my little childhood prayers were answered heaps and heaps.

    Thank you for the opportunity to share,

    Sarah M

    • Well, let me just tell you this, Sarah: your silly dog story just filled my eyes with tears. OH, sweet friend, how you’ve learned to give from your void! Your husband getting you that puppy tells so much about him, but how you’ve turned your “want” to blessing is phenomenal.

      🙂

  6. These chapters were so wonderful!! My desires as a child were to be a teacher or a nurse. But when I look back I enjoyed playing the teacher role most. In the 3rd grade I made my own library made my own pockets and library cards to check the books out, I have always loved to read, and continue to do so. When it came to college I chose the nursing school, over teaching some due to culture pressure, family encouraging me to pick a career that would “make money, provide a living for me.” I went with nursing but I must tell you I did not feel fully alive in that choice, and desired to change my major the 2nd semester of my senior year, but (I am a people pleaser) and did not do so as I was convinced it would be an “unwise choice.” I did not marry until I was 32 yo, and that was about the time I found my niche in my nursing career. However all along the way I loved to read and research things that God brought in my path. I now have 3 children, 2 which I had after I was forty and I am a stay at Mom who homeschools. So that teaching desire that God placed in me so young is now coming into fruition. Like Emily described in this last chapter up into the last two years I lived in regret thinking that nursing school was not the “right” path for me, but in these last two years God through his healing and incredible love for me has shown me His presence through it all and it has all been apart of His journey and purpose nothing was wasted my dreams and desires are His and He has brought them to pass, and all the time He was teaching me to “sink”. Because deep down and though my motivations may have been mixed up, my desire has always been to love and walk with Him. Emily, thank you for these chapters I am 51 years old and my soul is singing and resonating with your words. The other part of my dreams has been to be an encourager to encourage others to live “out of the box” and I pray this entry will relate that.

    Blessings to all and for all those behind the scenes who have made this book club possible.

    Thank You,
    Kim

  7. i all i ever wanted to do was be a mom. this is what i loved as a child…taking care of my babies, playing house. when i got a little older it was domestic things like baking and sewing that brought me joy. i think that’s why i had such a hard time when my daughter went off to college.

    this journey inward has been my life for the past few years…a longing for purpose and fullness – the thing that motherhood gave me, but which i felt was gone after she left. but when i finally ‘let go’ and embraced the ’emptiness’ of my empty nest, by sinking into Jesus, not only did i find my purpose, but i also received a fullness of life that i never thought possible.

    • Becky,

      AND ALL YOUR INSTAGRAMS!! I **love** all of them and am having a HARD time not using a few for every collage! I’m trying to spread the love across the entire incourage community, but next week? I already know I’ll be using another of your images. Thank you for sharing your words and the way you’re living your art. 🙂

  8. Looking back feels weird. One thing comes to mind: The desire to be “picked.” I remember sitting in school assemblies and hoping that the presenter would choose me to demonstrate whatever it was…magic show, instrument etc. But not DARING to raise my hand. Thinking that if they really wanted ME I wouldn’t need to raise my hand.

    In some ways this has followed me into adulthood. And although I know and rejoice that Christ chose me, there is still a longing to be “picked.” And I guess that’s partly why I can’t get myself on board with the whole “pick yourself” movement.

    I underlined many things. Three favorites:

    p. 74 “…when I begin to sense an area where I might be able to offer something to God, I would be wise to first consider what Jesus is offering to me.” Indeed.

    p.87 “Not having what it takes is not a liability, it’s a prerequisite.” I qualify : )

    p. 81 “I am addicted to measurable productivity.” And I would add, “I have a phobia of wasting time!”

    Thanks, Ladies.

    • So grateful that God picked us even before we accepted Him! Keep producing His fruit because in the end, that is all that really matters. 🙂 Being productive, just for sake of producing, isn’t really fruit, it is just our own attempt to control our own lives instead of trusting Him to be in control. God bless!

      John 15:16
      Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

    • Shauna,

      Your candor is refreshing; thank you for opening up the truth of who you are (then and now). I’ve realized over the past year my sometimes desperate desire to be “known”, not valuing highly enough that I already am by the One who matters most.

      Why I’ve wasted time (your fear, my reality) clamoring for something I didn’t *need* makes me thankful God can redeem even that.

      Wisdom here :).

  9. I have several vivid memories from childhood pertaining to my early passions. As the oldest child, I would often take charge. I loved learning and so I’d spend hours playing school, with me being the teacher, of course. I would create worksheets, force my siblings (aka: students) to complete them and then grade them. I also remember loving the ocean. At one time, I dreamed of being an oceanographer. JAWS put an end to that dream!
    As an adult, I went on to become a teacher and spent the last 25 years in that role (among others). I rediscovered my love of the natural world through teaching science. Life in the classroom has changed so much that it no longer feels like the right place for me. I am currently shifting gears and trying to be very intentional on where God is leading. I’m not sure where it is going and sometimes I just want to get “there”. I am working on being patient, enjoying the journey and realizing that the process of becoming is just as important as the final outcome.

    • Anita,

      Your comment makes the point that seasons change; how refreshing to hear a sister who is listening, eager for the next thing but not rushing it :).

  10. apples to apples

    Tina and Shea both attend Mrs. Williams 3rd grade class. Mrs. Williams asks the class to draw a picture of an apple. Both girls draw a picture. Tina draws a red, shiny delicious apple. Shea’s apple has an exposed core and its turning brown, the way they do when we leave them out too long.
    As Mrs. Williams walks the room she stops at Shea’s picture and asks, “Why isn’t your apple shiny and delicious like Tina´s?” Immediately Shea is embarrassed. All students turn to stare at her picture. Instead of explaining the true reason why her apple is the way it is she shrugs her shoulders and responds, “I don’t know.”

    Mrs. Williams just compared Tina´s art to Shea’s art. Shea loves apple’s. She drew a picture of an exposed apple because she loves them. The apple is turning brown because each time she eats an apple she gets an urge to go outside. So it’s turning brown because she left the apple to go outside and play.

    Tina´s red delicious apple is how she sees them in the store. She doesn’t like apples or any fruit or vegetable. She prefers junk food.
    At this moment, Shea was compared to Tina and Tina was told her apple was beautiful and Shea’s not so much. Shea will never enjoy an apple again.

    Mrs. Williams unknowingly compared Tina to Shea and as a consequence Shea lost her joy.

    Isn’t it just as awful when WE compare ourselves to others?

  11. I have to be honest, I haven’t read Chapter 5 yet, because I just finished chapter 4 and I want to sit with it for awhile. Because I typically don’t make added notes in my books, but today I did. I am beginning to see how things from my childhood are playing into my current life. Some things that I haven’t seen before. And it is kind of amazing as I look at the potential for what God may do with it.

  12. “Why sinking is the only way to float.” The idea of sinking was turned upside-down for me in this section beginning on page 77. I’ve been prone to the pitfall of sinking into regret for what I see as wasted time. But understanding this concept as sinking into God and knowing he is God puts Him in control. This is so beautiful and true. What a relief. I’m still learning to give things over to His plans and timing vs. mine. But I know God can redeem time I might view as wasted, and hopefully use it for His purposes in the future. Reminds me of the verse: “I will restore the years the locusts have eaten.” Joel 2:25.

    Praying God will help me banish regrets. I’m going to sink into Him and haul some old stories out of mothballs to see if there are new insights to be revealed today.

  13. I read cpts 4 & 5 a few weeks ago so I’ve been ruminating on this for some time and it’s been so amazing. I was reading these chapters around the same time that we had a bit of a mold epidemic in our home and I was cleaning everything (yes, every.thing.). As God would have it, I had to go through my big bin of journals from childhood until present. I was cleaning all of them and checking for mold and thinking on these chapters and about going back and listening to your life. I found a journal of poetry back in highschool when I used to rabidly write and when I was planning on being an English major in college. I don’t know what happened, why I stopped writing.. other than I think I just felt like I stunk at it and I didn’t know what anyone did with an English major besides teaching, which I wasn’t sure I wanted to do. I still journal, if I don’t its like a fire in my bones.. but I gave up on the dream of thinking I could write a long time ago. It’s just crazy, I really connected with what Emily shared about her childhood and always thinking in story and telling story. I was very imaginative as a kid and loved to read and loved to imagine these brilliant and wild adventures that I was living. So many of my imaginings were of being a mom, just a homemaking woman. 🙂 Maybe it sounds a small aspiration to some, but I always longed to be a wife and mom. And I am! I have two precious children and I am so very blessed to be home with them full time. In so many ways this season with these two little ones is my dream job. Of course, its hard! But it’s exactly what I want to be doing. But I know it’s not the only thing I’m here to do. And it hit me as I was looking back through journals when I was writing poetry, etc that I have always been compelled to write. It’s how I process, it’s how I remember. And I was totally surprised by some of my poetry.. I know I’m a little biased maybe (Hah!) but it wasn’t as bad as I remembered it being. It was actually surprisingly good.

    I was asking myself why did I give this up? Why did I turn from this? It’s too lengthy to share here but basically it was comparing myself to others and their talents and thinking I had to have the same story. Not seeing a “utilitarian” purpose for writing/art in general and so leaving it behind.

    I have wanted to start a blog for some time but just scared to and not sure I have anything to say. It seems everyone has a blog and it’s so overdone and what would be the purpose in it? What do I have to say that is new or worth saying? I don’t know.. But I know I’m passionate about what God teaches me in the ordinary mundane of life and passionate about sharing with anyone who might be encouraged.

    And recently I was sharing these thoughts with a close friend for the first time and she so sweetly affirmed me. I was telling her how I just am not sure I am very good at writing and she was like, “But it just comes out of you.” It just struck me, we need to do this more for one another! We are all too close to ourselves to see ourselves clearly/objectively.. what a gift to give one another to say, hey this is what I see in you. This is where I see glory in you! Her words have given me such courage.

    Ok this is far too long for anyone to read, I’m sure, but it was helpful for me to write this out! 🙂

    • Martha,
      Writing helps me remember too.

      I’ve had those exact same thoughts about a blog (some crazy percentage of women bloggers etc.). But I also found this quote from Phillip Yancy encouraging and freeing: “We are called to be stewards of our singular view point and stewards of the strange power of words through which we express it.” (Soul Survivor, p. 261)

      Or as Emily asked on her blog on Oct. 7 “What might Christ look like coming out of me, through my unique personality?”

      No one else had your eyes, or ears, or thoughts. Try it : )

    • Martha ~ three things:

      1) “It’s how I process, it’s how I remember.” (me, too!)

      2) “It was actually surprisingly good.” (Pay attention to that.)

      3) What happens next is up to you :). Read your comment again…I think you’ll hear something new :).

  14. Sink has been my favorite chapter so far in reading A Million Little Ways. That discussion in the video about what it truly means to be small has made such an impact on my own “art” journey. On the days that I yearn for more, I gently remind myself to sink into God. Oh what peace that brings! Thank you for your words, Emily. 🙂

  15. I lived in a house where i learnt to be quiet. I then went to school where i was told to be quiet. i learnt the lesson well. Be quiet and no one will notice. I was the child that had last years fashions and a home cut hairstyle or none at all. I was the one who had freebie-school uniform that everyone knew around me was a state handout. I was always the last one to be picked. I have four siblings, my parents worked and hard but there was no spare money not even for every day things. If it was free we could have it but if it wasn’t we couldn’t and there was no way round it. The one thing we did have was library books and weekly trips to the library. I still love reading but i have never done much else when it’s came to books until recently when i started reviewing books on my blog. After having to leave work due to ill health maybe books will be my answer, maybe they are part of God’s plan (?)

    • Beverley,

      The beautiful thing about “sink” is it’s not passive, it’s very active. Praying that your help improves and that you draw closer to God so you can sense his leading.

  16. My dream growing up was to be an artist. I constantly drew pictures of things I loved–mostly animals. As I went into high school and started “real” art classes I was discouraged in a couple of ways. 1. Family saying, how will you ever make a living at that, find something else, painting is a hobby… and 2. At that time and place more modern and abstract art was taught and pushed as the only “real” art and my realistic drawings and paintings weren’t considered good at all. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like in a college art class. I remember one high school class when I had painted a picture of a beautiful girl who was our live model for the day. I was quite happy with how it turned out. The teacher asked if she could show the class my painting and use it as an example of what she wanted us to accomplish that day and how to really see the true colors. Well I assumed she liked my painting and I said okay. She took my picture up front and showed everyone how my colors were so superficial and I needed to show colors in the shadows. She took a large brush, gathered a huge glob of purple paint and covered every area of my subtle shading (under eyes, side of face and nose…) with smears of purple, then blue. Next she took bright yellow and scarlet paint and “fixed” all my highlights. Then in front of everyone said, “There, isn’t that so much better?” That was the moment I knew I’d never take art classes in college. I never quit producing some kind of art, but I never felt I fit in with “real” artists. I know that is why I don’t feel free to really take the time for my art even to this day.

    Older now and knowing that Jesus loves me as I am is what gives me strength.
    Thank you for this forum.

    • That sucks!
      I commented earlier and I used a fictional story about a teacher comparing one student´s drawing to another….how unfortunate the outcome. Glad you didn’t let that teacher hold you back from producing art…good luck on the freedom part… where the spirit of the Lord is there is FREEDOM!

  17. lovely post.I like that,I am a devoted fan of Zumba, specifically as it is taught by my wonderful teacher, who has a dedicated following. She has been out for the past month, home with a newborn and two year old. Last week, she came with her baby to try to take the class, now being taught by a substitute, also a regular member of her class.

    “I need this for my mental heath, ” she confided as we walked together in the parking lot. A mother of a teenager who was also taking the class greeted us at the door. Without hesitation, she offered to take the baby to a nearby park with her other two kids. “I’ll bring him back when he needs the breast, ” she said, and was off.

    About 20 minutes in to the class, we heard the insistent cry of newborn hunger. His mom stopped her dancing and sat on the side nursing the baby, cheering the rest of us on through the new routines. A few minutes later, she was back in action, the other mom taking the baby again. My teacher was able to get a couple more numbers in before her baby demanded the second breast. Again she stopped, and settled in with him on the floor of the dance studio, where the two of them remained through the end of the class. We all wished them well as we filed out of the class.

  18. Love the thought of just sinking into Him! I’m still navigating through the ideas of desire and His plans…to somehow reconcile the two and find the balance. Because my main, deepest desire is Him…just to sink into Him and be completely overwhelmed by and in His presence.
    I love the part where we are to “do as I do” not just copy. It speaks more to the desires, motives, and heart behind the action and not just a list of rules and regulations. And that’s what it really is about. The relationship with our Creator! And the art that Is birthed out of that relationship in “a million little ways!” So, so blessed by this book! Thank you, Emily!!
    And speaking of “sinking,” I would love to sink down in the big red couch and chat with you three!! 🙂

  19. As children we played two things — school and wedding. I loved to dress as the bride, and I always had to be the teacher, coercing cousins and siblings to be my students. I’m currently in my 33rd year of teaching, so I guess that panned out. I am not sure where the wedding fetish came from, and have had but one myself — am in my 33rd year of marriage now, too.

    My loves that I have not incorporated into life include writing, making music, and being outside in the fresh air doing fun things with people. I am hoping to find satisfying expression for those desires. I will listen with fresh ears to what God would speak to me and how He would lead me as I sink into Him.

  20. My dream of being a writer was encouraged by family, but crushed by my 9th grade English teacher. (of all teachers-English!) I was quiet and reserved and actually got up the nerve to share with her. (Crying now.) Unfortunately, her negative response,””What a difficult field to try and make a living in,” was what stayed with me. I actually threw away my notebook that had writings and poetry from several years in the trash can on the way out the door on the last day of school that year. (My parents were furious with her. And I have regretted it since.) I attempted to write a little after, but not much or often. My heart hurt, the joy diminished.

    I am making a deliberate decision to try not to sink in anxiety over this now. (Thank you Robin for pointing this out on the last discussion.) God put this desire in me, I need/want to listen to his plan for me. I can sink into Him and find comfort and safety.

  21. That last question got me, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I started crying today when I read about this. I’m such a hider. I’ve hidden from my dream of writing because it seems crazy and hard. (It took me a full two minutes to even get up the nerve to write “my dream of writing”!) I get lost trying to find my what when all along I know. And when I do take tentative steps, as soon as things get scary and challenging and GOOD, I run and I hide. Because I sit here and I compare myself to every person that is better at what I do than me and I know I can never ever attain the kind of art that they make. And I end up feeling horrible. Defeated. Disappointed. But God is so patient with me and keeps bringing me back. I’m paying attention now. I promise. *grin*

  22. My childhood quest was to find the unlovely and make it beautiful. So, in turn, I wanted to be a poet, pouring out reams of material on God’s glory as displayed through His creation; a spy, so that I could bring light to dark places and truth to lies; a cryptozoologist, so that I could prove the existence of animals science was reluctant to admit to and declare the wonder of God’s creation through that; and finally, I wanted to be a journalist, so that I could show others the beautiful side of every coin.
    What I do now is fashion design – there is so much immodesty and just plain dreadful produced by that industry, and so many people who follow trends even when the trends aren’t flattering… so I try to make beautiful garments and accessories that celebrate the female form (without displaying too much of it!)
    No one ever really discouraged me – but I didn’t usually get a lot of encouragement, either. “None of those will really make a very good living” was the underlying belief. And that has lead to struggles against the lie that if it’s not earning money (and preferably lots of it) then it’s not worth doing.

  23. I so appreciate the simplicity and yet the depth of this idea of sinking into Him
    and realizing that our art today might be the grace He is pouring into someone else’s life (while blessing mine as well, I might add!)! Such insight is so comforting especially when I struggle feeling that I can’t always do what I want to do because my time is taken up with another’s need at this point in time! It is so good to read words that free us from this type of struggle and help us soar where we are right now!! Wow! and thank you!!

  24. “Be with me, and let me be enough for you” Not in the book, but right from Emily in the conversation above. Love this! This is what I hope for!

    • All He wants for us is for Him to be enough. Simple concept but man always makes things sooooo complicated. I’m with you on the quote:) I picture my glass always filled with Christ, then when something goes wrong my cup is level, when things got right – my cup overfloweth!

  25. I don’t know that I can write this or not, because it reaches right into the most vulnerable places of my life. When was growing up I wanted to be a writer and composer. I was inspired by very well meaning people to regard these as highly impractical and non-renumerative. I believe(d) that both required “talent” and luck that I didn’t possess in adequate quantity. So I gave them up. Entirely. I was too passionate about them to keep them as hobbies as suggested. I “lost” myself in music and writing. The surrender/sinking was wonderful to me, but did not seem “practical” to family. Many people told me over the years that I should write, but I got so terrified that I have struggled for years with “writers block” just writing work reports. It is a can of worms I don’t know if I can open. What if I find myself with a can of dead worms?

    The deepest desire of my heart has always been to be a wife and mother. Everything else was second. I figured with little girl naïvete that I could write and compose when the babies’ slept. Lol I have come half way through my life I’m neither a wife nor mother and not hopeful either. I recognize the challenges so many of you face trying to combine child rearing with work and I stand in awe of you. God bless you for your grace and stamina. Those of us who are childless applaud you and appreciate your blogs. You are creating art with your lives.

    I should be bitter and heartbroken. I am not. By the grace of God I have been able to become a caregiver to sick family members. I probably still have them precisely because I remained at home with them. I have meaningful work in Christian education, so I get to be a part of nurturing the spiritual growth of other people’s children. Most importantly, I have learned through life-long struggles with ill health that I am able to accomplish nothing out of my own ability, but Christ’s’ strength is made manifold in my weaknesses. “Sinking” into Him has made me strong. Meaning and purpose come from our role as children of God, not by our job or hobbies. Getting what we want out of life doesn’t make us happy. We become happy in devoting our lives to Him.

  26. Okay, this cracks me up but is so true – growing up, many nights when I was supposed to be in bed, I was actually out of bed, listening to songs on the radio, and get this – ACTING them out in highly dramatic fashion in my pajamas! My favorites were “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers”, “Total Eclipse of the Heart”, and “Against All Odds”. I would also check books of plays out of the library and act them out in my room, reading all of the parts in different voices. Yes, I’m an actress through and through, I love being on stage, I love making people FEEL whether that means laughing or crying. I’m involved in community theatre, but what I really love and have grown into in the past three years is directing the Passion Play at our church each Easter season. I also would love to tap into my dream of being a motivational speaker on some level to women. Haven’t got that one figured out yet, but I still give “pretend” motivational speeches to fake audiences while I’m in the shower! Thanks for the opportunity to comment! Loving this book and how it is changing my perspective on some things!

  27. I was born into such brokenness that it is hard to recognize what my childhood dreams were. From in utero life was about survival and I found myself seeking safety for much of my life, even the first 25 years of being a Christian. It was only going through the healing process and finding my life to be safe hidden in Christ that I am now able to see my life as beauty. I am realizing through this book that my life really is art and it really is beautiful and although it is full of my sinful self God redeems and my desire is really for Him to radiate His glory through me. I am finding so much encouragement in Emily’s book and even in the hard looking at my self as I truly am, a selfish and prideful woman in desperate need of a savior, I find that my true desire is to sink into Him. She just put that desire into words that I can grasp. I think Emily is so right in saying that Sink was essential to this book.

  28. A day late on this activity but hopefully I am not the only one with busy Wednesdays….

    Q2: Grew up “teaching” all my animals and babies. Wrote many stories, and how-to books as a teen and young adult. It’s not that I liked telling people what to do, it was more of a ‘let me show you an easier way’ attitude.
    So, the most obvious choice for college was an accounting degree – yikes! why do we listen to the world. Teachers always told me I was good at English so there goes the writing…and teaching – no money there…..

    I fully agree that it’s another person who squashes or at least fails to acknowledge our dreams and that’s what turns us to other desires – those of the flesh rather than those of the Spirit.

    I have since successfully homeschooled my children – fulfilling that dream of teaching and am working on writing now. as the video said giving myself permission without expectation. That was so freeing!!

    I am writing my blog and some other articles for submission with no expectations except for the Lord to use them in any way He sees fit.

    I am also watching what I say and do regarding the dreams and desires of my children (husband and friends as well). I was on a path to destruction with that before this study – encouraging them to study what is safe and easy rather than where their inner desires are leading them. Again, thanks!

    Many blessings to you all – so enjoying this time to grow together!

  29. At 61 years of age, and dealing with cancer survivor issues, it seems past time to discover any art I was made to live. Yet in reading your book and listening in on the videos, I have been overwhelmed with the feeling that it is not too late. I worked for years as a legislative analyst, and it had its own art yet it took God to make me realize the offering I made through my management skills and dealing with people. But I wanted ART — so I began quilting, knitting and eventually took a few painting classes. As I did this there was a hole in my heart . . . where had I lost myself. You asked about someone “suppressing” your younger self. My mother painted “paint by number” art to absolute perfection. I was never as “inside the box” child which probably drove her to distraction. I realized recently though that I gave up painting as a child because “it has to be in the lines.” Recently (as in when I was 59 years old) I took a watercolor painting class from a wonderful woman who is not an “inside the box” child either. I don’t know that watercolor painting is going to be my art, that isn’t the point, but I do believe I am less restricted between her class and you book to discover and enjoy some old and new things about myself. God is trying to make me understand that as long as I am here, He has more for me to do. I just pray to do it His way!

  30. hello everyone! i just received my book this week and this is my first time joining in… boy did chapter 5 really speak to me!! as a child, i was always drawing, painting, creating. landscapes, hands, and eyes were my favorite. drawing always brought me peace. as i got older though, i thought i needed a more realistic job. so i chose interior design. my dad was a carpenter so that seemed natural. i did like my classes in college but it was my art classes thought brought me joy! however shortly after graduating college i met my husband and had a daughter. painting was not an option while trying to run after a child. i quit my art for 12 YEARS. the beginning of last year i found an e-course about rediscovering your gifts. i was almost scared to find out what God had in store for me. He gave me back my passion that i had asked him to take away because it didn’t seem to fit in my life. i still struggle with…’am i being selfish to want to paint’. always thinking i should be doing dishes or laundry.
    “what if you began to see your art as something other that your idea? what if it was less lofty and more necessary to your daily rhythm? what if your art is part of a bigger picture, part of a daily grace God has in mind for someone else?”
    but it was those questions on page 85 that really told me. that ‘yes’ i was made to paint and that i need to use my gift. i felt for so long…and someone else had told me for so long, that art was just play. that it isn’t that important. but after the last year and a half, they have seen what God can do through my hands and a paint brush. we both have been changed. and blessed…

  31. I believe I have been an artist all my life. As a small child I drew stick figures on any piece of paper I could find, including the blank pages of Reader’s Digest, much to my mother’s chagrin. That re-surfaced in elementary school when a wonderful art teacher saw something in my renderings and encouraged me to paint. With much trepidation, I got some brushes, some paints, oils (no less) and a canvas. I painted an apple tree in a country setting from my mind and even entered it in a contest. I didn’t win anything and it wasn’t very good, but don’t despise small beginnings. I also sketched for hours in my room to hone my skills, as I grew up. I had a desire to be a fashion designer but that dream seemed beyond my grasp. I worked with fashion though, as a Merchandise clerical for The Bay and after that for Zellers in their respective buying offices. I thoroughly enjoyed this job and was able to use many of my talents employed there. Now that I know how cut-throat the fashion industry is I can see how I would have been eaten up. My painting career re-surfaced in my twenties and again in my fifties. I have many paintings now and God is using me increasingly in this area. I want to encourage others to never give up on your dreams as with God, it is never too late. Don’t forget we have eternity. I love this book, it is very profound and I know God-inspired.

  32. Hello!
    I couldn’t help but post on this topic because so far, AMLW has been just resonating with me on many levels. I just finished writing for the #31days challenge on being a Little.FIsh. and it was all about my feelings of being small – wrestling with the dreams, desires, goals, failures, of this life. How the pull of ‘being big’ as Emily says, just to me was my own vanity & desire for my own fame on a level, but the truth of how the Lord gives talents & creates art with any & all has been very freeing & really brought my series to a close, haha! His timing is truly perfect, and this study has me just giggling to myself as my topics are all being discussed in this book. I just love when the Lord speaks to us to clearly, in different ways & through different people. I am enjoying the videos of y’all immensely & grateful for the work the Lord is doing in me. I wish I knew his plans & purposes for my ‘art’ into the next season, but I’m so thankful for the chance to be sitting in with y’all in this time.
    Blessings!

  33. I’m catching up today! I think I’m trying to fit what I want to be me dream and my calling into what it really is. I’m afraid I’m using the evidence, the thoughts, in this book to support what I think my calling should be. Without going into the whole story it’s hard to explain buy I just pray for clarity and for the ability to be still so that I can hear God.
    Thanks so much for this study!

  34. It breaks my heart to read of so many cases of squelched dreams.

    This book is really speaking to me. It is eye-opening to realize that I have been sinking into self-effort and my own expectations of myself. I am seeing how instead I need to sink into smallness.

    It is God speaking to me to recall something I’d recently learned about Saul changing his name to Paul: Paul means “small.” Full-of-himself, I-know-best Saul changed his name to “Small” after seeing the light!

  35. Up there, Lou mentioned “school and wedding”. That was me. I played wedding and school. I was a teacher for two years before the Lord re-directed me to a ministry with college students 18 years ago. I was shocked. Still am. But college students aren’t that different from 2nd graders. 🙂

    But the wedding part. What do I do with that? I was my dream. It was my play. It was my desire. Now it’s not “the wedding”. I stopped buying MS Weddings about 15 years ago (good move there). It’s not about the wedding itself. I’m too practical now and would probably elope. But that desire hasn’t died. I have a crazy full life and am so thankful for where I am but that desire to be married and parent children hasn’t dropped one ounce in the years since childhood. I often don’t know what to do with that desire. I drop it at His feet far too often – meaning I take it away and have to give it back.

    Sigh.