No Offense

This is a post that I’ve been meaning to write for a while now. I’ve opened a new draft and started typing several times, but have consistently closed out the window with hopes that I’d try again later. (So please know that I’m writing this to myself as well)

I’m afraid that as our culture has become a culture of acceptance, we’ve also become Christians who are accepting of sin. Why? Because we don’t want to offend anyone. How often have you read or heard about the many issues that people are offended by? Just scroll through Facebook for about thirty seconds… Almost everyone today is easily offended OR scared to speak up because of being offensive about something.

Our generation of acceptance is also a generation that is scared to offend. It’s driving me crazy, to be honest.

By continuing to watch fellow believers walk in sin, not only are we letting them walk through it alone, we’re condoning it. We are acting like that sin is okay by choosing not to acknowledge it. Y’all, that is not loving our brother or sister. We have to fight for each other.

When Christians are dealing with a particular sin issue (pornography, homosexuality, adultery, alcohol, sex outside of marriage – whatever it may be) the most loving thing that we can do for them is to call them out.

“Don’t ‘lovingly’ watch them walk into a den of snakes. Do what is good, noble, lovely. Talk about sin. This is love. This is the gospel.”  – Melissa Edgington 

Here are a few verses that I’ve found to be helpful when diving deeper into this topic:

  1. Matthew 18:15 – “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.”
  2. James 5:19 – “My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”
  3. 2 Thessalonians 3:15 – “Yet do not regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer.”
  4. Galatians 6:2 – “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
  5. Ephesians 4:15 – “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”

“You want to create a bubble of grace in which they feel some hope that even though this is sin, that they are loved and accepted.” – Melissa Edgington

A few precautions, friends:

  • Move your log. We can be so quick to point out the flaws of others, yet neglect the sin in our own lives. We must be careful here!  It’s crucial that we examine our own lives first before calling out the sin of someone else. Matthew calls these people hypocrites! Deal with your sin before the Lord, first and foremost.

Matthew 7:3-5 —> “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

  • Watch your tone. It would be completely counterproductive to confront someone about their sin and use an aggressive/demeaning/”judgey” tone. We don’t want to seem as if we’re making a personal attack on anyone. God is gentle and kind, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. This is our example. Be quick to speak truth with love and grace.

Proverbs 15:1 —> “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Ephesians 4:29 —> “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” 

  • Tend to the Body. Scripture clearly tells us that we are not to judge those outside of the Church. Sin coming from non-believers should not surprise us. We have no right to judge them. God is the Judge. But, it is our fellow believers that we should be concerned with. We should be burdened over the things of the world that our brothers and sisters are struggling with! This is what the body of Christ should look like. As members of the same body, we should fight for one another and run the race together, holding each other accountable.

1 Corinthians 12: 26 —> “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” 

Calling someone out is not a comfortable thing to do. Being called out in your sin is not a comfortable thing either. And our culture definitely does not promote this topic of being offensive. But, more often than not – our Christian lives look a lot like going against the “norm”, and that’s okay. We are called to be set apart.

I mean after all, the gospel itself is offensive. Think about it: It is offensive to tell someone that they are dead in their sins, living a life that is separated from God, that they are unable to do anything about it on their own, and without the saving grace and blood of Jesus Christ they will spend an eternity apart from Him in Hell. That doesn’t give anybody a warm-cushy feeling.

We’ve got to use the word sin – and be okay with it. Sin is real and it’s destroying someone you know, and maybe even you, whether you choose to acknowledge it or not. Don’t be afraid to call sin what it is. Sin kills, steals, and destroys. Worst of all, it separates us from God. Knowing this, and knowing who our God is … we should be running towards the ones we love, anxious to protect them and lovingly point them back to the feet of Jesus. We have to talk about sin. It’s the most loving thing we could do for someone.

We are going to struggle with sin as long as we are on this earth. But this sin does not have to defeat us and we don’t have to deal with it alone. We are in this together. We HAVE to be in this together.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

-Hebrews 12:1-3

In this with you,

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House Tour: Dining Room

Happy Saturday, everyone! I’ve decided instead of sharing the whole house all at once, to break it up and share a room at a time. Today, I’m sharing our dining room!

One of the things I love about our house is the openness and the amount of natural light that we get from our window – which you’ll see in the pictures.  Jared just finished building/staining our dining room table and benches a few weeks ago and as soon as we put them in the house we were MORE in love with this space.

That next night we decided we wanted to put some open shelves on the wall and get a new light fixture. The combo of all the new pieces totally make this space feel complete.

There’s something about a good table.. Do you know what I mean?

It’s just so much more than a table. When he finished this project and we brought the table inside, my brain was just flooded with thoughts of what would happen at this table.

Meals shared with friends, budget planning, giggles over dinner, game nights, benches that would one day be full of our little ones, times of prayer together, serious talks, probably some tears, bill paying, lesson planning, Bible reading, etc…

Like I said, it’s so much more than a table. I am so thankful for this beautiful piece that we get to cherish together and enjoy for several years to come. But, I’m more thankful for the hands that built it. What would I do without my guy?

So here goes – the dining room! Enjoy 🙂

 

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All photos were taken by Emily Collins.

Enjoy your weekend!

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Christmas in January

Well, hello there 2017!  Yep, I realize we’re already a month in.

How many of you feel like the new year snuck up on ya? (Insert raised hand emoji here)

Today, I’m giving a quick lil recap about our first married Christmas in our new home. YES IT IS JANUARY. Life happens, y’all. Anyways – enjoy these lil pics and memories.

First of all,  I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t nervous about this occasion. Christmas, I mean. I’d been at my parent’s house for Christmas morning the past 22 years of my life! I was going through some serious FOMO, people. (Fear of Missing Out) I couldn’t imagine missing a Christmas morning at my parent’s, rushing to wake my sister up – and then our parents, and then running down the stairs to see what Santa brought and ripping through wrapping paper for the next couple of hours.

Of course, I was excited to be with my husband in our home but I wasn’t exactly sure what OUR Christmas traditions would look like.

It was the merging of two worlds: his and mine. But the best part… it was ours.

Christmas morning with just the two of us was so much fun and oh so special. I hope I’ll never forget the giddiness we both felt. We set our stockings out for each other the night before, making sure that neither of us peeked! Then, of course we had stockings for Boone and Piper and gifts underneath the tree. (If you’re questioning the fact that my dogs had stockings then you don’t know me at all and you should be ashamed of yourself)

We woke up and decided we’d unwrap gifts first, so we turned on our Christmas playlist, turned our fake & crackling fireplace on (thank you, YouTube) and then took turns going through our stockings and unwrapping gifts for each other. The pups were just as excited as we were. And by that I mean, we made the biggest deal out of unwrapping their little stocking gifts and hyping them up. They got new toys and some bacon, so basically they had a great day as well.

After we made a huge mess, we proceeded to the kitchen to make a gourmet breakfast: waffles! When breakfast was finished, we cleaned up and began getting ready for church. After church we headed to my parent’s house and opened more gifts with them. Jared’s parents had their Christmas the weekend before, which worked out so well because we got to spend great quality time with each set without ever feeling rushed!

All in all, we made some incredible memories that will always last when we recall the first Christmas we shared as husband + wife. It was a perfect combination of his traditions and mine, as well as some new ones – which were totally ours.

Here’s a few pictures from Christmas morning! Cue Michael Bublé’s “White Christmas”.  Enjoy 🙂

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Please forgive me for posting this in January.

Xoxo

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Rachel – Senior Session

Hey y’all!

Christmas is in 2 weeks – can you believe it?!? We’re gearing up for Christmas around our house by planning for parties, finishing last minute shopping and wrapping, and enjoying this season together as newlyweds. We’re so excited to celebrate our first married Christmas together and begin new traditions with our little family.

I wanted to quickly share with you all something I’ve done recently! Last weekend I was able to shoot my first senior session for a precious girl from my home church. I am so thankful she asked me!! Pursuing photography is something I’ve had dreams about for some time now, but have never took the leap to just try it. I have a great camera that my parents gave me for a birthday and have dabbled with it here and there, but have never really photographed anyone other than family.

Rachel was so sweet to let me practice on her and trust me with taking her senior pictures. She was an easy subject – and we had a blast playing around in a field during golden hour. I’m excited to show you all a few of my favorite pictures from her session.

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Photos by: Emily H. Collins

Isn’t she beautiful?! Congratulations on your graduation, Rachel!

Any of my local people, if you’d like some pictures done and would let me practice on you – let me know. 🙂

That’s all for now!

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Playing Catch Up

Remember that time I told you I was going to be posting every week? …. Yeah.

But, I’m back! I’ve got some fun posts lined up for you that I hope you’ll enjoy reading soon. Today I wanted to do a post dedicated to some things I’m loving lately that I own or have my eyes on. So … sit back, relax, enjoy your lunch break and let’s play catch up.

First – I want to tell you about a product I just got recently, that I am now obsessed with.

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  • Not Your Mother’s – “Clean Freak Dry Shampoo” – I have never ever been a fan of dry shampoo, because after trying my fair share of them I couldn’t find one that worked for me. I would always hear about girls swearing by their dry shampoo and saying that they couldn’t live without it. Me? I couldn’t care less. Every product I’ve ever used for dry shampoo has left my super fine hair feeling crunchy, looking greasier than what I started with, or has stayed lingering in the air with a thick cloud. No thanks. This product is a game changer, y’all. Seriously. It smells great, it’s very light, and it does a fantastic job of covering any excess oils in my hair. I’ve found myself using it several times over the last couple of weeks when I’m running short on time/being lazy, and have been more than pleased. I also have a few other Not Your Mother’s products that I really do like – so I highly recommend running out to your closest Ulta and grabbing this!

Next – I want to highlight some of the blogs that I really love following. This list is constantly growing, so if you have some blogs that you subscribe to and love – let me know! I always enjoy stumbling across new ones. My favorite thing about a blog is when you can read it and feel like you know the author, without ever having met them. Here are a few ladies I like to catch up with on the regs. Go check ’em out!

Finally – I want to give you all a look into some things I have my eyes on. Santa, I hope you’re reading! 🙂

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  • 1) Herringbone Puffer Vest – I’ve had my eye on a herringbone vest for a little while now, but I couldn’t bring myself to buy one for whatever reason. I found this vest at Old Navy and decided it would make my Christmas list again this year. I think this style is one you can dress up or make more casual. I love that it has pockets, that the inside is fleece-lined, and that it’s more fitted. The price is super great as well!
  • 2) Agate Coasters – I think these are stunning! As we’ve been slowly gathering pieces for our new home, these little babies have caught my eye several times. Anthropologie has some just like the ones from my picture in that pretty blue. However, there are several other stores that have been recently putting these on display for a TJ Maxx price, with the same Anthropologie look.
  • 3) Artifact Uprising Layflat Photo Book – I just discovered Artifact Uprising and have fallen in love with their products. This would be a great gift for a newlywed to use as coffee table book to display wedding pictures (cough, cough). I think these books are super crisp and clean – and I love that you can design them to have the type of look/feel that you’re after.
  • 4) Rewined Candles – These little gems are another recent discovery that I made when exploring Charleston a few weekends ago. If only you could smell the picture like a scratch-and-sniff. I’m serious. If you’ve followed my blog, you know that I am obsessed with burning candles in our home. The Rewined Candles are handcrafted from re-purposed wine bottles … how cool?! The smells are rich and you can choose your candle based off of a favorite wine you might have. Gotta have it.
  • 5) Live Oak Pullover Fleece – One word to describe this jacket: snuggly. Nope, I’ve never worn it or tried it on. But doesn’t it just look so snuggly and soft and warm?? (I know snuggly isn’t a word, but it should be) The best part is that this color is called “oatmeal”. Don’t you just love that?!

And that’s all! I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. What are some things you’re loving right now? I’d love to hear from you!

Hang on, the weekend is coming! Happy Thursday,

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Honeymoon phase?

 

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When we were dating and even now in our marriage, Jared and I have had several people tell us we were/are “just in the honeymoon phase” and “don’t get used to it, it won’t last”.

What? 

Both of us have been so confused by what that even means. Was that supposed to be encouraging or terrifying to us?  When we were dating, we eventually determined that the honeymoon phase probably meant a “stage” in our relationship when things are really good between us. No fights, a lot of quality time spent together, obnoxious hand-holding, super cute Instagram pics and  mushy captions, etc. (Ps – I’m an excessively sarcastic person – so I hope you picked up on the sarcasm there)

We kind of brushed off the comments and moved on. But as often as we were told our good times wouldn’t last, we ultimately became disheartened by the issue that others were pointing to.

Do people just assume that you’re supposed to have far greater seasons of hard times in marriages/relationships than good times? Has our culture accepted the fact that marriage is supposed to be hard and painful? If so, then that is truly sad.

Now I’m not sitting here saying we haven’t ever had a single fight or ever raised our voices at one another. That’s not true.

But y’all, marriage is not hard. Life is hard. Sin is hard. Having someone to walk through life with, who fully knows me inside and out better than any other person, who pushes me towards God’s grace and goodness is not hard. Marriage is daily sanctifying both of us, allowing us to become more like Christ. This is the relationship that God designed to be the picture of the perfect, sacrificial and eternal love between Christ and the Church – and we get the privilege, responsibility and joy to display the Gospel to this world by this means.

When people experience hardship in their relationships, it’s not because of marriage itself – it’s because all of these issues stem from sin. This is why we see broken marriages: insecurity, jealousy, idolatry, selfishness, lust, adultery – all sin.

Stop using the term “honeymoon phase”. I’m rejoicing in the fact that by God’s grace, we have a great marriage.  I can truly say we have both grown in our relationships with Christ because of the relationship we have with each other. And if that’s called “being in the honeymoon phase”, then I hope we stay like that forever. I want to celebrate my marriage. Why? Because it means I’m celebrating the overwhelming, everlasting love that Christ has for his bride, the Church. I’m celebrating the absolute beauty of the Gospel. I pray that never becomes limited to a phase.

Rant over.

Last week Jared sent me this text:

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I LOVE THAT. I love that he pursues me. I love that I get to do life with my absolute best friend. Marriage is so sweet, y’all. Praise God that He allows broken sinners to enter into a covenant relationship seeking to bring Him glory, together. Honeymoon phase forever.

Happy Monday!

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To my baby sister

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Anna –

I don’t really remember Mama and Daddy telling me I was going to have a baby sister, or even the day you were born. As far as my memories go – you’ve always been there and I’ll always see your little crooked grin looking up at me.

I know I always try to advise you and give you what I think is gentle guidance as to what you should or should not do. But here’s the thing… I do that because I just want to protect you. I want the absolute best for you, always.

But as much as I try to protect you, you’re going to have to learn lessons, experience heartache and make mistakes on your own. And you probably don’t realize it, but that gives me SO much anxiety.. and also excites me.

I want so much for you, because I know the potential you have. I’ve had a front-row seat to your life for the past 19 years and I know what you’re capable of.

You are patient. You are tender-hearted. You are creative. You are wise. You are hard-working. You are talented. You are brave. You are kind.

Don’t be like me. Be like you. Because who you are is who I’m striving to be. As cliche’ as it sounds, you may be the little sister – but I’ll always look up to you.

Today is your day. You are so incredibly loved.

Happy Birthday, sissy!  I hope you sing “I Wanna Talk About Me” all.day.long.

Love, Emmy

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.  [Philippians 1:9-11]

 

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