SHE IS …. Emily Enockson

Hi Friends! I’m Emily (Em to my friends ) I love a strong cup of coffee, adventures in God’s amazing creation, and swoon over all things vintage.  I’m absolutely delighted to share a little of my journey with you.  I just turned 30 this past August.  My life looks wildly different than I imagined, I’ve found a deep joy and contentment in this season. My heart is for the least of these and I currently serve as a director of a ministry that connects children with special needs to God’s beautiful creation. It’s an unexpected calling and yet I know it’s exactly where HE has purposed me to be.

What has been the most exciting thing you have done throughout your single years?

Throughout the past years, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel, explore and take adventures all over this amazing world!  In college I studied abroad in Italy and learned to take delight in the slow rhythms of daily life (and how to make the perfect espresso!).  I’ve gone on countless weekend trips and beach vacations with some amazing girl friends.  We’ve spent quality time laughing, chatting, and eating ice cream and are just being real with one another.  Visiting my sponsor kiddo in Haiti was an absolute joy, to love on him in person and hear his giggle was absolutely a priceless opportunity.  Lately, I’ve traveled around the US meeting new friends at several different conferences, retreats and workshops.  The like-minded sister’s I’ve met and life lessons I’ve learned at The Influence Conference, Return to Rest and Making Things Happen have shaped to become the woman I am today. I know that this season of adventure and last minute road trips will not last forever and I’m grateful for how exploring new places & meeting new people have enriched these years!

How many weddings have you celebrated with friends?

I’ve celebrated so so so so so many wedding and “big events” with friends and family!  There have been moments in my life when I’ve felt like Katherine Heigel in 27 Dresses, always celebrating someone else’s big moment.   Right after college it was easier to be a part of my friend’s special days, I felt that my time was just around the corner.  However, as I’ve grown older it’s become much more difficult. This past Summer I had several friends and family members getting married.  The weekends were full of bridal showers, bachelorette parties, rehearsals and of coarse the BIG DAY.  And friends, let me just be honest, IT WAS HARD!  During those few months Romans 12 “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” was particularly convicting and encouraging.  Being honest with my feelings & struggles allows me to lean into God’s grace and fully rejoice with other’s celebrations.  I began to see my life through eyes of abundance and blessing not out of lack and discontent.  Then, in God’s amazing grace my family & friends threw me a surprise 30th birthday party and I was blessed beyond measure to start this new season with some of my nearest and dearest!

What are you most grateful for/has been the biggest blessing of singleness?

The gift of time has been one of the biggest blessings! My “free time” is mostly that, it’s time that I can be free to use how I like.  Time to invest in friendships, to encourage over an unrushed mug of coffee and heart to heart chat.   Time to bake mid-week treats for co-workers or surprise my neighbors. Time to discover my gifts and use them to serve the church & my community.   Time to organize crafternoons and cousins weekends. Time to explore new places and have last minute adventures.  And most importantly, time to just sit and listen to my Savoir.  Whether God calls me to marriage & mamma hood or an extended season of singleness, I know that my time is limited.   Psalm 90 says, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom”; my prayer is that God would use up my “free time” for a great and beautiful purpose.

What have you done on your own that you are most proud of?

A few years ago my family began building a cottage in Northern Michigan.  It’s a darling, Swedish inspired home that we’ve basically built from the ground up.  There have been countless opportunities to try new things and learn “handy” skills while working on the cottage.  I’ve learned to use a nail gun, band saw, drill and paint and hang shingles like nobody’s business.  There were many times I was frustrated and thought, “If I had a husband he could help with all of this work.”  Yet, the conversations that our family painting shingles on a hot summer day and other memories are worth stepping out of my comfort zone.  I look forward to sharing our little cottage with my children one day and telling them stories of “How mamma learned to use a nail gun” and other tales from the U.P. ;-)


How do you pursue contentment and joy?

When I’ve had a tough day, the temptation to run to Target or Starbucks for a quick jolt of joy is immense. But, often I leave feeling even more discontent and stressed than ever.  Last year I had enough of the excess and searching for contentment in all the wrong places.  I took a leap of faith and completed Nancy Ray’s contentment challenge, where you don’t shop for clothing or home goods for 3 months (scary I know!).  During that time, I learned that nothing here on earth could satisfy our longings or restore our joy.  True joy and contentment comes from Christ alone.  Now, when the urge to hit up the sales racks comes on, I brew myself a cup of coffee and spend time journaling or reading my bible. I’ve found freedom in not just trying to find a quick fix but in digging deep.  Often, I find my joy or contentment wavering because my focus is on what I lack instead of the blessings I have. A daily practice of thanksgiving is one of the best ways to cultivate a life of contentment and joy.  I still love a good run to Target or Starbucks, but now it’s to find some goodies to mail to a friend or to sit down and catch up with a kindred spirit. 

What have you learned through singleness that you wish you could tell your younger self?

Sweet girl, you are not defined by your relationship status (or your job title, accomplishments, image or popularity.) You are enough, not because of what you do, but because of what has been done FOR YOU!  You are a precious, beloved, daughter of the King of Kings.  He sent his only son for YOU, Emily Claire, so that you may have life abundant.  Quit comparing and embrace the unique and wonderful path he has placed you on.  Keep resting in His grace sweet girl and know that in your weakness He is made strong. 

What is your craziest, funniest, most awkward dating experience?

Right after college I moved to Indiana (home of endless cornfields, strip malls, flat land and also some pretty amazing people!!).  In the apartment below me lived a single guy (a.k.a. creepy neighbor) who was determined to ask me out every chance he got.  I have countless stories, but the best was when he programmed a t-shirt to ask me out.  Yes, you heard that right.  One day when I was taking my dog Belle for a walk I heard a “cat call”.   I looked around and saw nothing except for C.N. who was outside just “hanging around” and it just didn’t sound like His voice.  Then I heard it again, and it turns out that he ordered a custom t-shirt that, with a touch of a button, could record and play back different sound bites, one of which asked me out for pizza and a Star Wars movie marathon.  I gave the guy some points for creativity, but ultimately I had to laugh it off and be honest that I wasn’t really into “Star Wars”  (and would prefer that he asked me out in person next time).  At least it made for a good story years later…

What is your favorite truth/bible verse to combat the lies of the world?

Isaiah 55: 8-9

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

This one is one part encouraging, one part swift kick in the pants.  As I shared earlier, my life looks incredibly different than I thought it would at 30.  My “5-year plan” was always that I would graduate college, work for a few years, meet a nice guy, get married, have kids and then be a stay at home mom.  But God had a different dream for me, one that is greater than I could imagine.  I’ve had time to cultivate rich, meaningful relationships with friend and family.  I’ve found a career and calling that is the perfect blend of my gifts and talents.  I’ve had time to travel, learn and grow into the woman I was created to be.  If I had married at young age I know that there would have been other amazing blessings, but I’ve found delight and contentment in the gifts he has lavished on me in this season.  This quote from Elizabeth Barrett-Browning sums it up pretty nicely “God’s gifts put man’s best dreams to shame.”

What is your favorite resource for singles?

If you know anything about me you will know that I’m a HUGE bookworm.  I love to learn, read and soak up any and all the words.  Sadly, it’s pretty tough to find good resources for singles, here are a few that have brought me some encouragement.  

Lady in Waiting by Jackie Kendall
*An oldie, but goodie study on the book of Ruth and becoming a woman of excellence.  A great read for women of all ages and seasons.

Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot
*Elisabeth is one of my favorite authors, Passion and Purity was one of the most influential books I read in high school if you haven’t read it yet, go grab a cup of coffee and dig in!

Fall for Him by Brenda Rodgers
*Brenda’s short devotions are heartfelt, encouraging and focus on finding joy this season!

In the Wait Study by Holly Joy Holt
*I just began Holly’s study focused on waiting and can’t wait to dig in more. The devotional is not just for singles, but everyone who is waiting.

A God-sized Love Story by Gretchen Saffles
*Gretchen is a true kindred spirit and her love story is a beautiful encouragement not because she (spoiler alert) “meets the guy” but because she falls even more in love with her Savior on the journey.

Did I kiss Marriage Goodbye? By Carolyn McCulley
*Don’t let the title scare you away.  This book focuses on Proverb’s 31 women from a single’s perspective and has some great applications!

Do you have a bucket list? If so, what’s one thing you’d like to do?

This past summer I turned the big 3-0 & I thought it would be appropriate to make a list of things I want to do in this next decade of MY life. I’ve heard from so many people that the 30’s are some of the best years and I can’t wait to see what God will do over this next season! I desire my 30’s to be marked with beauty & bravery. So here are my list folks…

30 Brave & Beautiful Things in my 30’s

  1. Travel to Africa or China with Visiting Orphans
  2. Plant a fig tree!
  3. Learn the art of hand lettering.
  4. Get a tattoo. (Done – August 2015)
  5. Be completely debt free!
  6. Host “An evening to Bloom”
  7. Weekend adventure to Nashville with girlfriends!
  8. Attend a farm to table dinner. (Done – August 2015)
  9. Write an e-book (Bloom where you are planted)
  10. Go blueberry picking.
  11. Finally visit the Country Living Fair!!
  12. Send a special care package to my sponsor kiddo in Haiti
  13. Take an art class and let go of perfection! (pottery, calligraphy, painting..)
  14. Speak at women’s conference. (Done- September 2015)
  15. Complete the Bravado (run/walk, bike, kayak).
  16. Go to concerts on the square with a picnic dinner!
  17. Take a cooking class at Sur la Table.
  18. Own my own home.
  19. Complete whole30 challenge.
  20. Gather farm fresh eggs!
  21. Try Stitch Fix for a special occasion outfit! (Done-October 2015)
  22. Visit a fresh lavender farm.
  23. Host a girls weekend at the cottage. (Done-August 2015)
  24. Visit APT for outdoor theater experience! (Done-August 2015)
  25. Purchase a really comfy, squishy reading chair.
  26. Learn to flip a pancake (seriously people, it’s BAD!)
  27. Have a day at the spa.
  28. Attend a weekend craft retreat.
  29. Make lemon-basil gelato with my lemons and basil.
  30. Attend Making Things Happen Conference again and be encouraged to live on purpose and make what matters happen.

When do you feel the most confident & beautiful?

I’m a strong believer that life is meant to be lived alongside others.  I’ve prayed faithfully for the past few years for single girl friends, and about a year ago I started leading a women’s bible study through church.  This group couldn’t be more different, but a desire to dig into the word and invest in community has united us in a common purpose.  We’ve embraced each other’s quirks and encouraged each other to live with bravery and faith.  We’ve hiked across waterfalls, over rail road ties, shared bottles of wine and woes of online dating, & road tripped to concerts and football games. Having a group of like-hearted sisters, has increased my confidence and helped me grow into the woman God created me to be! 

What is something you like to splurge on?

Two year ago, when I moved into my cozy little cottage I splurged on some beautiful “every day” dishes from Pottery Barn.  Every time I walked by the store I would stop in, look and say “One day I’ll add these to my wedding registry.”   Instead of waiting for “someday” to build a home, I splurged on some delightful dishes.  Each time I pull them out, it’s a simple reminder to find joy and delight in the every day.

What encouragement do you have for those girls who are struggling and not yet thriving in their singleness?

Sweet friend, give yourself grace.  I know that it doesn’t always feel that way, but your story is unique and beautiful. I know there are days when it hits you like a ton of bricks.  I know that you feel like you are missing out on something big, or waiting for “real life” to start when you finally get that ring.  But, God’s got something big in store for you TODAY, in this season!  Take a deep breath and let go. Let go of the expectations you have on yourself. Let go of your “5-year plan”.  Let go of the hurtful comments about your relationship status.  Let go of striving be better, prettier, skinnier, more successful just to be noticed.  Beautiful girl, you are enough.  Sweet girl, you are treasured and deeply loved right now, just as you are.  

Name : Emily Enockson
Instagram : @ecenockson
Website : AGraceFullHome.com

I hope you guys enjoyed reading this interview as much as I did! And by total coincidence (or maybe it’s a God thing. Lol!) my twin sister Val chose Zacharias Acres, where Emily works, as the recipient of her Boaz fund this month!!! If you have been eyeing the Val Marie Paper prayer journals, pregnancy journals, or even her book “The Finishing School”, now is the time to buy and a portion of the profits will go directly to Zacharias Acres!!!

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