Inspired To Action Stories: Emily from Chatting at the Sky

By April 28, 2011Get Inspired

A note from Kat: Today’s Inspired To Action Story is from Emily who writes the blog Chatting at the Sky.

She’s one of the other bloggers going on the Compassion trip to the Philippines and I completely adore Emily’s writing. She has a truly amazing way with words.

Just last week, I was feeling very uninspired. The world was at my fingertips and where did I go? Emily’s blog.

I’m honored to have her share her story here. Please make her feel welcome! Oh, and it’s her birthday today! Take a minute to wish her a happy one, will you?

Inspired To Action Story: Emily Freeman

I’m Emily and I’m so excited to be at Kat’s place today. When I first found Inspired to Action, I immediately subscribed. If motherhood is my job (and it is), then Kat is my agent.

My husband and I have been married for nearly ten years and have twin girls (7) and a son (4). My husband is a student ministries pastor and we live in North Carolina. I am a quiet, contemplative writer with a loud, obnoxious laugh and an emotional allergy to small talk. I wrote a book, write a blog, and like to take pretty pictures.

1. Have you ever travelled anywhere like the Philippines before?

Never. I’ve been on mission trips, but never outside the United States. I went to Spain 8 years ago for my brother-in-law’s wedding and that was my first (and only) trip outside of the US. A Spanish wedding is nothing like Manila, Philippines I’m guessing.

2. What inspired you to say yes? Was the decision process easy or hard?

I knew all about the trips, as I had followed the bloggers who went to India and Guatemala. I knew several of the writers personally who have gone on those trips and always enjoyed keeping up with them. But when I got the email from Shaun about this trip, it undid me.

I am not a person who always dreamed of doing a trip like this. When I would read the updates from those on past trips, I never wished to be there myself. And so when I was faced with this decision, I honestly had a bit of guilt: Shouldn’t someone go who has always dreamed of going? Why me? Oh, and did I mention I thought the Philippines was off the coast of Haiti? (it isn’t). And did I also mention I may have a slight aversion to flying? (I do).

All of those things were thrown into the pot as the perfect set up for me to say no to this trip. Not to mention the fact that I have 3 children 7 and under, I’m in the middle of writing two books, and May is my husband’s busiest season at work. But I just couldn’t say no. There was a tugging, a pulling, an unsettledness either way. I pretended to say no in my mind. It didn’t sit well. Then, I pretended yes, and it didn’t sit well either. After two weeks of praying, discussing, seeking counsel, crying, and general ridiculousness, I began to weed out the fact that most of my reasons for saying no were because of fear. And so I said yes.

3. Was your family on board? How did you arrive on the same page?

This was the best and worst part. My family was on board from day one, namely my husband. When I told him about the email, I ended it with “Wouldn’t that be crazy? Me? Flying all the way across the world?” and he was all “No, it wouldn’t be crazy at all.” And then he smiled. And then, I cried.

4. What response have you had from others?

It’s such an amazing opportunity, and I think people are excited to hear about it. I worry a little about compassion fatigue in readers, to be honest. I understand that so very well. Some have said it’s brave to go, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. There is courage involved, I suppose. But there is great courage to stay as well: to mother the little ones, to do the laundry, to believe even in the midst of the ordinary. So I have mixed feelings about the back-pats. If that even makes sense.

5. Do you have any lingering concerns/fears? How are you overcoming them as the trip approaches?

It’s getting close, isn’t it?! I’ve tried to talk with people who have done trips like this a lot. It helps to learn from their experience and wisdom. I’ve been learning even more intimately what it means to be led by love rather than pushed around by fear. When thoughts come to mind that threaten to overwhelm, I am learning to practice the presence of Jesus in my daily minute.

6. What makes it all worth it for you?

I don’t know yet. Maybe I’ll be able to answer that better when I come back home.

7. What are you most excited about?

Getting outside my own skin.

8. What are you most nervous about?

I’m nervous about the flying, but you already know that. I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that. But there it is. I’m also nervous about whether or not I’ll be able to tell a unique story. I want to go without an agenda. I want to go as a student, a guest, a servant. I want to release expectation and be open and free enough to allow the Philippines to change me. But I also want to hold that with a loose hand if it doesn’t.

How can we be praying for you and your family?

What a beautiful question. There are lots of details, as you can imagine. But mainly, I suppose I would be so thankful for any prayers of belief – to believe that God is big enough to handle my fears and insecurities, and the family schedule while I am gone. And I humbly pray for new eyes.


Isn’t Emily precious?! I can’t wait to meet her in a few weeks. I love how, despite her fears, she’s stepping out boldly.

If you want to read more of her writing, be sure to check out her book, “Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life.” It’s due to be released in September.

Here is the trailer. Enjoy!

And if you’re inspired to take a couple steps outside your comfort zone into the action, we’ll start registration this weekend for the next session of the Maximize Your Mornings Challenge. Stay tuned.

Leave a Comment



  • Christin says:

    This is so timely. Oh my goodness. Visions are dancing in my head right now.

    Yesterday, I received an email from Compassion inviting me to visit my sponsored child, Cecilia, in Tanzania. My heart skipped a beat at the thought – for basically all the same reasons you listed above, Emily.

    I’m afraid of flying and the only country I’ve ever been to is Canada–which is 30 mins from here. I don’t like the idea of leaving my children to go across the world. There are all sorts of “excuses”, aren’t there?

    I mentioned the e-mail to my husband but he didn’t say a word and I know why. In our feeble minds, it isn’t feasible simply because of the money it would cost. We just don’t have it. But we ought to know better than that, shouldn’t we? God owns it all and if He wants me to fly out to Tanzania to meet the smile on my little girls face (my other little girl, lol), than He’ll do it.

    The trip isn’t until next year (Jan 28-Feb.5). You think I have time to save the $5,000 I would need? I need about $400 like now just to reserve my place. I’m currently saving for Relevant. Maybe this trip isn’t the one. Maybe the next time around?

    Either way, we can pray for each other!

    Sorry, didn’t mean to work out all my thoughts here, but it seemed a pretty good place to unload it all. I haven’t had a chance yet to really communicate it to anyone, so this was good. Writing does that for me. 🙂

    I look forward to hearing your story, Emily and Kat!

    • Christin says:

      Did I mention I don’t even have a passport? {chuckle}

    • Kat says:

      You’re ALWAYS welcome to work out your thoughts here.

      I’ll certainly be praying for you!

    • Amy D says:

      You can do it. Really. 🙂 In 4 months I raised enough money to go on a mission trip to Nicaragua. If God wants you there, the money miraculously (in our minds) appears.

  • Amber says:

    Emily’s honesty inspires me each time I read her blog. I am excited to read each of your blog entries while in the Philippines!

  • Confession: I HAVE read the posts of other bloggers who have gone on previous trips, and maybe the “compassion fatigue” that Emily referenced was starting to creep up on me. But reading Kat’s and Emily’s stories have wiped that away–looking forward to hearing more about this trip!

  • Bryan says:

    ‘Scuse the ‘man comment’, but this was great and Happy Birthday Emily!!

  • Lara says:

    Two of my favorite girls in one place–Kat and Emily! Love you girls. Praying for your upcoming trip. God is going before and behind and has mighty plans.

  • Stacey says:

    I know that each time I have said “yes” to that heartbeat of “go”, He has done bigger works than I could have ever imagined.

    May you breathe deeper in Him.
    May you see Him at work all around you.
    May you go in His grace.
    And be His hands and feet.


  • I enjoyed reading this. Is it always nice to see struggle become triumph. This is going to be a life changing trip for all of you. I pray your fears will be soothed (and your flight will be smooth) :).

    I love this too: “If motherhood is my job (and it is), then Kat is my agent.” She is great!

  • Christie says:

    Thanks for this piece–I love your tender spirit that comes through your writing even in just answering questions! I don’t have a blog of my own so I feel a bit out of place but I am a reader.:) I just started reading a book called When Helping Hurts by Corbett/Fikkert and immediately thought of it when I read about the trip to the Phillipines. I’m new to Kat’s blog and now to yours so I don’t know details of why you are going or anything yet but this book is worth a read before you go. You probably won’t agree with them completely but I think it will inspire you to arrive with the eyes/hands/heart of God for His people there.I will pray for you as you step out in faith!

  • Happy Birthday Emily. I pray your trip will be all that you hope for.

  • Happy Birthday, Emily. =)

  • Joyce says:

    What a wonderful story! Looking forward to hearing about the journey that you will take. We sponsored our first Compassion child in November and it has been a joy for us to be a part of her life.

    And I can totally relate to being that “good girl”. Looking forward to the book as well.

  • It’s brave because it’s risky and it’s beyond your comfort zone. And you’re doing it. It’s exciting because God is up there doing an end-zone dance because you believed him when he said you could handle it. Oh, the places life will take us, if we just believe him.

    I’ll be hanging on every word. But you already knew that.


  • I so enjoyed reading this. I will be praying for the two of you. Emily, I love how you are praying for ‘new eyes’. What a sweet, tender heart you have!

    Kat, I’m a newbie here to your blog, but I’m loving it…gonna go subscribe right now 🙂

  • Tracey says:

    Praying for you is no problem, I am privileged to pray.
    Praying for your family while you are away, praying for traveling mercies and praying for your eyes to see.

    Happy birthday!

  • Heidi M says:

    Lots of prayers and birthday wishes for you, Emily! Your courage is inspiring. Blessings!

  • Cary says:

    Trust me when I say this- the Lord will take away all of your fear and anxiety. I was afraid, but I did a 10 day mission in Jamaica and He completely wiped away my fear as well as the shock of how the people lived. He allowed it to come back little by little (once I was home- safe and sound) so that I could use the experience for further ministering. Release it all to Him!!!

    And a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you!!!!!! 🙂

  • Abby says:

    Emily and Kat!

    Late to the party…as usual;) thanks Kat for hosting Emily–so great to find your blog and hear Emily speak directly about this process for her!

    Emily, I’m hoping you get to read this, but I don’t know, so I’ll send it with a wish and a prayer. I do relate to your process of saying ‘yes’, because each time i’ve been called to go overseas, it has been similar. I love how it really is all about pressing deeper into Him, faith, etc. He doesn’t ‘need’ you to go, but as His Glory is made known in your life, all that is being required of you is deepening Who He is to you, what it means to trust, and LIVE FULLY FOR HIM. And this is the journey isn’t it? That our lives from one degree of glory to another magnify Him?

    Emily, a prayer. May the Lord continue to carry you on eagle’s wings and as that overwhelming~ness threatens to overpower, He give you grace for the next step. The next preparation for kids, hubby;) while you’re away, the next shot or document you need–all of the crazy logistics–may you truly know Him, even and especially here…and may many be raised up to cover you and yours at every point of the journey. Because He is Greater and His Love better than life!, Amen.


  • Shanno says:

    Praying in agreement with all of you that the Lord’s will would be done in this trip and lives would be transformed in the process. Emily, I’m praying specifically for the Lord to quiet the fears as you push past them into the fulness of this God-sized adventure! Thanks for being so honest about the things that cause you some nervousness – it’s blessed me to know I’m not alone in those things (we’re going to Ukraine this summer to spend time with kids at Sunshine Children’s Center – we’ve known them from a distance for a year and a half, because of a boy who we’ve adopted in our hearts and are blessed to meet!). I’m a mama of 3, ages 2-12, so I hear you about leaving home! And I also love that you point to the ministry of mothering in the seasons when we are called to remain in our “nests,” doing the Lord’s work there!

    God bless you on your trip! Can’t wait to hear more!

  • Shannon says:

    (Oops, how did I misspell my own name!?)

  • Suzanne says:

    Emily and Kat, thank you so much for your bravery! I can’t wait to read about your trip here in our country. God bless your kind hearts!