All Posts By

Emily Lanphier

Faith Featured Loss

the cost of love

January 22, 2018

I almost didn’t write about the miscarriage. The loss was early on, and I got to come home to our three beautiful children. I reminded myself that so many couples long for even one healthy baby. I cried, but emotionally, I found my peace quickly. We lost the pregnancy Thanksgiving week. That was the most difficult aspect. The holidays highlight the death of Mom and Dad more than any other time of the year. We were headed into our third Christmas without them and each celebration- each festive event-is a mixture of gratitude for my own little family and an increasingly familiar ache at their absence.

I am reminded over and over again that love without loss is impossible. The risks to create life, expand, and grow are oftentimes met with great joy. But other times, there is disappointment. There is sickness or pain that ends our connection to a dream or person much too soon. Great courage and fortitude of will are needed to accept the good with the bad, and this enlarges our hearts.

The truth is, I’m becoming (slightly) more comfortable with the unavoidable pain that accompanies love.

The price of love is steep.

Love will cost us everything. Literally everything. Loving will always result in a degree of loss, for all lives end- including ours.

We cannot love without placing our hearts in a most vulnerable position.

If we choose to love deeply, it will break us.

But if we keep loving, it will rebuild us. 

The pain of loss, death of a loved one, or the heartbreak from an unfulfilled dream is crushing. There is no skirting the issue.

We must allow ourselves to be devastated for a time, then step back and realize how much greater is our ability to love again. The joy of risking our hearts to love deeply is completely worth the pain of loss.

The Bible itself connects us to a vision of love that doesn’t insulate itself from rejection, pain, or death.

It’s so interesting to think of the life of Jesus. Jesus was, and is, God’s literal, tangible extension of love to a world that would reject and crucify Him. God’s only son. And yet, the Father still chose this costly love. He was reckless and abandoned in His pursuit of relationship to a world gone mad. He gave of the most precious part of Himself- His own child.  He held nothing back. He was all in. And He is still all in. 

I was recently talking theology with both my 5- and 4- year old (ha!). We were discussing rules and why God gives us guidelines. I told them God knows how life works best and that’s why we have ‘love fences.’ I explained how we have commands to protect us and our freedom, not to restrict us.

But Jesus.

Jesus came because God the Father knew we could never keep the rules perfectly. Jesus is the bridge from all our shortcomings and sin to fellowship with God. Though it cost Him everything, Father God made a way for each of us to know true love. It wasn’t easy or convenient, but He sent Jesus anyway. We can trust God’s heart for us because He proved His love for us. And if we are secure in His love for us, we will have the faith to risk loving every time. He is familiar with betrayal, loss, disappointment, and pain. He doesn’t shrink back from us, but continues to faithfully offer the gift of hope and redemption through faith in Jesus. His love beat sin, brokenness, and death.

This sacred solidarity with Christ emboldens us to love with wild abandon,

He paved the way.

Photo by: Tori Vandament

Faith Featured Loss Motherhood

I Hope You Choose Joy: A Letter to my Kids

October 14, 2017

I hope your life is full.

I hope your days on this planet consist of unspeakable joy, adventure, and love so deep that it takes your breath away.

I pray that you may never know the sting of crushing loss or betrayal.

And yet.

I also hope you experience enough adversity to know what it is like to uncover joy. True joy.

There is a joy that is burried beneath the soil of adversity-its siblings are perverence and positivity,

and it is only unearthed by the fingers of hope.

Many people never experience joy.

Oftentimes, the soil of life so completely encapsulates the seed of joy that it stays buried forever

but it is there, nonetheless.

Living, actual living is uncovered in the aftermath of trial.

The joy of abundant living is often found in the satisfaction of walking out pain… not immediately, but eventually.

Happiness is dependent on your circumstances, but joy is a posture of your heart.

I hope your life is characterized by the resilience of being an overcomer and the gratification of having chose joy in the face of bleak circumstances.

I must tell you, at times you might feel like YOU are burried.

But you always have a choice.

You can stay burried. Or you can climb out. It might take weeks, even months to push through the dirt, debris, and ground.

But I hope you have the strength to emerge from the soil,

because you will be better for it,

and your life is too precious not to live it to the fullest.

I pray you always fight so that the soil of your heart is a perfect garden in which to cultivate joy.

xo, Mom


Photo by: Tori Vandament

Faith Loss Relationships

lean in

July 17, 2017

Reflecting on life’s journey, I become aware of the highs and lows. The present can feel chaotic and random, but when held up in light of the past, I see purpose in every step. Each moment has brought me to this place.

The turns and twists, the ups and downs, have taught me that there are indeed rhythms, but often we can only discern them in retrospect. The loss, the change, and the struggle have yielded great fruit in my life. I find myself surprised to discover I may actually be grateful for the way hardships have transformed me.

For I have learned to lean in.

The ability to lean in is a conscious choice, an act of the will. To lean in is to embrace discomfort with the knowledge that surrender facilitates healing and growth.  The energy once expended resisting pain is instead channeled toward allowing said pain to enable advancement of character and faith.

To lean in is to have the courage to stare pain in the eyes until the trappings of selfishness, frivolity, and vanity have been burned away and we are able to truly live life to the fullest. To take from pain its power and realize our own strength.

To lean in is to be fully attentive to the experience of joy without bracing for its ending. To root ourselves in the present. To allow ourselves to be affected. To posture our heart for change.

To lean in is to reject emotional shortcuts. To refuse to rob ourselves of the gift of today by numbing the sensations of pain, but rather to glean and learn from them, for the aggravations of struggle refine our very souls.

To lean in is to accept.

To lean in is to surrender.

To lean in is to trust.

To lean in is to hope.

We lean in to pain. We lean in to joy. We lean in to life because it is ever-changing and evolving. We lean in because the only moment we have is the one we presently behold.

Photo by: Tori Vandament

Featured Motherhood

A Mother is Born

May 11, 2017

We are not unaccustomed to new life. 4.3 babies are born every second. And with each entry into our world comes endless possibilities, hopes, and potentials wrapped up into one tiny bundle.

But every day, something else is born, and it arises and enters in that very same place in which a child is delivered.

Something powerful.
Something fierce.
Something strong.

Immediate is this awakening that quietly alters the course of civilization, society, and even life itself.

Alongside every birth, adoption, and new addition to a family unit
something else is born.

Or rather, someone.

A mother is born.

And with her arrival a guardian, keeper, and protector is born.
A nurturer, teacher, and developer is born.

Much like a caterpillar’s transformation into a butterfly, the metamorphosis of a woman into a mother is momentous. Beauty, strength, and splendor already reside in the fabric of her being, and motherhood more fully draws it out.

The birth of a mother is laborsome, yet miraculous. The breaking forth of new life into HER life is disruptive though necessary. There may be pain and discomfort in the process as she stretches and grows, but this enlargement leads to the actualization of new life and of her very personhood.

Within her is power vast and endless, for her gift is this: she cultivates and shapes the very being she just took into her arms.

Her beauty lies not only in her strength, but also in her delicacy. For alongside her competency lies vulnerability. Her ferocity is matched only by her tenderness, and her strength is accompanied by love so strong it leaves her defenses down and her heart susceptible to great pain.

But she loves anyway. She can’t help herself.

And she is a miracle.

She guards the new life that she so cherishes. She is a keeper of treasured memories and milestones. She is a protector of childhood, innocence, and joy. She pours out of the depths of her soul to nurture those under her care. Every treasured morsel of wisdom entrusted to this teacher is faithfully deposited into the hearts of her young pupils.

When a mother is born, a developer emerges. And much like a gardener, she plows and sows, tends and prunes. She plants seeds she may never see bloom, but she plants them anyway.

When a mother is born, hate and fear tremble for they know full well they cannot match the uninhibited, deep, wild love that resides within her heart. A mother is the nemesis of death, for from a mother comes all life.

When a mother is born, our cities, nations, and the world rejoices.

A mother links arms with her sisters and together they are a force to be reckoned with.

Countless women conceive and bring forth a child, but a mother leaves an imprint upon the very fabric of our souls, our earth, and our time.

Humanity longs for the care and affection a mother provides.

For when a mother is born, a token of healing is offered to a weary world.

*Photo by: Tori Vandament

Featured Motherhood

mother the mothers

May 2, 2017

“I will be your best friend in this season, Emily,” my mom whispered in my ear as she hugged me goodbye in her driveway. I loved Wednesdays. It was the highlight of the kids’ and my week. We always spent that day at my parents’ house.

This particular day, I found myself lingering in the driveway before my departure, and emotion filled my heart. “How can I possibly be lonely, day to day, when I’m never alone?” I asked her quietly. I felt fatigued from the constant demands of raising toddlers while pregnant. She leaned through the open window of my minivan and wrapped her sun-kissed arms around my shoulders. “I remember feeling that way when I was in your stage of life. It can be hard to maintain close relationships during the baby years. I adore you, Emily. I will be your best friend in this season.”

Neither of us could have possibly known she only had a few days left on this earth.

My best friend and mother was gone before she had a chance to keep her promise.

And the truth is, while her death has created layers of loss, I mostly miss being mothered.

Becoming a mother causes you to need a mother in a whole new way. The experience and knowledge of practiced moms are a treasure. Their words are like rain on the soil of young hearts who are raising the next generation.

Seasoned mommas, grandmothers, and women of generations before mine: don’t stop mothering the mothers. We desperately need your counsel, nurture, and friendship.

The other week, I was dressing in the YMCA locker room after a workout. I heard an older woman say to a friend, “I’m 67 and it’s wonderful. I wouldn’t want to go back!” I quickly struck up a conversation with her, hungry to have a vision of hope for my golden years of life. “Excuse me! I don’t mean to eavesdrop, but I want to learn from your experience. What is it about your age that you enjoy?” She smiled through our introductions and replied, “Wisdom. You get to my age and you’ve learned so much. Life gets easier with the knowledge you glean along the way.”


Young moms: Put a demand on the wise women in your life. You will feel less isolated if you learn from those who’ve gone before you. There are resolutions to the very parenting battles you are fighting, and they reside in the more mature mothers around you. Ask and inquire. They have gleaned wisdom they will share with you. They can lighten the load of your heart.

Mommas and grandmas: I want your wisdom. All of it. I want you to tell me what has worked for you and what hasn’t. I want to learn how you’ve succeeded and failed. What would you tell your 20 and 30 year old selves? Please. Don’t feel irrelevant. Invest your time, talent, and insight into us younger women because practiced moms, you are a treasure. I’m not foolish enough to think that 5 years of being a parent makes me an expert. I’m just doing the best I can with what I know. I need you. We still need you. Even as mothers, we need to be mothered.

In the words of Anna Jordan from The Magic of Motherhood, “It turns out, one of the most wonderful joys of motherhood is the other mothers.” How true this is. Mothering was always meant to take place in community. May we each seek to add joy to our fellow mothers. May we also purpose to lighten the burdens from one another as we raise our children.

*This blog post is dedicated to our and my parents’ wonderful friends, my beloved in-laws, and supportive faith community. You all have been part of my healing. In this current season, Lee Porter and Brigit Elliot, thank you for all you’ve done. Your persistent, extravagant, and practical demonstrations of love towards me and my family have been some of the most incarnate forms of kindness I’ve ever experienced.

*Photo by Tori Vandament

Featured Motherhood

motherhood: am I doing something wrong?

April 6, 2017

Motherhood: “am I doing something wrong?”

This I wondered every day.

I wondered about this not only every day, but several times a day.

I wondered about this not only every hour of every day, but several times an hour.

I was pregnant (not the most stable phase of my existence either psychologically or emotionally) and raising two toddlers who were 18 months apart. I was home full-time and my husband worked long hours. I hated cooking (still do) and my propensity for being a clean freak was not a conviction shared by my two miniature companions.

Frequently, I would remind myself of my fortunate situation. “I am healthy. I have healthy babies. I am married to my best friend…. etc.,” but the thought still nagged at me.

Is being a mom supposed to be this hard? What am I doing wrong?

Being a parent in the early years can feel like a case study in constant over-stimulation (if you happen to have busy toddlers like me… For crying out loud, my children have zero interest in watching television).

Motherhood is hard, because the weight of my role is so impactful.

Motherhood is hard, because pieces of my heart are literally walking around in bodies separate from mine, and I can’t be everywhere at once.

Motherhood is hard, because I must not grow weary of doing good.

Motherhood is hard, because no one will love and care for these baby humans the way I do…. and care deeply I do.

That’s it.

Motherhood is hard because I care.

If you don’t care, then motherhood isn’t hard.

Mommas, you care. Therefore, it’s hard.

Different seasons are especially trying. But the intensity of the difficulty will wax and wane. Being a parent for five years hardly makes me an expert, but even that short amount of time has allowed me space to find my motherhood rhythm. The more you love, the more you grow.

But it is STILL challenging and will continue to be so….

Because I care.

And anything worth doing has a cost.

I can’t imagine anything more meaningful and worthwhile than to give my life away to love another.

So… is motherhood this stretching, trying, and arduous for other mothers? Yes. It’s beautiful and hard.

*Photo by: Tori Vandament

Featured Loss


March 27, 2017

Loss. The longing for what could have been or the aching over what did transpire that you couldn’t avoid. For you, loss might present as the death of a loved one, a divorce, a career ending, family heartbreak, dashed hopes and dreams…the list is endless. But it boils down to:

This isn’t how you pictured your life.

Many elusive factors feel like sand, shifting slowly yet persistently through your clenched fingers.

You know you can’t stop it, but you grip tightly anyway.

Grief comes in waves. You feel adrift as the tides rise and fall.

You discern the loss -the affliction- and become familiar with its pangs and edges. You must allow yourself to rise and fall in the frothy waves.

Certain moments you have the sensation of drowning, but you keep going. For a time, you live beneath the surface of the breakers.

You’re not sure if you will ever emerge. So dark is the vast and murky pool in which you find yourself submerged, that you begin to forget the feel of the sun’s warmth.

And then.

Your feet finally hit the sand buried deep beneath the ocean’s current.

And you push off from the bottom.

And your head shoots out of the cool water.

And you see the sun.

Though you lived for a time below the ocean, you break free to find that parts of you died during your plunge to the depths.

Some aspects of you are no more.

There are pieces of your old self that you miss, and others have lent you freedom in their departure.

Though you are the same, you are different.

Unmistakably so.

It’s as if you’ve been recalibrated, for your heart is more tender… larger. Your insights are more elevated and precise.

Your time of nearly dying has stripped away enough that it leaves you bare.

You must choose what new adornments with which to clothe yourself. It is a terrifying, yet noble task. You sit squarely in the conductor’s chair of your own destiny and the notes all lie before you. They are fully at your disposal.

Will you choose bitterness or empathy?

Compassion or hardness of heart?

Despair or hope?

Will you strive to connect with and care for those who enter your circle, or will you isolate and fortify the truest parts of your being?

The ocean doesn’t have to have the final say.

Loss won’t claim the last word.

For beneath the surface of every sea lies a floor…. which leads to shore.

*Photo by Tori Vandament

Featured Loss Motherhood

kiddie pool

March 16, 2017

1,825 days.

That’s how many 24-hour periods of time there are in five years.

These days are profoundly formative in a child’s life. However, if most of us think back to our preschool years,  we most certainly do not have one thousand memories; some hardly even have one hundred recollections!

We rarely retain a vast number of distinct impressions, but what does shape our early childhood years is the tone of the environment in which we were raised.

As a parent or caregiver, this brings great freedom to focus on the overall atmosphere of the family versus each small, isolated interaction.

Focus on the tone of the home.

As parents, there are moments of feeling stretched too far, fatigued, and over exerted. Not every instance will be handled in a textbook manner. But that’s OK. An environment rich in relational warmth will help cover those occurrences.

Think of your relationship with your child as a kiddie pool. Each time you affirm and breathe life into his or her little heart, you dump a cup of water into the kiddie pool. Every “I love you,” and each snuggle is another heap poured right into the container.

Some days you will add a lot of water to the kiddie pool. Others, you may splash a little out with a snappy reply or an irritated manner. But because of the water you’ve poured into that pool, there will be a reserve and basis of love and understanding with which to safeguard your connection to your child.

The tone of your home can add to the pool or drain water right out.

In times of loss or trauma, it is vital to be intentional about cultivating the tone. Do less. Engage more. Play. Know that there will be seasons where you need to designate more effort into creating a peaceful atmosphere. Music is powerful.  Dance parties are engaging. Hugs and reassurance all add water to the pool.

You don’t have to bat a thousand every day, but be intentional about making deposits every day. My own children have different activities that greatly raise the watermark in the kiddie pool of their hearts. Violet loves to read. Theo loves to play ‘dogs’. Engaging in their interests fosters connection and love in our relationship.

And let’s be honest, I regularly pray that all my efforts would be their most prominent memories and that God would ‘fill in the cracks of their heart’ in any areas that I might miss.

So get to filling those pools!

*Photo by Tori Vandament


pilot post

March 1, 2017

I find myself in a peculiar position.

 I am in the throes of motherhood.

I am exhausted, continually questioning myself, and reaching with all my heart to find my motherhood rhythm.

The rhythm of peace amidst chaos…

calm alongside wild…

inner solitude amongst constant stimulation…

I am in the dance of young motherhood.

 I grapple daily with the wills of my children which strain against my deep intent to instill virtue in their little hearts.

And it’s hard.

So very hard.

And yet….

Something calls.

From deep within me.

A call to step out… to pick up my “pen” and write. To pour forth everything inside with transparency, vulnerability, and authenticity.

“Should I even do this?” I must think this thought every hour.

“Do I even have something to say? Who will listen? Does it matter?”

I don’t have all the answers.

But we are in a most divisive time in which discord reigns.

Something whispers within me, “but we aren’t all that different… after all,  love, that which we have, and that which we desire, binds the human race.”

And I know of love.

I know of loss.

And I know of love amidst loss.

So I pick up my ‘pen’ and with trembling fingers begin to write.

 We are not alone. If you have ever loved or been loved or wanted to love, this blog is for you.

 Welcome sisters.

May you find encouragement and hope within these ‘pages’.

*Photo by Annie Schenzel


morning glory

February 28, 2017

If you have any introvert qualities whatsoever, becoming a mom throws you for loop. It is a glorious, rewarding, and stretching loop, but a loop nonetheless …

Us, semi-introverts, thrive on refueling time. Coffee. Quiet. Reflection. Coffee. Peace. Occasional solitude (remember I said “semi” introverts) coffee…. These words are our friends. We like them.

A baby changes everything.

Your time is no longer your own.

So when people ask: “How do you find the will…no, the motivation to get up early before your kids do?” I smile sweetly but am inwardly thinking, “You have no flipping clue. I have to.”

My mornings are my literal emotional survival.

Drinking coffee uninterrupted might be the SIXTH love language they forgot to include in the book (“The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman).

I’m not sure, but I may have solved 99% of the world’s problems before my children’s feet even hit the floor everyday.

In all seriousness, my mornings are a blissful gift. I look forward to when my alarm goes off at (don’t freak out) 5 or 5:30 am… at least 3 or 4 mornings a week, I’m the first one up… and its’ so gloriously rewarding that I keep coming back again and again and again.

I might even be addicted to early mornings.

I have crafted these pre-dawn hours in such a way that they are immensely life-giving. I have a prayer room. However, you don’t need a whole room, but a spot or chair helps to create a small personal space ‘away’.

My prayer room has my comfy chair, a lamp, a space for my coffee and books. I even have favorite verses on the wall and hope to even add a rug and wall hangings once I get around to it (probably once my kids leave for college at this point).

“What do you actually do during this time?” You might wonder… Well I’m glad you asked because I will tell you. WHATEVER THE HECK I WANT.

I pray. I pray for my kids, my husband, extended family. I also journal. I take an inner inventory of how I’m “actually” doing and process that. I read books that inspire me, I get caught up on book study for women group too. Sometimes, I just turn on soft music and sit.

The magic of solitary early mornings is: they keep giving back. I promise you it is awe-inspiring to have formed a coherent thought before seeing your child. After my alone time, I’m actually excited and ready to engage my children when they wake.

There is also something to be said for the fact that my kids see me get up early to read my bible and spend time alone. I’m frequently in the ‘prayer room’ when they wake up and come looking for me. In the spirit of “caught not taught,” I’m hoping this is an appealing practice that they utilize themselves one day.

I also notice my mental state is elevated the whole day. I feel starting my day before everyone else gives me capacity. I have the wherewithal to make higher level brain choices that employ compassion and empathy over reaction and irritation.

So try it! But disclaimer: I always take a few month hiatus from early mornings when I have a newborn…. But my sheer need for the refreshment it brings always has me quickly reestablishing this beloved routine.

*Photo by Tori Vandament