Sunday, November 8, 2009


"We know that we should desire intimacy with God. The better and saner part of us does. But there is in each of us a dark impulse toward separation, a love of distance. We want to see God, not face-to-face, but in rough silhouette, to hear, not the thunder of His shout or the sweetness of His whisper, but only rumors of Him, faint and faraway echoes." -Your God Is Too Safe, Mark Buchanan, pg 22.

A love of distance. The more I think about this the more I realize how true it is in my life. Why don't I allow myself to get closer to God? Why am I not willing to take steps toward Him? I think it's because I'm comfortable where I am. To a certain degree, I still experience God from a distance. But this is not how I am called to live my life. God desires intimacy with me. He wants me to experience Him up close and personally.

So what is holding me back?
What is stopping me from running full force into the arms of my God?

He's not safe.

I will most likely experience pain. It will be scary. He will tell me things that I don't always want to hear.
But He is God. He has my best interest in mind. The closer I am to Him, the more He will bless
me. I will see His beauty and power displayed majestically.

May I completely abandon my own selfish fears, step out my my comfort zone, and run directly into the arms of my Saviour.

"Aslan a man!" said Mr. Beaver sternly. "Certainly not. I tell you, he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea...."
"Ooh!" said Susan, "I'd thought he was a man. Is he--quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion."
"That you will, dearie, and no mistake," said Mrs. Beaver, "if there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than most or else just silly."
"Then he isn't safe?" said Lucy.
"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver. "Don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What Is Love?

Every day I learn more and more about how selfish I am. Lately I have been thinking alot about how to show love to others, and I realized that I love people selfishly. I don't look past myself and the way I want to be loved. In order to most effectively show the love of Christ to those around me I need to completely rid myself of all selfish desires. This means I need to push past my comfort zone. I may need to do things that don't come naturally to me. But nothing about the way Jesus loved people was comfortable or easy. He looked to meet needs, not to look good. I hope I can learn from His model and love others more selflessly.

"For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." -Galations 5:13

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Summer That Changed My Life

I have a vivid memory of me sitting in the living room of my apartment on a cold Sunday night in late February, desperately trying to figure out what I was supposed to do this summer. I spent hours on the internet browsing different ministry opportunities and I had handfuls of ministry brochures that I had collected throughout the year scattered at my feet. I remember being so overwhelmed at the seemingly hundreds of options I had before my eyes. I was determined to figure out what God's will for my life this summer was to be. I quickly realized that my Google search bar and brochures were hardly the right method for discovering His will, so I turned to prayer. I spent a lot of time in prayer that night, wanting to end with a final answer on a specific location and job. However, the only thing God wanted to tell me was that He was going to do big things to me this summer. Over and over again I felt His saying that to me. Although I was slightly irritated that I still had no idea where I was going to be (Fresno was not even on my radar at this point), I was really excited that God wanted to use me in big ways. I envisioned myself taking the Gospel to some unknown tribe in Africa. Or maybe I would work with troubled women and God wanted to use me to help get someone's life back on track for the Lord. I had so many ideas...I was just excited to see how God was going to work. I was fully confident that this would be a life-changing summer.

And then I went to Fresno to work with 1st-6th graders. As soon as I got here I forgot about God's huge plan for me, and I went about my job. Now don't get me wrong, I've loved every second of it. And I know that God has used me in the lives of these kids this summer. But I just recently remembered that Sunday night in my apartment and I realized that God was right. (Crazy, I know.) He has changed my life this summer. Selfishly, I had this idea that He was going to use me to work in the hearts and lives of others. I never stopped to think about the fact that maybe God wants to use this summer to work on my heart. Maybe He wants to change my life.

This summer I have experienced brokenness like I never have before. I have been broken physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Never before in my life has my body been completely flat on the floor, yet I so desperately wished that it could go lower. And never before have I felt the Lord lift me off the ground, out of the pit and tell me that I am worthy, I am loved. What sweet redemption that I have experienced this summer. God decided that He was going to fly me out to California, 2,000 miles away from anything I've ever known, and essentially kick my butt. He took a desperate attempt to grab my attention, and now He has it fully. I have never been this close to God; never felt so free in Christ. And this is only the beginning.

Never could I have imagined the way God chose to work in my life this summer. It's not the way I would have chosen for it to happen. But it did, and now I can honestly say that God did have huge plans in store for me this summer. I will always look back on my summer spent in Fresno as a pivitol point in my Christian journey.

But you know what the coolest part of this is? It's not even close to being over.
"being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." -Philippians 1:6

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Last Monday my family took me to Sequoia National Park. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. This picture is enough reason that everyone should move to California.

I have a lot I want to say, but I think this sums it up nicely.

"But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head."
-Psalm 3:3

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Calming the Storm

Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!"
He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
The men were amazed and asked, "What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!" Matthew 8:23-27

I was reading this passage the other day, and my immediate reaction was anger towards the disciples. How could they be so faithless? They had Jesus in the boat with them. Of course they were going to be ok. The Lord quickly broke my pride as I realized that, more times then not, this is the way I live my life.

So often I think that Jesus is sleeping on the bottom of the boat. My life is being tossed about by the waves of the storm, and I feel like I'm doing all I can to save myself from drowning. Jesus doesn't care about me. He's asleep and leaving me to fend for myself. Since Jesus is so unaware of my problems, I obviously need to wake Him up and clue Him in on my life...right?

So I run to Him, accusing Him of not helping me, not caring about what is going on. How can He be asleep as my life is in shambles? As I angrily wake Him up and scream and Him to help me, Jesus calmly looks at me and says "Emily, you of little faith, why are you so afraid?" And in His perfect timing, He gets up and calms the storms and winds of my life.

"What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey Him." He is a God of faithfulness. One that never leaves us or forsakes us. I need to quit living my life thinking that Jesus is asleep and not concerned about me. I serve a faithful God. He has proven Himself time and time again. I need to trust that He will be faithful to keep His promises.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Great is Thy Faithfulness

I really thought that this summer would be it. The summer when I got my life fully back on track for the Lord. I slacked off toward the end of last semester, and I always justified it by thinking that this summer I would figure it all out. I mean, it makes sense, right? I am spending my summer working in the church. I am surrounded by some of the strongest Christians I have ever met, and I teach kids about God's love all day. I should be growing. In should be more in love with God then I ever have been...

But I'm not. In fact, spending consistent time in the Word has been the most challenging part of my summer. Taking out time for prayer has not been easy. Even engaging in conversations about the Lord hasn't been my favorite thing to do. I've been learning (and this probably sounds really obvious) that just because I'm in ministry doesn't mean that my relationship with God will be elevated. Just because I'm emptying myself out to all of these children doesn't mean I will automatically be filled.

It's so easy for me to justify skipping out on my quiet time. I spend all day in the church, with kids, teaching Bible lessons...that should count, right? I'm so exhausted when I get home or when I wake up. I just don't want to read my Bible. I'm sure I looked at a few verses today... this is what my mind does every time the Holy Spirit convicts me. I start rationalizing and justifying. And I've gotten really good at it.

But God is always faithful.

Praise Him for that! I am making excuses about spending time with my Father, my Creator. How much more selfish could I be? Yet, He is always here, waiting for me to fall back into His loving embrace. The devotional that we planned for tonights Net meeting is focusing on the compassion of God. This morning, we all spent about an hour talking about this attribute and how it effects our lives. It's something I don't think about enough. Everything about God screams compassion. Why am I constantly Hosea's wife...a whore, running away from my first love? Thankfully, I serve a compassionate God, who is consistently alluring me and bringing me back to Him, just like the Lord had mercy on Israel. He heals my waywardness and loves me freely.
"Come, let us return to the Lord;
for he has torn us, that he may heal us;
he has struck us down, and he will bind us up...
...Let us know; let us press on to knowthe Lord;
his going out is sure as the dawn;
he will come to us as the showers,
as the spring rains that water the earth."
-Hosea 6:1, 3