I am so excited to introduce you to my friend Emily. I met Emily years ago, at a summer camp, where she was my camp counselor. We had early morning chats, as we had our devotion time before the rest of the cabin, and this blossomed into a friendship of many years and hopefully many years to come. Emily is now married, and a mother of three. I know you will be blessed by all she has to share.
Today, she shares her beautiful testimony with us, she talks to us about: controlling our fault-finding ways, how to hear God’s voice, looking at our motives, and how to seek God when you are a working mother and loving wife (which means BUSY).
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. (Psalm 63:3)
This verse caught my attention about a month ago, and I’ve been fixated ever since. Is God’s love really better in my eyes than my life and all that comes with my life? The joys and the sorrows? I’m striving by His grace to make it so.
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: Not to fault-find in the people around me, especially those close. It’s so easy to point fingers and think if they would just change… Instead, I am asking God to change me and use me as a reflection of Him, and to leave any changing in others up to Him.
Profession: Member Service Representative (fancy name for bank teller…). Not something I ever set out to be, but sometimes, you find yourself in unlikely places.
“[S]ometimes, you find yourself in unlikely places.”
A one sentence bio of yourself: Wife, mother, step-mother, writer, dreamer, believer, short, curly-haired, blue-eyed music-loving never-give-upper!
When did you first encounter God? I grew up in a Christian home and developed a personal relationship with God from a young age. I remember having family devotion time every morning as far back as when I was six years old, when I would quietly read my children’s Bible beside my parents. I’m so thankful for my upbringing! But God became REAL to me when I was 16 and working away from home at a Christian summer camp. I was going through a lot of issues (including undiagnosed depression) and felt terribly alone, undesirable, and useless. I worked long, exhausting hours in the camp kitchen, and one morning, I had about one hour until lunch came out of the oven, so I took to the woods for a walk. On my return, I began crying uncontrollably, overwhelmed by my feelings. I stopped in the trail where a shaft of sunlight shown down on me through a break in the trees, and I brokenly wrapped my arms around myself and sobbed, “God, I need a hug.” Immediately the largest, warmest arms in the world wrapped me up in the most comforting hug I’ve ever felt. I remember smiling and whispering, “Thank you.” I went on my way, but my life was never the same again. I know without doubt that God is real, because He dropped whatever He was doing to sweep this child into His arms, when she asked Him to.
“I know without doubt that God is real, because He dropped whatever He was doing to sweep this child into His arms, when she asked Him to.”
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season: Prayer. Prayer, prayer, prayer. Also, ironically, closed doors. We have been hit with a lot of disappointments lately, with things not working out, and it reminds me that God has something better if we just trust Him.
Top three essentials: Carmex, my phone, and Hannah, my two-year-old sidekick who literally goes everywhere with me except to work, a fact that breaks my heart five days a week.
How did God speak to you recently? I keep freaking out about things to Him, asking Him, “When is this going to change, when are You going to fix that, are You really working on this?” etc, etc. And every time, He breathes into me the words “Trust Me.”
Hobby: Writing. I’ve been working on a book for so many years, I am too embarrassed to admit. I’m nearing the end of my 3rd extensive edit, and it’s nearly ready for the scary part, which is trying to find a publisher. I wouldn’t quite call cooking and baking a hobby, more of a life necessity with three kids in the house, but thankfully, it’s something I enjoy doing. Is playing with my daughter a hobby? Nope, it’s pure bliss.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong:
1: Pray without ceasing. I mean, all day long, while I’m working, while I’m driving, while I’m talking to my customers, while I walk on the treadmill, while I interact with my family, in the middle of a disagreement. Always have a conversation with God humming in your mind. The minute I cease, I make mistakes that I regret.
2. Listen for God’s voice. Sometimes, it’s so quiet, you have to be waiting for it. You don’t want to miss it, because there’s no better sound to ever whisper in your heart.
3. Check your motives. Something I started doing a long time ago. For every action you plan to take, take a second to go over the “why” you are doing this. Are your motives holy? Self-centered? Selfish? Pure? Glorifying to God? Always know decisively why you do what you do.
Favorite person in scripture: Joseph. He never let his trials embitter him or shake his trust in God. And God rewarded him for that.
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? That He is patient and kind and loving. I yearn to emulate His character to those around me.
Favorite season: Autumn. Which is unfortunate now that I live in San Diego, where there is no Autumn.
Favorite holiday: Fourth of July, because I love, love, LOVE fireworks! Christmas is pretty awesome, too, since I’m totally a child at heart and adore prettily wrapped presents and Christmas decorations.
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: Our family dynamics changed a lot earlier this year when, in a miraculous answer to prayer, my stepsons moved in with us full time. I’m not sure we have made any solid traditions yet as we have settled into our new routine. But generally, on Friday afternoons after my step-sons get off school, my husband takes the three kids on a walk to the dollar store where they each pick out an item to celebrate another successful week. Pancakes for Saturday breakfast have also become the norm.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven: I want some more details about a lot of Bible stories. Maybe just ‘cause I’m a writer, but I want to know more! I have plenty of questions that generally start with “Why” about my life right now, but from past experience, most of those will probably get answered on this earth. If we are patient and wait on God, most of those questions tend to clear up with time.
“If we are patient and wait on God, most of those questions tend to clear up with time.”
Thing you want to raise awareness about: Father’s Rights in the family court system.
What do you usually do before 9 a.m.? Make breakfast, pack five lunches (yes, FIVE), wash the dishes (often from the previous night’s dinner, too), wake and snuggle my little one, eat breakfast with Hannah, pre-cook some of dinner, change clothes for work, do hair and makeup, change my little one and prep for babysitter, start a load of laundry, and if time allows, play a game or learning activity with Hannah. All that before 8:15. I usually feel like superwoman by the time I show up at work at 8:30. Devotions generally happen during my morning and afternoon break at work, unless I drag myself from bed at 5:30. I’m glad God doesn’t expect perfection, least of all from working mothers!
What is on your nightstand? Box of tissues, lamp, three bottles of delightfully scented lotion, a pretty coin bank (it’s empty), a framed photo of my husband and daughter as a baby, and a keepsake box.
Until next time, keep witnessing!