Today, Emily shares with us thoughts on her own testimony and what it means to her, some pretty special books to add to your list, and how even a small ministry has power.
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: I’ve been very drawn to the book of Daniel, lately. This book describes the life of a young Hebrew man who is held in captivity in Babylon with the Israelites. His stories are relatable to me in college because he was surrounded by people who did not believe the same things as him or love God like he did. He served God with his whole heart and lead others to him. His story is so powerful and encouraging!
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: Recently, I’ve been trying to focus on improving my prayer life. I was so inspired by the movie “The War Room” and want to strive to have a strong prayer life too!
Profession: I am a college student and amateur blogger. *laughs* I’m pursuing a degree in both Political Science and American History–we will see where that takes me!
A one sentence bio of yourself: A 20-year-old college student and wannabe Christian lifestyle blogger that seeks to love God and His children.
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? My family introduced me to God at a young age. I’ve always considered my testimony to be rather boring. There was no “aha” moment for me. I’ve never had to experience life without God at my side. But over the years, I have come to realize that my testimony is still special for the very reason that I had originally thought it was boring. It is so special that I have had a relationship with my Savior all of my life. My testimony is a part of who I am and I wouldn’t trade it for a more “exciting” one.
“I have come to realize that my testimony is still special for the very reason that I had originally thought it was boring. It is so special that I have had a relationship with my Savior all of my life.”
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? The friends I have made in college have really encouraged me and helped me grow spiritually this season. I have personally seen how impactful uplifting friends can be!
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?):
Unveiled by Francine Rivers
This book was honestly very hard for me to read. It elongates the story of Tamar, a Biblical woman whose story is found in Genesis 38. She is a young, pagan woman who weds the wicked son of Judah (One of the 12 sons of Jacob). Her husband abuses her and refuses to respect her in the ways that her culture and time required. Her story is heartbreaking and enumerates the suffering women in that era faced. She resorted to drastic measures to provide for herself and made some questionable decisions, yet she is found, listed by name in the genealogy of Christ! This story taught me that no matter what we do, God can use us to further his plan! There is nothing we can do to separate us from the love of God!
“This story taught me that no matter what we do, God can use us to further his plan!”
Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge
This lovely book is all about the heart of femininity that God has placed in each woman on Earth. It describes God’s design for femininity, how it differs from masculinity, and what we should do with that design and that knowledge. This book showed me parts of God’s character in a way that I, as a woman could understand and relate to. The book explained clearly how God is not bound by femininity or masculinity but is instead a combination of both (not surprising when you consider he created both) and that he possesses qualities that resonate with both men and women. God is strong and protective of His children like men are prone to be. But He is also loving and nurturing like women tend to be, too. This was a powerful realization for me because it opened my eyes up to enable me to better understand my Father in Heaven. There were so many lessons I learned from this book that you will learn to if you have the opportunity to pick up this book! I hope you do and that, like me, you gain a new understanding of God and of yourself.
Top three essentials:
Earbuds! I never leave without them! I love to listen to music all of the time, whether I’m baking, taking a shower, driving in the car, cleaning up, studying etc. Although I am confident that the other students studying at my university’s library would love my praise playlist as much as I do, I bring my trusty pair of earbuds in the off chance that they would prefer I jam by myself! Fun fact: Every time I want to use my earbuds, I have to untangle them. I don’t know how they manage to tie themselves up in knots, all of the time. I swear they are perfectly untangled when I put them in my backpack or set them on my desk… but somehow they are tangled again when I pick them up! If you can figure out this conundrum, please let me know. My earbuds and I will be forever in your debt.
Water! Hydrate or diedrate! Well that may be a little extreme but sometimes it feels like I may reach my demise whenever I am without my trusty bottle of H2O. Maybe that’s just me? I don’t know. But I can tell you this, you will never see me without a water bottle!
Sunglasses! They instantly transform you into a diva and… oh protect your eyes from the sun! But in all seriousness, I never leave my home without these three things. They are definitely essential!
How did God speak to you recently? Something God has been whispering into my heart recently is ideas for my upcoming small group that I’ll be leading at school. I’ll be leading the freshman girls at my college through Luke. At random times throughout the day, my mind will turn again to the girls that I love (even though I haven’t met them yet)! The excitement I have felt regarding this upcoming venture and the ideas I have crafted for it are God’s way of encouraging me in this leadership role! His still, small voice is often heard through experiences like this.
Hobby: Aside from writing, I enjoy reading and baking. I love Christian novels because I can enjoy the story without worrying about encountering any inappropriate content. Also, I love baking for family and friends. It is so therapeutic for me and I enjoy sharing my creations with those I love.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong:
Surround yourself with people who will encourage you in your faith journey! The people that you surround yourself have the greatest impact on you and how you behave, so make sure you choose good ones! Recently, I wrote a blog post about one of my good friends who always encourages and uplifts me!
Choose movies, music, and books that glorifies God, rather than glorifies the world! We need to be cognizant about what we consume. Media that glorifies sin and darkness will inevitably impact us and our walk with God. These are ephemeral pleasures that will hurt us. Instead watch, listen and read things that our spiritually uplifting.
Make time to fellowship with other believers! Small groups, bible studies, and congregational worship are all great opportunities to meet with other Christians. I cannot emphasize this enough! It is SO important to do life with fellow Christians, to share your struggles and your praises. My mom often tells me that in the end, all that matters is loving God and loving people. What better place to start than in the Church, the body of Christ?
Favorite person in scripture? Without a doubt my favorite person in scripture is Mary, the mother of Jesus. Whenever I read the story of Jesus’ birth, I am astounded by her faith and strength. If I were in her shoes, I’m doubtful that I would be able to carry the Messiah and struggle with the human half and the divine half of my son. In fact, I wrote a blog post about a book about her story!
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? I want people to learn that God can use anyone to do wonderful things for His kingdom. Your ministry doesn’t have to be huge and have thousands of followers. Small is good, too, and can be used to further His glory!
“Your ministry doesn’t have to be huge and have thousands of followers. Small is good, too, and can be used to further His glory!”
Favorite season? Fall, autumn… no matter what you call it, I love it! There is nothing better than crisp weather, sweaters, and hot chocolate. It is so beautiful to see the leaves changing colors and it is a time of year that I look forward to throughout the rest of the year!
Favorite holiday? Christmas! What holiday could be better than when we celebrate the birth of the Messiah?
A dream you have? One of my biggest dreams is to travel! I want to see the places have studied about in Europe and see the art and architecture there. Fun fact: I’ve never been on a plane, so all of my adventures have occurred within driving distance. I would love to see this beautiful world that God has created!
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: When my sister and I were very little, she wrapped up a piece of cotton and gave it to my dad as a Christmas present. When he unwrapped it, she yelled, “You’ve been cottoned!” and thought that she was hilarious! Now each year the little piece of cotton gets wrapped up and given to another member of the family. We pass the gift around and always dread getting stuck with it.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? A real one and a silly one.
Real one: Why mosquitos?! Really! Why?! What purpose do those little buggers have?
Silly one: Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons? (Cuz’ they didn’t need them, right)?
Thing you want to raise awareness about: Something that is near and dear to my heart is women’s perceptions of themselves and achieving purity in dating and in life. I want women to understand how beautiful and loved they are by their Father in heaven and that they don’t have to seek affection and validation from men that don’t respect them or their purity. Real men value your purity!
What do you usually do before 9 a.m.? If, by chance, I am awake before 9 am, I like to read in bed before I start the day. I usually prefer to do my devotionals at the end of the day so in the morning I pick up one of the many books lying on my nightstand (which I will elaborate on in the next question) 😉
What is on your nightstand? My alarm clock, earbuds, a wobbling stack of books, phone charger and water bottle!
Define Christianity in a sentence: A relationship, not a religion, with the Savior of the world.
For more Emily:
Facebook: The Baer Necessities Blog
Until next time, keep witnessing!