Seeking God

Seeking God is not in vain if you seek: humbly, wholeheartedly and in faith that he will answer you.

What a joy it is to know God wants us to find him because he wants to be found. He wants a relationship with us. He is a forgiving and grace-giving God waiting for us to acknowledge, admit and adhere to his love. Our part is to realize we are in need of him; the start to seeking.

Personal Testimony

I grew up in a Christian, God-serving, church-going household and I am forever grateful for my upbringing as my parents guided me to faith. Growing up, I also grew very passionate about playing basketball with the goal to receive a scholarship to play in university. In 2007, I achieved that goal and accomplished a great rookie year. However, the academic side of school became a huge stress in my life and basketball became more of a job than a sport I loved. I started to question my own happiness and wondered where God was in all of this. I worked so hard, yet became so unhappy. Aren’t “Christians” happy people? I’d often ask myself. I realized I needed help beyond myself. I needed God.

Seeking begins with a realization we cannot save ourselves.

Summer of 2008, I cried out to God in desperation to find this “inner peace” and “joy” I heard so many times in church. Why hadn’t I found this to be true for me? I went straight to the source – God in prayer. Laying it all out, my fears, disappointments and feelings. Then, after much prayer, I decided to take a year off to learn about my identity as a Christ-follower instead of a basketball player.

Seek and you will find.

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:13

I sought God in prayer, surrendering my scholarship or what else I knew to give me happiness in exchange to learn more about following him. So, I asked God for three things: the ability to keep training my basketball skills (to keep the option of playing again probable), to get a job and to travel. Within three weeks of this surrendering prayer, God answered me. I received a job as an assistance basketball coach, whilst on the side being trained by the head coach. As well as, working as a front desk clerk for GoodLife Fitness (which included a free membership). Then a friend invited me to join her to volunteer for a bible school called, “Youth with a Mission” (YWAM) in the Sunshine Coast of Australia. God gave me the three specific things I asked for in prayer (basketball training, a job and travel). To me that was confirmation that God heard my prayer. Now, it was my turn to learn about following him…

I took the year off to travel and seek God.

I took a year off of university and set off in January 2009 to travel with YWAM in Australia. During my time volunteering with the Bible school I got to sit in all the Bible lectures teaching me about how to have a personal relationship with Jesus.

One day I can remember the moment that all my seeking came to a halt because the presence of God met me. It was during a worship song and prayer time. I felt so discouraged that I made all this effort to serve God and I still didn’t feel he was near. I became mad and left the room towards a bathroom stall to pout. Then I prayed again, “God, why aren’t you answering me? Don’t you see all my effort I am doing to pursue you???” I will never forget the immediate answer I felt in my heart from the Lord that day. I heard within my Spirit God say, “Emily, you are here because I pursued you.

God is always in Pursuit of you.

Sunshine Coast, Australia, January 2009

God wants a relationship, a two-way-street. He wants us to respond to his pursuit of love for us. For me, I realized he wanted more than just faith, he wanted my participation or willingness to allow him to change me. The moment I realized he wanted my participation was the moment our relationship became real. He wasn’t forcing me to follow him, he was waiting for me to say “yes”.

You seeking him is a response to that initial pursuit of his.

Saying “yes” to God means repenting of our sins and adhering to his will. We learn about his will through reading the the Bible. Understanding God’s character makes his presence more known than simply waiting on a physical “feeling” to emerge.

The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.

Psalm 14:2

I am more aware of the presence of God because of how much more I know about him. And one thing I know about him is that he calls us to seek him diligently (Proverbs 8:17) and continually (1 Chronicles 16:11). In all things and in any circumstance he is there and he is approachable because his love for us came before our love for him.

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

Seeking God will change your life as it did mine.

Germany, July 2009

Deciding to take that year off changed the course of my life and my faith for the better. As it lead to another month of travel and yet another bible school with YWAM in Montana, USA, called: Summer of Sports. Continuing my training on the court whilst training spiritually off the court.

After that year off, I was able to return to my university basketball scholarship and finish my degree. What a miracle that was! Praise God!

Why I share my story.

I share part of my life to encourage you that when you seek God with your whole heart, your seeking is not in vain. Every time I go back to God, whether its in a life-crisis or a day’s stresses, he answers me. He answers me in peace to not understand why some things happen and others don’t. In joy, knowing I am secure in my eternal fate or in friendships and community when I experience change and transition. The Christian life isn’t a perfect one but it is a content one, which was the most important thing I’ve learned in my year of seeking God. As I understood that my identity is not in my ability to play basketball or in my ability to make people like me, but it’s found in the acceptance of Jesus Christ.

Sydney, Australia, February 2009

Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment,

1 Timothy 6:6

What about you? Are you seeking God, willing to trust he’ll find you?

Are you seeking? Searching, pursuing, thinking, mediating, or striving after God in order to be found? As we seek God in faith, we trust that he answers us in the best way possible. Trusting God knows us better than we know ourselves, which includes the answers and outcomes of our prayers. We can be uncertain of how God will answer, but certain that he does answer. There is not an if he will answer but a HOW he will answer, which is the beauty of faith. When we trust in the character of God and rely on the previous testimonies of how he met us before (or others we know, or people in the Bible), we are more willing and continually able to seek him again and again.

Come to Jesus, in the current mess you are in, because your search after his presence is not in vain rather it’s a miracle in waiting.

The Blazed trail

And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.

Psalm 9:10

Motivate Yourself to Move

You don’t have to love you body or hate your body to motivate yourself to move. You just have to start.

Consistently move

It’s in the perseverance of your consistency that you’ll begin to see the benefits of your workout. The imperfections that used to torment you will subside because you’ve gained more energy, more confidence, and more joy about what you can do with the body you have! Just start.

Don’t let set backs defeat your progress

There are set back seasons, of course, like sickness, injury or career change for example. This is simply life. Where routine gets changed and certain circumstances are just out of your control. However, there always comes a time where you can re-start again. Those time are the hardest for me. Sometimes I am so frustrated with how far behind I am in comparison to where I once was in my fitness. Comparison with others or “your old self” will always defeat you. Instead, I choose to let it motivate me – again and again. Yes, Emily, you’ve been here before and you can do it again!

Zero KM to 10 KM

I ran my first 10km when my daughter was 9 months old. When I started my training, I could barely run without feeling my stomach jump along with me. I thought my stomach was training for it’s own 10km rather than my legs! But, I chose to see the end goal. 10Km in 9 months, which means one step at a time. I slowly worked my way up until I ran a successful 10km under 60min. Now, where I am TODAY, I can barely run a consistent 5KM without my knees buckling. So, again, I face a choice. Will I let where I am defeat me or motivate me?

Move to motivation

I choose to let it motivate me.

Having goals is great as long as you understand that perfection is impossible. Instead, let’s celebrate the progress along the way! Allow where you’re at in comparison to where you’ve been motivate you to move not defeat you.

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.

3 John 1:2

Strong Wind

As I write this, in my (rare) quiet time, there’s a strong wind outside my window. You know when the wind is SO strong you can hear its movements? The whirring, whooshing, thundering sounds of a strong wind. Very powerful to hear. The strength of the weather. It makes me in awe of it’s power and so insignificant in comparison. At any moment, the strength of a strong wind can whip you around – destroying you – or even cities for that matter. Luckily, in our city, it only destroys loose garbage and maybe tips over your plant pots. However, in other parts of the world the wind is to be feared. Rightly so, it’s powerful.

God is in Control

Thinking more about the demolishing power of the weather and it’s capacity to over rule me… I think of bible stories. Here are three examples:


– In the book of Genesis, God tells Noah to build a massive ark because He is sending a flood, by rain, to destroy the land.
– During the book of Joshua, to win a battle, God destroys the walls of Jericho (a city) by shaking it to the ground.
– We read in the Gospels of a storm that rocks the boat so hard that the disciples are scared for their life.

However, in each of these examples, the person who is in control is God. He’s speaking to Noah – directing him how to overcome the flood by building an ark. God commands Joshua to lead his army by simply walking around the walls of Jericho seven times. Jesus is awakened by the fearful disciples of the storm and tells the storm to stop. By reading and remembering these stories of the Bible I am reminded that God is more powerful than any storm.

God is All Powerful

As I continue to listen to the whirring, whooshing and thundering sounds of the wind I am reminded of a characteristic of God – powerful. Makes me fearful yet comforted. Wow, He is more powerful than the strong winds, yet more comforting than a warm blanket. To be fearful of the Lord is to be in awe of His power, yet in trusted to His comfort.

God is Comfort

I can enjoy the crazy sounds of the weather because the feeling of a warm blanket and the heat of the fireplace keeps me comforted. God is like that. He is our comfort. In the chaos of the wind in your life, which moves in all directions, not sure where it will land or even stop, God is there. There’s no going outside and fighting off a strong wind. Imagine that hilarity. Punching, kicking, and pushing the wind? Imagine your neighbours peeking through their blinds. Only to see you looking like you’ve picked a fight with yourself, which you’re definitely losing. So it is with our faith.

We get mad at God and His power because we know he can stop the crazy rushing winds of our life. So instead of sitting and finding his comfort within the “storm” we fight it, we fight Him. There’s no fighting, resisting or threatening God. It’s just you fighting you – pointless and left more exhausted.

God is in Control

So in fear of the strong winds of life, I choose to draw closer to God. This means I simply admit my sin, my weakness, my inability to change the winds and ask Him for help to comfort me. Help me believe you are the warm blanket and the fireplace that keeps me safe inside. Because His comfort is just as powerful as His control over the strong winds. His powerful comfort maybe doesn’t stop the strong winds in our life but it sure calms the winds in our hearts.

Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father God,
I pray for a strong wind of your Spirit to move within my heart. May it be as powerful as the winds I hear outside. Help me believe that being closer to you is more powerful than any strong wind in my life. Amen.

Encouragement

Is there a strong wind in your life that whirls you to crazy land? Well… for me, there’s been many. But I have learned that the more I fight it the more I am left defeated (whipped around by anxiety and fear). I need to continually, daily, submit my needs, control, and heart to the Lord. Asking for the wind of His Spirit to be stronger than the wind of my feelings, thoughts and impatience. Lord be the strong wind I need to move forward for today. Amen.

God’s Power over My Plans

God’s power over my plans – if only I really knew what had God planned for me… Then I wouldn’t have to come up with so many “ideas” for Him! Haha…

This verse humbled and reminded me to refocus my mind’s attention to the power of God over the stress of my own plans.

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit.

1 Corinthians 2:9-10

There is greater power in God’s Plans than our own…

Mission Central’s Virtual SERVE Conference will showcase missional interviews during the broadcasts, which I am MC’ing. So, I got a sneak peek at a few of them already. It was very uplifting to hear the ways God is moving through people during this pandemic. Also, to hear their own stories and passion for God in their own lives and the lives around them. I watched three videos and all three spent time talking about the importance of loving their neighbours and making time to foster community. Especially around studying the Word and sharing the Gospel. Even with the pandemic, they were able to start new ministries, lead people to Christ and love on their community.

It’s less about us and more about God

In the beginning of 1 Corinthians, Paul talks about the importance of the Spirit of God in Him and less about his own words or human wisdom. But simply, God and His Spirit. So that our faith may not rest on man’s wisdom, but on the power of God (1 Cor 2:5).

God’s Power has greater plans

God will move in unexpected ways. Yet, still bring extraordinary opportunities to witness and share His love. While watching these mission interviews, my faith grew. God had moved in these people’s lives because they were simply seeking Him. Less worried about the future of the pandemic and more concerned with the present sate of their faith. Allowing room in their heart to be led by God in whichever direction he chose.

“no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor heart of man imagined…”

If we truly believe this verse, then we are praying with faith that God will answer. Not in our own expectations of how we think he should answer – but in ways that “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor heart of man imagined…” All because he loves us and has the best for us. This means He might (most likely will) move in unexpected ways we didn’t plan for.

The Known Path of Jesus

You Will Not Abandon My Soul

A Psalm of David.

You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 16:11

The KNOWN Path

Despite our physical and earthly unknowns – God makes His path of life KNOWN. What is this path that David is talking about? It’s the path of following Jesus. In Matthew 7:14, Jesus says its not an easy path rather it’s narrow and hard and few will find it. But it leads to eternal life. The easy way is a wide path which seeks the approval of man rather than God. So to have confidence in this KNOWN path of God – we must follow Jesus with our lives. Regardless if its hard, because it will be. Thinking of a narrow path there is only one direction I can walk, straight. In a wider path there is so much room to roam I may actually start walking sideways or backwards, losing my sense of direction completely. I choose to follow the narrow path, where it keeps me directly inline with Jesus, the original trail blazer.

Fullness of Joy

This brings me to the second part of the verse, where David says, “in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” So, not only is the path guarantee life for us, although hard, there is still a fullness of joy. Where is this joy found? In His presence! Where is His presence? It’s in us who believe in Him! I can receive the joy of Christ where ever I am or whatever I am doing because His spirit lives in me. By believing and accepting Jesus as my Savior I no longer fear which path to take. Instead I make a commitment to the KNOWN path that promises a fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore. This brings me great peace because its not by my own strength that I must follow. It’s the Lord’s strength that goes before me and guides my steps. I have joy in knowing His presence is always with me.

I am Encouraged by the Known Path of Jesus

My husband and I have no idea where we will live or work come next year. We are facing so many unknowns about our own lives currently that this verse brings me great comfort. To know that my joy is not found in a location or in a job but its found in Jesus. His presence with me anywhere I am. Praise God for the narrow path, although hard to see (physically) where it leads, (spiritually/mentally) I know its good for me.

God’s Plans

I have been reading Genesis and what amazes me is how God prevails His plans. Even when evil arises and people are disobedient – God’s plans still prevail. It makes me think of my own life in how I tend to fear the “what ifs” of my own plans. Instead I need to think of “what is”, which is God already going before me and working out His plans for my good. So my life’s “story” becomes a life’s testimony of who God is! He redeems, restores, saves, loves and is merciful.

Faith in God’s plans never fails because He has what’s best for us.

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

Deuteronomy 31:8

Game plan with scripture – learn the promises of God.

  1. God gives me strength when I am weak – 2 Corinthians 12:9
  2. Prayer relieves my unbelief – Mark 9:23-25
  3. Every opportunity teaches me to persevere and draw near to God – Romans 5:3-5
  4. God works out everything for good – Romans 8:28
  5. I trust in God, He gives me the desires of my heart – Psalm 37:4

God’s plans will always be better than whatever we can dream of.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:11-13

Pray

Thank you God for wanting and knowing what is best for me. I pray for belief to take over my unbelief. May you guide me to learn to seek you with all of my heart. I pray for faith to increase over my fear. Thank you for the plans I have yet to see and thank you that it has already worked out for my best! Amen.

Happy Father’s Day!

To my husband, you’re one amazing father/man and I’m glad in life its not “I”, but it’s “we”. Happy Father’s Day!

To my father and all the other dads out there! Especially when we couldn’t believe in ourselves, you were there to believe in us, for us!

Rock Climbing
Harnessed in, fitted boots, up on a wall,
The goal of this venture is not to fall,
Cannot feel my toes. The shoes are too tight,
This is one area I just can’t fight…
Its supposed to hurt – they will gladly say,
Not the words I wanted to hear today…
Trying to mimic a pretzel like fold,
My legs and arms shaking on the first hold!
Why is this fun, is it enjoyable?
I will quit! but that’s unavoidable…
So I will try again to reach the top,
Only to tremble in thought of the drop,
Argh! I must prove I can achieve my best!
Which means putting my doubt aside to rest…
Forgetting the pain, and height and the drop,
I forge forward knowing one day it’ll stop,
Oh I’m close! I can taste it in the air!
Thank-you, you thank, my belayer down there,
You gave me guidance and strength to do it,
Scared, yet you assured me I could do it!

Unexpected

Some time ago (before the virus)

It was middle of the week and I’m strolling my daughter, Lyla, to the grocery store, which was part of our weekly routine. At the time all I was thinking about was what to make for dinner and it was only 9am.

A typical day for a mom.

After checking out with my groceries, the Starbucks inside the store caught my attention. It was one of those, I deserve an obnoxiously-priced-latte, type moments and I caved. As I was waiting for my latte I noticed an employee from the store crying at one of the tables nearby. Drawn with compassion, I knew I wanted to pray for her.

My squawking toddler and the tearful woman locked eyes and both exchanged a smile. Okay, I thought, this was my moment and I approached her and asked, “are you okay?” She sighed, “no”, and explained to me that her dog had to be put down that day and she couldn’t be there. It was happening in Maple Ridge and we live in Victoria. This struck me because I am originally from Maple Ridge so I made that to be a weird connection or coincidence. Regardless, my compassion for her grew.

Coincidence?

After she told me about her dog, I asked if I could pray for her, she replied, “yes”. I prayed that God would bring her comfort and peace in this hard time and thanked Him for what a great companion her dog was to her. After I prayed, I asked about her dog’s name.

She said, “my dog’s name is Lyla”.

“Wait... what? that’s my daughter’s name,” I replied.

Both Lyla the dog and Lyla my daughter shared the exact same name – spelling too! Crazy! Talk about coincidence? No, this was God at work.

Maybe if the names didn’t match or her dog wasn’t in Maple Ridge I would have left thinking it was all me that encouraged her. But the fact that the names matched confirmed that it had to be all God – purposefully planned to show her His love.

Unexpected love

God is always on the move to love. Having a relationship with God means we get to experience His love for others as well. It was such a joy and rush of excitement to feel God’s love for this woman whom I did not know. I felt encouraged that even in unexpected places God can be expected to show up.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

1 John 4:7-16