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

Prayers for the Women I Know

Dear Heavenly Father, the most high God, the creator of the world and everything in it. You made, know and see the largest of creation – the mountains, the seas, and you know each animal that rest and live among them. You are vast, great and powerful and everywhere at one time. Yet, you delight for us to know you personally because you know us personally. You seek the 1 out of the 99, desiring a personal relationship with care, comfort, counsel and connection. I praise you for your mightiness and your gentleness. You can stop a storm and comfort a heart in one second. I come to you, oh mighty God, in prayer for the women I know and pray for them today.

For the Women I Know

I pray for the women I know that you would connect to them on a deeper more intimate level where there isn’t a doubt you aren’t in their midst. I present to you God these particular women in my life that long to know you more… seeking to find your peace. May you present to them your miraculous love and affection. Change the course of their life for the better. Help them to see you as alive and in pursuit of them. Make them know and feel your peace as it rests within their soul.

Specific Prayers for Women in Need…

God, I present these women to you in need of your divine power, grace and love. I pray that you would mark in them a stamp of your care today and forevermore.

I pray for the women that doubt you in disbelief, I pray that you would break down those strongholds of lies, deception and power of the enemy and open their eyes to see you.

I pray for the hurting women, Lord, comfort their heart in care, help them to see your working love in their midst.

I pray for the women in stress, God, in decision making mode and chaos – protect and guard their minds from negative self-talk and guilt, free them from the pressure to perform or to be perfect and offer up your grace. May your grace be enough for them today, so they can walk in contentment.

God, I pray for the women that are sad, please grieve alongside them – help them to see that their pain is your pain too and you are more than available to hear their cries. Rescue their souls from darkness and remove the lie that says, “I am alone”, as they never are when they have you.

God, I pray for the inspired women with big dreams, give them direction, hope and reassurance of their next steps. Offer up your confirmation of what to do next. Build up their faith to wait upon instruction.

Finally, Lord, in Prayer I Ask

Finally, Lord, give us all patience to parent, energy to use and joy to sustain us. Thank you for the women who seek your face and long to know you more. Present yourself to these women and offer up your holy power to renew, refresh and refrain their minds to know you more. Amen.

Psalm 93 – The Lord Reigns

The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty;
the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt.
Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.
Your throne is established from of old;
you are from everlasting.
The floods have lifted up, O Lord,
the floods have lifted up their voice;
the floods lift up their roaring.
Mightier than the thunders of many waters,
mightier than the waves of the sea,
the Lord on high is mighty!
Your decrees are very trustworthy;
holiness befits your house,
O Lord, forevermore.

PSALM 93 ESV

Come to Jesus with Your Baggage

Jesus Visits Martha & Mary’s House

Come to Jesus with your baggage, like Martha.

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:38-42

Martha’s Baggage

Jesus loves you. Sometimes I don’t think we can fathom how much He really does. Jesus loves me even with all my baggage… even the over-weight-need-to-pay-the-extra-25-bucks-for-it-baggage… he wants it all.

In the Bible we learn that Jesus loved His friends Martha and Mary (John 11:5). In Luke 10, Martha’s anxiety was her baggage, stressing about the order of her house and annoyed at Mary who just sat there with Jesus. What struck me was how Martha goes directly to Jesus with her concern and trouble – not to Mary. She recognizes the authority in the room and goes straight to the source.

She went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”

Luke 10:40

Confront Jesus with your Baggage

I just love how Martha is not scared to confront Jesus with her baggage of anxiety and stress. She is her authentic self as she approaches Jesus not withholding how she really feels. By Jesus simply responding to Martha says how he cares and loves her.

As believers in Christ, today, Jesus by His Holy Spirit is in our midst – in our hearts. Always in close proximity to us. We get this beautiful relationship wherever we are, in whatever situation we are in. Jesus is near. He wants us to approach Him for our own benefit to receive His comfort. Not be prone by our own worry and anxiety.

Let go of your baggage at the feet of Jesus. He will correct your ways and comfort you with His love. Just like He did for Martha.

Jesus will correct you and He will comfort you

Jesus corrected Martha and he comforted her with a solution to be closer to him. “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but on thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42).

Jesus corrects and comforts us. No one can take those lessons or love away from you. Beautiful. Jesus loves you. He welcomes you as you are, with what you have, and in whatever stage/mess you are in.

Jesus loves YOU and wants you to draw near to Him.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

matthew 11:28

Commit to the Journey

Commit to the journey

September 2016.
Golden Ears Mountain. Maple Ridge, BC, Canada.

This photo was taken in September of 2016, newly married, and almost about to summit my first mountain with my husband. I have a huge smile on my face for many reasons. 1. conquering a mountain 2. overcoming my fear of heights and 3. sharing it with my husband. But right before this moment, there was an intense portion of the climb for me. It started to rain. A rope was dangling ready for us to use to tackle a steep section of wet rock. Trembling in doubt and then fear, I told my husband, “I don’t think I can do this.” My husband’s response, in his calm, cool, and collected manner was, “you don’t have to”.

Committing is a Choice

I am reminded of that moment because being on the trail is a choice. It is a choice to follow Jesus and to commit to changing your ways to knowing and becoming more like him. It is a choice because it is also a relationship.

Because of the relationship I have with my husband I trusted in my ability because he was there with me. I overcame my fear that day and finished the treacherous climb of Golden Ears Mountain.

One Path – Different Journey

There is only 1 path and its the same for all who commit their lives to Jesus. But two individuals on the same trail can have different experiences, perspectives, and strengths just like my husband and I that day. It was stormy for me, and not for him. A hard slog for me, and not for him. Comparing our journeys with other believer will keep us stuck, frozen and unable to move forward. Commit to your own journey with Christ and ask God to remove the temptation of comparison.

Prayer

I pray that you continue to step forward in your walk with God. Despite the fear you face and the lack of confidence you’ll have. I pray you will still persevere knowing Christ is with you.

Heavenly Father

Heavenly Father

I see God working in lives of sinners all through scripture. His kindness and mercy never seem to cease. God takes the time to direct and correct out of His love for us. This kind of love sent Jesus Christ to die as a sacrifice for our sin (John 3:16). Giving us a pathway directly to God like children we can come to Him as our Heavenly Father. A Father who says, “come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

As a Mother

As a mother, I have understood more about God as my Heavenly Father. I can understand why we are His adopted children and not just His to “use”. He wants to lead us, guide us and more importantly LOVE us by telling us we are HIS (Galatians 3:26). Not some robots he wants to control and manipulate in doing His will. As a mother I cannot control my child, I instruct, discipline and love her. God is teaching me to give my daughter the grace she needs, like He does for me. Just like a toddler who tantrums, I too can feel out-of-control in front of God. Yet, in my affliction and tantrum the Lord wants me to come to Him. The Lord always wants us to come to Him as he is our Heavenly Father.

Come to your Heavenly Father

My daughter is three years old. I always try to help her throughout her troubles by stretching out my arms and saying, “come”. I never stop loving and caring for her. The best part is when my daughter does come, snotty and teary, she can trust to fall into my arms. Even when she knows she has done wrong, she needs her mom. I want to have that same love and admiration for my Heavenly Father. Where I am not ashamed to come to Him with my sin. I need Him, He knows that and with arms wide open He says, “come”. This is what God does for us as our Heavenly Father, except he is not flawed as a parent like I am. No, He is perfect, kind and merciful. The more I learn about the character of God the more I come to Him as His daughter.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!

1 John 3:1

Pray

Dear Heavenly Father,

I come to you in my sin, in my joy, in my troubles and ask you to create in me a clean heart (Psalm 51:10). So I can confess my sin and grow in likeness of you. Help me to come to you even when I’m ashamed to. Thank-you Lord that you see me and know me better than I know myself. Teach me to come to you even when I don’t want or understand to.

Amen.

Overwhelmed by God’s Grace

Moving provinces has its excitement and its tough transitions. It can be tough navigating a new routine in a new city whilst making new friends. That alone can be overwhelming. For me, the most challenging part was navigating it all alongside the needs of my newly turned 3 year old daughter. In midst of a big change I became overwhelmed in motherhood and I needed to be overwhelmed by God’s grace.

Overwhelmed in Motherhood

I started to focus more on the needs of my daughter and less on my own. The pressure of making sure she was OKAY definitely made me NOT okay. Repeating the phrase, “I am not okay” to my husband. Like any big move, it affects everyone involved and he too had his own set of transitions to work through.

Attending to the every need of my daughter left me exhausted to find time for myself. Mentally, spiritually and emotionally I needed a change – a shift, a refreshment – something! How? Through vulnerability and the grace of God.

Overwhelmed by God’s Grace

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:16

First, I attended a church event solo and had a pastor pray over me. As the pastor asked what I needed prayer for, I couldn’t get the words out, I just started to cry uncontrollably. All I managed to say was, “motherhood”. Clearly there had been feelings I hadn’t yet processed – overwhelming feelings. There I was, new to the church, vulnerably balling my eyes out, asking for prayer. Asking for help through her prayer to receive God’s grace.

Next, I got involved in a mom’s group at church. At the end of each session there is time of prayer. Again, tears rolling down (into my mask (“the tear catcher”, I called it) I opened up with my struggles and received prayer.

Slowly by slowly, I stayed open to God’s grace, making time to receive prayer. I continued to seek God through the love and support of fellow believers.

The Final Shift of Faith

Third example of staying vulnerable and open to God, I asked a friend over the phone to pray for me. Just like the church event, and the mom’s group, I could not speak without tears. I shared my stresses and I shared my struggles. She prayed over me. Over the phone, the Spirit of the Lord used her to bless me. Her prayer was authentic, heartfelt and filled with the presence of God as she began to tear up herself, talking about God’s grace and faithfulness. Something spiritually in me shifted. I kid you not – it was the final shift of faith I needed to focus my heart back unto the Lord.

Be open to receive God’s Grace

Jesus is the hope we look for in all circumstances – in every pain and in every praise there He remains. I encourage you to align yourselves with fellow Godly friends. People in your life you can go to in times of need or refreshment. It is truly life giving. We all have our moments, seasons and times where we cannot grasp the hope ourselves, we need a friend to grasp it for us.

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus

Philippians 2:4-5

Poem and a prayer

Lord, turn my pain into praise,
sorrow into smiles,
united to friends who care.

Fill us up, to pour us out,
To love like you love,
United in Christ Jesus.

Amen.

Preach and Reach the World

Sometimes, as Christians, we doubt our ability to preach and reach the world because we assume “we’re not enough” or “we don’t know enough”. Well, guess what, we’re right! HA – did you see that coming?? But praise be to God! “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13). We are not enough to preach and reach the world – not without the grace of God. His working Spirit in us. This is a beautiful thing to rely on because it takes the pressure off of what we can do and unto what HE DOES! Amen? He creates the change we want to see in the world. He gives growth to what we sow.

So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.

1 Corinthians 3:7

We are God’s Fellow Workers (1 Corinthians 3:9)

God delights in us (Psalm 18:19). He loves us enough to save us and enough to use us. We are commissioned by Jesus to witness and make disciples. We have a part. Our part is to take the spotlight off of us and onto Him when we share who He is and what He does in our lives. This is the start in making disciples – by talking about who we follow and why we follow.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Matthew 28:19-20

The only way people will see a real change in you is through the fruits of the Holy Spirit. This is how we preach and reach the world. We need to exercise what God has given us through the gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12). As well as, acting according to the wisdom we know from reading His Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17, Matthew 4:4, Joshua 1:8).

Allow the Grace of God to be enough

Remember you are not enough – but by the grace and power of God, HE IS! So, allow His grace to speak to you and through you. Every one of us has a story of how God came through in our lives at one point or another. These are simple ways we can preach and reach the world to hear about Jesus. By testimony.

Out of all the apostles in the Bible, Paul says he is of the LEAST of them, yet he writes about 1/3 of the New Testament. How?? By the grace of God.

For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.

1 Corinthians 15:9-11

You ARE enough because He, Christ in you, is.

Therefore, as you received
Christ Jesus the Lord,
so walk in him
Colossians 2:6

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.