Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Safe Living Challenge

"Jesus called His followers to be a lot of things, but I have yet to find where He warned us to be safe. We are not called to be safe, we are simply promised that when we are in danger, God is right there with us. And there is no better place to be than in His arms."

These words I read Monday afternoon. I have not been able to stop thinking about them. What beautiful, true, but challenging words these are. I am going to be totally honest, I live safe. Very safe. I think God has used these words this week to stretch me and challenge me. I have been reminded multiple times in the last two days that Jesus is a sweet, sweet name. I have been reminded that He is my defender, my Savior, and my healer and that there is no better place to be than in His arms.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Evil Cat

This is a good "Emily" story....

First off, I am not a cat person. They freak me out.

There has been this cat wondering around our house lately. On Tuesday night, my mom had some people over from her Bible study group. The cat was out, and literally stalking the "party." It would try to come in every time someone came to the door.

So, tonight I got home from the gym and started to pack for New York (we are leaving tomorrow to see my brother...yay!). I remember that I still have some clothes in my car that I have not unpacked. So, I grab my keys and head to my car. I get the clothes from my trunk, and start to head back inside.

Dun....Dun....Dun.... The evil cat comes out from behind the tree and starts hissing at me. What?! I started freaking out. I start to try to swing the bag of clothes around to scare it. Every time I walk and try to run in the garage, it blocks me. I know you are thinking, it is just a cat, it can't do anything to you...but it is seriously evil. I open my car door and get in. I start flashing my lights on and off to see if that would scare it. Nope. It is still there....and of course I forgot my phone, so I can't call my dad to come out and scare it off. I sit in my car for about 5 minutes. It is still there.

So, I go for a ride. About 10 minutes later I come back. The evil cat is sitting behind the tree by our garage. I start honking my horn to get my dad's attention. Finally, my dad walks down the stairs, opens the door and asks what the heck I am doing? I roll down my window and start screaming, "The cat! It is stalking me! Get it!! It is hissing! Oh my gosh! It is hissing!" My dad gets the broom and it finally runs off. I sprint in the house. Whew!

My dad came in and just started cracking up! I tried to explain to him that I was not crazy. This cat is evil. I am convinced.

Next time I see that evil creature, it is going down. Watch out evil cat.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Randoms

Ok, so this post is going to be quite random. I haven't posted in awhile, so there is a lot to catch up on.

My life is quite comical (so I am told). Weird things tend to happen to me. I am going to update you on some things that have happened thus far in my freshman year of college....Here we go!

I like to hear stories of random people who I have never seen before, look them up on Facebook, and if they are blocked of course I am going to add them as my friend. Ultimate stalker? Maybe so. But, I do not care.
Recently, I have done this two or three times. All have accepted me as friends. It seems like two or three days later, after becoming FBO friends, I see them on campus. Awesome. They think I am a total creeper. I now see these people EVERYWHERE. I am not kidding. I wish I was. I try not to make eye contact, but of course, both are pretty attractive guys.
I think I should make a new rule for myself: DO NOT ASK ANYONE TO BE YOUR FRIEND ON FB. LET THEM ASK YOU.

Next, I like to sing in the car. No one can hear me. It's great. The bad thing is people can see me. Last week, I was driving in the car listening to Carrie Underwood. I was jamming at a stoplight. But, I thought it was ok, because no cars were around me, only in front of me. Well, I forgot about the rear view mirror. This old lady was apparently starring at me singing my heart out through her rear view. When the light changed I switched lanes beside her. At the next light, she looked over at me, and I looked at her. She started reenacting my singing and dancing. How rude?! How embarrassing?! AND, how funny?! I got a kick out of it.

My last story.. I was walking on campus today and over heard the funniest conversation ever.
Girl: I know that is so cool.
Guy: You should really come with me.
Girl: I mean have you seen how awesome it looks. You have gotta see pictures.
Guy: You don't have to dress up. You can just wear something you already have. No biggie.
Girl: Ahhhhhhhh. I want one.

What the heck? It made no sense what-so-ever. It made me chuckle. Oh people....

Thursday, November 3, 2011

College Updates

I have not posted anything in a while. So, I thought I would update you on my life.... 

It is November. I can't believe it is November. This semester has gone by so fast! I don't even remember most of October. I went home the first week in October and I don't even remember why. AHH! That is how crazy my life has been. The second weekend, my friend, Tori came down to Cleveland to stay with me. We had a great weekend. We went to Chattanooga on Saturday. I loved getting to catch up with her! She is truly a wonderful friend. 
The next weekend was Fall Break. It was awesome! I got to be at home for FOUR days!! Wow, I really miss home. I love sleeping in my own bed, taking showers in my shower and just spending time with family and friends. I think I went to Bob Evan's at least five times! Oh, how I miss good, ole Bob's!! 

I also was able to reunite with my dear friend, Jenny Kate. I have missed talking with her and hanging out. I love how we can not see each other for months, but immediately when we is like old times. I just love her!! 

Overall, fall break was a success. 

My dad came in town and took me out to dinner the Thursday after Fall Break. It was a lot of fun. I really love his company! 

Last weekend, I was here. I had some homework to catch up on and some errands to run. I loved being here and hanging out with my soccer friends. 

This weekend I am going to Birmingham. Me and my mom are going to David Platt's secret church. I am SO excited!! I am also excited to see the BRUCE FAMILY! This is going to be a great weekend. 

Thanksgiving will be here in 3 weeks! AHHHH!!! Can't wait. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

God walking before me.

Wow! God works in crazy ways. This week at school, it is missions week. To be completely honest, I wasn't that excited about it. I mean, I like missions, I have a heart for missions, but for a college student, it is honestly just another week. When, I found out that our focus was on Haiti, I got a little more excited, but still just another week. Well, God has really been speaking to me this week about a lot of different things.

Monday afternoon I watched the video, "Fruitcake and Ice cream." Oh my goodness! It was truly a beautiful and precious story. It reminded me to never, ever give up on someone. God has placed me where I am for a reason. I am to live courageously for Him, never loosing focus of my goal-bringing people to Him. "Fruitcake" in the story did not give up on Ashley (if you have not seen this-GO look it up...NOW!). Ahhh, I love it! I sat in my chair, sobbing. Tears of joy and tears of sadness (go watch it and find out why!). God can use anyone!

Tuesday, was chapel. Again, like I said earlier the focus was on Haiti. They showed a video, which of course made me cry and want to go back immediately. I started to think about my trip. I am SO thankful for that opportunity. God revealed things to me that week in Haiti that have become more real to me over the past year. God's glory was shown to me in a way I have never experienced before. Haiti now has a part of my heart. After leaving chapel Tuesday, all I could think about were my Haitian friends. Oh, how I love them! When I see pictures, my heart literally feels like it is coming out of my chest! I smile and most of the time cry. I love these beautiful people so much.

Wednesday, I was reminded how awesome the church is. I have been going to First Baptist Cleveland's youth group on Wednesday nights to hang out, and eventually get to know some of the students. It has honestly been a blessing to me to see students worship the Lord. God is going to use that generation to do BIG things for the Kingdom! I just know it...

Today, Thursday, God whispered into my ear at chapel. He said, "Emily, I am walking before you. No worries, dear. No worries." All throughout this week, I have been struggling with questions and thoughts like these: "I want to give my life totally and completely to the Lord. How the heck do I do that?" "What does a life fully abandoned to Jesus Christ even look like?" "What am I doing with my life?" "What am I going to major in?" "Is God even listening to my prayers? I NEED to know what to do?"

As you can well see, I am obviously not trusting in the almighty King of Kings, who holds everything in His hands, who has good planned for my life, who cares about me and you more than anything, who can handle big and nasty stuff. Yep, that's me, ye of little faith.

Jesus, my Lord and Savior is walking in front of me. He is holding me. This is a stressful time in my life, but I am slowly learning to let God direct my life-not me. I have learned when I direct my life, it turns out to be a big mess full of worry and more stress! Not good!

God is teaching me a lot right now, and I am excited to see what He has in store. I pray and hope to write back in a few weeks or months and let you know how awesome God is and what He is doing in my life.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Life is Hard

Being away from home is hard. I miss my mom and dad a lot. I actually miss my brother and dog too! College is hard. There are tons of papers, assignments, and work to be done. Switching churches is hard. Fitting in is hard. Making friends is hard. I have found out that I am not very good at making new friends at all. I guess all this to say, that I have found life to be pretty hard sometimes. I know God will take care of me, provide for me, guide me, and just hold my hands and wipe my tears. I am thankful I have a relationship with Christ. I am thankful that I can call and talk to Him anytime!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Bruce Family

I am one of the luckiest girls out there. Not many people (youth age) are able to say that they had ONE student pastor their whole middle and high school career. But, I am. I can say that I had ONE, outstanding student pastor, Kenneth Bruce. And, along with the greatest student pastor, I had the greatest girls ministry leader/ student ministries assistants, Kristy Bruce. I am blessed. Blessed beyond measure. I don't even know where to begin or what to say, because honestly there is NO way I can say all I want to say in this one blog post, but I am going to try.

My first memory of Kenneth was when I was in the 6th grade. It was a Sunday morning. All of the middle schoolers gathered together in the middle school room for announcements. Tim Morrison, the high school student pastor at the time, introduced Kenneth to us. I don't remember if it was his first Sunday as a middle school pastor or if he was still interning at the time. He had a donut in his hand, while introducing himself to us. 

Sadly, I don't remember the first time I met Kristy. But, I will say that from the get go, I loved her. She was this awesome, pretty, caring, organized, humble, woman who I wanted to be just like. I loved her competitiveness and hard core attitude toward board games and other things. She was such a hard worker. 

Another reason why I am the luckiest girl ever is because I was able to be Kenneth and Kristy's intern for TWO years! TWO awesome years! Literally some of my favorite memories in my life are with Kenneth and Kristy. I couldn't ask for anything better than spending 5 out of 7 (technically 6 if you count Sunday at church) with Kenneth and Kristy. The day I was asked to intern for them, I started planning out my high school schedule to make sure it would work out with my classes. I immediately went to my academic counselor at school to see if I was able to do it. And, obviously, I was able to do it. Thank the LORD! And, when I was able to do it again my senior year, I WAS ESTHETIC! I couldn't wait! 

I learned so much in those two years. Kenneth and Kristy pushed me and challenged me daily. Kristy set the standard HIGH. She was and still is a GREAT example and role model in my life. She exemplified what true authentic beauty is. She strives to become more like Christ. She is an UNBELIEVABLE wife and mother. Kenneth also set the standard HIGH. He is a phenomenal, godly man who puts Christ first in EVERYTHING he does. He is obedient to God in all he does. He talks to everyone he sees and shows the love of Jesus in all things. 

HELLO?? Can't see now why they are so awesome! 

Not only are they awesome, their FOUR boys are awesome too! I love Noah. Noah never stops talking and smiling! He looks just like Kenneth. He is precious and so smart. I can't wait to see what he does with his life. Hearing him sings songs to Jesus is probably one of the most amazing things I have ever heard in my life. He gets so excited when he sees you and does this little "skip, run" thing. Seriously, it is the cutest thing ever! 

Last summer, Kenneth and Kristy brought home Aiden and Asa from Eithiopia. Another amazing opportunity for me. Being able to be with them as they were going through the adoption process was eye opening. Seeing them now, raise these two beautiful boys and loving them unconditionally is truly lovely, wonderful, amazing thing. 

Aiden has the kindest heart. He is such a stud too! :) He has learned so much. He has come a LONG way since the first time I met him. His smile is contagious. His warm heart is beautiful. He has such a sweet voice. I love asking him if he loves me and if I am still his girlfriend. His response is always, "Yes, of course...shhhhh!!!" Makes my day! Love his little, warm, sweet, kind, gentle heart! 

Then there is Asa! I love Asa. I love Asa with ALL my heart! I would do anything for Asa. Asa is the cutest kid I have ever seen. I am obsessed with his smile and his forehead. He seriously has the cutest forehead I have ever seen. Seriously! I know Kenneth and Kristy have a hard time with Asa. I am praying that Asa will grow and mature. I am praying that Asa will be obedient. I am so proud of him and the progress he is making! Keep it up buddy! I love you!

Nathan Bruce. The most perfect baby ever. Really. Nathan is beautiful. He is perfect. He is so happy and always smiling. He never cries. He is truly a wonderful, precious, priceless gift from God. He also looks just like Kenneth. I love his personality. I can't wait to see him start walking, talking, and becoming a little boy!! 

Why am I writing all of this about the Bruce family. It is for one, because I love them. And two, it is because I am excited for what God has in store for them. This morning, they announced that God had called them to a church in Alabama. Westwood Baptist Church better watch out! They have no idea how awesome the Bruce family is!! Westwood is blessed. 

This is all bittersweet. God has amazing things planned for this family. He does. I know He does. I just can't imagine my life without them. Going away to Lee University was super hard. One, because I would be leaving my family and comforts of my home. Two, I would be leaving the Bruce family (who I consider my family). I would not be seeing them everyday and not be babysitting my boys. I really had a hard time thinking about not seeing them all the time. I do view them as my family and I do miss them dearly. 

I think many other people, including Kenneth and Kristy are feeling this way today. But, we all have to rest in the arms of Jesus. We have to trust Him. He knows what He is doing. He is holding Kenneth and Kristy and the boys, and all of "us" who will miss them dearly in the palm of His hand. He will guide, lead and protect us all. He has a purpose and Kenneth and Kristy are obeying His plan....which is so awsome....I LOVE their reckless abandonment and radical obedience to the LORD! I get chill bumps every time I think about it!

God is BIG and God is SOVEREIGN!!!!! He has wonderful things in store for them and I can't wait to hear all about it!

As for Kenneth and Kristy and the boys-if you ever run across this blog post, I want to you know that I love you all SOOOOOOOO much. I am so sad that I missed church today. All I want to do is give you ALL BIG hugs (I even hate hugs, but right now that is seriously all I want to do)!! It is killing me that I am not there. I am praying for you now, and I will continue to pray for you next week, next month, next year, and in 10 years. You all are near and dear to my heart. I love you all like family. Kristy-thanks for being my role model. Kenneth-thanks for being my student pastor all the way through! Thank you for leading and being such a godly example in my life. Thank you BOTH for trusting me with your kids. I love them like crazy! I am so thankful for you.
 Love you,

Kenneth and Kristy at the student ministries Hollywood Christmas Party!
Noah and Aiden on the swings.

Asa :) This was the first time I met Asa.

THE BRUCE BOYS! (minus Nathan) 

Mom and Aiden.

My favorite BOYS ever! I love them all. They are precious.  
 Kenneth and Kristy came to my graduation! So special! LOVE them!

Me and MY ASA :) 

The boys had so much fun at the pool! They LOVED jumping off the side of the pool! 

The boys loved Jordan! Jordan loved them too! 

Friday, September 16, 2011

When I am Old and Gray

I am only posting this to remind me when I am old and gray or just lonely or upset or hurt or mad or anything THE LORD is near to me and will not let go of me. HE WILL NOT LET GO OF ME if I hold onto Him. It is true. It is in His Word. His Word is true. ALL of it, is TRUE.

So, Emily (yes, I am talking to myself.....I am weird!!!!) REMEMBER when I am lonely upset, old and gray, or WHATEVER.....don't let go of King Jesus. He always has your back. Always.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Holding onto Jesus for dear life!

College is harder than I thought. Being away from home is harder than I thought. I don't think I have ever studied as long as I did tonight for a test and I still don't feel 100% prepared. I have never read as much as I have in the past week. Holy cow! TONS, and TONS of reading! My brain is fried. I am tired. I like to go to bed early. EXTREMELY early. Not late. Midnight is late for me. REALLY late for me. When I don't get enough sleep (which is happening right now!), I tend to be on the grumpy side. I have literally had to be in constant prayer lately. I don't want to be grumpy. I don't even like being grumpy. I have really had to ask the Lord for an extra measure of His strength, grace, mercy, rest, and peace this past week. I miss my mom and dad (even my brother and dog too!). I miss my friends and mentors. I miss the smell of my house, Bob Evans oatmeal, McDonald's diet cokes, LAC, and my couch. It's the little things in life...

The first few weeks away from home were great. I felt so many doors opening up. Now, not so much. I have (somehow....I must be slacking with my planner!) missed deadlines for ministries and clubs that I was interested in. My class schedule interferes with certain things, and doors have, honestly, just been closing. This is tough. This is when I want my couch, some potato chips, and The Notebook. I KNOW God has me here for a reason, I know that. I KNOW God will take care of me, protect me, guide me, lead me, and hold onto me. I am holding onto Him (pretty darn tight, I might add!). Being in a city four hours away from home, with not many friends is hard. SUPER DUPER hard. All I do have, is my Jesus. Yes, I have my parents, mentors, and friends. But, most of these people I can only communicate with through phone/computer. Yes, I do have Panera, Wal-Mart, and Logans. But, these things, only fulfill me for maybe a few hours.

Jesus Christ, though, WILL fulfill me. Completely fulfill me. I don't fully understand His plan for my life right now, but He never asked me to understand it. He simply asks me to trust Him. That's it. Trust in HIM alone. So, right now, that is truly all I can do. He is the One who will give me extra peace and strength. He is the One who will help me to recall all I have read and studied. He will be the One right next to me when I am scared and lonely. This I KNOW.

I feel like I am throwing a "pity" party and vent session here. I don't mean to. Honestly. I truly love Lee University and am SO glad I am here. I could not see myself anywhere else. The people are great, I have found a church that I love, and I actually love my classes.

What I do want to do is brag on King Jesus. No matter how hard life gets, how lonely you feel, and how stressed out you are, Jesus will never leave you. Never. Don't ever let go of Him in the dark, lonely, stressed out times of this crazy life. Hold onto Him for dear life! He promises (and His promises are SURE!) not to let go.

"I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." Psalm 18:2

" love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to obey His commands, to hold fast to Him and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul." Joshua 22:5b

Friday, August 26, 2011

Open Doors

Choosing a college is a pretty important decision. I made a list of what I wanted in a school, visited school, after school, and fell in love with Lee University. I knew that was where I was supposed to be. And, now that classes have started, I know for sure that Lee was indeed where I am supposed to be. I have prayed for opportunities to open up while at Lee. I am not the best at making new friends, but I knew God would take care of that fear for me if I was willing to hand it over to him. 

God has opened up so many doors in just a week! God is sovereign. I served the middle school girls at my church in Lexington for three years and LOVED every second of it! For some reason, I have a passion to serve, love, encourage, and just hang out with girls that are younger than me (middle school age). 

Last night I was going through my emails and found one that I had missed the other day. It was from a ministry in Cleveland, TN. This ministry is called Life 423. It is a middle school girls ministry that meets weekly in Cleveland middle schools. Open door? I think so! 

I have emailed and signed up to volunteer. I can't wait to start hanging out and encouraging these girls. I pray God will use this ministry to further His Kingdom! 

YAY GOD! So glad I serve a God who holds me in the palm of His hand. I am slowly learning to hold on to Jesus, obey and follow Him and He will bless you.