Finding HOPE - Emily
Emily thought a trip to a big box store would help reorient her to American life after a mission trip to Cuba. She found herself frozen in the paper aisle. How/Why could she choose the dozens of types and sizes of toilet paper when she just left a place that rationed out toilet supplies by the sheet? Her analysis was clear. Too many Americans are flippant about the benefits of our country. Our first world problems are unimaginable in countries struggling for food, water, limited resources and personal freedom.
In terms of faith and her understanding of Jesus' great command, Emily envied those with limited resources. The practice of their faith was so constant, clear and ever present. The simplicity of life allowed them to live the command to love God and their neighbor daily. There was no other choice. Without faith, hope, love, family and a concerted group effort, survival was not possible.
Emily reflected on her own faith journey. She described her development as inconsistent and questioning in her formative, high school years but solidified as a young adult. Her brother and sister in law inspired her to give Hope Church a try, and she immediately felt the comfort of home. Pastor Jeff married her, and when their first child, Isabel needed to begin her spiritual education, Hope's strength with children made it an obvious match.
Emily wasn't one of those members who asked what the church could do for them. She became involved. Slowly at first with a swift climb through the church choir, musical plays, a developing MOPS group and a member of the praise band. She's a bit uncomfortable when folks praise her musical talent. She acknowledges that all her physical and musical gifts came from God at birth, and she is blessed to have found a way to use her gifts for good.
Emily views the band as her "small group." These folks share life together, care about each other and make each other feel comforted and growing in the faith. What touches her heart the most is "the moment." A teacher would describe it as the teachable moment when the "student's light bulb turns on." As a worship artist, Emily describes it as just knowing when a song has moved someone and brought them closer to God. "You can feel it and see it in their eyes" and it makes all the practice, effort and time worthwhile.
Emily has the beauty, talent and stage presence to do music professionally. Although she may have considered this at one time, she has no concerns that her life took another path. That life would have been completely different from the one she's living now. Emily is very happy and fulfilled with her God honoring life. She lives a life with joy, not regrets.
One of the most important things a parent can do is demonstrate faith to children. Young ones need a seamless transition from a church experience, bible lessons and everyday life. Emily has done that. When her children were of age to participate in mission trips they followed the example of their mother by electing to help others rather than just amuse themselves during summer vacation. Someday they may have their own reflective moment in a big box store. Their mom has taught them how to center themselves by; loving God, having faith, appreciating what you have, using your gifts to serve others.
Fascinating people don't see their goodness in the mirror of life. Wherever life leads Emily from this point forward, she has an impressive resume of faith, service and parenthood. Her faith, family and church community are her "rocks": her balancing points of life. It doesn't surprise me that Emily senses "God moments" often. You reap what you sow. Approach life with humility and goodness; and your legacy will be productivity and growth.