New Blog Project & Interview with Emily

Hi friends, Debbie here. This year an idea was birthed of interviewing women in my wonderful church community and sharing it on my blog. One of the books I read this year talked of a godly woman who interviewed those around her she wanted to learn from and found as a positive influence in her life. She tucked these interviews away in a file and cherished the wisdom*

What a brilliant idea. Of course, I had to steal it. But in wanting to make in my own, I’ve decided to post them here on the blog so many more can gain from the wonderful wisdom shared in these pages.

So what to expect? All these women come from all different walks of life, they have impacted my life or someone close to me, are different ages and have different ministries… but they are all united in this: They are all amazing godly women and many are blessed by their lives.

I will try to share one interview per month, to get this thing going…

and where else should I start but with my friends?

(Who am I kidding, everyone is my friend. I love everyone you’ll read about in the coming months. Part of me just feels like I should name this blog series: “Meet my friends”.. Catchy? Yes? Eh, no. OK, I’ll go back to the drawing board… but for now, ‘til I come up with a better title… Meet Emily, everyone–)

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Emily is a joy to know and a deep well in her love for the Lord. I got to know her only early this year. Our new friendship taught me to take chances and be open to getting to know new people. Our first impressions or preconceptions of others may completely cloud how view we someone… you might have heard a story or something they said or did might have rubbed you the wrong way and you completely write the person off— I almost wrote Emily off and I was closed to new relationships, but God had a different plan. I’m really glad God didn’t let me get my way or I would’ve missed out on the best fun. I stepped out of my comfort zone and hoped the best in her and fast forward a few months after… and I’m a bridesmaid her wedding only a few short days away!

Whenever Emily and I are around each other, we are constantly laughing, teasing each other about how much we love our boyfriends (well fiance for her now) and how much we cry and love to sleep (the power nap is an art we’ve perfected) and how sassy and awkward we can get. We know each other from co-leading some of the high school girls at our youth group at church together, and we love our girls dearly and consider it a privilege to be a part of their lives. God has done so much in our lives through the youth ministry and through mentors living life alongside us that it is an honor to be able to give back in this way.

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Recently, I was able to sit down and ask Emily to share more about her and her testimony:

So tell us a little bit about yourself, about your family, how do we know each other?

Well I’m 21 and I moved to Oceanside (our city) about a year ago from Big Bear, CA. I’m from a wonderful family of girls with wonderful godly parents.

I have amazing parents– my dad is a detective, and naturally super protective poured into us growing up. He’s definitely the dad that run background checks on guys and made sure I was safe walking out to the mailbox. Haha. I was heavily involved in competitive dance all the way into my teens and by God’s grace I was able to start a dance ministry in my teens at my church that grew beyond my greatest expectations and I also started and sold a small business that I based out of my home in my teens. I had just always been really crafty and made these headbands that friends and family bought from me and it became really popular that I had started selling them online.

Can you share a little bit about how you got to the Oceanside area? I love your testimony.

After high school I felt God calling me to bible college, which was the best and I made so many amazing friends and grew so much in my faith, but after finishing in 2017, I kinda felt lost without direction and I felt God telling me “we are going to take a step in a new direction” and I was all– OK I don’t know what that really means [laughs] but okay. And soon after there was this opportunity to go to Peru and I was very against it– [laughs] I just, it was out of my comfort zone and very new–

I feel like all the best things God calls us to start with some of our stubbornness, right?!

Yes exactly! [laughs] Even the morning of the trip, I was crying telling my mom I didn’t want to go and she was all, you get out of bed and you are going! [laughs]

Shout-out to Mama King, YO [both laughs] your mom is great!

So I ended up going and God so changed my heart and we were able to help with a church plant and see lives changed– so while we were there a team from CCO were there and great people but I didn’t think much of it.

Director of the bible college in Peru did say said there was an opportunity to go back and work– which I was really excited about, but I came home and had been praying about it and God kept saying no.

Around this time, I was at work and saw a Google ad for Oceanside– never been there before– but there was this joy, and there was no other explanation than it was God pointing me in that direction.

And– at this point, Emily, you had never even visited Oceanside!

Yes, and it could have been terrifying but God just gave me so much peace and so much joy and I just felt really content in this.

So I contact the one person I knew in Oceanside and saw if they knew any people I could rent from and I had contacted the missions pastor from Calvary Oceanside that I met while in Peru, and he had offered me a job, and internship at CCO… and next thing I know I am renting a room from a lady I had never met (she is so nice and sweet) and working at our church at the Children’s’ ministry. It was such an incredible experience. I learned so much.

So talk about how it felt like working in a church was it what you expected?

Oh man, I had started this internship thinking “Oh I’m gonna do so many awesome things, God orchestrated my move and everything and this is going to be amazing” [laughs] but I literally spent the first 3 months of my work filing paperwork. It was really humbling and God changed my heart and my mindset and I realized how selfish I was and thought the year was going to be about the great feats I was going to accomplish things.

And I don’t blame you for expecting that– you’ve done some pretty amazing things in your teens– its sort of been these past years of incredible highs: starting and leading the dance ministry at your church in big bear with 70+ girls, the small business that you started and sold in high school It was one “great” thing after another.

–Yes, and God really taught me so much about just being faithful in the little things and giving in the glory in the smallest things and not seeking to be in front of people and serving Him to be seen. He really just humbled me. I’ve always struggled with being this perfectionist, and many times when I am serving the Lord it slips in me trying to serve Him to get more love which is not right. God showed me that when we serve others it is an outpouring of deep knowing His love for us so that we can share it with others. That is what true service is.

That is so beautiful, Emily. What a beautiful testament of how God works in our lives. I’m still not over it! Thank you for your vulnerability and honesty too, it is one of my favorite character traits about you.

Ok, now to the boy stuff [both laugh], since you’re now “almost engaged” you say– what does that even mean? [laughs] tell everyone about your man and how you met him.

[laughs] Lately, when people ask how I’m doing I say “I’m almost engaged” I will vote is an acceptable status. [laughs]

I vote it is too, I mean you’re practically engaged. I’ll run with it. Almost engaged; it should be a relationship status on Facebook [laughs]

Haha. So if you’ve ever been a single woman new to a church you realize the single guys kind of just pay more attention to you. Or actually, a lot of people do, trying to set you up. [laughs] and there were definitely a few failed attempts at setups that were really awkward and we had dinner at the pastor’s house and yeah, it was a little awkward. And it’s hard when you all work together and go to church together and know each other on all these different levels.

I mean to be fair to the guys and everyone else, I remember the same feeling when a new single godly guy shows up at college group, and now being part of a successful set-up with Matthew (my boyfriend) I have the strong temptation to set up people [laughs]

Oh no, matchmaker Debbie. I still can’t believe you tried to set a couple up. [laughs]

You and Matthew are like the 1% of successful set-ups so that’s different! Oh, Debbie [laughs]

I can’t believe it either! Who have I become? I’m happy and I just want to spread the happiness. [laughs]

So I met Caleb when I least expected it while on a missions trip to Mexico at our church (if she never moved to Oceanside she wouldn’t have met him!) and that’s all it took and I could seem to think straight anymore. After getting to know each other for about a month, we started dating, and it couldn’t be any clearer that this relationship was from the Lord. He loves the Lord and is full of His joy. We have such a great friendship, we are both such dorks and laugh all the time and we just have so much fun together. It’s been a great year together with him, we’ve walked through a lot of highs and lows and he knows me so well. He is a constant reflection of God’s grace to me. I love him so much.

Awww so sweet. Thanks for sharing Emily. And thank you for your sweet friendship. I love you a lot and I am so grateful for your influence in my life. I’m so glad that we get to do life together and share many laughs in between.

(if any are you wondering, Caleb proposed to Emily later the same day we did that interview and 3 months after… in less than a week… the two are getting married in her dream December wedding)

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*I read about this idea in a “A Woman After God’s Own Heart” by Elizabeth George. An incredible book.

August 2017: “For Just This Moment, Let’s Stop Trying to Be Perfect”

 

Introduction

Dear family and friends, some of you know of our mom’s recent stage 4 cancer diagnosis. The news came in December of last year and life has been different ever since. God’s continued mercies are ever-present and ever-sure even when life gets pretty foggy.

I, Debbie, with the support of mom and our family, decided to start blogging to track our journey— and to let others who are praying to get a little peek into lives.

We would so covet everyone’s love and continued prayers as time goes on. ❤

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” -Romans 8:28 NKJV

August 2017: “For Just This Moment, Let’s Stop Trying to Be Perfect”

This month marks my mom’s 5th month on her targeted treatment. She hasn’t had radiation this month, which is a nice break. Although, this month, she did break her foot tripping over something. Just a reminder of how fragile her bones are. The potency of her treatment is in question though, as her doctors said this week that her high liver enzymes could mean we need to switch treatments (side effect of the treatment) or that the cancer has metastasized to the liver. More tests and scans will be done to determine what’s next.

We’ve made waves in adjusting to our life. Adjusting to her “new normal” (which is what we’ve coined post-diagnosis life) is hard as she is regaining some of her strength but still needs to respect her limitations. She likes to sweep in our small patio in the mornings and has ambitions of trying to cook again. She cannot stand for that long (yet). I would love for her to be able to cook and see her over the stove again. Not only would it do her good… It would do me good too. I try my best to take her out to do fun things we once did. One fun thing on one day usually means two days after of her having to rest afterward. There are some things that are worth it, and some that are not. We try to find a balance. I’m also trying to get better at sharing how she is doing on social media with concerned family/friends and others who are on a similar journey (ergo, this blog).

Tears are a normal part of life for us. Sometimes my mom cries because things are hard or because of the pain. She believes God will completely heal her without a doubt… we differ on that. I believe that healing is so possible but with her terminal diagnosis, healing in Heaven is most likely in her case. Her faith is incredible—and almost all that I know about God and my faith is because of her. So, it pains me to be on two separate pages. God’s will be done. I have noticed though, that her best days are the days where she accepts that Earth is pretty much a dump compared to the greatness that Heaven brings—and the future that we as Christians have in store.

Now, she asks me, amidst tears while gripping my hand for comfort- “Do I still feel like Mom to you?”

And that kind of breaks my heart. She means, do I still feel like the mom you can run to when you have problems you don’t know how to fix or when you need a hug or when you just need a sandwich?

I say to myself, No- you’re not anymore and I’m so sorry you never will but I still love you the same.

I tell her, “I know things have changed a lot, but you will always be my mom.”

In earlier months, I had my friends to depend on and help me sort all these changes. Things are different now and life has pulled us all in different directions and we are not as close we once were. I have to admit: I miss my friends dearly. I miss the support and the laughs we once shared. I could go on and on about how we find who our true friends are in the midst of adversity. But I understand people need to move on and go on with their lives… I guess part of me is hurt that they are no longer apart of my life as they were before. I really do wish they would make more of an effort to be involved.

I keep telling myself, if they aren’t present and God withholds no good thing* from those He loves, then I don’t need anything more than God has given me right now.

My mom in her wisdom said that gratitude was the key to living our new normal well.
She goes on about “perfecting the attitude of gratitude in our situation.” Getting things perfect when I’m still learning what’s going on kind of intimidates me. Mom is a perfectionist so I think the word “perfect” is a motivator for her. I say “why don’t we learn first then we can worry about getting it perfect?” Let’s learn to walk before we run. Let’s give ourselves grace and just take things one day at a time. Isn’t today all we can take care of anyway?

*Psalm 84:11