Hi everyone, my name is Emily and I’m here to share with you my Living Life Bible Study experience. I’m a 3rd year business student at Laurier and I’m currently on my co-op work term as a business analyst at HP. When it comes to my spiritual life, I came to this ministry in grade 10 knowing almost nothing about Christianity. But through the kind and welcoming community we have here, I was able to get involved rather quickly. I got baptized, I led as a youth shepherd for 2 years, and was on the praise team, which was important to me because one of my earliest experiences with God was through worship.
However, things changed when I came back from my first year of university. My faith became less of a priority from my other commitments, and I was keeping myself busy to fill the emptiness. I would only ask God for help during the split second that I felt a loss of control. For example when my car slips on a wet road and I can’t seem to brake in time, when I’m about to click the button to check my grades, or when I wore my new contact lenses and panicked when I couldn’t take them out, thinking that I would never be able to sleep again. The more my prayers went unanswered, the more I turned to self-effort and reliance on others.
While I was living in Waterloo, my friend Anthony would send me a sermon summary every Sunday. It was basically a couple of paragraphs of text and to be honest I usually just read a little bit of the beginning, the end, and sent a “Thank you” text back. But I was grateful because that was my only real connection I had with the church after I left. He was the one that invited me to house church, and told me about Living Life bible study. After some thought, I made the decision to take Living Life with a leap of faith, expecting to learn good lessons that I can apply to my life, and gain spiritual maturity. After each week of Living Life, I started to see changes in myself gradually. I took the lessons to heart, and I still try to apply them to my everyday life. Overall, having a consistent day of the week to study the word made me feel more connected with God.
The most memorable week during Living Life was when we had to fast for a day for the “Experiencing the Holy Spirit” session, where we pray earnestly about one short-term prayer request that would be answered within the week. Sacrificing lunch and dinner helped me grow in discipline and focus more on God by focusing less on food. So I prayed to the heavenly father, “Dear God, I am so frustrated with my silence, please give me the courage to stand up for myself instead of fearing people”. These people were mostly my parents, my bosses, and those who were against my beliefs. In a few moments God spoke to me and I’ll never forget how it made me feel. He said “Emily, I want to use your speaking ability, for fulfilling my purpose”. Was I hearing that right? How can my awkward social anxiety possibly help God? And before I knew it I started to cry into my hands because I felt his love and mercy during that time. It was then that I wanted to make a faithful choice to be brave, knowing that God is greater, and if I seek his kingdom and his righteousness first, he will provide all else.
Over the thirteen weeks, I became more comfortable talking about my faith and inviting VIPs to come to house church. It was definitely worth it. Anything that helps the people I love become one step closer to happiness makes me feel thankful. Who knew that something as simple as “Do you wanna come to house church with me?” would help someone find a community? That they would be open minded to learning more about Jesus’ ministry and power? He’s actually here right now. Looking at my situation now I’ve grown a lot closer to my house church members and this ministry, and it makes me happy knowing that I can be myself here. I came to realize that yes although I can’t see God physically with my eyes, I can see Jesus’ characters like love, patience, and kindness reflected through the actions of people that believe in Him.
In the book Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Dumbledore once told Harry, “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities”. Likewise, God doesn’t look at the amount of money we make, how smart we are, our fashion statement, or our athletic ability. He doesn’t judge you based on who prayed more, or who read the most chapters in the bible. It’s based on our choice to stay faithful and put our trust in him. I believe that my choice in taking this course has led me to become sure of my salvation and embrace challenges because they are opportunities to grow in spiritual maturity. And in the final hours of my life, I hope to share the good news that you are loved, and have been loved thousands of years ago before you even knew what love was. So much that God sent his one and only son to this broken Earth so that you and I would be saved. For those of you who are also feeling distant from God lately, and want to take the next step into restoring your relationship with Him, I encourage you all to take Living Life Bible study! Thanks.