I was thinking about prayer and how it can be a hard thing to stay committed to. I love talking to people. I love listening to their stories. I love hearing about their struggles as well as their joys and I love never knowing how to truly respond, except to one again lend a listening ear the next time we hang out.
So I was thinking about how I love conversation and yet my prayer life which really should be a conversation tends to be more of one sided conversation on my part. I use to think it was because I tend to be more of a listener in all my earthly relationships and so I figured well here is my chance to talk, here is someone who will actually listen to me. And as great as that is, to have a faithful friend who always listens it stinks to never really know what they are saying in return.
But as I thought about this more, I realized that prayer is suppose to be a conversation between God and me, or God and you. Pray is always initiated by God, never us. Something always prompts us to pray to God, a longing for someone or something. A deep sense inside of us that tells us makes us question things even when everything seems to be in place and going well.
You know how its never fun to be the one who calls the other friend or how it can be hard to sometimes take initative and set up plans, well we don't have to worry about it, cause God calls us and starts the conversation. That yearning to pray is God, even when we feel like we should pray but don't want to, that is God calling us to him, calling us to have a conversation with him. And if you ask God questions and talk with him.....then prayer becomes so much more powerful, so much more real. Its really not anything we can do, I mean its all God. But give it a shot if you haven't, cause God's created me like value and soak up relationships with others. Its a wonderful way to learn so many things...especially how to love.

Unexpected Weekend at the Museum
This weekend was crazy, but awesome. Both Saturday and Sunday I worked down at the little Tri-Cities Historical Museum. On Saturday three guys come waltzing into the museum. They all spread themselves out evenly and approach my co-working and myself. As they are approaching I notice they each have one ear plug in their right ear. So I'm thinking to myself...oh no. But they introduce themselves and lone behold they are some secret service guys who are downtown during our big Coast Guard Festival because Thad Allan, the Commandant of the US Coast Guard (or in other words the guy in charge of all the coast guard in the United States) was coming to town. Now, apparently this was a big deal, because these three secret service agents wanted to use our museum, which is located right behind the stadium where Thad Allen and some other big dignitaries would be watching the fireworks, and so they wanted to set up a second command post at the museum in case something were to threaten the dignitaries.
So that was awesome. Because not only did these guys hold out their sweet badges as they introduced themselves and have little ear pieces in their ears, but they also shook our hands, haha.

Then today as I was working at the museum..unexpectedly a good friend from Taylor and his entire family, showed up to tour the museum, just because they knew I'd be there. Way to make a girl feel special, haha. They were vacationing up in northern michigan and decided to drive a good ways out of their way to come say hello. I mean...come on...who does that.

Needless to say, it was an eventful weekend at the Depot Museum. Plus this years Coast Guard fireworks were awesome!! So impressive!

You make every day seem so new
Today was a beautiful day. I was encouraged tremendously by a friend and his challenges and his compassion. My eyes were opened to some truths I had really been blinded from for a long time. And my prayers were answered. I realized I have been experiancing joy in these last few weeks of summer. I love that feeling when you wake up in the morning no matter how empty or lonely or sad or wonderful you felt the night before and there is just this hope, there is this wonderful feeling that it is a new day and all things are possible once again.
I love also, how when I dance, I too feel as if everything is possible. I guess a lot of that hope comes from the beauty in knowing I will never, ever be forsaken by the one person who matters most to me in my life.

As I was riding my bike...
Today as I was riding my bike around Spring Lake, an older lady just completely wiped out right in front of me.
I stopped and helped her pick up her bike and put all the things that had fallen out of her basket back in place, but yet she barely said anything to me the whole time. It was kind of weird but I was glad I didn't have to try and carry her on my back to the nearest hospital.

The wonderful world of Wedgewood
Wedgewood Christian services is an agency that takes in at risk youth from all over Michigan. Its really like a campus where 200 students from ages 11-17 live and build community together as they struggle to learn about life together. Most of the kids are there due to poor home lives, abuse, neglect and many others things you probably wouldn't even imagine can happen to children.

I'm doing an internship in the Delta House with 12 beautiful girls. Beautiful but still middle school age girls. Most days we talk about their boyfriends, what boys they flirted with at school, and what girls they saw flirting with their boyfriends at school. (Does that not bring you back to middle school or what?)

Now you wouldn't think a bunch of middle school girls can be intimidating, but for my first few weeks of work, I felt like I was right back in middle school with them. I was trying to find where I fit in, what girls did God wanted me to be talking to, what things did he want me to observe. But God was just saying "hey emily, welcome to this new experience, try to be patient about diving right in and simply start by just introducing yourself to each girl and letting them introducing themselves to you." Now if you know me at all, I am always wanting to dive right into things, I'm always wanting God to just be like BAM everything is done and here just jump right into this role or that role. And yet every time...not surprisingly God simply just says, "emily have patience." If feel like in many ways its one of those things like the Israelite s in the Bible, where they just can never seem to learn from their mistakes. So taking God's advice I slowed down, I've been trying to just read one persons file when I first come on for a shift and then I've just started to try and live in community with them. And its been working pretty well so far. Not all the girls like me and most of them are leery of me getting to close, which is understandable. But what I love are the little moments when I get to have a one on one conversation with one of the girls about something that may seem like a surface topic to all of us out of middle school, but is a big deal to that specific girl.

The girls at Wedgewood have stories that will break your heart. The girls at Wedgewood can tear you apart in seconds with their words (moments after they just gave you a hug and told you that they loved you). Since I have been at Wedgewood I have made multiple hospital runs after the girls have fought each other due to broken noses and deep deep cuts into their forearms. These girls at Wedgewood are in so much pain (you can see it in their faces and in their anger). And like most middle school girls they just want to feel accepted and loved.

Love was her legacy
Today a good friend our families past away. Its always hard to deal with death especially when it effects people around you who you respect. My brother, probably more then anyone else in our family, was mostly effected and my heart just went out to him in his anguish.
This lady though was such a joyous woman. I would say that she treated almost everyone she knew as if they were her own child. She would always take a wonderful interest in their life, and have a wonderful open listening ear.
Her death, even though sad, was pretty perfect timing. Her whole family was able to be with her. That's pretty cool.
After learning of her death I had to go to work in GR where I get to hang out with twelve girls all between the ages of 11-17. While I was there I wondered what it would look like for me to treat all these girls as if they were my own child, like she would have. It would not be easy. These twelve girls love to rip you and anyone who stands in there way to shreds and they love to manipulate. Despite this though, I think by loving everyone as her child she really had it figured out, how could she not love all those who came in and out of her life, that's what Jesus did. He loved the outcasts, he would have, no doubt in his mind, dropped everything in his life to love these twelve girls as much as he loved his twelve disciples.
I know God was so proud of her and her love for others which flowed from his love for her.

I would love to be remembered for my love, wouldn't you?

Plan 2016....Earry if you ask me
I just found out Spring Lake (the town I'm from) has a plan 2016. I thought once I'd left Taylor I would at least get 3 months off from hearing about Taylor's plan 2016....Oh my.

The beautiful summer life of Emily Manting
Sarah Bentz and Matt Luckey are now married....weird. Ben is falling in love with a girl....weird, although she is pretty awesome. I'm almost a Senior in college.....weird. I'm interning this summer and working with at risk youth in Grand Rapids. Most of the girls I'm working with aren't that much younger then myself yet they look so young to me.....weird. Also, living in Spring Lake this summer....weird, but great so far.

I brought a few friends home with me from Taylor after graduation and it was really cool to see their reactions to the Spring Lake/Grand Haven area. They were telling me that it was very beautiful and a few times the town even seemed a little too perfect, which made me laugh. I guess living in Indiana for the last few years has made me appreciated more and more the beauty that our little town, "Where nature smiles for seven miles" does offer.

It's cool to see my parents pretty happy these days even though they work all the time. Since coming home I've rarely seen my mom at all, which is a shame, but I'm encouraged my dad has been enjoying working with autistic children. And I'm super pumped for my brother to return home for a few weeks this summer!! He's a good guy. I had a blast getting to check out his life in Honduras this past spring break. Honduras was so beautiful, and I loved how colorful everything was. In America our houses are beige and brown and occasionally yellow, but in Honduras all the buildings are bright colors. We ate some wonderful food while down in Honduras, and I loved Ben's students. They were so much fun. Its no wonder he had extended his contract for at least one more year.

Coming home was very much needed after this past school year. To be honest second semester was quite hard for me. I felt incredibly numb, which is a little surprising considering the tremendous amount God did this past year. I don't know exactly what happened, but my heart has been slightly hardened this past semester, which is a little unfortunate. The numbness that built up throughout last semester has hindered some of my interactions since coming home this summer. I truly have enjoyed being home so far this summer. But I find that when I get together with old friends that the numbness I feel is strengthened the more and more I'm filled in with what trials my friends have seemed to experience this past year. I think my numbness was strengthened through hearing about Mary's very tough school year, and I think my numbness was strengthened hearing about how Mrs. Laug isn't doing very well, and I think my numbness has been strengthened through hearing how so many people have lost jobs and been hurt by others close to them.

So I guess one of the biggest things I'll be praying about this summer is freedom. True freedom. Freedom to feel joy again, freedom to rejoice when others are thriving, and compassion and empathy when others are struggling. Freedom is real. I've seen J-mar, and Sarah, and Joy and Seth and Cameron's experience true freedom and I'm even starting to see freedom take hold of First Reformed Church, which is incredible to think about.

Love is a Fast Song
Lately, I have been overwhelmed with feelings that I really wish I could go into more detail on in this post, but unfortunately if I were to do that, it would make this post seem very emo.

But in short I just have to say this year has been one in which I have felt very alone. I'm not has just come to my attention even more abundantly this year, then ever before, that I have never been able to hold any sort of relationship that has lasted more then a few years. In many ways this has worked to my advantage. I've always been able to know a lot of people but few have I ever gotten to know on a deep and meaningful level. And this is wonderful in many ways. It has allowed me to learn how to be a good listener and it has allowed me to easily start up conversations with people that could potentially be awkward, there has never been anyone who I've ever had to tell anything too, or has even wanted to know everything, and it has allowed me to go a lot of places and meet a lot of different people. It leaves me with no attachments and no one to really be accountable to. And of course for me, my relationship with Christ has only grown through this fact of my life. There really is no one else constantly there for me other then Christ. And so since I've never had anyone I've completely confided in before I would imagine my relationship with Christ, probably would feel like your relationships with your best friends, or closest relatives or spouse, or whomever it is you find yourself always running to to talk to.

Christmas break this year happened to be a hard on for me. If you just ask me how it was, I'll tell you it was fine, because well in many ways it was. I got to be with my whole family!!! And I got to hang out with the Bartels and other awesome friends and I even went ice skating with Erin Zacek, and watched good movies with Danielle. So it was good in many ways. But for some reason while I was home everyone seemed overcome with stress or hurt of some kind. It looked different in every case and in every person's life. There were a lot of friends over break who I desperately wanted to see and talk with but most of them I heard were just getting drunk or high most of break, so as much as I wanted to see them, I didn't want to see them like that. And this is where my Christmas break experience ties back into the relationship stuff I was mentioning before. I don't think my friends from high school really realize how much care I still hold in my heart for them. Because I've never in my life had one person whom I've just always had by my side at all times, when I do have good conversations with a stands out in my mind as a memorable experience. To me it means so much that someone would be able to talk to me about their life that they hold so precious to themselves. And so it hurts when I have to realize that many people whom I consider to be a good friend due to a few good conversations I had with them, don't really care about what I'm up to. And its understandable that they don't. I wasn't around all summer I don't have a cell phone, or facebook anymore to keep in touch with people because it causes jealous and pride issues in my life and so I'm not around and obviously people don't feel they can really relate to me because if they did I might have had a good friend or even good boy friend at this point. But no matter how hard I try to let go of relationships in the past my heart still holds on to the things I've seen in them. The good I've seen in them..the passions I've seen in them...and the horrible stories that have hurt them and caused them pain in the past. And so there is so much hope still holding out in me that one day I will get to again have good conversations with these people or even with people here at Taylor where I can share with them this love that is real and that is alive and that is available to all of us. And yet I know myself and I know that my passion in my heart for Christ and his beautiful self-less gift to us, "grace", is something I could never share with them because I don't have a solid, deep and meaningful relationships with them.

Now this is where this gets a little emo. There are many people I love. There are many people I care about and wish I could just once in my life tell them the good I see in them, or the frustration I've had with them, watching them give up on school, or drinking their problems away. And there have been many times I've just wanted to give these people a hug and tell them they are loved by this God, this creator, this king, this father. They are loved more then they'll ever know. They are loved so much that he is daily seeking a relationship with them. But I'm too scared to tell them because I've never dealt with the hurt they had. And knowing myself I am weak and I am weary...and I am so scared. Fear is what has caused me to be a people pleaser, to not call people over break to hang out, to not do many things. Fear really is as the root of all of us in some way or another. But there is one thing I've always had on my mind. I've always wanted to die young. Always. It sounds morbid and weird but its the only way I've ever known that my life could somehow show others the love of Christ. I know my life daily is a testimony to God's love. But I feel like if I died young, I could grab some attention, enough that these people who've I've longed to talk to for years and tried to show through actions for years that God loves them tremendously and unending, might get the message for once. And someone more eloquent with words then I, such as my brother, or a pastor could put into words the care that I've had for them, and the love that Christ has for them.

I don't think people understand that the world is changing in big ways. Revival is taking place all over. The Holy Spirit is amazingly powerful. People don't think he's relevant today...whatever...there are people all over my campus prophesying and praying and encouraging one another, and mentoring and pouring into one another in ways that are unexplainable except that it can only be the holy spirit. People don't understand that Jesus had the holy spirit with him during his life and that's where the power for him to heal and teach and do so many other things came from. And now that power...the power Jesus had to do all these miracles is in us. Living IN US!!!!!! That is huge. You guys...the holy spirit is real. And he's alive. He cured my good friend J-mar of her you understand that, depression is not something that usually just goes away, you usually just learn how to cope!!
God is good. God is love. Don't believe me..ask him. He'll tell you he loves you, just listen.

The Beautiful Life of Emily Manting
It's been a long time since I've updated on here. I guess I've been doing most of my journal entries on facebook, or in my own private journal..but hey I figures what the heck bring this thing back to life for one last breath...

So I was laying in bed about an hour ago and I couldn't lay still..I was tossing and turning and I finally just decided to get up for awhile and do something because I didn't want to wake Emilee up. So here I am...after wandering down to my old floor in Gerig, where I sometimes find myself when I want to feel comforted, I decided hey..I haven't written a note in awhile so why not take some time to reflect on how the Beautiful Life of Emily Manting really is.
These first few weeks back at school have really been good. I'm not just saying that. I love how encouraged I am by amazing people. I love how challenged I feel after a good class discussion on the scriptures or on ethics or on the media, haha. But at the same time I've really been struggling with being real. Since coming back I found that I truly haven't been able to tell anyone here why I'm discouraged yet blessed by this past summer. I really haven't been able to be real about how numb I'm feeling these days, and I haven't been real with anyone about the struggles that my family is facing. The thing is, I know why I haven't been real. I haven't wanted to burden anyone, I haven't wanted to rant and rave and get emotional, and I haven't wanted to admit to these incredible people how screwed up I truly am. When I think back to this summer, I've found more purpose in it then I realized when first coming back to school. There is one amazing lesson that sticks out in my mind over any other, and I guess if you really want to know what that was you can ask me about it sometime, but I guess I'm a little ashamed in the fact that as soon as I get back to a place I cherish I have fallen right back into complacency. The one good thing is that I'm realizing all this right now, and so I've been trying hard to find things to get involved in this year. Places where I see my personal strengths and abilities coming into play. I've found a couple things I'm excited about getting involved with, the radio station and the Ball State ministry, so I'm excited about what those might have to offer. I've also been praying a lot lately that God would really do some work on my heart this year. And I'm not just talking about making me aware of things and issues and him but I'm talking like major, major work, and with that I've been praying for the unexpected. I want this year to be completely unexpected and challenging. Now, let me just say this is an extremely scary prayer to be praying. But I have no doubt that God will answer my prayer, and I can't wait to share with you down the road the ways in which he does answer this prayer.
I've also been thinking a lot about my family. I miss my brother tremendously, and I'm not homesick but I miss being able to just know that my parents are close by. I worry about know. They have given so much. So much!! I don't even realize the sacrifices that my parents have made. I wish that like they didn't feel like they had to be so strong too. The thing I love the most how incredibly humbled everyone in my family has been due to our trials.
Well, as for now..I guess I'll keep praying for the unexpected and that each person who enters my life would realize how worthwhile they are...cause I'm pretty sure out of all the people I've met throughout my life that I have never met one who wasn't. And I am so grateful that I am able to see beauty in the people around me. Thanks for letting me share!


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