This story from Emerald Barnes is perfectly timed. I knew it was meant to be when Em selected January 28th--my dad's birthday. It's been just over six months since he passed away, and I miss him as much now as the day we lost him to cancer. But I know I can rely on my Heavenly Father to get me though the pain of losing my earthly dad. Life isn't always easy, but it's easier with faith, in knowing that God has plans for us, plans to give us hope, and a future.
The Greatest Love Story, by Emerald Barnes
I don’t have my very own love story. At least in the normal sense.
I’m a single woman in her late twenties, and I have yet to be in a relationship that budded into marriage, and that’s okay with me because the greatest love story that has happened to me is the one that I’m about to tell you.
When I was around the age of nine, I asked my father, a preacher man, how to be saved. He explained it to me: ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins, repent for those sins, and live a life for Him. That wasn’t hard for me because I had always lived a life for Jesus. I was raised in church, and I still go to church to this day. I couldn’t imagine one day without Him.
I had my ups and downs, of course, as I went through my teenage years and fell into discouragement from some situations in my old churches which caused us to leave, and there was plenty of family drama at home. I felt like I didn’t need to go to church. I could be a Christian without being in church, right?
A few months later, my dad found a new pastoral job which he accepted. We began going to church again, but my heart was never in it. I didn’t read my Bible, and frankly, I didn’t want to be a part of this church. I went every Sunday, but I only went for show, because it was expected of me.
When Dad had to leave this church, I was done. I told him that I never wanted to go to church again. I was tired of being hurt by church after church, and I didn’t want to be part of any church he might pastor in the future. The hurt far outweighed Jesus at the time, and that never should have happened. But it did, and I can’t say that I’m sorry it did either. Otherwise, I might not be where I am today.
At some point, my brother-in-law talked us into going to a church he went to in his teenage years. I don’t know what prompted me to go that following Sunday. In fact, it had only been a few weeks since we left the other church, but I got in the vehicle with my family and went to church. I turned my life around that day. Jesus got my attention completely, and I have only missed a few Sundays due to sickness or vacation since that day almost five years ago.
My relationship with God has grown and continues to do so. I am living a life fuller and closer to God than I ever have before. My relationship with Him is just that, a relationship. I’m no longer going through the motions. I’m His daughter, and He’s my Father. And I love Him more than I ever have. It’s no longer just going through motions. I feel this love deeply, and I’ve learned to feel that same love from Him.
My love story will never end, because my Father will never stop loving me. And He won’t stop loving you either.
#IChooseLove every time I wake up and thank Him for another day. #IChooseLove when I get onto my social media accounts and remind others that they can love themselves like our Father loves them. #IChooseLove when I look at my Bible and am reminded of everything that Jesus did for me when He died on the cross.
And I’m grateful that Jesus Chose Love instead of asking God to stop the series of events that led to His death.
#IChooseLove because He chose me.
About Emerald Barnes
Emerald Barnes graduated with a B.A. in English with an emphasis on Creative Writing at Mississippi University for Women. She resides in a small town in Mississippi and has the accent to prove it. She’s an auntie to three beautiful nieces and two handsome nephews. She's a Whovian, a little bit of a nerd, a reader, a writer, and a family-oriented person. God is number one in her life, and she thanks Him continuously for His love and favor.
Connect with Emerald online: Facebook * Twitter * TSU * Blog * Website
Read More from Emerald in Entertaining Angels & Before We Say I Do
About Entertaining Angels
Madison Andrews can’t face her reflection in the mirror. All she sees is a big, fat nobody. Yet, deep inside she longs for something more, something that’s not skin deep.
Along comes Zach, the new guy in high school. He’s smoking hot and totally out of her league. She somehow catches his eye, and he makes her feel beautiful for once. But just as she gets close to Zach, her nerdy best friend, Chase, won’t let Madison doubt her true beauty, no matter how many meals she skips.
Dark forces are at work, darker than the lies and mocking from her peers, stopping her from amounting to her full potential. With her newfound Christian faith, can Madison find true happiness in her own skin amidst the battle of angels and demons?
Get it online: Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Goodreads
About Before We Say I Do
Following the best-selling first book of the series, Entertaining Angels, comes Before We Say I Do, An Entertaining Angels Short Story.
Chase Sanders and Madison Andrews are about to declare their love for one another in the most sacred of ways. Everything has been going perfectly, especially when an old friend returns to town to stand by Chase’s side on their big day. But is Zach there to see their union, or was he sent by God on another mission?
Chase has lived perfectly fine without his father around, but now that his father is divorcing again, his dad is seeking forgiveness. Chase can’t look at his father, let alone forgive him. Chase must learn to let go of the past before the demon that haunts him ruins his wedding.
Get it online: Amazon * Goodreads
About the Book:
Entertaining Angels Excerpt:
I’m the girl that my friends would throw into a pack of zombies if it meant they could stay alive longer. Well, they really wouldn’t have to throw me to the zombies; I’d probably lag so far behind I’d become zombie food. See, I’m not too thin, and I’m not too pretty. I’m just me, Madison Andrews, a fat sixteen-year-old girl from Nowheresville, Mississippi.
I sifted through my clothes, looking for something to wear for the first day of my junior year of high school. Standing in front of the mirror, looking at myself, I pinched the fat on my belly, disgusted that I had let myself gain so much weight over the summer.
I hated that mirror. I hated that it showed me for what I really was. A fat nobody. I could see the lumps, rolls, and fat. The fat did nothing but damage my soul. My blue eyes stared back at me, but they were empty, void of happiness. I wanted to feel beautiful, but I couldn’t. The mirror wouldn’t let me be beautiful.
I had really wanted to lose weight, but my best friend, Chase Sanders, and I decided to veg out on the couch and watch marathons of our favorite science fiction shows instead of going to the gym. Yeah, that was my best friend for you. A big ole nerd, and he was certainly proud of it.
I, on the other hand, wanted to fit in this year. I was tired of being a nobody, but since I was still fat and ugly, fitting in wasn’t gonna happen. I’d have to settle for my old life, being someone that everyone was nice to but didn’t bother getting to know. Even my so-called-friends didn’t bother. I continued looking through my clothes, sure that I had something my mom insisted on buying me that would cover this hideous belly. I was wrong.
Interview with Emerald: