Hi! I'm Emily, I'm 24 years old. I am the Marketing/Communications Coordinator and the Head Softball Coach at Notre Dame Preparatory in Scottsdale, AZ.
Hi! I'm Emily, I'm 24 years old. I am the Marketing/Communications Coordinator and the Head Softball Coach at Notre Dame Preparatory in Scottsdale, AZ.
In life we suffer a lot of loss. In this season of life, it feels especially so. Many people are losing friends, family, jobs, sports careers, etc. Most of us are planners, we like to be in control of every last detail until we see our plan through to the ending that we imagine. When things don't go as we plan, it can be hard to swallow. It's okay to mourn the loss of our plans because they didn't come to the resolution we had foreseen.
The reason we're sad when relationships, plans, careers, etc, end unexpectedly is because we put our whole selves into them. We invested our hearts and we intentionally went about pursuing greatness in these areas. And it HURTS. It would be a lie to say it doesn't. But it doesn't mean that our plan is any less fulfilled just because it didn't end the way we had foreseen it. It was never our ending to decide anyway. What matters is that we put all of our heart and effort into it. That's all we're called to do. We're called to do the things we do well, and the result of our work is not in our hands. It's not about awards or affirmations. It's about knowing full well that what we did was a product of giving our full heart.
Loss hurts, it does. But what if we can look at loss differently? Can we look at a situation and say, "God put me there for a reason." Sometimes God puts us into these broken and hurtful scenarios because He says, "It's not about you, it's not about what you will get from this, but what you can give."
There are hills and valleys in faith, just as there are in life. We all love to be on top of the highest hill but there is so much growth done in the valley. God puts us in these valleys to remind us that we are so absolutely dependent on Him. Because we are, and we should be. We can do nothing without Him, but everything through Him. And through it all, He is here walking beside us through our biggest losses and trials.
(Romans 8:28) And we know that in all things God works for the good of all who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
There are people in life who we are drawn to, people who make us feel whole with their company alone. We don't remember a lot of things, but we do remember how people make us feel. We are drawn to what is true, what is noble, what is right, what is pure, what is lovely, what is admirable. We may fall astray to the ways of the world but there is always a tug on our hearts that will bring us back to these things. And all of these things are God. Everything that is good in me, everything that is admirable, is not of the world or myself, it's God. The people that we feel pulled towards, the company that makes us feel whole, the light that we see in each other, it's God. And it doesn't mean we aren't attracted to the dark, sometimes we are. Sometimes we turn away from these people, from their light, but at the end of the day, it's about coming back, It's about coming home. God has loved each and every one of us into existence, and He will pursue every one of us until the very end. He will not leave or forsake you, He will not judge or shame you. God is walking by your side every step of the way, and when you're too weak to walk with Him, He is still there, carrying you, caring for you, and loving you more than you could ever imagine. So pursue Him, pursue His people, hold them close and cherish the light He has put in them. Follow what is true, what is noble, what is right, what is pure, what is lovely, and what is admirable, and you are following God.
This post is in loving memory of Lenon Padilla (March 5, 1999-September 14, 2019). A son, a brother, a friend, and above all, a child of God.
(Philippians 4:8) "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
Staying "accountable" is hard in any sense of the term. Sticking with a diet and exercise, school and work, or faith. Sometimes it's not always easy to do the right thing when people aren't looking. Temptation lurks around every corner we turn in life. There's nothing wrong with having people to hold you accountable.
We need people in our life that hold true intentions for us in their hearts. It may seem difficult to spot these people, but at the end of the day, we know who truly wants the best for our life. We want the people in our lives to want our happiness, but what is it that makes us TRULY happy? Have you given that much thought? What brings you joy in everyday life? There are a lot of things in this world that can make us happy, but how many of them bring us PURE joy?
My faith brings me a type of joy that I can't experience anywhere else. To some people, that's crazy. How could I possibly be enjoying myself when I haven't experienced all of the earthly temptations this world has to offer? People question me, "Is it for your faith or for you? Or is it for your parents, or the institution, or even for this being you call God that you have no proof of?" And my answer to that is crazy, it's for all of those things. My faith is no type of selfish, that's the point, and that is why I find joy in it. I find joy in living my life for God. I can confidently say that I have not, nor will I ever, find greater joy, than the joy I find in Christ.
C.S Lewis once said, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
When you have a deep relationship with someone, you know what brings joy to their soul. Being the best friend you can to them isn't saying, "do what makes you happy," it's "do what brings you PURE joy." It's not always the easiest thing to say, and it's not always something we want to hear. In many cases, being happy can be much less work than being joyful, but in the end, there is much more reward in this joy. At the end of the day, I want people in my life who help me see what I need to do to attain this joy. I don't want people who are going to tell me "do what makes you happy," because a lot of times, that's at the cost of another, or in the end, it is a cost to myself and my eternal joy.
(Hebrews 10:25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.)
Whether you love or hate ABC's new Bachelorette, she said something in her final episode on this season's Bachelor that I hung onto. After not receiving a rose, Hannah B turned to the camera in tears and said, "It is the desire of my heart to be loved fiercely and chosen each day." That is the desire of all of our hearts. We were built to be in a relationship with one and other. BUT relationship was designed to be intentional. So maybe my title was a little misleading, because being single can be tough. Being single can be tough, but it doesn't have to be lonely, or lustful, or even sad. It can be so easy to feel complacent and like you have no control when you're single, which you don't, but I'm here to tell you that's okay. What you can do is pray for people. I think a lot of us pray for our future spouse, that's important, but I want to challenge you to do more. Pray for your ex, pray for their partners, pray for your crush and the people in their life. And do all of that whether it's easy or not, which it's not going to be most of the time. It's actually going to be really frustrating. But I can tell you it makes a difference and it's well worth the time and patience it takes. I couldn't even tell you how many crushes I've prayed for, oh wait, yes I could. I could because now, maybe even somewhat reluctantly, I pray for the relationships they're in and the partners they're with. Needless to say, no one I've prayed for has been the one for me, that's tough, it's really tough, but it's also really exciting. It's exciting because I have liked some really great guys, guys that treat women well and love Jesus intensely. So if they weren't the one for me then holy crap my husband is going to be the coolest guy ever. And the same goes for all of you. There's a plan for your life and as unbelievable as it might sound, your best plan doesn't even compare to the plan God has in store for you.
(Romans 12:9) Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
Pleasure and joy are both components of happiness. These things can seem very similar, however, there are a few key differences. Pleasure is short lived. Pleasure can last for a week, a day, an hour, a minute, but it eventually fades. Pleasure has a peak, a peak feeling that can make us very happy at that moment but, next time we want to reach this peak pleasure, it takes more work. Joy, on the other hand, doesn't have this high peak as pleasure does, joy is much more subtle. But joy is something that stays with you, it can be recalled. We can recall our joyful moments and even feel this joy while we think about them. We can't recreate pleasure. Pleasure cannot sustain a person, joy can. There is nothing wrong with taking pleasure in something. Many experiences in our life will be pleasurable. What is dangerous is when we try to chase this pleasure. Pleasure is like an all-consuming high. With highs, there are inevitably lows. And when we want to reach this high again it takes more to achieve the same. Ask anyone who has been addicted to drugs, over time, the high becomes much more difficult to reach. Pleasure, in many cases, is self-centered, it is created by a moment of greed. Pleasure is doing what makes YOU happy, it is this need to fulfill this high for YOURSELF. Joy is compassion, joy is found in relationships and situations that glorify God. If you spend your life chasing pleasure, you will feel unfulfilled for a large majority of your time. If you chase joy, you will be sustained. If we think about situations that people generally consider pleasurable, we think of drugs, sex, and money. People feel a peek pleasure when they do drugs, when they sleep with a partner, when they receive money. But what if we turned these pleasurable situations into joyful ones? What would it look like if instead of trying to fulfill our selfish desires of the flesh through physical intimacy outside of what God has designed sex for; If we grew in relationship with our partners, respecting the boundaries that have been put in place to protect our hearts? If within the covenant of marriage, we experience the joy of this intimacy, because only then, does the act become selfless. We are not working to fill our own needs and desires, we are giving ourselves to one and other. What if instead of working with the end goal of being wealthy, we actually began to enjoy what we do? What if we could find joy in the everyday work we do, rather than pleasure in the end result of our work? Joy can be found in all situations. It is a choice to be joyful. Joy is a state of being, pleasure is a feeling. Happiness is filled with pleasure, and sustained by joy.
"Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls." (1 Peter 1: 8-9)
I recently spoke with a friend who I hadn't seen in over a year. In our conversation, she introduced me to the philosophy of "Ubuntu." Ubuntu is a South African term used to speak into the power of human connection and true relationships. It translates to something like, "I am because of you," or "I am because we are." I think that's really special. I'm not someone who typically shows affection towards others, or tells people how grateful I am for their impact on my life. But I think that's something we can all work on. There are people and experiences in our lives that shape us to become who we are. That's why Ubuntu is so special, it acknowledges, "I am because of you." I am who I am because of the people in my life. I love the way I love because of the way I have been loved by others. I care the way I care because of the way I have been cared for by others. The experiences we share and the relationships we build with each other build who we are. We are all called to relationship with each other in this life. And in these relationships, we should work to build each other up in a way that glorifies God.
(Genesis 2:18) "The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Americans love sports. We all feel an attachment to our favorite teams and athletes. We tend to become so passionate about these games and players that we forget that these athletes are real people and this is their job. Everyone experiences stress in their job, and studies show that athletes experience it at a much higher level. From the start of an athlete's career they are told to “be strong;” to many, this translates to "do it on your own.” Showing any type of weakness is not acceptable, this is a mentality that many athletes carry into all areas of their lives. It’s not okay, to not be okay. Athletes, at all levels, are at an extremely high risk of developing mental health problems. Why does no one want to talk about this? Coaches encourage their players to take care of themselves, to train and to eat well. But what about taking care of themselves when it comes to mental health? The stigma around mental health in athletics needs to be removed. The American Psychiatric Association asks people to acknowledge that sports subject a person to a unique set of challenges and circumstances that can make a person vulnerable to feelings of depression or anxiety. Take college athletes for example. College is already a time of high stress for many. If you can imagine going to college and having a full-time job (playing a sport), that’s enough to stress anyone out. College athletes have to balance a full course load on top of the mounting expectations of coaches, teammates, parents, and themselves. And when it becomes overwhelming, they're told, yet again, to “be strong,” and the stigma against mental health continues. At the college level, athletes are offered team physical trainers and therapists, but what about physiological support? Some schools have this option, but it’s not nearly as prevalent as it should be. Athletes have been groomed to be “okay” their entire lives, simply asking if they're “okay” is not enough. A constant support system is important to have in place. Removing the stigma around mental health and having support available for athletes who are suffering from the stress of their sport is so important. Athletes aren't machines. They may be impressive physical specimens that excel in athletics, but that doesn’t mean it comes without a cost. It’s time to humanize athletes and get them the help they need. New York Giants Wide receiver Brandon Marshall recently delivered a powerful message to NFL coaches and owners at their annual meeting in March. Marshall has been an outspoken supporter of removing the stigma around mental health and therapy in athletics. Marshall shared, “Man, if you would have asked me eight years ago what does mental health mean to me, I would have said mental toughness,” Marshall said. “Another part of my answer would’ve been, ‘masking pain.’ As football players, we are taught to never show weakness, to never give an opponent an edge. To open up when something hurts, in our culture, is deviant. But when you really sit down and think about it, connecting with those emotions is the real strength.” A key point Marshall touched on was “mental toughness.” One of the most common phrases used in athletics is, “it’s all mental.” This phrase is used when a coach wants their athlete to push through a hard workout or to overcome some type of obstacle. So how do you achieve “mental toughness?” For some, that journey may require some help, and that’s okay. In Brandon Marshall’s Op-ed “The Stigma,” he writes more about this “mental toughness” mindset that athletes are instilled with. “When I first heard the term “mental health,” the first thing that came to mind was mental toughness. Masking pain. Hiding it. Keeping it inside. That had been embedded in me since I was a kid. Never show weakness. Suck it up. Play through it. Live through it.” That’s the issue with this mentality, rub some dirt on it, suck it up, and play through it all become LIVE through it. And live through it means on your own, without help, because if you're strong, why would you need it? The best way you can support your favorite athletes is to humanize them. They are not machines, they have emotions, they have stress, they have problems. We need to break the stigma when it comes to mental health in athletics. To perform at their highest level, athletes need to take care of themselves physically and mentally, so let's make it “okay.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:11) "Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing."
It's so easy to feel that we are unworthy, that we are not enough, that there is something wrong with us. Thoughts of unworthiness and self-doubt seem to lurk around every corner we turn in life. It seems as though we are always being told were not good enough. By who? The media, our bosses, our peers, but mostly ourselves. You are worth everything and more, and your worth cannot be determined by any one situation or person. If someone were to offer you a $100 bill, you would take it, right? What if that $100 bill was wrinkled and warn, maybe it even had a tear or two, would that deter you from wanting it? No. The inherent worth of that $100 bill does not change because of it's past circumstances or current state, and neither does yours. You are not your mistakes, you are not your shortcomings, you are not your past. You are beautiful, you are important, you are heard, you are WORTHY.
(Proverbs 31:25) "She is clothed with STRENGTH and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future."
Why does timing always seem to be off when it comes to our relationships? How can it be that we find the "love of our life" a month before moving to a new city? And how annoying is it when the "perfect guy" has a long time girlfriend? If only we would have met earlier, or if only he didn't have that girlfriend, things would work out and it would it be PERFECT. Is this what we actually believe? Or is it just something we say to comfort ourselves? What're we doing blaming all of our failed relationships on timing? The simple truth about timing is, it sucks and it's an obstacle, but when it comes down to it, the perfect person will be timeless. As many excuses as we have, we make time for the people we want to, no matter how busy we are. The plans and adventures you had for your life were all amazing before, but with the right person, they become even better. I will never say that there is not a possibility to grow apart and then back together with someone. But I will say we shouldn't sit around waiting for the timing with a specific person to be right. We also shouldn't try to force timing with someone who may not be right for us. If we trust in God and pray for those we have loved and those who we will, I'm going to bet that that is the best way to find our timeless love.
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7) Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
We've heard it a million times, confidence is key. But how exactly are we supposed to gain this confidence? For some, it comes easily. For others, it may take some work. Confidence should not be dependent on a situation, nor should we seek it through recognition by others. When it comes down to it, all the confidence we need can be found in the Lord. We were made INTENTIONALLY by the Creator of the universe and given full confidence by Him. We should take comfort and rest in this. His work is nothing but wonderful and His choice to love each individual into existence was no mistake. Our confidence, our drive, our success, it comes from the Lord, and in everything we do we should offer it to Him.
For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139: 13-14)