Saturday, June 13, 2020

Interview with Emma Mae Jenkins (Part 1 of 2) about her book "Be Loved"

     

Dear Reader Friends,

Today and tomorrow, I have a special treat just for you! 

It is a two-part interview with Emma Mae Jenkins about her captivating nonfiction book, Be Loved. This is a pre-made interview created by the author's publisher. 

Please note that none of these words below are original words written by me 
(Alexis A. Goring, founder of "God is Love" blog).

Enjoy your time with Emma Mae today!

~*~
Faith, Freedom and the Love of God: 
An interview with Emma Mae Jenkins, author of Be Loved
(Part 1 of 2)

A Message from the publisher (New Growth Press):

Being a teen is hard. Pressures to fit in, conform, and be the best push in from every direction, even from within. Yet, each and every person was uniquely created by a God who loves them. 


Emma Mae Jenkins, a young writer and social media influencer, wants to reach teens with exactly that message. She has inspired thousands of girls online with the freedom she has to be herself—a dearly loved child of God. In her first book, Be Loved, she invites readers to join her on a journey of life-changing faith and the freedom that comes from knowing the love of God.

She chronicles her own high school journey through starting a new school, navigating the typical pressures of school work and sports, going to prom, and even homecoming. Emma Mae faced each new challenge with the confidence that God was with her and was going to make her uniquely useful in the place he had prepared for her.

For Emma Mae, it all starts with her relationship with Jesus. Because she knows she is loved by him, she is free to be herself and to live out her faith no matter what the cost. As a young, passionate, and intimate lover of Jesus, Emma Mae's love for her Savior overflows unashamedly into her unconditional, fierce love for people.

In our interview with Emma Mae, we talk about her about her faith, the challenges she has faced, and the message she wants all teens to hear. 

~*~
The Interview:

New Growth Press:
Be Loved chronicles your high school years. Junior high and high school are difficult years for everyone, but what are some of the challenges that made it particularly hard for you?

Emma Mae Jenkins: Walking through junior high and high school most definitely do have their difficulties as everyone is discovering who they are and making choices that truly do have a great impact on the future. For me, sometimes it was hard to have people respond to the joy that lives within me, the smile that I couldn’t help but share, and the voice that God has given me with confusion or laughter. 


This may seem small, but I really began to learn how to be who God had called me to be, even when the response was not the most inviting. It is really cool how we never actually know the beauty that God is growing within someone, so to plant the seed of a smile or to water someone’s soul with encouragement is to be obedient to the Father. The response of the person may not show what I would love to see, but I trust that God is doing in their heart what only He can do.

Moving during high school was also pretty tough. I was afraid of not making close friendships worried about what people were going to think of me. But God led me. His grace sustained me, and He gently reminded me that His love casts out all fear. 


Love is not self-seeking, so when I was worried about making friends and worried I was going to be thought of well, I was not operating out of love, but out of fear. I cannot love people that I fear. When His love is what I chose to abide in, I could not help but focus on how I could serve others.

NGP: You write that you tried to be gracious, kind and loving to others, but you didn’t treat yourself the same way. Why are we so hard on ourselves?

EMJ: We tend to be hard on ourselves when we misunderstand grace and misinterpret the voice of the Lord. For it is by grace we have been saved, through faith, and this is not by our own works (so that we cannot boast), but it is a gift from God. Grace is unmerited favor. It is a gift given to me that I do not deserve, so of course we are going to be hard on ourselves if we are living to earn something that cannot be earned.

My life is not a race to earn the love, attention and affirmation from God, but my life is a response of gratitude and obedience because Jesus died for me. This is why I work wholeheartedly. This is why I smile. This is why I don’t quit. This is why I write books and make videos, sing songs and post captions on social media. This is why, it is not to earn, but it is a response to His gift.

The voice of the Lord is a voice of peace and clarity and truth and order. He speaks to us in a way that does not bring us to shame but compels us to walk in the light as He is the light. 


When I am walking with a mentality of accusation, confusion, condemnation, chaos and defeat, I know that I am listening to the voice of the enemy, not of my God. Growing familiar with His voice requires time spent with Him. I am hard on myself in a way that brings me to shame when I am not listening and believing the voice of the Lord.

NGP: What’s so wrong about striving for perfection?

EMJ: To have the mentality of striving for perfection is to depend on ourselves to be enough for God to use us, love us, want us, etc. This completely disregards the beauty and power of why Jesus came. We cannot ever be good enough to get to God, that is why He came to us.

This does not mean that I stop working hard and doing my best. God says to live a life in a manner than is worthy of the gospel. He says to work out our salvation with fear and trembling as He gives us the power and the desire to do what is good and what is pleasing to Him. He says that whatever we do, we need to do it wholeheartedly because we are doing it for Him. He says to not grow weary of doing good. 


I am not saying that because I live in the works of Christ, I no longer have to be a hard worker. Not at all. But what I am saying is that I now work hard to glorify the Father, to bless His people, to show gratitude for His love for me. I no longer have to work hard to prove my worth because my worth is in Christ.

Many of us also strive for perfection in order to receive the approval of people. However, if you look at the life of Jesus, He truly was perfect, but there were still those who loved Him and others who hated Him. We are not here for the approval of people, but for God’s. It is only in Him that our worth and identity is solid and whole.

NGP: What are the first steps towards young people developing their own faith rather than the faith of their parents?

EMJ: I remember my dad simply telling me it was important that I personally know Jesus. So, the first step is to ask themselves if they know Him. Have you personally confessed with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that He from the grave? Do you seek Him first and spend time with Him apart from simply going to church with your family on Sunday? Do you pray apart from mealtimes at the table? These are questions that I would encourage anyone to ask themselves because a relationship with Jesus is something that no one, not even my parents, can have for me.

No one’s faith can be lived through the life of another. People will walk alongside me, encourage me, challenge me, and sharpen me in my faith, but they cannot be the source of it. My dad told me that he will not be standing with me, holding my hand when Jesus comes back, it would be only me and Jesus.

... to be continued with Part 2 of 2 on Sunday, June 14. 

~*~
Author Bio:

Emma Mae Jenkins describes herself as a lover of Jesus and people. 

She is a social media influencer, writer, speaker, and YouTuber with the sole purpose of leading others into a relationship with Jesus, sharing this chain-breaking freedom, and being a vessel of God’s Word. She is excited to share with girls and young women about how much God loves them and has called each to a unique purpose for his glory.

Jenkins began chronicling her journey through high school on social media and in doing so has inspired thousands of young people to live their faith freely and with courage. She is currently a sophomore at Liberty University where she is majoring in Women’s Christian Leadership.

The founder of Son Seeker Ministries, Jenkins’s vision is to lead her generation into having a genuine relationship with Jesus. Her new release, Be Loved, is her first book.

During school breaks, Jenkins makes her way back home to northwest Arkansas where her parents and brother live.

Learn more at emmamaejenkins.com and follow her via social media.

~*~
Blurb for Emma Mae's book, Be Loved:

Emma Mae Jenkins, a young Christian writer, has inspired many with the freedom she has to be herself a dearly loved child of God. In her first book, Be Loved, she invites readers to join her on a journey of life-changing faith and the freedom that comes from knowing the love of God.


She chronicles her own high school journey through starting a new school, navigating the typical pressures of school work and sports, going to prom, and even homecoming. Emma Mae faced each new challenge with the confidence that God was with her and was going to make her uniquely useful in the place he had prepared for her.

For Emma Mae, it all starts with her relationship with Jesus Christ. Because she knows she is loved by him, she is free to be herself and to live out her faith no matter what the cost. As a young, passionate, and intimate lover of Jesus, Emma Mae's love for her holy Savior overflows unashamedly into her unconditional, fierce love for people.

Readers will experience the chain-breaking liberty of knowing the Lord's presence and the freedom to be unique. This full-color, hardback book includes pictures from Emma Mae's life, along with key Bible verses that God used to strengthen and guide her through the ups and downs of her high school years as a young Christian. Readers will learn to face the challenges of their student years with religion, courage, hope, and lifegiving love for others.


~*~
Buy Emma's book, Be Loved online via Amazon, Barnes and Noble, ChristianBook


~*~
Connect with Emma Mae:
Instagram (@1corinthians13_love) 
Publisher info: New Growth Press publishes gospel-centered Christian books, small group, and children’s Bible resources for discipleship, biblical counseling, and missional ministry. For more information about Be Loved and other releases from New Growth Press, visit www.newgrowthpress.com.

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