Sunday, June 14, 2020

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


Dear Reader Friends,

Today, as a continuation of yesterday's post, I have a special treat just for you! 

It is part two of the 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 2 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 
(continued from Saturday, June 13)

New Growth Press: Bullying is a major problem in schools today, in fact, you experienced your fair share as well. Why were you a target, and how did you handle it?

Emma Mae Jenkins: The bullying I experienced was online via social media, and it continues still in waves. I was and am because the One living in me was not understood, was not known. Sometimes people scoff at what they do not understand. It is no longer I who live, but Christ Who lives within in me and therefore, I cannot contain He Who is joy and peace and power and love and light. 

The people of the world would love me if I belonged to the world, but I am simply in the world, I am not of it. He said that if the world hates you, remember that they hated him first.

I handled it by surrendering it. When my heart is overwhelmed, God leads me to the rock that is higher than myself. I could not handle it on my own—I needed Him and always will. Through Him, it was handled, by me hiding His Word in my heart, trusting that He spoke over me before the world ever had an opportunity to. I had people in my life who walked with me and reminded me of truth. They continued to be the light of the world with me. We were not made to do life alone, so I needed my community. 

Through God’s eyes, I could simply see the people hating on me did not know how loved they were, so it was a beautiful chance to love them. God has said for me to love my enemies, pray for those who curse me, and bless those who persecute me. I can only do this when I know that He loved me first. When I begin to see myself the way that God sees me, I can then see others the way that He sees others too.

NGP: Why is it so important to start the day in prayer and in God’s word? How do you encourage teens to get into that routine, since most young people (and a lot of adults too) are not usually morning people?

EMJ: In Mark 1:35, Jesus rose very early in morning, went to a quiet place, and prayed. Jesus lived in such a way that we are called to live as He did. He set the example. In Matthew 6:33, God says to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, so this means that He is worthy of the first part of my day. How we begin our day determines the posture of our heart as the day goes on, so to be armed with His Word and encouraged in talking with Him in prayer sets myself up for success and deepens our relationship with Him.

As soon as I walk into the day, I know that there is an enemy who has a target on my back and is out to steal, to kill, and to destroy me. He is the father of lies and he is out to devour, so I am setting myself up for believing the lies and being attacked off guard when I do not prepare for battle by spending time in conversation with my Defender and hiding His Word that will not fail me in my heart.

I encourage everyone to cultivate this rhythm. We make time for what is most important to us, so if I truly am saying that God is most important to me, then spending time with Him is more important than the snooze button. It is more important than my feelings of tiredness or morning moodiness. He is simply more important, and the more I do it, the more I will grow in love with this time. Delighting in Him outweighs not being a “morning person.”

NGP: So much of life seems to revolve around being online. What are some tips for developing authentic relationships with those around us?

EMJ: Our generation is definitely immersed in a culture of technology, and there are so many beautiful things about it. I initially got an Instagram account for the purpose of staying in touch with my friends because I moved quite a bit growing up. 

Later, social media became a way to share the gospel with people all over the world whom I have never had the opportunity to meet. It is quite remarkable the impact that technology has provided.

Still, face to face, arms linked relationships are vital. Solomon said, “woe to the man who falls and has no one to pick him up,” and “just as iron sharpens iron, so does one man sharpen another.” James said that when we confess our sins to one another we will be healed. Paul said to continue to build up one another. 

Jesus said to love our neighbor as He loved us, and He prayed for us to be united. In the beginning, God said that it was not good for Adam to be alone. Our God is the God of relationships. We were made to be in relationship with Him and with one another.

Here are some tips for developing authentic relationships:
- Seek God first: When I seek His kingdom first, my relationships are going to reflect Him too.

- Be humble: It is important to consider others above ourselves and to have the heart posture of a servant when building relationships.

- Encourage others: Seek to build up your people. See the beauty in people and speak it OUT over them so that it may benefit them. Celebrate their victories and mourn with them when they are hurting.

- Be vulnerable: The level of vulnerability in what you share with whom comes from discernment the Spirit gives, but I cannot expect authentic relationships to go deep and bloom if I am not willing to be honest and vulnerable. I cannot expect deepening when I stay on the surface.

- Be intentional: In order for authentic relationships to be built, one must be intentional to work and invest into fostering that relationship. That may be sending an encouraging text, planning to get together for a coffee visit, or praying for one another.

NGP: What are some ways teens can be light in the lives of those they come in contact with at school? How can they be an encouragement to others?

EMJ: What we fill ourselves with is what we think about. What we think leads to how we act, and after a while that is who we become. As we think, so are we. Teens can make an impact in the lives of those they come into contact at school by choosing to be in the Word, being intentional about the music they listen, being thoughtful in regard to the shows they watch, and being purposeful in who they hang out with and allow to influence them.

Psalm 1:1-3 (ESV) says, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”

This is basically saying that we are blessed, and we are a blessing when we are particular about who influences us and by meditating on the Word always. I am a light and an encouragement to others when I fill myself with His Word. I cannot expect myself to be like Jesus in the lives of people around me when I am not spending time with Him and am listening to things and watching things that are against His heart.

I am also a light and encouragement to others when I am around those who glorify Him. If I hang out with the foolish, I am going to become foolish. If I hang out with the wise, I am going to become wise. Spending time with friends who encourage and sharpen me will equip me and build me up to be a bold light in the darkness to the precious people that do not yet know Him. When I am intentional about who I let influence me, I can walk confidently in how I influence others.

NGP: What is the secret to not being discouraged and comparing yourself to others?

EMJ: The secret to being content in who you are and where you are is to rest in the truth of what God says about you. It sounds so simple and some say that is cliché, but to say that is to forget the power of His Word. 

Who He says you are is unchanging and never ending. Who He says you are is personal and on purpose. When we begin to see ourselves the way that He sees us, we will then also see others the way He sees others too. God made each of us to be original and reveal His heart in a unique way, so to compare ourselves to one another only leads to discouragement.

Begin to praise God for the beauty that you see in someone else. Celebrate them in ways that they do not even see, such as how you think about them. Ask the Lord to help you be confident in who He made you to be and to also rejoice in how beautiful He made others to be.

NGP: Why is it important for each of us to embrace the unique person that we are?

EMJ: God says we are His masterpiece, so when we embrace who He has made us to be, we are embracing who He Himself made in His image and said was very good. For us to embrace all that He purposefully knitted within us, is to also embrace all that He has for us and wants to deliver through us. 

When I am embrace who God says I am, I am able to lead others to realize the true beauty that God placed within them. I cannot lead from a place I have not been. In this example, I cannot lead others to be who God has called them to be if I myself am not daily surrendering to embrace being who He has called me to be as well.

God wants to be glorified through every part of who we are. He wants to be praised through the strengths and gifts He has entrusted us with. The weaknesses in us are what He sees as opportunities for His glory to shine through. To not embrace all that I am in Him is to miss out on a lot of beauty and excitement that He wants to reveal to me and through me.

It is so important because it glorifies Him for me to embrace the unique person that I am.

NGP: What is the main message you hope young women will take away from reading your book?

EMJ: I pray that young women will receive and respond to the message that God is pursuing their hearts. He desires to be in relationship with them personally, and from an overflow of this relationship, they may they live boldly and freely in Who He says they are. I hope they love others just as they themselves have been loved. May they be loved.

~*~
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 AmazonBarnes and NobleChristianBook


~*~
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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