tonight i enjoyed a great word at church. i’ve been richly blessed by becoming a part of a start-up church here in austin called soma. i really enjoy the authenticity of the group as a whole, and it has just blown me away at every intersection. not that i aimed to be “entertained” or “pleased” in order to be a part of what God is doing…like i said this is a blessing.

i recall an email that my former pastor in lubbock, bobby d., wrote me last fall. i so enjoy keeping in touch with him since leaving lubbock, as i feel that fbc is really my church home. undeniably. i treasure the amazing relationship i’ve built with all of the dagnels. tennis with patti, texting with courtney. it’s good times. but bobby gave me a bit of wisdom, that at the time i had no idea what it would turn into. long story short, he told me how important it was to befriend my pastor, whatever church i ended up going to. i thought about this a TON as i searched out what church was for me.

i remember the first time i met with our pastor, jacob (over breakfast tacos…that is the way of austin, i’ve decided. a delicious way.), he asked me to describe, in my opinion, my idea of the worst church ever. weird question, yes? but that has seriously stuck with me ever since that first conversation.

well, let me back up a moment and tell you about how i even met jacob, and soma, and the whole lot. (the word “lot” sounded very british, consequently sounding “smart” in my head so i decided to go with it. yep.) this past july, God woke me up in the middle of the night. that’s right, i said it. He can do that. because He’s God. this had not happened in a long time. and all i say about that is…that before this, well, i call about last december (2007) until that moment…a time of mourning. don’t ask me to go into detail, unless you have about three hours to listen to something you probably don’t really want to hear.

so it’s july. middle of the night. God told me i was about to come into a new relationship. i didn’t know if this was like a dating/marriage relationship, or a friendship, or my relationship with Christ that was going to be renewed and worked on. He gave me a word about the dating thing. sort of. the only person i told about it was stephanie trook (haha!), but i knew that wasn’t all. sometimes it’s hard for me to talk about relationships with God. partly because sometimes you really do get what you pray for, in full force, and honestly, i’m skeptical, afraid, uninterested in a dating to marriage relationship, because i see so much brokenness around me all the time in this area. relationships and dating are SO hard, and especially since God has given me a specific word…most of the time i flat out don’t believe this is for me. but then again, i heard a similar story the other day of a pastor’s wife, i just met, who thought some of these very same things, made plans to move overseas and then met her now husband. see??? i’m terrified.

anyway. so God actually worked on me in all three of these areas. the very stinking next day, i got a facebook message from this dude named jacob vanhorn. “who is this guy?” i thought. ha. so a couple of breakfast tacos later, i learned that he had fished a couple of people out of a mutual facebook group we were both in, just trying to make contacts of people who might be looking for a church home in austin. i knew from this very first message that this was important. God wanted me to pay attention.

so turns out, jacob is one of those freaking people that God puts in your life that says something to you, from the Lord, EVERY time you encounter each other. jerk. just kidding! but you know, it’s not jacob, it’s who God is WITHIN jacob that gets me at the core. every time. it’s awesome. i don’t know many people like that.

tonight at church, jacob shared his testimony. it reminds me of a parable Jesus once taught (I think it was Jesus? wow, i feel a butchery coming on.) where basically the point was to whomever has sinned a lot, much is forgiven. God is a big God. He can take the tiniest, blackest heart and give it new life. not saying that’s where jacob was, but man…it’s just neat to hear stories like his. in a world where so many people ‘grew up in church’ or ‘is good enough to go to Heaven’ it’s refreshing to hear something crazy like this.

at the end of telling his story, jacob said there was a point where he and his wife were reflecting on all the blessings God had brought him since he became a believer in 1999, at the spry, young age of 28.

this has encouraged me to reflect and think alot about where i came from, and where i’m going. it just became a whirlwind in my head of all these past events, since leading lubbock, that lead me to tonight…sitting here, writing this blog post. how many times do we get to see God’s full plan come to fruition? not many times. and i’m by no means at the end, or am i seeing the whole package, but how cool, to be in a place where i can recognize the work of our amazing Creator.

at the end, jacob also admitted, with all conviction that he is lead astray easily. he said he needs God to hold him close, he doesn’t want to end up where he used to be, because he knows what he’s capable of. i thought of bobby’s email, and i think i’m beginning to undesrtand what bobby meant.

hmm. makes you think.

well. it had been awhile since i emotionally exploded on the blog, so i figured it was time, eh? hahha! i kid, i kid. but really. jacob…i raise my glass, of shiner 99 (you’re welcome), to you. thank you for being God’s hands and feet in a big way. (no, i’m not saying you have big feet.)


i hope i can be half of the encouragement to jacob and his ministry that they have collectively been to me. i don’t know many who would put up with my goofy emails and questions day in and day out like jacob does. thank you.

there are so many more things i want to say in this post. some of the things written might seem kind of broad. there are so many cool things within cool things, that have happened, too cool for words.

i guess in a way, i’m kind of chronicling one of those moments i’ll look back on a year from now and think, ‘wow look where God has brought me in the past year!’ i’m just feeling very blessed. and joyful. the skeptic in me wants to believe there’s a time of discipline around the corner, but i’m doing my best to put that worry aside, and enjoy Love.


sometime, i’ll tell you about christie, jacob’s bride, and her FIERCE runway walk. mmhmm. i wish i had a picture!

i figure i owe you people at least one more story about kosove, so that is coming up next.

thanks for reading.

5 thoughts on “reflections.

  1. Jacob Vanhorn says:

    Emily, you are WAY to cool to think I am that cool. It is my joy and my honor to have befriended you! And I look forward to mutually edifying one another as we grow!!

    I really am glad that you are with us girl. You have such a wonderful heart for Jesus and for others. And it is infectious.

  2. the Storm says:

    I just have to say that I am grateful for the phrase “emotionally exploded on this blog.” Now there are words to describe my occasional actions…

    I’m glad you’re my friend!

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