Seeking my first love, I rise in the morning and God embraces me in His grace that is sufficient. As the soles of my feet hit the floor, I go to the foot of my bed and spend time with Jesus. I delight in His Word that is breathed by Him. He reminds me of Who He is and who I am in Him. I dwell in light and armor up in truth, for I also know that without question, the moment I rise, flaming arrows of deceit and attacks of darkness are coming.

My phone lights up with notifications and as many of us do, I get so excited to go and see what I am being notified about. Picking up my phone and going to social media, I don’t encounter the notifications that anyone would be hoping or expecting to see. I post pictures and videos about Jesus and how beautiful He is, and how He changed my life and how much He loves His people so unconditionally and recklessly. The videos that I post are filled with God’s truth and encouragement, and songs and joy.

Then there are the comments, though. The comments say that my singing makes ears bleed. The comments say that my eyebrows look like caterpillars and that my nose is too big. The comments. They ring loud and clear that I am brainwashed and that my faith is a fairytale. The perverted and disrespectful words sting and hurt. The comments say that I am crazy odd, and that I need to tone it down a little and that I love Jesus too much. People are tagging other people for simply the gratification of laughing at me together. I have been called an “annoying religious Disney princess”, “cringy”, and words so filled with hatred, that I didn’t even know those words existed until I had been called them.

The comments say that I need to be quiet. The comments say I don’t need to live anymore. They mock. They bully. They laugh. They poke. Like stones, they aim and throw a comment here and a comment there to see how they can make me fall. Sometimes, I wonder if the writers of these comments realize that there actually is another person on the other side of the screen. Another heart reading these words that have so much potential to tear apart. I have found myself sometimes looking in the mirror with all of the comments racing through my head, and wow…it would be so effortless to believe them, and sometimes in my human feelings, I momentarily do. Sometimes, even knowing that God is receiving the glory for it, I can’t help but cry because joy doesn’t always look like a smile.

But here’s the reason I keep going: I might get notifications full of these hateful words, but I have already been notified of God’s Word! My phone may have lit up with notifications devaluing my identity, but it came too late because before the beginning of time, my God spoke light into my identity. In the morning when I rose, God notified me with Who He is and who I am in Him already. This morning when I rose, I armored up in truth. Therefore, anything that comes my way that does not align with His Word, I speak truth over it. How is it possible that I can do this even when thousands of notifications come packed with rudeness and wickedness?

BECAUSE I HAVE ALREADY BEEN NOTIFIED AND APPROVED!

When I read the comments that I am not pretty, or my eyebrows look like caterpillars, or my nose is too big, I back it up really quick, and take note of what voice that is coming from.

I remember the comment of my God that declares I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

I am made in His image.

I am “the head and not the tail, I am the top and not the bottom”

I am “all together beautiful, beautiful in every way and “enthralling in the eyes of the Lord.”

I am the apple of God’s eye. I am His masterpiece.

I am clothed in strength and dignity.

I am chosen, holy, and dearly loved.

I am His treasure, called by name and filled with a greater joy.

 I remember that I have already received the notification from God that “I don’t have to fear or be dismayed, because He is with me and He is my God, and He will strengthen me and help me and uphold me with His righteous right hand”. I remember that I have already been notified that “I am not here for the approval of people, but of God”. I have already been notified that I am made without shame and because “the Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?” I am reminded that I am the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

The notification that “the Lord is my Shepherd and I lack no good thing” rings louder. He rejoices over me with louder singing, and quiets the storm of doubt in my heart with His love that never fails. I am squeezed on all sides, but not crushed because His hope is an anchor firm and secure in me. The notifications of the world still come and advance against me, I will even then be confident because my identity is not in the fickleness of society, but the foundation of truth.

If I allow what people say to determine how I act and decide who I am, I will be inconsistent and never become all that God designed me to be. If I fall into believing that I have to have every person like me, thinking that this is what “keeping the peace” means, in actuality I am allowing the enemy to rob the peace within myself.

In 2 Timothy 3:16, it says that “the Word of God is God-breathed, and it has been made profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” In this way, no matter the comment, I am equipped with truth to keep going and remember that I am in the world but not of it. I am equipped with the joy of the Lord that is my strength. I am equipped in the promise that in my weaknesses His strength is made perfect. And I am also equipped to even love the very ones who speak hatred over my life.

Hurt people hurt other people, and people are not my enemy. Those who send comments of discouragement and mockery don’t know how loved they are yet. What an amazing opportunity to love! For anyone can love those who love them back. When I began to see myself the way that God sees me, I couldn’t help but see others the way that He sees others. Jesus had every right and reason to quit on us and to give up on us, and not love us because of how we turn from Him and choose darkness instead of light, but He didn’t. And because Jesus didn’t give up on me when He had every right to, I will not give up on people, especially those who give me every right and reason to. Because Jesus raised me up, I choose to live my life lifting up others with His love that never fails, and truth that sets us free. The world tells us to love those who love us back, but to hate our enemies, but very truly Jesus tells us to love our enemies. To pray for those who persecute us, and to bless those who curse us.

Jesus came to this earth knowing that there would be those whose response would be in hatred, yet He still loved them. Because it is no longer I who live, but Christ Who lives in me, I pick up my cross, follow Him and love the world as He so loved regardless of the response. Jesus said that if the world hates you, remember that it hated Him first.

Not only does God’s Word equip me with strength to see myself as He sees, and receive His notification of my identity, but He also gives me the strength to continue speaking His notification and validation over the very ones who notified me with lies. Seeking my first love, I continue to rise in the morning…for there are still hearts that don’t know how loved they are. That in itself empowers my heart to press on. I rejoice being counted worthy to suffer for the Name that commented His approval on my heart before time began. WOW! This makes my heart smile bigger than my face can. I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me, including being the original Emma Mae Jenkins that God made me to be!

I can smile, dance, love and sing, and keep on posting and keep on speaking and keep on writing because I have already been notified.

What comments are you listening to?

Emma Jenkins

Author Emma Jenkins

More posts by Emma Jenkins

Join the discussion 25 Comments

  • Kensey Cleek says:

    That I’m worthless. I’m useless. Not pretty. That if I wore makeup and dressed cute I would have a boyfriend

  • Lola Harmsen says:

    Loved reading this and you!!

  • Christian Fontenot says:

    You’re amazing and I’m honored to be your sister in Christ Emma, if nothing else know that!

  • Kenzie Sprouse says:

    Sweet Kensey Cleek, you are definitely not worthless, but worth it because Jesus died on the cross for you (John 3:16) You are not useless, but you are special to Him! (1 Peter 2:9) You are so beautiful in Jesus name and their is not flaw in you! Your outer beauty does not define you, beloved one! You can wear so much makeup and dress very nicely, but it means nothing if you don’t have a beautiful heart! People look at the outsdie, but God looks at you heart! (1 Samuel 16:7) I know how it fills to be spoken lies to by the enemy, but that’s what they are- lies. You are perfect the way you are. God loves you so much! Praying for you! 🙂

  • Moniek Soepboer says:

    Emma this is so sad to hear because I think you are beautiful! You have such a sweet appearance! You are doing an amazing job and it is so helpful for me! I am not raised in a Christian home and have to do all things by my self as it goes on faith etc. You are such a helper and an example for me! You are amazing and know who you are in Him! I will pray for you and those who bully you! Lots of love, Moniek

  • Faith Desmoulin says:

    Emma please be praying for me I had to sacrifice a relationship and he was my first relationship, he was such a wonderful man Emma. But, the one thing he didn’t have that was kinda troubling my heart as well was God. I thought I could make it work. I was told so many times by other godly people that it will be hard. Then I fell into temptation and hurt him really bad. I eventually got his forgiveness but it took me about 3 days and nights to finally get the courage to do so. He has forgiven me and I said what I had to say and God really wanted me to let him go. But apart of me really misses him Emma. And apart of me is also really feeling so dirty and I cannot help but feel that I hurt a person so bad and I claim to be a Christian. I don’t know why I must suffer like this but my heart is so heavy and so full of hurt. I keep going into scripture and everytime I miss him, I pray for him. But, it hurts so much Emma.

    • Becca Kwon says:

      Hey Faith. I’ve been through something like this during my past year, and man this stuff is painful. But the Lord completely delivered me from my heartbreak, and he will do so completely for you as well. [THIS IS INCREDIBLY LONG. I AM SO SORRY. I JUST WANT TO EXPRESS THE POWER THE LORD HAS IN THIS AREA OF STRUGGLE, SO I FEEL CALLED TO SHARE THIS. AGAIN I AM SORRY.]

      I fell head over heels for a boy after my senior year of high school; he was my prom date, and that initiated my very first relationship. He was so kind, and he treated me like a princess. But as the situation was, he was not following Christ. And that took a very large toll on my relationship with God. My group of gal friends meshed with his group of friends, and we all became a large group of 20 or so friends. My life was built on this group, and my relationship to him. And that was during the summer after senior year, and it was the happiest I had ever been since childhood. We all departed for college, and we ended our relationship for that reason. But since we were all still friends, I kept in touch with them, and ended up having a very intimate connection to one of the guys in the group, my ex’s best friend. And before I knew it, we were in a long distance relationship, keeping this a secret from my ex and all of our friends. He was also not following Christ. It came to the point where we became very serious, and decided to tell my ex and the rest of our friends. And so destruction ensued during my month of winter break. My feelings got mixed up and confused spending time with our friends and my ex again, and while this was happening I was also trying to pursue an intimate relationship with the Lord. He told me I had to surrender these relationships to him, so I did. My relationship to my ex’s best friend ended all of a sudden, the Lord was cutting out all that was in the way between him and I, and then I realized how much that scared me. Because my heart was still stuck on my ex and the best friend, I ended up confessing my love to my ex, kissing him, and then the news of my relationship to his best friend ended everything. He blocked me on all social medias, I completely broke his heart. And his best friend I had been with stopped speaking with me altogether. And the news exploded in this friend group, and it completely divided our friends. I felt wrecked, absolutely one of the lowest points I had ever been. Guilt and shame took over, I couldn’t bear to live with myself over all this sin and destruction. Both of them had been angry and hurt by me, and neither of them had forgiven me. I felt dirty inside, angry at myself, and I no longer wanted to go on in my life. But the Lord came in with his incredible mercy and grace, and pulled me out of my pit. He healed me of my guilt and rid me of my shame, and gave me peace knowing he had forgiven me, and put a cloak of righteousness over me (Isaiah 61:10). He made me of my scarlet sin white as snow (Isaiah 1:18) and he was able to do so when I repented, raised my white flag, and when I actually completely surrendered my life to him. That was when he started showing me how he had a different plan for my life, and that these mistakes and regrets, as ugly as they were, how he would redeem them to help heal and save the lives of others and work them together for my good. None of these parts, even the hard and ugly stuff, ever goes to waste (Romans 8:28) and when we fully surrender our lives to him and decide to follow him with all of our hearts, that is when he can work all things together for our good. He showed me that following our hearts are indeed destructive (Proverbs 28:26) and it gives a foothold to the enemy. But when we follow him with our hearts, is where we are established in righteousness and in the safe shadow of his wings. This took a few months for me to be completely healed and whole and living in full joy, so take heart girl, for he has overcome the world (John 16:33). I still pray for the both of them, I pray for God’s healing and comfort over their lives. I pray for my group of friends that became divided. But in this, the Lord has also taught me to dance upon disappointment (This song sings on that: Heroes-Amanda Cook). The Lord is indeed greater than all things, and his ways are higher than ours. His will and his plans are far better and greater than the ones we could plan for ourselves, and our lives are truly for his glory, not our own. The enemy came to steal kill and destroy, but the Lord came to give us life and life more abundantly (John 10:10). What was hard was letting go of my obsessed and distressed feelings over this situation, but what I learned also is that the enemy was trying to make my world small, and was using this to distract me from seeing how big the Lord is, and all that he has in store for my life/his destiny for me. The Lord helped me let go of this too, and when I came to that place of actually trying to let go, that was when he was able to give me the truth of how to navigate moving forward from this situation, and the truth truly does set you free. I am so sorry this is so incredulously long, he did a transformative work with this area of struggle in my life. I hope you found this encouraging <3

  • Horse Rider34 says:

    Please pray for me recently I was bullied online by a girl who I thought was my friend it has been really hard for me and please keep me and my guy in prayer we have been struggling in our friendship because we want to be more than friends but our family doesn’t get along and so it’s been hard on us both

  • Michael Jackway says:

    This is absolutely beautiful. Thankyou for putting your time in effort into writing this and sharing your experience

  • Tori Pagliaro says:

    Emma- I want YOU to read this comment.

    You are uniquely and beautifully made. You touch the hearts of so many people across the world. I encourage and pray that you continue to find strength in being who God created you to be. You are so STRONG. You are so BEAUTIFUL. You are so SPECIAL. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, for encouraging me to walk boldly in my relationship with Christ. You are such a LIGHT in my life.

    Emma, if God brought you too it, He will bring you through it!

    With so much love,
    Victoria

  • Smith2002!Ellie Smith says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this story of yours!

  • Megan Clark says:

    This is beautiful and YOU are beautiful, from the inside out, from head to toe… you are COMPLETELY right. “We can’t even fathom what he has done from beginning to end…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Keep going. We’re running the race with you, love!

  • Madison Courtney says:

    Wow Emma!!! Honestly your unwavering love for Jesus is so inspiring to me 🙂 I pray that I would have a desire in my heart to seek Jesus and be like Him more and more every day and you really do set such a beautiful example for so many young women!! Thank you so much, you are so encouraging:) hoping to one day meet you at liberty and talk about Jesus!!:)

    much love, Madison Courtney

  • Mary Jane Wilkerson says:

    Emma, you are absolutely amazing!! BEST blog post EVER!! You inspire me & im SO blessed to call you my role model!! Keep Living 4 Jesus, it’s totally worth it!! ??

  • Sidney Sanderson1 says:

    You are such an encourager, Emma!!! ? Every word you say is clear evidence of the Lord’s love and grace being poured out of you! “People throw rocks at things that shine” and you shine Jesus’ light so brightly! Keep your head up and remember your ultimate purpose for building His kingdom is far more valuable than giving up your identity to please people! ??

  • Laura Keegan says:

    You are beautiful, lovely in every way Emma. We surely do love you. Thank you for being who God made you to be, walking in the light as He is in the light. Thank you for reminding me, who God says that I am in Him.

  • Caroline McMahan says:

    EMMA this was soooo encouraging. You have inspired me so much! You do NOT deserve the hate you get! BUT HOLD UP!! Guess what??? Jesus loves you, your supporters love you!! YOU have cahnged so many lives, and I just pray you never let the hate in. love them and wish them the best. I love this little blog, so awesome!! YOU are so loved. xoxo

  • Sarah Davis says:

    Wow. Just wow. You are so inspiring and so much more than those terrible comments and thank you for telling me that I am much more than that too. Love this post and you so much!

  • Olivia Wilbanks says:

    OH MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS. I am so overwhelmed by the truth of this blog and the power you have within you. I can fully relate to being made fun of by things you cannot change, and WOW I definitely needed to read this today. So often I find myself hating parts of my body or constantly wanting to change something about myself, but goodness, I am fearfully ad wonderfully made in the image of my sweet, sweet Jesus!!! There is nothing I should hate about myself but I should embrace every aspect and love them deeper. I have listened for so long to the lies of this world and what it expects me to be like, but no more!!! Thank you for this blog post, you have really reset a light within me. We are women of our Heavenly Father, and He is the ONLY one who speaks truth, love, pure grace, and lots and lots of wisdom. God bless you!!!

  • Brooke M. says:

    Praise the LORD for this blog post!! I needed this today! You have inspired me SO much to fall more in love with Jesus! You are so radiant for Christ and I admire you!
    I have a quick question… does anyone have encouragement for pulling away from the world and keeping my eyes on Jesus?! It can be so hard to be pulled by music, people, and so much more in this world. I want to fully surrender to Him and be completely, totally in love with Jesus! Just need a little prayer and encouragement. 🙂
    May Christ RICHLY bless you, Emma!! Praise God for His work in your life!! <3

    • Tereza Bayerova says:

      It is only when you spend time with Him that you start to fully love him, and start completely fixing your eyes on Jesus. Spend time with Him more and more :). Spend time in His word, praise Him (I like to even play worship music on my computer/phone, sit on the floor and just sing along), pray, just talk to Him about everything. You can dance with Him, draw, play an instrument for Him, or just simply be in His presence. Do whatever is dear to your heart :). He just wants to spend time with you so badly. You can also set a time when you are going to be with Him. I find that helpful. also surround yourself with good christian friends, because they also help so much when you want to fix your eyes on Jesus. 1. Corinthians 15:33 -Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” Soo those are my tips, hopefully you find them helpful. It is very simple. Just spend time with Him. The more you’ll seek Him, the more you’ll find Him and the more you’ll find Him, the more you’ll love Him (song – the more I seek you Kari Jobe)
      Praying for you sister 🙂 may you be richly blessed as well in Jesus name

  • Morgan DeVico says:

    Oh dear Emma, this is absolutely beautiful. I love your heart for the Lord and your desire to honor Him in all that you do. It inspires me. Thank you for being who God created you to be. You are lovely. 🙂

  • Savannah Kagz says:

    That is absolutely amazing! God is using you in such a great way, and as you pick up your cross, the unconditional love you give to those who hate you might just be the seed that will draw them to Christ. Thank you for your amazing effort in loving others more than yourself! God bless you!

  • Althea Carissa Martinez says:

    This is absolutely so ENCOURAGING! Thank you Emma for sharing this 🙂 we should really live Original. Cause we live to be different, to be separate from this world, separate from it’s values. Cause, it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me, in us those who accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. I live for Jesus! 🙂 I should keep reminding myself that. LOVE YOU!!! ❤

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