I AM Project: Emily Routsala

Emily Ruotsala is a small-town girl. She’s related to half the town of Ironwood, Michigan, where she spent a very restless senior year in high school longing for something more. Her desire for adventure led her to Regent University in the fall of 2017, after completing a year at community college.

When Emily first arrived on campus, she applied to be part of Campus Ministries along with her friends. They all got in, but she was declined.  She felt far from the Lord and broken by the rejection.

After being at Regent for three months, Emily was encouraged to become a Life Group Leader on campus. This is an incredible position of leadership and a mentoring role at Regent. Emily was tentative to apply because she feared that she would face rejection again. Finally, she applied. She was declined again. Her heart broke, and she cried to God, “Am I not hearing your voice?” A full week went by where she slowly submitted to God. The school contacted her once again saying that a spot had opened up for her. God answered her cries.

Back home over the summer, Emily ended up with a job in a grocery store bakery—not exactly her dream job—and was humbled by God teaching her to be joyful wherever she was. “God says ‘you can do it and enjoy it,’” she said. “I learned that my joy is because I am with Him, and that’s just as big as a dream job.”

The summer wasn’t easy, though. Days that she didn’t work, Emily didn’t want to get out of bed, fighting against depression and lack of passion. Her lifelong mentor from her home-church had rejected her and once again, Emily had to learn to rely on God for her comfort.

I asked what she would describe God as in her story, and she responded, “God really is constant. People change and you can’t rely on circumstances. I am very stubborn and I want to do things my way, but my plans are often not the same as His.” This small-town girl has taken giant leaps of faith, and I’m proud to call her my sister in Christ.

Rachel Adams is a contributor to the Daily Runner.