This is posted on Biola’s Website . There is also a short video link below. If I knew how to upload it here I would!
Before Emily Mohler’s father passed away during her senior year of high school, she felt like she had a critical decision to make: hold onto her faith in God or let go. Two years earlier, she had fallen on her knees in prayer after learning that her father had been diagnosed with three stage-four brain tumors. Since then, her faith had become a rollercoaster.
Struggling with where God was in the midst of pain, she found herself in a hopeless place, she said.
“It wasn’t until I went to Ukraine the summer before my senior year … [that] I felt God really speaking to me and saying, ‘You don’t have to feel this pain anymore. I have already accepted you as my own,’” said Emily, now a freshman art major at Biola.
That trip to Ukraine — a church trip to teach English — changed her perspective as she held onto the truth that God loves her. For Emily, it was perfect timing.
“November of my senior year, my dad passed away because of the cancer,” she said. “I feel like if I hadn’t let God come back into my heart and let him refresh me and cleanse me again then I would not be here at Biola.”
Today, Emily walks the campus her father walked as a professor just two years ago. Her dad, Jim Mohler, was co-chair of the biblical and theological studies department at Biola’s Talbot School of Theology.
“I feel like I’m supposed to be at Biola because it feels so at home, so warm to me,” said Emily. “I can meet someone new and they automatically feel like family. This is where I belong at this point. This is where God is going to teach me new things.”
With a calling to youth ministry, she desired the foundation of biblical studies Biola implements into classes and considered studying Christian education, stating she comes alive when helping at her church’s youth group — a trait she most likely inherited from her parents who both have degrees in Christian education. Emily jokes she was raised by a pack of wolves, because there were junior high students constantly at her home growing up.
However, Emily decided to major in something she has experienced as a gift from God — art.
“I feel like God has used art in some ways to bring me closer to my dad and closer to God through the process of grieving and through the process of being frustrated with his illness,” she said. “But at the same time I feel like God also put a pause, put a halt on my creativity for a while so I could become closer to God through that time.”
An artist at a young age, Emily remembers visiting the Art Institute of Chicago with her mom and standing close to the art, studying the technique of a painting. Her love for art was quickly noticed and her parents and others gave her watercolors to explore with. Her artistic side grew into photography and mixed mediums — something she looks forward to exploring more at Biola.
“It definitely is starting a brand new chapter with art,” Emily said of her classes at Biola. “At this point, I just want to use the gifts and talents he has given me for his benefit. I want it all to be worshipful.”
That’s Emily’s forte — worship. Whether ministering to junior high students at church as her parents did for most of her youth or creating art, her heart is to worship the Lord and not let go. Excited for her Bible courses and learning Scripture in and out of the classroom at Biola, she’s hopeful that the coming years will be a time of growth as an artist and as a Christian.
“I’m really excited for the journey ahead,” Emily said.
Written by Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator. For more information, contact Jenna at 562.777.4061 or email@example.com