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Emilee’s Personal Faith Story

Omaha Church Member Shares Her Story of Being Set Free

Stories are powerful and when you share the story of how God transformed your life, it can transform other people’s lives and can impact where they spend eternity. That’s why at Candlewood’s Omaha Church, we encourage people to write out their personal faith story as a way to share their faith with others.


In this blog post, Emilee Brandl, one of our Omaha church member’s, shares how Jesus transformed her life. Read her full personal faith story below:

emilee omaha church member

Amounting Up

I grew up in a loving family with nothing too crazy happening in my life. In elementary school, I started working really hard to gain acceptance through good grades and athletics. I thought that if I could earn the approval of others then the void in my heart would be filled. I strived to be wanted. So, I poured everything into sports, school, and relationships; however, it didn’t matter how tirelessly I tried or what awards I earned, the void remained.


I knew something was missing, but regardless of what I tried to fill it with, all my attempts were temporary fixes that always left me wanting more. I felt worthless and empty, and I was exhausted from the tireless striving.

Accepting a Gift

As a freshman in high school I became involved in Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and attended a weekend conference where I heard the message of God’s love and grace through Jesus Christ. The speaker shared a Bible verse that changed my life.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Ephesians 2:8-9

I had been striving to earn acceptance, yet with this one verse, my prior mindset was shattered.  Everything I had been doing up to this point in my life was for my glory, my praise…and it all came to nothing. What I had searched for and had worked so hard to gain for years had instantly been satisfied in Jesus. Jesus paid my penalty for sin through his death and resurrection because He loved me, because He wanted me.

Set Free

That night I let go of my craving for attention, my feelings of worthlessness, my fear of rejection, and being paralyzed by not knowing my purpose. Those things had controlled my whole life.  They commanded my thoughts, my speech, my actions, my feelings, everything!


I had always put so much value on gaining others’ approval; however, my encompassing need for acceptance was fulfilled when I opened my heart to the redemptive love of Christ. The chains had finally been broken.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

Galatians 5:1

I had been enslaved to

  • my guilt
  • the fear of man
  • worthlessness

God had lifted the burden of pleasing people off my shoulders. He removed the guilt and shame of my sin. He set me free and gave me the strength to stand firm. I had been carrying weight that I was never intended to carry.


He liberated me to be who He created me to be, and, finally, I didn’t have to change who I was to be accepted and wanted because His love is unconditional. Nothing I could ever do could make Him love me any more or any less. His love changed my life, so now my daily heart cry is:

“He must increase but I must decrease.”

John 3:30

I believe God is asking me to stop thinking about everything I’m not and to rest in who He is.


  • He is peace in the midst of chaos.
  • He is strength when I’m weak.
  • He is The Truth in a world full of crushing lies.
  • He is perfect, so I don’t have to be.  


The more I know Him, the more alive and loved I feel and that compels me to live my days so differently, for Him and with Him.

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Learn More About Candlewood Church

We are so thankful that by God’s grace, through faith, He set Emilee free from her chains. We celebrate that Emilee has found new life in Jesus Christ our Savior and invite you to experience that new life as well.


If you are interested in learning more about the love of Jesus Christ and how He can set you free, connect with our Omaha church today at 402.991.5152 or At Candlewood Church, we know that it can be intimidating going any new place, let alone a new church. Yet, we hope that you choose to join us! You are welcome regardless of where you may be at on your journey.

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