From Religion to Redemption

I love stories of “Putting the Pencil Down” and letting God lead us through life. I could not be more excited to introduce you to my dear sweet friend Hakan. The first time I met him I knew I needed to hear his story. Now I am thrilled to share it with you!

World meet Hakan.

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I want to begin by saying Thank you to my new and dear friend Lindsay for giving me the opportunity to share on her blog!! Lindsay, your love for God and people has been an inspiration to many of us and we are blessed to have you here in LA!

I feel very excited and thankful to be able to share…

My name is Hakan Emden and incase you are wondering I’m from Turkey:) I have been called many different names including ‘how come’ and ‘chaka khan” ….Haha

I love sharing what God has done in my life…I can write about this forever….Here is my life story in short!

I grew up in Turkey with a loving family and I thank them for raising me, I am so grateful.

At the same time we all have issues that we carry from our past and childhood and so did I.  I personally dealt with situations that were tough and I ended up with a lot of fear as a child. I was raised in an Islamic culture and I practiced the Muslim faith. Occasionally fasted, prayed, had a deep respect for God (I can still recite some of the Islamic prayers) and followed as best as I could.

After my dream of being a professional soccer player was over with an injury, in 2001 I found myself in United States…Pursuing and feeling that something special was going to happen here!

What does one ultimately want out of life? Why do we live?  I asked myself.

I was certain that if I pursued and accomplished my dreams and desires I would be happy and fulfilled!  At the end of the day I was certain that a good career, owning a house and a car and ultimately a relationship (marriage and having kids) would be the climax of life!  So I went on…I was so motivated to make it in this life…lets do this!! I have worked at many different jobs (six flags, gas station, coaching soccer, modeling, personal training) and eventually things have gotten much better. There was period of 3 years in my life, where I had gotten involved with many relationships and hurt many people, trying to make more money, partying pretty hard!

In 2009 everything seemed like it was falling in place, I pretty much had everything I wanted and life was moving forward but in that same year…something started happening to my heart! I started thinking “what is the purpose of my life?”  “When is it going to be enough?”…it is always the next job, bigger house, more money, better car, that dream relationship…but there had to be something more in life than this??? Seemed like my happiness was depending on my circumstance….I always believed in the existence of a God and I said; God there has to more to this life…what if I gain the whole world tomorrow, one day I’m  going to die and they bury me under that ground and IT’S OVER!!!!!!! 

I knew at that point in my heart that what I was looking for was Eternal…there was a gap in my heart that needed to be filled…and nothing in this world was able to!

So I began searching intensely and with an open heart…I picked up a Quran and a Bible and said ; God show me the way…and the Bible spoke to my heart like no other book did!  I remember the very first scripture that spoke to me, I opened my Bible randomly and I read …what is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. (James 4:14)….I was astonished!  These words not only spoke to my mind but penetrated into my heart!  Than Jesus spoke to my life…. Love your enemies (Matthew 5:44)   Jesus said;  There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friend (John 15:13)..and soon I realized that Jesus has laid down His life for me, demonstrating the greatest love anybody can encounter! I became a Christian 5 years ago at the age of 33:) and it has completely changed my life, my heart…I feel this eternal sense of Love now, I found so much Joy and healing through God and ultimately unfailing love that no one can give you!

I can write about this forever….You see all of my life I viewed God and religion as bunch of rules and regulations, do’s and don’ts…And I came to discover that it is a beautiful relationship…The Bible is the most romantic Love story you will ever read that is written for you and I!  I’m in Love with God now and I want to share this love with the world! 

If I can finish with a thought about my heart…and where my life is today…This scripture will summarize it well…

Matthew 13:44

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, when a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field”

Thank you for reading, I love you all, I bless you all and Joy Joy Joy:)

If you want to talk more email me at hakanemden@gmail.com or comment below to keep others in the conversation.

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