Emma Lenhart

Where are you from?

I am from a suburb on the east side of Cleveland.


What brought you to Chicago?

I came to Chicago to attend DePaul University as an undergrad. I wasn’t planning on going to college in Chicago, and was set on New York. But after touring DePaul, I fell and love and knew Chicago was the city for me.


What do you find challenging about living here?

Hmm. It’s hard for me to live here when my family lives back in Ohio, almost 7 hours away. I am a huge homebody, and super close to my family. So it breaks my heart to be away from them. I try and go home a lot, or else I feel like I’m missing out.


Why do you love it?

I love so many things about Chicago. I love that there is always something fun going on in the city. I love the creativity here, and how I’m constantly meeting new people,who are doing cool things in this city. I love the public transportation (funny, right?!) and the friends I’ve met here. I love the endless amount of restaurants and coffee shops I need to try. I could go on and on!


Why do you stay?

Right now, I stay because I am still in school and pursuing my degree! But after, I think I’ll stay because of how much I love it and how happy I am here.


How has community affected your time here?

DePaul doesn’t have a huge community feeling in my opinion, because a lot of people commute from the suburbs. However, Missio has given me a huge sense of community and it feels like home. I love the people, and how everyone I meet greets me with a smile. My gospel community has been awesome and has given me friends that love and live for God, which is something I’ve always wanted.


Can you speak into the creativity found in the Chicago community? How does it inspire you?

Yes! I’m a blogger, so I consider myself pretty creative. I can’t paint a masterpiece, but I can curate one heck of an Instagram feed! Being a blogger allows me to constantly network with other bloggers, photographers, and small business owners. It seems like the city is full of people doing cool, new things. And everyone, (in my opinion), is so open to collaborating or helping out. I love that.


When do you feel most empowered and comfortable in your own skin?


I struggle with insecurity a lot, but try to remind myself that I made in God’s image, fearfully and wonderfully made.I guess I feel the most comfortable in my skin when I’m around people that I know love me no matter what.


Has living in the city affected your style and the way you approach what you purchase / invest in. If so, how?

I’ve always been very into neutrals. Well, I take that back. In high school, I used to wear lots of color, etc. Then my senior year, I cut all my hair off, bleached it platinum, and really only wore black/grey/white. I was in the running for the “Most Changed Since Freshman Year” senior superlative. I’ve never really looked back since then and pretty much dress the same. I try to be minimal in my purchasing, but do believe in the power of treating yourself to a vanilla latte/cozy candle every now and then.


How has Chicago affected your worldview, if at all?

Chicago has definitely taught me how to be more empathetic towards our world and the humans on it. There are so many acts of injustice that occur here in Chicago, and it’s heartbreaking. But I know that it doesn’t happen just here. There is evil in our fallen world and the only thing that keeps me going is the knowledge that one day, God will set everything right. He is goodness, truth, and justice. Nothing gets by him.


With your being in school, how do you desire to use your time in Chicago, knowing you may move away after you graduate?

I really do not think I will move away when I graduate. Granted, I may be wrong, but I feel a strong pull to stay here. The first week that I moved to Chicago/DePaul, I texted my mom and said “I didn’t know I could even ever be this happy.” I hadn’t experienced the happiness I felt then, being in Chicago, for a long time.

If I do leave, I think I will always look back on these 4 years as some of the happiest of my life. (But God, if you’re reading this, please let me end up staying here!)


Is there any scripture that's been on your heart / resonated with you lately?

I’ve had the bible verse Isaiah 46:4 set as my phone background for a few months now. It says: “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue.” I am trying to rest on the idea of God sustaining my every need and want. God will sustain me, to the end.


On the contrary, if you're experiencing closeness with God, how might you encourage our brothers and sisters who are wrestling with believing God is real and for us?

This is me! A class I’m taking at school right now is all about Catholic/Christian history. It’s interesting, because the class is actually counting towards filling a history requirement for my degree, not a religious one. All of the passages and documents we’ve read have pointed towards the message of Jesus being a real man, who performed miracles, here on Earth. Even from a non-religious standpoint, it is pretty much impossible to ignore the existence of Jesus.

If that doesn’t strike you, I would tell you to go out into nature, or pick up a human anatomy book. How could anything else other than Our Maker create humans, plants, animals, etc. that are so painfully intricate and detailed? Whenever I learn something new about our world that blows my mind, I know that God is real. It doesn’t make sense for anything else, or any random occurrence to have created all of this.