Posts tagged Christian Living
And now we Wait
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We are due for an Adoption update here on Campbell House. Now that we are in the waiting period, there honestly isn't much going on with our Adoption, just some behind the scenes stuff.  

It's kind of weird. Some days, I think about what our baby might look like or what it will be like when the baby is in our care. Other days I don't think about it at all. I think that's the way it's supposed to be right now.

The whole Adoption process is like the ocean. Some days the waves are high and constant, meaning there's always something to do and you have to get it done at that very moment and you feel like you're downing a little bit. Other times the waters are totally still and you look to your partner and say, "is there something we're supposed to be doing because I feel oddly calm about this?" 

Right now, we are in one of those calm times. We are waiting for the phone to ring. We're waiting for a message from our Adoption Worker. I'm not going to lie, I've been tempted to call Kristen more than once asking if there was any news or if there was something we could be doing to make our profile better. Thankfully, I've resisted that temptation. 

But as for how we are doing with the waiting, I"m happy to report that we're doing really well!

Occasionally, sad thoughts and feeling come over though. When I dip into the negativity of waiting, it brings out hurtful questions, "Is something wrong with us? Why isn't anyone selecting us? I guess we're not fit to be parents. We're never going to get a baby." Yeah, it escalates quickly! Fear and uncertainty in the middle of waiting goes from 0 to a 60 in an instant. 

BUT, those thoughts don't last long because I've been claiming and hanging onto this verse for the past few months, 

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again; Rejoice! Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
— Philippians 4:4-7

That's been a favorite passage of scripture for a long time, but it means so much more to me in this season. I am petitioning God daily to bring us our baby at the right time and I trust that it's going to happen. That deep trust and faith helps me NOT dwell on the waiting.

My mind swirls with excitement as I think about what it will be like to be a mother. Until then, I can be confident that God is working behind the scenes, preparing us, preparing the birth mother, and working everything out for the right time. There's no need for me to dip into those negative waters.

If you're wondering how you can help, you can pray. Pray for us in the waiting and and pray for our baby that he/she is safe (or will be safe) and developing (or will develop) properly.

You can also help us continue fundraising. We are so blessed by how people have shown up and given to our adoption fund. Definitely blows my mind and I cry when I think about it. We have a little ways to go and every little bit helps!

 

We will be doing another t-shirt fundraiser closer to the fall (sweatshirts, hoodies, long sleeve t-shirts!). I've joined up with Young Living as a distributor as a side hustle to support this and future adoptions (YEP!). I'm sure that we'll have other fundraising opportunities pop up randomly as well. We love our community and love that everyone is supporting us!!

Here's to waiting! Every day brings us closer to our baby. 

Truths you can Always hang Onto
Photo by Mia Baker on Unsplash

I've just started reading the book of Ephesians and I wanted to share with you some major truths from chapter 1. 

The whole first chapter looks like a rainbow in my Bible (I use a highlighting method) and that means that things are clicking and deep heart connections are being made. As a Believer it's important to have constants or "always-es," as I like to call them, in your life. Yeah, I made that word up, but you get what I mean, right? Below are some truths that we can ALWAYS trust, no matter what. 

Truth #1

Always remember that you are chosen to do God's work. It was His plan all along that you would belong to Him, adopted as one of his own. 

Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before him. 5 He predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ for himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace that he lavished on us in the Beloved One.
— Eph 1:3-6

This truth is extra special to me right now because "Chosen" is our adoption theme. You can read more about that here. 

Truth #2

Always remember that God operates on THE TIMELINE. He's always on time because His timing is perfect. 

7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace 8 that he richly poured out on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9 He made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he purposed in Christ 10 as a plan for the right time—to bring everything together in Christ, both things in heaven and things on earth in him.
— Eph 1:7-10

Truth #3

Always remember that you can trust God's plan. He's got a great plan and an inheritance of his children. 

11 In him we have also received an inheritance, because we were predestined according to the plan of the one who works out everything in agreement with the purpose of his will, 12 so that we who had already put our hope in Christ might bring praise to his glory.
— Eph 1:11-12

Truth #4

Always remember that once you accept the gift of salvation, you are sealed in Him, in His family. Nothing you can do, think, say, or feel can separate you from God. I used to struggle with doubt, big time. Thankfully, I don't struggle with that doubt anymore. I can confidently know that my salvation is sealed. It's done. 

13 In him you also were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed. 14 The Holy Spirit is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of the possession, to the praise of his glory.
— Eph 1:13-14

Truth #5

Always remember that you can ask God for things. You can ask for things like wisdom, revelation of knowledge, an enlightened heart to know his immeasurable greatness. He's an open handed God and wants to bless His children. 

17 I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what is the wealth of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the mighty working of his strength.
— Eph 1:17-19

Truth #6

Always remember that Jesus rules over everything. It's His position. It's His place. Nothing is above Him. When things are going sideways, you can always trust that God is seated above everything. Everything is under His feet. 

20 He exercised this power in Christ by raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens— 21 far above every ruler and authority, power and dominion, and every title given, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he subjected everything under his feet and appointed him as head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.
— Eph 1:2-23

I've been thinking about these "Always-es" for the past couple of days. I like knowing where I can look to when I need to be encouraged. Even though these truths are there, sometimes they are hard to remember. It's easier to give over into fear and doubt or question God about why ______ happens or happened.

Our faith can run deeper than that. We can choose to trust God no matter what! If you are a Jesus follower, I want to encourage you to think about these truths along with me. I'm sure you could write them out more elegantly than I did. Make some "always-es" for yourself in your own words. Tailor them to your life and circumstances. 

If you aren't a Jesus follower and don't really know what I'm talking about, that's okay. I hope that you're encouraged by the Hope that Jesus gives. 

- JJ

How to Read your Bible (well, how I read mine!)
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Something that's different about 2018 compared to my last few years is how I'm reading my Bible. Being a pastor's kid, I've always been involved in church. I knew from an early age that reading your Bible was important. Years of Sunday School, Awana, and Bible Drill definitely helped me become familiar with the Scriptures, but it's taken me a little while to really figure out reading my Bible in a way that makes sense to me. And you know what, that's totally okay. 

Your relationship with Jesus is a personal relationship, meaning that it's hard to copy and paste a Bible Reading method without personalizing it. 

In the past I would rely on devotional plans with more emotional depth than scripture depth. They were great and I love devotionals, but I found myself scared to read my Bible on my own. I became really dependent on those devotionals or books for my Bible reading. I was fearful that if I just read scripture out of the Bible, I wouldn't be learning because I wasn't smart enough to know what was really going on. 

That sounds crazy, right? Maybe you've had similar thoughts and feelings. I'm thankful that I changed those thoughts and feelings over time. Now, I wake up ready to READ, learn, and journal. That desire has been lacking in my life for years. I'm incredibly thankful that the desire to read my Bible is present, but it's become a total necessity in my life. 

I want to share with you how I've figured out what works for me and the steps I took to get here. 

Prayer

During those times when I wasn't reading my Bible and couldn't finish a devotional plan to save my life, I would pray this very simple prayer, "God, please give me the desire to read your Word." I wouldn't say it every day, but when I would think about it. When I felt hopeless and like I was being left out because all of these other people have a dynamic Bible reading relationship, I'd ask God to help me want to read the Bible. 

So, if you are in a place like I was where there was no consistent reading and DESIRE to read the Bible, start with prayer. Ask God to help you WANT to read the Bible. 

Start with the Familiar

It was the beginning of 2018 and I could feel that a desire to read was kindled in my Spirit. That sounds crazy, but it was God answering my prayer. I knew that I loved the book of Romans. It has been years since I read it, but I knew some of the most meaningful passages of Scripture were found in the book of Romans.

I ALMOST tried to look up a devotional or book that guided you through Romans, but I didn't. There was a 3 week breakdown of reading Romans with "going deeper" passages and I chose that instead. I wish I could say that I flipped to Romans everyday and read the book within the allotted time period. I didn't. It was very hit and miss, but the point was that I READ THE WHOLE BOOK. My first goal was just to read the book of Romans. It didn't matter how long it took me, I was going to read the whole book, not just the first 3 chapters. I was BREAKING the cycle of starting something, but not finishing it. 

The more I read, the more other desires came back. I started jotting things down in my journal. I used to be a big journaler, but quit a long time ago. The desire to write down some thoughts came back, so I did it. Pretty soon I was filling up a couple of pages each morning with musings, prayers, and thoughts about my life and whatever chapter I was reading in Romans. 

Make it Colorful / Find what works for you

After I finished the book of Romans, I went right along to 1 Corinthians. Every week I was becoming more and more consistent in my Bible reading. Reading 1 Corinthians was AWESOME. I asked God to show me things, and HE DID. I took what I was learning and started putting it into practice and God has CONTINUED to show me new stuff! 

As I was reading, I was underlining scriptures and putting those notes in a journal. I wanted to do it differently though. I wanted to start marking up passages in my Bible and making notes in my Bible. I was looking for a really simple Bible Journaling method. I wish I could doodle and write pretty like the Bible Journaling I see on Insta and Pinterest, but I knew that I just needed to stick with basics -- highlighting and note taking. 

I follow Jordan Lee on Facebook and Instagram (she's a great follow!) and stumbled upon her Brighten your Bible resource. I went out and bought a pack of highlighters the next day, y'all! Doing this method has been so helpful for me. It helps me make connections and really see deeply what's going on in the passages. 

You may not love this method like I do, and that's okay! You can figure out what works best for you. I love color and I love notes. This works for me and it's been super beneficial in going deeper in my Bible reading. 

I am very thankful that I've made my Bible journaling a regular thing. I feel like I have more purpose and I'm more aware of what's going on in my life. I feel much more calm and centered. God's Word really is living and powerful. YOU CAN read it and learn things. You do not have to be a Bible scholar to be able to understand what the Bible says. If I can do it, you can do it too! 

If you find you're in a place like I was where there was no desire to read and fear of not understanding, start praying. Ask questions. Start where you are familiar and then find what works for you. You can do it! I'll help you! All you have to do is ask.