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It's Okay to Slow Down
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About Jennifer Camp

Jennifer Camp, co-founder of  Gather Ministries, and author of  Loop, grew up in the middle of an almond orchard in Northern California and now lives in the busy Bay Area with her husband and three kids. A former high school English teacher, she loves to write, but she especially loves to encourage people to seek and live out the truth of their story, their identity in Christ. You can find her writing at her blog, Jennifer J. Camp .You can connect with Jennifer on both  Facebook  and  Twitter. She would love to have you join her there.

Jennifer Camp

Jennifer Camp
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Jennifer Camp, co-founder of  Gather Ministries, and author of  Loop, grew up in the middle of an almond orchard in Northern California and now lives in the busy Bay Area with her husband and three kids. A former high school English teacher, she loves to write, but she especially loves to encourage people to seek and live out the truth of their story, their identity in Christ. You can find her writing at her blog, Jennifer J. Camp .You can connect with Jennifer on both  Facebook  and  Twitter. She would love to have you join her there.

WHEN YOU HAVE EXACTLY WHAT YOU NEED

What You Need Now

It’s the waiting that is hard. Sometimes it’s the waiting for healing, physical or emotional. Sometimes it’s the waiting for hope, for the darkness to lift, for the sun’s rising in the morning to feel like possibility, not another opportunity to worry, to wonder if this day will be any different than the next.

It is heavy, the ache of lost hope. It has a smell, too–like decay, sometimes covered in the masquerade of new clothes, a tired smile, a pretend “fine” when it is the last thing  you feel.

SOMETIMES WE ACHE FOR WHAT’S NEXT WHEN WHAT’S RIGHT NOW IS ACTUALLY WHAT WE NEED.

 

What You Need NowSave

 

For months I was waiting to move back into our house, to be in the space I know and love. And now that we have moved back in, days before Christmas–and workers are almost out of our house on a daily basis–I am waiting for my arm to heal; I broke it while skiing on New Year’s Eve.

It is difficult to accept that a broken bone, the forced slowing down, the inability to do all the things I am craving to do–get organized after vacation, write for hours everyday, work out on the rowing machine–might be a gift.  I have felt tired of waiting–waiting to be home, waiting to have things settled, waiting to have time to think and listen and write. But what I can still do–and what I need to do more than anything else now–is sit in the quiet with my Father and let His voice pour into me.

Of course I want to move quickly and efficiently–get things done when I want them done. But maybe it is better that I can’t.

SURRENDERING CONTROL–EVEN BEING FORCED TO IT–IS A GIFT I NEEDED. I AM ACCEPTING THIS, BIT BY BIT.

 

When you have exactly what you need--even when it doesn't feel like it.Save

 

It was His words that made it all okay–easing my frustration of wanting things done the way I want them done. I was pulling on jeans this morning with one hand, wincing from the pain of bruised ribs and legs. We were unpacking from our trip, piles of clothes heaped below the washer in our kitchen, a mattress on the floor in our family room, where our oldest sleeps until the railings are built on his loft.

Wisdom from friends echo the words of the Father. “Listen. Wait.” And I realize how precious it is to be forced to slow. So, for now, I will try to be patient–listening for His voice without always wondering what’s next.

What hard-to-recognize gift is before you right now?

This post appeared originally at jenniferjcamp.com


this Advent get pulled in by God and fight fear

It can be awkward, fighting fear.

The times when your mind is too full and your heart is too aching and–when it is time to speak–tears come instead.

The noise is loud now, yes? The invitations to do and go and respond feel all too much?

I know.

I feel it too.

fight fear

The day before, I had stopped the car in front of our bungalow a few minutes before picking up the kids from school. The front yard a disaster–port-a-potty outside the house’s front window, storage units in the driveway, trailer piled with remodel debris parked in front of the porch. The house must be made a mess before it is made beautiful–yes, I know. But still, after six months. I miss home.

But it is not just this home, I miss.

I know.

“I see Him in front of me as I look down. He puts His hand underneath my chin and lifts my face to His.”

“I find Him in the mornings. I need Him to fill me. I’m missing Him when I don’t spend the first part of every day with Him.”

“We are at the table, my family and me. I see us all together. And then there is Jesus, way at the other side of the room, waiting. I see Him. He asks me if I would like Him to draw near.”

I know.

We need God to meet us, equip us to face what makes us weary–the shopping, the agenda, the shuttling from one thing to the next, the loneliness from forgetting He is here, right here.

fight fear

Yes, He is here, in the moments of hurry, but we don’t see Him. Yes, He is here, in the pressure to get through a day, but we miss Him.

We ache from missing Him. Over and over again.

I sit in the car and remember what He said when I asked Him what Advent means: turning.

“Advent is the time of waiting for what is already here, who has already come. It is a time of turning–turning inward to study your heart. Turning inward to listen for my voice. Turning inward to heed what is true. Advent is for emptying oneself to receive joy in abundance.”

And this is the kind of invitation I need–the invitation to turn toward Love, toward Life; the invitation to lay down fear, anxiety, pressure to perform by culture’s dangerous and manipulative standards.

I turn toward Jesus, and I am filled, equipped to face this battle that will otherwise kill my heart.

Turn, my soul, turn.

What is it going to take now, soul, to turn toward Home, toward Heaven that is within me this moment, right here?

Let Me pull you toward me, love. I am here. Let Me pull you deeper in.

And I open my hands, and I open my heart, hungry to be sustained by Love.

So again, I choose.

Pull me in, Father.

Again I choose.

fight fear

And it is not difficult this time, this act of surrender, to turn. I am too weary, too famished for Him to not let Him pull me in. This is how I will be equipped to love my friends, love my family, write in truth, work with steadfastness. I will let God pull me in.

In the mornings, when I read His word. In the car, when I am alone and I picture Jesus’ face, or the face of my Father. In the work day when I ask Him what it is I need to do, what task is for me to complete. In the afternoon-evenings when the whole family stretches out in different corners and dinner is cooking and I seek His patience, His energy, to coax/love another child and not yell. In the night when I lay my head down and ask Him for His touch to quiet me.

Pull me in, Father. Pull me in closer, closer still.

What weight is on your heart now, sister? What does it look like for you to turn?

This Advent, let us let God pull us in. This is how we fight the fear perpetuated by our culture.

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Jennifer J. Camp is the author of Breathing EdenLoop, and Loop Advent.

This post appeared originally at jenniferjcamp.com


Loop Advent: be part of the conversation with God this Christmas

It was days after the launch of Breathing Eden, when my soul was weary, that I began listening to God’s whispers.

The house dark, a blanket pulled across my shoulders, I sat on the floor, reading Scripture, asking Him what it is He thinks about Advent, this season of both awaiting the birth of Christ and celebrating Christ who has already come.

I wondered what God might say if we asked Him how we should celebrate, how we should prepare our hearts, how we can be present with Jesus in this busy season? So I asked Him, and I waited for answers. And like I did with Loop, I wrote it down.

Loop Advent

And these four letters are Loop Advent, four beautiful devotionals, one to read during each of the four weeks of Advent. And there are four unique 8 x 10 art prints inspired by His words–to print out on watercolor paper or card stock, too.

I love what the words in Loop Advent say . . .

Loop Advent invites us into God’s part of the conversation when we ask Him these questions: What is Advent? What gets in the way of us celebrating and participating in it? How can we look for You, God? How can we find You? How do we celebrate Your coming in a culture that wants to rob us of peace, hope, joy? What is unique about this particular Advent season for us? How can we trust that we are part of the story You are writing in our heart, this Advent season, right now?

Loop Advent printsI wanted God to inspire how I can be present with Him this Christmas. And His words here–surprising and comforting, encouraging and challenging–push me toward Him, just where I want to be.

I wanted God to inspire how I can be present with Him this Christmas.CLICK TO TWEET

Advent starts on Sunday, November 27.  I pray, in the pages of Loop Advent, you hear His voice in your heart as He speaks to you.

Get Loop Advent on Kindle                    Get Loop Advent as a PDF

Loop Advent

This post appeared originally at jenniferjcamp.com