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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.

Our Warring Hearts

You call my name, and I hear you. I am not pressed too hard, I am not overwhelmed and forgotten. You are here now, Jesus. I can see you. I can see you with my eyes closed. I can hear you from deep within me. This is where you pursue me. In the deepest place of my heart. I run there; I want to stay here, with you.

Last week, we wrestled, you and I. You know how I struggle with transitions. I want so much for spontaneity to be my attribute, yet, still, I prefer the certainty of things planned. But I trust in you. I trust that you see what I cannot. I trust that you are good. I trust that you love me. I trust that you have me. I trust that you never leave me. I trust that you fill me and equip me with your more and more and more.

Last week, as I put the women’s group we lead together on summer hiatus, you leaned in close. This was the wrestling the two of us did–my aching with fear that I was letting you down, and you pointing out how self-contempt was once again pressing in. No, you said, I am not a failure; no, you said, I am not disappointing you. You reminded me how you pursue me from a true place–and if I push to make things work because of pride or fear–I am not being true, I am not following your heart.

And Jesus, I want to follow nothing else but your heart.

You reminded me how true leadership comes from the overflow of relationship with you–and when I have to push and pull to make things work on my own strength, I must step back, lean in close to you. I must ask you to search my heart, seek your wisdom that I may give from being filled with you. What I give–that is good–comes only from you.

And then, when the loneliness came–the worry that the women might not come back in the fall, that I messed this all up by pausing what was just getting started–you came, arms open wide. I heard you: This is a season of healing, dear one. Your vulnerability is your strength. Your weakness is where I come to fill you. You will always need me. And there are some places in you where we still need to go. There is always more. Come, my darling. Come, I am right here.

So this summer, as my little girl heart seeks the healing of her Father, I step back from the group I just started and trust the outcome of the decision to Jesus. I bury my face in the folds of his arms. I look for his hand and hold it fast. I listen, and the words he speaks bring light and joy and peace.

I continue to speak the truth, not fear, to my warring heart:  In the turbulence of a world gone mad, Jesus, you are constant; you are sure. In the ache of the ones who feel forgotten, Jesus, you stand tall; you do not leave. Jesus, you know heartache; you know pain; you know sickness; you know grief. You know exhaustion; you know war.

So, it is where you go that I want to follow. You lead me, Jesus. You lead me deeper into the place where you beckon, you invite, you move. You know the plan. You have me. You are peace.

Is there a way your heart feels at war with Jesus? How is he inviting you to come closer to him–accept the good for you that he has?

Don’t miss the episode by Rush Podcast: Rescue from Self-Contempt.

 

This post appeared originally at jenniferjcamp.com


When Self-Contempt and Jesus Collide

I came back for you.”

I hear you say it, your hand at the small of my back, your arms holding me. For years it was my Father’s voice I recognized. Opening my imagination. Cracking open my heart. When I see me with him. When I hear his voice.

But I didn’t think I could hear yours. Or think I ever wanted to.

I let myself believe that you, underneath the almond tree, eyes filled with tears, stayed only because you couldn’t help it. You couldn’t not be there, loving me, despite me. Because you are Love. Because rescue is what you do. Because rescue is who you are.

I twisted your acts of love into an act of obligation. Not choice. Not beauty. Not treasure. Not freedom. Not life.

A part of my heart rejected you, held you off.

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I did this even though I knew your sacrifice, your surrender, your suffering, your death, was all a choice. Everything you did was what you chose to do. But I made you small. I warped the truth and said it didn’t apply to me.

Despite the truth. Despite how you came. Despite how you returned me to myself, restored my broken heart, turned darkness into light, and ransomed me.

I wanted to retain control, keep punishing myself by hating myself. But now you teach me this: When self-contempt defines a person, and generational wounds cut deep, kindness to self can feel like a mountain impossible to climb, a summit impossible to reach. But you smash through our self-hatred with a love that rattles heaven. 

“I came back for you.”

Yes, you did.

Yes, you do.

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We hear you.

We see you. We know your laughter.  We feel your breath against our cheek. Your strength upholds us. Your kindness fills us. We dance. And you help us each to stand.

We trust your steps. How you guide us forward, and then back. You invite us to let our arms fall to our sides and then lift them up. The air is sweet, grass lush and soft underneath our bare feet.

We hear your music. Feel it in us. Respond to it with hands open, our feet running now.

Waterfall pounds ahead. River wild rushing hard. We know it is okay to jump. You are here. You will catch us. You show us what we didn’t know before: we love to dance, yes. But we also love to race on rapids with you.

You are taking us deeper now. We see you. We will follow you where you go.

Be safely unpredictable, Jesus. Be extravagantly sure. You are the beautiful one. The brave one. You take us to places messy and wild. Show us more. Show us more. Make us ready to say yes, to wherever you call, and go.

It is easier for us, Jesus, to believe in our despicable nature than surrender, let ourselves be loved anyway, despite it being the last thing we deserve.

But, Jesus, life with you is just too goodyou are too good, to not trust you. Help us do whatever it takes, whatever it takes, for more, more of you.

Jesus, help us recognize our biggest struggle right now. Is it trusting you? Is it facing our fears? Is it letting you into the silent, darkest places of our hearts and trusting you to come and heal? Is it doing the hard work of dying to self? Is it following where you lead?

We thank you for how you come, how you are here, how you come back for us, rescuing us, again and again. Never stop. And help us go forward with you, in all that you have for us. In your name we pray, Amen.

This post appeared originally at jenniferjcamp.com


Why I Can’t Trust Myself, and Why That Has to Stop

It is time for me to admit I have no answers. To admit that I am not yet free. Confession: I hurt people around me. And I do this by idolizing myself. And success. And being right.

When the self is an idol, the whole world, the way I perceive it, is warped. Even now I struggle to trust my own words, my feelings, my voice–a deep-seeded wound I thought was uprooted years ago. I don’t know if I can trust myself.

I know I can’t. Not yet.

So, you clearly shouldn’t trust me. But know this: it is truth I attempt to write here.

Here, I seek transparency, authenticity. I want to be free from pretending, hiding. I want to not fake that things are okay when they’re not.

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Yeah, read at your own risk. But know this: by sharing my heart here, rather than desperate private words scribbled into journals, I will be committed to pursuing a heart stripped of everything else but God.

I do not write for the hope of self-medication or therapy or cathartic release. Yet, I believe that my writing here is a step toward healing. It is an act of standing in the room, hands empty, arms at my side, saying I don’t know what to do but my Father does. My Jesus does.

I don’t know what to do, but I step forward now, saying, with you here, that I am broken, and I am tired of hurting people. I am tired of condemning myself and–out of that self-condemnation and personal insecurity–wounding the people I should be loving the most.

I am tired of taking words people say to me–people who, while not flawless, are pursuing God and can be trusted–and assuming it is a personal attack on my heart. I am tired of feeling trapped, insecure about my worth–believing lies that my doing is more valuable than my being. 

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Here is what I know: I don’t want my belief about who I am to continue to hurt the people around me. I need to believe the definition that is true: I am beloved, chosen, an adored daughter of God.

So, in these posts for a while, I will be attempting to document my steps toward shedding the false self that clings to me, suffocating me, paralyzing me. For too long I have kept it on me, draped like a slimy, tentacled cloak. For too long it has gripped my heart. I hate it, despise it. And for too long I have let it trick me to despise myself rather than it. For too long I have condemned the self God loves. For too long I have believed I have needed to protect myself from the people who want to love me.

There is more to say. But I won’t hurry the words.

I am still trying to trust them.

  • This is the first post in a series where I talk about my wrestling with self-condemnation. Please subscribe to join me. I could use the company, for sure.

This post appeared originally at jenniferjcamp.com