Revival Camp 2016 has begun! If you haven’t checked out my last post, you can read that HERE. I go through what this online workshop is and what all I “packed” in preparation. I figured I would go through this study and my thoughts and reflections here on the blog as a little insight on how I go about Bible and Art Journaling, and just to document what all I’m learning this summer. So here we go:
Tonya Hamilton is the author of these devotionals and wow, she does not mess around! We are kicking off camp in the beginning of the book of Nehemiah. This first week was all about Passion and what God has ignited within each and every one of us. I had trouble not highlighting every line of the devotional. You seriously must all join camp so you can follow along in this study with us!
When I started to think about my passions, I felt like I was drawing a blank for awhile. I kept mulling on the devotions and this train of thought all week. When I finally sat down to journal, I wrote down what I felt my passions were. Then I started writing why…and I didn’t want to stop! That’s when I knew I had landed on the right things.
These things were really anything new; and honestly, they aren’t really anything huge or exciting. But they are me–at my core. Things that ignite that spark inside.
See, Nehemiah hears from God and knows what his passion is and what he’s meant to do. But instead of just “hearing” God, he “listens” to God. Listening is like a two-part activity; it requires action. You hear and then you DO. This is where I have been getting stuck and I think that’s why I had a hard time identifying these items as my “passions.” I’ve been hearing God whisper these things to me. But I’ve let them sit too long and get pick up dust. I haven’t actually DONE anything about them. That’s not real passion.
I love these definitions of “Passion” and knew I had to include these in my Field Notes. Passion is a strong and barely controllable emotion. It is an “ambition that is materialized into action to put as much heart, mind, body and soul into something as possible” (urbandictionary.com). Boom! When your passion has been ignited, there is nothing you can do to control that. You just want to pour every fiber of your being into this passion.
So what are my passions? I listed three and they are a bit intertwined.
- No One Alone
If you’ve known me for any period of time, you probably aren’t shocked by those first two. I have always been a family person. I know I’ve been blessed with a crazy awesome family (immediate and extended!), and extra blessed to have an amazing in-law family! I have been around enough people in my life to know that not everyone is so darn lucky! But more than just loving my family, growing up I always knew I wanted to be a mom and have a family of my own.
When Dan and I got married, we knew we would eventually have kids and we felt pretty strongly about that because we both felt very called to be parents. However, (if you know my story at all, you probably know this all already, but stick with me!) for about a year and a half, we struggled with multiple pregnancy losses, miscarriages and battles with infertility. There were many times during that season that I didn’t know if my body would ever allow us to have the kids we had always dreamed of having. It was a very hard period of time, but we were extremely blessed to be granted 3 miracle children.
I know that our kiddos are answered prayers and I don’t take them for granted. This does not mean that they are perfect or that every day I behave like the perfect parent. I am still a flawed human and mama. But my family is one of my passions. Being a mom has always been a passionate dream of mine. I don’t take this responsibility lightly and I don’t want to screw it up. I want our angel babies to be remembered and be proud of the family they are a part of from afar.
Writing has always been a passion for me. I’m sure you noticed my URL and username is writergirl. That’s been my “name” since high school. I can always remember as a very little kid saying, “When I grow up, I’m going to be a writer and a mom!” Well…I’m kind of grown up now and haven’t really done much with that writer part. I grew up writing short, and not-so-short stories. I got my English degree and wrote tons of papers. Then I hit the real world and just kind of stopped. I’ve always had a blog and have loved opening my heart here, but there are many times where I let life get the best of me and weeks and months go by.
I know that God placed this desire and joy of writing in my heart as a kid. I know that this passion still lives in me–even if it’s gone a little dormant. I want God to ignite this spark into a flame. That’s part of why I’m committing to writing and documenting through this study. Keep me accountable. I’ll also be writing on social media as well! I’m going to try and share little blurbs on IG or FB just to keep my writing fresh.
A huge piece of writing for me is sharing my story. God can speak so strongly through our stories and I want Him to use mine. I have walked through so much in my life and I know He can bring beauty from those ashes when I am open and willing to share my story and shine a light on His name.
I hate how isolating life can be, especially when you are facing trials–specifically trials like depression, pregnancy loss, infertility, cancer. These are all things that I have dealt with in my life and each time, whether I was surrounded by friends or not, I felt really alone. So many of these things are really taboo to talk about and that is something that I am not okay with.
Depression is something that is often talked about, but if you’re the one struggling with it, it’s really really hard to open up about. It’s hard to describe and hard to make someone else understand if they’ve never felt it. Earlier this year, I sat with my husband trying to put what I was feeling into words and he just stared at me because he could not understand what I was feeling and I can’t tell you how alone I felt in that moment. Pregnancy Loss is more common than you’d ever imagine. 1 in 4 pregnancy ends in a miscarriage. 1 in 4! And yet, no one wants to talk about it. If this many women and families are struggling with infertility and in pain from losing a child, we should not be afraid and facing this alone! Cancer is something that so many people deal with and talk about nowadays, however, when it happens to you…you’re left feeling alone in a room full of people.
I faced these struggles with Jesus by my side. And honestly, I do not know if I could’ve done it without Him. But even with Him, there were many moments of feeling very alone and having to remind myself that He was walking with me. Each of these difficulties are things that leave you feeling like you have failed–your family, your spouse, God, yourself. But those are lies straight from the Evil One.
So as you can tell, I’m slightly passionate about this one and once I start, I just don’t stop!
Week 1 definitely has gotten my wheels turning and sparks flying. God has created me with amazing passions and I know He wants to use me. So I am praying for Him to Light this fire in me and make it so glaringly obvious that I can’t let these passions sit on the side anymore. I want these ambitions to materialize in ways I never imagined–all for His glory. I’m so excited to see what God is going to do this summer through Revival Camp! Don’t miss out! See you next week!