Blog By Pastor Rachel Campbell
I remember so clearly a season in my life where I had just come back to a relationship with the Lord after a very rocky patch in my teenage years. I was seventeen and I was a girl on fire for everything that God had for me. I had moved away from bad influences and surrounded myself with a bunch of great Christian girls in my new youth ministry. One day, I was driving to the mall, my car packed with a bunch of friends ready to have a great time together. I was obeying the speed limit, using my signals, keeping both hands on the steering wheel and living a new life of abiding by the rules. This was not always the case in my life. I was a rule breaker, but things had changed and I found myself genuinely enjoying my new season of good clean fun. Life was so much better. As I was turning into the entrance of the mall the most traumatic thing happened. I hit a man on a bike! He was in the biking lane and I didn’t even look to see if there was anybody! All that I knew was that there was a man smashed on top of the hood of my car staring at us through the windshield! All four of us girls just sat there screaming in shock! I know, not the most helpful thing to do in the situation. The man ended up being okay, but his poor bike was bent in half and destroyed. I was totally shaken up and feeling like a pretty big failure. I remember the deep and empty feeling of discouragement that came over me as I realized that even when I was trying my hardest to change my life, I still came up short. That night was our youth service and we all began to tell our youth pastors’ wife the whole story in great detail and as we did, we started getting all worked up again at how horrible it was. I’ll never forget the moment that she outdid my story with a much worse story of her mistakes. She had hit a biker too and hers was even more careless than my mistake! She went on with story after hilarious story of mistakes that she made when she was younger. We all ended up laughing and I learned to forgive myself, laugh at my mistakes and keep moving ahead with confidence. That was the night that I realized a very important fact. That I belonged with these people. People who loved Jesus but still weren’t even close to perfect.
I love the theme of Devoted this year. YOU BELONG. Have you ever felt like me and wondered why everyone around you seems to have it all together? That maybe there is some secret formula you’ve missed? That you are on the outside looking in? Let me encourage you, from one girl still on this great journey of faith to another, who you are and where you are is celebrated here! I look forward to Devoted every single year because there is always a sense that this place and these women are where I fit! Not because we are all alike, but because we all have the same father who rejoices over our individuality. He delights in you, He takes pleasure in you! Yes you, imperfections and all! I love what Ephesian 1:3-6 in the message says:
“Long before He laid down earth’s foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love, to be made whole and holy by His love. Long, long ago He decided to adopt us into His family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure He took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of His lavish gift giving by the hand of His beloved Son.”
As you prepare for Devoted, set your heart and mind on the fact that this is where you belong. I believe that when we walk into new situations and environments with this truth from God in our hearts, we are able to receive and experience greater things! This is your year to make new friends! This is your year to stretch out and believe for more! This is your year to laugh your way into the great season ahead!
Prayer: Father God, I thank you for your gift of adoption. That you love us all so well. Thank you that I belong. Thank you for making me a part of your story. We ask for your blessing as we come to Devoted unified together in our hearts. God we lift up every girl who struggles with feeling accepted and we ask you to do something supernatural in her life as she bravely attends this conference. Give us all the courage to trust you and know that we belong! Amen.
YOU BELONG at Devoted Conference 2017