Hello, my name is Keri and I am full of JoY!
Have you ever considered those meetings where you go and proclaim that you are something that isn't true about you in eternity? Don't get me wrong, I know much healing takes place and I am ever grateful for that. BUT, I am a true believer in the tongue having the power of both life and death...and the word "power" means, power.
Right now I am in my kitchen. My kitchen is in Germany. When I was a kid, I highly doubt I would have believed you if you told me that I would grow up, get married, and raise my children on another continent.
We partner-lead and host House Church in our home. A few weeks ago, a visitor came up to me and asked me how I could possibly live with so much joy. She was sincere and told me she "really needed to know."
I began from the beginning. Can I be bold here and say that I believe that when the LORD placed His banner of Love over me, He also placed His banner of JoY over me as well?
I want to share with you that those beautiful and unseen parts of you that the LORD knit together are a huge threat to the enemy. Huge. This enemy is only out to steal, kill, and destroy.
What do you think he is trying to steal?
One of the things that he desires, is that special banner. Is it JoY? Is it Encouragement? Is it Teaching? Is it Evangelism? Is it Tenderness? Is it Hospitality? Is it Motherhood? Is it Fatherhood? Is it a Desire for the Nations?
Whatever IT is, the enemy wants to steal IT from you and he has been out to get IT since he saw the potential in you when you were born.
My special banners are JoY and Encouragement. In this post, we will talk about Joy.
I have not had the easiest life. I have not had the hardest, but I will say that often when I share my life story people are shocked and often taken aback.
Being cautious and gracious of those who may read this, I will not share all the details here on the WWW. I can share that I come from a broken home where I was not taught to love Jesus with my heart, soul, strength and mind. I do not remember learning of Jesus in my home as a child.
The LORD saved me at the age of 12. By HIS grace and all HIS doing. He chose me before He laid the foundations of the earth and He chose to adopt me into His family and awaken my eyes and ears to His truth the summer between my 6th and 7th grade years.
The life events that happened between that day and now remind me that I have an enemy. His desire is to steal from me and to kill and destroy me.
Shattered relationships, deaths, fear, anxiety, loss, instability,extremely poor body image, fear of man, loss of hope, uncertainty...these are just a few of the things that I experienced that are pretty much the opposite of JoY. Looking back, it is easy for me to see that the enemy was tugging at that banner and catching hold of much more than I ever realized.
But I could not and would not let him have it.
Sharing my story with professionals, they have wondered how I made it though those years without ever seeing a counselor. How did I get through? How did I manage without literally losing my mind and zeal?
Truly, I can sit here and say that the words written in Isaiah 9:6 describing Jesus as the "Wonderful Counselor" are absolute and unbreakable. He.Is.My.Counselor. He hears my cries. He answers and I mean HE ANSWERS. The LORD still speaks, despite those who say He doesn't. I never knew there were a group of Christ followers who believed that the LORD stopped speaking until very recently. My life did NOT reflect that as true because the LORD very clearly, lovingly, and tenderly spoke to me. Biblical Counselors are a sweet grace from the LORD and very much needed in certain situations. But for me and the plan God had for me, He would be the one to counsel and teach me of His ways. For me and my own faith to grow, He and He alone had to be the One to get me through.
Fast forward a few years and I find myself married to a dream. I mean really. David Campbell and his love for Jesus is just about the most attractive thing on this planet! :) Uncomfortable? Haha! Seriously, this man of God entered my life and I have never been the same. He has shown me what it means to be pursued, loved, fun, adventurous, humble, genuine, funny, outside-the-box, loved with a Father's heart (toward our children), and so much more. My life changed by the overflow of Jesus that I saw in David Campbell.
We married and had three children. There were heartaches and tribulations in that "had three children.". We easily got pregnant with the first two and actually had the nerve to say "We are done!". As if God's good gifts and blessings were just too much to bear? One day upon conviction of the Holy Spirit, on the very same day at the very same hour, David and I knew we were not "done". I was hesitant to share it with him and he was hesitant to share with me, but we both confessed that the LORD had told each one of us individually that we will have another child. Benjamin Thomas Campbell, right? Eventually, but before him were two others. Twins. We lost two little loves through a strange and uneventful miscarriage at around 11 1/2 weeks. It was heartbreaking. It was loss. It was not what I would have chosen, especially after hearing clearly from the LORD that we WOULD have another baby.
What was going on here?
I would love to say that I "choose" JoY in certain circumstances, but the truth is that most often it's just the outworking of the Holy Spirit in my life. I was having to go into the doctor every other day for bloodwork and sonograms and I was growing weary. I knew in my heart that these babies would not be held in my earthly arms, and I was just kinda ready to move on in a way. But God had a lady and a nurse and a doctor and several other individuals in this that would be ministered to if I would be willing. And, I was. I remember sitting on my floor in my bedroom journaling my thoughts for the day when the sonographer's words struck my heart again. "How can you have so much JoY in this? I know it must be so difficult for you to be here every other day knowing what the outcome will be." In that moment, I think I had the right to weep. I think I had earned the right to agree with her and say that it just wasn't fair. But the Spirit through me explained to her that although babies are AMAZING and true blessings from the LORD, my JoY is found in Christ alone...not a baby. That sounds a bit tender, I know. But it was the Spirit speaking though me when the true cry of my heart wanted to have a healthy pregnancy and hold two little (read BIG!) babies in my arms. The Spirit had a word for this lady and the lady at the desk when I checked in for my outpatient D&C and my doctor. I HAD to tug back hard at that JoY banner and I was NOT willing to let the enemy steal the good and perfect word that the LORD spoke to me about having another baby. His word is true. I HAD to count this trial as JoY. I had to because I believe the Bible to be the living and active Word of God and it told me to.
So, as the Bible tells us will happen when we count it all JoY when we experience trials of every kind, my faith grew. And because of increase in faith, I trusted God and we proceeded with JoYfully trying for another baby. Benjamin Thomas Campbell was born at 37 weeks, just over one year after my D&C, weighing in at 9 pounds and 4 ounces. He is a JoY!
In parenting, there are many days when JoY is the last word on your lips. Can I get an Amen? I mean, with all of these little people following you around all day, pooping in their clothes, spitting up, writing on things that are NOT paper, shoving non dissolvable stuff in the toilet, bickering, climbing on household appliances, changing clothes 15 billion times, destroying $30 dollar lipsticks, tipping their "spill proof" cup of milk over in the car, it is HARD to speak of JoY sometimes! But, it was there. It's my Banner, remember? The funny thing about a banner is that sometimes you can't see it when you are standing right under it. Like, your friends can. They can look over and see you drowning in the mess of spit up and baby cereal that dries on countertops like cement and say, "Yep, she has definitely got the JoY!" But standing under that banner, we often need to be reminded! Sidenote: Remind your sister today that she is _______. Whatever that banner is that YOU see waving valiantly in the wind above her weary head, call it out! Remind her that she is Tender, Encouraging, JoYful, Gracious, Hospitable, etc. I promise you it will go a looooooong way!
Sometime around 2011 or 2012 we felt a call to move internationally. Like, to another continent. It wasn't because we had Wander Lust or that we wanted to be European. We are a family of five and not extremely wealthy. It was the Spirit whispering to our spirits that He wanted us to come along and join Him in the work He was doing across the globe.
This sounds scary. It was scary. I did not always want to go. I must confess that I grew up in the HEB area and never moved out of it. Never lived in another state besides the country of Texas, USA. ;) The thought of moving across the WORLD did not bring my heart much JoY.
After some years, prayer, classes, books, pushing...we came to Berlin, Germany on a "vision trip". Y'all, it was 2013 and Berlin was experiencing the longest and coldest winter in a long, long time. I was not happy. I was not sweet. I was not JoyFilled. I was wanting to go back to Texas and sit in the sun on my back porch while my kids jumped on their trampoline and sip the gloriousness of Dr. Pepper from my large Sonic cup.
So we returned from this trip of vision and we knew the LORD was calling us to Germany. One beautiful sunny Texas day, while sitting on my back porch, watching my kids jump on their trampoline and while sipping the gloriousness of Dr. Pepper from my large Sonic cup, the LORD promised me that I didn't miss it when I thought He placed His banner of JoY over me. He sweetly told me that He would fill me with JoY... if I would trust Him and focus on Him alone.
See, when we start to look around at the created instead of the Creator, our trust in Him begins to weaken.
When our trust in the LORD begins to weaken, our JoY can start to fade and the opposite can rise up within our hearts.
Fear, insecurity, anxiety, depression, anger, loss of hope...all of these things can creep in like little sports fan pennants. Waving in the wind that you are NOT enough, NOT qualified, NOT loved, NOT faithful, NOT equipped...
But, His gifts and His callings are IRREVOCABLE. Do you know this word? It means "not able to be changed. Not able to be reversed. Final." And His banner of JoY over me is a gift AND calling.
It is irrevocable.
Thus, our family went through a Discipleship Training School with YWAM and learned even more how to hear the voice of God, His Father heart for us, our identity as sons and daughters of the Most High and so, so much more. Specifically, I learned to lay down some rights that I had picked up that were not heavenly rights at all. It's crazy how you can pick up a worldly "right" and claim it so boldly and proudly when in fact it is actually eating away at your true character and identity in Christ without ever even knowing it. I needed someone to point some things out in me, and I was ready to hear the bad, and the ugly. Guess what? I didn't hear the bad or ugly...because those words don't describe the King of the Universe and I was learning about HIM. Praise His name that this was not a place for me to learn about me and me and me and me and me and me... :) I was healed of some life wounds during this time. I was healed of some heartaches during this time. I severed some ungodly soul ties during this time. I rid my life of fear and severe poor body image during this time.
Letting go of weighty chains and busting them up with the LOVE, JOY and the PROMISES of God allowed me to lift my no longer weary head and revel in the Glory Banner of JoY that was brilliant and vast and waving strongly over me.
I didn't want to come to Berlin. I had many reasons why we shouldn't. None of them paralleled God's word or plan for me. When I let go of my little fan pennants of my own rights, my own plans, my own desires, my own knowledge, my own feelings...the distraction I was to myself waving those silly little imitation flags allowed the banner of the KING to be seen by my own eyes as well as by the eyes of those around me.
I have JoY. Not on my own, it is a fruit of the Spirit. It is a sweet gift the LORD has chosen to give to me and I believe He has it for you as well. I can walk into any situation and claim the truths of the LORD my God. I can silence the enemy and speak out the callings and promises of God. I can walk in truth, in any country and in any circumstance believing in the One Who has truly set me free. Where the Spirit of the LORD is, there surely is FREEDOM!
When you see the posts that I create about JoY, I pray you see a God-given Banner waving boldly. I pray that, knowing a bit of my story, you too can claim that which the enemy is trying to steal from you. Maybe you will sit in a moment with the LORD and ask Him what it is that the enemy might be trying to steal from you, and how you can capture it back once more. That you will grab it back completely and speak out the promises of God TO the enemy...'cause there are those promises to remember and proclaim too!
My first prayer is that you know the Banner that is over you. If you don't, ask the LORD. My second prayer is that you would drop all the tiny, imitation flags that you are waving on your own and rejoice in your true identity given to you by the One Who created you and loves you best and most.
His banner is always Love. Walk in His love and discover all of the Banners above you that He has declared! You are wonderfully, fearfully made! God delights in YOU and sings over YOU!! Rejoice! The King of the Universe is FOR you and not against YOU!!
Peace and Love and Blessings of JoY be ever upon you!