There is nothing-no circumstance, no trouble, no-testing that can ever touch me until, first of all it has gone past God and past Christ right through to me. If it has come that far, it has come with a GREAT PURPOSE, which I may not understand at the moment. As I refuse to become panicky, as I lift my eyes up to Him and accept it as coming from the throne of God for some great purpose of blessing to my own heart, no sorrow will ever disturb me, no trial will ever disarm me, no circumstance will ever cause me to fret-for I shall rest in the joy of what my Lord is- that is the rest of VICTORY!!!!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

"What will you gain when you lose?"

With my toes dangling slightly over the edge of the cliff a fear of the unknown below starts to creep in. Although the details of the next step are unknown the solid place in which I have been planted on for quiet some time now is coming to a close and it's time to move on. The path in which I have already traveled has had its fair shares of ups and downs but it's become a place of safety and contentment. Although part of me longs to stay in this very place for a little longer there is a hunger deep within and drive for something new, bold and adventurous. In 5 hours that giant leap towards the unknown will become a reality. We will no longer be able to stay in the safety of 2014 but instead be forced to step into the unknown of 2015. As the world counts down 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 we will bid another year goodbye and say hello to new possibilities.

Today I was thinking about how right this very moment we are on the verge of possibly the greatest year of our lives, or again it could be one of the worst years of our lives, either way it's a mystery yet to be unlocked and unraveled. Maybe this year was the greatest year you have ever had and you find yourself struggling with letting go, or maybe its been the worst year of your life and you are desperate for a new beginning. Although there are many unknowns, one thing is for certain and that is that we have the ability and choice to clothe ourselves in an attitude of praise in spite of our circumstances.

Although a sense of excitement wells up within me every year as we approach midnight, I am reminded tonight that it's only a number. Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future."

As humans there is this innate desire to start over and grab the bull by its horns towards new possibilities but because the blood of Jesus was spilled out for us we can start over anytime. "By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this (life), but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. 

The difficulties of yesterday are gone, wiped clean, and the path is cleared ahead for Christ to lead us towards greatness. This year as we move from 2014 to 2015 I'm laying down the things from the past. I'm choosing to let go of the pain and struggles of 2014 so that my hands are empty and ready to receive the blessings and beauty of 2015. As yourself today this; "what will you gain when you lose?" I love that quote and the thought of how when we truly let go of the past God has so much planned for us to gain because our hands are open to receive them. 1 Corinthians  2:9 "No eye has seen, no ear has heard no mind can imagine the plans that God has for those who love Him."

"I myself go before you and will be with you. So do not be afraid; not not be discouraged. I, your loving Savior, am also infinite God! I am omnipresent: present everywhere at once. This makes it possible for Me to go ahead of you-opening up the way-without ever leaving your side. The promise of My presence is for all time. No matter where you go or what circumstances you encounter, I will be with you. This is the basis of your courage and confidence" Sarah Young.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Freedom through and through.....

The more transparent I long to be the deeper I find myself hiding. As I tirelessly work to remove the layers of protection one by one the more I realize the hardness and imprisonment of my heart beneath. Instead of using all those layers as protection and safety against the storms of life it's become evident my own form of shielding and protection has become the very thing that strangles my heart from moving, beating, circulating and feeling, my heart has become hardened.

As I peer across the room filled with beautiful women crying out to Jesus I can't help but see her radiance, as I watch her worship I see such raw pure abandonment, and total surrender and freedom. Ten minutes before I sat stiff in my chair not trying to move an inch as I sat listening to her story and the terrifying pain she has endured through years of physical, sexual and emotional abuse. After awhile I started to feel nauseous because although she has faced so much, much more sorrow than I could ever imagine, I realized in that moment she has found freedom  and joy and I am still a prisoner. I realized that through so much in life I still allow myself to carry around my bags of burdens. Although I have heard of His grace and the freedom we can find through Christ somewhere along the way I found myself picking back up my burdens and allowing myself to be a prisoner again to the enemy and his schemes.

You see I know Jesus, I met Him and fell in love with Him many years ago and over the years He has held me in times of sadness and sorrow and has celebrated with me in moments of victory, but instead of allowing Him to carry the burdens and hurts of my heart completely I have crept in at times and taken it back. But what I realized sitting in the sanctuary last night is that life has beaten me down over and over the past few years so much that unconsciously instead of allowing myself to be hurt and broken again and again I instead started building up walls of protection to shield my heart from the pain. Instead of allowing myself to be vulnerable and exposed I started wearing around this armor to protect myself instead of taking the chance of being hurt, and instead it left me empty and numb and my heart cut off from the nutrients and nourishment it needs. I allowed myself to no longer feel joy, hope and excitement for today because I told myself that maybe tomorrow things would be better. I was constantly living for tomorrow and in the process I missed so many today's. I often said to myself "maybe tomorrow I wont be sick anymore and can be a better wife, mom and friend? Or maybe tomorrow when God fixes all my weaknesses and insecurities then I will be able to be used to serve Him. Or maybe tomorrow when the past is so far behind me I will be worthy enough of being His beloved."

Last night as I sat in my chair in the sanctuary ticked off, broken, sad, and used up I decided I was tired of waiting for tomorrow!!! You see I decided that because the Son has set us free that we ARE FREE indeed (John 8:36). I decided that instead of waiting to be fixed tomorrow, that the power of Jesus wants to penetrate every layer of my hardened heart and infuse new life into my soul so that TODAY I WILL BE THE BEST. Today I will be the best wife, mom and friend and through Him TODAY I will be used for His glory and kingdom because He knows every chapter of my story, He knows the past, the present and has planned a beautiful future filled with hope and purpose.

Jesus, create in me a pure heart and renew a new spirit within me. Transform my heart, my mind, and my being. Thank You Jesus that Your mercies are new each morning and Your faithfulness is beyond sufficient for me each day. Help me to hold tight to Your promises and grace and allow myself to feel the rawness of each emotion. Help me to continue to remove the layers of protection I have built up around my heart so that only You remain. I love You Jesus and thank You that even in the midst of my brokenness that I AM Your beloved yesterday, tomorrow, but better yet TODAY!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The day something changed......
I can’t precisely tell you the day or the hour it happened. It’s not like my wedding anniversary I wear etched on a bronze pendant around I my neck. It’s not circled in red on the calendar or written on an apt card at the bottom of my messy purse, but it should be. Somewhere along the way through the heartache, struggles, exhaustion and discouragement I lost my joy. Not like you lose your car keys or the other sock in the dryer or even your phone because really it’s still there underneath all the “stuff” and baggage, but my joy is gone. Each day instead of putting on my good glasses that help me see the world more clearly, the glasses that help make me aware of the joy and blessings right in front of me I have been putting on my shades. My shades make everything dark and dim and keep me stuck in a blah funk where I stay stuck in my pity party and focus on my suffering and hardships. I want my joy back, I want to live not focused on the things I don’t have or the suffering I am walking through but instead I want to focus on how good God is in the simplest things of everyday life. It's one thing to shout from the rooftops of triumph how great God is and another to proclaim it still in the valley of despair. God is great in the goodness of life, but God is real, raw, personable, tender, loving and sovereign in the not so good too.

“Rejecting joy to stand in solidarity with the suffering doesn't rescue the suffering. The converse does. The brave who focus on all things good and all things beautiful and all things true, even in the small, who give thanks for it and discover joy even in the here and now, they are the change agents who bring fullest Light to all the world. When we lay the soil of our hard lives open to the rain of grace and let joy penetrate our cracked and dry places, let joy soak into our broken skin and deep crevices, life grows. The clouds open when we mouth thanks" Ann Voskamp

1 Thessalonians 5:18 “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus”

Today I decided that I cannot live one more day without joy. So I decided to take a challenge with the help of the book “One Thousand Gifts” Each day I am going to make a list of the things in my life regardless of how little or simple they seem and find joy in them. As words of thanksgiving leave my mouth for something good the Lord has provided a stake is being driven down deep into those unhealthy areas where I allowed my joy to be held captive to. 

We may not ever figure out the day or hour I lost my joy but I can say that on May 17th, 2014 I, Amber Cameron am nailing a stake down and starting a journey to get it back and here is the beginning of my silly, little list:

Little pieces of joy

       Blueberry Candles


      Take out for dinner

       Our gentle dog snoring

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Hope for tomorrow......

Eek, was all I could mutter. There were cars lined up bumper to bumper as far as I could see and when I looked in my rear view mirror it was just as jam packed. Here I am trying to get onto the main highway on a Friday afternoon in rush hour in a big city. In that moment the panic started to set in, I felt my blood begin to boil and my patience were wearing thin. I was hot, nausea's, exhausted and done and just wanted out. In my head I thought to myself "ok I can't do this, I want out." I started looking around and realized I'm stuck and there is no other way out, there is no way for me to bail and the only way is to keep going, to keep traveling through the chaos and eventually I would make it through. Every time I get ready to jump on a busy highway in heavy traffic I think to myself "what if I decided now that I didn't want to keep going and that I wanted to bail?" Unfortunately when your driving 65mph and there are cars everywhere you can't just freak out and stop in the middle of the road because your scared. You can't just bail out and the only way through the chaos is to keep going and to keep traveling through the madness.

I know there are times where I feel like this in life. I look ahead and can only see chaos, I look behind and see the aftermath of chaos and in my own strength I'm overwhelmed, exhausted and done and I feel like I want out, I feel like I need a route to bail because its just too much. In that moment though the Lord whispers in my ear “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” 2 Corinthians 12:9. In those moments God reminds me of His faithfulness and how far He has brought me and that if I trust in Him He will remain faithful and help carry me through the chaos and madness. Last year at this time I was physically, emotionally and even spiritually done. I felt like I was stuck in rush hour traffic in life and when I looked up ahead I only saw chaos and when I looked behind me I saw chaos. In the midst of deep heartache I looked down at the ground one day and cried out to the Lord and said "God I can't do this, I can't go through another single hurt and I need to know Your here" I still remember where I was standing and the feel of the air around me that day and as I looked up through tear clouded eyes I saw a butterfly gently fly by in front of me and in that moment I knew He was with me and that He would never leave me. "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you" Deuteronomy 31:6.

Today as I sit curled up in my rocking chair in a fuzzy blanket with a warm mug of hot tea in my hands I think back to that day and His promises. Regardless of the place or reason, big or small whenever I see a butterfly I am reminded of how far He has brought me and how much He loves me and has purpose and good meant for my life. I am reminded that He holds each tear in the palm of His hands and uses each piece of my sorrows to sculpt together a beautiful masterpiece in His timing. Romans 8:28 "God works all things together for His good." The beautiful thing about God is that His grace is more than enough for all of my mess and for yours as well. No matter what your facing, no matter how worn out, frustrated, and stuck you feel, He is more than enough. "Through Him we are more than conquerors" Romans 8:37. Through Jesus although my life is full of chaos and difficulties I have hope for today because He has promised good for my tomorrow.

Monday, April 7, 2014

I am weak.....

Though I am weak He makes me strong. 

As I stood in the second row of seats last Sunday morning I felt exhausted and on emotional overload. It had been a difficult week being in the hospital and with the passing of a family member and honestly I hadn’t even planned on being in church that morning because I still wasn’t feeling great but the Lord knew what I needed and he heard the whispers of my heart long before I could even make sense of them. “Lord God, Your Holy Spirit helps me in my weakness. I do not know what I ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for me with groans that words cannot express. And He who searches my heart knows the mind of the Spirit, because Your Spirit intercedes for me in accordance with Your will” Romans 8:26-27
As worship began the walls of my heart came tumbling down and as we sang about the sweet name of “Jesus” my heart was pierced with so many emotions. Joy, thankfulness, exhaustion, and peace washed over me and hope flooded my heart. For the past 10 months each day has been a battle physically, emotionally and at times spiritually and on that Sunday morning I desperately needed to fall down before the feet of Jesus.  My prayer was this; “Jesus please make me strong enough that I may be weak.” The cry of my heart was that I wanted nothing more than for His strength to be infused into me physically that I could go to the alter in my human weakness and get on my knees and pour out my heart.  For so many months I couldn’t have imagined having the strength to physically get on my knees at the altar, there were many days I couldn’t even take off my own shoes at night and needed help from my family but this Sunday morning was different. Although I had just gotten out of the hospital and was battling a major infection, had a drain in my side and still dealing with lots of major healing In those moments the Lord gave me strength and took away the pain so that I could kneel at the alter and allow myself to be weak yet made strong through Him. There was power in that moment and every difficulty, trial, moment of pain and frustration the Lord traded for peace and comfort. As I laid my weaknesses before Him I felt Him embrace me with His loving arms and whisper hope into my heart. He reminded me that His mercies are new every morning and His faithfulness is always sufficient for each day. 

“You say to me, Lord, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Your power may rest on me” 2 Corinthians 12:9.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

"Why not me God?"

“Why not me God” has seemed to be on repeat over and over for the past 7 months. In moments where I have been completely exhausted physically, emotionally and even spiritually all I could think was to ask “why not me God?” When the pain was unbearable and the end seemed nowhere in sight I cried out “why not me God?” Although my heart longed to be patient and to trust in Gods plans for my life for healing, in my human flesh I felt overwhelmed and done. My patience was depleted and when I asked God “why not me” I wanted a different answer than “not yet” but somewhere in my heart I knew that was exactly the right answer and all a part of His perfect design for my life, but even then I still asked “why not me?”

Why can’t you take away my physical pain God, why do I have to deal with IV’s, dressing changes and being so exhausted all the time? Why can’t I carry my daughter to bed after she has fallen asleep at night or run across a soccer field like the other moms? Why does our family have to deal with an earth shattering diagnosis that no cure is available? I struggle with being content in the midst of my circumstances and trying to accept suffering as part of Christ’s journey but it was hard. After a visit to the Specialist yesterday though I was overcome with joy and thankfulness at the way God revealed His power. For the first time in so long a new question was placed in my heart and instead of hearing “not yet” to the question “why not me” God answered back with a BOLD and POWERFUL “IT’S TIME MY DAUGHTER!” Ecclesiastes 3:11 "He has made everything beautiful in its time." The healing and restoration we have prayed for and cried out to God for, the questions so many have pleaded with on our behalf to the Lord was being answered and God was doing a miracle in our lives and in my body. The doctors expected the latest surgery to fail and it’s not only working but even more successful than they ever could have imagined. In the midst of celebrating though I started to ask a new question not “why NOT me God,” but instead “why me God?”

When I think about a husband and wife who are friends of ours and he has Cancer and they have 3 little girls I ask “why me God?” When I read a text from another friend saying her mom’s Cancer is back I think to myself “why me God?” When my heart hurts for a family who has been stricken by an addiction and now the wife is raising 4 little ones alone I think “why me God?” And when I pray for comfort in the midst of a devastating loss as a young couple buries their 3 month old son I cry out “why me God?!!!”

For so long I tried to understand why God wasn’t answering my prayers for healing and yet He had for others, for so long I asked “why not yet” and now I ask “why me and why now, why are you answering my prayers and not others?” Then as the Lord draws me close to Him, He helps me to see that even when I kept asking “why not me” and now when I ask “why me” He was and is the same good, loving and powerful God and although the answer isn’t what we expect when we expect them it doesn’t mean it’s not right it just may not be right for that moment. God’s plans are always to prosper us and not to harm us, to give us a hope and a future! Jeremiah 29:11

When tragedy strikes and shakes you to the core you are never the same as you once were but instead a new version of you. You can become a better, wiser, happier you but you make the choice of the structure you rebuild. Through Christ what's lost can always be restored!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Tough Love.....

“Oh please mommy all my friends have it.” The magic phrase that shoots like a fiery dart straight towards any parent’s heart. The statement that against all others holds the most leverage in the eyes of kids because to them being like their friends is everything. This statement was thrown out in the midst of a battle against Macie vs Mommy/Daddy over TEXTING, yes you heard me right texting!

Macie through a series of events was given my old iPhone which she uses as her iPod and apparently there is an app available that allows you to put texting on your iPod. She has mentioned it before but I just shrugged it off hoping it wouldn’t turn into a “major” discussion but this week when she mentioned it again I realized it wasn’t going to be that simple. I’m still not real sure how much 8 year olds could possibly have to discuss in their lives that they need texting but for whatever the reason this was the reasoning behind yesterday’s volcanic eruption of emotions in the Cameron household complete with tears and for one of the first times ever I can remember Macie being totally ticked off at me . 

As you can imagine the eruption wasn’t the result of Macie’s joy at our answer but instead total disdain because of those two simple letters N-O.  Of course we tried the whole nice guy approach and tried reasoning with her and making her understand it wasn’t because we don’t trust her that we are saying no but it’s merely for her safety and because we don’t trust the world. Through Macie’s eyes though that wasn’t the right answer and she wasn’t satisfied with our decision and at the end of it I felt like the wicked witch of the west taping my fingers together making that creepy “I’m out to get you” laugh. I’m pretty sure on t.v. you never see it unfold like this but instead whenever the parents make a decision the kids don’t agree with they look like a superhero full of love, joy and wisdom that the kids eat up and welcome with open arms, yet somehow that’s not how it happened here. 

As I was getting a shower and ready for bed last night I just had a really heavy heart for how things had played out and I felt so bummed and frustrated with the whole situation. I wasn’t second guessing the decision Scott and I made to say no to the texting but I felt unsatisfied with how the discussion ended and the way Macie received our answer. So after a few hours had passed I decided to go upstairs and crawl in bed to her and try to talk over the situation again with her in hopes something would be resolved and she wouldn’t be mad at me anymore and I could feel the uneasiness in my heart lifted. I explained to Macie that I love her more than she could possibly ever realize and that my heart felt burdened and heavy at the thought of ever failing to protect her. I tried explaining that she was a little girl and part of texting holds great responsibility that I know she could handle in some ways and we trust her and know she is a good kid but as her mommy and daddy it’s our job to handle all that messy stuff right now while she is little and we just want her to be carefree and a kid and not have to worry about grown up stuff yet. As the conversation ended I felt better about things and prayed last night for God to give me wisdom daily to know the right answers and to do the best I could as her protector and leader to make hard decisions even when she doesn’t understand.

As I rolled out of bed this morning I noticed there was a card laying on my pillow that Macie had made for me and she placed one on Scotts pillow as well and inside she wrote:

“Dear Mom, Thank you for trying to keep me safe. I understand the point about the texting junk, again thanks J
<3 Mac

Wow, I instantly had to hold back tears at the sight of her precious card that brought affirmation to my heart more than she could ever know. I started thinking about how often even as a grown up that my heavenly father tries to protect me from the things of this world and guide me through paths that I may not understand and how difficult that can be. There are times I would like to throw a temper tantrum and ask “why?” There are times I don’t quite get it when God says no to something I’m asking for or starting down a direction in life I feel like is right and He says no. I realized that like the battle with my precious Macie that God knows more than I know, He is wiser and loves me more than I can imagine and longs only to provide the very best blessings and future for my life and I may not see the whole picture but only have pieces to the puzzle but He does.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts” Isaiah 55:8-9

I felt this conviction fall over me that instead of fighting against His perfect will I need to be obedient to Him and with gratitude be thankful for His guidance in my life. I need to write these words on the wall of my heart:

“Dear God, thank you for trying to keep me safe I understand your point, thanks again.”
<3 Amber

“Father God, I want to thank You for Your sovereign power in my life, that You arrange all circumstances-past, present, and future-for good for me because I love You and am called according to Your purposes (Romans 8:28). It gives me great assurance and security in You to know that You know the plans You have for me. I also can rest in the fact that You want only the best for me, a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11) Help to remember that Your provision is all encompassing, Amen” Elizabeth George.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Those Perfect Quirks......

“Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
    you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
    Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
    I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
    you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
    how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
    all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
    before I’d even lived one day” (Psalm 139:13-22)

The very imperfections that make us beautiful are also the things we work to change. We live in a world where the Plastic Surgery Industry rakes in millions if not billions of dollars each year altering the very quirks that define us. We fill our minds with molds of what is “normal” and beat ourselves up if somehow we falter from that very segment on the graph. Height, weight, eye color, lash length, breast size, it continues on to a downward spiral until even men now focus on the ways in which we are told we don’t quite fit in. Our society has turned into the “Land of Misfit Toys” and somehow instead of taking a stand we continue to work tirelessly to “fit” in. We are all running around aimlessly trying to fit in which causes the line to be erased and redrawn in the sand towards perfection. We are a society known for plastic surgery; tanning, SPANX, fake nails, and the list could go on and on. Now I’m not saying any of these things are necessarily bad because I have “fake and baked” and tried sucking in my belly a time or two to pull up those awfully tight SPANX so the rest of the day you don’t even want to think about going to the bathroom because it’s so much work, but really?!

“Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Each year as Christmas rolls around there is this excitement that stirs within so many of us to decorate a tree. At our house we go to my in-laws and pick the perfect fresh Canaan Fir Tree out and bring it home to decorate. We add lights and ornaments and before you know it the once very natural looking tree has a bit of glow and character. This is what I am saying when we talk about our bodies. Each one of us have different things about our characters that make up who we are. I like crazy and big hair J and have my own unique style and that’s just apart of not what DEFINES me but adds character to who I am. However the moment we allow ourselves to work tirelessly trying to be something we aren’t or take away the very simple and natural things God has created within us we are destroying His design for us. 

I was talking with a friend tonight about Psalm 139. “You knit me together perfectly in my mother’s womb, you knew each and every part of my being.” This verse wasn’t written for Amber as a newborn, an infant, toddler or even child but for me and you for each season of our lives. It was written when we are 8 and full of energy, 30 with stretch marks, and 95 with wrinkles because what God created was perfect. He knew before time how beautiful we would be and that I would have lots of freckles and be less than 5 foot. He knew that my husband Scott would be bald at 30 and have the sweetest and warming smile. He knew that my sister Stephanie would scrunch her nose when she laughs and Bethany would have dimples. Each one of us is different and that very uniqueness is what defines our beauty, those little quirks are merely apart of Gods perfection.