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Mar17ThuTracing the movement of God's love in my life. March 17, 2016 by Olivia Campbell
When I was eight, I heard about God from friends at school. Like any young child, I began to ask a lot of questions. My parents allowed me to explore them, and began dropping me off at a local church to attend Sunday school, where my questions were answered. I still didn't know what it meant to be a Christian, but I was certain there was a God and that I wanted to follow him.
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In Grade 7, I became acquainted with The Salvation Army in my community, Niagara Orchard Community Church (NOCC), Ont. They quickly became my Christian family, supporting and encouraging me. The same year, I attended youth councils, where I had my first encounter with God. Although I still had many questions, I felt such peace.
High school was difficult and I started to slip away from my new faith. I watched my stepgrandmother slowly die of cancer and couldn't understand why God would take her, leaving me broken-hearted. This changed how I viewed God. Although I never stopped believing in him, I stopped seeking him. I turned my eyes away.
Everything in my journey—my fears, my plans, the things I love, even the things that hurt me—can be used for his glory
I let the world's love replace God's love. To fill the void, I assumed many roles—cheerleader, captain of the rugby team, music geek, student leader, partier. I held down two part-time jobs while maintaining my position on the honour roll. Trying to be everything to everyone, seeking approval, only left me anxious and depressed, questioning my worth and identity.
Although I didn't realize it at the time, God was still working in my life and directing my path. I was accepted to Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., my first-choice school, and awarded many scholarships. I made a fresh start. My life began to change and I liked the person I was becoming.
God was also working in Niagara Falls. The new officers at NOCC, Lieutenants Jason Dockeray and Kristen Jackson-Dockeray, pursued me—even though they'd never met me. Kristen became a mentor, and helped me work through my struggles and questions. God used her to begin the process of restoring my broken heart. She believed in me and encouraged me to seek God. So did my NOCC church family, directing me to who I was missing all along: Jesus.
For the past two years, I have been a delegate to Time to be Holy, the Ontario Great Lakes Division's youth institute, which encourages youth to grow in holiness and step out of our comfort zones. The first year, stepping out of my comfort zone meant recognizing that I needed to give my life to God.
This year, it meant tracing the movement of God in my life, and examining how everything in my journey—my fears, my plans, the things I love, even the things that hurt me—can be used for his glory. We were challenged to create our own commissioning. For me, this looks like mentoring teenage girls and being part of God's work to restore people's faith.
My relationship with God changes each day. I know I need his love and grace. When I feel unlovable or broken, I find comfort in the fact that he will always lift me up and use me. He has given me a family in Christ who love me on my worst days, and who remind me of his faithful love when I can't seem to remember.
At university, I am pursuing religious and indigenous studies. I seek to be a light and source of love on my campus and in my community, always pointing to Jesus. Although I don't know what God has planned for my future, I know it is to stand beside the broken and to love relentlessly, as he loves me.