On my birthday, my parents gave me Jeremy Camp’s book, I Still Believe: Discovering hope and healing in the midst of life’s deepest valleys. Now, I have to warn you that I might be all over the place with the post as so many thoughts are in my head right at the moment. Hang in there and I will try to make sense of all this in what I have to say.
I had already started a book called, The Lost Letters of Pergamum, which is extremely fascinating (more about that later I assure), and because I wanted to finish the book before I started any others, I just put the Jeremy Camp book under my Bible to save for later. A few days after when I got in bed, I just could not resist reading the first chapter…I can never read just one chapter if the book is compelling! A few chapters later, I found myself flooded over with memories from ten years ago.
In his book, Jeremy Camp tells his testimony and recaps the journey of his first wife’s battle with cancer in early 2000-2001 along with his healing process and how God led him on a journey to meet his wife now, Adie (former Benjamin Gate lead singer). Back up ten years when I first heard about Jeremy Camp, his first album, Stay, had just been released September 24, 2002.
If you read my “What is NF2 page” you will note that this is before November when I first discovered the NF2 disease. Well, back up a few months to end of August 2002, CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) magazine had a two-page story about Jeremy Camp and his late wife’s testimony. I was so absorbed in the story, by the end, I was in tears. I knew I wanted to get his cd and hear the songs that he had talked about in the article.
October 2002, I finally got my braces off and on the way home, my Mom and I stopped by the Family Christian Book Store in Colorado Springs to get a few new cd’s–Stay was obviously one of them. As we enjoyed a few hours of music on the way home, I noticed I was drawn to Jeremy Camp’s album. It is rock and I liked that, but most important, I was drawn to the lyrics of 2 songs in particular: “Walk by Faith” and “I Still Believe.” Over the next month, I quickly memorized the lyrics to all the songs on the album not realizing how much that his songs were going to help me in my darkest hour. Then November 18th came. That night after we called grandparents and a few of my closest friends, I sat down just overwhelmed with emotions and confusion. I put on Jeremy Camp’s cd and for the next few weeks after that, it never left my cd player.
In April 2003, my oldest sister’s college invited me to their campus as they were hosting Jeremy Camp for an evening of worship. My sister had shared my story with many of her friends and they knew how much Jeremy Camp’s music had impacted my walk with the Lord during the hard physical and emotional battles. Because I had just finished my six weeks of radiation and was catching up on my school work, I was not able to attend. I was so bummed. I cried!!
God provided another concert in Denver, May 2003 at the West Bowles Community Church. [Just a funny side note–I pronounce things wrong a lot but some of the funniest were when I did not have my hearing aids. For example…West Bowles (Bowles pronounced as in a bowl used for eating…)–I pronounced it as West BowELS. Oh the laughs from my family could not be contained on that one! 🙂 ) Anyway, we headed up to Denver to pick up my sister from the airport and went to the concert. By this time, Jeremy Camp had just asked Adie to marry him, and she was there that evening. Reading the book now, I see the journey of healing for him and hope that God gave him in his relationship with Adie. Truly an encouraging and inspiring story that I was not aware of at the time of the concert. The line to talk with Jeremy Camp in person was endless, but it was a time I will never forget. I was able to share with him about how God used his music to encourage me when I first discovered the news of NF2. My family and I got to pray with him which was really special. The next morning was a Sunday, so we went to the morning worship service where Jeremy led worship and told more of his testimony. It was an incredible time!
I want to refocus on present day. It has been quite a while since I have heard of anything going on in Jeremy Camp’s life. I had just learned that he had a book coming out a few weeks before my birthday, and surprise, it was my birthday present. The thing is, I know it is God timed. Think about it (or as Star Wars would say, “Search your feelings, you know this to be true.” 🙂 ). I KNOW it is God timed. God timed Jeremy’s first cd to release a few days short of 2 months before the MRI results–the impact of the songs speaking truth about our walk with God is something that helped bring peace when all this started. Now, ten years later, Jeremy’s book releases exactly one month AFTER my blood clot. It was actually the week of February 19-25th that I hit a wall-not just physically and emotionally–but spiritually. I was angry and could not see any hope. To be honest, I am still struggling. I don’t have it all together yet…but that is why I am relating to this book, because we don’t have to have it all together–we just have to walk by faith. I am still not sure why God had this blood clot happen right when I was settled and doing so well…but I will never know here on earth and that is what Jeremy Camp’s book has reminded me–“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1.
This book has really encouraged me and, most importantly, reminded me that God is with me every step of the way. He knows my hurt, my frustrations and my sorrows. Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world,” (John 16:33). If you have anyone that you know–or maybe even yourself– that is in need of encouragement, I really recommend this book. My story is my own story of how God has used Jeremy Camp’s testimony to encourage me not once, but twice, in my life. Maybe God will use it to encourage and bring hope to others as well. 🙂 God does amazing work in our time of greatest need…sometimes all we need is a little reminder and a point back towards the right direction. I leave you with my favorite song, “Walk by Faith” by Jeremy Camp.