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Jamie B.

Today, Jamie speaks to us about how brokenness helped her love others in the midst of their brokenness, great books to add to your list and becoming more childlike.

Tell us a bit about how you grew up and your childhood: I grew up in a strong, Christian household. I was the oldest and I have two younger brothers. I loved to sit in my room and read (especially Nancy Drew), pick out outfits, bake, and play school. I guess you could say not much has changed. I have loved the Bible for as long as I could remember. I read every morning before school. We adopted my youngest brother when I was 2 years old. We later discovered that he had mental and physical disabilities that continued to develop as he got older. These disabilities not only affected his learning and behavior, but they weighed heavily on my family, as well. Living in this unpredictable and chaotic environment was exhausting and something I had to learn to overcome from an early age. I was homeschooled, in public school, and private school, before finally finishing out my high school years at home. During my years in both private and public education, I was bullied which lead to depression, eating disorders, self-harm, and an overall negative self-image. I had a good childhood, but there were lots of struggles to overcome. Although it was tough, I am extremely grateful for the lessons I learned that have carried me well into adulthood.

Inspiring Biblical Passage of the moment: “Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!” Nehemiah 4:14

Spiritual growth focus at the moment: At the moment, I am focusing on becoming more childlike and seeing God as a good father. I am also working on developing my communication skills and learning how to serve others well.

Profession: I am currently attending CCU in order to obtain my Bachelors in Business Administration with an Emphasis in Entrepreneurship. I’m also an author and entrepreneur, and on the side, I pick up a few dog sitting jobs and am currently taking care of my young niece.

If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be? From Ashes to Beauty and Back Again. I am in a constant process of restoration, renewal, and being made like the One who made me.

“I am in a constant process of restoration, renewal, and being made like the One who made me.”

When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? My first recollection of encountering God is when I was saved at around 6 or 7. I remember sitting in the doorway of my childhood bedroom and going to my dad in his recliner and asking how I could be saved. He walked me through the process and I entered into the most important and fulfilling relationship of my life. I was completely captivated with Him. Afterwards, I remember excitedly calling everyone I could think of and telling them about the decision I had made.

How has your relationship with Him changed you? How has my relationship with Him not changed me? He is intertwined, involved, and essential to every part of my existence. He is continually at work in my life, changing me, developing me, and making me more like Him.

What has been the darkest time in your life, and how did you see God in it? I had a year where so many devastating things happened that I started thinking, “Why am I trying so hard? I’ve tried all my life to be this good ‘church girl’ and this is the reward?” I picked up a really unhealthy lifestyle until I finally hit rock bottom and decided I couldn’t do it anymore. I wasn’t acting like myself. I didn’t feel at home in my body anymore. I didn’t identify with my actions. He lifted me out of my broken place and now He is fitting these seemingly “unholy” pieces into a story that is greater than I could ever imagine. I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything. It has given me a deep understanding of grace and forgiveness that wasn’t there before. I can now see others apart from their pain and hurtful behaviors and see who they truly are underneath. These experiences allowed me to become more solid in my beliefs, my identity, and my love for the people He puts in my path. Don’t write out the embarrassing or unappealing parts of your story. They’re important, fundamental to your development, and they teach you how to love others in the midst of their brokenness.

“Don’t write out the embarrassing or unappealing parts of your story. They’re important, fundamental to your development, and they teach you how to love others in the midst of their brokenness.”

What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? Finding a spiritual mentor has helped me develop a lot. Having someone to regularly learn from and receive prayer from has been an integral part to my growth in this season of the unknown. I also love a good podcast. The ones that are helping me the most in this season are Exploring the Prophetic by Shawn Bolz, Through the Eyes of a Seer Prophet by Jenna Winston, and The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman.

Just read/currently reading and what has it taught you? I Hear the Lord Say New Era by Lana Vawser, Dangerous Wonder by Michael Yaconelli, and Not Forsaken by Louie Giglio. Lana Vawser’s ministry has been a really important part of my growth in the prophetic. Every Facebook post, word, and video is applicable and theologically solid. This book is confirming words that I’ve received about the future direction of the church, our country, and our world. When I felt God telling me to become more childlike and trust Him as a father, I ordered the latter two books. Dangerous Wonder is just that…dangerous. And wonderful. It’s a refreshing view of the Father as is Louie’s book. They both are reminding me of what it looks like to trust deeper, jump farther, and hold tighter.

Top Three Essentials: Sugar-free coffee syrups, lots of notebooks, and my iPad.

How did God speak to you recently? Oh my goodness, its hard to choose just one thing. How about I share two? In my study time, I started seeing trains and I asked Him what He was saying. He said, “This is a place of training. A ‘train station.’ A temporary stop on the way to where you are going. A ‘platform’ before you step into a vehicle of acceleration. You’re on the right track.” Something else He said that I thought was interesting in terms of being childlike was “More than you could ask or imagine. And children ask and imagine a lot.”

Hobby: Reading, cooking, and trying new coffee shops every chance I get.

Top 3 practical tips for staying spiritually strong: 1. Read your Bible, especially when you don’t feel like reading! That’s when there’s a battle over what you’re focusing your mind on. “Set your mind on things above.” 2. Surround yourself with people you can trust. Be aware of what kind of influence your inner circle has on you. Make changes when and if necessary. 3. Fall in love with Jesus again. Get to know His sense of humor, what His voice sounds like, the thoughts He thinks toward you (they outnumber the grains of sand.) When you know Him as Father and Friend rather than dictator or ruler, when you understand how He truly feels about you and how much He wants a relationship with you, you want to live according to His standards. You want to follow the One who leads with kindness. It makes the journey a little bit easier.

“You want to follow the One who leads with kindness.”

Favorite person in Scripture? I’m really interested in the story of Bezalel. (Exodus 31:1-6, Ch. 36-39). I believe he was the first person recorded in Scripture to actually receive the Holy Spirit. When this happened, it enabled him to build everything needed for the Tabernacle. The Holy Spirit gave him “expertise in all kinds of crafts.” (Ex. 31:3) Through this power, he built the Ark of the Covenant, made anointing oil, stitched the priestly garments, and more. I think this story interests me so much because it shows that when God calls you to something, you’re fully equipped, regardless of your own personal strength and ability.

What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? I want them to learn that He always fulfills His promises. He always does what He says He’s going to do and trusting Him is 100% worth the adventure.

How do you engage with your community? As an introvert, it can be difficult to stay in contact with my community. Add in a global pandemic, and I might as well be the last woman on earth. These days, engaging looks like Facetime, phone calls, texts, and DMs. As much as I love no-contact communication, I am looking forward to finding a group that I can connect with in person in my new town.

Favorite holiday? Christmas

A goal you have: Honestly, I just want to finish my degree. Once I get that over with, we’ll see what God has for me. I’m trying to work on living in the present and appreciating the moments that are right in front of me. I would eventually like to start or be involved in some sort of homeless ministry. Oh, and I want to write another devotional!

A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: Every Sunday, we have dinner at my Grandma’s house. It can get pretty noisy with all of us packed into one house, but I have memories from these times that are beautifully unforgettable and close to my heart. Especially now that I’m not living at home.

Question you will ask when you get to heaven: I don’t know if I have any questions, but I have asked God to keep a photo album for me. Every time I’m doing something, I want to remember without pulling my phone out, I’ll ask Him to take a picture for me. I know He’s captured some pretty cool moments, and I can’t wait to reflect back on my time on earth with Him. On my couch. In my mansion.

Thing you want to raise awareness about: Ooh, lots of things. Homelessness, better medical care for Veterans, mental illness, and childhood trauma. The homeless organization that I like to support is called Invisible People. Mark does an amazing job of documenting people’s stories. I’d also like to mention my personal therapist’s book. You can get it here.

What does your morning routine consist of? Dragging myself out of bed, making coffee, getting back into bed. I usually read or scroll through social media until my niece wakes up. Then, it’s playtime!

What is on your nightstand? My Bible, a notebook, pens, Chapstick, protein bars, and a unicorn nightlight named Charlie. (I’m focusing on being childlike, remember?)

Define Christianity in a sentence: 1 Corinthians 14:1a “Let love be your highest goal!”

For more Jamie:

Instagram: @jamie.L.baker

Her devotional, While You Wait, can be found here.

A printout she made on Scriptures of Protection can be found at: Scriptures of Protection Wall Art by JLBprints

Until next time, keep witnessing!

XX

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