An Unmistakable Conspiracy of Love: Esther Camealy
An Unmistakable Conspiracy of Love
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
[…] For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
– Ephesians 2:4-5, 8-9 (NIV)
“I was on the bottle and behind bars…until my mother lifted me from my crib,” were the unforgettable words spoken by a traveling evangelist leading an old-fashioned revival service in my rural Mississippi hometown sometime during my childhood. Even now—decades later—those words resonate in my mind. If yours is an “ordinary” story of coming to know Jesus as your Savior at an early age and walking a mostly straight path through the years, then possibly you have felt, at some point in your life, that you would need to embellish certain parts of your story to make it interesting or appealing to someone else. Perhaps you have even felt that because your story does not contain a dramatic conversion of turning away from a blatantly wild lifestyle, that you don’t really have a “testimony”, or at least one worth sharing. If that is you, I hope you can be set free by this: that is a lie straight from the Enemy himself.
I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t in church. When I was 8 years old, I walked the aisle in a Baptist church in a small town almost no one I’ve met in my adult life has ever heard of. This was a gesture communicating to the world around me that I was ready to answer the call of God on my life to follow Him. In the week or two following the moment I “went public”, I received a hand-written letter from an elderly widow in our church that told me about how the angels in heaven rejoiced that day and now I could serve Jesus all the days of my life. That precious letter is framed in my home today.
Four summers later, at the age of 12, I went to a Christian camp that helped me understand even more how to talk to God as my friend. I began to cultivate the daily discipline of reading my Bible, even when I didn’t understand what it meant. The more I read the same passages over and over, the more God opened my eyes to see how the pages of scripture were divinely connected. The Lord grew a passion in my heart to know His word and to study it—to truly hide it in my heart. I had fallen in love with Jesus, and I couldn’t get enough of Him.
As a junior in high school, I began wrestling with clinical depression as a result of some major transitions in my life and family. I have no doubt that it was classic spiritual warfare. I was a believer and I loved Jesus. I spent time with Him every day. I was active in church and a leader in my youth group. What did I have to be depressed about? For a while, I carried around with me the shame of this secret because I didn’t believe I had the freedom to feel the way I did. This dark season of my life lasted four long years.
A series of traumatic events left me broken-hearted with deep hurts and a crushed spirit. My wounds were many, and I was hurting and confused. Even so, I felt the Lord calling me to Him. Through all of the heartache and tears, I never doubted Jesus’ love for me or his presence in my life. I didn’t know where else to turn, so I dove deeper into the word of God. It was during this season that I began to lean harder into the Lord through prayer journaling. At first, it was simply a means of finding relief from sleepless nights. I discovered that if I cried out to God candidly about what I was feeling and experiencing and could get it all on paper and then close the journal at the end of the day, I could close my eyes and find rest. So I committed to doing this every day. After a few weeks, I started looking back at the things I had written when I first began the process. I could see God at work in the pages of my own prayers in ways I hadn’t otherwise been aware. This was so instrumental in my personal spiritual growth that I have continued this discipline daily ever since.
The summer after my junior year in college, the Lord led me to serve as a summer intern at the Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York City. It was there, in one of the most populated cities in this country, that God took me to be alone with Him. He began healing the deepest broken places in my heart and showing me what He could do with desperate prayers and a desire to know Him more. It was one of the most life-changing experiences I have ever had.
There have been countless times I have heard someone who grew up in church and came to know the Lord at a young age say they don’t really have a story to tell. I don’t believe that is true. As I reflect on my own story, this is what I see: God saved me from making a string of poor, regret-filled choices during some of the darkest seasons of my life. I don’t mean to project that I have always been faithful, or that my walk has been totally blameless, or that I have never made decisions I don’t regret. What I am saying is the person who has chosen to fully follow God his or her entire life is able to speak of the same miraculous power of God as any other sinner-turned-saint. In order for you to testify that your story is “boring” or “ordinary” means that you have been part of an unmistakable conspiracy of love. He has been there gently chasing you all this time. He has kept you from a world of hurt. Hold your head up high. Embrace the miracle of your life, and boldly proclaim your story to whoever will listen. Don’t allow the Enemy to quiet your voice. Don’t miss this truth: Your story, like mine, is a truly remarkable testament of the unrelenting, loving pursuit of the Almighty God.
Esther is a Mississippi-born-and-raised Huntsville transplant. She moved to Huntsville, AL in 2009 to begin her career as a business professional, knowing very little about the place she would soon call her new home. In 2013, she married her best friend, Clint, whom she met in the Rocket City. They are active members of Willowbrook Baptist Church. Esther came to know the Lord as a young girl and has had a burning desire to honor Him and make Him known ever since. She has an undergraduate degree in English and Spanish, and a Master’s in Business Administration. She enjoys traveling, writing about what God is doing around her, painting with watercolors and oils, and learning how to do DIY house projects with her husband. Her personal blog can be found at Snapshots of Mercy.