REFLECTION OF AN OLD LIFE
(The Dennis Campbell Story)
Jesus Did It!
It all began (my life that is) back on June 15, 1969 at Thorne Hospital in Hudson, MI. Soon after my fifth birthday, I became very interested in baseball. The Lady of Fatima in Michigan Center, Michigan sponsored a church baseball league that entailed overhand pitching instead of T-ball that most at my age at that time involved themselves with. Through the experience of the church league I developed into a very rare, good-quality ballplayer for my age. Many coaches and others had mentioned this among themselves, and I played in that league for about four years
Throughout these years though, I was pretty well known for my rare baseball ability. I was so to speak, not fun to be around at times. I believe this is all part of being an only child. I have to be honest - there were times when my mother spoiled me rotten, and if things at times didn't work out exactly the way I wanted them to, then I resorted to being a spoiled brat. I was at very young age when my parents divorced, so I'm guessing a majority of the reason why I became spoiled was because of the fact that my father was absent from the home. I didn't have constant discipline that boys at my age need. When I did things that were not right, I didn't have that firm discipline that would prohibit me from repeating the same behavior.
When I was nine years old, it was off to the Southwest Major League; this League was for ages 10 to 15. The coach drafted me at age nine because he felt I could greatly benefit the team. During this time I felt the need to involve God, not because I felt a need for Him but a lot of people I knew or hung around with were from Catholic backgrounds. So I felt that if I had some type of Religious background, I would fit in better. From then on, feeling acceptance from my piers became (I thought) the answer to life. I then established the art of people pleasing. Instead of ignoring the people-pleasing syndrome, I realized its affect with being a good ballplayer, so I used it to impress and win people over.
When I was 15 years old, Dunigan Hardware, a baseball team in the Senior League Division drafted me. The age group for this league was 15 to 18. When I was probably about 17, I started trying to be like my piers and built my own self-image - based on what others thought. Through high school regardless of what I did, whether good or bad as long as I was recognized, I felt acceptance. (I felt the need to be recognized, because I always was, in baseball as I was growing up.) Also when I was 17, most of my friends were older, so I based the growth of my maturity with my older piers so I could contend with them.
By the time I was 19 years of age I felt comfortable with the people-pleasing image I built for myself over the past two years. During those two years, I involved myself with individuals that would only knock me out of the race to spend eternity with God. I was never cut out to associate with the individuals that I did. The only reason I hung around them was because I felt safe, secure, and accepted. Once that I felt established in those three areas, I believed I had reached my achievement.
Then on Friday July 29, 1989 God opened my eyes by allowing my auto accident to occur, from which I laid in a coma for seven and a half weeks. Then when I finally awoke from the coma, I was unable to walk or talk. I am still unable to physically walk without assistance, and it took about two and a half weeks after coming out of my coma before I could talk. If it had not been for God's grace, I would be unable to give my testimony. My recovery was literally a miracle; what I mean by this is if there was no God, I would not be alive. He literally saved my life. I truly feel special and feel God's love for me. You hear of miracles everyday, but the kind He worked in my life, you very rarely hear of!
Then in 1991, my aunt (bless her heart) gradually introduced me to the person responsible for saving my life (twice I might add, once on the cross.) We started doing a bible study together on the telephone every night. I then started attending church with her each week at Skiff Lake Bible Church in Clarklake, MI. After attending there for about a year, I thought to myself, since He died for me, the least I could do is live for Him. So on March 12,1992; my aunt had the pastor of Skiff Lake Bible Church stop by my home because I decided to surrender my entire life to Jesus Christ! Since I did that, I have become a better person. For example, numerous people have said they enjoy being in my presence because I'm so positive. (I can take no credit for that.)
When I became a Christian, life took on a brand new meaning, and it wasn't just the physical change of becoming a Christian. It also changed my attitude to a drastically positive one. My whole outlook on life changed. After becoming a servant of Jesus Christ, He allowed the love and compassion that was hidden within my being to become ever so evident to me as well as to others. Deep down I feel my compassion toward others is so strong and evident; I feel I was always meant to be a Christian. When someone becomes a Christian, they are automatically filled with the spirit of love (because GOD IS LOVE!!) He opened a place in my heart that He literally only knew existed. The place in my heart He opened was overflowed with love - so much overflowed that I only felt spiritual by sharing it with others.
Along with being able to abundantly share my love, He also gave me the gift of tremendously knowing how to sense love. One person I can tremendously feel her love from is my mother. If it weren't for her love and support of me, my attitude toward life in general would not be so positive. The reason I know that she loves me is not just because she tells me, but I can genuinely FEEL her love. She has great potential to be a godly woman, with all the love and support she has given me over the past eight years. From most everything she does, I can sense love and compassion. Her response to certain situations in life is evidence that the Holy Spirit is a part of her life.
Also after becoming a Christian, I felt quite sure this was the place that God wanted me. Dr. Charles Stanley, speaker for the In-Touch Radio and Television Broadcasts and the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Atlanta, GA became my mentor and inspiration for my Christian walk. My aunt and uncle live in Georgia so I figured a visit to their home would be the perfect opportunity to meet Dr. Stanley. The first time I visited my aunt and uncle in Georgia was in December of 1992. Likewise, it was also the year I would meet Dr. Stanley for the first time
My meeting with Dr. Stanley was definitely arranged by God Himself. After the service I wheeled down to the pulpit to shake his hand, tell him where I was from, and to tell him how much of a blessing he was to me. He asked one of his co-workers to wheel me to his Study (his office). We visited about 20 minutes, and then he signed the inside of one of his books, "To Dennis: Merry Christmas- Charles Stanley." It is 1997 and I have visited the First Baptist Church of Atlanta and Dr. Stanley every year since then. I am reminded of the goodness of God each time I hear or think of the name of Jesus, and of how one person can bring so much joy to so many lives.
The insights I receive from listening to Dr. Stanley preach intensifies my walk with the Lord. The insight he reveals from God's word gives me the strength I need to make it through each day. Knowing one day I am going to undoubtedly see him in the exact same place that he encourages numerous people to end up encourages me greatly. I have gained a tremendous amount of insight from hearing Dr. Stanley's teaching, insight that allows me to consider my condition as God's way of conforming me to the image of His son.
As of about a year ago, God laid these very insightful words on my heart, "The Purifying Work of Pain." Not only did this relieve my own dilemma, but it also gave me comfort in my concern for others in their pain. I know some will say, "but you don't know how much pain I'm going through". I Corinthians 10:13 in essence says, He will not test you more than you are able to bear but will also provide a way of escape, so that you are able to bear it. In other words, you can't appreciate light, unless you've had darkness, or being well unless you've been less than well, and how can you appreciate peace unless you've had suffering?
In May of “1995” the Lord Jesus Christ allowed me to return to Adult Education and receive my “ High School Diploma”, I didn’t simply take tests to receive a G.E.D., I took actual classes to receive an actual diploma. Halfway through the 11th grade I figured I knew enough at that point in time, to make it through the rest of my life...Boy was I wrong! Although this is how the sovereignty of God works, ten years later I GRADUATED from “Spring Arbor University,” which is a Christian University with a Bachelors Degree in “MINISTRY ADMINISTRATION.” My passion is ministering to Children in some fashion that will ultimately bring Glory to Jesus Christ (You will always be guaranteed the right path when your heart's desire is to please Him.)
I've noticed when people find out that I am a Christian, I'm treated in much more of a pleasant way. It's as if everybody believes Jesus is the way, truth, and the life, (John 14:6) but don't feel the need for Him because they are afraid of what the world might think. In Luke 12:4,5 God tells us not to be afraid of those who kill the body, but fear the one who has the power to cast you into hell. So what this is saying is that the world should not carry any weight concerning your thought process.
Also since I've surrendered my life totally to Jesus Christ, I now view my physical condition as a blessing and an opportunity for growth sent directly by God. Just because I'm unable to physically walk without assistance, that in no way prohibits me from sharing Christ's love. If anything, it enables me more. I now have the acceptance that I thought I had before. But those past feelings of acceptance were like the wind, here today and gone tomorrow. My Heavenly Father has promised to never leave me or forsake me. (Hebrews 13:5) So this feeling of acceptance will remain eternally.
The reason I feel the utmost comfort and acceptance in Him is because in Proverbs 18:24 it clearly states Christ will always be with me and will stick to me closer than a brother. Philippians 4:7 says that the Peace of God surpasses all understanding and will guard your heart and mind through Christ Jesus. This assures me that no matter what circumstance I may be going through, Christ shall be my comfort. Now EIGHTEEN years later, I can honestly say though I'm unable to physically walk without assistance, the accident is the most profitable situation that has happened in my life. I met The Lord Jesus Christ!!
I now presently have close to 50 written pages for an autobiography, that He has allowed me to write so outright positive. I want to surprise Him so hopefully He's meeting with Moses or somebody and won't hear me say, I plan to use the ENTIRE book for His Glory. (Ha Ha!) The moral to this story is...An able-body DOES NOT GUARANTEE contentment!
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