Updated: Sep 22
(Photo Credit: Liam, our ten year old artist.)
In our post, "House Searching," we shared how after looking at over 50 houses in 9 different cities and seven declined offers, we believed that God wanted us to push the pause button on looking. Click on this link to read: https://www.simplycampbell.com/post/house-searching
A few weeks after we had stopped looking, on July 22, 2022, I was reflecting on our situation.
I decided to write it down:
“Welcome to the world of the middle class…A world where during the course of the seven months you have been trying to buy a house, the interest rates have doubled. A world where a 350k house is either 1,000 sq ft or practically uninhabitable and will need another 100k to fix it…A world where .17 of an acre costs 30k…A world where you bring in 74k a year, have no state income tax, zero debt, don’t spend money on extracurricular activities like sports in order to save money, have a nicely padded savings account and you are left to conclude that after all of the above, you can’t afford to buy a house. You want to see the middle class disappear, keep this nonsense up.
God is up to something. If I didn’t believe that,
this situation would look extremely dismal.”
On the same day as that writing, only shortly after I had written it, I heard an advertisement on the radio about a Christian event called, “Life Surge” that was happening in eight days. It was designed to equip people with skills that would allow them financial freedom and time to make a bigger impact in the world. It seemed like this was an answer to our prayer of what next steps we should be taking to get Ralph home. Ralph agreed and said as long as we could find child care that he was on board.
(This is a screenshot from the day I learned about the event that I sent to Ralph to see if he was interested.
This event was definitely for us.)
We had only been in Florida for a handful of months so our network wasn’t too big yet. The boys and I had been going to a group called Wild+Free for only two months, but there was a family in there that I believed were trustworthy. They happily agreed to watch the kids and were excited for what we were about to embark on.
When I went online to purchase the tickets, I saw that they offered different levels of tickets. I saw that there was an option to be able to meet the speakers.
Though I am not one to care about or pay attention to famous people, I was drawn to Priscilla Shirer and Willie Robertson. They were taking the platforms that God had placed them on and were glorifying Him through them. That is a rare and beautiful thing to see in this world. I wanted the opportunity to tell them that myself and share what God had been doing in our lives.
I did something I rarely do. I purchased those higher priced tickets when I normally get the cheapest and did so without discussing it with Ralph. My palms were sweaty and my heart was racing knowing that God was up to something through this event, but not knowing what that was yet. When Ralph came home from work I said to him, “I bought the most expensive tickets.” Knowing that's not like me, he calmly asked why and I said, “because you’re going to meet Willie Robertson.” He laughed and repeated, “I’m going to meet Willie Robertson” as if to say, “OK and why?”
I thought, “why do I have to meet Willie Robertson? I read his dad's books and got a kick out of Duck Dynasty, but hadn’t watched it in probably six years. I respected the holistic side to their family and what they represented. It is a rare thing to see a functioning Christian family on TV. I had to ask Courtney who every other famous person was that was going. That being said, I didn’t see a point in meeting them. I don’t care about celebrities.
Like I said, I don’t really care about celebrities either, but I felt God clearly tell me that I needed to write something and give it to Priscilla Shirer, Willie Robertson, and whoever else he prompted me to give it to when we were there.
Doing this writing to these guest speakers forced Ralph and I to sit down and talk about what our goals were. What were they exactly??? Wow, that was such a hard conversation to have! Thankfully, our friend Heather had come to visit from Buffalo and watched the boys while we had that much needed conversation.
This is what I wrote and planned to give to Priscilla and Willie:
“We are Ralph and Courtney Campbell. We have been married for 15 years and have three boys that are 9, 6, and 3 years old. Six months ago we took a big step of faith. Ralph resigned from his stable fifteen year job at Attica prison in NY and we moved to Orlando, FL. Currently, Ralph is working full-time as a job superintendent for a commercial construction company and Courtney is keeping their three boys alive. She also has had her own photography business for 17 years (www.courtneycampbell.net).
For five years we have felt this pull from God to start, “Simply Campbell,” but our life simply didn’t allow for it until we moved. It is a blog where we are BOTH writing, being transparent, and intentionally pointing people to Jesus through all of it.
We believe that we have been gifted with the ability to speak honestly, boldly, tactfully, and tenderly. People are so desperately searching for truth, love, and fulfillment. We want to be one of those who show them where they can find that; in Jesus!
So why are we writing this to you? Ultimately, we really resonate with what you have done. We love seeing you taking what God has gifted you in and giving HIM all of the glory for the time that HE has allowed you to be on the platforms that HE has given you. We want to be in your kind of company because of that and not because of the status this broken world has labeled you as.
We are not looking for some big contribution or a name-drop from you. However, if you feel drawn to us and would like to personally help, guide, encourage, or point us to someone who could mentor us, we would be so grateful.
We want whatever God wants. If HE wants to give us a bigger platform through “Simply Campbell,” we are open to it. If HE doesn’t, then so be it. We will keep it going regardless.
We don’t care about being financially wealthy. We care about being time wealthy; Time to invest in our three boys souls for the short time we have them in our home. Time to do Kingdom work. Money is simply one of the tools that make this possible. We are debt free and doing our best to be financially independent, too.
We believe that “Simply Campbell” could be one of the avenues that would allow us to accomplish these goals. We just can’t know if He wants to do more with this unless we put ourselves out there more. So, here we are. :)
We understand that you can’t know someone from one single writing or short interaction. If you are even a little curious, we ask that you go to our website www.simplycampbell.com. If you like what you see, please, tell us what more you believe God could do with it. We value your insight!
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Thank you for setting a Godly example. May you continue to be blessed with health and time to keep living your life for Jesus.”
(Photo Credit: Liam, our ten year old artist. He stopped shooting, excitedly ran over to a plant with pink leaves, and brought some over to put in the tree branch that was in the foreground.)
This event was definitely Courtney’s leading. I didn’t have time to think. I trusted her judgement and went with the idea because I couldn’t think about much more than what I had to on a daily basis. Every day I was still at the new job learning so my brain was pretty much shot by the end of the day.
I had said to Courtney on more than one occasion that I didn’t feel settled between the house we were in and the job I was working. She can’t just ignore me when I say things like that. She’ll try to find a solution for it and encourage me to pray. I had just stepped out in faith by leaving New York State Corrections and moving us down to Florida only six months prior.
Now Courtney wanted to check this out and see if it would give us more direction.
Guilty. I pay close attention to Ralph and do a lot of reflecting. I do not waste any time if I believe God is trying to do something. This event intrigued me in a way that said, “God is in this.”
I want to be a part of what God is in.
And God was definitely in it.
Our next writing will be about that life changing event called, "Life-Surge."