Grace ambassador, Jordan Gray, is joined by Baylor senior and former volleyball player, Campbell Bowden, as they walk through Bowden’s faith journey and the impact her faith has had on her life and athletic career.
Bowden is currently a senior at Baylor University. The young woman has played volleyball all through her high school career as well as for her first three years at Baylor before her career had to come to an end for medical reasons. During her athletic time, Bowden found herself on an awesome journey in which she used the platform provided by sports to speak on what the Lord has done for her, seeing as she came into her own faith in her sophomore year of high school. Since then, she has seen the Lord’s working hand in her life, and, through sports, she was shown life lessons and the true meaning of having a God who loves us and who serves us in the darkest times.
Knowing God has her back, Bowden found the most fulfilling things about using her gifts as an athlete came whenever she had an opportunity to share the Word. “As an athlete, people are always watching you and that is an opportunity to share the Word and talk about who Jesus is and what he can do in your life.” While sports are fun and provide not only a workout, but also a platform, Bowden touches on the feeling that it is more fun to glorify the Lord through sport and talk about the Lord on and off the court/field/track for He has given us gifts to do His works.
Glorifying the Lord through volleyball has helped Bowden translate her faith into playing for something bigger than herself. In high school, no matter how well she did on the court, Bowden says that she never truly felt fulfilled when playing volleyball, she knew she loved the sport and this is where she was meant to be, but something was missing. When her sophomore year hit, and she came into her own faith, she realized that there is something greater out there. “Once I started playing for the Lord, I began walking and playing more freely, more confidently.” When her volleyball career ended, she fell into another identity crisis as she was filled with uncertainty and disappointment at what would come next and realized that she wasn’t solely playing for the Lord like she thought. However, she felt the constant presence of the Lord and was made whole again knowing the Lord was always there, walking with her in both the light and dark times.
Being a young and successful athlete and coming to find and play for the Lord in her own way, Bowden, like many other successful peoples, had to learn to balance the humility versus the pride that comes with climbing that ladder. “[It is] truly the Holy Spirit that guides your thoughts,” Bowden says, “I never thought I was someone who was actually good at the sport. I have simply seen the Lord work so much and He has given me this success and this platform to honor and glorify Him.” God will provide the way for you. Keep yourself grounded and surrounded within a community where they constantly point you back toward the Word and the Lord. God gave each of us gifts; we should use them to glorify him. In this, Bowden claims that it becomes easy to not have any pride at all in knowing God’s hand is guiding everything.
God’s guiding hand will always shine through as he gives us faith, hope, love, and Grace. When asked what God’s Grace meant to her, Bowden replied, “It is an undeserved blessing; we don’t deserve His Grace, yet he continues to give it to us. I’m overly thankful.” God’s Grace allows us to overcome many obstacles in life, especially when it becomes difficult to live out your faith in your sport or field.
“When things were getting tough, in a season of disappointment and anger,” Bowden comments, “[this] is where my community came in and pointed me back to Christ.” When times get tough, and living faith out fully seems difficult, it is good to have those reminders of what is truly important. “God is still God, even through the hard times. He will help you walk in freedom and confidence.” This rang true especially in Bowden’s life when her world flipped upside down and she had to hang on to her faith to make it through.
In her first year of college, Bowden was diagnosed with Lyme disease, but she powered through, and continued to play the sport she loved. When she hit her third year, she had a relapse which sparked heart complications, forcing her to retire from the game. For Bowden, this was a hard moment as she did not understand why this would happen to her, but she turned towards the Lord and found he was with her every step of the way. In this newfound time, Bowden decided to create a blog—Campbell Spilling the Soup. In this blog, she shares her story and speaks with other girls on the goodness of the Lord and His works in their lives. “It has not been easy, and it is not pretty some days, but that is the beautiful thing about being a Jesus follower—He is constant; we are not.”
As Bowden journeys through life with God, she maintains her eternity mindset as she lives with Heaven in view while pursuing her various passions. The college senior from El Paso, Texas, saw many things growing up, especially poverty around her. Wanting to make a difference, she and her family started a sports camp nine years ago, where they work with children and teens from five to eighteen years old at their “I Can Camp.” “[The camp has been such a blessing in my life. The kids make [just as much of] an impact in my life as I make in theirs.” Through such passions, Bowden finds it easier to live each day like it’s the last since life on earth is just a blip of the eternity that lies before us in Heaven. “Knowing we have eternity after [earth] is comforting. Yes, times get dark and tough, but that doesn’t mean times are over.”
Before Gray and Bowden finished their talk together, Gray asked Bowden to share some words of encouragement for the readers, listeners, and viewers. To this, Bowden spoke wholeheartedly as she said, “If you’re going through a hard time, or if it feels like you cannot go on, know that you can. We have a God who made each of us fearfully and wonderfully made and it should give us the confidence [to know] we are here for a purpose. We all have a light that shines like no other, so focus on shining and keeping Heaven in mind.”
The Heaven to the Yeah team thanks Campbell Bowden for taking the time to share her story with us. We pray for good health and loving days for her and her family.
Heaven to the Yeah (HTTY) is an online retail start-up with a mission to encourage people to live with heaven in view and spread the hope of heaven globally. HTTY sponsors children and missionaries on four continents through universally recognized non-profit organizations such as Compassion International and Food for the Hungry.