Hello! My name is Laura Joy Bothwell. I am a Campus Missionary with H2O Church at University of Cincinnati. I am currently living in Clifton, OH and loving the path that God has me on!
I grew up in the suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio where my parents met singing in a choir so I guess you could say music was and still is a huge part of my life. While I was in high school I played flute in the marching and symphonic bands and sang in both our top choirs. I loved it so much I decided to go to college for music education. Somehow I ended up at my last choice of schools, Bowling Green State University and in December of 2014 I graduated with my Bachelor of Music with a specialization in K-12 Vocal Music.
When I began attending BGSU in the fall of 2010 I was just getting out of an emotionally and sexually abusive relationship. It got to a point where I was dating this guy simply because I felt trapped. I knew I loved God, but the guy I was dating couldn’t understand the importance of that in my life. In the middle of my freshman year, on my birthday actually, I got a phone call and, long story short, he ended our conversation with “you need to choose between me or God.” In that moment I knew God was bringing me back to him, but that didn’t make the recovery process any easier. I eventually got to a place where I felt so worthless and unworthy of God’s grace and love. However, during the summer before my second year of school, things started to turn around for me. When I returned to BG to begin the new year I eventually found my way to a small group in my dorm. This particular group was with a church on campus called H2O church.
After attending a few groups and Sunday services I knew I wanted to get involved with this church. I dove right in and signed up for their 8 week discipleship class that they offer each semester. This eventually led to me getting involved with their small group leadership my third year at BG. Through the encouragement of my group and leaders that year I decided to go on a spring break mission trip with H2O church to Panama City Beach, Florida in March of 2013.
Before we even left for this trip, God had been working in my life quite a bit. At the time I was struggling with the idea that music education was still my calling. Something inside me kept saying “No” but I kept fighting it because everyone else told me this was what God wanted me to do. As I began to pray for guidance and a clear path in this situation, God began to place ministry and leading musical worship on my heart. I wasn’t sure what this looked like specifically, but God used the trip to PCB to help solidify all of that. However, that didn’t make this trip any easier. I knew I was heading into a place to serve and share hope with broken people and I knew I was equally if not more broken than them. The weight of my past relationship and all the sin I had racked up at that point was sitting so heavily on my shoulders. How could a Christian girl have fallen so far short from an unconditionally loving Savior who had supposedly changed her life? But, like I said before, God had some big plans for this trip.
While we were down there, on our first night out, I encountered a girl from BGSU. We ended up having a great conversation, but that was not what I walked away with. I walked away that day realizing that there is a huge need for the gospel on college campuses, specifically my own. Through this experience I began to see the road God had laid out before me. I now know that I have been called to use my story to help other girls who, like me, have darkness, scars, pain, and wounds in their lives. I want to be a beacon of hope and a vessel of light in their lives. Through the gospel of Christ I found self-worth, healing, and unconditional love.
After two internships and a lot of encouragement I eventually applied and was accepted onto full-time staff as a campus missionary with H2O church. I pray God can use me to fulfill His works and provide hope for college girls through the good news of the gospel.
I love Bengals Football, Reds Baseball, and everything BG and Bearcats // Hockey is number one (GO RED WINGS) // Making song playlists is my spiritual gift // I love rollercoasters and seek adventure // Double stuffed Oreos are my weakness // I can’t dance, but when I’m home alone I love to crank it up and get down to my favorite jams // My dog is my best friend // Avid Hoodie Hoarder, blanket buyer, and bag enthusiast // Nothing beats a good book and nice up of coffee // Hammock life is the best life
Joyful With Christ
The title of this blog is a play off my middle name. Something people tell me is how joyful I am. If I am being honest, finding joy in life isn’t always easy for me even though it may seem that way to those on the outside. This blog is for my benefit in many ways, but the biggest benefit is for me to see Christ at work in my own life. By writing it out I can externally process the work he is completing and find assurance and joy in what he is doing and hopefully inspire others to do the same. Seeking joy is a choice. I hope this blog can inspire you to do just that.