camp cerebrations one: thursday

it’s no accident we’re here tonight, we are once in a lifetime

needle and haystack life, switchfoot

Thursday was a rougher day.  I felt like I had to coax, argue, plead with the girlie to participate all day.  I spent a lot of my downtime/solitary supervision time at camp praying anyway, but I was really asking God for strength, persistence and most importantly patience.

I never thought it would end [or Friday would begin] so beautifully though, through all the chaos.

I had to plead with the girlie to get out of bed to go to the bathroom and brush her teeth.  She wasn’t biting at all.  Wouldn’t move.  This had gone on all day and my patience at 11:30 was just done.  I broke down, tearfully pleading her to just get ready for bed.  Finally I just couldn’t stand it anymore and asked E, another camper who was absolutely amazing to have around, to ask Nadine [the girls’ counsellor and an amazing person] to deal with the girlie while I went to the bathroom and got ready for bed.

I was better by the time I got back to the cabin.  I was just tired, exasperated and frustrated.  As I was coming back, E was taking the girlie to the bathroom to get ready for bed.  I was so, so grateful for that girl.

When they got back, the girlie sat with me for a bit and we talked.  Her ankle hurt, she wasn’t feeling good . . . mostly, though, I think she was just tired.  So was I.  We hugged it out, were okay, and she climbed up to her bunk and fell asleep relatively quickly.

E and R were still up talking after everybody had fallen asleep, and I joined them haphazardly a bit, but then decided to roll over and try to sleep.  I’d been noticing change in E in chapel–resistance changing to longing for exploration of God.  I saw so, so much of myself six years ago in her and I really, really wanted to hear her story so far, where she was at.

“Okay, I can’t sleep, your conversation is getting too good.  So, [E], where are you at with God?”

She told me that at the beginning of the week she’d not been a believer.  She hated chapel, hated worship.  Hated devotions.  Like I did my first year of camp before I believed in God.

Then, she said, she’d done a one-eighty.  That everything around her felt so genuine, so real, that she believed in God.

I am so, so excited for her journey.  To see where God takes her.

“Is it okay if I sit on your bunk?”

“For sure.”

We talked until nearly two am.  I prayed for her, her journey with God, her Opa who’s been sick.  We prayed for healing.

I had, once again, the opportunity to tell my story.  Both E and R looked at me wide-eyed and couldn’t believe the stories of who I used to be.  And it is ALL God responsible for that change.  Our amazing, awesome God.

As we were talking, the Switchfoot lyric from above came into my head, and I quoted the first half.  “You know, another thing is that I don’t believe that the fact we’re here having this conversation right now is an accident.  I think there’s a reason for everything.  Talking with you girls has been so, so good.  All that’s lead to this . . . this moment . . . happened for a reason.  And that is so, so cool.”

R and E told me some of their stories, their journeys with God.  I love hearing where people are at, where they’ve come from.  R, it sounds, has always had deep faith.  E went to church when she was younger, then it faded out, and I’m praying now that she’s recommitted to Jesus and that He’s helping her to take on everything she’s faced and is facing in life with Him at her side for support.

You’re not here by accident . . . and life it lives.

life, flyleaf

Thank You, Jesus for beautiful transformation, beautiful change and beautiful stories.

 

(to be continued)

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pausing with Jesus

i find myself reading blog posts, skimming past the parts about Jesus without even thinking about it.

Why?

why.am.i.overlooking.what.actually.matters?

Jesus.  Jesus who actually matters.

Jesus.  Jesus who changed and changes everything.

Jesus.  Jesus who is everything.

Friday at youth, our theme was Pause. Play. Repeat. Amidst the reflection of the past lessons we’ve covered during the year, Ramona went over Matthew 5:4-8, pinpointing people whom she saw the verses majorly representing.  That was a push I needed, direct application of scripture.

4 God blesses those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 God blesses those who are humble,
for they will inherit the whole earth.
6 God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,
for they will be satisfied.
7 God blesses those who are merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 God blesses those whose hearts are pure,
for they will see God.

And these things, certain people are evident in all of them.  And these things are things that we should strive to have evident in all of us.

I was shocked, though, because I was the first example.  The Message translation puts it this way, and I feel connection in this:

4 “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

Ramona phrased it as that I “mourn” with people–work through struggles and tough stuff with them.  I see the second translation, though, linking my past with my future once again.  Having identity in nothing was previously “dear” to me.  It’s true.  Being stronger alone was who I was.  God took that from me, forever.  And I was embraced fully by His LOVE.

Moments of blessing appear so often.  I am blessed that people allow me to intertwine into their stories, engage in their stories.  I am blessed every single time I engage in worship with one of the girls I do inclusion with.  I am blessed every time my other girlie looks at me and holds onto my arm and says “I love you” because that is exactly what’s on her heart at the time.

I do a lot of playing and repeating.  I need to do more pausing.

Pausing like this.

Pausing with Jesus.


the distance

i’ve been to pretty buildings, all in search of You

road trip '08 etc 074

i have lit all the candles . . . sat in all the pews

road trip '08 etc 014 

. . .

oh the distance is not doable / in these bodies of clay my brother / oh the distance makes me uncomfortable / guess it’s natural to feel this way. / we’re locked to these bodies / let’s hold out for something sweeter . . .

my car became the church and i / the worshipper of silence there / in a moment peace came over me / and the One who was beating my heart appeared

this distance is dreaming / we’re already there tonight

the distance, live

Sometimes, things just summate my experiences, my thoughts so perfectly.  Live lyrics – they do that a lot.  I’ve listened to this song countless times today.  Images of still empty churches, deserted pews.  Stillness.

So hitting me – and so, so good.

rejoice for He is risen!

I had a really cool Easter. 

I started the day with my 3rd ever Easter church service of my life, and it was awesome.  It just felt really energizing and focusing and fantastic. 

I then got to hang with one of my girlies from youth where we mostly played with my camera and she hugged me a lot :).  Love the girls I’ve had an opportunity to get to know through my church’s youth program.  Also, one of the other youth leaders found candy canes on his dresser and brought them to church.  Because, really, what says EASTER more than candy canes?

This was followed by spending some chaotic time in the three year old room, where everything simmered down when they got in for stories and worship.  I had a little buddy who was so adorable through the time we spent in the teaching portion.  He’s three but has just started talking, so he repeats EVERYTHING you say, and decided I was his friend for today.  Three year old cuddles between praise songs are the bestest.

At home while waiting to go to family dinner I did some varieties of running around because the city turned off our water so they could fix something at our neighbours’ place.  Once that calmed down [aka we had showered and acquired a port-a-potty from my grandparents—gotta love being lake people] I read some of the Easter story in the Bible which just felt super awesome. 

"display the bright splendor of your Son, so the Son in turn may show Your bright splendor"

John 17:1

Intermingle this with a lot of praise music, and even the chaos can be really refreshing.  I think that’s kind of a reminder of where I should be ALL THE TIME.  In the chaos, REJOICE.  PRAISE.  SEEK.  And I have to get better at that.

healed.

photo (46) Tomorrow is MORE than just a day off.

and can You see me through the hole in Your hand?

“and I can be reason for you to believe in”, spoken with the heart of a King

and did it hurt when they threw the stones?  did You feel the ache right through Your bones?  was it worth it when You crossed the line?  would You do it again in time?

questions, a new honour

my God is full of awesome

don’t look at the past again / the first and last has made everything new / and you are too / so lift your hands / and let your story be told

Break Your Knees, Flyleaf

The power of worship, community and love just overwhelms me sometimes. And the power of any of these things would not be able to exist without a very loving, powerful and overwhelming God.

Ground Zero tonight was awesome—inspiring, refreshing, recharging.

There is something very awesome about praying with your sisters in Christ—praying with people who are perhaps just discovering the redemptive love of Jesus in their lives.  There is something very awesome about being on your knees in awe of all that God can, has and WILL do.  There is something very awesome about feeling the stillness, the love and the PRESENCE and WHOLENESS of God.

There is something awesome about knowing that no matter what, He CAN and WILL make it all become okay and that we can TRUST Him in that—that we can trust him in anything.

There is nothing more awesome.  There is nothing more I could want in life than to know MORE of that awesome.