One of the three activities that I am trained in at camp is crafts. This is both a gift, and a difficult thing to teach kids because while it is pretty fun to watch crafts come together, kids often become frustrated. One day, a little girl named Maryn came to me with a piece of wood. The holes were filled with dirt and unsmoothed pieces of wood sticking out from inside of those holes. She had wet it to try to make it better and scrubbed at the surface endlessly in efforts to make it better, but nothing had seemed to work, and so she came to me in frustration, ready to give up and try to begin again.
The thing about crafts is that kids only get one piece because we only have enough for each kid who comes to camp to get one craft. Therefore, the option was either to give up or to persevere. And so I decided to help her out. I took her broken piece and began working on one little hole in the center. I rolled up the sand paper and began twisting around inside of it until the rough edges became smooth. It took a lot of effort, and a long time, but the hole soon became smooth, and part of what I knew could become a beautiful piece.
This to me is a picture of the way that God works on me. Maren’s piece is a reflection of my broken self, and the teacher is an illustration of God, the Father. Like the rough, dirty piece of wood, my heart is filled with sin and dirtiness seemingly too far to make well again. Yet God is like the teacher who says nothing is too far for me to fix, and my love changes everything. He takes me in His arms, and begins to smooth out the rough edges and make clean my dirty heart.
Refinement and sanctification are the two precious words that come to mind about this picture: my loving Father and King shaping me. Just like the wooden piece and the sand paper, it hurts; correction is never easy and change is a painful process, yet it will be very beautiful and I trust and believe that God will make me wonderfully and beautifully new through it.
This term, I was blessed by the presence of a sweet nurse named Jalean. On one of our girls nights filled with delicious cookies and refreshing fruit, I was encouraged to talk with someone new. She told me amazing stories of her time at camp and experiences with them in the wilderness, and encouraged me with her gentleness and love. At camp, the nurses office is called Hugs and Health. I would say that I am a frequent flyer there, and so I was able to see her a lot. Words cannot describe what a blessing and gift she was to me throughout this past term. She reminded me that I was loved and helped me in times of tears and brokenness over my mistakes, and taught me about loving. Sometimes just hearing those three words can change everything and turn around a day. I encourage you to share them with another soul, who might just need that affirmation this very moment. We prayed for one another, and she showed me the love of Jesus in a most beautiful way, by example, in love, and in deeds, too. Thank you, Oh Lord, for sweet Jalean.
The Infamous Four
This term, I was grateful to lead my fifth hike trip of the summer. On my trip, however, were a couple of challenging girls with negative attitudes about the adventure, which I have grown to love so much. I remember reaching the end of my abilities to love them, and leaving them with my co to walk down the path for a moment and call my mom, at a loss for what to do. On my way back after praying with my mother, a friend asked how I was doing. Sweet Maria is one of the most loving and caring friends I know, and she spoke beautiful truth into my heart. She said, you’re general disposition and natural tendency is to be kind to others, but when it becomes really hard to love others because they do not love in return, it is an opportunity to allow the Lord to love through you. And that, He did. Throughout the term and with the encouragement of my co, the Lord loved through me when I couldn’t love those girls on my own.
The crazy thing about these girls, as I learned this term, is that they might never be transformed and changed by my love or that of the Lord. They may never come to know Jesus, but God calls me to love them anyways because He loves them. The parts of the Bible where God talks about loving those who do not love us in return and God’s character being love independent of us danced to life in my interactions with these girls. Even if I never followed Him, God would still love me. No matter what, here on this earth, our identity as those created is loved by God because He is love. What a joyous gift and promise that I can love because I have been loved and always will be loved in every moment, not because of anything, but because of God. Nothing can separate us from the love of God.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a]neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~ Romans 8:38-39
Rejection is better than Indifference
This term, my little crush continued on. There were many moments where I was tempted to become indifferent towards him, and to ignore him because of the hurt that I felt in my heart of rejection and my fear of being put to shame. Yet one thing I have learned is that God calls me to love him anyways, even if it hurts. It is far better to be rejected and broken, and in a place where my heart seeks the comfort of the Lord than to be indifferent and have my heart hardened. The Lord will take care of me and comfort me; this I know to be true.
“To love is to be vulnerable.” ~ C.S. Lewis
Asking For What We Need
My dear friend, Rachel, wrote me a letter the other day. One thing that stood out from it was her plea with me to ask for what I needed from her so that she could help and serve me. Often am I so very deeply hesitant to ask for things like affirmation, yet need and long for it in my heart so very much. But the beautiful thing about the body of Christ is that we were meant to encourage and build one another up; it is okay to ask for help in order for us to best be able to serve the Lord. May this be my and your goal: to ask our friends for the things we need, whether in affirmation or physical touch. The languages of love are a lovely tool and gateway to a deeper relationship and greater reception of love.
The Sweetest, Loveliest Girls Thus Far
This term was filled with much laughter and many smiles. I miss these sweet girl already; their eagerness to contribute and share in Bible studies and their encouraging attitudes the most. I miss their tender hearts of compassion for one another, such as when they worked together to make one of their cabinmates beds while she showered since she had been weak and sick that night. I miss their curiosity about me and my life, and desire to know me and God, more. I miss their smiles and consideration for the needs of others, and their example of unity. Most of all, I miss singing our song together and joining our voices in harmony; an expression of the beauty that was our cabin.
Do, a door, to cabin 4.
Re, we love to laugh and play
Mi-mi, a name, I call myself.
Fog, it happens at the Que
So, explosive cabin 4
La, singing during soapies
T, our mom away from home
That will bring us back to do ❤