Sunday, September 24, 2017

Achilles Heel

I have been a resident of Galveston, Texas for over a year now. This has been such a year of growth, forcing me to grow in ways I never thought possible. In so many ways I have felt like an Israelite wandering around in the desert, waiting for the promise land (graduation obviously). Now, I can honestly say that I am thriving in my desert environment, which is only natural seeing as I'm about to leave. I've learned a lot about nursing, I've finally made friends who I can call on, I am a youth group leader at my new church, I'm still mentoring, and I am applying for jobs that will soon take me from my "home" in Galveston. Through it all, God has sustained me. He has challenged me, molded me, and made me stronger. You never know how weak you are until you are tested. Thankfully, my God is so faithful and has never left my side.

Tonight though I wanted to take the time to blog on something that has been on my heart lately, something that has popped up several times signaling me to sit down, and write out my thoughts.

"In the event of crisis, how many people could you rely on?" 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9 or more.

This is a question that I have been asked with almost every single job application that I have filled out. At first I was puzzled, because why does an employer need to know how many people I consider in my close circle? As I sat on the question, I applied it to my life. "Katelyn, if you got caught up at work how many people could you call to go let Charlotte out of her kennel that she's been in for 16 hours." (assuming they live in the same town).

9 or more. That has been my answer, because my God has surrounded me with family and friends who care for me in that way. As I select the answer, I am always touched and feel so grateful that I consider so many people so near and dear to my heart. Also so glad I have friends and family who take care of my difficult, spotted, diva dog.

But then, there's the opposite. What about the people who say 0?

This became a reality to me early in my nursing career as I worked at TDCJ. Working with prisoners, means that you get to hear about their stories. You hear how the consequences of their actions have left them with no friends or family, which is actually devastating to me. I remember coming home from a shift, crying myself to sleep because one of my prisoners was going to die, and there was no one to call. Unfortunately, the prison had become his family because his actions had alienated himself from his friends and family who believed he was unforgivable. I like to think this man is alone, but I know he's not. Even in the free world there are individuals who die or are hospitalized alone.

This is my Achilles heel of nursing, because my heart breaks. Whether it is a prisoner locked away from the world, or an elderly woman restrained in a hospital room with no family who cares enough to visit her, it gets me. It makes it hard for me to leave work at work, because I finish a shift and know I have people there for me, waiting to talk to me. I know that if I was in an accident, I would have a hospital room full of family and friends who care for me. So it bothers me when a patient doesn't have the support system. It bothers me to see patients alone, DAY after DAY, fighting an illness or disease that will kill them alone. It bothers me that as a society we have failed our friends, families, and neighbors that we would let them sit in a hospital room alone. Because in my not so professional opinion, you need people to heal. You need loved ones, or a kind stranger of a nursing student to sit at your bedside and comfort you, to allow your body to rest and heal.

So this is my Achilles heel, because I strongly believe everyone needs someone. Nothing brings me to tears more quickly than seeing someone alone in the hospital. So here's my thoughts, take them or leave them. Make a point to visit people in the hospital. You're busy, you have kids, work is stressful, hospitals smell funny, other people will visit. Ya, I've heard them all. But next time your grandma is hospitalized, make the time to see her. Or you better pray a nursing student will sit down and comfort her as she hurts physically and emotionally. Next time your neighbor gets sick, go visit them. Take a casserole, have your kids draw pictures, whatever you can do, make it a priority.

The world would be a better place if we cared a little bit more about the people in it. If we all took the time to visit one person in the hospital a month, I believe healing would be more successful.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Even At My Worst

Nursing school has been one of the most challenging experiences of my life, and I feel as if every nursing student would agree. I believe that it has been so challenging to me in particular, because I have watched myself change over the past year. In some ways I believe nursing school has hardened my heart, and has calloused me.

Before I started nursing school, if I was asked to describe myself I would have said joyful. However, over the past year I have struggled to continue to find my joy and choose to be joyful despite my circumstances. As I look in the mirror every morning, it is almost as if I can see how this year has changed me.

When your patient dies alone without any family member to notify, you become hardened. When you watch as a married couple miscarries for the fifth time, you mourn with them. When a child fights a battle with cancer, and eventually the disease wins, it's hard to find joy.

I say all of this because throughout the past year I have noticeable changes in my character and who I am. I believe I have become much more a realist, and a lot more skeptical. It is harder for me to assume the best and always have an optimistic attitude, because the things I see and learn about on a day-to-day basis make it difficult. So, as a woman who used to take pride in a joyful attitude in all things, imagine the distress of feeling as if everything I was has changed. I wake up and who am I anymore if I struggle to find the same joy that used to come so easily?

I also would venture to say that Satan has used my vulnerability in this way to convince me on some days that if I can't be happy and joyful 24/7, am I even the same good person I was before starting nursing school? Has the profession that I have chosen to pursue changed me so that I no longer have a platform to minister from? Has my resting face gone from a smile to a permanent scowl as my mind at any moment can flashback to the horrors and hardships I see every time I enter a hospital? It has been a constant STRUGGLE.

A few weeks ago I would say everything hit its climax and what is true in my dramatic fashion accumulated into a breakdown. I called my sister in tears just to ask her if she thought I was a good person. I told her that this past year has made me feel like I am living at the worst version of myself. My sister has the kindest and most pure soul of anyone that I have ever met. Her response was beautiful and perfect all at the same time.

*paraphrased* "Katelyn, while you may say blunt things that come as mean sometimes, that doesn't mean you aren't a good person. What I think is evident that Satan is really attacking you, making you to believe that you are some person that you aren't."

My baby sister is wise beyond her years, that's for sure. Since that conversation, I have spent a lot of time in prayer. I have changed in the past year, and I imagine everyone reading this will testify that our circumstances not only mold us into the people we are, but they also can harden us. However, I don't have to view this change as a negative thing. Yes, I have to fight a little harder every day to choose joy and to make sure my face isn't constantly in a scowl, but that doesn't mean that I have become a terrible person that I can't recognize in the mirror.

What has been even more enlightening is the way that God seems to take my vulnerabilities, and make me use them. Even when I feel as if I am at my worst, God still calls me to disciple and in the strangest of ways. This past weekend I had the opportunity to do just that, to use my worst to help two girls. I wasn't planning on going to camp this session because I have two tests tomorrow morning that are 50% of my class grade (no pressure). I needed to study, but the Lord had a different plan for me. A camper camping at camp this weekend mentioned that she really needed me to visit to talk to me. Some of the current staff members made the same plea as well "she really needs you to come visit." So as any former camp counselor that deeply misses their job would do, I loaded up  my car and dog and made the 6-hour trek home. I met with the camper and had the most painful, but encouraging conversation that was so worth the drive. Better yet, I had another conversation with a camper who is having the same struggles as me right now.

Those two conversations alone brought me to tears, because even when I feel at my worst, God still manages to make me feel loved and useful. In my struggle, he provided me the opportunity to minister to two girls who were struggling in a similar fashion. And if that means I fail my tests tomorrow it will be worth it all.

Change isn't always a bad thing. My takeaway for tonight though is the way that God can use us at our "worst". He showed me this weekend to use my hardships and struggles to be honest with two campers. Even at my "worst" he still loves me and uses me to bring about his glory. Each day I get to make the choice, I get to fight for my joy.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

It's Worth the Wait

This entry will be a lot different than what I usually take the time to share, but as much as this may be out of my comfort zone, I feel as I need to share what keeps popping up in my life recently.

I've been a camp counselor for five years. Over the course of five summers I have counseled many girls of all ages. I've walked with them, played with them, taught them the Bible, held hands and prayed with them, and so much more. Throughout my years of college, I have found myself in many positions where I have been a counselor or mentor to young girls. Whether it is concerns or hardships, I have been fortunate enough to be someone they trust and come to for advice. Over the past three weeks, I've been approached by old campers, friends, and even some strangers about dating. When it first came up, I laughed. Who am I to give dating advice? But, seeing as a very similar conversation has come up, not once or twice, but multiple times with friends, campers, and strangers alike, I feel as if I should go ahead and share my insight.

Like I said, this is very much out of my comfort zone. I don't have a lot of dating experience, and I am certainly the first to say that I am not perfect in any relationship I have ever been in. (Ask my current boyfriend, he can testify) Yet, what I do know is that dating shouldn't be a game, and there are right and wrong ways to go about it. So here goes nothing.

He is worth waiting for. The man that you will eventually date and marry, is worth waiting for. Throughout college I remember going through what felt like a constant cycle of emotions. Sometimes I wasn't phased by my lack of relationship and was perfectly content to be single, surrounded by friends, and growing in my relationship with God. There were other times where I was down in the dumps, questioning God as to why I was single and alone. Looking back on my four years of college, I wish I could go back and tell my self not to grow discouraged. That those nights I spent crying in my room because I hadn't been on a date in two years, would be well worth the wait.

I didn't date a lot in college. I had one relationship for about three months, and that was it. I did have several guys I was interested in at several different points throughout my time at A&M. Whether these were crushes or periods of time where we were "talking" (whatever that means), I wish I could go back and tell myself to TRUST YOUR GUT.

By this I mean, I knew. I knew with my only relationship, I knew with the guys I would casually text or "talk" to, that these weren't men I was going to end up with. I really have no way of describing it other than it didn't feel right. Yet, instead of simply being content single and alone, I held on to some of these guys for way too long, because at the end of the day it was better to be texting someone than to go to bed knowing the only people you had talked to that day were your mom and roommates. (No offense Pam Pam or friends I've lived with)

I've seen this problem a lot recently. Several girls have come to be asking, or sharing their relationship problems with me. Now my first question for them isn't what does your heart say, but what is your gut telling you? A conversation goes like this. (I'm not making this up people, this is a REAL conversation I had)

Me: "What is your gut saying?"

Friend: "My gut tells me it's not right. That he's not in a good place with the Lord, but I'm too far in. Plus, I think I'd rather stay where I'm at than be alone. I can help him come to know Jesus right?"

This conversation hurt my heart. Why? Because that was me. That was me not four years ago, but even a year and a half ago. So afraid of graduating single and alone that I could justify almost anything that was wrong with a guy. So when I'm approached like this, with questions like these, my heart hurts. I personally feel an obligation to share with these girls that waiting, being single and waiting for a good guy, a guy that you know in your gut is good, is worth it.

Waiting is worth it. I would tell myself over and over, and I will tell every girl that comes to me to wait. To stop dating guys that are wrong, or that you are having to justify, or even convince yourself to like (my best friends and I have done this!!). Just stop and wait. Singleness is not the end of the world. I'm not going to try and paint it as a beautiful picture for you, because it can be so difficult. I believe every young woman wants to be loved and wants to love. I know I did. But I wish I had done a better job about waiting. I wish I hadn't been so eager to not be single that I would jump at any opportunity to crush on a new guy.

I say that because the man I am with now was so worth the wait. The nights you spend single and alone, or going 22 years without a Valentine's Date, or even waiting to go on a first date until college, these times are worth waiting when the right guy comes along.

You'll know in your gut that he is good, because you won't have to convince yourself. He will be a man of God who gives you a glimpse of the love the Father has for you. He'll hold you when you cry about stupid guys who have hurt you or trampled your heart in the past. He'll send flowers to an empty apartment when you are moving six hours away alone. He'll surprise you with Chick-fil-A after you've worked a 12 hour shift. He'd be willing to drive 2.5 hours in the middle of the night, because you were so sick and couldn't get off the couch. He will call you when he says he will, and he'll pray with you every night. He'll be first to say sorry, but will also not be afraid to confront you when you're in the wrong. He'll hold your hand as you walk into church, and will be right there beside you worshiping the God you both love.

Suddenly you'll have a man like this and you'll know that those nights you spent alone, maybe crying and eating chocolate because you hadn't been on a date in two years, those nights were worth it. Because if you ask me, I would do all of the hard, the lonely, and sometimes downright pathetic times of singleness again if I had only known this type of love was coming.

So girls, wait. Stop justifying or making excuses for the man who are dating or have a crush on. Be patient, be prayerful and wait.

Monday, January 2, 2017


2016 was arguably one of the best, but most challenging years of my life. As 2016 came to a close, I was surrounded by my closest friends and family. Welcoming 2017 means welcoming a lot of challenges and stresses, but I know that God is going to guide me through this year just as He did 2016. 

I welcomed 2016 on a rooftop in Honduras, which I believe just set the year apart. Beginning the year in Honduras and running camp in Honduras was such a wonderful experience that I wish I could relive over and over. As the months progressed, I navigated through my last semester at A&M. I took ten hours with my best friend and roommate. For Spring Break we had StayCation in which two of my best friends from out of town came to College Station and we made several fun day trips. Looking back, it was definitely my favorite Spring Break of all my college years. I applied to four nursing schools, and got accepted to each of them. I was left to decide if I would further my education in Tennessee or in Galveston, and obviously I chose the latter. I watched my little sister get her Aggie Ring, as a sophomore I might add! I watched several of my friends get married or engaged which was lots of fun. I spent a lot of time laughing and fishing with my family, the greatest blessing of all. I graduated from Texas A&M University, Cum Laude. Whoop! I took the best vacation with my closest friends to Destin right after graduation, which is a trip I will never forget. I got a new vehicle, and put lots of miles driving to Little Rock, TN, College Station, Galveston and home. I spent my final summer working at Camp Deer Run as the Head Women's Counselor. After the summer I moved to Galveston, which is one of the hardest things I've ever done. I was diagnosed with chronic tonsillitis and I survived nearly 4 months before my surgery! I had surgery, and I would not recommend anyone over the age of 20 getting their tonsils or adenoids out unless it is an absolute necessity, because ouch! 

Above all, one of my greatest blessings during 2016 was that I began dating a guy that I had always considered a good friend. On New Year's Day we celebrated our six month anniversary as I was confined to a bed with an ice pack on my throat because of my surgery and as he left to go to Honduras. I'm very thankful for Ryan and for how he has encouraged me throughout the difficult transition to nursing school. 

2017 is going to be a challenging year as I finish nursing school. This year, though challenging, is full of exciting things as well. I'll graduate from nursing school, and get my first big girl job, I'll be Katelyn Gambrel-RN, which is so exciting. I am excited to see how God uses my 12 months in Galveston for his glory. I'll get to watch my best friend marry the boy I grew up with, which is something I am definitely looking forward to. 

Through it all, my hope for the year is to remember that Jesus is my joy. I spent the last few months of my year distressed and unhappy. So it is my hope to make the most of this year in Galveston. God is going to do great things this year, and I pray he blesses us all. 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

A Little Life Update

As I begin to wrap up my last five weeks of my first semester of nursing school, I figured I was overdue for a blog post. Though I should be studying for my test tomorrow, this rainy weather, a cup of vanilla coffee, and my sleeping pup have convinced me to write instead.

Life in Galveston has improved significantly. Just a few updates: I love my bible study. There are twelve girls of all different health disciplines. It has been such an encouragement to gather with them weekly for good fellowship, study and prayer. I have also found a church family, which I am growing to love. 

Though I am commuting to church, it is so worth it to me. Throughout this process of looking for a church home, I have found the importance of welcoming strangers/visitors. To all of the people at Clear Lake Church of Christ who went and still go out of your way-thank you. You have no idea how good it feels to visit a church, and then two weeks later return to find people looking for you by name! How intentional is that?! I have been so touched by their kindness. 

I love my "group" of nursing friends. Though we don't do much outside of class and study, they have been such a support to me. Nursing school can be hard, especially when your program crams it all into four semesters. Thankfully you find friends to lean on. Friends to vent frustrations to, eat lunch on the floor in between lectures, and friends that encourage you to keep pushing on. Not to mention, we get to compare clinical stories. I've got some great ones people, like GREAT stories! That's what happens when your clinical rotations are with prisoners.

Speaking of clinicals, I truly love clinicals. I don't look forward to getting up early in the morning, but honestly who does? I spent the past four weeks on a transitional care unit (rehab unit). These types of unit are far and few between, though if I had to bet most hospitals would be taking strides to incorporate such units to their facilities. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this unit. I love the pressure to work as a team with multiple health professionals as we made plans of actions for our patients' best care. My patients are so kind, and encouraging. I know that most people don't think of prisoners that way, but I truly have enjoyed working with them. They are so patient with me as I am learning to assess, and are always eager to be my test rats. I couldn't have asked for a better clinical placement. Additionally, my four weeks in transitional care led to a friendship with a nurse.  For some history, this nurse has not always been the most accepting of nursing students. I was determined to break down her walls, and I spent a lot of time in prayer about it. What do you know? In four weeks we became good friends. My clinical instructor was amazed at the bond we formed. This nurse challenged me to grow. She pushed me, and made me think. She made me research and plan the next steps for our patients. She will never see this, but I will always look back at my first semester of nursing school and think fondly of her. 

I am also so thankful to have grandparents who come and stay with me. Living alone can be quite lonely. Thankfully, I have wonderful grandparents who set time aside to come stay with me.

NOW- to the hard parts.
I don't want to give mixed signals. Everything has not been great every single moment. I think if I had to choose what has been the most difficult challenge of my first semester of nursing school, it would be battling my health. After three cases of strep throat, I was diagnosed with chronic tonsillitis in the beginning of October. However, I am unable to have surgery until December 20. Otherwise I would have to withdraw from school. It may seem silly to you, but having a sore throat every day stinks. Not being able to breathe when my tonsils become inflamed, or even eat because they hurt so bad- now that's a challenge. I've been living on pedialyte, because when it's hard to eat or swallow, you tend to get dehydrated quickly too.  I will be so glad to have my tonsils out, but I am not looking forward to spending my break recuperating. Thankfully I have family and friends who are willing to take care of me. 

Other than my rotten tonsils, life is great. My dog is still....well she's a puppy. But she is a great companion. We are still working on simple commands; turns out she is just as stubborn as me. The good thing is that she likes to run. So we run ALOT, well unless my tonsils are inflamed. 

God is good good to me. Lately, I have been reading through the OT. Just today I reread the story of Ruth. I have always loved this story, but today it touched me in a new way. In some ways I have felt like Naomi. I have tried to push people away during this chapter of my life, but thankfully I have many "Ruths" who have not left me. They have traveled this road with me. They have not left me, and they know who they are. I am also so grateful to have a God who goes before me, and who is with me every single moment of the day. As I tell my friends in nursing school, I may fail a test, a lab, or flunk out (not really-don't panic people I'm making good grades), but I know that at the end of the day I'm still going to Heaven. Remember- Jesus is ALWAYS king, and God is always with you.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Life in Galveston

I have officially been a resident of Galveston, Texas for over a month now. Let me be the first to say that this move has taken a toll on me in a lot of ways, some good and some bad. As I loaded up my jeep with my belongings and my puppy, I cried as I drove away from my family, my home, my friends, and my security. 

I love Galveston. I love the salty air, running on the seawall, and the overall island atmosphere. What I have struggled with, and I'm not going to sugarcoat it for you, is finding a community.

Leaving Aggies for Christ, my best friends, and my Deer Run family was bound to be difficult. However, I have felt grief in Galveston as I have coped with this loss. Yes, these individuals are only a phone call away, but it is so so so different. I went from living with my three best friends to living alone (sorry Charlotte you don't count). Suddenly I'm not having to buy chocolate milk or extra toilet paper, my left overs stay in the refrigerator, the house is always clean and quiet, and I'm learning how to cook for one. That my friends takes some serious adjusting. 

Thankfully my grandparents came down for a little over two weeks to help me acclimate to the island. Coming home wasn't as difficult knowing that they would be there to ask about my day. Let me be honest, it is sad coming home and not having someone to ask about your day. My grandparents took care of me during the first week of school when I got extremely sick with a bad case of strep throat; they stocked my pantry with groceries; and helped me attend church.

The church here is very different than what I left at A&M. Imagine 300 individuals your age in AFC alone then dropping down to a congregation of 70 people, most over the age of 60. It is an adjustment. Truthfully, I'm still looking for a sense of community. I'm attending a different church with a friend I've made in class. Her invitation to attend church and small group with her was such an answered prayer, because I have been hurting emotionally and spiritually.

I've expressed to my boyfriend (yes that's new!) that I feel like I've lost my joy since moving to Galveston. He was very quick to point out that I haven't lost my joy, but I haven't been finding opportunities to serve and go out of my way to love the people around me. Man is he smart! It's so true. Whether I was at Deer Run or at A&M, I was constantly involved with service opportunities, or ministering to those around me. For some reason, as I moved to Galveston I stopped looking for those opportunities. 

So after a semi-breakdown (not even nursing related) I prayed that God would guide me as I looked for ways to get involved on the island I now call home. Our God is faithful. In just one week I have become a patient volunteer to sit with patients whom don't have family members, I have become QPR certified (to help recognize suicidal individuals), I have become a volunteer at a student-run clinic for individuals who can't afford health care, and have joined a pediatric nursing club. God has provided, and suddenly I don't feel so empty. I am also very excited to try out this new church and small group with my new friend in nursing school.

Through it all, I have still been diligent in my quiet time, because I know God is faithful. I think moving to the island though I expected God to just drop these things in my lap, to make friends knock on my door, or whatever without me putting in an ounce of work. Lazily I waited, and lost my joy and confidence because I hadn't made best friends, I hadn't become so involved with the church or placed membership, and I haven't learned to cook for one,

Yet, this verse has carried me through. "He who calls you is faithful." 1 Thessalonians 5:24

God is faithful. I know that he has brought me to this island and has a purpose for me. While I had hoped to have some big revelation to share, or tell you that I had made new best friends and that this transition had been the easiest yet, it hasn't been that way. Regardless, I am still walking with God. I am *more actively* seeking opportunities to further the kingdom. I am more excited to see how my 16 months in Galveston continues to grow me and mold me. Because in one month I have learned a lot about myself.

Now for nursing school! I love UTMB's nursing school! Is it challenging and fast-paced? Absolutely. Do I spend hours a day studying? Yes.  Do I STILL HATE my burnt orange scrubs? Absolutely. But overall I love nursing school. I am still making friends and getting to know my classmates, but I know I made the right choice in choosing UTMB. I have loved learning how to insert catheters and take vitals. I love being challenged to think critically. What I love most though is that I am entering a profession where I will experience true joy every day as I die to myself. 

In 2 weeks I begin my clinical rotations. I have been assigned to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, otherwise known as the prisoner hospital for the prisoners at Huntsville. I am so excited to begin this opportunity! I can't think of a better place to begin my patient contact than with individuals who are desperately in need of care and Jesus. I look forward to sharing how God continues to use my time here in Galveston to grow me. Please keep me in your prayers as I keep seeking the Lord and to keep fighting relentlessly for my passion. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Satan Can't Touch This

I have done a terrible job keeping my blog up to date this summer. I realized just this week that we are halfway done with the summer. It never ceases to amaze me just how quickly time flies out in the piney woods.

Coming back to Camp Deer Run for a 5th summer was a no brainer for me. There is nowhere else I would rather be the summer before I begin nursing school than in these holy woods. God's presence is so easily felt here, and I knew without doubt that God had called me back for a special purpose.

As I have said many times before, every summer is unique. As a 5th year staff member, I am "incredibly old in Deer Run years." The majority of the staff is 18-19 years old, so at a whopping 22 years old and as a college graduate, I am definitely the grandma. However, I love my grandma status, and will gladly keep it if it means more time out here.

This summer has been very different, but very special to me. As the Head Women's Counselor for the second year in a row, I had a better idea of what to expect in my position than I did going in last year. With that said, I also came in with a stronger game plan so that I could be very intentional about spending time with God, so I wouldn't "burn out." As a mentor to 32 college-age women, you will face many challenges. This season of life is one filled with many difficulties, hurts, and insecurities. Before the summer began though, I had decided my goal was to be very specific and strategic in my prayers for my women's staff, and in my own prayer life too.

Prayer, in my opinion, is our strongest, and most potent weapon against Satan. Even in this Christ-centered place that I love dearly, I can recognize that we, at Camp Deer Run, are not free from Satan's attacks. In my years on staff I have seen how sneaky the Devil can be by attacking morale, by using comparison, magnifying insecurities, and mixing up strife among the staff. We are not immune to Satan's attacks, and I have made it a personal mission of mine to call Satan out when I suspect he is up to no good.

GOD IS SO GOOD! I will boast gladly because God has been answering prayers in some very unique ways that I would like to share with you now.

One evening I spent some time praying with one of my staff that Satan could no longer use the outside world to ruin her day, her mood, or her attitude. After a few days of receiving bad news during her hour off, we prayed that God would protect her, and not let her receive bad news so that she could focus full-heartedly on the mission at hand. (For those of you who don't know, we only get one hour off a day to check our phones and make contact with the outside world. We enforce this among the staff by keeping cell phones locked in cell jail) The next morning I woke to a frantic staff. Cell jail was locked and they were technology thirsty, and ready to check their phones during their hour off. Thinking that all I had to do was use my key to unlock cell jail, I made my way into the canteen. To my surprise, my key didn't work. Strange, right? Because my key had worked every day prior to this moment. Naturally, I used my radio to call Cason, but his key DID NOT work either. Getting more weird right? At that moment I looked over at my women's staff member, and when our eyes met we couldn't help but think of the prayer we had prayed only a day before. A prayer of protection from the outside world. We ended up calling Drayton, our maintenance man, and he tried EVERY SINGLE key in camp. None of them worked.

NOT A SINGLE KEY WOULD UNLOCK CELL JAIL. We finally ended up cutting the lock off with bolt cutters.

Some would just call this coincidence, or a strange circumstance. Some of my staff think I was out to get them by preventing them from getting their phones for their hour off. To me though, it was an answered prayer. An awesome way that God made himself known to me and to that women's staff member.

Even after she got her phone from cell jail, she didn't receive a single text bearing bad news for the rest of the week. I hope you can feel my excitement here, because our God is alive! Our God answers prayers, even in the form of a locked cell jail.

This is just one example of how God had been answering my prayers this summer. I have so many more that I would love to share. I have been brought to tears and have been chilled with the way prayers are being answered this summer.

Satan can't touch this. I have actually been humming the song in my head most days, because it is a helpful reminder to be to be on guard against the Enemy. In John it speaks of how the Enemy has come to steal, kill, and destroy. Well let me tell you, I'm done with letting the Enemy win. So I'm praying more, praying fervently, and God is answering. I've been sharing this theme with my women's staff too. I tell my 32 girls almost daily that the condition of our knees *figuratively* is a representation of our hearts and our lives. When girls come to be overwhelmed with problems that I can see may be a result of Satan filling their head with lies, I send them to the woods.

It's become a thing actually. Staff left and right are going into the woods to pray and to be with God. It has been an incredible thing to watch, and extremely humbling to me. As a "fixer" I have learned to relinquish the power to God, the ultimate fixer, and I love how he is healing my women's staff. I have loved watching them come back from the woods overwhelmed with God's faithfulness and eager to tell me how he has given them peace or answered a specific prayer.

Satan has tried to interfere with our mission this summer. He has used death, insecurities, comparison, drama, and many other targeted sins to try and distract us from the real mission: letting campers see the light of Christ. So as I tell my women's staff, and as I leave you now, remember Satan Can't Touch This. God has already won the war. Be on guard, and recognize when the Enemy is craftily attacking.