Monday, June 23, 2014

Even in exhaustion, God still is at work

It's that time of year again. The time where I am constantly wet and sticky between a combination of big spray and sweat. That time of year where my hair is always wet, and I don't know if it's because of the creek, the pool, sweat or the cold shower I just took. It's the time where my makeup is thrown under my bed and stays there for a majority of the ten weeks, and that alone makes me happy. Somehow in the midst of all these things the true condition of my heart and soul is revealed to me. It's not an easy time, because I serve as a funnel to hundreds of children, constantly giving everything I have to help these kids. Somewhere in the middle God teaches me a few things about myself as well. Already God is at work. I always expect to start seeing the 'aftermath' of his handiwork later in the summer, but this year he has humbled me and made his way known to me. I don't know why I always assume that as the summers progress and with this being my third year that I'd be 'used' to the exhaustion. Maybe it's because I'm getting older, or maybe it's because I've really grown to know how to reach my campers, but it's only the start of the 4th week and I feel pretty empty. This session has brought it's challenges, and quite frankly I love that. I love that I am able to lean on God and watch as he molds me and makes me stronger. I love witnessing as God speaks through me to comfort or reach a camper. I love being able to hold his children, and comfort them as they cry. I love praying with my girls continually. I love all of these things, but ultimately they exhaust me. As I try to help my girls carry their burdens, I find myself weighed down with my own baggage too. I am convinced that God uses these times to help me grow in my own walk too. In my exhaustion, whether it be emotional, spiritual, or physical, God reveals to me the beauty of my raw heart. He exposes my inmost being, and reminds me who he has called me to be. So as I see God answer prayers for my campers, as I see them make the decision to put Christ on in baptism, or as I see as two sisters come together I rejoice. I rejoice that in my exhaustion, God still reveals his holiness and his faithfulness. Last night was one of those nights. I have been praying this session for a cabin unity along with specific prayers for individuals. Last night, I felt myself running from camper to camper trying to be there for each of them as they needed me to the point where I had to sit down and simply cry out of emptiness. I had to thank God that while I was exhausted and feeling like I had nothing to give, that he was continuing to fill me up. He continued to give me words and almost like a calming whisper he told me to keep pressing, so I did. As I kept on going, I watched as God answered my prayers. I watched as my girls came together in new light. So I thank God for emptiness. I thank God that even in those moments when I simply need to sit, cry and pray, he can still use me. This session isn't over yet, and I can tell that my cabin has reached a pivotal point. Praise be to God!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Perfect Love

I don't pretend to know a lot about love, but with 10 15-17 year olds that's all they want to talk about. First kiss stories, the ideal date, and such ideas of everlasting love that every teenager desires are the conversations that fill my cabin nearly every day.
"Katelyn who are you attracted to? What should we look for in a relationship?"
 Such questions overwhelm me, because I'm not an expert. I haven't maintained a relationship for more than four months because quite frankly I used to stink at it. I used to not understand how to love people because for a long time I, myself, thought I was unlovable. I am unworthy of the love that my Savior shows me, and so I struggled for a long time to fight such feelings that the Devil filled my head with. Quite frankly I am lovable. I am desirable. I am wanted by the King, my Creator, the very God who sent his own son to die for me. It took me a long time to realize this, and I get frustrated even today when for a moment I let the Devil have a foothold. When the Devil makes his way into my thoughts and for a minute convinces me that no one would ever want me, I turn to God. It is through God that I know I am loved and that I can see the most beautiful love story. No, Jesus doesn't take me on a late night picnic and stargaze with me in the bed of the perfect truck as my girls most certainly wish he would, but he did something even better. He died for me, and for every single one of my girls. He died so that I could have the opportunity to teach them that true love doesn't look like a perfect first kiss, or a perfect date, but instead looks like acts of selflessness. Perfect love empowers you to be all that you can possibly be. It doesn't hinder you, discourage you, but instead it builds you up. I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to share this with my girls this far into the session. I am thankful that I am able to love on them, and help them realize that no matter what happens to them in life or what they do, they are lovable. It has been such a blessing to teach and show them how perfect love isn't of this world, but instead is something that is eternal. What began in death and resurrection, will end with an eternity with our Savior. That to me is the perfect love that I am trying to teach my girls this week.