Friday, October 3, 2014

Then & Now

2 months ago today, I watched as my 6th session campers packed their bags and drove out of the gates of Camp Deer Run. 12 hours later, I would leave, too, with my jeep loaded down with my belongings from the past ten weeks. My cheeks were tear-stained, and I questioned, as I do every summer, how could I possibly go back to the 'real world.' I was afraid, and fearful that I would forget. I'd forget how my heart had been molded; I'd forget memories; I'd forget the 'closeness' I had come to know with God. I was afraid that my 'dependency' on God would translate back into my own independence, the whole "I can do everything on my own" as I came back to Aggieland. That night as I left, I left a part of my heart; every time I leave camp, I seem to leave another piece of it in the piney woods. It is waiting for me I know, and I can feel it every time I return to that holy and beloved ground.

2 months later, I haven't forgotten. Something has been different about my life since this summer. My friendships with my fellow staff seem to have been more deeply rooted, and by this I mean a day doesn't go back that I don't talk to or pray for one of my friends from camp. My campers have been in contact with me more than ever. There's something wonderful about continuing relationships outside of the setting of camp. I love being able to listen, console, and pray for my campers while they are in the real world too. It makes me feel like nothing has changed.  

But everything has changed. I no longer get up at the crack of dawn and begin my day at flagpole devo as I hurriedly try to come up with a phrase or song for my girls to sing to the group leader. I know longer eat three wonderful meals, have three canteens, or have a hot dog roasted over a fire every week. I don't have the pleasure of worshiping in shorts and t-shirts multiple times a day. Instead, I sit in class after class, trying my best to focus on what my teachers are teaching me, all the while my mind is wandering back to the piney woods. I find myself thinking about the times where I couldn't do it anymore, and would spend dinner time crying in the deep freeze, until one of my best friends would come and pray over me. I remember being on so many medications, and asking God why I was becoming more and more ill right in the middle of the summer. As I sit in statistics, I can't help but change my problems into questions relating to camp, I mean what do you think the probability is that I will ever get to kill a snake at camp when it's known I'll most likely see 3 or 4? You get it. My mind wanders back to my home.

So what am I doing? What are you doing sitting in class or working day by day? Are you simply reminiscing and allowing your mind to wander? There have been many times where I catch myself thinking that my work was done the moment I left camp, but that isn't true. Or at least it doesn't have to be! Yes, I am a summer counselor. Yes, it's a summer job, but if you are willing, you can let it overflow into every aspect of your life.

As I left camp this summer, I thought to myself, the things I'll miss most are praying with people, whether it be staff or camper, daily. I'll miss the constant correspondence with my friends. I'll miss my closeness with God. I'll miss my campers. Then it hit me. I don't have to miss these things, when I have the opportunity to make them a day-to-day reality. I can still pray with people while I'm in school. I can text, call, or write my friends. I can seek God and pray that I will continue to draw near to Him. I can most certainly continue to minister to my campers, as I'd urge any counselor to do because honestly it takes more than a week or two to do so properly! I can find other ways to make my summer job year round. I'm involved with HYPE, which gives me the opportunity to teach. I actually had the opportunity to write the curriculum this year, and you can bet that I got my idea for our lessons this semester from camp. Camp comes and goes. It may be the best week, two weeks, or ten weeks of your summer. But the lessons learned at camp can be year-round.

So, it makes it easier. It's easier for me to continue living when I incorporate camp into my every day. Life is short-lived dear friends. It comes and it goes, and I don't have the time to sit around and 'miss camp' or be sad that the summer has ended, when I have the opportunity to continue growing. My junior year is going great. My sister is here now, and she loves college! Praise God for that alone. It is so good to have a piece of home with me here always. I love her eagerness to serve, and it is wonderful to see as God continues to grow our relationship. My classes are wonderful... well not statistics, but who cares about that one anyway. I'm finally in classes where I am learning about things that interest me and will benefit my future in nursing. Something new, I am babysitting a 4 month old now. I love it. This is my first time to work with a baby, and it has been a challenging, but so rewarding job, if you can even call it that. Church is getting better. I'm learning to prepare myself every time I enter the doors. I am overwhelmed with God's faithfulness. I am grateful for my sweet and dear friends who always find a way to lift my spirits and never cease to stop encouraging me. I am overwhelmed with God's goodness, and am finally able to see just how great his plan is for me.