Returning’s Eve

The evening before a day can be almost as exciting as the actual day. For example, Christmas and Christmas Eve, New Years and New Years Eve, and of course Hallow’s Eve (more commonly known as Halloween). Yet as I sit here on the eve before I return to civilization (by this I mean Canada/my house), I am overwhelmed at how the last 10 weeks have gone.
It feels as though it has been much longer than 10 weeks. When you put a number like that on, it sounds so much shorter than it felt. I feel as though I’ve lived a year in this span. My days were always full – never empty. I loved and was loved, poured out and was filled up, taught and was taught …

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.

– Charles Dickens

I almost lost it today driving away. While it was extremely trying and hard during these weeks, it was also one of the best times I’ve had in my life. Through the hundreds of hissing, complaining, crazy, adorable, annoying, sweet, wise, loud, quiet, fun-loving kids I’ve seen this summer and worked with, I am amazed at the opportunity I have had to impact the kingdom. That I was blessed with the privilege of leading 13 of my girls to Christ this summer is … overwhelming. Just in Storybrook the number of children who accepted Christ almost makes me cry from joy.
Along with these beautiful nuggets of gold I got to love on, there were those whom I worked with. The crazy-loud-get-on-your-nerves-space-unicorn-improving-we-are-same-family group of counsellors I got to work with were so fantastic this year. Weekends were full of adventure, breaks were full of rest and talk, and working was full of experiencing and embracing everything together. We even watched ourselves degrade in our sense of humour until we mirrored that of our campers. You know you’re a Storybrook counsellor when … pet rocks are cool.
And on top of all of this … I learned how to trust God in my daily life. I learned that faith must match knowledge. I learned that true leadership gives others the chance to lead and, instead, serves. I learned more about myself than I cared to know. And I learned, again, that God is a faithful God and that he will hold me tight and never let me go. His plan for my life is good.

He gives strength to those who are tired. He gives power to those who are weak. Even young people become worn out and get tired. Even the best of them trip and fall. But those who trust in the LORD will receive new strength. They will fly on wings like eagles. They will run and not get tired. They will walk and not grow weak.

– Isaiah 40:29-31

Camp Update Number One?

Well hello there all, It has been a while as I was thinming since I had a little time off that I would do a quick little update. It won’t be very long or in depth as I’m rushed for time, but here it goes.

The last few weeks have been testing to say the least. I’ve been thrown into new situations (did Day Camps for training instead of being trained … that’s always a fun thing!) and then getting new cos i didn’t really(or actually) know. But nonetheless, it has been good. I have had to rely on God more than I used to, and it has forced me to be confidant in who I am, and in what I want to do.

I recently tried a new illustration with the gospel with my cabin of girls this week. I used a hard boiled egg and wrote the sins they named on it. Then we peeled the egg and talked about how it was better than it was before we wrote the sins on it because it was soft and ready to eat. THe hard shell was white, but the egg still wasn’t able to be used for anything.

The girls loved it, but reflecting on it, I realized that this is sort of what God has been teaching me through these last 3 weeks working at camp. As a soft egg with my outter shell gone, yes I am vulnerable, but I am able to be used to do great things for God now, if I let him. This means that I might be put in an egg salad sandwich or maybe be turned into a deviled egg, or perhaps be a part of a potato salad, but regardless of where I’m put, I will be used to do something good. It might be hard, I might get cut up, I might feel as though I’m being used and walked over, but in the end I will be able to look back and see the lovely traces behind me that let me to where I am today. Or that day in the future I’m looking back. I’m not sure what tense to use there …. oh well.

And now I sign off, time to go take a nap before more kids start arriving for me to watch :]

That was then … this is now.

The whole earth is filled with your glory, LORD.
Angels and men adore – creation longs for what’s in store.
May you be honoured and glorified;
Exalted and lifted high!
Here at your feet I lay my life.

– Starfield

Today  I took a trip down memory lane as I watched my cousin graduate, and then went to his open house. Let me tell you, graduating is a WAY bigger deal here than it is in Canada. Waaaayyyyyy bigger.

It sort of reminded me how lacking my graduation was. When I finished high school, I had a day off where I packed and went out for Korean food for the first time in my life … and then I went off to camp all summer. University was out of my mind until the end of summer. However, I think that my kind of graduation fit a little better for me.

It was extremely hard to make the adjustments I had to, but I’ve learned that it is in the tough, hard-to-believe moments that God grows us the most. A worship-filled lifestyle isn’t just what you look like when you see how God has blessed your life, it’s only seen in those people who daily are worshiping God. Those who worship in good and bad; when they feel passionate, and when they don’t, when they’re singing; and when they aren’t.

I’ve learned a lot about worship in the past year. By this I mean that I have learned how I like to pray, and how I like to worship.  Strangely (or maybe not so strangely), I have found that I tend to veer towards being slightly charismatic in my prayer and worship “styles.” I’m not going to detail my life for you though :]

The most important reason that I find myself doing this, is that it reminds me what I’m doing, and keeps me focussed on glorifying and lifting God’s name higher and higher and higher and higher … Because that’s really what its all about!

“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
They are new every morning;
Great is your faithfulness”

– Lamenations 3:22-3 (ESV)

Every time I pray or sing praises, I should be able to realize how great my God is! He is new every day. Every day he deserves all glory, honour, and praise. As the song says … the entire earth is just brimming with his glory! And to honour and glory and lift up his name … we choose to lay ourselves at his feet. We surrender all that we are, so that we can take part in glorifying and worshiping him in all we do.

Gotcha!

Today was a long day. Not only did I trek all morning to get to Michigan, I also spent the afternoon helping to prepare for my cousin’s open house tomorrow, among other things (if you want to know what an open house is, check below).

I wasn’t sure if I was going to update today, or really at all this week. I was feeling especially dry because I wasn’t able to spend my time in the morning with my Bible/praying/worshiping. However, a few things happened today that sort of made me remember to worship and praise in what I was doing.

Recently, my Grandma’s neighbours had surveying done (aka they had their lot marked off by stakes). My Grandma was concerned that some of the trees she had cut down were on the wrong side of the property line (she and my uncle’s family share 20 acres … so we’re actually talking a massive yard here).

This resulted in us doing a epic journey through ferns, trees, raspberry bushes, and other sorts of wild vegetation to find the wonderfully magical corner of the lot. Two vegetational-things stood out to me on this wondrous journey we embarked on.

  1. Ferns. There are a bajillion of these things in her yard. We have a path that we use to walk around that the ferns have long since been cleared from, but they still like to try to grow in the middle of it.  Its an easy fix though because you just step on them and they’re dead…but today they reminded me of new growth.
    One of my favourite verses is 2 Corinthians 5:17. It reads “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”(ESV) The ferns brought to mind how when we start as this new creation, we’re just starting to unfurl our leaves, and its hard to see what we will become. But once we grow up into these new ferns, what was once weak is now stronger. It took time, but in the end the ugly grey stem thing became a huge, strong fern.
  2. “Gotcha” Trees. I’m not sure what these are actually called in real life, but my Grandma referred to them as “Gotcha” trees, because their thorns will get you. Literally. These thorns are HUGE. To compare for you, the thorn was as big as my thumb.
    Her second name for them, though, was “Jesus thorns.” This one made me pause. I’ve always read that passage in Matthew 27:29 “…and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand …”(ESV) and just … ignored it. I didn’t consider the fact that these thorns could be as long as my thumb. That they could look … well, evil.
    I took a small branch of the tree so I could remind myself every now and then the absolute pain he really did endure on the cross. It is much too easy to read the story of the crucifixion and just block out the horror – focus on the beauty and the love. But sometimes I really just need to realize the torture that was involved in this sacrifice. It puts me back in my place of humility when I consider all that He did for me.

As always, I have a song that I wanted to share with this. I originally had “You Love Me Anyway” by the Sidewalk Prophets … but this song comes to mind now.

Love came down and rescued me.
Love came down and set me free.
I am Yours; I am forever Yours.
Mountain high or valley low
I sing out and remind my soul
I am Yours; I am forever Yours. 

This song “Love Came Down” is originally by Ben and Jenn Johnson, but I heard it via Kari Jobe. Either way, the song is a powerful statement of how we were rescued. Jesus went through nails being driven through skin, flesh, tendon, bone. All for me. All for you. He set us free from our old selves and made us this new creation. Though there is pain in this sacrifice, “…with his stripes we are healed”  (Isaiah 53:5c, ESV). Its still the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard of in my life, and I will daily remind myself that I am forever his.

Forever.

– Christy

*Open house: a “drop-in” graduation party. There is no set-time for any meal or activity, you just drop in and congratulate the grad(s) who are there. My cousin’s was a joint venture with 4 other people.