Friday, July 29, 2011

my God is greater, my God is stronger

Fact: the devil knows us well. He knows me well. He knows what "pushes my buttons" and makes me angry....he knows what stabs and hurts me and pulls me down....he knows what appeals to my flesh and causes me to stumble.
And he put ALL of those things before me this week, trying to make me fall. Some just once, some daily. He tried hard this week.

But here's another fact: "Greater is HE that is in you than he that is in the world."

Last week was a pretty bad one for me, especially toward the end of it. It was not good. But knowing that this week was the last week of Summer Camp 2011, I determined to keep my focus on God and finish strong. A lot of prayer went into this week. I wanted this summer to end in a GOOD way!
Like I said, Satan tried. But my God is greater!! I "prayed continually" all week long, and He helped me keep my focus in the right place, and rest in Him and be joyful this week. It was a great week! All because of Jesus :-)

So, Summer Camp 2011 is officially over. It's a bittersweet feeling tonight as I reflect on the past 9 weeks. Now we go on from here and see what comes next!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

a week full of God.

Oh my goodness. Where do I even begin in telling about the past 7 days? I have experienced God working in such a tangible way, and been able to be a part of it, too. That’s an awesome thing.

Okay, so last Sunday, I arrived at camp as usual and started on my normal office work. Before long, my boss called me into his office and informed me that I was needed to be a counselor that week. We had so many kids that we were short on counselors (those who actually stay in the cabins with the kids and are with them one-on-one all week), so most of the staff girls (lifeguards, program, office, etc) had to be used as counselors.
Well, at first, I was not at all happy about this. And for entirely selfish reasons. Being a counselor is a wonderful opportunity to share Christ and disciple young kids, but I was focused on the difficult and less pleasant sides of the job, and had a bad attitude.
Gradually, over that Sunday evening, God changed my heart and I actually got excited about being a counselor for the week. That night, my friend Amanda and I had a long, really good talk about life and situations and the future and following God, etc, and prayed together. I think that really got both of us set on the right track for the week.

I was assigned to Cabin #4 for the week, and when the kids arrived Monday morning, my co-counselor and I had five campers ages 7-9. Let me just say that those kids were precious. Oh my goodness. No, it wasn’t all easy… there were times when they argued and whined, and moments that they drove me crazy and I needed to step away. But overall, what a wonderful week! It was better than I could have expected. Those little girls were hilarious and kept me laughing all week. But better than that, they were incredibly open and spiritually hungry, and I was SO encouraged by that. They participated actively in our cabin devotion times, asked lots of questions about God and the Bible, shared their hearts, and expressed a great desire to know God more and to do right.
People, if children like that can be nurtured by mature Christians and keep that hunger, then there is hope for the world.

God was just so present and working this past week…. as He always is, but I was just so aware of it, so in the midst of it. And I needed that. I’ve been pretty burnt out on camp the last couple of weeks. God knew that I needed that “change of scenery” and to experience Him in that way, to see Him actively changing kids’ lives… rather than just seeing rosters and paperwork and credit card numbers in the office. So I thank Him, again and again, for that. God is good.

Weekends are always extremely short in comparison to the long, hard weeks we work at camp, but I spent Friday evening and Saturday resting and hanging out at home with my family. This morning, I drove to church, looking forward to the next message in a series on Philippians we’ve been working through. When I got to church, I found that the pastor is out of town, and we had a guest preacher who spoke on something totally different than Philippians. I was a bit disappointed…but only for a moment. As always, God knew best, and this morning’s message spoke straight to my heart, with some stuff I’ve been thinking through the past few weeks.
To give a brief synopsis… the theme of the message was “letting go of one thing to take hold of something else.” He used the example of Abraham, and how there were 3 different instances where God asked him to let go of something.
1. His homeland/family (when God said, leave your family and go to a land I will show you) -- represents something that was comfortable, but was hindering him or holding him back from God’s will for him.
2. His first son, Ishmael (when God said Ishmael was not the promised son) -- represents something he had obtained in his own way, outside of God’s will.
3. His second son, Isaac (when God asked him to sacrifice him) -- represents something God had given him, but didn’t want him to hold onto too tightly, OR can represent something God gives us but only for a season.

I won’t go into detail about what this message meant for me, but it did really speak to me, and I’m just so grateful that God cares enough to speak to us in such tender ways, and that He has such great plans for us and guides us so lovingly in His path. I’m just so in awe of Him today.

So now I’m back at camp for another week… another week of working in the office. I’m going to make the most of it. I’m going to rejoice in the Lord every day. And while it won’t be the same as last week, I know He is still going to work, and is working even now, and He is faithful. Don’t forget that in your own life and situations… God is working and He is faithful!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

camp update

It has been a few weeks since I've written anything here. Boy, this summer has been crazy busy!! But what can I say.... it's summer camp! :-)

We have completed the first 5 weeks of camp, and let me just tell you that, without a doubt, God has been at work. At the very beginning of the summer, I read a devotion and was led to ask the Lord to "rain" on our ministry at camp this year. I had the sense that He was really going to "pour down" blessings this summer, and He certainly has! In 5 weeks, we've had around 80 decisions for Christ (there were 67 for the whole summer last year), along with 50 or 60 rededications. People, that is amazing. That is nothing but GOD raining down His presence and blessings on His children!! We as a camp staff are exhausted, stressed, and happy, and the kids are having a blast, but above all, God is working. This is eternal stuff. This is lives being changed forever. And I thank God, again and again, for letting me be a part of it.