Monday, April 30, 2012

"can my child call home if he misses me?"

Talking to parents registering their kids for camp for the first time can be quite an experience.  There are so many different kinds of parents, and different emotional responses from them as they prepare to launch their child into the world of summer camp.  For some, the child has spent a week or more away at Grandma's house before, while others have never been away from their child for more than a day.

Some of these first-time camper parents will give me the needed information I ask them for, pay the fee, and they're off the phone... quick and easy.  Others, though, will give me the info I ask for plus anything else they can think of that I might want to know about their child -- emotional or behavioral issues, whether or not they make friends easily, what kind of activities they like, the fact that they are overweight and need to do something  this summer besides play video games.... etc etc.

Some parents make the phone call with a lengthy list of questions prepped in front of them.  Then it's interrogation time, and I get asked questions about everything from our activities to how many kids are in a cabin to how we screen/select counselors to how much snacks cost to emergency policies to... you name it.  It's interesting to me that some parents just trust what they see on the brochure/website or what they hear from friends, while others feel the need to dig deeper into the details.

These conversations can be enjoyable, difficult, and occasionally a little ridiculous.  But I imagine if I was sending my child to a week of summer camp for the first time, I'd probably be a little nervous, too.  After all, they are handing their most valuable possession -- their child -- into the care of other adults for a week!  In the end, it's always a good feeling when the conversation ends with a relieved parent saying to me, "Thank you, I feel SO much better about this now! I think my child will have a great time!"  I feel like I (and Camp!) have passed the test.  Mission accomplished -- that's one more kiddo experiencing the love of Jesus at Camp this summer!

Friday, April 13, 2012

a woman of God

So, there's always a lot of discussion in the Christian arena about what it means to be a "godly woman." In fact, I read a couple of blog posts on this subject just tonight. It's important, for sure, and it's challenging sometimes - especially in today's American society - to know exactly what being a Christian woman is supposed to look like.
The other day I was reading in 1 Timothy 5. I was actually reading chapter 4, and praying verse 12 for a friend (that's the "let no one look down on your youthfulness" verse, if you didn't know). I decided to keep on reading a little farther, and came across 1 Timothy 5:9-10. This is the list of qualifications for a widow to be "put on the list" to be cared for by the church.
I've read this before, of course, but this time it came across to me a little differently. Obviously, I am not a widow, nor do I ever want to be a widow! But it seems that in Paul and Timothy's time, older widows who were godly women were eligible for the church to provide for and care for them. This little description, then.... describes a godly woman. I don't want to be a widow, but I want to be this kind of woman:
"A widow is to be put on the list [if she has been] the wife of one man, having a reputation for good works, and if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints' feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has devoted herself to every good work." (1 Tim 5:9-10)
Being a woman of God begins deep inside, in the heart of hearts, believing in Jesus. It shows up in the "quiet and gentle spirit" and the inner beauty. And it displays itself to the world in the genuine, sacrificial acts of service described here. That's the kind of woman I want to be, with God's help!

Monday, April 2, 2012

the outcasts.

Thought for the day. "Jesus loves the outcasts."
Last night at small group, we discussed Luke chapter 5. This chapter describes how Jesus called Peter and the other fishermen to be His disciples, then how He healed the leper and the paralytic, after which He chose Matthew - a tax collector - as a disciple and went to a dinner party full of people who were called "sinners." What stood out to me in this chapter.... Jesus was all about the nobodies. The everyday, average-joe folks, who the rest of the world either a) overlooked or b) judged.
Jesus loves the outcasts.
Last week for my college class, we were required to take a spiritual gifts test, then discuss our results on the class online discussion board. My top result was Showing Mercy. As I discussed this with my classmates, one of them brought up a verse from this very story in Luke 5 -- Jesus' response to the leper. "He reached out and touched him and said 'I am willing; be cleansed.'" Loving the outcast. Touching the untouchable. Showing mercy.
Isn't that what it means to be like Jesus?
Whether they are the homeless on the street corner, the orphans overseas, the elderly in the nursing homes, or our own peers...
God, help me see people like You see them... as precious lives, souls in need of Your love, even if the world sees them as ugly or worthless or beyond hope or just a nobody. Break my heart for what breaks Yours. To love like You is what I want, Lord.