This week, I was excited to spend my first week on support staff, showing encouragement to the counseling staff and getting a chance to do the behind the scenes work that helps make things run smoothly. I was making plans to do some laundry, catch up on sleep, and write some letters. But, realizing that I was getting a little too comfortable with my schedule, God wanted to keep me on my toes. About a half hour before our camp meeting, I was asked to counsel for another week to take the place of a counselor who was having a difficult time. I knew right away that God was trying to push me a little bit further outside of what I wanted and where I wanted to go, so I decided that I would give the reins over to Him to go with His plans over mine.
Since it was my third week counseling elementary school kids, part of me thought that I had kind of figured out the way things worked. It seemed like an equation: if I did X, Y, and Z, I would make it through the week and my campers would go home happy and loved. Now, I knew that this wasn’t really true, that each of the campers was unique and had a different story, but in the midst of my lack of energy, it was easy to fall into that trap. However, this week I learned very quickly that wouldn't be the case.
In our staff devotions this week, we looked at Psalm 34, particularly focusing on verse 8, which says:
Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.We talked about the senses of taste and sight and the ways in which tasting or seeing something creates a personal experience that cannot be replicated through words. Instead of telling these girls about the goodness of God in the way that works for me, I realized that I needed to experience it with them in their own ways. For one of my girls, that meant jumping into the lake and racing back and forth, laughing all the way, as we talked about the hardships in her family. For another, it was making a pillow that she could bring home while we talked and prayed about her mom and dad. For another, it was riding horses for the first time and conquering her fears while she opened up her heart to me about her hopes and dreams. And for the last and probably most challenging camper, it meant giving lots of hugs, providing her with the great amounts of attention she sought out in sometimes unhealthy ways, and constantly encouraging her to seek her identity in the eyes of Christ. I had to learn that not only do people desire love in different ways, but Jesus is able to show people love in the very ways that they need it most as individuals, not just as another face in the crowd. When the girls left this week, they all told me how they would miss camp because they felt loved. I was nearly brought to tears as I realized how God’s perfect love for them had replaced my own imperfect, conditional love. I hope that as I continue to counsel, I am able to learn more and more of what it looks like to love like Jesus.
Energy for a fourth consecutive week of camp
Transition from elementary to high school aged campers
Wisdom in dealing with tough issues in the lives of my campers