This past week I had the privilege to be out at my first week of camp for the summer. The theme was “Don’t just see Jesus, see how Jesus sees”. It has been incredibly emotional but so God-filled and amazing and I really, really want to share about it but I’m struggling with how to put it into words that flow and sound good together so I’m just going to write what comes into my mind first instead of thinking about it for an extraneous amount of time … bear with me!
On the one night during the service, the pastor had all the youth move to one side of the auditorium, and had the rest of the church lay their hands on us. He then prayed over the youth, for our futures, and for the future of the church. Afterwards, I turned around, and this older lady wrapped me in a hug and we exchanged names. She said to me, “I just know that God has big plans for your life. You are so loved by Him.” Those few words, so simple, and ones I have heard many times before in my life, almost brought me to tears. There was something about hearing them this time that felt different.
Later that night at our youth campfire, my good friend Stephen led us in a devotional about temptation. He had us all move to our own spots, write our biggest temptations with a sharpie on a piece of paper while worship music played in the background, and then throw it into the fire. This symbolized handing our struggle with this temptation over to Christ to bear it with us. After I had thrown my paper in, Stephen and his sister and I went around the fire, praying for the kids as they sat on their own. Honestly, when he asked me to do this with him, it took me out of my comfort zone completely. I don’t have a whole lot of experience praying over other people, and I didn’t know each of the girls I prayed for that well personally. But as I went and asked them if I could pray for them, God gave my tongue the words to say, and within the minutes I spent with each girl, He was so present. There is something so powerful about prayer, as I have been realizing more and more recently. After I had finished praying over the girls, I sat back down to pray by myself. Usually when I pray there are a billion things going on in my mind and distracting me but this time, as I sat on my bench in front of the fire, with Oceans playing softly in the background, everything went blank. It was the most indescribable feeling. Almost like floating.. I could hear the words of the song, but there was absolutely nothing else. It felt like I had left the bench where I was sitting and had become part of the song, like there wasn’t a single other thing in the world around me. I started bawling – not the quiet crying you can conceal, but the crying where your nose is dripping and your eyes are just leaking everywhere and you are sobbing loudly and can’t keep it in at all. I have never felt God so physically present before. I just sat there weeping, my head in my hands, telling my Father I loved him over and over and over again. The boy sitting beside me, who has down-syndrome, hugged me and told me it was alright, and I lost it again.
Growing up in the church, it has always been such a big part of my life, but I’ve never had a huge “God moment” like you’ll hear other people talk about. Maybe it’s just because He has always been there and I haven’t had to go searching for Him, but there’s never been a moment where I’ve felt His physical presence and come to terms with how real He is. I’ve just always taken it as a given that He was real. But within this night at the campfire, I had my moment. He came down, and He sat with me at that fire, and He became a real, physical, personal God. He held me while I sobbed. He showed me His love in a way I have never experienced it in the last eighteen years.
Yesterday I took a prayer walk down to the river, listened to the “Of Dirt and Grace (Live from the Land)” album from Hillsong United, and got a little bit lost on unfamiliar trails while I spent time with Him. It was so good. And last night the pastor did an altar call and I watched Stephen go to the front of the church, weeping, and answer Gods call for his life. (I got all teary-eyed again… couldn’t help it)
God is on the move in this generation of young people. I feel it deep within my bones. I’m so excited to watch what He has in store for us and what His plan entails, God is so real and so present. He is here amongst us. He has a call for each of us and has unfathomable rewards for us if we answer that call.
I am so grateful for this past week and for all of the old friends I got to catch up with and the new ones I made. Camp week one was a success and I’m beyond excited to see what God has in store for the next two.
Signing off for now,