Sunday, July 14, 2013

Crumpled Pieces of Red Paper

Of the many things working at camp has taught me, the fact that I am growing up too fast is consistently evident. Case in point: One of the songs played at camp dances is N*Sync's "Bye, Bye, Bye." Do you know when that song was released? Thirteen years ago. How is that even possible?!? That was my jam back in the day - how is it over a decade old?

As I pondered this, I was reminded that there are only six short months until I embark for Thailand and then, 3-4 months later, I will be college graduate. And it's pretty terrifying but exciting and adventurous and all that. What a great God, to have brought me thus far and to keep leading me onward. I am blessed.

With all that is happening in my personal/interpersonal life with this whole growing up thing, God spoke to me today about the growth that has happened in the area of my spirituality. 

After exchanging Secret Santa gifts (today is Christmas in July at camp), we had a Pajama breakfast before heading to the gym for camp church. All the counselors are a part of Counselor Choir, so we gathered on the stage in our new navy Christmas in July shirts and sang Christmas and worship songs with Mrs. Amy, who leads church each week. (She is also our camp mom for this session.) 

Then Mrs. Amy led a discussion on Jesus as our peace and pulled from several verses to illustrate this concept. Our key verse was John 14:27, which says, "I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid." 

She then passed out pieces of red paper that counselors had torn up earlier and had both campers and staff write something that was keeping us from peace. We would then crumple our papers and pray for peace, bringing those things before God, before bringing our papers to the cross at the front of the gym. Head counselors taped the pieces of the paper to a large wooden cross in the front. Mrs. Amy and one of the older campers were singing "Lord, I Need You" acoustically.

I wrote the thing that I feel has been holding me back this summer on my slip and followed a group of campers up the cross. When I got up there, I waited for a group of campers to get their papers taped to the cross, and I looked up to see a little slip of paper that read simply: "not being perfect enough."

You guys, I broke right there. I handed my piece of paper to the head counselor and started to weep. That was me. That girl who wrote that she wasn't perfect enough, whoever she is, was me a few months ago. Just a few months ago. And I still wrestle with that little girl inside me who just can't do anything right, who is broken and hurting and falls down over and over and over again.

I wept for that young woman who thinks that God doesn't love her because she isn't perfect enough. I wept because I don't know who she is and I don't know how to help her. And I wept for myself. For the pain and the struggle and the fighting that it took for God's grace to finally break through my clouded vision. Even at this point in my spiritual growth, with a much healthier relationship with God's grace and a much better perception of how he relates to me, I still don't understand. There is so much about forgiveness and grace that I don't understand. SO much.

But I know one thing: I'm not who I was. I'm not the same person, the same doubting and shame-stricken girl. I am blessed. When I related the story of a broken friendship to a co-counselor just this week, I was able to present the story as grace-filled and, ultimately, God-honoring. Because it is. When I realized that I was not in the same place I was before, that I have overcome, I was able to praise God for what he has done. He is not finished with me, but he has done so much in me already! Hallelujah!

Could I beseech you as my brothers and sisters in Christ to pray for mentors in my life? I am blessed to be here at camp, but sometimes I find it difficult to discover the presence of strong Christian mentors and build deep Christian friendships. Pray for unity and openness among the staff. I am honored and humbled to be able to share this with you tonight.

With love.

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