How was camp?
It is an ambiguous question. It is a question in which there is more than a single way to interpret it. It is a question that is vague and generalized.
Do you want to know how camp was emotionally, spiritually, or physically?
I am not naive to think that some people ask with the intensions to get a one-word answer and most of the time I have given them what they want. I engage, share a smile, and let out a, “good,” only to move on to the next topic in conversation. Some people ask out only out of obligation. However, I also know that some people ask with motives of pure curiosity and genuine concern.
I debated for a while on whether I wanted to write this post to try to answer the question. If am honest, the voice of those who I know want a simple answer have spoken louder than those who I know sincerely want to know. But I also know to not write is to miss the opportunity to be a narrator of 10 weeks where the Lord’s faithfulness, kindness, and power were displayed day in and day out. To not write is to say “I want to keep it to myself.” To not write is to base my willingness to venture to the blank page on who will click the hyperlink shared on social media outlets that says read more.
You see, we do not write because we have an audience who wants to read, we write because God has given us something to say.
And this I am sure of, after this Summer God has given me a lot to say.
How was camp?
If you only knew how many times I have pulled up a word document only to close my computer when words fell short. Let me disclaim from the get go: there will never be adequate words.
However, three statements keep coming to mind. Each can be broken down into further context but the three headliners of this Summer were:
- Spiritual warfare is real
- Victory is ours to claim
- Childlike faith
If I had a soundtrack to my life this summer, it would have been Not Today by Hillsong. From things like losing my voice, to pink eye, to excruciating back pain, to not being able to escape some events replaying in my mind, etc. The enemy was real, he was active, and he did not like what was happing on that little holy mountain.
There was hard conversation after hard conversation with campers. There was the temptation to carry their burdens only to find myself not carrying them but instead being crushed by them. There were days that not only me, but our team had to fight to speak the next word. There were days were exhaustion came in every form, yet we knew we had to press on. However, I know now that spiritual warfare is not a sign of weakness. It is in fact the complete opposite.
There were Saturdays. There was not a lot of them but they did happen.
Saturday was the day of silence. Silence is beautiful, but a silence that speaks, is utterly terrifying. The hush that ran rapid through the streets of Jerusalem after Jesus died was debilitating, debilitating because that is what hopelessness does to us. Silence transformed itself into a microphone to tell all God’s people that they had been defeated.
But heaven, heaven waited, tallying each day as it passed, waiting until the number three flashed across the paper. They let the silence think it was winning. They let the silence have its turn to speak, because they knew. They knew the story didn’t end there.
Yes, the silence was painful. But the heavens took advantage of the silence, for they realized, Saturday was a preparation day [Mark 15:42] Heaven, heaven waited with their hands held over their mouths, waiting to interrupt the silence with cheers of victory. They prepared themselves for the celebration. Silence had its day, but a day was all it would get.
The heavens knew Sunday was coming.
Yes, we had our Saturdays, where we were slow to speak, where defeat was felt, where the courage to do it all again was hard to find, where we wanted to hide, but we not only claimed the promise but proclaimed it: Sunday always comes.
We would arise, singing in one voice, “tell the devil no, not today.”
Scripture is very clear about putting on the full armor of God [Ephesians 6:10-18]. We will never realize why we even need the armor of God until we realize that we are in a fight. So yes, we have to fight. As ambassadors for Christ, it is time we stand and realize there is a battlefield beneath our feet. We must stop acting like being followers of Jesus means no opposition or strife and instead, awake ourselves to the truth that Jesus never said there would not be a fight. In fact, He said, “for we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” [Ephesians 6:12]
It is time we start calling it like we see it and become conscious of the reality that the enemy wants to do everything he can to tear down of the children of God and destroy any Kingdom work being done here on earth. Jesus is not surprised by that. Instead, He reminds us that no weapon formed against us shall prosper. He doesn’t say the weapons won’t be formed, but He says they will not prosper. [Isaiah 54:17]
He sends us out fully protected with His armor but more importantly, He sends us out knowing full well that although the battle can rage on. Although we can feel beaten and bruised. Although the darkness can linger, it can hover, and at times even feel as if it has engulfed us. Although we can feel as if we are on the front lines, needing to pull back, and surrounded on all sides. It always ends the same. Satan never wins.
Victory is ours to claim:
Don’t you see it? Without the fight, we never get to take what is ours for the taking: victory.
I watched not only campers but staffers claim the victory that has been theirs to claim all along. Not by anything of their own doing but by simply casting their eyes to Calvary and realizing that the empty tomb was assurance that Jesus always win. Jesus didn’t just experience victory, He is victory. His name is victory.
God is triune. He is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. As believers, the power of the Holy Spirit lives inside of us. If the Holy Spirit is in fact God too, then victory itself resides within us. We are victorious because He is our victory.
With her hands woven into my mine, my mother sat with me moments before I would hit the road and venture to Rome, Ga. In those last minutes, she prayed a lot of things over me. I cannot remember them all but I can still hear the specific sentence, “Lord let the child that went to that camp years ago come back to life.”
I did not realize the significance of that prayer until I saw what she prayed come to life as camp went on.
Today, it is more prevalent than ever that there is such a lack of childlikeness in society. Aside from the spiritual aspect, it is almost like there is a misconceived perception that we all need to grow up and the speed at which we do is at an all-time high. Some of us feel as if it just happened, the adult in us came out earlier than needed because of life circumstances. However, some of us have willingly made the choice to abandon our title as “child” and labeled ourselves as the adult.
For me, a lot of life has happened. I grew up quick. I witnessed the reality that life was hard at a young age and sadly adopted very early on that I needed to be this solid rock. What I didn’t realize that by thinking I needed to be the solid rock, I was missing the chance to build my life upon the actual solid rock that Jesus says He is.
The adult says
- I know what to do
- Strives for perfection
- I don’t need help
- Resist showing emotion
- Doesn’t ask questions
The child says
- Let me run to my Father
- I am free
- I know nothing
- I feel it and I am not afraid to show it
- Does not fear failure but craves the chance to try
The childlike version of ourselves is the best version of ourselves. To be the child is let Jesus take His rightful place as the Father [2 Corinthians 6:18]. To be the child is to operate out of your actual calling. [Galatians 3:26]. To be the child is to recognize our need for someone to lead us.
I have vocalized many times my avoidance of feeling pain. What I did not know was that to not feel the pain was to shut off all feelings in general. As the child slowly but surely came out of me, it was as if the switched was turned from off to on and yes the pain was felt but so was the awe and wonder.
Have you ever wept over the truth of the gospel? Have you ever had tears of gratitude for the things the Lord let you be a part of? Has your spirit ever been one of absolute joy?
If it has, that is the child in you. If it hasn’t, it is time my friend to find that child once more.
A child stands wide eyed and mystified.
I cried a lot of tears the last couple days at camp. Mostly over the kindness of Jesus. Kind, it is a word that I have never really gravitated towards when describing the Lord. But it is an attribute of His that I learned full well this Summer. How kind was He to entrust me with what He did this Summer. How kind was He to let me share the stage with my best friend. How kind was He to let me see how He uses the broken pieces. How kind was He to let my boss be someone believed in our team more than we even believed in ourselves. How kind was He to bring me back to the place that I first found Him to watch young girls experience the same thing.
Those final days at camp, I lost my breath when sharing the gospel with a room full of girls because amazement struck me. You see, I thought this Summer was going to be a lot about guiding children to see who Jesus really is, and it was. But what I did not know was that the child the Lord was the most concerned about was me.
A lot of teenagers saw clearly for the first time who they were, but really, I think I saw clearly for the first time who I am.
I am a child of God.
You are a child of God.
He doesn’t need you to be anything other than that.
How was camp?
It was an expedition I set out for not knowing what I would find. Yet, I stand so thankful that my meet wandered to Winshape Camps, where what was discovered was more than I ever could have expected.
He really is the God of the immeasurably more.
Come and see.
Fight your battle.
Claim your victory.
Find the child in you.
Then go and tell the world.
I came and I saw.
Now I go and I tell.
This was part of me telling.
Here’s to a life changing summer.