Saturday, August 9, 2008

Collide

Collide -- that was the theme of the week-long senior high camp from which I returned yesterday. Talk about a mountain top experience, both literally as the camp was held at Mt. Schweitzer Ski Resort and figuratively as God totally made Himself real to us during the week. As I sit here in my hobbit house and reflect on the last seven days, I'm thinking I might be unable to truly articulate the glory and challenge and uber-greatness of the week! But for all my blog stalkers out there (welcome to Tiffanie, my newest blog stalker), I'm gonna try!!!!

My Girls
First of all, the time with my girls was fantastic! I had seven girls from Yakima Foursquare in my "cabin" (since we were staying in a hotel, we simply split a suite) and I loved getting to get to know them better. Most of them I've known for years because of Yak4. Two of them I have teenager sat before when the parents were gone, and another two I've known since I showed up at Yak4 seven years ago. This week I got to really get to know them and have some DEEP chats about life and God and beauty and guys. Good stuff.

Getting to Teach
One of the cool things for me was getting to teach an elective. Normally at camp, there's morning chapel and evening chapel, and each has its own speaker. This year, instead of having a morning speaker, David (camp director from LifeCenter in Spokane) had four people teach on different topics. Mine was on the Holy Spirit. Last year at camp, there were a few evening sessions where the Holy Spirit was referenced but there hadn't been any teaching about He/She/It (what pronoun does one use when referencing the Holy Spirit? Hmmm?). So I planned a talk that had some participative parts and some history and some application, but I hadn't figured out how to fit it all in half an hour. Thankfully, I had a chance to chat with another cabin leader (Hurray for Eric Olsen!) on our prep day and in that conversation, I realized I should do a series! So I had a three-part dealy.

Monday I was gonna talk about how God talks with us. For some reason, though, I felt completely OFF!!!! Like I was driving a manual car without using the clutch. ICK!! It completely threw me for an emotional loop. I felt incompetent and yucky. I was reminded by Eric that it's the Holy Spirit's job to make connections in people's hearts; ironic that I should get so caught up in my own assessment of my performance. What tripped me further up was the idea that I had two more sessions to teach. Yikes! So I decided to call my dad. I figured that he is still my spiritual cover since I'm not married and I'd be able to talk through this stuff with him. So I called him Tuesday morning and am SO GLAD I did! Not only did I get to talk through and pray about stuff with him, but I was reminded that my Heavenly Father loves me even more than my Papa Bear and that my "performance" isn't what is important to Him.

Then Tuesday came and the number of kids who chose my breakout doubled. The information was primarily about the difference between the Holy Spirit's role in the Old Testament and New Testament. It felt so much more fluid, like I was making sense and the kids were engaged! SWEET!!!!! I didn't present on Wednesday (that was the day we went to Silverwood Theme Park -- more on that later...), but on Wednesday night, the evening speaker taught about the Holy Spirit! It was so cool because I felt like the kids who were in my session on Tuesday had a good foundation to build on! But I started to wonder if I should change what I was going to talk about on Thursday. I felt led to go with what I had planned, which was a conversation about the gifts of the Holy Spirit as discussed in 1 Corinthians 12-14. That talk also went well! Several cabin leaders commented on how it continued the conversation that the previous evening had started and gave them a foundation from which they could build with their students! I even had some girls seek me out to talk about about what I shared. SO GREAT!!!!!!!!!

Me and Jesus
I went into the week with the focus on serving the girls in my cabin and speaking to them from God's heart. And while I did that, I also got my socks blessed off by Jesus. I had never been to Schweitzer before, so when we arrived on Saturday and I was looking around, I thought it would be so cool to see the sun rise over the mountains at some point, but I didn't actually plan to get up. On Wednesday morning, though, my body woke up at 5:20am. I kept thinking, "Go to sleep, Marah Jean!" But I couldn't! And then I remembered the sunrise thing, so I got dressed and went outside. It was pretty chilly and breezy, so I went to the lookout spot and admired the view. The sun hadn't crested over the hills yet, so I walked around and took in some different vistas. Then I came back to the lookout and decided I didn't actually want to wait, that is was cold and I was tired and wanted to go back to bed. But then I felt compelled to wait, so I got a chair from a nearby table and sat to watch and wait. After a few minutes, I thought "come on! Let's go! Hurry up!" And I felt God say to me, "You can't rush the dawn. It'll happen at the appointed time." That gave me pause. Then I heard Him say "Enjoy the beauty of the process," so I took note of how the light shifted over the valley and how the colors were morphing from hazy purple to blue to pink. Then all of these worship songs about morning started to come to mind, so I sang some. And then I heard God say "There is beauty that I'm bringing into your life, and just like this sunrise, you can't rush it -- it'll happen at my appointed time -- but you can enjoy the beauty of the process." DANG!!!!!!! How sweet is that!!?!?!?!?!? I felt like there was specific application to the whole husband issue (couldn't get through a blog without bringing that up) and it was very cool to hear that during this specific week.

So that was Wednesday morning. Wednesday night was another sweet deal. David taught on the Holy Spirit and called the cabin leaders up to pray for our students. What was so cool was that, not only did five of my girls come up, but God was giving me specific prayers and pictures and all sorts of good stuff. SWEET!!!! I found out afterward from them that I was speaking DIRECTLY to specific issues that were going on for them! Hurray for following the leading of the Holy Spirit!!! So that went on for some time. When all my girls were done, I moved toward the back of the room to sing and was just completely overwhelmed. At first it was the good kind of overwhelmed coming from how good God is and what an HONOR it is to get to be led by Him and work with Him. And then, somehow, it shifted into the bad kind of overwhelmed. I started thinking about Franklin Hill and how scared I have been and still can get about planting the church and being a youth pastor. I was sitting on the floor by Mark Grange (the Yak4 youth pastor), so I just leaned into him and CRIED. I felt like, as cool as it was to speak God's words to my girls, I really needed to hear some words from Him about my own situation. And then the words came: "Marah, everything you prayed over those girls, my Spirit prays over you." WHOA!!!!!! I started to think about what I prayed for the girls -- that God is equipping them to do what He's asked of them, that their beauty doesn't need to hide, that they aren't doing this faith thing wrong and they don't need to strive to get it right but simply respond to God -- and I was overwhelmed again but in the good way!! How sweet to get that kind of confirmation at this time.

Then I thought about rollercoaster I had gone on that day -- the Aftershock. This thing was NUTS, and it provided a good picture for how I'm feeling right now about the church plant: at the start of the ride, you strap in with a chest harness and your feet are free. Then, the ride ratchets back until you're perpendicular to the ground and just hanging there with all of your weight pressing into the shoulder harness. Then you PLUNGE forward and race around the thing. It's phenomenal and SCARY!!! But once you get going, talk about EXHILARATION! Then I realized this is how I feel right now -- I'm strapped into this Franklin Hill thing, I'm not going to get off the ride, but we haven't started yet! We're just getting ratcheted back and I feel like we're just hanging in the air! SO SCARY -- but once we are released, it is going to be WOOOOOOO HOOOOOOO good!

New Friends
And if all of this weren't cool enough, I had a chance to reconnect with some of the folks I met last year at camp and meet a whole crew of new people! I met Tiffanie and James on the first day and felt a Three Amigos type of camaraderie! They both go to Moody, so we have the Bible college thing in common, and that just opened up all sorts of cool similarities!! Then there were the gals from Clarkston -- Shawna and Jordan -- and I got to have some great volleyball with Jordan and some great chats with Shawna! Then I had my bus buddy Brice, who kept me thoroughly engaged and entertained on the various bus rides. There is just such a sweet connection that happens when people gather around a common purpose, specifically when that purpose is serving others.

And, believe it or not, that is just the tip of the iceberg! So many other fun and sweet and meaningful things happened this last week. I'm thanking Jesus for the encouragement and refreshment. Hurray for summer camp!