I miss working at a camp.
I really do. It feels so strange to switch worlds, as if the facilitator part of me is still sitting in the intern office, waiting for someone else to climb inside of it. I wrote this story about three unforgettable kids I met my first summer, and thought I’d share it with you, for old time’s sake. I can picture each of them right now, just the way they were in that moment…..
“I love when you hold me”, she murmured, and snuggled her skinny arms closer around my neck.
“My parents give all of their attention to my little sister. I get so jealous. Don’t put me down.” We trotted up the trail together, and the tenacious grip of the little frame on my back said more than her words ever could. A fragile flower, holding on to love.
He clung to the wall, halfway up, but also very much aware of the fact that he was still halfway down. Self-doubt, insecurity and shame etched themselves across his face like a tattoo. Trembling in exhaustion, he tried to let himself slip back to the ground, but hands were raising him, boosting him upwards. Voices urged him on. He WOULD conquer this mountain. They would not let him quit. Heaving his body forward, gasping, grunting in pain, he gave with one last herculean effort and reached the summit. Every muscle in his body trembled like jelly. His speech was slurred. He had achieved! He was amazed to find that he had the strength to turn around and help others overcome.
And slowly, his personal walls began to crumble.
If a modern Mr. Hyde ever walked the earth, it was she. It seemed as if the sun had the power to banish all of her personal demons for a time, but when the night came, they banded together into one enormous monster and charged up her throat, rushing out of her, daring her to forget the past. Memories clawed at her insides, screaming “YOU ARE WORTHLESS!” like throbbing hammers in her brain. What is a temporary outburst of anger when your entire life has been a nightmare? Seventeen years old, she already housed a lifetime of devastation.
But yet, when all of her anger had been vented, open arms of love were waiting to receive her. She collapsed into them, and as she cried her heart spoke. “Don’t leave me. I need a reason to hope.”
Change. Tiny sprouts of hope in devastated hearts. Love for the forgotten. It’s what I see every day at camp. It’s what can happen when those who believe that the only thing that’s good in me is Jesus band together to SHOW Jesus to kids, to BE His hands and feet. His voice. That is why I came to camp.
Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.
Do not remember the former things; neither consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43: 1,18,19 AMP
Redemption. Forgiveness. Transformation. It is happening.
It’s what faith can do.
The truth of the matter is, kids are everywhere. Even in the adult world, there are tiny voices screaming, “Love me! Show me I have value!”
Today, BE the voice of truth. Even if you are speaking only to yourself.
You are VALUED! You are treasured beyond measure. You are not a slip of fate. And I believe that when you look back at how the pieces of your life fit together, you will be utterly shocked, and overflow with joy. Have faith my friend.
I know Someone who believes in you.
His name is Jesus.