10 Reasons Why YOU Should Take A Canoe Trip This Summer

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1) If you love nature

If you love to explore wild, un-touched parts of God’s creation, if you love to see the sun rise and fall on each new day, if you love the taste of the rain, the smell of the forest, the songs of a feathered choir, the gentle rocking rythm of the current against your canoe, if you want to effortlessly spy on a trout, or an eagle, or a deer or heron or bear quietly going about it’s business from your watery vantage point, COME ON A CANOE TRIP!

2)  If you want to get up close and personal with Jesus.

If you’re tired, if you’re wounded, if you’re restless, if you’re running, if you’re seeking, if you’re on fire with a message from the Lord, COME ON A CANOE TRIP!

3) If you want some peace and quiet.

If freedom from all schedules and technology, or floating quietly between solemn mountains, or solo time on a rocky beach or dappled forest floor, or worship around a campfire, or staring up at endless stars as you fall asleep sounds revitalizing to you, COME ON A CANOE TRIP!

4) If you love adventure.

If navigating a boiling rapid, or learning to read a river map, or orienteering through the wilderness, or cliff-jumping, or rapelling, or learning how to make your campfire stay alive through a rainstorm sounds like fun to you, COME ON A CANOE TRIP!

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5) If you want long-lasting relationships.

If you want to lay your burdens down and be held up through it all by people who truly care, if you want to have meaningful conversations that do more than just skim the surface of reality, if you want to encourage people, if you want to be encouraged, if you want to be prayed for, if you want to struggle, laugh, cry, rest, pray, eat, sleep, sweat and play with a group of people who start as strangers and end as tight-knit friends, COME ON A CANOE TRIP!

6) If you love camping.

If you love the smell of wood smoke, picking out the perfect spot for your tent,

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falling asleep with the cool night air in your lungs, cooking food over a crackling fire, digging and using a latrine… COME ON A CANOE TRIP!

(Ok, I’ll admit, that latrine bit was purely cynical. But if you DO love it, I’d LOVE to have you!!!)

7) If you like to work out.

If you love to paddle, or if you love to hike, or if you love competing to see who can haul in the biggest dead tree for the campfire, and if you want to see how much stronger your muscles are after a week of exercise in the fresh, clean air, COME ON A CANOE TRIP!

8) If you like to sport a good tan.

It can’t rain for seven days straight, can it? If you love the way the reflection on sunshine off the water transforms your skin into a deeper shade of brown and fills your body with energizing vitamin D, COME ON A CANOE TRIP!

9) If you like swimming.

If the thought of water games like gallumping and splash wars, or the thought of a peaceful late afternoon swim after a day in the hot sun sounds refreshing to you, COME ON A CANOE TRIP!

10) If you want to learn something new.

The wilderness always has a fresh, new metaphor in store for what God wants to say to you and me…. each and every day! If you believe that technology can be distracting and demanding, and want to leave it behind and go to a place where Jesus is the primary teacher….. COME ON A CANOE TRIP!

“The wilderness is God’s place. He can do what He wants there, and no man can mess it up.” Dan Lapp, Trail Blaze Outfitters LLC

This is a statement I firmly believe in, too…. because I’ve experienced God’s transforming power in that setting so many times myself! There’s a reason Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 days before starting His ministry… and there’s a reason He often went to a mountain alone to pray.

Being temporarily stripped of cultural noise, time, deadlines and expectations is a powerful experience! Would you like to try it?

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To see a list of available trips, or to schedule a private one for a group of your own, visit TBO’s website. We can’t wait to meet you!

Jesus was homeless, too.

I don’t live in the city anymore, but when I did, I never once gave money to sign-holders. I’ve never dropped even so much as a quarter in a Salvation Army bucket. That’s a shame.

No, it’s more than that. It’s a complete disgrace.

I met a homeless man named Richard LeMieux last week, and if I would have judged him by his looks and name alone, I would have laughed and said, “It’s all a game. People with high-class, French-sounding names aren’t homeless. Look at him! He has a dog! Homeless people don’t have dogs. And he has a van. What a lazy bum.”

But then I saw the dejection in his eyes, and the humiliation, and the hopelessness. I knew, even before I had heard five minutes of his story.

This man really is homeless. But that’s not the reason for the pain in his eyes. His heart is shattered because he is alone, scorned and rejected. 

Richard LeMieux was depressed.

Depression is a taskmaster who steers the wheels of many, many….. FAR too many lives. No one sees these lives, because they are too ugly—too unpredictable to look at. Yet denying their existence does not cause them or their problems to disappear, and so they exist, and careen farther and farther into the ever more arid desert of un-lovedness. Richard is one, and it didn’t happen by choice. He didn’t start out homeless.

It wasn’t the choice of the 30 men and woman eating ham around me at the Catholic nunnary, the people who had nowhere to go on Christmas morning.

It wasn’t their choice that EVERY single one of their friends disowned them.

It wasn’t their choice that their business went bankrupt and the bank took all they owned.

It wasn’t their choice to be a victim of abuse, and to live life on the move from city to city, hiding for their life.

And the ugliest part of their reality is that almost nobody takes the time to understand them–and that fact alone is the most undeniable proof that they are unwanted and unloved.

Richard and his friend C–two real people with beating hearts just like yours and mine–sat down together one day, having just seen their homeless friend Adrian being dragged behind a car in retaliation for a drug deal gone bad. This is what they said.


 

“You know who the most famous homeless man in history was, don’t you Richard?”

“No.”

“Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head, Jesus said.”

“I should have known that.”

“You, Richard, are in good company.”

“People were afraid of Jesus.”

“Yes, and people are afraid of the homeless today. And they are disgusted when they see a person digging through a garbage can or a dumpster. They’re frightened when someone unclean talks to them—afraid they might ask for money, afraid they will steal their car or rob their house or stab them.

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But it isn’t the homeless they should fear.

It’s the people who have jobs and money—like that truck painter, Gary Ridgeway, aka the Green River Killer. Did you know he admitted to killing forty-eight women in Washington State? He’s the deadliest killer in the United States to date.”

“Yes, I did read that.”

“Can you imagine that one Christmas Eve, Ridgeway got off work early, cashed his Christmas bonus check, went to the mall, bought some presents on his MasterCard, had dinner at home with the wife, and then went out and killed a young woman and dumped her body along the road?

She was one of those disgusting, homeless prostitutes people fear.

H—, maybe the %$@# did her a favor! She would probably have had to sell her body over and over again for ten, maybe fifteen years just to pay for a three-hundred-dollar-a-month apartment, electric and water, and a run-down car!

People should REALLY be afraid of guys like the Tacoma police chief who shot his wife to death in the parking lot at the mall. Or the son of the director of the Department of Corrections for Washington state who raped a two-year-old. He pleaded guilty and got a whole six months! If a homeless guy had done that, he’d get life in prison!

You know, the big thing that sets the homeless apart is that they usually only commit crimes out of desperation. Those with homes and jobs commit crimes out of boredom or hatred or greed.

‘You are not needed anywhere, not wanted anywhere. Nobody cares what you do.’ And you know, unless people have been there—lost, alone, rejected, feeling worthless and unwanted— they just can’t know the numb feeling that drags you down. All the dreams are gone, gone forever. You’re just hoping for some force to end the nightmare peacefully.

Whatever happened to Emma Lazarus’s sonnet on the Statue of Liberty? ‘Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’

Homelessness in this great country of the United States is an abomination!

But the great masses—who are only one paycheck or one stroke of luck better off themselves— even THEY repeat the same great lies about the homeless: ‘They are lazy. They don’t want to work. They are drunks, bums, drug-using, worthless scum.’

If you tell the same lie over and over again about the homeless, eventually it becomes the truth. You tell your wife the lie, then you tell your children the lie. Rush Limbaugh and Mike Savage then broadcast the lie, and politicians who want your vote politicize the lie. The lie just grows and grows.

The homeless are human beings. Okay, so they are people with problems—some greater than others. But there is no problem that can’t be overcome with love, patience and kindness. Given help and a sense of direction, most will help themselves and even help others.”

-Dialoge between C and Richard, Breakfast at Sally’s by Richard LeMieux


Homelessness in America is an abomination! But even worse? My response.

So, what am I going to do about it?

 Love. Not fear.

 

 

 

 

5 Things That Make People ‘Likeable’

At work last night, I realized that I’m just going through the motions, so now I’m trying to figure it out. How can I make a big impact in a short amount of time?

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What makes a person stand out in the crowd, and be the one whose words people remember?

People keep quitting at my job, and as new people come in, I’m observing that it doesn’t take long at all for people to decide whether a stranger is a friend or foe. Trustworthy, or an opponent. Likeable, or disliked.

As I watch people navigate life, I see certain people who have mastered skills that endear them to others. And these are five of the skills I see them practicing.

They Are Willing to Learn New Things

Likeable people aren’t proud, and are always eager to try their hand at something new… even if they make a total fool of themselves in the process. They are interested in the interests of others. And showing interest in what other people are saying/doing is a sure-fire way to win people’s hearts.

They Genuinely Like ALL People

Likeable people are friendly to strangers, kids, seniors…… everyone. They focus on the good in others instead of the bad. They add value to people by acknowledging them, remembering things from previous conversations and having a sincere interest in what matters to them.

They Respect Themselves And Others

Likeable people have respect for themselves. They don’t put themselves down or allow people to trample or use them. Because they treat themselves and others with respect, people respect them in return, and also trust them to a much higher degree.

They Make Their Purpose Known

Likeable people steadfastly follow their beliefs. They have a purpose for what they do, and share their ideas and vision with others. They know that people trust someone they understand.

They Don’t Take Themselves Too Seriously

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They laugh at themselves, and enjoy the irony of their own mistakes instead of letting their mistakes define them.

I was in a class the other day, and a teacher I’d never had before got up to speak. My immediate reaction to his appearance was, “Ugh, this class is gonna be a monotonous BORE.”

Boy, was I wrong!

This teacher’s words over-rode his appearance in the first 5 minutes, and my assessment of him switched from “he doesn’t care” to “this man knows who he is and what he has to offer the world.” He made his beliefs known in a respectful way right from the get-go, but also knew how to laugh at his own shortcomings. I cared about what he had to say, and remember it to this day.

I want people to remember what I say just like that.

So, if you’ll excuse me, I have a list of things I need to go add to my “Work On This In Order To Become A World-Changer” list.

My Best Addiction

Now that you all know I’m addicted to gummy bears….. (and oh happy day, I got a whole 1-lb bag of them for my birthday) I gotta tell ya’ll about my FAVORITE addiction.

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The one I plug into when I get upset at my boss.

Or when I’m preparing to teach.

Or when I’m bored by a mindless task.

Or when I’m driving, sitting, chewing, moping, running, or staring for hours at a blank computer screen.

Pretty much, I plug in all the time. My father loves it. Tiny kiddos love it. Basically, a win no matter who you are.

Am I gonna tell you what it is? Ohhhh no. Watch it on YouTube HERE.

And join the stampede of audio/visual learners!

We’re happy to have you 🙂

(Oh yeah…. and it’s available on Audible for free, with a one-month free trial subscription. You’re welcome.)

Pick Up Lines, Church Style

Pick up lines crack me up. Anyone who knows me well has probably been the awkward recipient of one…… because hey, let’s just face it, everyone’s day gets brighter when someone they love compares them to a pomegranate.

So, if you need a little help at Youth Group tonight, here you go. My top five no-fail pick up lines.

  1. Did it hurt? When you fell from Heaven? ‘Cause with a face like that, you gotta be an angel….

  2. Is your name Grace? Because you are AMAZING!

  3. If I marched around you 7 times, would you fall for me?

  4. Is your name Faith? Because you’re definitely the substance of things I’m hoping for.

  5. Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Gilead.

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Yeah. You’re welcome!

Now go spread some awkward love.

My Yellow Dress & What Sounded Like A Helicopter

I was 18, and my first car was a Mercury Sable station wagon.

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Eggshell-tan, except for where the paint was peeling to reveal a lighter color underneath. Inside, the upholstery was ripped and if you plopped into your seat too hard dust would fall from the exposed and brittle insulation in the ceiling. The license plate was ‘EGY-4849’, so we called my heroic steed ‘Eggy’.

Oh, and I forgot to mention… this car was one of those stylish station wagons where you could pull the floor of the trunk up into a rear-facing seat. Needless to say, all of my friends BEGGED to go riding with me.

One warm day in spring, my bestie and I decided to go to the mall. In Eggy, which was an instant ticket to high class.

In the true spirit of the season, we donned our girly best, and I distinctly remember wearing a new yellow dress. It was a short, fluffy dress, and I remember it because I didn’t have a lot of yellow clothing at the time and because I didn’t wear many short dresses and because girls just do remember stuff like that.

Laughing and listening to the radio and joking about –well–things girls joke about, my friend and I were long-gone on our merry way when we heard a strange sound.

Wup-wup-wup.

Kinda like a helicopter.

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It got louder.

Peering dubiously out the windows while speeding–well, less polite people might term Eggy’s locomotion as ‘careening’–down the highway, we tried to figure out where this foul aircraft could be, and why it was hovering so low.

Turns out, there was no helicopter.

There was only one dysfunctional Eggy station wagon, one wheel decidedly flat, just past the off-ramp 4o minutes from home.

We called my dad. He was away from home, but tried to tell me what to do. At that point in my life, my only idea of a jack, other than my cousin Jack, was the large kind that are used in a mechanic’s shop.

I saw nothing of either sort in the trunk of my car.

So there I was, sitting in the trunk of a horrifically ugly station wagon, my little yellow skirt blowing in the breeze, trying to decipher what in the hoot my Dad was trying to describe to me above the racket of passing traffic as my friend did her best to aide me. We were the perfect picture of two damsels in distress.

What do you know, but a car pulled over behind us.

We, being young, dumb and trusting in the entire factuality of unhealthy local news stories circulating at the time, were petrified with terror.

“Here, hold the keys!” I hissed to my friend, convinced that these newcomers sole purpose for stopping was to hijack our disfuncionable steed. Two men walked up to us, both rednecks, the older man sporting a full beard and weathered face, the younger one handsome and shy-looking. “Hi, I’m —-, and this is my son, David. Can we help you?”

I tried to tell him no, while my dad, still on the phone, tried to tell him yes and my friend sat in the car grasping the keys with white-knuckled force. Finally, David’s dad, seeing he was getting nowhere, just knelt down and started loosening the lug nuts.

He tried to make comforting conversation.

“Do you know what you hit?”

“N… nooo.”—“we thought we heard a helicopter…” my brain wanted to finish, but I didn’t say that part out loud. Somehow, I got the faint impression that David and his father didn’t have the highest opinion of our common sense.

Another rackety vehicle pulled over. This was becoming quite the scene. My friend would never want to go shopping with me again!

These people were strangers as well.

“Are you a (local family) girl?”

“No…..”

“Oh, ok. Well, we just saw you by the side of the road with two men, and wanted to make sure you were ok.”

“Oh. I’m fine.” I said, and they eventually went on their way, still not convinced that I wasn’t the girl they thought I was.

David’s father had the spare on within minutes, and instructed us about the speeds with which we could drive on it. I was so flustered, I never even tipped him. But I did say “Thank you” with strongest feeling, and shook his honest hand while vowing never to judge a person by their appearance again.

Then my friend and I darted into Eggy’s safe recesses, shivered a little, laughed a little, and continued on our way to the mall, the indomitable high spirits of our youth restored by the pleasant outcome of our unfortunate situation.

But I still felt guilty for not tipping David’s dad, so I prayed blessings upon him for a week.

————————————————————————————————————————-

This morning, I blew a tire.

Impressively enough, I didn’t sweat it. I just pulled into Hess, shoveled to the bottom of my overstuffed trunk, pulled out my spare, and had that puppy changed in 15 minutes flat. Sitting here now, I laugh about the difference between today and the first time I had car trouble. It’s amazing how time changes things.

And it’s amazing how real friends remain your friend for years and still want to go shopping with you….

even if you break down in an ugly station wagon named Eggy, are scared of strangers, and get grease on your new yellow dress.

Who are you AFTER?

She plugged her ears most of the time.

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She had a definite scowl on her turned-down face, and the bent of her shoulders screamed defiance.

She was the camper who did not like the teacher’s modesty discussion one bit. I was the camp counselor, and as I watched the body language of my other campers sitting knock-kneed on the picnic bench, I could tell that they felt the same way.

I felt sorry for my campers, because I knew their backgrounds, and the concepts they were hearing were totally blowing their minds. I also felt sorry for the teacher, who was putting her all into the lesson, & was being booed by part of the crowd while the other part was soaking up every word with hunger shining from their eyes. It was a hard mixture of people to speak to.

Later that night, as I sat cross-legged in a green camp chair, the mouths of 8 young girls around me exploded. “That was crazy!! I was so mad! Why in the world would it be sinful to wear bright colors, headbands, and shirts with pockets? How could a God of love hate me for a detail that small?”

Forreal, where is the fine line between young girls cheerfully following their parent’s standards without guilt, and when is it the right time to rise above them (or, in some sad cases, fearlessly defy them) to new heights of conviction? That wasn’t the biggest question that was gnawing at the girls’ hearts, though, and after all of the emotion was released, we finally got to it. “What things will keep us out of heaven?”

I once heard a very wise man say….. umm….. something very wise…. and this was it: “Don’t ask, “What’s wrong with that?”, because by asking what is wrong, you are implying that something is right. Instead, ask, “What does God say about this?”

So, what does God say about modesty? What does He say about bright colors, headbands, and shirts with pockets? I’ll let you do that research for yourself. But I do know what the very first commandment to God’s children is. It is this: LOVE the Lord your God with ALL your heart, ALL your mind and ALL your soul.

There is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION to them who follow Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but AFTER the Spirit. Romans 8:1

My version? “Now, there will be no condemnation [no charge of evil] brought against those who serve Jesus, IF they follow [relentlessly CHASE] after the ways of His Spirit instead of chasing after the earthly desires of the flesh.”

No charge of evil, that’s what Jesus promised to those who actively chase after Him.

Who are you after?

I’m mature……RACOON!!!!!

One day not so long ago, I received a call from one of my best buddies, who happens to live in the valley right below me. She called to tell me about a creepy raccoon that was parading about on their property at all unrighteous hours of the day.

I mean, it LOOKED innocent enough.

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But raccoons are nocturnal. And they don’t just parade around in front of people and dogs without a second thought…

At least not in my area. It was rabid, I was certain. When I heard that my friend’s neighbor had found the raccoon dead inside her chicken coop (umm, how’s that for weird?) my suspicions were cemented in my mind as truth. A plague of rabies was sweeping our town.

Immediately, every furry creature I saw was a slobbering, blood-thirsty crazy thing.

Despite this fact, my friend and I decided to take an evening stroll down a backroad one gorgeous spring night. We chilled in the pool for a little, and somehow got on the subject of maturity. A person we had both heard recently had said that “A young person does not reach full personal maturity until they reach 25 years of age, sometimes even later.” We both violently disagreed. What right did this person have to toss all teens and young adults in the ‘Pampered American Brat’ boat? Some kids successfully navigate harder issues at 14 and 15 years of age than most adults have to face in their lives! The statement was very unfair, we both agreed, and highly resented it.

We, of all people, had definitely reached full maturity long before we reached this projected age! That agreed upon, we jumped out of the pool, took to the open road and turned our minds toward other things.

We hadn’t gotten very far on our quest of solving the world’s problems when my friend yelped, “Look! A raccoon!”

I turned just in time to see a furry body hop freakishly towards us for a few paces, and then dart into the weeds beside the road.

Time.

Stood.

Still.

For just a second.

And then we both burst into action. There is no time to lose when a 11-inch furry creature threatens your walking safety. “Maybe we should just keep going.” my friend said calmly. “NO! Grab a stick!” I commanded as I dove into the plethora of poison ivy along the side of the road. I emerged instantaneously with two moldy logs, and thrust one towards my friend.

Unfortunately, it fell into about 6 pieces before she could even fully grab it.

My log, however, was hefty enough to hold threateningly in front of me like a proverbial jousting lance. I staunchly dared that unseen raccoon to come closer as my friend and I inched away.

Unfortunately, while inching away, we were also inching away from home. And it was getting dark.

“Maybe we should just have someone from my house come pick us up.”, my friend suggested.

“No way! –Well… ok.”

And so, two mature adults waited nervously by the side of the road while the sun dropped lower and lower below the horizon, and scanned the forest leaves for those blood-shot, crazy eyes that were undoubtedly waiting for us to let down our guard.

Finally, a well-known blue van pulled up and we tossed our protective moldy log into the forest and dove into the van’s safe recesses. And immediately began to howl with laughter. It was all just SO bloomin’ ironic.

I shook my head at myself in pity.

Was this Kara–the same Kara who had just scoffed at the implication that maturity does not blossom until 25–now guilty of calling her friend’s mother to save her from a furry animal? Was this the same Kara who slept under the stars, hiked in the dark, and spent two seasons leading wilderness trips so unsure of her stick-wielding skills that she had to flee the scene even though the supposed enemy was nowhere in sight? It was so plumb ridiculous. We all just sat in that van and laughed. When we got back to my friend’s house, we told the neighbor (who was also present during our previous maturity debate) the story and she laughed too.

We still laugh about it now. And yes, you’ve guessed the brutal truth.

I still have a fear of possibly-rabid creatures. Aaaagh! Does that mean my maturity is forever at stake?

What is your definition of ‘mature’? Do you pin an age on it? When was the last time your foot took an unwanted trip into your mouth? Let me know in the comments below!!

April Fools ALLREADY??!?

Since I’m one of those lame people who forgets about April Fool’s Day until the day is almost over…. here’s my to-do list for NEXT year.

Or,

um,

anytime, really……

< Make Someone The Unchewable Sandwich

Put Juicy Fruit gum in between slices of white cheese on a cheese and meat sandwich. Paste on an innocent face.

< Slurp Copious Amounts of Mayo in Public

Fill a mayonnaise jar with pudding, and slowly eat the entire jar while sitting in a highly travelled public area. Note people’s reactions.

mayo

< Create an Indoor Water Park

Tape the top of a 1/3-full-of-water plastic cup above a door on the side where it swings outward in such a way that the opening door makes the water dump out…. and, well, sorta onto the person’s…. head.

Use a clear hair band to fasten the sink sprayer in the ‘on’ position.

< Become a Phony Salesperson

Dress up in a disguise, then ring the doorbell of a close relative’s house and advertise a product. Use specific information about them, and see how long it takes them to realize that it’s you.

< Create  Odd and Random Havoc

Talk in at least 5 different voice tones during every conversation, change all the ringtones on someone’s cellphone from “Meditation” to “Teenage Road Trip”, TP a truck, squish a brownie into an unfortunate shape and float it in a pool full of adults, walk a mouse down the street on a leash, inflate balloons and place them in all the toilet bowls of a building, fill a bathtub with Jell-O.

So….. how was your April Fools?

Did anybody prank ya? What is your all-time favorite practical joke?

What FAITH can do

I miss working at a camp.

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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.

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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.