Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Invest in Eternity

I typically try to avoid merging business with personal, but, for those of you who work at a camp, it's virtually impossible.

The two always collide at one point or another. We live where we work and we work where we live. My neighbors are my coworkers and my friends are my employees and my life is...camp. At the start of our marriage, my husband and I even shared an office for a few months. Oh, and I'm his boss (a fun fact he typically likes to share with people, and then they laugh at the typical husband/wife banter...and then he says, "no really, she's actually my boss" and then I think they feel weird). It's a funny world we live in. One that's hard to explain unless you've actually done it.

In most ways, camp life is kind of all I know.

I never set out to be a camp director. All I had planned for myself, back in 2003, was to try to work at a camp that wasn't in Missouri and wasn't anywhere any of my brothers had ever been. As a freshman, I remember scrolling through the endless possibilities of summer camp options. I actually entertained the idea of working at a weight loss camp (a.k.a. Fat Camp). I think I thought being a counselor might help me also lose weight. These were the days before Google, and I'm pretty sure I landed on Camp Eagle through some unknown search engine after weeks of research.

Why not?
Why not apply to work at this camp that I've never heard of in the middle-of-nowhere Texas that does adventure-y things that I've never even wanted to try? Why not?  It met my only two requirements.
And so I applied. I applied to work at Camp Eagle and two other camps. Unfortunately for me, most camps were already done with hiring. Fortunately for me, Camp Eagle was not one of them.

It was mid-March when I got a phone call from a lady telling me that they had talked to my references and wanted me to come work for the summer. All summer. No interview, but a job offer. A three month long, in a land with no cell phone service or internet access job offer.

So, I went.
Why not?
What else was I going to do?

I wish I could accurately communicate to you all that summer meant for me and did for me...but I fear no words will do it justice. It was the summer I learned how not to wear make-up. It was the summer where I learned how to scrub showers with finesse. It was the summer where I learned that people liked me, just as I was. It was the summer where I made friends with people I would have never chosen to be friends with (lifelong friendships, at that). The summer where I got to be a part of a camper's salvation story. The summer where I watched the Lord use even the most unlikely people to bring Himself glory. A summer where He used even me, in all of my imperfections, weaknesses, brokenness and shame. A summer of complete exhaustion, pouring out, giving of myself until I would recognize that it was never about what I could or couldn't do.

It was a summer of changed lives.
A summer of investing in eternity.

It's why I love camp.
It's why I'm still here.
Not because I got "stuck", but because it's one of the most beautiful and humbling things to be a part of. God using us to transform lives. God using us, and gently reminding us, that it's just not about us.

The Lord uses camp to change lives for eternity.
There's something about the wilderness, the stars, the campfires, the crickets chirping, the songs that are sung, the s'mores that are eaten, the stories that are told.... the openness, the vulnerability, the honesty, the hope for something different. Something about all of that reminds us that there's this greater life worth living.

I get to be a part of that. 
Every day.
Part of offering the reminder of second chances and this incredible mercy that's new every morning.

I had no idea how much that summer 13 years ago would change me. I had no idea how much a second summer would continue the process or how much a third summer would challenge my pride and false identity. I had no idea how it would lead me down this journey of full-time camp ministry. To Him be the glory!  It's messy and frustrating and crazy and consuming and constantly forcing me to look within while simultaneously causing me to get over myself.

The Lord knew what He was doing.

And so here's where the personal turns business-y. We're at a place in our organization where we need more staff than ever before. With a recent expansion of yet another campus, we're on the hunt for college students to take a leap a faith and join us for the summer of a lifetime... a summer of investing in eternity.

I don't actually know how many people read my blog or to what degree this post might accomplish anything, but, I wanted to see if you might be willing to help us. Might you consider doing the following:

  • Apply to work here!! 
  • Join me in praying that we might have more than enough summer staff for this upcoming summer. It's been the cry of my heart these last few weeks. 
  • Share this blog post - you never know who might be looking at your social media!
  • Tell any college students you know about the opportunities that we have to serve out here- and then send them to: glorieta.org/apply
  • Tell any high school students that they can come hang out with us, too! We have this sweet thing called Service Team that has everything to do with discipleship and servant leadership as they help us run camp by washing dishes. They can apply online, too: glorieta.org/apply
  • We're especially short on guys right now- urge any Christ-loving college-age men to consider the possibility of a summer out here! 
More than anything, I pray that we are always asking our young people to seize opportunities to invest in eternity. To experience a summer where it's just not about them. To be willing. To go. To follow. To abandon all, to become all things to all people... so that some might be saved. 

It's worth it.
Every single time. 

And, if you know the joy of working at a summer camp, I pray that you'll just spend a second or two thanking the Lord for that experience and that you would allow Him to remind you of the truths you learned during that/those summer(s). 

It's a beautiful thing.
In fact, there's nothing else like it. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

It is Well

I couldn't stop the tears from coming this time. 

I'm not fully sure where they came from or why they came, but there was no deterring them. I think what's more baffling to me about the situation is not really knowing how I feel about it all.  

I waiver a lot.
I ask a lot of questions: do I really even want children....?
Or am I just coping with the fact that I can't seem to have them right now...?
Or am I just fearful that I can't ever have them...? 
Or am I just feeling guilty that I often don't think I want them...? 

I don't know what the tears meant, but they happened. 
Another month gone by. Hoping feels a little more hopeless. Prayers feel a little more faithless.  If I'm being honest. 

But, I'd be lying if I said that this was something I really was desperate for... and I'd be lying if I didn't admit that it still stings a little. 

I feel pretty isolated in this weird spot- most women I know who want children, really want them. A year of trying to get pregnant is often devastating and heartbreaking. I can't identify with that yet. I'm still mostly thankful and mostly trusting that we are exactly where we are for a reason. I'm still overwhelmed by the incredible opportunities before me that I believe would become more challenging if I were to have children.  But, somewhere in me, I don't want to stop trying. 

I can't explain the paradox within.
Perhaps someone else can identify with it, though. 

I do know that I'm ever aware of how truly miraculous life is. 
I do know that I'm ever aware of how much I need the Lord to continually refine me and remind me of His goodness and grace. 
I do know that there's much to hope in and hope for, and little of it seems to revolve around much that happens on this earth. 

I don't know if I'll ever have children.
I don't know if that will devastate me some day. 
I don't know what the future holds....but I know that my story isn't over today (at least not yet). And I know there is lots to be done and the continued reminders that I'm forever more than a woman, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, an employee, a boss, and all the other labels I seem to too easily strap my identity to. There's always a greater purpose and I desire to always live according to it. 

So, there's the obvious update. 
We're still not pregnant. 
I'm not really sure how I feel about it all (as you can tell from my all-over-the-place thought process). 
I'm not void of any emotions, but I'm not a wreck. 
All is well, honestly. 
I'm excited about whatever the future holds and I'm continuing to learn what it means to trust the Lord. 

It is well with my soul. 

(Plus, we now have our hands full with two gentle giants-which is an entirely different story you may get to read about some day!) 

Your entries will remain anonymous