Thursday, June 23, 2016

He Fills You Up

The busy season has officially started, and it's not going to slow for about four more weeks. We are looking forward to two whole days off in July, and that's it.

But through it all we find time for each other.
To nourish our weary souls.
To vent about a camper who acted out, or to laugh about what someone said in their sleep last night.
To share burdens of things happening at home, because life outside of this paradise continues.
To pray over each other as fears and worries surface during honest conversations.
To serve, carry, and support whoever is down.
Because here at Table we are more than temporary Summer Staff. We are family. Day by day, piece by piece; God has begun to knit our various hearts and personalities together. To the point that I've cried on three or four different shoulders. And had my own shoulder cried on more than once. I've been given the opportunity to share the lessons I've learned through the mistakes I've made with girls who are younger than I, in hopes that maybe even though I didn't always listen; they will listen to me.

About two weeks after I arrived I suffered a personal loss. It was something that had been on my horizon for awhile. I had seen it coming, and chose to foolishly fight it. I don't think I ever ignored what I saw, but I definitely dug my heels in and said "I am not letting this go that easily." When it finally was time to let go, God made it as simple as I could've hoped for. Our Camp Mom sat with me by the fire one night and spoke words of such grace, peace, and wisdom to me. I knew she was right, but I really didn't want her to be.
And then, it came. Against my desires. Against my feelings; that chapter was gently closed. And I honestly couldn't have asked for a better time or place for it to happen. I've been gifted with an amazing staff who has showed me endless love and support. Roommates who held me as tears turned into rivers, and simply prayed over me. A staffer who basically carried me into Church on Sunday as I felt paralyzed by the pain.

Through it all my Father is as faithful as ever. He never once said "I told you so". He never once mocked my pain. He never condemned me for getting myself into this situation. He never once forsook me.
Instead of being angry, He simply reminded me: "If My Eye is on the millions of creatures you can't even see, how much more is it on You My Daughter created in My image?" The knowledge of His enduring faithfulness and His relentless Love, coupled with such a loving and patient Staff, carried me those dark days. Of course, there's been a lot of texts, calls, prayers, and letters from home that have continually brightened my day. But more on those later.

Just like everyone promise, here I am; slowly but surely approaching the other side. Reminded constantly of the fact that these children whose shouts and laughter fill our land; need me. I have been put here to love them and share the Gospel with them. To reach them using the talents God gave me.
To top it all off, I leave you with this quote from our devotional this morning that reminded me that pain serves a purpose and is there to teach me, and bring me closer to Christ.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

What If...?

We went from about 20 to 100 in about three days time. We went from doing general maintenance and enjoying frequent naps and board game sessions to all day training.

We had a blessing of a work group come in over last weekend and wrap up a lot of things in the newly built Grace Cabin. Joining us one day later was about a dozen 20-somethings who are training in a Wilderness Outdoor First Responder class with an awesome organization called Solid Rock Outdoor Ministries, which is based in Laramie, WY (just down the mountain and across the valley from us). They have been an absolute inspiration and joy to talk to and get to know.

Getting to hear their story of how God brought them from various corners of our Country to sitting in my dining room has been such a blessing. I felt a lot alone in turning my life upside down and pursuing something completely unknown and off the beaten path, until I met them.

And then our training with Beyond Ropes started. Three very long, very hot, and very tiring days in the sun learning everything from how to read and build group dynamics, to running a rescue on a zip line. It's been a long time since I felt the kind of terror that hit me yesterday as I'm lobster clawing up a pole, avoiding completely trusting on the staples. As I struggled to remove one claw from my harness so I could unwrap it from the pole, and get it over a cable to proceed in my climb; panic hit me as my claw would not come undone off of my harness. I knew in the back of my head that I was being securely belayed by Morgan and Trystan on the ground, but our instructor had told me to climb as if I wasn't on a belay. The more I struggled to get the claw undone, the more tired my arms became, and the harder it was to unclip it.

It quickly became a dangerously exhausting compounding problem. So, my instructor stepped in, and with calm words from the ground told me to relax my arms and lean into the support of the attached claws. As I did, the pressure from my weight shifted my gear and actually made it easier to undo the clip and I safely completed my climb (and then my high wire walk).

In short: It was terrifying. Here was a task that needed completed and I could not do it because my strength was quickly depleting. The more it depleted the harder everything became. So I had to trust my gear, and my belayers. I had to have faith that these things designed to hold three thousand pounds of force would do exactly that: Hold me. And I had to et go with my arms and no longer rely on my own strength to get me out.

Which, of course, brings me back to the earlier bit of this post about having my life turned inside out. At some point over the winter I had to stop struggling and fighting in my own strength to get me out. Cuz guess what? My own strength most definitely fails me because it is never enough to get through this life all by itself. But Who's strength is always more than enough?

Our Heavenly Father's. The One Who gave up His One and only Son to suffer and die for me. For you. His hands. His gear. It will never fail us; no matter the pickle we let ourselves get into.

The picture is something I drew at Indianola months ago. Typed onto it is the verse that God has planted in our hearts over this past week. I challenge you to make your own list of What If's for Him and see where it takes you. :)

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Team Building Time

The past couple of days have been a lot of cleaning and general maintenance to prepare for our upcoming busy season. Included in that the guys have been working tirelessly to dig up a waterline that has been leaking. Yesterday they finally got big equipment help...but they still haven't fixed the problem. We've been praying for them to find the fix and be protected from injury, because they've been digging close to an electric line.

We got a mini tour of the game areas. While we were there the camp dog chased a poor injured deer right past us.

Meals have been a group effort, since we don't have campers right now. Alec and Trystan donated a ham roast from their own pastures  and they put it in the crock pot to cook all afternoon. Hayden made herbed pan fried potatoes and I made a lemon glazed pound cake. It was all very delicious.