I know that when my alarm clock goes off tomorrow at 5:30, I will truly regret not going to sleep right now. But I’m a writer, not to mention one with A.D.D. tendencies. This means that I am processing things constantly, and this time, I feel like my processings need to be shared with the world.
Last night I got back from summer camp.
Let me rephrase that.
Last night I got back from leading a group of girls at the same summer camp that impacted my life more than any other high school event ever. And I mean ever.
To be completely honest, I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to go, but as an employee of my church, I kind of had to. I was scared and nervous, feeling like I was starting the first day of high school all over again. One of the girls in the office who went to Middle School camp said it best, “Mom, am I going to make friends?” Of course she was kidding, but if I were to be completely honest, this is how I felt.
Because I know of the impact that summer camp can have on a person who is truly open to what God has in store for them. Because I was that person. I was the girl who walked into camp saying, ok, God, I have no idea what’s about to happen, and I’m honestly kind of scared because you tend to push me outside of my comfort zone at camp, but I’m ready. Yup, I spoke in run on sentences. I was in high school. I could.
But this year, I went to NMC’s High School Camp. And it’s not that often that I’m at a complete loss for words.
Some people have a terrible view of camp. To them, camp is a place where kids get high on Jesus, come back home and crash. And this is a very real thing. Coming back home is tough. What’s tougher is going back to school. Some kids don’t follow through on their incredible commitments that they made at camp. It’s a very real thing.
But let me tell you the story of someone. Her name is Kate. She went to summer camp throughout middle school and high school, and 75% of her testimony is made up of stories from summer camp, of the people she met there, of the ways God showed her a new side of Him at camp, and of the ways she followed through on some of the commitments she made at camp. Of course she wasn’t perfect. There were things she promised God that she fell short in. But she is who she is now because of camp. It was at camp that God brought Godly friends alongside of her. It was at camp that she surrendered it all. It was at camp that she grew closer to a girl who would later become a mentor through her high school years. It was at camp that she realized her hobby of running could be more than just a hobby. It was at camp that she learned that this Christian thing is so much more than her mind could grasp.
She’s who she is today because of camp.
And this year, she was impacted even more because of it. Only this time she was a leader.
She learned that God comes through on bold, specific prayers when we are desperate enough to pray them. She learned that God can use a broken and busy kid only two years out of high school to impact people. She learned that she’s been saying No to God for far too long. She learned that she loves high schoolers so much.
And she’s still wrestling with things.
But there’s something incredible about summer camp. There’s something incredible about praying for someone in the exact spot that you were prayed for only three years earlier. There’s something incredible about watching people encounter Jesus. There’s something incredible about coming alongside someone else not because you have it all together and all figured out, but because you truly and deeply care about them as a person.
I don’t know how many students will follow through on their commitments. Like me, I am sure that some will be left only written on a piece of paper and never brought to fruition. It happens. But I wonder how many commitments will see follow through. I wonder how many students will be able to look back and say, “Yup, I messed up sometimes, but I wouldn’t be who I am today if it hadn’t been for the relationships formed, the messages given, the worship experienced, and the time I had at summer camp.
Every time I think about this past week, I thank God. I thank him for the opportunity, the privilege I had to go to summer camp. I learned quickly that focusing on my own inadequacies left me feeling empty and confused. But there was a turn. It came when I gave it up to him. When my weaknesses coLLided with the incredible power of God.
And that is summer camp. A whole bunch of weaknesses coLLiding with the incredible power of God. And I’m so thankful to be a part of the coLLide story.