Why I love kids camp…

Church camp is a brand new experience for me. I never went to away camp as a child, so the experience of counseling eight 5th and 6th grade girls through this adventure has been full of lessons.

Lesson #1:

Girls are NEVER quiet!

As I sit and look at this sentence I think about the ironic application in my life. Most of my post-motherhood adult life has been a search for a moment of silence to steal. I’ve been on a mission to teach women to seek and find these quiet moments with God. And as I watch these young ladies flit to and fro like manic bumblebees, I realize that I might have inappropriately diagnosed our “lack of quiet” problem as a function of our busyness. Perhaps this need for chatter is truly something we are born with…a “girl thing.”

As I sit here in this quiet spot tucked away from the swimming pool and basketball court, this bench in the shade overlooking the lake, I am joined only by boys who come away for a moment or two of stillness.

The girls walk in groups of two or four chit-chatting and giggling, swatting at bugs and barely noticing the beauty of this place. The boys break away for just a moment to feel the breeze and gaze over the peaceful waters of the lake before running off to join their friends in play.

It’s not all fun, the girls can and do broach serious topics, but even in their silence-they are never quiet. No wonder I struggle to silence my own inner chatter…I have lived with noise for as long as I can remember.

Lesson #2:

As quick as the pace is here, God stops the world sometimes.

So far there have been moments, a couple of them, where time seemed to stand still. Moments where I pray I lived up to the title of “Counselor.” Moments of connection that made camp wonderful. In those times when a student reaches out for God’s answer, I am blessed to be able to come alongside and point the way. In those moments, it seems, the chatter quiets, time stands still and the world stops.

I am sure that there were LOADS of other lessons…some that will come out in the days to come…others that are still unknown to me. Suffice it to say I had a blast! (Every kid should go to camp–even if they have to wait until they’re grown!)

God of the Small

I am currently reading Eugene Peterson’s A Long Obedience in the Same Direction and loving this devotional look at the Psalms of Ascent (Psalm 120-134) as a way of deepening our relationship, our discipleship if you will, to Jesus Christ.  If you aren’t familiar with Eugene Peterson or with the Songs of Ascent, I highly recommend them both.

As I’ve been preparing to lead these retreats on Spiritual Discipline, I have done lots of study on the path of a disciplined disciple.  This book is one of those resources. I found this nugget in my morning devotion and it rocked my world.  Enjoy!

“The great danger of Christian discipleship is that we should have two religions: a glorious, biblical Sunday gospel that sets us free from the world, that in the cross and resurrection of Christ makes eternity alive in us, a magnificent gospel of Genesis and Romans and Revelation; and, then, an everyday religion that we make do with during the week between time of leaving the world and arriving in heaven.  We save the Sunday gospel for the big crises of existence. For the mundane trivialties–the times when our foot slips on a loose stone, or the heat of the sun gets too much for us, or the influence of the moon gets us down–we use the everyday religion of the Reader’s Digest reprint, advice from a friend, an Ann Landers column, the huckstered wisdom of a talk-show celebrity. We practice patent-medicine religion. We know that God created the universe and has accomplished our eternal salvation. But we can’t believe that he condescends to watch the soap opera of our daily trials and tribulations; so we purchase our own remedies for that. To ask him to deal with what troubles us each day is like asking a famous surgeon to poor iodine on a scratch.

But Psalm 121 says that the same faith that works in the big things works in the little things. The God of Genesis 1 who brought light out of darkness is also the God of this day who guards you from every evil. ”

God is not just our guardian in hard times, in crises, in tragedy (like what is happening in Japan right now).  He is God in wonder, and happiness, and joy.  He is God when little, seemingly insignificant things trouble us, and God when the robin’s song and a sunshiny spring day make our hearts sing.  He is the God of the earthquake, and the God of the baby’s giggle.   God’s interest in us never waxes….his desire to love and protect us extends to the tiniest hair on your head. Big or small, He is God.