The Beauty of the Past

I just spent an amazing weekend helping my Upon the Rock Camp family put on a fundraising banquet. I have been a part of this camp since I was a camper. This is my 16th summer knowing and loving this family and the camp they have been building.

It reminded me how much I miss them, and wish that camp wasn’t such a long drive away.

You know what touched me the most about my visit? The fact that the girls, 15 and 14, remembered a lot of fun things we had done together, at camp and when I lived with them as a camp intern, really made my heart happy.

We reminisced about crazy camp stories, campers that tested our patience, and how we all felt like family.

They even named an action after me… called the sassy Ariel; using your index finger to show just how opinionated or serious you are about the matter at hand, and is also a friendly warning not to mess with the person speaking. ūüėČ

We laughed and laughed, but eventually it was time for me to go. As I drove away early Sunday morning, I had tears in my eyes. I miss them, and wish the visit had been longer.

Even the sunrise seemed to bid me farewell:

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I want to ask you to¬†remind someone¬†about a great memory you have of them. It can be from years ago, or more recently. The fact that you remembered them will touch their heart in ways you can’t imagine. Go brighten someone’s day by showing you value and enjoy them!

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Camp Craziness

Photograph by Tessa Powell

Photograph by Tessa Powell (Counselors at Upon the Rock Christian Camp, overseeing archery with 8 year olds)

Oh. My. Goodness. Camp was crazy. There were barely 2 minutes to close my eyes and rest, before I needed to jump out of bed and motivate some campers.

My prayer was that God would be glorified through the amazing people that served as staff for Upon the Rock Christian Camp.

God answered¬†a hearty “yes” to that prayer! I had the privilege of being on a 3 woman counseling team that worked well together. We watched over and guided 6 little girls for 5 days.

We did archery, funyaks, Bible time, and campfire (to name a few). We were never on time to anything, but managed to get to Bible time every night (Must have been God’s will!). I was always protecting, loving, praying for and playing with these dear girls.

I was bone-tired, 3 days in.

It was a humbling experience for a girl that loves God, children, the outdoors, and the life-changing nature of Christian camp.

But this was part of God’s plan. I had tried to do it all, but He wanted me to be emptied of myself; my expectations, my plans, my energy.

That is when He filled me. Once I was empty, He filled me with His love, grace, and joy so that I could pour into the lives of the campers. Not on my own strength, but His.

It was the most challenging week of my life, but also very rewarding. One of my campers was asked “What was your favorite part about camp?”. She replied “I learned what it means to quench the Spirit’s fire.” My jaw dropped. Her answer wasn’t art, campfire, or getting her hair braided. Jesus had touched her heart; and that, my friends, is what makes all the effort and tears worth it.

Time to Slay a Giant

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We all have fear, insecurity, and doubt.

But we don’t have to let these things dictate our actions. What if these things are the giants we must slay? I don’t want to live a dull life because fear holds me captive.

Do the thing you think you cannot do. Just begin. For me, one thing was starting a blog ;). Does that mean you will have 100 followers in a month, or a year? No, but you will be writing, and may have the opportunity to encourage or inspire someone… and that is worth writing for! Not into writing? What about a fitness goal? Join a fitness class at your recreation center. Don’t make excuses, make friends and keep yourself accountable.

As many of you know, I am passionate about camp ministry. I have volunteered in many different positions, from activity director, to art director, to assistant counselor.

The most challenging position was that of a counselor. You are responsible for the lives and well-being of 6 or more kids! Their parents have put their trust in you, and in the directors.

I loved being the art director. It was so much fun to teach art and get to know kids as they created masterpieces of their own. I stayed in this role for a few years.

This year, I knew God was challenging me to step out in faith; to be a head counselor. I am preparing my mind, heart, and body for action. I want to love these kids with all that I have, but more than that, I want them to see Jesus. To know Him, and love Him. To see that He is their Savior, Father, and King.

Please pray for the staff, campers, and myself as we serve Christ at Upon the Rock camp! He is going to do great things, I just know it :).

Fear Not

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Isaiah 41:10

“Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

There are many things we fear in this life. Loss, pain, and public speaking, to name a few. Right now, my friends and I seem to be struggling with fear of not being fully prepared. We aren’t¬†seeing the bigger picture God is so faithfully painting.

Leadership

When given a leadership position, whether that is at school, camp, or church, the burden of responsibility weighs heavily on our shoulders. Sometimes we think we aren’t qualified for the job, or that it was a bad idea for us to accept the position.

Do Great Things

God has called us to do great things! All for Him and His glory. When we humbly take on a leadership position, God is with us. We should not be dismayed, for God is already working in and through us! He is upholding you with His righteous right hand. Pray that He equips you with the skills, compassion, and fortitude to be a leader that brings the people in your care closer to the Savior. Be amazed at what God will do… in our weakness, He is¬†strong!

Tomorrow my friends and I will be camp counselors. I pray that God will give the staff and campers open hearts to learn from Him, to see His love, and to enjoy the adventures He has planned! I am so grateful God has given me the opportunity to serve Him at Upon the Rock Christian Camp again this year.