the three of them have slumber parties regularly so they can reminisce together into the wee hours of the night about their camp memories. how sweet is that!?
my girls can hardly wait for their 2012 adventure at "the home of the world's greatest campers," and made paper-chains to count down the days till it arrives!
i get it, why they love camp so so much...God is BIG at camp! magnificently ERUPTING out of staff, activities, shared meals, His word, intimate conversations, worship, and more...
with God BIG lives are changed...
i know, because 24 years ago today at a camp the course of my life was changed forever.
On June 19th, 1988, I was saved from abandonment, lies, defeat, curse, unworthiness... death. I came to Life.
In late spring of 1988, when I was 14, a friend invited me to Hume Lake Christian Camp. But because my mother worked as a waitress, camp wasn't financially possible (I mean we got the free cheese. Those of you who got the free cheese know what I'm talking about). Then, one week before camp the same friend who had invited me shared that another girl had cancelled. Her spot for camp was paid in full, and the church (River Oak Grace) wanted me to go in her place.
I can't say I wanted to go to a Christian camp. If there was a God, I had a question for Him, "why did you give me this life, I didn't do anything to deserve it?"
From birth my dad had rejected me, and over the years has made it clear to me that I am not his daughter (My dad was a drug user for 27 years. He was arrested in 1998, and a year later committed to a state hospital, where he was diagnosed to be Bipolar-Pschitzoaffective).
Because my teenage mother decided she couldn't care for my younger sister and I, a routine weekend visit to my paternal-grandparents at the age of 2 turned into a 3 year stay. When I was 6 my mother returned and regained custody of us. In the 13 years I lived with my mother she was married, divorced, engaged, separated, married, divorced, engaged, separated, married, divorced, married. I've had 7 "dads."
The message sent to me by my parents and "step-parents" was that I was not wanted. Their rejection, abandonment, selfishness and neglect affirmed that I was unworthy of love.
So, I went to camp, desperately hoping for a week break from it all (evidently, God had SO MUCH MORE than a week break in mind for me) .
Camp was a.maz.ing! Hume Lake itself was magnificent. I was invigorated by the activities, games, being part of a team, 3 shared meals a day, singing (my favorite), and people pouring their Life into me. It felt that I had really breathed and lived for the first time in my then 14 years of life.
That week the speaker, Steve Russo, spoke about how "God is a Father who will never leave you or forsake you." He shared from Romans 8, "that nothing can separate us from the love of God" (tears- It still gets me).
I needed that!
So, on June 19th, 1988, I took my first steps to my Father God in Hume Lake's Ponderosa Chapel, while singing, "Oh Lord, take my life as an offering, let it be molded by Your own hands, fill me with Your Spirit and Your Grace to quench a thirsty land. Thank You for always being near even after I've done You wrong, Father please use my frail life now, for when I am weak I am strong." (song by Joel Weldon).
In these 24 years I have been overwhelmed by God, Who breathes life into me, calls me daughter, and Who tangibly expresses that He is wildly and deeply-in-love with me. I've also experienced pain as the Shepard walks with me through my history to heal me for His glory in me and through me. I've battled lies and depression and have learned to "love the Lord my God with all my mind." I've been a prideful Christian, BUT by God's mercy I've been humbled. Most recently I'm learning to embrace Grace... or rather to let Grace embrace me. I'm passionate about victory, and about living a good story (a God glorifying story) and leaving a legacy of blessing instead of curse for my children and their children's' children.
And 24 years later, I still have one question for God, "Why did you give me THIS Life, I've done nothing to deserve it!" The Redeemer has been too good to me.
Have you ever gone to a christian camp?
How did you come to know our Big God?