Thank you so much for praying for the high school girls and me while at camp. Your prayers were felt, and God was present in countless ways in those mountains. I've been back to Nashville a bit now, thinking about exactly how to share my experience with you. Camp was one of the greatest weeks of my life. I've never been a part of something so physically exhausting yet so spiritually renewing. I kept thinking, "Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to be a part of this."
A few years ago, I never would have dreamed I'd be leading fifteen 15-year-old girls for six days and talking about Jesus with them every day. But there I was. As always, God put me right where He needed me to be. I pray that I helped encourage those girls toward a deeper love of Christ. I pray they take what they learned on that mountain into their lives back home.
A typical day at camp meant we’d wake up early and read the Bible individually, going through the first six chapters of Daniel (one of my favorite books). We’d discuss each chapter together as a group and then head to breakfast and morning worship. I cannot put into words how powerful, moving, and, well, fun, the worship services are at camp. Picture an intimate concert with 500 people, add in hands raised in praise, bumping speakers, and a whole lot of Jesus. That’s camp. We’d sing and then hear a challenging message from one of the pastors. After worship, we’d have another discussion within our cabins. The rest of the day included lunch, ample time for outdoor activities (hello, wave pool), dinner, another powerful worship session, and a final group discussion before bed.
The days were long, but the Lord was sweet. He brought me a co-leader who knew some of the girls and had been to camp before. She who so kind and able to help guide me. And when she had to unexpectedly leave camp early for a funeral, God gave me the energy and the wisdom to lead our group solo—a group I felt God specifically placed me with.
My job as a leader was to help point these high school girls to Jesus. I was there to not only watch over them but to care for them for the week. I thought of them like my little sisters. I wanted to make sure they felt loved and encouraged.
Camp is designed specifically for the students. The thing is, these girls and this camp impacted me, too.
I walked away with a greater love of the Lord and a greater desire to serve him wholeheartedly.
As the week went on, God revealed to me that when your attention is on serving others, you don't have space to stress about the little (ultimately selfish) things you normally might. I couldn't worry about my body, or my bank account, or my job. I didn't have the time to feel anxious about this stuff because I was focused on ministering to those girls and hearing from Jesus.
It was freeing.
Seeing the way hundreds of high school girls and boys worshipped and openly loved Jesus all week long was so beautiful. Their passion and joy for the Lord is contagious. I couldn’t help but lift my arms in praise and dance around with the high schoolers as the worship band played Hillsong Young and Free and other upbeat songs. And when we sang “A Beautiful Name,” I let tears stream down my face as I thought about all He has done for me, transforming me from death to life. To God alone be the glory. The name of Jesus deserves all the praise!
When you witness the pure love a new Christian has for Jesus, it stirs something in you. These students demonstrated the true joy of salvation. The deep desire of so many of them is to share the truth of the Gospel and to share how God has changed their lives. They recognize the fact that news this good simply must be shared. When you’ve been saved from the power of sin and the schemes of Satan and then graciously offered eternal life through faith in Christ, that affects you big-time.
The students reminded me that if you are a Christian, then Jesus is not just a part of your life. He is your whole life. Do you live that way, too?
I carried home a few other lessons from camp, things I plan to continue doing back here in real life:
1. Spend less time on my phone.
We were in the mountains with little service. I could call and send a few texts, but I couldn’t be constantly available like I usually am. You know what? It was great. We could all use time away from our devices every now and then.
2. Start every morning with the Bible and prayer.
This year has been the year I’ve developed the habit of morning Bible reading. Camp helped solidify the importance of that. You can read the Word any time of day. But for me, my day feels off without reading and praying first. My goal is to intentionally set aside 30 minutes before work to read and let the message sink in before I start my day.
3. Eat freely.
Future blog post on this to come! Camp showed me not every meal has to be Instagram-perfect and blow our taste buds out of the water. Sometimes lunch is a blah ham and cheese sandwich, and that’s okay. Food sustains us and energizes us—and meals that aren’t this amazing experience can serve to remind us of the Bread of Life who truly satisfies.
4. Share the Truth.
As Christians, we have the greatest news of all time. Not sharing that really makes zero sense. I pray that when people know me, they say I’ve been with Jesus.
I’m an ordinary woman, but God continually does extraordinary things for His purpose and His kingdom through ordinary people. I don’t want to be known as a “good person” or a “sweet girl” but rather as a woman of the Lord. Others will only know that if I share with them the Gospel and my own testimony of His saving grace. I have to share my story whenever possible, with whoever possible, especially the people who are already around me.
I want my life—however short or long—to count for His Kingdom.
Let’s be Christians who demonstrate the deep and profound joy that comes from a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. Let’s proclaim Him with the same boldness of Peter and John, the same boldness of a newly saved high school kid. There’s nothing more exciting or worth sharing.
If you want to talk more about Jesus Christ and faith and what-the-heck-is-all-this-stuff, shoot me a message. I love meeting new people, whether virtually or in person, and gabbing about life.
And if you'd like to know more of my story, you can read my testimony here.
Truly, He makes beautiful things.