"I may be weak. But Your Spirit's strong in me. My flesh may fail, but my God, You never will. Give me faith. To trust what You say. That You're good, and Your love is great. I'm broken inside. I give You my life." -Elevation Worship
WOW! God always comes through for me. No matter how imperfect I am, God sees potential in me and He carries me through.
I learned something about myself this last week at kid's camp. My flesh fails me, and that is okay. Seems rather simple, huh? This was a huge lesson I learned! This post is going to be a bit more personal than the last two I shared with you. God got really serious with me, and I was at a point that I could hear Him, and listen.
If you remember, I told you everything we do at camp is worth points. That includes good behavior, showing up to things on time, the games we play, Bible reading and memory verses. It's all worth something.
For me at kid's camp, the competition was a little bit difficult. I didn't try to stress the points too much with my girls. I'm not saying we didn't try our best out there; we gave it our all! I tried to keep the focus off of winning, and placed it more on why we were there. The idea behind all the games was to have fun, not to find out who is the most athletic out of us. The idea behind the scriptures wasn't to see who was most spiritual, but to get God's word into our lives. I felt that we were succeeding by God's standards.
If you remember, I said this was a first time for me as a coach. I was a little overwhelmed by the end of the week just trying to keep track of all 13 of my girls. I was tired.
It wasn't until our last free time of the last night, when I remembered that I hadn't turned our points in yet. I never had time to do it each day, and I planned to write it down all at once. When I headed over to the office, I was met with an empty wall. The chart was gone!
Someone was in the office, so I explained to them that I was a new coach, and I needed to turn in my points. Was it too late? She sent me to another lady who was in charge. I went through the explanation again; could I please turn in the points for my girls?
Her annoyed response was this, "The deadline has already passed. You should have been paying more attention." Then she grabbed my piece of paper with all my information and said in a very stern voice, "This is totally worthless. Would you like me to throw it away for you? Or would you like to do it yourself?"
I mumbled something about keeping it for my girls, and walked off.
Oh my goodness! I felt like I was two inches tall. I messed up so big. I thought I was the biggest failure walking around that camp. My girls were all counting on me, and I dropped the ball. Why didn't I pay attention more? Why didn't I turn my points in everyday?
As the questions and thoughts kept coming to me, an entire week of emotions flooded me. I sobbed as I ran back to my cabin. Luckily, I'm the only one with a key, and the girls were at their free time where I'm technically not needed. I was trying to build relationships with them so I always followed them around all week during free time. This time, I took the time for myself and did what any normal girl would do when her feelings were hurt. I called my mom.
I was crushed. I felt like the woman had just called me and my girls worthless. It's amazing how the devil can twist things around. At the time, all that kept running in my head was, "you're totally worthless. Worthless. WORTHLESS." In actuality, it was the paper she was referring to, but my delicate feelings couldn't make out the difference right then.
It took me the entire night to push through this. I was back with my girls, and none of them seemed the wiser. I had a good cry, and I was able to stay in the shadows for the few minutes we were together so they couldn't see that something was bothering me. Only one of my girls was able to see my pain, and I simply told her I got my feelings hurt. Something she understood perfectly; I had already consoled her a couple times that week.
My mom had suggested I talk with the coach's pastor, Rick, but I never would see him walking around. The only time I had contact with him was during our morning meetings, and we were leaving camp the next day. I didn't think there was much of a chance of me running into him.
About 10 minutes before lights out, we heard a knock on our door. When I opened it, who do you think it was? There Rick stood, with a paper in hand, trying to get ready for our exit the next day. I pulled him aside, and explained what had happened.
He was so encouraging to me! He told me over and over again, thank you, for all the work I was doing. He assured me I was making a difference in these girls. I also got the reason behind the statement. He wasn't excusing her rudeness, but he wanted me to know what she was implying. If you remember, we are competing in super teams, not individual cabins. (I didn't know this at the time.) There was a super team that had basically blown all other teams out of the water they had so many points. She had already tallied things up and there was no way one cabin was going to change things. Knowing this helped a little bit. But I still felt the sting of her words.
I have struggled all my life with perfection. I abide strictly by the rules. I try to be perfect to a fault. This was no exception.
I had all my girls tucked into bed, and I headed off for a shower. I've said it before, the shower is my sanctuary. I have my most vulnerable conversations with God there. I cried out to Him that night. I sobbed, and asked Him why?
No one can make you feel unworthy unless you already believe it yourself.
I needed a God encounter, and I wasn't going to bed unless I got it. I asked God over and over again, "Am I worthless? Because tonight I sure do feel like it." It was in my brokenness that God showed up.
I couldn't put two and two together by myself, but God spelled it out. He showed me that, yes, that paper was worthless. It doesn't matter how I stack up to someone else, or how my girl's cabin stacks up to another one. What matters is our heart, and where it's at. I gave 200% at camp, and He blessed me for it. When I cried out about my worth, God simply dropped my name before me.
The previous week, I was at my book study with friends, and we were discussing what our names mean. My name is Amanda which means "worthy of being loved". I was simply speechless. The tears ran, and my heart mended back together again. Only God can do that! He can take what the enemy uses to destroy us, and He can turn it into something beautiful.
I am so thankful that my God is bigger than any enemy out there. My God can heal a broken heart. Who else can claim that? My flesh may fail, but, MY God, You NEVER will.
I've been saving this until the very end. This is the icing on the cake! I was still feeling pretty bad for the girls I had let down, but God showed me that I never let them down. So what! We didn't get our points. We did get out of the week what we were supposed to. We developed our relationship with God and each other more. That was the goal and purpose behind camp, remember?
When I was in my sanctuary, I asked God for one thing. Could He please prove to me in some tangible way that I was doing the right thing? That I didn't fail this week? It's all good to hear from Him, and feel Him in a personal way, but I wanted proof. Have you ever done that to God? Just asked Him to prove Himself to you?
During the closing rally at the camp, one boy and one girl is chosen to represent all the campers. This camper is chosen because they exhibited the fruits of the spirit this week.
"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." Galatians 5:22-23
On Thursday, all coaches have to nominate a boy or girl from their cabin who they feel best exhibited the fruits of the spirit. I didn't miss out on this deadline! In my cabin we had two girls who did a phenomenal job. One of the two girls was chosen last year for this award, so we felt like we should choose the other one, which happened to be my daughter, Ariel.
Later in the day, all the nominees were interviewed individually by Rick and Tony (our worship leader). This ends up being around 20 kids chosen out of 400! They narrow that down, and chose first a runner-up who is given a half scholarship to attend camp the next summer. Then they chose the 1st place girl and boy who are both given a full scholarship to camp.
I was so proud of my daughter for getting nominated. She worked really hard! Some of the characteristics I saw her display were:
• She had a positive attitude and wanted to participate in everything. When she was sitting out, she would cheer on her fellow teammates!
• I never heard her complain about another girl, and no other girl came to me complaining about her.
• She loves worship, and prayer, and always prayed for her friends during altar time. She sits attentively in all the services.
• When we asked for a volunteer to pray, she was always the first to raise her hand.
• During devotions she would take notes. She got excited about memorizing her scripture verses and Bible reading.
• She always helped clean up the cabin, without even being asked.
• I never heard a single complaint all week long!
When it came time to announce the fruit of the spirit winners, I was so nervous. In fact, I was so nervous I didn't even want to videotape. I knew my daughter had done well in my eyes, and I was proud of her. She was doing a great job of following in Jesus' footsteps.
I'm kicking myself now for not getting a video. My daughter won the first place fruit of the spirit award!! It was then that God whispered in my ear again. You are worthy of my love. You did what I asked this week, and you made a difference in these girls lives. No competition could prove that to you. I don't lie, and I will never fail you. I cried like a baby!
Sometimes God proves Himself in ways we never would expect.
On a funny side note, I asked her brother later that day, "Did you see that Ariel got the fruit of the spirit award?"
"Yeah. And I'm a little confused because she is so mean. They must not have seen her throw that mud water at me!" Spoken like a true brother...
"I may be weak. But Your Spirit's strong in me. My flesh may fail, but my God, You never will. Give me faith. To trust what You say. That You're good, and Your love is great. I'm broken inside. I give You my life."
Thank you, God for mending my broken heart. Give me faith to trust everything that you say. Show me how to ignore all the words that have no meaning in my life. Thank you for calling me worthy. I love you.
Kid's Camp 2012