I don't think I've ever told anyone this, but on the last day of church camp my Senior year, I balled like a baby. Not because I'd necessarily miss that camp, or the people at the came. (Just to be clear, I do love me some Camp Cherokee, and I do love and miss my close high school friends). But I knew that never again would I be a camper at a camp. They have no church camps for college kids, singles, marrieds, or marrieds with children. The closest thing you get when you are older are retreats, and marriage retreats. All are nice, and seriously needed when you go on them. But none are church camp. A camp where you go for the week where activities are planned for you, meals are prepared with you in mind, speakers are flown in, bands play amazing music, and counselors are literally there to pray for you, talk to you, and teach you about Jesus and His Word. (Now that I think about it, really the closest thing to that is a marriage retreat, but I could never afford to go on one for a FULL week, like church camp, so I'm saying there really is nothing out there like that). No, it's like when you graduate high school, you are cut off from being a camper. No one sat down and told me that, we didn't have full conversations about the gravity of that situation, that I would never be a camper again. It just happened, and really in such a way because my last camp as a Senior was followed immediately by middle school camp where I was a counselor. Like, BOOM, transition, done. And then as I was mourning the loss of that part of my life, and just wishing, maybe for a second that I could be a camper again, God whispered this lovely verse into my head:
"When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man (or woman, to those who need that), I put childish ways behind me."
God reminded me that it's no longer that stage of my life anymore. That while being a camper, being ministered to was a sweet and special time in my life, I had to become the camp counselor because we can't drink spiritual milk forever. I have to digest the more hearty truths of the Word because I have others in my life I have to care for, because (and this is super hard to believe for me) others (somewhere out there, maybe...) are looking at me, at my life and thinking about whether or not I am a good example of someone they want to be like. That Karis does not need a camper for a mother, but a counselor. And I need to minister to her, and to others. I need to honor the time, efforts, prayers, and sacrifices of those who invested in me as a camper, in order that I may grow up to replace them or help them in this circle of ministry. Don't get me wrong, being a camper, is not being childish, it's just, I did think differently, as a camper, I was self-absorbed because when I needed to talk to someone, divulge my problems or fears, I expected someone to be there for me, asap. To listen, and care, and pray, and hug. That is the example that was set, so that I may grow, put the self-absorption behind me, and be there for others.
We've got a bit of a road ahead of us ladies and gentlemen, right? But then again, God also says this:
"...being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
God specifically did some things in my life within the past six months or so, namely moving me away from some very solid friends who where amazing Christian mentors to me, that had been my "camp counselors", and it has been an extremely hard process to move away from my camper mentality to the counselor mentality, but I'm convinced it was the right time, and God always knows what He is doing, and it is always good.
So, while moving was and is extremely painful, it has produced some small, steady growth in my heart, and I look forward to seeing where God leads in that. So, now I'll lead you with the last verse He just laid on my heart:
"See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland."
Grateful that God is not content with leaving my heart a wasteland, I love you all,