Saturday, June 30, 2012

Cardboard Testimonies, just what I needed

I got off at 11:15 this morning when I dropped off the CILTs to Mt. Wood, the meeting spot for all the stay-over campers. For the weekend they would be with a small group of counselors so that the rest of the staff could have just over 24 hours off.

My next stop was my parent's house on the other side of Main Field. I threw my laundry into the wash before collapsing onto my bed for a much needed nap. And there I remained for the next three and a half hours. Taking naps is not one of my strengths, but today was an exception. Being a counselor wears me out and I needed this time to recharge and refocus.

Priorities on weekends for me include two things--sleeping and eating. When I finally awoke I went with Dad, Mom, Katie, Nick and baby Lincoln to dinner. We ate good food and talked about camp and the trip we're going to take this Christmas and ate more good food. It was just what I needed. Check and Check.

Back home at camp I worked on blogging and uploading pictures, a never ending process. I was thankful for the break of camper craziness but still had this feeling that I should go visit my kids since I was in camp. They were working on planning their chapel for tomorrow and hanging out with the rest of the stay-overs and I wanted to see how they were doing.

They had already finished planning and were taking an intermission from Despicable Me for ice-cream sundaes when I arrived. Being away for just a couple hours feels like days in camp time, so many of them were surprised and excited to see me. And honestly it feels great to be missed by your kids. I ate ice-cream with a table of CILTs and had a dance party (minus the music) with Anna and little Sarah before heading home again.

I figured out when they would be having devotions and went to the Party Room to meet up with the CILTs and stay-over counselors a couple hours later. This time of the night is easily my favorite part of the day and I didn't want to miss an opportunity to share in the experience with my kids tonight. Morph, Maddie, Kenzie and Jenna led the kids in Cardboard Testimonies. One side of the cardboard is the story of our past--who we used to be, a lie we believed about ourselves or an experience we went through. The flip side is the story of the present-- who we have become, the truth God has taught us and how we're being changed now.

The CILTs stood up and shared their testimonies in-front of their friends and I was struck by their honesty and vulnerability. I've done this devotion several times but it never gets old. Some of their testimonies  I had learned in the past week and some of them I never would have guessed.

God is good. He knows exactly what I need, exactly what you need. This weekend I needed to recharge, to sleep and eat good food for sure, but more than that I needed a renewed perspective. I'm at the midpoint of CILTs for the summer. It's a strange spot to be in tonight knowing that one and a half sessions are over and there are just one and a half still to go.

This session is unique in the fact that I knew very few of these campers before they arrived last Sunday.  One of the things I've learned about myself as a counselor is that it's important for me to spend as much time with a group of kids as possible to really get to know them, to hear their stories, to figure out their dynamics. I want each session to be special and to know that I took the time to invest in the group. I'm not perfect at that by any means, it's hard to do when I'm tired or distracted by other things or waiting for something to happen.

I think tonight, going to devotions with the CILTs, was just what I needed. I needed to be reminded of the way our God works and how he shows up in our lives. I needed to hear the stories of these kids and my eyes were opened to better understand where each of them is coming from. I feel like because I know them that much more after tonight, I have this new outlook on what the next week can be. Already God is at work in them and he will continue what he has already begun.

It is such a privilege to get to be a CILT counselor, to work with this group of campers and have the opportunity to lead them for two weeks. I don't want to take that role for granted. I pray that I'll be able to give this Session everything I've got in the next week. They've been waiting to be a CILT for at least year, for many of them even longer, and I want to make this the best year at camp they've ever had. As their counselor I hope that I keep reminding them of who Christ has called them to be and teach them how to live life to the full so when they leave in a week they'll be different from who they were before all of this began.

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