I live there. For many people, my home is that place of rest and renewal.
Because I live at a Bible Camp.
When children find out that I live here on site, their faces light up with awe. "You live here??" they ask, jealous. Yep. I live here.
Even adults (and we have a lot of adults come to camp- our Bible camp hosts mostly family camps), when they find out I live here at camp, look at me a little differently. I feel like they just want to ask, "What's it like, living at this place where I've been so restored?"
It's weird, really. Right now, I'm kind of existing in an in-between place. I'm not a staff member- I don't work at camp or know the actions to the songs or help out with the kids- but I'm not a camper, either. This isn't a vacation from my life, this is my life. Granted, it's only been my life for about a month, and I'm still finding my place in it. But I'm learning a lot from being here. I've gotten to join campers for Bible studies and see their families change through the week.
It's kind of amazing.
I went to one Bible camp as a kid, and it was fun. I worked at a Bible camp not long ago at all, and that was fun, too. But to be honest, I've never before seen what I'm seeing here.
Let me give an example.
On Monday, Zeke volunteered to take an extra group out tubing on the lake. Usually he takes two groups out per day, but the sign-up lists were full, and not all the families had gotten a chance to sign up. So he took out three groups on Monday. I went along, because the counselors are in a meeting during the time he was taking this group out, and the boat needed another "staff" member.
Anyways. Monday. We're out on the lake, tubing with two families. Zeke is driving the boat, and I'm watching. Listening. One of the dads on the boat seemed tense. Not scared, just tense. Busy. He was a little impatient with his little daughter when she wasn't sure if she wanted to tube or not. He seemed buttoned up. He didn't say much.
On Tuesday, I ended up in a small group with the same family during Bible study. We talked about how God speaks to us, the things that distract us from hearing His voice. The dad talked in the small group about being busy, traveling for work, and how he didn't spend as much time in the Word as he used to. At worship, he sang and held his wife's hand.
On Wednesday, the dad said hi to me as I walked by, and his wife smiled at me. At lunch, he sang the silly camp prayer with gusto. He pushed his little daughter on the tire swing, and during free time, he chased his teenage daughter through the water.
On Thursday, the dad shared his thoughts with the large group during Bible study. He spoke about how for years, his career came first. How he felt like he missed out on raising his eldest daughter, who's in college. He cried a little. At worship, he joined in with the goofy hand motions, getting a big eye roll from his teenage daughter.
And on Friday, he shared with the Bible study that he wanted this. That he felt like being at camp (for the first time this summer) was a God thing. That he needed to figure out how he was going to change, how he'd balance his love of the Lord, his love of his family, and his responsibilities to work. His family signed up for a week next summer. In the lunchroom, he walked by cheering, "Skiiiit! Whoo, whoo! Skiiiit! Whoo, whoo!"
Then his family left. Back to real life, back to the stress of every day. And maybe he'll make a change for the better in his family, for his relationship with the Lord. Maybe his children will notice a huge change in their dad, or his wife a huge change in her husband. Or maybe he'll drift back to the way things were. But camp made a difference. Maybe just for the week, maybe the month, maybe their lifetime.
Camp made a difference. Because God spoke to him in this place.
And that's where I live.
|Evening sunshine through my living room window|
It doesn't mean that I'm constantly hearing God's voice, that I'm super relaxed, super religious, that I'm perfect or have all the answers. Or that I even have any answers.
What it does mean is that I am blessed. I'm so incredibly blessed to see this happening. Just to observe God's kingdom here on earth. I'm living somewhere that makes a difference in people's lives.
For so much of the past month, I've really felt like I'm constantly looking forward, tugging at my leash until fall comes and I start the next thing- getting into schools and teaching. Like everything I'm focused on is in "tomorrow." I've been impatient. Waiting.
And this week, God said to me, "I have you right where you're supposed to be. Look around you." I finally did.