Church Camp

(Edited after teenager left camp waiver form at home and mom learned a lesson, too.)

8:00 am

Well.

Sigh.

After 30-40 minutes of writing and praying for this trip early this morning, I start receiving frantic messages and missed calls.

I am walking out the door anyway, when I look over and see the camp waiver, all the paperwork, and all the travel toiletries I had carefully placed in view of my daughter yesterday, still sitting in our recliner. The papers had been there for two days.

You are may already be thinking this wasn’t anything to get upset about, but you don’t know how many times I asked her to prepare and put everything together.

Let’s add to the morning that our air conditioner broke yesterday ($$$), that my other daughter did not listen and caused an even greater problem last night ($), that I’m trying to pay for extra medical care for my grandfather ($$)…and I’m just a little emotional that I cannot use my Third Day Farewell Tour tickets in two weeks (-$).

As I run out the door, little shampoo and conditioner bottles leave a trail from my front porch to my car. I think I dropped shower gel and lotion, too.

I held on to the forms and kept running.

It doesn’t matter how many texts I sent this week, or how many times I asked her to bring her bag downstairs yesterday, or that I woke her up at 6am to make sure she had everything she needed, and to ask if she wanted me to go with her to the church.

Ignored.

Every single thing I tried to ask this week was simply ignored.

I am over here, having been through church camp a gazillion times, both as child, leader and parent, and I’m being ignored.

A bank of knowledge that can make for smooth sailing, avoiding pitfalls, and have extra snacks as a bonus.

My children do not like my methodical packing routine. I came to be that way for a reason. Trial and error. I have many flaws, but packing is not one of those. Honestly, it annoys me when they do not pack my way, because every time they don’t, there is a problem.

Like today. When I embarrassed us both.

I want to say, “If you had just done what I said the first time, then this wouldn’t have happened.”

Wait. I did say that. To both of my children in the last 24 hours.

I wonder how often the Lord thinks that of me?

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Now, I’ve appeared before moms at my church, frustrated and angry (that’s always a proud moment), even replying out loud that it wasn’t anyone’s fault but my daughter’s…because. she. did. not. listen.

It was if I was walking and texting about the dangers of walking and texting – and then I walked into a pole.

There God sits…not just a bank of knowledge, but the Author and Creator of all things, and sometimes I’m like, “It’s okay. I’m good.”

And then I forget my forms.

Or I forget I just wrote He is Jehova Jireh, the God who provides.

Or I get a fork stuck in the garbage disposal.

Or I forget He is Jehova Shalom, our Peace.

Or I use words that do not speak life into my family.

I did not follow instructions either.

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I am not thrilled with being in this position today. I’m torn between teachable teenager moments, extending grace and just plain, worn-out frustration that clouds my mind.

Especially after making a specific effort to only fill my mind with things of the Lord this week. No regular tv, but instead, I listened or watched no less than eight sermons or on-line Bible studies this week, writing pages and pages of notes and scripture, attending one study actually in-person (my first in 14 years), and praying not an hour before I lost my cool.

At this rate, I am afraid I need to be in sackcloth just to function….before I walk into another pole.

All the provision and peace I prayed for this morning was probably canceled out by my I-am-at-my-wit’s-end-let-me-go-back-to-bed weak moment.

May the Lord work all of this together, somehow, as only He can, and bless my daughter with an amazing weekend.

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These are the verses I thought of after today’s events:

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Moses had a relationship with God that I’ll never understand. There are unspeakable moments of power and wonder, and then times Moses seemed to forget that and grumble and complain.

He argued with God about his speech and how he couldn’t talk to Pharaoh.

Then, there was the unfortunate incident of anger where instead of speaking to a rock, as God instructed, He hit it with His staff, as he yelled at the Israelites, calling them “rebels.”

Moses did not speak to the rock as God instructed. He seemed so frustrated, as he asked the children of Israel, “Shall WE bring water out of this rock?”

Then, he struck the rock not once, but twice.

God dealt swiftly and harshly with Moses for this, which I always thought was somewhat unfair.

Perhaps when someone reaches a certain point of spiritual maturity…you cannot act out in anger (even if you have a million or so whining voices), or act in your own power and strength, or deliberately choose not to follow the Lord’s instructions – and not expect harsh consequences.

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The person who wrote the first and second half of this seem like two different people. I hope the second half isn’t somehow negated by the fact that my spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak.

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Calm.

6:30 a.m.

A door I have not opened…church camp memories.

That is for another post, because my daughter leaves for camp today, along with a hundred or so precious others.

I desperately want my children to see God and understand His Word earlier in life than I did.

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Our Father,

Thank You for Your tender mercies that are new every morning. Thank You for Your Word, that feeds and strengthens us daily. Thank You for churches and leaders and volunteers who invest in the lives of children and teenagers, building up that next generation for Your kingdom.

Thank You for leading me to a church where Your Word became that living, active, sharper than any sword, piercing me even to the marrow, discerning the thoughts and intentions of my heart. Thank you for the favor I found, that led me to personally know a family, that would unknowingly teach me for years to come through their written and spoken word.

Thank You for the power that comes from praying scripture in Your name.

Thank you for the timely sermons that I found on prayer this week that would help me to pray for my daughter, her friends, my two prayer bracelets (CR and NS), the groups leaders that I love so much, Meri, Abby, Shai and Michelle…and the church and pastor that will work tirelessly to show them You. Just You. All of this time, work, effort, prayer…it isn’t for recognition or fame or even an award, but simply to lead others to the throne and find You there.

I ask that You, Jehova Jireh, will provide for all of the needs of the students and staff during this trip. I pray that You have supernaturally provided for them, whether it be in supplies, finances, family care, and that You would give Your angels charge over them concerning all of their ways. I ask that they would bear them up in their arms, so their feet do not even strike against a stone.

Lord, as Jehova Rapha, our Healer, I pray that emotional and spiritual healing will happen this weekend. I pray that as You are lifted up, that these students would be drawn to You and healed from any wounds this world has given them up until now. If any ailments are hindering the work being done this weekend, then I ask that You would heal that person right now, even as they are loading luggage and preparing to leave, and that anxiety would be lifted as Your yoke eases underneath the arms of those who are carrying burdens.

Jehova Nissi, You are their Banner. You go before them, making the rough places smooth, so their journey is not interrupted. May Your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven, and let Your heavenly hosts fight the battles that need to be won among this group. They will have victory, a hundredfold, over the enemy and I pray they marvel at the works of Your hands. May no weapon formed against them prosper, and may these young souls grasp the meaning of how nothing can separate them from the love of Christ.

Lord, only You know the battles that wage in lives of these students, and even their leaders, and so I pray for peace.

I pray the peace that passes all understanding would guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. When they go to sleep, I pray it would be sweet, and they would sleep in peace, for You alone make us dwell in safety.

Bind the enemy’s schemes from this group and let there be no unrest, no disagreements, no hurt feelings, no misunderstandings, but that the focus would remain on You and not the things of this world. I pray there would be no distractions, that phones would be silent, and there would be nothing to hinder Your Spirit from moving among them. I pray the peace over this group would be so evident that strangers will take notice, and they will want to engage with them, therefore hearing about Your Name.

You are their Shepherd, they shall not want, they will lack nothing. You will lead them beside still waters, so their souls are refreshed on this trip. You lead them on the paths of righteousness for Your Name’s sake. Even if they walk through the valley of the shadow of death – they will fear no evil. You will be with them. Your rod and your staff will comfort them, and it extends around the flock to make a barrier between them and the world. Let their minds understand that by allowing You to be their Shepherd, goodness and mercy can follow them all the days of their life, and they can dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Thank You for Melody, for Bella, for Mrs. Connie, and for all those who have invested in the lives of my children.

By faith, Moses was entrusted to the river…

By faith, Isaac was entrusted to an altar…

By faith…Hannah gave Samuel to Your service…

By faith…we send this group away to hear from You, to call unto You, so they can learn great and mighty things, which they did not know. What eyes have not seen, what ears have not heard, and what has not even entered the heart of man, ALL You can do, and all You have in store, for those that love You. In the name of Jesus, amen.

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Sermon notes from Bellevue Baptist Church and Pastor Steve Gaines.