He knows my name…and my address

11.05.14 He Knows My Name And My Address Lisa Smith

We entertain the idea of putting our current home on the market and moving into a home better equipped to house our growing (in size not in number) family this year, we ask God to guide us.

Because we believe He is sovereign over the details of our lives.  

And because we believe He is personally involved in all of them. 

He opens a door, literally. We grab His hand and walk through it with excitement.

What we don’t expect is for a brick wall to be on the other side of that door.

Or the next one.

Or the one after that.

Over the course of five weeks I grow weary. I lean on two truths we trust to guide this process. I become emotionally detached from the outcome of our offers. I choose to tighten my attachment to the God who spoke, still speaks, these truths.

Our prayer mantra remains:

We will walk forward until we can’t walk any further because

We believe You are sovereign over the details of our lives and because

We believe You are personally involved in all of them.

If you’ve ever purchased a house or been around anyone in the process, you get this. If you’re a real estate agent, you really get this.

I take my husband to look at a house I think might work for our family. I intend to light a fire under him so to list our current house now…instead of the later that feels more doable.

A few days later the seller, who from this point forward shall be called sweet-seller-lady, calls me wanting me to list her house. I go. We have this incredible appointment. We share stories of walking with the Lord and agree her house would be a great fit for my family.

I paint, pack, clean, arrange and pray my own house on the market over the next week. A friend, who from this point forward shall be called friend-with-house, finds out. She wants to buy my house. I help her paint, pack, clean, arrange and pray her house on the market over the next week.

In the mean time, sweet-seller-lady lists her home for sale with another agent assuring me our deal will still work and friend-with-house gets an offer on her house.Things are going according to plan.

So far.

We get friend-with-house’s home under contract, my current home under contract and I make a full price offer with a 45 day close on sweet-seller-lady’s house. We are ecstatic! We are mentally moving.

Sweet-seller-lady declines my almost perfect offer.

Twice.

We are angry. Devastated. Confused. We fall back on our prayer mantra:

God is sovereign over the details of our lives.

And He is personally involved in all of them. 

We find another house. It’s not perfect but neither was sweet-seller-lady’s house. It doesn’t feel like the square footage advertised is correct. We independently pay an appraiser to measure the house for us. It is almost 500 square feet smaller than marketed. We base our offer on solid information:  recent sales of comparable homes and the square footage measured by an appraiser.

The seller, who shall be miniature-house-man, disputes our measurement basing his measurements on square footage including an outdoor cabana. We argue over the very definition of heated square footage area. [In case you don’t know what that is, read the words again.] The offer never gets negotiated because his price is too high and his square footage is too high. I refuse to pay for an invisible house.

Reciting the prayer mantra, we move on.

House #3 is a potential beauty that only looks ugly. It needs new paint inside and out, new floors, new cabinets, added storage, minor renovating and additions to the backyard and patio area. Amazingly, our lender calls and tells us there is a new program that allows home buyers to contract renovations, purchase a home and then commence with renovations already built into the home loan. We will have our cake and eat it too!

Thinking we have an executed contract, I celebrate all day. At bedtime I receive a text from the agent saying that some items in the contract had to be changed before the seller signed. I flip. We no longer have an agreed upon offer. Because some items changed i.e. the price!

The agent works to gather estimates for me that will save me the excess added to the price. Mean time, the lender calls with news the loan program does not work for us after all. We are actually relieved as all that renovating was beginning to give us a headache!

Still reciting the prayer mantra, we keep moving forward.

We drive to a part of town we have never considered living. We look at a house we think we could never buy. We think it is perfect. We call the agent, called The Negotiator from here forward. The Negotiator tells us we need to change some things, almost everything, about our offer; but they really appreciate our offer and really want to work with us. Score!

We spend our weekend alternating between a state of dreaming about The House and staring at our reality. We work in real estate. We have a clear picture about us, our situation. And The House.

We submit an offer anyway.

We wait.

At this point, I snicker at the irony. I have never, in my 17 years in the business, written FOUR offers on FOUR different houses that are as different as night and day for any client.

I am my own worst client. I cannot sell myself a house.

Only time will tell the truth of that ironic statement.

And we spend our only time waiting.

Sitting on pins and needles while biting our nails, waiting. We are human after all. *said with a laugh* We remind ourselves:

God is sovereign over the details of our lives.

And He is personally involved in all of them.

We stop biting our nails lest our fingers bleed.

And we see God do extraordinary miracles in our situation, on our behalf. The very thngs that need to happen actually happen. We enter real live negotiations on The House.

And we wait. And we negotiate. And we wait some more.

And that’s where we are now. We are waiting. Still. Negotiating. Still.

Still waiting.

Still negotiating.

Just waiting.

Being still.

As in silent. Peaceful. Resting in the wait. Because we know:

God is sovereign over the details of our lives.

And He is personally involved in all of them.

Even the house we look for, no matter in what part of town it now sits. Tonight we decide it is not necessarily  The House. It is merely a house. No doubt a blessing of a house; but then again, the other three would be also. Once again we detach from an outcome, a house,  and attach to a God:

Who is sovereign over the details of our lives.

And who is personally involved in all of them.

Even the number of minutes we spend waiting.

Because don’t you want to know if we get the house? Let me let you in on a little secret: So do we. We are dying over here.

But not really.

Because we believe these two truths:

God is sovereign over the details of our lives.

And He is personally involved in all of them.

And so we wait.

We recite our prayer mantra.

We rest in the wait. We rely on our faith and respond with trust in  God.

Who is sovereign over the details of our lives.

And who is personally involved in all of them.

And we wait.

But we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Because He is worth waiting for, this God.

Who is sovereign over the details of our lives.

And who is personally involved in all of them.

Every single last one of them.

Even the perfect house in a part of town we never really wanted to live.

…And he decided exactly when and where they should live. Acts 17:26b

linking to jen and the soli deo gloria sisterhood today

So You’re [NOT] An Addict?

He can handle all things

Statistics say someone you know really well is addicted or regularly viewing pornography.

Still not convinced?

Your best friend, sister or daughter will confide in you that someone they love is addicted.

How do I know? A survey conducted by the Barna group earlier this year shows 64% of christian men and 15% of christian women admit to using porn regularly. Those numbers go up slightly for those who do not identify themselves as Christians to 65% and 30% respectively.

Still not convinced?

Chances are you know someone addicted to something. In our here and now society of instant gratification, it’s more than acceptable to flirt with self-destructive behavior. As I talk with my teens, I learn just how much pop-culture is shifting. Engaging in porn is represented as an ordinary occurrence on sitcoms and in movies. Binge drinking, recreational drug use, casual sexual encounters, eating disorders, shoplifting and cutting are openly practiced by so-called teenage role models.

According to one of my own teens, it’s expected that some of their friends will question their sexuality, experiment with at least one of these unhealthy coping mechanisms and exercise whatever means necessary to escape personal chaos. As a mother, this makes my hair stand on end and ultimately forces me to my knees.

I know the lure of porn, as well as alcohol, drugs, cheap love and instant gratification is strong today. I also know the Rock I stand on is stronger.

In Pure Eyes, Clean Heart Craig and Jen candidly share their freedom story – moving from porn addiction and control issues to trusted partners in a healthy marriage. Although I haven’t walked the same path from porn addiction Craig and Jen have, I know the stronghold of addiction reaches us all in some way. I believe theirStart talking about it story is helpful for any person in an addicted relationship, any couple dealing with brokenness and anybody who is sexually tempted.

Yep, everyone should read this book!

Their heartfelt confessions fill each page and encourage the reader to allow God into the dark, shameful places that are easily kept hidden. With each word read, hearts will desire God’s healing power to take destructive habits and hurtful responses in exchange for whole hearts and restored marriages.

I walk my own rocky recovery road and identify with much of their story, even though I don’t share the same knowledge of porn. I share the struggle of recovery and I am a friend of their Redeemer.

The road to any type of recovery is hard, mostly uphill and laden with hindrances. True freedom takes time. Receiving grace comes through disappointment, failure and acceptance. The journey can be painfully long.

And often the only redemption is found in helping those still wounded. The ones not quite as far into their own recovery. Share in the Ferguson’s recovery, read their story. I believe that with the words to express our darkest secrets, come the power to heal our deepest aches. Intimate stories have super powers. The story of Craig and Jen Ferguson, Pure Eyes, Clean Heart is proof of this.

Click here to order your own copy of Pure Eyes, Clean Heart.

Sacred Spaces from Empty Places

Have you ever experienced an emotional hangover? Adrenaline charged situations leave me feeling this way. I’m drained of energy, unable to connect and tired to my bones. I come away with a pounding headache, seeking sleep and feeling angry.

Emotionally full situations are sometimes good, sometimes bad. Placing my house on the market with all the painting, repairs, contractors and staging is exciting—emotional hangover. Conflict between my child and her peers or their parents gets my adrenaline up and leaves me heartbroken—emotional hangover. A family reunion pulls old memories to the surface mixing with lack of sleep from all the catching up and zaps me in a good way—emotional hangover. Preparation and practice for a child’s audition leaves me proud but oh, so tired, no matter the outcome—emotional hangover. Even a weekend of ministry where God shows up, uses me in amazing ways and does miraculous changing in the hearts of others leaves me coming home unsocial—emotional hangover. A friendship that changes resulting from hurt feelings and heated words—emotional hangover.

I’ve asked God, begged God really, to give me a cure. You know, take two Advil with a full glass of water and eat some dark chocolate—wake up feeling like a million bucks! Or rather, praise service in the car driving home with prayer time of gratitude for all my blessings. But, I think God made our human bodies—or at least mine— to respond to stress, all of it, this way. The good stress and the bad stress. It’s why I need a nap after Christmas dinner and don’t go out to take advantage of the after Christmas sales. It’s why I throw myself into the laundry and unpacking after a long trip. And it’s why I tend to turn off my phone the day after a big party.

I need to unwind. I crave it. I love the sacred space where I can go to recharge.

It hasn’t always been this way.

Growing up, I never wanted to miss anything. Not one party. Not one game. Not one phone call. Not one dinner. Not one conversation. In college, I served on every committee. Student Government. Class Council. Christian sorority. Bible study. I went to every football game. I stayed out late to enjoy yell practice. And by finals, I was usually ready to have a nervous breakdown. The last final always reduced me to tears and I never quite understood why.

Until recently.

Now I know. I was made for sacred space. This sacred space. It’s a space that fits my life. A space that cradles my heart. A space safe enough to keep my emotional reactions and responses to the hurt, the joy and the rhythm of a fast-paced life protected.

As I look back over my life, I see spaces. Chunks of time where God gave me the gift of space. Maybe because I refused to carve it out myself. Maybe because He always has and always will provide for my every need.

 The time I had mono as a teen. The time I didn’t make the squad and all my friends were at practice. The time the girl who hosted all the parties didn’t like me. The time I moved to a new place with no friends. The time my roommate got sick and moved home. The time I had so many babies loading the car was a job so hard, I rarely did it. The time I showed up to volunteer with my friends and was asked to work in a room alone. There are others.

 Sacred Spaces from Empty Places Lisa SmithAs I set aside the feelings of exclusion, rejection, judgement, mistreatment, unfairness, disappointment and resentment. I suddenly have the eyes to see that nobody, not one single person, leaves me out or deserts me without the approval of an Almighty God who loves me, accepts me, chooses me and uses me. I see the sacred in God’s no. Maybe He’s protecting me, maybe He’s providing for my character development, maybe He’s saying no to me in order to protect or provide for someone else’s heart.

Sometimes in the space, I’m tempted. Inspired even, to fill the void with my own created thing: a party, a ministry or an event. But as time passes, I am learning. 

And sometimes yielding means sitting. In a lonely space.

After the party is over.

Or sometimes while the party continues.

Yet, I no longer dwell on the parties; I now seek out The Presence. The transforming presence of the God I love that fills my empty making it sacred.

 As I embrace each lonely place, God invades the empty space, eclipsing my empty with His sacred.

Friends, will you search for the sacred in your own space? Will you lay down whatever it is that prohibits you from embracing this space as sacred? Will you meet Him there to recharge, reconnect, rediscover the love an Almighty God has for you?

What does your sacred space look like this week?

I Want God: A Giveaway


10432958_10152666133178279_5419517021700570960_n

You can find me talking about that crazy down the mountain climb we do in September. We spend summer at camp, on vacation, in fellowship–then school starts. Life is hectic. We are tired.

The Law of Gravity states: What goes up must come down.

That means me. You. Down off our spiritual high from hearing God on the mountaintop.

I’m here. Real life. Hard stuff. Like homework and wake up alarms and football practices. Crockpot meals not always together and staggering bedtimes depending on who needs homework help and clean pants for tomorrow. I love it. But sometimes I forget.

When the laundry won’t stop and the crockpot food gets soggy, I have a tendency to coast on autopilot. But that’s not what I want.

I want to live a life used up. I want to seek God, get filled, pour out so I lay my head on my pillow used up each night. 

At least that’s what I say I want. I say, “I want God.”

But do I really?

I like comfortable. I like easy. To be honest, I like sleep. Lots. Love it. It’s probably my main hobby. Sad, right?

That’s why I need the challenge of Lisa Whittle’s new book, I Want God. She challenges me with stuff like this:

To have Him, we must want Him–more than the friends, the wealth, the applause, the acceptance, the comfort. There can be nothing–even our own life– that we want more. We can’t want our life and want God at the same time.

and this:

We will keep living life while we are giving God 7 days. The clock won’t stop for this. We will still do laundry and bathe babies and go to work and make dinner. That’s why it is called a challenge.

and this:

The only way to get better is to focus on God harder.

Maybe you’re like me and feel the crashing of the summer high coming. Maybe you’re like me and have already crashed! If so, you need the book. You need the free challenge because it starts like this:

There’s a reason why youth camp and grown up weekend retreats are so amazing, and it’s not because of the food or even the friends we gather with there. 

It’s not because of the mountains or beaches or other serene locales in which they take place.

It’s because there we find concentrated effort: concentrated time with God, concentrated space to read His Word, soak it in, and pray. And in that space, God is near.

But as we sit, today, most of us can’t take a pause from our life…

Lisa is offering a free Give God 7 Days Challenge. Click here to see what it’s all about.

And for those of you ready to back up the claim, “I want God!” I’m giving away one copy of Lisa’s book. Leave a comment stating where you are on the journey for more of God. Comments must be on the WearItOut Blog. Facebook comments are appreciated but will not count toward the drawing. (I want more time chasing God, not gathering comments. *smiles) Winner announced Monday September 22.

 

I was given one copy of I Want God by Lisa Whittle from the publisher for book review purposes. I am giving away a copy because I believe in this message.

It’s not because of the mountains or beaches or other serene locales in which they take place.

It’s because there we find concentrated effort: concentrated time with God, concentrated space to read His Word, soak it in, and pray. And in that space, God is near.

Stories from Camp: Day 5

Off the Best Path

group photo

I will instruct you and guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch your progress. Psalm 32:8

Have you ever done the Charlie Brown walk?

You know the one where he is running a race and winning. I loved the Charlie Brown specials growing up. This one, You’re the Greatest, Charlie Brown!, always left me a little undone. Raw in places. I mean, he was so close. As Charlie Brown runs I feel cheers welling up in my heart for him. “Go, Charlie Brown! You are doing great!  Don’t stop! You can win!”

And just as quickly as excitement bubbles, Charlie Brown keeps running. Past the directional signs. Past the other runners. Right off the path. Caught up in the feeling of winning, Charlie Brown veers off the race course. He closes his eyes, envisions his win, performs his best and  opens his eyes expecting the prize, only to realize he’s just lost.

Off the path.

Without anything to show for his speed.

That recently happened to me. I opened my eyes, looked around and realized I had been so caught up in what I considered winning I was no longer on the right path. I was off the course. I held no evidence of success.

From age 6, I went to summer camp each summer. I loved it. I wish I could’ve stayed at camp all summer. I met God there.

And I met Him there again as a teen.

And I met Him there as a counselor.

I consider summer camp a right of passage of sorts. How can you grow up without attending summer camp? And how can your relationship with Christ become personal without the quiet place away from the chaos of home where He speaks?

When I felt God’s nudge to work in fulltime ministry as a college student, I had no idea what that meant. I just knew I wanted to wake up every day serving him. I just knew I would gladly waste my life on Him. I didn’t care what the salary was or what the job included. I just wanted Jesus.

Then I went on a camping trip in Durango, Colorado. It was a roughing it trip. With only a backpack, a tent, a campfire and God. I was the girl in charge. There were three men, 30 teens and me.

I knew what to expect: cold nights, bad food, no showers and an au natural toilet. It was worth it. God would meet me there. He would speak in the stillness. And paint the skies with His beauty. It would be good.

But it wasn’t. It was worse. Much worse.

Our tents and food got lost. Or rather, we got lost apart from our tents and food. There was only a campfire, a group of lost people and a really heavy backpack.

Then the altitude sickness set in. I was sick. For days. Deathly sick. Every step I took. Sickness.

One of our girls needed help bathing each day due to a special condition. I was the leader. Even in debilitating sickness I had to help her.

This was ministry.

This was camp.

Through the blur of the trip—We were lost for only four days but it felt like an eternity—I wanted out. Out of the wilderness. Out of the sickness. Out of the bathing streams. Out of camp. Out of the ministry.

At the end of the third day, still unbearably sick, I begged God to let me die.

But deep, deep down in the place He speaks, I knew I would live to tell about it.

And I did.

I told of the way God multiplied our trail mix, provided water in the wilderness and protection from wild animals at night.  I wept as I spoke of how He sustained me in overwhelming physical weakness. I testified to the majesty of His presence in a waterfall where we stopped to worship Him in song. I sung God’s praises while telling people that after a short worship service on a mountaintop cliff overlooking a majestic waterfall, all 30 teens in our grungy, hungry, sick and lost group had put their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior.

It was all incredibly powerful. Incredibly moving. Incredibly life-altaring. Incredibly incredible.

But at the end of the week, I swore I’d never go back to summer camp.

And I didn’t.

Until this summer.

And when I was there, I remembered.

I remembered the stirrings of my soul at summer camps past. I remembered the nudges from so many years ago. I opened my eyes and as I looked back I realized I had been on the wrong path. But unlike Charlie Brown, when I opened my eyes to look around, I found myself mercifully on the right path where I decided to take a lesson from his race failure:

When getting off the best path causes a loss, admit defeat, congratulate the winners and gather the confidence to keep running. [CLICK HERE TO TWEET THAT.]

How to Reap The Gardener’s Harvest

Displaying Image-1.png What a huge harvest!” Jesus said to his disciples. Matthew 9:37a

Teacher’s pet in the back row waving my arm in the air to get noticed, bouncing in my seat to the tune of “me, me, me!” is my self-described place in God’s court. Longing to do great things because He has done great things in me has been a part of my DNA for as long as I can remember. And it seems until now the greatest thing He has picked me to do is surrender my desire to do something great for Him. And I have. I do. I will again over and over. Because I know He doesn’t need me to establish this great Kingdom; but I delight in Him using me just the same. My joy is His allowing me to work beside Him just as my Papa did in his garden.

Papa chose the seed, planted it, watered it, pruned it, fed it and watched it grow anticipating its maturity, knowing the exact time for perfect picking. And if I happened to be with him on that day, he always let me pluck it… To read the rest gather with me today at the SoliDeoGloria Community  or cut and paste this link into your browser http://wp.me/p4ETcL-9E

Stories from Camp: Day 4

“He satisfied their hunger with manna [bread] from heaven.” Psalm 105:40b

Displaying photo.JPG

I bet those Israelites were tired of manna. The Bible even tells us how they complained about always eating the same tasteless thing day after day even though it was straight from the hand of God.

Just like the Israelites, sometimes accepting provision straight from God’s hand is difficult. Because it just doesn’t taste like we would like.

I have always believed manna was a perfect food containing every single vitamin, nutrient and mineral the Israelites needed for a long day roaming the desert. Even tired of the taste and craving something more, that heaven bread met their every nutritional need, protected them from illness and sustained them for an entire day. And that’s miraculous provision. Because the desert.

Displaying photo.JPG

When we woke up on Day 4, I knew it would have to be done. It hurt my heart to do it.

The manna bread from heaven appeared as a counselor who was ready to get home. A volunteer who knew she was needed back at home.

The camper who had cried and lain awake all night coughing would have to be sent home. The counselor had volunteered to do it before she needed it. There were other campers who didn’t need to go home but who would benefit from the grace of it all.

Even through her tears, I explained that if she was my child, I would send her home because her lungs needed an x-ray. She had accepted Jesus’ free gift of salvation the day before thus taking care of her soul. And today she needed to accept a ride home to take care of her body. Both are important to God.

Sometimes manna bread from heaven is force fed by a Counselor who knows each need even when courage to ask and humility to receive are absent.

Sometimes manna bread from heaven appears to satisfy an unknown hunger. As the manna bread appears and the need is recognized, freedom to receive gifted provision with gratitude manifests.

Simply stated: He provides. We accept.

No need is voiced and no warning is given. It’s just there. Because we know manna is for today only, we accept it, ingest it. We eat although we already feel full. And suddenly, an unexpected warmth appears. We experience fullness in a place we didn’t know was empty.

I’d been living with a pain I had no idea was a hunger pain.

I thought I was just tired. Praying God would give my body the extra push it needed to get through it all was what I had been asking Him for. This aching tiredness was the need I carried. The desire to be healthy in body and soul was the one I brought to God. The provision He gave, the manna bread, was gobbled by my soul. But His provision also left my body satisfied.

Displaying photo.JPG

Night 4 we had a talent show. My baby boy, struggling to be grown, snuggled in my lap holding my cheek in his grubby camp hand. He whispered in my ear things buried deep in his heart. I let giant tears slip silent into my lap. He whispers, “I felt God in me, Mom. He got big. I just want to behave.”

As humble gratitude welled up in my heart, I realized I didn’t need a break at all. I needed a miracle.

Sometimes I long for a break when I should believe for a miracle. [Click HERE to tweet that.]

He provided manna [bread] from heaven.

I ate.

And was satisfied.

 

What miracle can I pray believing with you today?

Stories from Camp: Day 3

Displaying photo.JPG

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10

Remember the canoe competition story?

That was just the beginning.

I found myself laughing hysterically [at myself] from the time I got to camp. I literally felt as if I was having an outside of my body experience. I could not control the laughter. I was 10-years-old sitting in church again. I.just.couldn’t.stop.

Eruptions of giggles tumbled from me during every rule delivery, instruction speech and directions lecture. It wasn’t that everything was so funny. It was part the thrill of being at camp—a camp that so resembled the camps of my childhood. It was part rules, rules, rules and feeling like I was a camper instead of an adult counselor. It was part being T. I. R. E. D. And part not taking my ADHD meds because I’ve listened to so many people tell me ADHD isn’t real and doctors overmedicate for that and you were fine before the meds.

And it was also Jesus.

You see, when I started freaking out on the canoe, I stopped and asked, “God, what’s going on with me? Why am I laughing like this?”

He answered, “A merry heart does good, like medicine,
But a broken spirit dries the bones.” [Proverbs 17:22]

“Daughter, you were heartbroken by the church. Maybe they didn’t mean to hurt you, but they did. They used My Name to make rules—suffocating, life-sucking, failure-inducing, depression-causing rules. This week I’m healing you. Accept this crazy God-medicine necessary to receive a healing as deep as your belly laughs.”

And so I did.

I laughed.

We laughed.

They laughed… along with me.

We laughed until we cried.

I did.

The counselors did.

The girls did.

Displaying photo.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, one of my girlfriends did pull me aside and ask, “Are you taking your meds?”

And that was pure grace—in pill form; because, I now know what I need.

My heart feels healthy again in places I didn’t know were sick.

I feel life in parts of the church I had left for dead.

Laughter does the heart good.

It heals.

It promotes life.

Life more abundantly.

Displaying photo.PNG

What surprising place have you found abundant life lately?

 

Linking to Jen and SDG Sisterhood

Stories from Camp: Salvation Stories

We started today with time on the shooting range, where I finally found my calling:

Displaying photo.JPG

Training future angels.

Displaying photo.JPG

There’s just something about holding a gun that gives a city girl some power!

Displaying photo.JPG

Displaying photo.JPG

These kids had a blast aiming bows at targets, throwing rocks at cans, speeding down ziplines and riding around arenas.

Displaying photo.JPGDisplaying photo.JPGDisplaying photo.JPGDisplaying photo.JPGDisplaying photo.JPGDisplaying photo.JPGDisplaying photo.JPGDisplaying photo.JPG

Displaying photo.JPG

 

It was hot. It was dusty. It was the authentic stuff of my own summer camp memories.

Displaying photo.JPGDisplaying photo.JPG

Displaying IMG_0685.jpg

Roxie exercised her spiritual gift of organizing and cleaning. What had been dirty, muddy, wet and piled in the bottom of the shower was rinsed, wrung and hung. What was dirty, cluttered and ant infested wet paper towels was Lysol wiped and organized. What smelled like a cross between wet tennis shoes and an outhouse was freshened, sterilized and roxified. What a gift.

Displaying photo.JPG

 

And a precious reminder of the joy experienced when a dirty soul finds grace and gets all Jesusfied.

Displaying photo.JPG

God’s Word tells us when one sinner repents and receives Calvary’s grace gift from a perfect Savior willing to suffer a bloody death on a cross, all the angels in heaven rejoice and the new Christian’s name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Sinners like me. Sinners like you. Sinners like these precious kids.

Displaying photo.JPG

If campers receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior at camp, they get to write their name on a wall in permanent ink and then ring the chapel bell interrupting everyone at camp no matter their activity. Because when the bell rings, everyone breaks into silly applause and reckless celebration to celebrate with all of heaven’s angels.

Displaying photo.JPG

What delight we have found in establishing eternal security with two campers who have prayed the sinner’s prayer before and keep praying it over and over every night just to be sure. They now know July 16 is the day they settled their destiny in Jesus Christ. They know that they know that they know once their lives on earth have ended, they will spend eternity with God in heaven.

Displaying photo.JPG

We signed the wall. We rang the bell. We cried. We laughed. We hugged. We hooted and hollered and cried some more.

 

You can imagine if your friends are ringing the bell and signing the wall, how badly you want to. Well, I was telling the other children this is their friends’ day to celebrate with them. And then I asked them to share their own conversion experiences.

 

I met praying grandmas, moms and aunts and then visited past Vacation Bible Schools. As we were leaving the bell, my newest friend tugged on my shirt and asked, “Miss Lisa, is it my turn to ring the bell?”

 

At which point I may or may not have been a little exasperated at answering the same question 6 times. Read: No sleep since Monday, and I may or may not have snapped a little, “When did you ask Jesus in your heart?”

 

Sweet angel meekly responded, “When I walked back to the cabin to get a drink of water this afternoon.”

 

Ohmytears

 

Precious child heard God’s knock on her heart, invited Him in by herself at summer camp when she was 8-years-old walking to the cabin for water. Just like Noah, I told her, Noah heard God’s voice and obeyed and God blessed Noah.

 

By faith, Noah built a ship in the middle of dry land. He was warned about something he couldn’t see, and acted on what he was told. The result? Noah became intimate with God. Hebrews 11:7 The Message

 

God talks to people who listen.

 

And when this little girl listened

 

All the angels in heaven rejoiced.

Stories from Camp: Day 2

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. James 1:27

Displaying photo.JPG

That was our chapel lesson last night and this morning we were blessed to receive a call from Mrs. Roxie’s mom. Roxie’s daddy went to be with Jesus last week. As soon as we woke up this morning, we got to recite our verse via cell phone to a widow. By allowing us to care for a widow in her distress, God cared for us today.

Our girls know they are remembered and noticed by Our God.

It rained most of our day. And what do you do when it rains on your bunk at camp?

Displaying photo.JPG

You open your mouth, of course.

Rainfall kept us from the archery range but not from the canoes. We played a super fun game fetching tennis balls in canoes and kayaks and I may or may not be a tad competitive. Bordering on manic hyper competitive on steroids. Thank goodness I’m not a #PageantMom Think #Dodgball

Displaying photo.JPG

I should’ve remembered that in the short time I’ve known this camper, she’s had 3 casts, a nasty and bizarre glue gun burn and more experience on crutches than an amputee. Then I wouldn’t have been so shocked when I made my first ever ER run with a child. Sweet girl fell off an obstacle course balance beam. For the record, I tried it. I couldn’t complete it. I got an honorable mention. The #Dodgeball coach in me should’ve faked a fall. She got 48 more points than I did for the task. “Way to take one for the team, Jordan. All us girls are on the same team anyway! Woohoo!!”

We were saddened to miss most of chapel tonight due to the drive back to civilization where the nearest hospital is located.

Because this:

Displaying IMG_1364.jpg

In case you’re worried I might sacrifice your kid next. Because #GottaWinAtAllCosts you should know Miss Stitches said this:

“Aside from my leg getting hurt and all, this was the best day ever.”

Displaying photo 3.JPG

As she was rushed to chapel on four wheeler by camp staff.

 

And although she’s a far cry from an orphan, she was a scared and injured child over three hours away from home and her mama. They should totally give me extra points for that, right?

 

Displaying photo.JPG