I run as fast as I can across the slippery grass. My heart pounds as my stomach swirls with excitement. I hug the ball to my body. It too is slippery and wet. My vision is blurry. I dive towards the mud pit and scramble to get up and crawl. Tiny rocks dig into my knees. Water blasts into my face from every direction, so I can barely see. I shove the ball into the barrel and take off running.
Slipping and sliding on the muddy ground, I try to find the blue flag that signals where my team is. When I make it back I grab my glasses and stumble to the back of the line. A huge smile lifts my face as the water and mud stream down my cheeks. My knees burn and my heart is still racing, but I accomplished my part of the game. After catching my breath, I search for someone I can attack with a muddy hug.
This past week I went to my church's summer camp. It was my fifth year going to camp, but I had been there for other events with church countless times. It was an amazing experience. God did a lot in my life and the lives of all the kids who went. We had a fun time and cannot wait until next summer.
The main theme was Deeper. It was to encourage us to go deeper with God and give Him everything. The team names were based off of iPhone Apps. My team was Twitter! We got fourth place overall, beating the guys from my church who were on team Safari. It was a blast! And even though neither team won we created memories that will last forever.
We played countless games, sports and activities. The first day we chased bouncing balls, slid through mud, and fought over tires all the while being blasted by a fire house. One of the girls from my church got punched in the eye with a tire, and I got numerous bruises and scratches. We were all caked with mud and wet and probably smelled really bad, but it was worth it.We had sports like Polish kickball, High Five (mixture of football and basketball), Ultimate Frisbee, and Capture the Flag Dodgeball. The second day we used tires to transport out team from one side of the field to the other, and we army crawled through mud. My pants almost slipped off during the mud crawling, but thankfully they stayed where they belong. We played a puzzle game, Human Skee-ball, and chased tennis balls to try to throw into other teams' buckets. We did skits and cheers for points. The guys on my team "killed" Justin Bieber in every skit they performed to be funny.
On Thursday we had the Pony Express, a huge relay race using majority of your team. My team got 6th in it. I participated by skipping from the pool house to the tennis courts, while having to go down a slide at the playground. It was a blur of action and I was extremely thirsty. Then we had to wrap duct tape around our whole team and run across the sports field. This was the first year I walked with my team across the field. It was crazy, because we weren't even in last place.
I made new friends, grew closer to old friends and just shared an awesome experience. We played slap games while waiting for activities or meals to start. A few guys dressed as cheerleaders or wore crazy outfits like sparkly red shorts and suspenders. We decorated our rooms with lights and 3D chalk pictures or under water themes. We had numerous dance parties with music or not. We celebrated the campsite's 10th Anniversary with birthday cake. And we screamed and cheered so much that most of us began to lose our voices. Now we all squeak and squeal all day long. :)
Now it's quiet. Now I am facing God, and I can tell Him everything. I pour out my frustration with the future. How can I know what His plans are for my life? I let Him know that I don't always feel comfortable as who I am, but I want to. I hide my feelings and desires. Everything in me screams to let Him know my dreams. And He listens. Then, it is my turn to listen. He tells me everything will be right. He tells me I am beautiful. I do not need the approval of someone else, just His.
Tears spring into my eyes as my heart is uncovered. The music in the background is just a buzz of sound. I stand to my feet, lifting my arms to Him. He deserves all the praise. He is the only one I need. 'I give you my dreams, God. I give you my desires and my future. I give you my thoughts. Let me not be distracted or have negative feelings. Let me be made new.' A song plays.
Here in your presence, We are undone. I feel God touching my heart and soul. He is here, He is unfolding my secrets. Here in your presence, Heave and Earth become one. Now He is wrapping His arms around me. He is holding me and comforting me. Here in your presence, All things are new. He is taking away my doubt and worthless thoughts. He has healed me and made me feel like I can be someone. Here in your presence, every thing bows before you. Now my arms are straining to reach His face. I never want to leave this place. I never want these feelings of joy, worth, and love to fade.
Every night we had a service. We worshiped by singing, jumping, and even dancing. It was tiring and sweaty, but so much fun. Then our speaker, Cornell Jordan brought us a message. The first night was about getting rid of parasites in our lives. We handed over the things that kept us from truly experiencing God.
I would consider myself to be a worrier. For the most part, I like to know what's going to happen, maybe not the details but the basic outline. I'm at a place where I have no idea what to do with my future. I am going to be a senior this fall, and in a year I will be graduated. I have no career plans. That is my biggest parasite. I couldn't just trust that God was in control because I felt like nothing was happening. But I gave that to Him. He has my future in His hands and He will show me the way when the time is right. It was hard because I feel like there's no career I would be happy with. Either the market is bad or I would get bored with it. So I have been feeling very frustrated lately, but God calmed me and showed me everything will turn out. I am trying hard not to worry about it as much.
The second night we talked about how no one can sneak into Heaven. Cornell gave us four challenges: talk to God, trust God, turn to God, and turn from sin. These will prepare us to know that we can make it into Heaven. It went along with the parasites, because something is holding us back from completing these challenges. I had two major ones, self-worth and my future. I let God tell me how much I'm worth, and that just because I don't get all girly and dressy doesn't mean anything. Just because I like action movies, superheroes, and Star Wars doesn't mean anything. Sometimes I feel judged because I'm not a normal girl. I don't like dresses or makeup or long hair. But God still says I'm beautiful, I'm worth enough to die for. I let God tell me things and then I decided to believe them. I no longer wanted to doubt myself or His words, because His words are the Truth.
The third night we talked about the Holy Spirit and being filled with Him. I have spoken in tongues before. But this time it came automatically. Then I was able to pray for a friend who also got filled. In Acts 2:1-4, the Christians were filled on the day of Pentecost. This may seem crazy that it could happen today, but it can. It says it in the Bible so I believe it. Romans 8:11 says "And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you." This verse is saying that we have the same power Jesus does. And I was able to use this power to give God every fiber of my being.
The last night we talked about stepping out of our comfort zone. We cannot expect to change those around us if we do nothing. We have to take risks if we want to conquer the world. We also took the time to hear God's voice calling us to a specific plan for our lives. This was the night that I gave my future to God. I love to write. It would be my dream come true to write books. I told God that if I never got a single book published I would be content because I would be doing His work instead. I gave Him all my wishes and dreams. For the past year and half I have felt that I need to do something in Africa. I do not believe it is a long term thing, but I do know something is there for me to do.
As Cornell was talking about God's plans for us and trying to see what those plans are, I thought of Africa and I knew that was what God wanted. For now though, I am bringing the fire in my heart to worship God back to my church, my town, my friends and family. I want them to see a change in me. I do not want to be afraid to worship God with everything, because that is what God deserves, to be praised wholeheartedly.
Jeremiah 29:11 says "'For I know the plans I have for you.' declares the Lord. 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" God knows the future, so there is no one better than Him to trust with ours. He has created a plan for each of us, and if we trust Him and do as He says we will prosper. We can do great things with Him.