It’s my off night.
I’m sitting here with a full journal, full heart, sort of empty tank in terms of energy, but also a body full of caffeine. I’m about to go devour some Chinese food, but I couldn’t pass this night by without laying out what the past few weeks have looked like and showing you a glimpse of what God is doing in the world around me. I always seem to crawl back to this corner of the internet when I’ve had a lot on my plate, eaten it all, come back for seconds, and here we are.
The Lord is so near. We can start there. I know I’ve written before about the veil and how there are moments when God is kind in showing me how thin that veil between Heaven and earth can be. The past few weeks, I have been. touching. Heaven.
This is the thinnest the veil has ever been.
Hear me when I say that.This place is so special, and I’m understanding why people say this camp really is holy ground. The Lord’s work is so evident, but it’s also a place where I see wars being waged on girls’ lives. We get to see them realize that a victory has already been won for them, and that has been such a gift.While I get to hold little hands during roller skating or watch girls realize they are called God’s accomplishment (you are too, just so you know – Ephesians 2:10) or watch young women live out of the freedom God invites them into or watch girls accept their seats at table for the first time, I also see a battle being waged in my own life.
I have learned more about my relationship with the Holy Spirit in the past 5 weeks than I may have ever learned in my life, in all honesty. For a long time, I said my prayers to Jesus, knew about the Trinity, sometimes talked to my Heavenly Father, but never fully grasped what it meant to have the Holy Spirit living inside of each of us. Our senior worship speaker read a quote in one of our morning services that said: “When all hell breaks loose, we have Heaven living inside of us.” This came at a time when I was starting to understand what it meant to trust the Lord with everything in me, including my relationships, my failures, all of it.
I find myself sitting down in the mornings and finally deeply desiring to spend time intentionally in God’s presence, where I recognize that’s what I’m doing. I sat down this morning and wrote a list of all the things I want to trust Him with. I want to trust Him with my position at camp, with the lives of campers, with my job, with each and every relationship I have, with every failure, with every lie I let take up residence in my brain, with every step I take in every single day. I sat in a big red truck we named Clifford and talked to a dear friend about how we both can trust God with our lives, like our plans a year from now, but we can’t manage to trust Him with the next day or the next hour or the next minute. We worry and stress and have anxiety built up in us, but we have a Creator who has already written every single one of our days before we were ever born. Maybe you need that reminder today, and maybe I do too, but we have to live out of that. When our circumstances say no way, we get to fix our eyes on a God who makes His way in everything.
I prayed a lot at the beginning of the summer that God would teach me about intimacy and what His design is for that piece of our relationships. I wanted help and endurance to not cling to the people around me but to realize the gift that intimacy is. When I start to understand intimacy with God, I can recognize the beauty of intimacy in our earthly relationships. About this time, I started to realize the importance of the Holy Spirit living within us, and God showed me that that is the ultimate intimacy we need to receive and understand.
Here’s the thing with intimacy. I can make it up. Why do you think people devour romance novels or dream of waking up next to someone? We have a desire in all of our hearts to be fully known and deeply loved, but that desire, every ounce of it, is satisfied in our Creator, Maker, Redeemer, Healer, Satisfier of our souls, Father, Son, Holy Spirit. He is who we need Him to be because He is enough and He is everything.
For a long time I was forcing myself to say, “God, You are good,” even when I knew I didn’t believe it. I had one of the best conversations that, in His kindness, the Lord showed me was very much from Him, and He showed me that I kept asking Him over and over again, “God, are You good?” when I knew I had already made up my mind that the answer was no. However, He shifted my thoughts and instead moved the question to, “How are You good?” And that shift has made the biggest difference. He has been kind in showing me moments every day where I get to see His goodness. I can’t sit here and tell you that I believe He is completely good, but I can tell you the good is outweighing the bad today, in this moment. I have had to wake up every day, and say, “Jesus, I trust you. I don’t know if you’re good today, but I trust that you will show me.”
I have had to learn what grieving looks like in the past few weeks, which has been the most difficult part of camp. I was told that grieving is realizing that we have deviated from the original design that God had intended for the world, and that helped grieving click a little better. Grieving is weird. I would like to say that my plan is to make it to my bunk at 11 o’clock at night, in the dark, have a good cry, and go to bed, but it’s usually in the most inconvenient moments when I cry in the middle of our staff lodge or I find my heart in a not so gracious or compassionate spot or I feel like the entire weight of the world is on my shoulders or I hear a little girl laugh that reminds me of her laugh or I listen to “Let It Go” at one of our Nite Lifes and just start crying.
It looks different every day, but the most beautiful thing I’ve been in the process of doing is allowing myself to grieve. And maybe you’re in the same spot. And it sucks. But we have a hope that far outweighs the grief and the sorrow and the darkness in the world and the hard days. We get to cling to the One that says there will come a day when we will sit in His presence and there will be no more death and no more tears and no more pain and no more brokenness. We get to cling to the One who has planned that glorious day.
But for now, I get to wake up every single morning and love the people around me so fiercely and learn how to serve humbly and walk with Jesus in the hard and in the beautiful, and some moments that are both. He has gifted me with some of the most beautiful friendships I have ever seen because they have all been built on Him. I have learned what it looks like to pour my heart out to Him before anyone else. I have learned what it looks like to serve humbly like never before by the people the Lord has placed strategically around me. I get to wake up every day and say, “Holy Spirit, I trust You,” and this is the greatest place I have ever been standing.