Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bittersweet Endings

I apologize that it has taken me nearly a week to write about my experiences during Asthma week and my take on the whole summer. I think that the reason is that I just can't deal with the emotions of it being over...what am I to say?

To explain Asthma week....hmmmm....AMAZING!!!! I had six 9, 10, 11, and 12 year old boys. They were SO much fun! I fell in love with their smiles, their laughs, their funny habits, and the way they snored. : ) I ended up having to help another boy's cabin one morning and I made new friends there too. The youngest girl's cabin had at least three girls that latched on to me. By the end of the week I had friends all over camp. I loved getting to know all of them even though it made my "good-bye" harder. Everything last week was just that...the last...it was hard to put that out of my mind as we went to different activities. I was able to push it out of my mind and just focus on giving the "last" kids the week of their lives! I enjoyed the "last" of 2010 so much and now I can't wait for the "first" of 2011.
This summer was not all fun and games...I learned so much stuff that I could have lived without. It got rough sometimes...almost to the point of me just turning and running away. But if my God is with me then whom shall I fear? Has He not commanded me to be strong and courageous? Can I not do all things through Christ who strengthens me? God pulled me through this summer and now I know how to prepare myself for the next. He is with me and He will be. He intends on me being there and so there I will be. Even when it gets so dark that I feel like running, the thought of waking up and serving the kiddos makes it worth it. Plus...Christ is my light and He can shine through the darkness like no other. Right?
Saying good-bye last Friday was VERY hard. I had to say farewell to crying campers and then to weeping counselors. Not only were the tears that of sorrow, but I also cried because this summer has been the greatest I've ever had. God taught me so much about myself, about the world, and about His love. Serving my Diabetes, Cardiac, Arthritis, Kidney, Oncology, Bleeding Disorders, and Asthma kids changed my life. I will NEVER be the same. As Uncle Kracker says in his song "Smile" :
"Don't know how I lived without you, because everytime that I get around you, I see the best of me inside your eyes."
We played that song on our end-of-the-week slideshows...that verse got me everytime. I do see the best of myself in these kids. In Christ.
My journey of Summer 2010 started June 6th during training week and it ended August 13th during Asthma week. I can't imagine my summer, my life without the four camps I worked. Throughout the year I will look back on a week and have a new joy for the day, because of some sweet memory. Those memories will forever be mine and I praise God that He gave me each and every one of them. He led me throughout this entire journey...holding my hand. You can't even imagine my appreciation to God for this amazing summer. I can only pray that I will hold on to all that it taught me and emerge a brand new person.
Thank you so much for all of your support and prayer! You all helped me get through this too...just by reading my blog helps...haha. One thing you can be praying for now is my transition back to "normal" life. I have been wrapped up in "Camp" so long that I need to become "normal" again. : )

I have made a slideshow of pictures from this summer. If you would like a copy just send me an email and I'll see what I can do!

Thanks again to all of you! I love you all!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Love is Patient

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."                                                                                       
                                                                                   1 Corinthians 13:4-7

These beautiful words from the "Love Chapter" got me through Oncology and Bleeding Disorders Week. I went into it expecting it to be hard on my emotions. Granted it was at times, but I had a great friend help me see that these kids are just the same as any other at Camp. They are just as special and just as beautiful. I should not have been so easy to....eh judge...about these campers. I was feeling sorry for them. Why? I have no idea. My friend knocked some sense into me and helped me see the truth. I'm glad she did too, because my week went so much better because of it. Thanks girl! : )
It was hard to hear about past campers who would not be returning or about those who were not doing well. Gloriously, all of my girls were in remission!!! Something I truly praise God for.
The week wasn't rough emotionally, but it was rough when it came to my job. Monday one of our girls went home because she was running a fever...we were very sad to see her go and what made it difficult was seeing her sister take it hard. We lost our leading counselor Tuesday morning because of sickness, then Wednesday night we lost another counselor who had to go to a wedding. So, that left me and another counselor to 4 girls...but then our camper that had left came back....so 5 girls. The other counselor I was with led an activity in the mornings so I was all alone Thursday! It wasn't too bad though...it truly tested my "counselor ability" haha. Luckily we had 4 volunteers who were absolutely amazing! Thanks girls!!! The week ended up being so fun and I'll never forget some of the precious memories.
Back to my above verse. I found myself remembering the words to these verses during certain situations while I was working. If a girl was grating on my nerves(never) I would remember that "Love is patient." If I felt like showing off that I was the only counselor I would remember "Love does not boast." If a camper would not listen to me I would remember "Love is not easily angered." 
I would pray these verses at night asking God to let me be patient with my girls, let me be kind no matter what. I did not want to envy the love campers had for other workers, I did not want to boast about my abilities, and I did not want to be prideful of anything(If I was wrong, I was wrong). I did not want to be rude to any camper/counselor/volunteer, I did not want my job to be something I used for personal gain, I did not want to get angry with a camper because they did something against me, I did not want to hold a past wrong against a camper/counselor/volunteer. I wanted to stray from the evil around me and find solace with my Lord. I needed to protect my campers, trust in God to get me and them through, hope in the Lord for their lives, and persevere through the hard week.
Trying my best to live out these verses day to day has made me such a better person and counselor. God threw this upon me and I'm so glad He did. I needed a wake up call to why I am really at Camp. It is to love. To love with all I have and to serve with all I have.
I can't wait to LOVE my kids this next week. Please pray that I will LOVE them the way Paul told the Corinthians to love. Like that of Christ.