Monday, November 06, 2006
I was 14.
Summer church camp in the Ochoco Mountains in Oregon. Gorgeous country. Like you care when you are 14, you know? The main reason I went to summer camp was to have fun and find boys. Do you remember when you were that age?
Lots of things I remember about summer camp. Standing in line forever to eat. Church 3 times a day. Yep! 3 times. Not kidding. Outdoor toilets that looked like they were about 200 feet deep...especially at 4 am in the dark. Worrying about snakes. Wooden cabins.
It's probably T.M.I, but one year a fly laid eggs in my nostril while I slept. NO, the didn't hatch, but it was fun cleaning them out in the morning.
I remember fun times in the "Girls" cabin. Chocolate parties about Wednesday when someone made a "run" into town. We'd order chocolate donuts, M&M and all other manner of PMS-soothing goodies...then pile them in a lower middle bunk and PIG OUT. Which necessitated the 4am trips to the 200-foot-deep outhouse.
One time we were running and jumping on the bunks playing tag...must have been squealing too loudly because here comes a pastor's wife. EVERYBODY HIDE! One poor girl stood in an open area right behind where the door would open up when the cranky pastor's wife came charging through it; knocked said girl back into a closet where someone had stashed their knitting project.
She came out with two knitting needles protruding from her behind. They laid her across the backseat of someone's van and trundled her in to the ER. Man, I bet that hurt!
ANYWAY, I digress.
Even when one's main purpose at camp is to have fun and chase boys, God has a way of getting through. He knew my pain...and He knew how to heal it. He knew that, even at 14, I was painfully aware of a hole in my soul. There was an emptiness inside me that I had been trying to fill; with food, boys, chasing popularity, rebellion. What I didn't realize until that week...was the specific SHAPE of that hole.
It occurred to me one morning. I didn't want to go to services. Didn't want to face that again; the feeling that I was just NOT "getting it". So I stayed in my sleeping bag. Covered up my head. "I'm sick. Go ahead without me".
My friends went and told the house counselor, who told my parents, who told the pastor's wife. And they ALL knew what was going on; even if I did not yet realize it. The Spirit was calling me; Jesus was drawing me unto Himself. And I was fighting it. They told me later that they had gathered together to pray.
The tears came. With that hot, stuffy, sleeping bag pulled up over my head.
White flag up the flagpole. I give up!
"Let's do this, Father. Come fill that space in my heart that only You can fill. Satisfy my soul in the way only YOU can. Be with me and take over from this day forward, because I LONG for Your peace. "
The sobbing subsides. How quiet it is! I sit up and think "WOW! This is it! I can feel Him! He is HERE!"
Can't just SIT Here!! Gotta get up! Go tell somebody...ANYbody! WeeeeHaw!
Bust out the door and Whammo! into the arms of a group of people who had been interceding for me...For ME...before the throne of Grace.
Lotsa joy! and laughing! and Love!
Now, don't get me wrong. There are times when I have wished that that "still small voice" filling that God Shaped Hole would STOP whispering at me. It hasn't always been a piece of cake learning to live as Christ would have me live.
I'm FORTY...and STILL learning. I learn something new all the time. It's like getting to know a friend. Just when you think you got them ALL figured out, you find yourself saying, "Holy COW! I never knew THAT about you!"
But I know that I love Him. And I am SO grateful He took me as His child. I can be pretty bratty and VERY rebellious. But He loves me up anyway. The moments of peace, the joy-splashes, the blessings He has poured out on me...How does one live without that support and the reassuring knowledge that Christ is RIGHT There; just Right THERE when you need Him.
And I am SO Looking forward to touching His face and hugging His neck someday.
Words cannot express...
SO I think I'll quit trying.