Wow! It’s been a while. I’ve been at camp, though, where I pour all of my thoughts and emotions into the teenage girls with whom I’ve been working. They’re a hoot by the way. So far, we’ve discussed faith, guys, spiritual gifts, testimonies, Esther, and quite a bit more that I can’t recollect right now. I’ve had some amazing discussions with them individually and as a group. Even though I haven’t personally been able to see anyone actually make the decision to accept Christ I know God is moving through the camp. I’ve heard about many decisions from the younger campers and I’ve seen God light up in my girls.
A particularly precious moment happened during week three. I had been talking with one particular girl quite a bit about her home life during that week and the previous life. She didn’t understand how God could allow her to live in this home where it’s not happy. There was divorce and unfair treatment. She felt like her mother did not care about her as much as she cared about other things or people. This teen girl asked me the hard questions, such as “why does God allow bad things to happen?” For her situation, I could not give an answer. My heart hurt for her. She wanted to follow Jesus and be her happy self, but she wasn’t seeing any encouragement to do that from the people that matter most- her family.
That week we were studying Esther during our cabin devotion time. It felt a bit cliche to study Esther with a group of girls but it was week three and I needed a topic that I didn’t require much planning on my part (I was also teaching campfires about Peter’s life this week). I knew that we could read Esther together and discuss without much early preparation on my part. It sounds horrible, but I needed something easy. Surprisingly (unsurprisingly?) God moved through that week’s devotions more than some other weeks. (Probably because I stepped back and stopped trying to plan every detail). The girls were attentive and eager to talk about Esther’s life and even found connections to their own life. It was on Tuesday when we reached chapter 4. The night before, this particular girl and I had stayed up fairly late talking about her life and how maybe God had placed her in this house to be his only light. She knew it would be hard but she wanted to God’s light to her family. As we were reading Esther chapter 4 I wrote the end of verse 14 down and handed it to her. “Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” She looked at it and went back to reading. Nothing big but I prayed God would use that verse to give her encouragement.
The week went on and we finally came to the last day, which meant saying good-bye to some of my girls for possibly forever. When it came time for this girl to leave, we hugged and she said again that she didn’t really want to leave but she knew she had to leave. Then she looked at me and quoted verse 14. It warmed my heart. I know I can’t expect to always see the results from when I try to encourage people, but when God does allow me to see I am thankful. I wasn’t sure that anything I had said would stick with this girl and give her encouragement, but she got this part at least. She believes that she is placed in this particular situation for a reason, for God’s reason. It was hard to let some of my girls go because I knew they were not going home to God-nurturing homes, but I can only pray that God sends more people in their path to disciple and encourage them in their walk.
Jesus is awesome!