Sunday, July 21, 2013

I'm Back From Camp!

Hello all!!! I have returned once again! After a whole week up at Camp...well...I miss Camp. I made a lot of new friends this year that I'm going to keep in touch with over the year and I really miss them. And I miss just being up at camp. Its a really special place where you can really just feel God's presence and I miss that feeling. Also, a lot of my friends are still up there and will continue to be up there a few more weeks. So that makes me sad. But believe it or not I am actually a very happy kid!

   The theme was the Wizard Of Oz and I was on the Munchkin team! Yeah! We ended up getting a close second place. Alright, how do I explain all that happened and not make it freakishly long? We'll find out. So many people impacted me this week and I want to share a lot of those stories with you. Let's see, well Wednesday I sprained my ankle playing flicker ball. I had to get X-Rays and I had to be on crutches. That was fun. That day was surprisingly one of my favorite days. During worship that night, I was in so much pain that I literally couldn't stand; so I kneeled. It was so very humbling. It reminded me of that quote that says "When life brings you to your knees, you're in the perfect position to pray." I loved that. Because the weight was too much for my small ankle, so I knelt there and I was ok; kneeling was the best position for me. Then, after worship I wanted to walk back to my cabin and be all independent and stuff, but when I tried to get up, I couldn't. Luckily my friend, Megan, was right there to catch me. My friend, Maddi, was also on my other side supporting me. They were basically carrying me. The walk was so slow and I literally sobbed the entire time. I could hardly thank them for being with me and stopping every ten seconds when I needed a breath. They encouraged me and told me how much they loved me the whole way. Part of the reason I cried so hard was because I was so overwhelmed by how much they cared for me and what they were doing for me. Sure, for them it was just a walk, but to me it was so much more. I was utterly helpless. I wanted to do it on my own so bad but I was physically unable. I was upset with my inability to help myself and I had to let go of my pride and allow someone to help me. That was hard; but again, humbling.

   Once we got to the messhall where we had decided we would break to get water, a bunch of the workers happened to be there and they saw me crying on the bench. Megan explained what had happened to my ankle and one of the guys simply said "So, I'm going to pray for you now." and got on his knees by my ankle and Megan gathered the others and they prayed. You can probably imagine how hard I was crying. But then one of the girl workers from my cabin, Amanda, gave me a hug and all I remember her saying was "I just met you and I already love you to pieces." Honestly, I have no idea what she said after that because I was so emotional and tired but that meant the world to me and that girl alone made my week.

   So that was a pretty emotional night for me. We did a lot of fun stuff throughout the week that I really enjoyed. On Friday night was banquet, which is a fancy meal they have where you (usually) pick a shoe out of a whole row and whoever shoe you pick will be your date. Except for this year. This time the guy picked the girls shoe. So I got to sit with this guy who I had never talked to before and yes I was a bit awkward but it was fun. I was with some friends too so that made it better. Being the geek that I am, I wore my Her Universe Star Wars dress. I got a ton of weird looks from all the girls up there but some of the guys thought it was pretty cool. And I laughed at all the people who didn't like it. Because seriously, I didn't wear this dress to impress people. I don't know why you would think that. I wore that dress because I like Star Wars. Simple as that. If you don't like it, sorry. Anyways, it was a lot of fun. We also played ultimate frisbee and we did a giant water slide and also beach games. I miss camp a lot but I am glad to be home. Its super late and I still haven't caught up on sleep yet but I wanted to write that up. I'll share some more stuff soon. But here are some pictures. I actually didn't take a lot this year but I hope you like them! How was your week?

 Some of my cabin buddies.

My band got to play in the canteen one day!


 Amanda's baptism!

 And the last two are banquet pictures.

   So yeah. Amazing week, amazing people, and an even more amazing God<3 p="">

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Thought For The Week

In just 1 day, 14 hours, 22 minutes and 22 seconds....I will be heading off the Camp for the week! Ahhhhhhh!!!! I am beyond excited! Its a co-ed, all high school week. Last year was my first time going that week and it blew me away! I've literally never been this excited for camp! Last year was life changing for me. I still quote things that I learned last year and I still think about all that God taught me. The theme last year was No Fear and since fear has been a struggle of mine, you can probably guess how it impacted me. But not just in that aspect, but many more.

   I can't wait to see how God will speak to me this coming week and how He'll use me! My little sister, Dayle, is actually up at camp this week along with a few friends of mine. (A lot of which are workers up there. So they'll be up there all summer.) I really miss my sister. Not gonna lie. But I heard that she is doing really well! Today I got a letter from my friend, Maddi, who has been up there the past 2 weeks. I love getting letters! I jumped around my room when I got it. It was wonderful.

   Since I'll be at camp, you won't hear from me for a week so I am sorry for that. You'll probably get a mega long post when I come back so that will make up for the week. But I want to leave you guys something to ponder while I'm away at camp.

   I saw this picture on Tumblr, I think. It really hit me. Its my new wallpaper for my IPod. What's your first reaction? What do you think when you see this?

   I love this so much. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I finally understand that saying. This picture says so much more than I could ever write. What does it say to you? 

   Here is what I think. This is our job as believers and followers and Christ. We have all the pink and purple balloons that no one else has. Don't be a hog; share them! But there's one thing about this: you don't know if the little boy takes the balloon. But does it matter? No. Because our job isn't to make sure they grab it, our only job is to offer it. We are children of the Light, we need to act as such.

   We are called to love one another and to help one another. Period. No if, and, or buts. Its simple. Share your light. Keep that in mind this week.

   And I'm off! Keep me in your prayers this week as well as the other campers and leaders. I'll see you next week!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Being Single

This week I have really been thinking a lot about my relationship status.


   See, people say that word like its a disease. "Yeah, I'm single." What? When did that become a bad thing? Why are you any different than anyone else because you don't have a significant other in your life? The answer is: you're not. And if you do have a significant other, you're not better than anyone else.

   In the past week and a half, 3 of my friends have gotten boyfriends. This is weird to me because I'm a sheltered homeschooler with church friends and all that. So really, I'm not used to this concept. But I guess it makes sense; this day was bound to come eventually. I mean, I'm almost 17. (We're not going to talk about that...) I guess I've just felt kinda weird because I'm usually the third wheel with my friends. I don't like all of my friends being in relationships because all they do is talk about their boyfriend/girlfriend and the only way to contribute to the conversation is to talk about your own boyfriend. Which is non existent in my case. And of course once your friends are in relationships than you become lower on their priority list because Mr. Perfect fills up every other space.

   But believe it or not, I haven't come here to complain about how being single sucks. I actually came to do the opposite. You see, God has been teaching me about the lovely life that is the single life. Most people would think its anything but lovely, but Paul from the bible said that his personal preference was that, if you are able, to stay single. I've been doing so much praying over the past month-month and a half; I've been praying about where God wants me to go and how I should go about getting there, especially in terms of who I like and all that jazz. Naturally, He hasn't given me any straight up answers because He's God and that's how He rolls but He has been able to teach me some things about where I am here and now. I know this is a topic that could potentially reach out to a lot of people so I really hope this helps to give you some perspective. I wouldn't be writing this post if I didn't feel that someone needed to hear it.

   Before you ask God for a boyfriend, make sure you're ready for one. 
   You can't expect the perfect guy to come along until you make yourself the perfect girl. (And by perfect I don't mean perfect. I mean that you should strive to be the best girl you can be.) So instead of searching for Prince Charming, work on making yourself Cinderella first. (Guys, this analogy can be flipped for you too. Work on being Prince Charming.)

   Find your identity first.
   I can't stress how important I feel that this is. This is really what God has been telling me about, even in other terms. Like, this is huge. You see, you shouldn't be going off expecting to find someone who will love you endlessly when you can't even appreciate yourself. Sure, it happens, but if you just skip to finding someone else than that person becomes your crutch. You can't completely rely on someone else for your self esteem. I feel like this is a big problem that girls have. They find a guy who likes them and they tell them they're beautiful and they believe it because it comes from their "boyfriend." But they're sense of self worth comes from their significant other. No! Your identity is found in Christ! He is your firm foundation. He should be your rock that you stand on, not some human man. Because what happens if/when that man leaves you? Your worth is thrown away because you've convinced yourself that you're only valuable with that other person; and now you're worse off than you were before the relationship.

   What you need to understand is that you are beautiful and amazing and valuable as a single person. You don't need anyone else on this earth to make you feel important because your identity comes from Christ. God says He loves you (John 3:16) and He has paid the price of your sin for you! That means that you are no longer bound by this world and you can live for greater things. You are valuable. Before you begin searching for the right guy, make sure you know to Whom you belong.

   I really hope this has given you some sort of insight and maybe you needed to hear just what I had to say. I really hope it stirred something in you. It was just two simple points that could possibly change the way you live your life. I would also like to say that a few months ago I read I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris and really loved it and would definitely recommend it. One more thing before I go, use this time of being single very wisely. This is a time where you can focus on the most important relationship you'll ever have: your relationship with your Creator. Yes, you'll be able to continue to deepen that relationship with your spouse/future spouse/boyfriend, and I hope you do. God gives you those people so that you can grow in Him, but don't just say "I'll do it once I have a boyfriend." No. Please don't say that. The choice is all yours, choose wisely.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Missions Trip 2k13!


Hi! Boy, do I have a lot to say. For those of you who don't know, I just got back from a week long missions trip to Tennessee. It was AMAZING!!!!!! We worked with a non-profit called Habitat For Hope and what they do is provide housing and an escape for families who have children who are very ill. We cleaned up the brush along this pathway, (which was supposed to take us a week...we finished it in a day.) did a ton of gardening, and we went to the house of a family who lost their daughter to cancer and we built them a fence and planted flowers in their yard and cleaned up and things like that.

   That was the work we did. But on Wednesday we got a half day and then we all went touring around the city. We walked up Beale Street and saw the National Civil Rights Museum, and we also went to Graceland. (A.K.A, Elvis' house.) On Friday (or was it Thursday...?) we went to Habitats neighbors property and went swimming in their lake and went zip lining!!!! Zip lining is now my favorite thing about life. I did it like, 4 times. And I'm afraid of heights so I'm pretty proud of myself.

   The bible studies we did were about leaving a legacy and rising up to change the world. It was a very good lesson series. I learned a lot from this trip but really, I learned more from just working and interacting with people than I did from the lesson. Here are some things I learned.

   On the first day we had to clean up all the brush and trees and weeds from the path. (Our chainsaw broke a few hours in, so we had to do it all with a tiny hatchet.) Everyone wanted to take down the big trees, but only so many people could do that job. Naturally, all the people with the big jobs got the most praise. Me, being the prideful person I am, wanted to get recognized for doing hard work too. But I felt that God wanted me to pull the small weeds and take down smaller branches. I didn't get all the "Good job!" and "Nice, hard work Faith!" that I wanted, but I learned about playing the background and doing things simply because I was told to do them. God taught me even more the next day when I got to go to the store and then bake cookies for kids in the hospital because I was recognized as working super hard. So my friend, Megan, and I did that together. Patience. Its a good thing.

   I also learned a lot while zip lining. Yep. It was awesome. I love cool analogies like this and seeing God in weird things like that. Well lately God has been very silent. I'm going through a stage where He isn't speaking and simply asking me to trust Him. So when I went zip lining I had to climb up into this tree house and after getting harnessed and then clipped to the line I had to jump off. I couldn't simply walk off because I might hit my back on the tree house. Of course I freaked out (all four times, though it did get easier each time.) and there was this moment after I jumped where I thought "How can I be sure this thing will hold me?" I didn't know how fast I would go or how long it would take me to get there, but the guy who ran it said that the zip line would hold me. That's it. But after I jumped I felt myself fall for a long second and it was so scary. But as I flew down the line screaming, I realized how beautiful the lake was that I was going over and how awesome the wind felt against my body and how freeing it was. And God told me to have faith. He told me that in my life I needed to do the same thing I was doing then; jumping off the edge, not knowing what would happen after that.

   Each individual taught me something too. I made it my personal goal of the week to sit with people I wouldn't normally sit with and to talk to different people and to really step out of my comfort zone. I am very glad I did that because the few minutes of uncomfortableness was nothing compared to the friendships that were strengthened/made because of it. One thing I want to share with you that made me cry more than once was something that someone said. At the end of the week we all had to write every person in our group a care card, which is basically a short letter of encouragement. There was this girl named Kendall, who's the "new kid" of the group and her care card made me cry. She told me that after her first day of youth group she got home and saw that I had posted on her wall saying how happy I was to see her there and that post made her cry. She said that that was one of the reasons she came back to group and if I hadn't done it then she probably wouldn't be writing the card because she probably wouldn't have come back. Needless to say that I cried so hard. It made me realize that the things I do matter. That encouraged me so much. I remember writing that post on her wall and I just felt like I should do it. I didn't think much of it. But it made her cry. I didn't know I could impact someone that much.

   There were so many little things that made my day and I'll never forget them. I have grown so much closer to all the kids there and I pray that those friendships continue to grow. Now, here are just a few of the pictures we took on the trip. I might do another post in all pictures but not today. I took over 400 pictures on the trip. I also got to take a bunch of pictures of flowers and scenery so I'll post those later.