August 5, 2008

Reflections on Summer Camp

“Ahhh!” I’m enjoying an extremely rare afternoon home alone. Just me, my cat and my dog. And because my family is happily elsewhere, I have no guilt I’m neglecting anyone.

On Sunday I dropped my daughter off at camp for the week. She’s gone to this camp, that’s affiliated with our church, for several years and just loves it. Her week at camp has become a highlight of each summer. As soon as we arrived, she started to re-connect with camp friends and counselors from past years. As a mom, it filled my heart with joy to see her so happy and confident. (For a teenager, that’s saying something! :-)

Of course, she didn’t want me to linger, so I was subtly, but quickly shooed back to my car. I drove home happy to have some time alone, but most of all happy that camps like this exist. Places where our children can be independent and have an experience that’s all their own; places where they can find a home away from home; and places where they can meet Jesus up close and personal.

When I reflect on my life, I see the weeks I spent at summer camp had the biggest impact on my faith and left some of the fondest memories of my childhood. Through the scenery, the songs, the friendships, the teachings and the adventures I met Jesus and experienced the Truth of the gospel.

But for so many years as an adult, I walked in darkness, away from the Lord. I buried the Truth under a pile of cynicism, intellectualism, doubt, self-sufficiency and false knowledge. But even under weight of all it all the Truth remained. Until one day I was ready to let go of the “junk” and open the door to Jesus. And I found He’d been there all along.

There are so many wonderful Christian camps all over the country. The one I attended is still going strong, thanks to the vision and obedience of its founder (who passed away this year). I offer a prayer of thanks to the faithful men and women who, through the years, have answered God’s call to start and run these camps. I pray the Spirit fuels their passion. I lift up the teenage counselors who love the Lord and dedicate their summers to teach, protect, love, nurture and share Jesus with the youngsters who enter their cabins (or tents) each week. And I ask a special blessing on the campers, some of whom may not be that happy about being at camp. I pray that the Truth of the Good News is planted deeply into each one of their hearts—even if those seeds don’t produce fruit for many years to come.

The media and casual conversations like to portray young people and the time in which we live as “so much worse than theyused to be.” I just don’t believe that’s true. Evil exists, as it has since the beginning. But, goodness does too and it will always be.

Through it all Jesus stands at the door of our hearts, waiting for us to let Him in.

Go to camp and you just might find the handle to open the door.

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” —Revelation 3:20


Runner Mom said...

Hey, Kelli!
How fun!! I know that her time there will be fun and filled with the Holy Spirit--with a sprinkling of smelly socks, lost toothbrushes, and no air conditioning!!( Our camp has no A/C!!)

The teenagers of today have so much potential to serve God in ways that we never did growing up. I think it's wonderful!

It's great that we have th eopportunity to spend that time away to reflect on all that God has done and ponder what we think He has in store for us. I pray that her experience is awesome!

Love ya,

Peggy said...

I remember our christian summer camp, and as a senior in high school we got to go for free(because)our mothers insisted we go to Summer Bible School every year. Don't get me wrong. I really loved to go to both, but when I went to Summer Bible School, we had to go for four weeks (the whole month of July.
Yes summers are great, however to spend time with God and other Christians is truly a wonderful experience.
Thanks for the trip down my memory lane you just gave me.
Blessings and Love, Peggy

Cheryl Barker said...

Kelli, hope your daughter has a wonderful week -- one that will hold some sort of spiritual milestone for her. One thing we can do for kids we know who have just come home from camp is really pray for them -- that they will be able to stand firm in any decisions they made while there and that they will stay protected from Satan's attempts to undo the good that was done in their lives. May God richly bless your daughter and all her friends at camp this week!