I came back from camp yesterday. To say it was amazing would be an understatement. It was my last year being able to go as a camper so it was extra emotional for me. Sorry if this is a long one, I just have a lot to say. Now, where do I start?
Well, I guess we could start off with this: I was a team captain. At camp, being a captain is a big honor. The captains are hand picked by a committee of leaders beforehand. There are 4 teams, each with a boy and girl captain. They each get a captain band to where on their arm/leg in their team color. I was on the yellow team. I was surprised when I was chosen for this role. For one, two of my friends kept joking about me being picked, and I told them to stop because in no way did I really want to. See, as team captain, you’re expected to encourage your team, participate, be super outgoing and athletic, and to start cheers and rally your team. I am good at none of those things. Plus, I never really thought anyone knew me at camp; I kinda flew under the radar. So when we were playing circle games and someone told me they were calling my name to come to the center, I didn’t believe them. Because I assumed no one at camp even knew my name. Sure enough, me and 3 others were being summoned to the middle. Our director proceeded to announce “Meet your captains, blue and yellow team!”
My friend, Jake, who happened to be helping with activities, had a hand in picking me as captain. Jake, knows full well I never wanted to be captain, because last year he teased me relentlessly about “What if you get picked?” And my response was always “Heck.to.the.no.” So I shook my head at him and gave him my best glare.
That was the start of the week.
I felt so inadequate. I wasn’t outgoing, I wasn’t good at cheering on my team, I wasn’t good at helping people with verses, I wasn’t athletic; I wasn’t good enough. I felt like the worst team captain all week. Yet all the same, my pride was starting to act up. So I asked God to keep my humble. I didn’t want to get all puffed up because of my position, but I definitely started to feel it. It’s funny how you can feel so inferior and prideful at the same time.
So there was that. And then there was this girl. My friend had said there was someone she wanted me to meet, her name was Isabella. I went into camp thinking I was going to minister to her, but it turned out the opposite. The first thing she said to me was “I hate people.” I responded with “Same.” And after that I think we just clicked. She told me later that she expected to hate me; but God had other plans.
Isabella is tiny but mighty. She’s got an attitude and really, has no filter. She’s not afraid to be brutally honest. She’s also tough as nails. But the thing that hit me about her is the way she worshipped. I don’t think anything up at camp impacted me as much as watching her during worship time. The first time I remember being blown away by it was when a song came on that I didn’t know. I don’t think anyone at camp knew it; but Isabella and her 3 brothers did. I wish you could have seen the way their faces lit up; and when the chorus came on, they leaned over and started clapping in unison. As they clapped, they straightened up and threw their hands up in the air. Their smiles were priceless. It was just the 4 of them clapping and raising their hands, and they didn’t care and they didn’t stop. I had never seen siblings worship that way before. This was the way she worshipped every day. She always gave it her all. She just got saved a few months ago, and apparently that song was played on the day that happened, and it was her favorite.
Getting to know Isabella was one of the best things to happen that week. She inspired me with her love for God and her courage. There were so many times she left me speechless and in awe. And aside from the fact that I admire her relationship with God so much, she’s also hilarious. We made way too many jokes and laughed way too much. Her and I made stupid facial expressions at each other and obnoxious noises. We had fun. One of the band members actually came up to us and asked us if we were ever apart; we shook our heads. I bet he had no idea we had just met on Sunday.
Another girl who impacted me was Amanda. (Hi, Amanda!) She made me cry on the first night of camp by praying for me and saying exactly what I needed to hear. She listened to me rant and cry for an hour during free time, and also prayed with me again at the camp fire. Honestly, she’s just one of my favorite people ever. She always knows what to say and her hugs are the best.
It was a really great week. We played in a mud pit, had dance parties, had a small group with the morning speaker because my cabin had so many great questions, my team won 3rd place in volleyball, and had a great banquet on the last night. I learned a lot too. I wish I could go into detail about every little thing, and I’m sorry this post is such a mess, my brain isn’t working and I’m still catching up on sleep. But the biggest thing I learned came from being a captain. And I spoke about this at the camp fire on the last night. So the speakers were talking about letting go of things, and it was really powerful. We all got this piece of fools gold, which was supposed to represent like, sin or something that was keeping us from God; we were all called to go up and drop it in a box to symbolize giving it to God. Then we would take a white stone, after the verse in Revelation. Well, I got really frustrated because I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what my stupid piece of fools gold was supposed to represent. In fact, I was sort of aggravated all week that I couldn’t really relate to the messages. I mean, yeah I did in a way, but not like, huge ways. If that makes sense. By the end of the week I was pretty upset because I felt like I hadn’t learned anything. But when I thought about it, I actually had. Not from the speakers, but from being a captain and from the people around me.
Like I had mentioned before, I struggled a lot with feeling like a sucky captain. I was mad at myself for it. I had always thought that if the time came, I would rise to the occasion and that somehow I would magically be outgoing and obtain these awesome leadership skills. Needless to say, that didn’t happen. All week I was stuck comparing myself to every other captain and, heck, I even compared myself to other campers. I would think of all the other people who were more suited to fill my position instead. I hated myself for not being able to keep up because I am still sick, and becoming captain didn’t take away my lupus. Even though I was the only captain fighting a chronic illness, I still expected my body to keep up with the others.
But here’s the thing: God knew all that. God knew I was sick and shy and that I saw myself as inadequate. But He saw so much more in me than I saw in myself. He knew I had flaws and He called me despite them. Was being a captain really a big deal? No. But it taught me a huge lesson that could be applied to all areas of my life. I realized that sometimes God calls us to do huge, scary things; and we feel ill equipped for them. But God doesn’t make mistakes. Sure, we by ourselves are weak, but with Him, we are strong. On the last day, Jake came over to me and said “I told you I made you captain for a reason.” And that did it for me. That kid always has a way of teaching me the most profound truths about God. I could almost hear God saying it to me. “I picked you for a reason.”
So camp was amazing. But coming home was hard as heck and honestly, I’ve been having a really hard time with it. There are a lot of reasons for that, and I wish I could explain. I just feel like I’m suffocating. I miss it so much, but it goes deeper than that and I don’t expect anyone to understand. I know it’ll pass, or maybe it won’t. I don’t know really. Just be praying for me. I spent church this morning sitting outside on a bench reading my bible and praying and crying, and everything makes me sick emotionally and I tried to worship but it’s so lonely when it’s just me in my bedroom and I hate that triggers are everywhere and I wish I didn’t hate everything.
I wish this didn’t end on such a sad note. I’m pretty sure this happened last year too, but it wasn’t as bad. Seriously though, camp was incredible and I made so many great friends and was impacted so much. I love realizing how much I’ve grown since last year and thinking about how much God has brought me through. If you’re ever feeling stuck, just look back on all the great things God has done for you. It’s remarkable.
And to add one more happy thing to end it; I GOT A DSLR! I’m the proud owner of a Canon Rebel T3i. I think I have fallen in love. Brace yourself for all of the pictures.
Enjoy the above video of us playing in the mud pit. I’m in there somewhere.