The Mystic River, change, rain, toilet plunging, nail polish remover, and Joseph

12:11:00 AM

I had better write this post for posterity's sake before I forget every amazing thing God did that week because I'm already forgetting the better half of it.

So, literally, I ran to my devotion spot on Monday morning with my green micro-fleece blanket, mug of coffee, Bible and journal my friend Becky brought me back from Italy. Now, you need to understand, that there is this magical river that runs right along the camp that we call the "Mystic River" and if you walk across this long rickety bridge you are basically on this enchanted island and usually no one else thinks to cross the river and so I'm basically over there all by myself, well, and with God. Part of the island slopes down to this beach area and the roots have formed almost like steps and I have so many memories of running there to meet with God and praise Him for what He was doing in my life at Coatesville. Every year for the past five years (save my tenth grade year when I was in Hungary for the summer) I would wake up when the bell rang for devos and head over with my pile of stuff and hike over the bridge and plop down against this one tree and spend an hour with God. So I would say that five times seven is thirty five multiplied by one hour is 35 hours...35 hours of God time in this spot- give or take a few and add some for Prayer Retreats the past few years. So to me this is a very special spot. God did amazing things in my heart while I was sitting there. He brought me to places of surrender I could never have brought myself. He changed my heart for people around me. He captivated me, right there- in that spot.
And so when I practically flailed myself there on the ground on Monday morning I literally felt like I was breathing a breath of fresh air after two very exhausting and hard years (i kind of didn't count last years Coatesville because I was working in the kitchen and really didn't get a chance to come out to my spot much).
And do you know the first thing God spoke to my heart? He basically came out and said that I cannot trust in Coatesville. I cannot trust in this spot. Because they are going to fail me. And He didn't stop there. Basically, He reminded me that as much as this spot seemed the same as it ever did from the very curve of the root of the tree to the bend in the brook below me, it was not going to last. Things weren't the same. My life wasn't the same. My friends would fail me- have failed me (though maybe not intentionally). My family would and does fail me. Mike and Brian (our youth pastors) would fail me. People who were there weren't even the same. I would never sit on the basketball court staring at the stars with my friends again. I would never have all of my friends praying together in the chapel again. Rob (our old youth pastor) wouldn't ever be there like he'd been before. Even Mrs. Petock wasn't at Coatesville and she had been there every single year for the past who knows how many years. Demetria, my old Coatesville kid, was too old, she wouldn't be back.
Everything had changed. And for a second, I was overwhelmed. Consumed. But then...God reminded me of Malachi 3:6- "I am the LORD, I do not change, therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob."
And then I knew- God would never fail me. God will never change. He is the only one I can count on.
And what a good promise. What a needed promise.

So you can imagine what a great week after a start like that!
Did I mention that the evening before I had this amazing, cute, godly, saintly, elderly couple promise they would be praying for me that week? Praying for me????!!!!! So cool, isn't it?

SO kid's club was amazing. God totally showed his sovereignty in it through the weather. Yeah, we were getting a ton of rain. But this is how it would work- Day 1- Kid's show up, sunny skies, kid's enter chapel for worship- rain literally pours from the sky, we end up doing a very extended worship chapel, head out for skits under pavilion, rain stops, kids play in beautiful sunshine. Amazing, huh? That's how it would go all week, raining only at the perfect times- except Friday it rained for our last hour with the kids but it worked out because they all huddled under the pavilion and we all got to hang out together and really say goodbye. It was sooo amazing.
Now, you need to understand- the kids were amazing this year. Usually it is like us trying to constantly keep them focused- but they totally were so receptive to the skits (which we literally just Bible stories acted out- starting in Genesis to the resurrection of Jesus) and they understood and were able to reciprocate the lessons in the skit back to us- it was sooo cool! Honestly, such a blessed week with the kids!

So, we personally we studying the life of Joseph in the mornings- and honestly- just read those chapters over and study them. God did such amazing things in Joseph's life- in all of his suffering, and if you read the chapter where he meets up with his brothers again and just read over and over the verses about his crying and having to leave the room because of the emotion you will know that that man suffered. But God did such an amazing work in his life and through his life- influencing the whole world because of his obedience to God and knowing that it was God who was doing the work in his life and not some mistake or because his brother's were jerks. And so I couldn't stop thinking about the verse in Isaiah-"Behold, It was for my welfare that I had great bitterness; but in love You have delivered my life from the pit of destructions, for You have cast all my sins behind my back." Isaiah 38:17. LIke I really believe Joseph could have said that those verses were his heart too- God had a reason for all of the bitterness, the pain, the suffering in his life- and it was for his welfare! And God literally delivered his life from the pit of destruction!!!

Also, I was really hurting during my time at Coatesville because of something someone had said to me- but I just kept clinging to 1 John 4- that God's perfect love casts out my fear. Because it really does. I had never understood how much God loved me until I saw failing love- and then I understood the vastness (or part of the vastness) of how amazing it is that GOd can love me unfailingly and faithfully and abundantly and unconditionally!
I was also struggling with forgiveness toward that person though. It wasn't that I was having trouble with being angry or bitter- I was just hurt. It literally felt like a wound was open. But I wasn't mad- I was just in a lot of pain, but I was kind of blaming myself because that's what I do. So I kind of never have to forgive people because I just pass the blame onto myself- but I was reading through Joseph's life and how important it was for when he saw his brother's again that he had already forgiven them. ANd I knew that I needed to consciously forgive if I ever wanted to heal- and so I think it's something I'm still learning.

Then there was communion on Saturday night. And Mikey got up and was praying for us for things- and honestly, the two things I needed prayer for but didn't realize that I needed prayer for he had us stand up for- One was to have a united heart, and the second was to be filled with the Holy Spirit afresh- and honesly, I had never been at the place where I really felt that everything that needed to be surrendered for surrendered until that point- and it was the most amazing revelation- because it wasn't like it was anything I had done in my strength- I had fought with God over so many things over the years that I needed to cling to but to stand in that chapel where I had literally wrestled with God and to see that He had got the victory was honestly the most amazing feeling.
"Now unto Him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God, our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen." Jude 24-25

So, to sum up the week was amazing.
Now if you can pray that Surf Camp will be equally amazing I would much appreciate it- also, please pray that the waves won't be insane- we're supposed to be getting waves from Hurricane Bill or something but that would really stink for teaching the kids- so pray that they would be great beginner waves...

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